listen – laugh – love

A little taste of my Social Media love…

Why Can’t We Be Friends!? Social Media, Public Relations & Journalism

Social Media & Public Relations

imagesSocial media and public relations, to the casual onlooker, seemingly go hand-in-hand. However, convincing businesses of this realization seems to be a little more difficult. For the better part of history, these two departments have worked separately – up until a few years ago, the social media world didn’t even exist! While social media may be the new kid on the block, public relations teams should not be kicking them to the curb any time soon. Essentially, social media is now allowing public relations to do what they’ve always done – just in an easy to access format. “Social media allows us to build real relationships over time, not fakes smiles put on during trade shows and events.

Public relations is an crucial piece of the business puzzle, as they are the trained professionals in place to conduct damage control as well as deliver messages to diverse groups of stakeholders and audience members. Social media is now an incredible place to not only communicate but to help businesses sell and inform their audience members. The best way to determine how these two departments should work together is to look at your overall goals and how you truly define success in terms of your business. The answer does not lie in whether or not you need one or the other – the answer is how efficiently and effectively you choose to utilize both of these department’s talents.

Social Media & Journalism

mediaWhile there seems to be a hard line between “traditional” journalism and “new” journalism; the solution should again lie in how you can combine these two methods into the best avenue for you and your business. In fact, those hard hitting traditional journalist should be relieved with these new advances as crowdsourcing is easier now than ever before.  There are thousands of citizen journalists that are posting photos and videos every day, helping to create a searchable database of archived and sourceable content. Journalists should not lose sight of those traditional skills of seeking out stories and hunting down facts; however, journalists can now use social media to build and maintain relationships with people, learn about others in an intimate and real way and reach out directly with story ideas.

 Questions to Ponder:

  1. Do ever see Public Relations and Social Media teams truly becoming one? Or do you think that these teams should stay separate, but work together in a more efficient and cohesive way?
  2. Do you think that “traditional” journalism is truly going to be overtaken by this “new” way of reporting? If so, do you see this has a bad situation or simply moving toward a more effective way of delivering stories?

Ta-ta for now!

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You’re Gonna Hear Me ROI

We’ve spent so much time this semester discussing the need for businesses and companies to be plugged in and engaged on various social media platforms. We know that it’s important for brands to be out there and interacting with their audience – but what’s really in it for them?!

The answer to that question is simple – ROI. But wait a second…what’s ROI?!

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According to Investopdia, return on investment (ROI) is “a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of investments.” So how does social media factor into the ROI equation? Well, it seems like businesses aren’t quite sure; they know that they need to be involved in social media, but can’t seem to figure out what they really want to gain from the engagement.

Having a goal as to what you want to measure is the biggest step your business can take towards gaining ROI results when it comes to social media. Here are a few examples of some actual business goals that social media can help your brand achieve:

  • Increased Brand Exposure
    • Watch your brand mentions and sentiment per reporting period.
  • Increased Website/Location Traffic
    • Take it a step further than just looking at likes, comments and shares; utilize analytic tools like Google Analytics to determine exactly how much traffic you thank social media for gaining your brand.
  • Increased Sales
    • After creating specific sales goals, focus on watching how many conversions social media is brining you.

With practice and patience, businesses can truly measure the benefit of social media on their bottom line. But, how can those businesses make sure they are doing all they can to gain the most benefit possible? Here are five tips on using social media to really increase your ROI:

  • Engage
    • People want to interact and create relationships with brands online – use things like product giveaways, social interaction and real replies to set you apart.
  • Be Authentic
    • Crowdsource content for in-house interviews and articles – ask your community for help when it comes to content. They can smell “faking it” from a mile away!
  • Keep Content Premium
    • Post the right kind of content to the right platform (Tweets are different than Facebook posts) and focus on making your followers feel like part of the brand family.
  • Integrate Real-Time Apps
    • Incorporate social media into everything you do – share buttons , comments, likes and reviews on homepages increase user engagement
  • Experiment
    • Fail and see what works – test tone, style and monetizing tools. Be careful though – don’t fail too many times or you will lose follower interest.

social-media-roi

Essentially, your goal as a business is to become less business and more human. I’ve said it many times before, the human factor is the ONLY way to gain buy-in from this girl – and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone! Businesses need to focus on developing R.E.A.L. relationships with their audience – Reciprocal, Empathetic, Authentic and Long-lasting.

Businesses are finally realizing that, in order to compete with other companies, they must be active and engaged on all forms of various social platforms. Now, these businesses need to start focusing on the why behind the social media need – otherwise all of their efforts are for not and the powers at be will most likely lose interest in their social adventures.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. What types of social media goals do you think businesses should be setting?
  2. Do you think that social media can really help a brand’s ROI and bottom line? Why or why not?
  3. What would be your best suggestion to a business looking to increase ROI via social media?

Ta-ta for now!

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Getting Fresh With SEO

We hear the letters SEO quite often in the online world – but what do those letters actually mean? SEO stands for search engine optimization and is “the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial, or natural listings on search engines.” Take a look at this video below for more information on what SEO is exactly – who doesn’t love a good video?!

So now that we know what SEO is, how can we improve our blog post’s SEO? Let’s take a look at five simple ways we can do just that…sounds fun, right?!

  1. Style, Style, Style
    • Allow your readers to navigate through your page with ease by using bullet points to offset your text when listing items; you could even italicize or bold your keywords and phrases to draw the reader’s eye where you want it. If you are designing your own site, be sure to keep SEO in mind when creating your layout and don’t forget to make the site user friendly.
  2. Keywords…Use Them
    • Make sure you are using the correct keywords in your blog content. Make sure you are using your keywords in the right places too; text links, image attributes, your title and your domain name. Be sure to use key phrases as well – select a truly unique or niche phrase that can be all your own! Don’t overload your content though; it’s all about a happy balance!
  3. Use Images and Links – They Are Your Friends
    • Don’t just use images, optimize them! Use your keywords in the title and tags of all the images that you use. Make sure that you include those keywords in your image captions as well. The same applies when using videos; tag, title (if you can) and caption videos using keywords and phrases. Again, same things for links – hyperlink phrases that contain your keywords.
  4. Create Great ContentPicture1
    • Never forget that content is truly king – no amount of tricks or fancy layouts can compete with honest and real content with a focus on your keywords and phrases. Also, remember to update your content regularly to keep your traffic fresh and interested. Keep in mind, great content needs a great title! We all want to be on that first search page when our topic is Googled; by having a great title you’re already taking steps toward that first page goal!
  5. Try Out Some Analytics
    • There are tons of free reports you can run for your site that brings some insight into who is visiting your page and when you have the most traffic. Some of the areas you can track via analytics are the number of repeat visitors, how engaged your audience is, and the average number of pages your visitors are viewing. Keep in mind, Google Analytics doesn’t always play nice with sites with pre-defined templates. For tracking sites like Facebook or WordPress, Google suggests using a plug-in or widget to help your use Analytics on these pages.

Now that we know what SEO means and how we can beef up said SEO on our blogs and personal pages, the sky is the limit for us! I expect to see all of you on the first page when I search for your topic of Google next time!

Questions to Ponder:

  1. Have you used Google Analytics (the site or the plug-in/widget)? If so, were your results helpful and/or surprising?
  2. What are some other helpful tips and tricks that you have found while researching SEO?
  3. Do you think it’s important to measure your blog’s SEO or is just one more thing that you don’t really have enough time for?

Ta-ta for now!

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Keeping Things Analytical

In this day and age, it’s hard to go online without running across a social media site. After all, that’s what this entire class is all about! With such a large and ever-growing presence, social media is moving from a business asset to a full fletched business necessity. Now that business are recognizing that social media needs to be a part of their marketing campaigns, there needs to be ways to measure social’s success and contribution. Today, we will take a look at some of the best programs available to measure your social media campaigns success.

  • Kloutklout-logo
    • Measures your influence on various websites based on your engagement and how many people interact with your posts.
    • Provides you with a personalized Klout score (between 1 and 100). Your score will increase or decrease depending on your social acitivty.
    • The website itself uses easy to follow graphics and charts to display your rankings.
  • Hootsuitehootsuite-logo(1)
    • Allows you to manage multiple social accounts from one location.
    • If you pay for the upgraded version, you have access to more detailed reporting and can add more than five social profiles
    • Ability to send messages to your various social sites directly from your Hootsuite dashboard
  • Sprout Social1354825501_f8dfebbbbdc0eb2d207d58abae4bb759
    • Aimed at mostly business users and allows you to analyze followers by demographics.
    • Ability to monitor all social profiles maintained by clients and seeks out new costumers while growing social presence
    • Allows you to schedule posts on various social media sites by using the demographic information to post on the most impactful sites
  • Social Mentionsocial-mention-logo
    • Similar to Google Alerts, concentrating solely on social media sites rather than the entire internet
    • Ability to monitor specific keywords, related users, or popular hashtags
    • Search by websites or receive email alerts users are including keywords or hashtags
  • SpredFastspredfast-logo
    • Geared towards business and agencies managing social media profiles for several companies at one time.
    • Integrates analytics by tracking link clicks and data from all social networks and displays information in easy to read graphics and charts
    • Allows you to compare social strategies with other campaigns in related industries

Most of these programs are free of charge (for at least a basic profile) and can be integrated with nearly all social media profiles. As social media marketing continues to grow and business begin to turn more and more to the social operation, measuring and analytically driven sites like these will only become more user friendly and helpful.

downloadAnother great service to look into, and eventually take advantage of, is Google Analytics.  Google Analytics is described as providing “powerful digital analytics for anyone with a web presence, large or small.” Let’s take a look at some of the social reports that are available to you with Google Analytics.

  • Overview
    • Quick view of high-level data for your website
    • Watch social traffic in regards to social referrals, conversions, and social network traffic
  • Social Sources
    • Used to identify traffic trends for social media and compare to your overall site traffic
    • Ability to see graphics with data displayed to see which social networks are sending your website the most traffic
  • Social Plug-ins
    • Informs you how many times visitors have used the social bookmarking buttons on your website
    • Assist in understanding the type of content visitors are most likely to socially share

As social media continues to grow and businesses continue to see the growing importance of including social in their marketing campaigns, the need to effective and efficient tracking will also increase. We are really just at on the cusp of what social can accomplish and the data that, if monitored correctly, it can provide to businesses and brand world-wide. Nils Mork Ulnes, head of Insight & Analytics at EMEA – Analytics London, said, “I believe that over time, brands will increasingly realize the massive value they can unlock from this data in terms of understanding motivations, trends, and behavior of the people that should matter most to them – their customers and prospects.”

Questions to Ponder:

  • Have you ever used any of the social media management sites/tools mentioned above? If so, what was your experience and did you find their services helpful?
  • What benefits do you see of monitoring social traffic?
  • If you were a business owner or social media manager, what pieces of information would you look for to be most helpful when monitoring analytics?

Ta-ta for now!

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