Archive | February, 2012

Engage!- Chapter 11

21 Feb

This chapter discusses syndication, illustration and aggregation.  This is also where my social media cognition stumbles and eventually drops off.

Solis talks about creating seamless streams of content from one network to the other (for example, posting on tumblr, which then gets automatically tweeted, which then gets shared on Facebook… I think…) to increase your brand’s SEO and SMO.  That’s all fine and dandy, until you mess up the process and all of the sudden you’ve got the same post coming through multiple times and getting lost and sending users in a circle until they eventually want to just throw their computer out of the window… at least, that’s what I want to do when trying to figure out how all of this works.

I understand that this idea of syndication is meant to make things simpler and flow more smoothly, but I personally find it a lot easier to keep track of things when I do everything manually.  Of course, there is a reason I am not a social media strategist.  But it really does seem to be a lot more complicated than it should be, getting people to navigate your web content.  Guiding users to the endpoint, a destination or “hub” that Solis says needs to be determined in the beginning, reminds me of a lab maze where every piece of cheese represents a useful click on a web page to eventually get you, the rat, to the goal.

When you get down to it, you just learn so much about how calculated successful social media plans really are.  And I don’t think I can ever do anything like this with my life.  I just like to post clever things and cynical social commentary on Facebook.  Even with all of this evidence in front of my face, I just find it really hard to give in and accept that this is the way things are going to be now.

Let’s talk about Pinterest.

16 Feb

In the ever-changing online world, there always seems to be a new craze that everyone is jumping for. The current flavor of the month? Pinterest. Everyone is talking about it. As it turns out, Pinterest is the fastest growing website, ever.

I will admit that even I have recently become addicted to the website, which is unusual for me-I try to abstain from getting myself involved with every new social network and internet trend.

However, I am still trying to figure out it’s professional merit in the fields that use social media the most: PR and journalism.  A quick search on the site for “journalism” pulls up some interesting, humorous images and a few book links.  At a quick glance, nothing catches my attention as particularly helpful or useful on a local level–it’s nothing you can really use to find sources or get your work out there, as there are no local “networks” to connect to.

Journalism Warning Labels- these come up multiple times in the "journalism" search

A search for “public relations” seems to yield a little more useful results.  There are a lot of book recommendations and interesting infographics pertaining to PR and social media that have a lot of “quick and dirty” sort of information.  It links to books, informational sites about what PR actually is and successful PR agencies.  It also brings up Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee near the top of the page of pins–the fathers of PR.  These alone would provide fledgling PR students with some must-have information about their field.

Maybe it’s because Pinterest is just getting started that it doesn’t seem to yield many professional-field results.  It’s core user base seems to mostly be crafters, home decorators and foodies.  It is quite a fantastic place if you’re looking for cute DIY organizing ideas or great recipes.

Only time will tell if Pinterest will grow to be as useful as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIN in the professional world.  Facebook did not start out with any professional merit… It had to earn it.

One thing is for certain: Pinterest is something to keep a close watch on.

“Engage!” Chapter 9

14 Feb

This chapter has a lot about online videos and how to use them to promote your brand without being super obvious about it.

The most interesting thing I took away from this section of the chapter is that, “there’s no such thing as viral videos or viral marketing.” This is interesting to me because it seems that TONS of companies are abandoning traditional marketing (Don Draper would be out on the streets if he tried his tactics in today’s world) and going for the “viral” approach.

Even in television commercials, many companies use home video testimonials instead of the standard filmed customer review.  They do this to make the testimonial seem more honest and legitimate.  Half of the time, in the more typical commercials, you’re never sure if the person proclaiming the greatness of the product is genuine or just an actor.

But the reason I found it interesting that there’s no such thing as “viral marketing” is because you always forget that it’s the people spreading the video that make it go viral, not the video itself.  It seems like all your video needs to do is provide a good laugh and it will be an instant hit.  And with all of the coverage these viral videos get, it makes sense for millions of people to be trying really, really hard to become the next viral video star.

Brian Solis makes good points (as he usually does) that it’s about how you market your video that makes it go viral, and not JUST the content.  SMO in video tagging is really important because it allows viewers to reach your video through their searches.  It’s also important to be genuine and honest in your videos; if viewers can tell you’re staging something to get a lot of views, or being pushy/obvious in your brand promotion, they won’t want anything to do with it.

And the point of a video isn’t just to get a million views… it’s to get a message out to people! You don’t want to just have a video that’s funny for five with no real meaning.  People want something that they can relate to, that will stick with them.

Blog Evaluation

9 Feb

The blog I chose to evaluate is called PR In Your Pajamas: Practical Publicity for Entrepreneurs.  I found it on an online list of the top 100 PR blogs.

PR In Your Pajamas was created as a DIY public relations blog, to help small businesses and people interested in doing their own PR.  It was created by Elena Verlee, and entrepreneur and founder of the PR agency Cross Border Communications.  She boasts 20 years of “brand building experience” and has worked with both start-up and large scale businesses.

The blog gets updated regularly, twice in the last week, and contains a lot of information about using social media for public relations.  It is easy to read and navigate, perfect for looking up quick tips.  It also has a “start here” page, which has a nice list of quick links to important posts, explaining what PR is and how to use it effectively–good for learning new information or being refreshed if you’ve been out of the game for a while.

In addition to information geared solely to PR, Verlee uses the blog occasionally for posting information relevant to the success of ALL endeavors.  One of her recent posts featured a book titled Triple Your Time Today:  10 Proven Time Management Strategies to Help you Create and Save More Time! The post talked about how maximizing our sleep can ensure a more productive workday, contributing to the success of your business.

The author makes herself easy to reach by providing a contact page including a phone number and links to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

This blog provides useful information within the content of the posts as well as through links provided within the template.  There is a list of resources on the side of the page which includes information on coaching, links to PR case studies, PR resources, time management and a slew of other helpful links.

While I think this blog is effective, it seems that there are already so many out there like it.  I haven’t seen anything new and different that this blog provides that I couldn’t get anywhere else.  It lacks the enthusiasm required to really put this blog on the map–it ranked 49/100.  One of the elements of a successful blog that Brian Solis mentions in his book, Engage!, is that that it fills a void or solves a problem.  Unfortunately, I do not think this blog really does that.  The blog contains useful information, yes, but it is nothing that can’t be found anywhere else.

Overall, I think this blog’s ranking (49/100) is suitable.  It’s a decent blog with good, easy to find information but it does not bring anything new to the table.  It would be something I could keep in mind if I needed a quick, crash-course on PR but as a whole, there isn’t a whole lot to keep me engaged and checking back regularly

Engage: Chapter 6 and 7

9 Feb

In chapter 6 of Engage!, Brian Solis discussed the importance of images in social media.  I agree that photo uploading is an integral part of any online communication.  The ubiquity of smart phones and their ability of upload images to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr on the go have completely changed the way we interact.  No longer do we need to describe where we are, what we’re doing or how much fun we’re having.  We can SHOW everyone, instantly.

I thought the number of how many photos are uploaded to Facebook was ASTOUNDING.  One billion a month!  But then I think about how often I upload pictures–at least 10 from my trip to Bell’s Brewery this weekend–and it’s totally believable.

I also thought that JetBlue’s use of their Flickr account was innovative and efficient.  A great way to get the word out about upcoming events and news… A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

In chapter 7, Solis talked about dashboards and social networks.  While I fully understand the concept of a social network, the dashboard is a little confusing to me.  Looking at the image provided for the Chevy VoltAge dashboard, I do not see any difference between a dashboard and a regular webpage.  Maybe these days websites are so interactive that they all follow the dashboard model?

Solis did give EXCELLENT advice in this chapter: “Do not make users create new login credentials.”  I tend to stay away from logging into accounts from my Facebook because I don’t like all of the connections, but when I want to log into a news website quickly to post a comment, it’s great when I don’t have to create an entirely new account.  I think it’s important for brands and businesses to remember that the easier it is for users to contribute to their content, with convenience and quickness, the more success they will have.