Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

I’ve always been a fan of Hootsuite. I’ve been touting them as the best Twitter client while everyone else was clamoring over seesmic and tweetdeck. Well folks, this is why:

Hootsuite upgraded to HTML 5 not too long ago, an impressive move on it’s own. Today, they astound their users yet again with another update, this time focusing on improving the quality of content through the institution of additional filter systems, along with a new Social CRM features.

The filter system is incredibly easy to use, and allows us to further refine the content that floods our streams every day. For power users and professional social media folk, like myself, following 5000 people is a daunting task. Tools like this allow users search within their pre-established columns and tabs, either by Klout Score (Influence) or by keyword.

This functionality has been lacking from twitter and 3rd party clients. I’m shocked it took so long for someone to do this the right way, but I’m not in the least bit surprised it was Hootsuite.

Add to that the additional “Insights” that appear in a new tab within the pop-up profile boxes, integrations with “Zendesk for customer service, and you’ve got the makings of a twitter app/client to destroy all others as the premier package for personal and professional use.

I’m not sure how many of you took the survey (using User Voice, an awesome crowdsourcing tool if you haven’t seen it). I did, and I’m glad to see that a lot of the user feedback and ideas are incorporated into this evolving product. H00t H00t.

This also just happens to be a brilliant way for Hootsuite to build buzz just prior to the imminent Paid Premium Service launch.

Here are the basics, excerpted from the press release.

Filter by Influence

Drill down into your network by filtering columns by influence score. Sorting by Klout’s algorithmically-produced score allows you to learn which followers and contacts enjoy the widest reach. Ideal for quickly identifying campaign candidates or response priority.

Filter by Keyword

Too many messages to sort through? No problem. Filter your columns on-the-fly by keyword. Type in your desired word to remove the extraneous updates and focus on what’s on your mind. Ideal for tracking topics and prospecting for clients.

Follower Insights

Get to know your network with the knowledge behind the “Insights” tab . Learn where your contacts Hang-out online including publicly available links to social profiles, a collection of images, even occupations and title — all in one view

Hoot to Zendesk Support

Where does social networking end and tech support begin? It doesn’t matter since Twitter updates can now become track-able tickets directly in the popular help desk app, Zendesk . This integration helps streamline your customer service and ensure quality responses.

Organization View

Since HootSuite released Team Collaboration tools, many users have added extensive networks. Now managing your colleagues is easier thanks to a new view which shows your contacts on each network, along with a simple way to add more team members.

To get started, click the Owl, choose Settings, then My Organizations to tune-up your teams.

From enterprises to start-ups, HootSuite is pleased to help businesses and organizations reach out to spread messages, monitor conversations and track results.

As you may know, we’re excited about releasing paid plans in the coming weeks. Keep in mind, HootSuite will remain free for an estimated 95% of users based on current usage patterns. Meanwhile, premium users will enjoy access to extra features, high limits and prioritized support.

We’ll release details in the coming weeks but to preview, the paid plans will offer:

* Unlimited social networks
* Unlimited RSS feeds
* Team members on social networks
* Advanced analytics & reports
* Expedited support

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AKA The “I don’t care about the World Cup” Edition 🙂

Stay Tuned For My In Depth Coverage/Review of Everything I Learned at the Ad Age Creativity & Technology (CaT) Conference, by far one of the best and most valuable and interesting events I’ve ever had the privilege to attend. I rank it up there with TED and SXSW. Oh, and I’ll be looking over this new Klout “Facebird” thing and will have my thoughts for you next week. Klout is definitely going to be huge. HUGE!

Klout to Launch Facebird for Facebook

Heineken Lets Beer Drinkers Customize Their Bottles

Stickybits Rolls Out “Official” Branded Bits, Signs Up Pepsi As First Advertiser

Twitter Acquires Smallthought Systems to Integrate Analytics Tools

Reaching Teen Influencers with Social Messages

Are Typosquatters Hijacking Your Brand?

More Adults than Teens Consume Mobile Video

Mind Over Mass Media

Hispanic Moms’ Online Shopping Habits

Mobile Apps to Hit $32 Billion in Five Years

Google Launches Video Ad for TV Effort

Google Mobile Trivia Feature Activited: But, Keep Your Questions Short if You Use Speech-to-Text

Experts Predict We’ll Be Working in the Cloud by 2020 [STUDY]

City of New York Blankets Times Square with Giant QR Codes

Fashion Mag Turns to Facebook to Find New Stylists

Why Japan Matters: iPad Mania, Cloud Computing, And Social Intelligence

Online Video Viewing Shifts to Long Form Content

How Consumers Interact with Brands on Social Media

Trada brings crowdsourcing to online advertising.

Awareness of Location Based Social Networks Currently 7% Of Americans 12+

A version of this post, written a couple of weeks ago, can also be found on the Shamable Blog, Here.

It seems like every day I see another group of posts populating my news feeds and Twitter stream touting an easy to implement social media strategy, a social media mold, readily adapted to your brand or business, or a list of social media MUSTS, things that every company needs to know about and act on – regardless of what exactly your goals or business model might be, the most recent example being Mashable’s “3 Things You Need to Know About Social Media Strategy” (pardon the run on).

Not too long ago, I wrote such posts and sometimes I’ll still retweet them, if only because within their laziness-enabling premise, there are, occasionally, bits of truth and relevancy. But that cold reality of the matter is that these cookie cutter social media plans and strategies, these molds that can be made to fit any organization, are crap. Why? Because for the most part, they simply state the obvious, repurpose other people’s content, and are designed for clueless executives desperate to jump on the bandwagon or their underlings looking to make a good impression – both of whom know next to nothing about the social space and the nature of dynamic content.

For example, lets look at this Mashable post. The article opens by explaining,

“Companies large and small are rushing to understand and get involved in social media. But most of the agencies and consultants who are being paid to establish social media campaigns for corporations are afraid to tell their clients three things they don’t want to hear.”

She goes on to list and elaborate upon these 3 topics:

  1. Everyone must work together
  2. Top Management Must Be On Board and
  3. Don’t Expect Overnight Success

I’m sorry, but I have to be blunt here when I say “DUH!” When are these 3 postulates NOT true in the business world? Should you ever expect overnight success? Does anything good ever come out of NOT working together? And don’t get me started on the involvement of top management.

I’m not trying to call out B.L. Ochman; in fact, I am a huge fan of hers and the What’s Next Blog. I do, however, feel an obligation toward my job and protecting the reputation of my profession. Posts like these feel lazy and dumbed down. Truisms they are, but they have nothing to do with social media, and framing them in that context makes it seem like anyone can do what we do, which is certainly not the case.

I’ve grown to despise these posts because the foster laziness and ignorance, they enable procrastination and poor tactics, and mostly, because they tarnish our burgeoning industry, instead of validating it.

Case in point: I recently spent several weeks assembling a comprehensive short and long-term social media and digital strategy for a client. I surveyed the landscape – what has the brand done until now, where have they succeeded, where have they failed, and what can be improved. I looked to align their existing brand objectives with social media objectives and further specified how those objectives might be reached differently as they take advantage of each social platform’s unique offerings. I audited their competitive set and looked for areas where these competitors were doing well – indicating the brand’s need to catch up – and where the competitors were failing – indicating an opportunity for them.

I looked at trends and predictions. Which brands are best-in-class and how could we emulate them, improve on their models, and innovate and lead? I did my due diligence and amassed tomes of research – what are their target audience’s most common existing behaviors on social networks? What type of engagement does their audience want from these brands and how could they provide it?

After weeks of intense research, meetings, writing and revision, I flew across the country and presented a 57-page strategy and action plan to the client, the first in a day full of nonstop meetings. Not once did I mention that “Top management must be on board,” or that we “shouldn’t expect instant success” – had I done so would have almost certainly damaged my credibility in front of an audience of established and experienced executives.

For what it’s worth, they loved it. The client was happy, thus, my bosses were happy. I thought to myself, with a big smile “Great, mission accomplished.”

But that smile was quick to fade as I realized that my weeks of work and research weren’t nearly enough. I spent the rest of the day listening and learning.  Competitive analysis, reports and reviews of the last 2 years worth of marketing, advertising, and public relations efforts.  There was talk of focus groups and the precise ROI of spending on individual efforts on different media and campaigns.

By the end of the day, I had realized something that I had known intuitively for a long time but was reluctant to acknowledge – social media does not exist in isolation. Nothing does in marketing. Everything is tied together in an intricate web of objectives, metrics, communities, budgets, messaging, and brand images. My 57-presentation was amazing, yes, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. I could have spent another month – and probably will – figuring out how to tie-in my 57-page tactical outline with the rest of the organization’s plans.

UPDATE: Since then, my presentation has led to an action plan, identifying and delegating individual tasks & responsibilities – in order to take my strategic vision into the more realistic world of actionable and executable possibility. Overarching themes and long term objectives were boiled down into a time-line of assignments and iterations of platform-specific mini-objectives, prioritized based on ease of implementation, production costs, time frames, and urgency. This has not been easy, and I’ve yet to find a post outlining a quick and simple methodology to reach this stage of strategic planning, let alone, finding any mention of this process in the “5 Social Media Strategy Musts” types of posts I’ve seen.

The reason these one-size-fits-all “social media stratagems” are bullsh*t and will never work and the reason most enterprise 2.0 consultants fail to actually back up their talk and improve a brand’s efforts to be social and become dynamic, engaging content producers, is that it takes a LOT of time and effort to understand the inner workings of a brand, especially a big business. These lists are fodder for inept and executives too lazy to expend the time and effort necessary to understand and learn about the social evolution of businesses and dynamic nature of today’s content. They are easy to write and even easier to pass off as legitimate plans.

For such endeavors to actually have merit and potential for the brand, they must be customized to the business from their inception, built to align with the companies overall objectives, and most importantly – COMPLIMENT – NOT SUPPLEMENT – existing marketing efforts. There are no MUSTS, no absolutes – what’s right for one brand may be disastrous for another. Social protocols and norms evolve so rapidly that these lists, for whatever value they may have when they’re written, become obsolete before they’d ever have any actual impact. So people, please stop relying on cookie cutter approaches because you are too lazy to devise your own. Stop trying to force your business into a mold that will only impose limits and hinder the true potential new media actually offers.

I’m writing this post – not to crap on Mashable or B.L. Ochman, but because I hold them to a high standard. People look to them, relying on these influencers and industry leaders, for valid, sound, advice. This is an example of parties that hold a clear opportunity and authority to further our industry – and flaking on their responsibility to do so. As such, I would be remiss if I let that happen without calling them out for it. I’m not even saying that I’m any better, but we need to rally, as an industry and as a community, to create more valuable content and do away with lazy “filler” products. We can do better folks.

Thank you and good day!

I am a Social Media Manager & Emerging Media Strategist based in NYC (though I’ve come to prefer Social Media Monkey). You can find me on Twitter as Aerocles and on my blog, the Legends of Aerocles.

Guest Post by Jess Greco. Similar Version found in her column at the PR Breakfast Club (PRBC).

Jess Greco

As I get ready to leave the job that I’m currently at and embark on a new and incredibly exciting opportunity, I’ve decided to do a little bit of reflection at the suggestion of David, one of my closest friends and social media mentors. When I took a position as an “intern” at the small NJ agency that I worked at during my senior year of college, I had no idea how much I would learn.  Since it was my responsibility to teach the rest of the company about it, I had no choice but to throw myself head-first into the world of social media.  It’s a good thing I ended up becoming a shameless Twitter addict who reads Mashable in its entirety, every morning (not that these things alone make someone a social media fanatic, but you know where I’m coming from).  As I think about all my experiences since then, I realize how many lessons I’ve learned since my love affair with social media began.  I can say with confidence that these lessons have allowed me to become a better professional overall.

So here they are, some of the most valuable social media lessons I’ve learned (and as obvious as some of them might be for you, believe me, they’re not for other people):

Social Media Takes Time and Effort

For those of you who really understand social media, this one is a big DUH.  Unfortunately, I’ve encountered far too many people who think social media is a quick fix, especially because it’s so simple to use.  And I’m not even just talking about clients who don’t understand how it works and therefore end up making your life hell.  I mean all sorts of professionals who have ventured into the space hoping to enhance their personal brand and businesses. If you think that your time is far too valuable to dedicate some of it towards actively participating in social media and interacting with fellow industry thought-leaders, then you might as well not even try.  Having your assistant update your status and ignoring the people who @ reply you makes me question why you’re even using Twitter at all (and the same goes for any other platform).  If you decide that you’re interested in embracing social media, make sure that you realize the investment it takes to be successful- or be prepared to fail.

There Is No Such Thing As a Social Media “Expert”

Whenever a new industry springs up that looks like it has the potential to be great, it’s inevitable that there will be a rush of people who jump on the bandwagon in hopes of becoming a big name in the business.  Social media, because of its overwhelming trendiness, has produced far too many of these people.  As a young person who was just starting to learn about this world, I was tricked by more people than I care to admit- and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.  I now know to take these “expert” claims with a grain of salt.  I also understand the importance of really getting to know a person’s work before making them someone I look up to for advice and new ideas.

Social Media Needs to Be Customized

When I first started using social media for my clients, I unsuccessfully tried to use the same program for every one.  After some experimentation, I realized that each product or service benefited from different things.  Blogger outreach proved to be really successful in creating buzz for one client, while it totally fell flat for another.  It’s very simple when you think about it- if every company or person is different, shouldn’t their strategy be too?  Unfortunately for those looking for something fast and easy, social media is not a cookie cutter.

Social Media Can Get You a Job

Networking through social media is the greatest thing since Jersey Shore (OK, so social media came first, but still).  Social media is like a 24/7 networking event- you will always be able to find people in your industry to talk to and get help from.  It also allows you to showcase your resume and experience and show people the way that you think (through LinkedIn, a blog/website, etc.).  I was fortunate enough to get my last job, as well as the one I’ll be starting next week, through people who got to know me through Twitter.  I love telling that to people who think Twitter is completely useless.  A cohesive online personal brand can do wonders.

Knowing Social Media Can Get You Far

It’s difficult to realize this, because if you’re anything like me, you live in a bubble with people who live and breathe it.  However, many companies out there understand the value of social media but just don’t know how to use it.  If you’re a person that DOES, you could be a huge asset to one of those companies.  Make it your job to read industry blogs and websites, experiment with it, and talk about it with other people.  Believe me, it sets you apart in job interviews.  You could be one of those hip, young kids that an old company hires to make themselves modern 😉

Social Media Can Make You Some Great Friends

This is my cheesy way of signing off.  But it’s completely true.  Some of the people that I’ve met through social media have become the people that I go to on a daily basis for laughs, advice, and a place to vent.  And most of this was completely by accident, so keep yourself open to it.

I’m sure that I’ll continue to learn more social media lessons throughout my career.  What lessons have you learned?

So…By now we’ve all seen or heard about Burger King’s New “Shower Cam” Microsite. If you haven’t yet, well, check it out, but not at work.

My first instinct was, a simple, “wow, I can’t believe they did this” reaction. Followed by a “wow, this is getting some incredible buzz, brilliant!”

That’s problem with transitioning from PR to Advertising – two internal, often conflicting, perspectives on these types of stunts.

So, in order to reconcile these to ideologies, I often pose questions to myself, to gauge the success of such endeavors. For example:

BK Shower Cam

What purpose did it serve?

Does this site aim to generate buzz? If so, has it been positive or negative? Or does that not matter?

Was the site designed to drive traffic to stores, and with it sales? If so, did it succeed?

How did the campaign affect public perception of the brand? Is the stunt consistent with the brand’s previous messaging?

I’m sure perception of the site will differ based on gender, so I can only speak from a guy’s point of view, but I can clearly understand why men and women alike would consider this to be a tasteless & misogynistic ploy that in no way relates to the brand.

Yes, Burger King is known for their controversial stunts, like when they offered free burgers to Facebook fans who unfriended people, aka the Whopper Sacrifice. But this, IMHO, crosses the line as it alienates 50% of the population (women).

Furthermore, as a branding strategist, I have to ask, yes, guys (and some girls too) love watching women take showers – with or without bikinis on – and I’m sure plenty would love to win a date with the Shower Babe – what the fuck does it have to do with burgers? I see absolutely no connect to the brand’s core goal of increasing store traffic & selling food, thus reducing this site to a cheap, desperate stunt, predicated on the exploitation of women and sex. So why stop there BK, why not dive headfirst and have her go bikiniless – that certainly would have generated even more of the same buzz, and clearly you’re not afraid of backlash and/or employee zero women with any clout or influence on decisions. And no, I won’t take “well, this was launched in Europe, so you have to consider the cultural divide” bullshit. That doesn’t fly when you launch a website internationally viewable  – regardless of the “.co.uk” in the URL.

So, back to my questions. I’m still at a loss as to what purpose this site serves, other than to create buzz and incite some feminist groups.

Yes it generated a ton of buzz – but around what? This isn’t a new product launch. There’s no breaking news or promotions affiliated with the shower babe.

Are there any deals available through this site not available elsewhere? Not that I know of…but correct me if I’m wrong.

As for the public perception of the brand – I’m not a frequent patron of the chain, but if anything, this distasteful maneuver would discourage me from partaking in any whopper related foodstuffs in the future.

Adage’s coverage of the stunt included this tasty little quote:

Sarah Power, marketing director U.K. and Eire for Burger King, said in a statement: “Our shower-cam gives hungry Brits the chance to watch the BK Shower Girl singing in the shower every day to help them work up an appetite for our fantastic new breakfast range.”

Um…so you’re an idiot? That’s all I took out of that statement.

Maybe I’m overreacting here – But I really don’t see the point of the site, other than incurring some modest hype and with it, backlash. I don’t foresee any positive impact on store traffic or sales – making it an ROI fail.

It doesn’t promote or achieve anything that couldn’t be done without begging for the negative press.

If the objective was to create semi-pornographic that has absolutely no place in the brand’s larger messaging and digital strategy, well then I suppose they’ve succeeded, but perhaps they are unaware of billion or so other websites that have showcase ACTUAL pornography.

So again, what added value does this site offer? It’s not innovative content or entertainment, it’s doesn’t drive sales, and it doesn’t inform. If you can think of any please let me know.

Here are some thoughts from my twitter friends on the issue. As usual, please weigh in; I’d love to hear your thoughts and counterarguments.

First Came Chris Daughtry, Quickly Followed By Weezer, MGMT, Eric Cartman, And Now, IMO, Topping Them All (Except Maybe Cartman’s Rendition, It’s A Tough Call) The One & Only Christopher Walken. What Do They All Have In Common? They’ve All Spoofed Lady Gaga’s Hit Single “Poker Face.”

So…What is it about Lady Gaga, and this song in particular, that lends is self to such memetic mimetics? There is something undeniably unique about The Lady & Her Music. Her Style, Performance, The Catchyness of the tune…all of which make for User Generated Recreations. But it’s rare, and a privilege, when other artists or media producers spoof one’s work. Even in jest, most blatant mockery subtly suggests some degree of respect and admiration. If Family Guy or South Park ever made fun of one of my creations, I’d take it as a compliment.

Marketers & Advertisers Strive To Impart These Qualities On Their Content. To Provide A Template On Which Consumers Can Build, a Body of Material Ripe For The Creative Masses To Restructure, Remix, Reinterpret, Re-contextualize…and spread.

So what is it that she (or her team of producers and publicists) does, to lend her brand to such virality?

My Good Friend Rachel Feigenbaum, A CUNY PhD Student, Has An Interesting Thought:

When a person hears it [Her Music] you can’t help but admit that it’s catchy and fun. But when you realize what the lyrics are, what you’re singing, it’s embarrassing that you actually enjoy something that sophomoric, so to cope we make fun. [It’s a] Social Defense Mechanism. People find that humorous it’s why she’s successful. She’s crazy and out there, but its fun and funny. It’s being so ridiculous, that it’s entertaining. For Her, Tactful Talentlessness becomes true talent and she’s thus she brings  a new dimension, and with it success, to an otherwise superficial music career & by superficial I mean a lack of lyrical and musical depth.

When I asked My Friend & Colleague Jess Greco that same question, she responded:

Historically, pop culture is pop culture for a reason- it is constantly being referenced. She’s original, shes doing things that are slightly ridiculous, and thats what is getting her attention. And these are the things that often turn into the internet memes that we’re so obsessed with nowadays. And a big part of this are the the references, just like The Office and The JK wedding dance video. Why Other Artists & Producers? Maybe Because they want to be part of the phenomenon? I dont know. They want to play off someone else’s attention to get their own? But I  feel like that applies to any person, not just celebs.

Personally, I get excited when celebs reference other celebs. It compounds the impact on the consumer/viewer and makes them feel like they’re part of this inside joke.

Could it be that simple? Is this authentic originality engendering producer-to-producer parasitism? Or is this something much more a psychologically complex? Is her brand Built, from the top down, to be so well suited for spoofing and these cultural memes, arguably one of marketing’s holy grails?

Watch The Videos…& Please Let Me Know What You Think!

And MGMT at 3:15 into the clip…

First off, here’s one video and two ads that I think are amazing:

Secondly, Obama Campaign Aside (Thanks Ken), I Have Some Advice For Reluctant, Hesitant, Ignorant, Brands: & The Rest Of The Universe (Marketers Take Note)

Dear Universe: Email Marketing Is DEAD. D-E-A-D DEAD. Eaten By Worms & Resorbed Into The Internet From Whence It Came. Accept It!!!!

When’s the last time you received an email from a store and that actually motivated you to get off your ass and go to the outlet or even spend money on their website. Social Media has slain the Monster of Direct Email Marketing. Not That It Doesn’t Have It’s Spammy Counterparts – Auto-DMs, Facebook Messages From Branded Fan Pages…etc.

Here’s how it’s going to work – You Exist. Online. As Long As I’m AWARE of where you exist (which is another matter altogether), rest assured, if i want to be updated on your company news, I’ll opt it by subscribing to your twitter feed, read your blog, or fan you on Facebook. And then I’ll visit you when I decide. Not the other way around. End Of Story. Disagree with me all you want, it won’t make you any righter.  And if it’s not clear that this is the future you’re resisting, just give it a few months.

Brands that don’t embrace Social Media as a way to reach their goals (no, you don’t have to give up) will fail. The purpose of, and results once generated by, email marketing, can still be accomplished – Except now through this new and scary interface call the interwebs. Traditional BROADCAST Advertising still has it’s place. But Email just isn’t one of those. In My Mind, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this way –  An Email from McDonald or Starbucks or  The Gap (I haven’t thankfully, I’m just arbitrarily choosing widely recognized brands for argument’s sake) is equivolent to the spam I receive about Acai Berry Weight Loss, Penis Enlargement Pills, And Cheap Watches – Garbage.

And I’m being nicer than I should – I’m 24, I’ve seen successful email marketing. But try emailing a 15 year old & they’ll laugh at you. That’s not how people engage brands anymore. Truth. Statistics be damned.

On a less frustrated note, here are some awesome reads you should definitely check out:

Times’ David Pogue blurs journalism lines

Death by Social Media

Social Media Marketing Strategy

Six Reasons Companies Are Still Scared of Social Media

Three Top Ways to Damage Your Brand With Social Media

Firing housekeepers creates PR mess for Hyatt

Have A Fantastical Weekend

A Quick Preface:

For Those Of You Who Have Yet To Hear The Good News – Through Me Or The Grapevine That Is Twitter – I Have Left 5W Public Relations & Have Taken On The Role Of Social Media Manager at McCann Erickson New York. After Spending The Last Year Experimenting With, And Studying, Social Media, From The Boutique PR Perspective, I’m really looking forward toward seeing the same world through the lens of a Global, Corporate, Advertising Agency. And…As Always, I Plan on Sharing Everything I Learn With You, Or As Much I’m Legally Permitted 🙂 – I Hope It Proves Helpful!

The Job Transition Has Been The Primary Reason For My Lack Of New Content Here At The Legends Of Aerocles. Which Is Why, As I Get Settled In & Acclimate To My New Role & Environment, I’ll Be Putting Up A Number Of Guest Posts. If You’d Like To Submit A Post On Anything Social Media, PR, Advertising, Marketing, etc. – Just Email Me at David@Aerocles.com.

Without Further Ado…

A Guest Post By @rustyspeidel

Convene Not Control


So I love the TED Talks on iTunes…I learn something after every one. I just watched one from Clay Shirky entitled How social media can make history in which he told a couple of excellent social media stories about the China earthquake last year and MyBarackObama.com. The details are familiar to all of us, but one thing REALLY stuck out to me, and that was the difference between CONVENING your audience versus CONTROLLING your audience.

Social tools have enabled conversations between media consumers in such a way that the ability to control media has been greatly compromised. In China, for example, when disaster struck that remote province in China last year, news of the earthquake STARTED with local citizens, as opposed to the standard government news outlets. Something that in the past would have been suppressed and dealt with quietly (and in a sub-standard way, most likely) was quickly made public knowledge across multiple media channels, leaving the authorities no choice but to handle it with kid gloves, and very transparently.

In the mybarackobama.com example, the opposite happened. Rather than fret over the shifting control point from centralized media producers to the consumer, Obama’s team embraced that reality, setting up issue groups where dissent was not only encouraged but taken into account where votes on issues were concerned. This engendered goodwill and understanding, even if Obama might have voted counter to the wishes of his constituents on the issues presented.

As everyone scrambles to figure social media out, one thing is clear: those who are confident in their voice and values, like Obama, can convene large audiences without controlling them. Those less confident, like China, tightly control access to the internet or even shut down tools like Twitter altogether.

What kind of company is yours? At Rowdy, we try to be confident, and I think it works better.

Rusty Speidel is a long-time technology and media professional with over 20 years conceiving, creating, and managing user experiences. He has held various leadership roles in the interactive television, e-commerce, online gaming, and sports marketing industries. He is currently the VP of Social Media and User Experience for Rowdy.com, a NASCAR-oriented social network, where he is responsible for defining and implementing Rowdy’s social media strategy, motivating Rowdy’s online community, and managing the creative and technology teams that keep Rowdy.com running smoothly. He also edits Rowdy’s daily podcast from time to time and has been instrumental in the implementation of social media measurement and production techniques throughout the organization.

He is an occasional speaker on social media strategy and when he’s not networked to some device, he’s out riding his bike, playing guitar with his band, or watching his kids play lacrosse.

There are Sooooo many twitter apps and clients out there, including, but not limited to, Seesmic (Desktop & Web), TweetDeck, iTweet, Mixero, not to mention all the mobile apps like Ubertwitter, Twitterberry and the plethora iPhone apps…it would be nearly impossible to review them all (though Mashable & TechCrunch usually do a nice job of covering most of the worthy ones as the debut or update their service).

Anyhoo – I happen to have a particular interest in which Twitter App/Client is best suited for professional use – and I suspect many of you do, as well. Whether you’re in customer service, branding, marketing, PR, or advertising, there are certain tools that make a twitter client better suited for professional, rather than personal, use.

When Twitter was more for personal communication, networking, etc., I was partial to Mixero for my Desktop/Adobe Air platform and iTweet for my web based service. But that’s changed now that my uses for Twitter have evolved beyond simple chatter. In short, I’ve found Hootsuite to be the best for 3 reasons – metrics, multiple account management, and it’s browser-based.

I’ve included a short review of functions and features, as well as additional features I’d like to see added. But suffice it to say, between Hootsuite’s accurate and easy to read metrics and graphs on links and clickthroughs, the ability to create custom user groups, and the multiple account/use/profile option, it is really a wonderfully designed service and well suited to employ from a professional standpoint.

User Groups

User Groups

Overview

  • The search-column function allows for continuous monitoring of brand mentions
  • The customizable user groups and tabs have allowed me to build my own personal interface – with one tab dedicated to news outlets and separated by topic and another for reporters, journalists, and bloggers, separated by beat and outlet.
  • The multiple users and profile option lets people you work together with your client, or your counterpart, in-house – you can train them, show them how to use the service.
    • With the ability to teach clients basics and the best tactics and strategies, you can build up the account and hand it over to the client for full-time use and interaction, while you continue to oversee the operation.
  • The statistics, metrics, and graphs on links and clicks – Clients will never stop asking you to show them the ROI of the time, money, and effort they’ll expend on anything, especially in the realm of social media. What better way than to show them how many people clicked on a link they tweeted with all the graphs and stats at your fingertips?

Features I’d Like To See In HootSuite

  1. Enter/Return Key Tweets.
  2. View List of Following/Followers.
  3. BIGGER USER GROUPS – WHY THE 50 PERSON MAX?
  4. Tags or Labels on Users/Tweets Already In Groups as the tweets appear in your stream (So you know not to add them to another group!).
  5. The Ability to Drag Users into Groups/Columns/Tabs.
  6. The Ability to Drag Columns to Different Tabs.
  7. An “Is This Person Following Me” Feature – As Seen in iTweet.net.
  8. The Ability To Send or Share Your Customized User Groups with other Hootsuiters
  9. A REPLY ALL option to conversations/tweets with multiple participants
  10. Integrated Twit-Picture/Twit-Video Service
  11. The ability to search for keywords or topics just within the people I’m following
  12. SPELL CHECK!
  13. A “You’ve Got A New Follower” Announcement Message…preferable with a pleasant accompanying sound effect.

Features That Make HootSuite the Perfect Twitter Client For Professional Use

  1. The Ability To Create Customized User Groups.
  2. The Ability To Build Customized Tabs & Categories.
  3. The Tweet Later Feature.
  4. The Built in Ow.ly URL Shortener with AMAZING Stats & Tracking!
  5. The Multiple Users/Accounts/Profiles.
  6. The Option to save ANY search as its own column.
  7. You Never Seem To Run Out Of APIs or Refreshes.
  8. As a Browser Based App – it’s easier on the old motherboard and overloaded server than a Desktop client.

Stats & Metrics - Click-Throughs

Stats & Metrics - Click-Throughs


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    Why PR Firms Should Be The Ones To Handle Social Media

    PRWeek Recent Posted An Article Entitled “Report: Social Media Falls Mostly To PR” – You Need a Subscription to Read It…Sorta, A Quick Google Search Will Get You The Article For Free, But For You Lazy Folks, I’ve Included It Below (I Don’t Subscribe Either, Don’t Worry)

    Anyway, It’s a great read and something I discussed in a recent post of mine on the topic of People Relations

    Here are my Top Reasons Why PR Firms Should Be The Ones To Handle Social Media

    1. PR has always been about communicating. That’s been accomplished through traditional media, through events and stunts. Social media is all about communication and conversation – exactly what PR people have been doing all along. Social Platforms are just another means for PR professionals to do the job they’re best at.

    2. Look at the alternative – advertising, marketing, sales – people don’t want their social spaces invaded by brands trying to sell them products. If a brand is going to be active on sites like Twitter – it can’t be about marketing or advertising, it has to be about initiating or participating in a conversation and providing new information – adding value – to interested parties – again, something PR has been doing via traditional media outlets all along.

    3. Traditional Media Relations – Despite what people are saying, print and broadcast are still far from dead. Many journalists and media outlets have taken to using Twitter and social media as a way to promote their content – turning these sites into glorified News Channels – the environment PR professional are more familiar with than their counterparts at Marketing or Advertising agencies.

    4. Blogger Relations – Reaching out to bloggers is an integral part of any modern PR and Media Relations Strategy. These are the individuals most active in the social space and forming relationships with them is no different than building one with an editor or reporter at a newspaper. There are trendsetters and influencers who impact what content will circulate in these social channels. Identifying these individuals and cultivating relationships with them; understanding their interests and providing them with information to share; this is where PR professional excel and have the most experience.

    And For Those Of You Without a PRWeek Subscription, Here’s The Article:

    Report: Social media falls mostly to PR

    Kimberly Maul

    August 11, 2009

    LOS ANGELES: PR leads digital communications at 51% of organizations, while marketing leads 40.5% of the time, according to the 2009 Digital Readiness Report from iPressroom, Korn/Ferry International, and PRSA.

    The study found that PR generally leads several aspects of digital communications, including blogging, where PR leads at 49% of organizations, compared to 22% for marketing. PR also leads microblogging (52% to marketing’s 22%), and social networking (48% to 27%). Marketing usually leads e-mail marketing and SEO aspects of digital communications.

    “Social media puts the consumer in control, and PR professionals have always interacted with customers who are in control, also managing the brand reputation and relationship with them,” said Barbara McDonald, VP of marketing for PRSA. “It really is almost a no-brainer that PR would be taking the lead in the social media environment.”

    Several industry professionals commented to PRWeek separately that they have seen these findings play out within their work.

    “The findings are in line with not only what we expect, but what we’re experiencing,” said Corey duBrowa, president of account services for Waggener Edstrom. “Our industry is utilizing, and in some ways even pioneering the use of, these tools.”

    “The way we look at it, social media is a subset of word-of-mouth in many ways, so for us, it’s a natural extension of some of the things we’re already doing on the PR side,” said Greg Zimprich, director of brand PR for General Mills. But, he added, the company works to teach the entire company best practices and benchmarking, saying, “We see social media as a competency that really will reach across the organization.”

    Jonathan Kopp, the global director of Ketchum Digital, suggested that PR will continue to lead the way in digital, because “the speed of engagement is changing in the digital space and PR moves faster than advertising and marketing, so it gives them an opportunity.”

    He also explained that PR agencies are working with clients to set up social media policies, train employees in social media, and create social media divisions within organizations, cementing their position as digital leaders.

    The report also found that social networking skills are increasingly important for PR job candidates. Eighty percent of respondents said knowledge of social networking is either important or very important for a job candidate, compared to 82% saying traditional media relations was important or very important.

    The 2009 Digital Readiness Report surveyed 278 PR, marketing, and HR professionals over six weeks in this past spring.

    So What Do You Think? Who Should Handle Social Media for Brands? PR Pros? Marketers? Ad Shops? All of the Above? Specialized Social Media Agencies?

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