Social Media Measurement Tools for PR

Social media measurement toolsOne major advantage that the social media offers to public relations is that it lets you measure your online PR efforts. You can find out whether your online PR efforts are working or not. You can know how impactful they are and figure out whether they are being successful or why they are failing? This can be done with the help of various social media measurement tools. In this post, I will focus on five important ones that can help you help you quantify the outcome of your online PR efforts.

1.       Google alerts

Credits: Highervisibility.com
Credits: Highervisibility.com

Google alerts lets you track mentions across social media about your company or brand. You can then conduct a qualitative analysis of the way in which your brand has been mentioned. Setting up Google alerts for you as well as your competitors can help you understand how well are you doing as against your competitors on social media. This tool will let you figure out whether the tone for your brand mentions is positive or negative.

2.       HootSuite

If you want to measure social media’s ability to build engagement and reputation then HootSuite Pro will let you do that. It gives you analytical reports to show this. It will also help you to track the reach and impact of your online PR campaigns. Thus helping you know how effective they are. The following image shows a sample of reports provided by HootSuite:

Credits: Topsy.com
Credits: Topsy.com

3.       Klout

Klout gives you “Klout Score”, a number between 1 and 100 which indicates how influential you are across social media. If you want to measure the online presence of your bloggers or if you want to know how much influential they are on social media then their “Klout Score” is what you should be looking at.  This image shows Red Bull’s top 10 influencers according to their “Klout Scores”.

Credits: Mashable.com
Credits: Mashable.com

4.       Facebook Insights

Facebook Insights can give you an idea about your reach to your fans on Facebook. It can help you measure the level of your interactions with your fans. You can also evaluate how effectively your brand is engaging with its Facebook fans with the help of Facebook Insights. The following image shows how Facebook insights give data about how much of your content was shared and what was the feedback for it.

Credits: allfacebook.com
Credits: allfacebook.com

5.       Google analytics

Google Analytics will help you track how are visitors to your site finding you online? You can know how they came across your press release. You can measure how much traffic is being generated by you through Facebook and Twitter with the help of this tool. Take a look at this dashboard of Google Analytics which represents statistics about site traffic sources, site usage, etc.

Credits: Verticalresponse.com
Credits: Verticalresponse.com

The importance of using social media as a tool of public relations has increased and so have everyone’s expectations for its impact increased. With the help of above mentioned tools you can prove the value of your PR efforts on social media. They will help you know where you are going wrong and thus allow you to make instant changes to make the most out of your efforts!

Are there any more tools that you know which can help measure PR on social media?

Using Social Media for PR

imagesCAIX0KM5Using social media for PR is all about creating content and communicating with your audience.  However, it should be done in such a way that it gets you increased engagements, wider coverage and helps build long lasting relationships and online reputation. But to begin doing this can be a challenge in itself. I know many of you would be struggling a lot when it comes to actually using social media as a tool for public relations. So, here are five steps that can help you begin with using social media for public relations:

1.       Identify your target audience

At first you need to identify who is your target audience for your online PR campaigns and efforts. Find out where they are on social media. There is a possibility that they are scattered across all the channels or they are only on social networking sites. You need to be present exactly where they are in order to reach out to all of them.

2.       Set your goals and objectives

Fix your goals and objectives clearly define them. For example, whether you want to create awareness or engagements or buzz. Once you finalise these it will become easier for you to come up with a suitable strategy. While setting goals make sure that they are measurable ones. So that you will know whether you succeeded or failed to achieve them.

3.       Develop a strategy and choose a tactic

Decide whether you will be leveraging blogs or social networks. If for instance, you choose blogs then will you be using blogger’s outreach? If yes, then which bloggers will you reach out to? What content will you send them? Decide all this in advance.

4.       Identify tools which you will use

Here you need to identify which mix of tools you would use. Only Facebook and Twitter would be used or will you consider Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. You need to be sure about which of these you would be using specifically and why?

The following infographic made by E-Power Marketing Inc. can help you to decide which channels you can use depending upon what you want to achieve.

Channels of social media

5.       Decide what and how you will measure

You need to do this so that you know whether your efforts are working or not and to what extent they are working or failing. So, decide on which parameters you will measure you social media PR campaign or activity. Also, choose tools that will help you measure them. Like for example, tools like HootSuite can give you insights on your PR campaigns across various channels and those like Klout can give you a “Klout Score” that will help you know how influential you are on social media.

Many of you think and plan of using social media for PR but that day never arises when you actually get down and kick start using it. If your competitors have already entered the social media game then you better not delay. Don’t just keep thinking, I suggest just do it!

I would like to hear some more interesting tips from you for using social media for PR. Please share them in comments.

Basic tips to handle crisis on social media

Credits: agbeat.com
Credits: agbeat.com

Most of the brands today, have understood the importance of social media as a tool of PR. They have succeeded in building a strong online presence. But when it comes to dealing with a crisis situation that would arise on social media, many of them don’t even have a basic plan in place. It is fine if your brand is doing good and getting good comments but what will you do if you start getting negative comments? Anything on social media has a potential to spread like wildfire. Negative comments and reviews tend to spread faster. So, you need to know few basic things that will help you to go about handling any crisis that might arouse on social media.
I have listed some basic tips that you can follow while to handling a social media crisis:

1. Be alert
Google Alert is a tool that will keep notifying you about what people are talking about your company or brand. This will help you foresee a crisis that is likely to arouse.

2. Never ignore a problem
Many a times companies tend to ignore a negative comment or post. Never do this because it won’t make it go away. Nestle had done this mistake of ignoring comments from agitated Greenpeace members regarding some ingredients used in its KitKat chocolates. They also went further to delete those comments. By the time Nestle realized that they better apologize to save their reputation getting ripped off on social media, it was too late. The damage was done!
The more time you waste in ignoring the problem the more rapidly you lose your customers and fans. If people are talking bad about you, you should first find out why.

3. Don’t delete the comment/post
Deleting a bad comment or post will make only make things worse for you, just as they did in case of Nestle. It will make that person angrier and he might just go ahead and make it viral.

4. Respond immediately
You may not come up with an instant solution to the complaint posted by the disgruntled customer. But the least you should do is reply to him immediately saying that you have taken a note of his problem and you are looking into it. This would pacify him a little and rest others who happen to read all this would develop a positive attitude towards you.

5. Always be honest and sincere
When you are replying to offensive comments and posts or to complaints be honest. When you are apologising you should be sincere and sound sincere. A hollow apology will do more damage. A sincere apology with a viable solution to the customer’s problem will help you convert the angry customer into a loyal one.

6. Respond on the same channel
If people are posting bad comments on Facebook, respond on Facebook. If it is Twitter where things have gone wrong, fix them there. Once two employees of Dominos posted a video on YouTube showing them messing up a pizza. This video went viral and Dominos decided to deal with it by posting an apology video on YouTube.

This action worked in its favour and had a positive impact. The same platform where it was losing its reputation helped to regain it.

Remember, social media PR crisis can arise anytime in form of a bad comment from a disgruntled customer or an intentional negative quote or tweet from an employee. So you have to be prepared with an action plan for social media PR crisis. The good thing about social media is that you can use the same platform to first anticipate a crisis and then combat it there where it arose.

Can you suggest any more such tips to handle crisis on social media? Share them with me in comments.

Social Media PR disasters

PR disasters on social media have always been the worst nightmares for PR professionals. One wrong move on this medium can turn into a catastrophe in seconds and cause huge damage to your online reputation. The internet is filled with case studies and examples that can prove this. In this post I will list few such PR disasters on social media so that you can learn from their mistakes and will also give tips to help you handle them.

1.       #McDStories backfired
McDonalds had launched a twitter campaign with #McDstories hoping that its fans would share all good stories and experiences using this hashtag. But it horribly got backfired at them when people started tweeting all bad stories and talking trash using the hashtag # McDstories.  All sorts of stories ranging from people vomiting, getting stomach aches, discovering fingernails in McD’s food to stories of unemployment were tweeted. The screenshot below shows some of those tweets.

Credits: Twitter, Mcdonalds
Credits: Twitter, McDonalds

Where did it go wrong?

  • This campaign failed firstly because it never mentioned what was the hashtag actually meant for and the context in which it should be used.
  • Secondly, they used a hashtag with a brand name in it. This opened up the brand for negative exploitation.
  • Lastly, all that McDonald’s did in response to this exploitation was tried to close the issue by pulling down the campaign.

What you should do in such a case?

  • Don’t go dark. Instead face the situation by responding to such people in such a way that you bring about a change in their attitude.
  • Stay engaged and ask your fans to tweet positive stories about you and then retweet them.
  • Taking down a tweet won’t help because people will continue to use it even when you take it down.  So, try to make the best of it.

2.      Carnival’s break during crisis
Carnival, owner of Costa Cruise ship that sank last year, after the incident put up a post saying, “going to take a bit of a break from posting on our social channels.” This resulted into thousands of disappointed people commenting about this decision on Facebook. Carnival came back on social media only after having taken a break for a week that followed the disaster.

Costa Cruise ship
Costa Cruise ship

Where did it go wrong?

  • The one week’s time during which it should have actually stayed engaged with customers, it took a break.

What you should do in such a case?

  • During times of crisis increase your engagement with customers, since that is what they will expect the most.
  • When such crisis occurs social media will be full of discussion about your company. It would be your biggest mistake if you stay out of such discussions.

3.      KFC’s viral video
The whole world came to know that one of KFC restaurant was over-run by rats when someone uploaded its video on YouTube that went viral. It decided to deal with this through a press release stating that this was an “isolated incident” and “the restaurant has been closed and will not be reopened until it has been sanitized”.  Take a look at this video that went viral:

Where did it go wrong?

  • It failed to give a proper response and chose to go the typical press release way in order to battle a viral YouTube video.

What you should do in such a case?

  • Since a video has been put up, the best you should do is fight back with a video.
  • One single press release would hardly succeed in stopping something as huge as a viral video.

4.       Dell’s delayed response
Similar to what happened with KFC, a tech blog- Gizmodo published an image of an exploding Dell laptop. People immediately started blogging about it and it spread all over the social media like a wildfire. Over four million laptop batteries were then recalled by Dell. It severely hampered Dell’s reputation. Dell did respond to the blogs, but it was too late then.

Image of Dell battery exploding Credits: theinquirer.net
Image of Dell battery exploding
Credits: theinquirer.net

Where did it go wrong?

  • A delayed response.

What you should do in such a case?

  • Don’t ever ignore the power of a single image on social media.
  • Respond as quickly as you can.

So, to sum up I would say that when you are using social media for PR make sure that you take it very seriously and avoid messing up. As a preventive measure try to anticipate crisis that might take place and keep support channels ready to deal with them. Once a mistake is made, be all set to put up an apology via all the social media channels in order to spread the word quickly. Instead of using a press release make use of these channels to engage with your audience. While you do this don’t forget to communicate with those who are disappointed. When you will do this it will portray you as a company that listens and truly cares for its customers.

Did I miss out any major disaster? Kindly share it with me in the comments box below.

Blogger’s Outreach

Credits: pushingsocial.com
Credits: pushingsocial.com

In recent times, blogger’s have been gradually winning the title of ‘Best Influencers’ on social media because of their vast, dedicated and loyal reader base. A survey conducted by Technorati.com has found that out of all those who were surveyed, 40% claimed that their views tend to match closely with those of bloggers and that their trust in the mainstream media’s content is fading. Thus, I believe that you as PR personnel should not ignore the influential power of bloggers whom you can use as a springboard to garner widespread online coverage.

In order to help you understand the basics of blogger’s outreach I chose to write this post in a Q and A format as follows:

What is blogger’s outreach all about?

bloggeroutreach-images-3

It basically is an online PR strategy where you reach out to those bloggers who help you with the goal that you are trying to achieve. You make a list of those bloggers who matter to you the most based on the page rank of their blog or their relevance to your industry and their influential ability. Then you keep communicating with them on a continuous basis in order to build strong relationship with them. Once you do this, you can then ask them to help you promote your company or brand and its products by blogging about them, reviewing them or by simply providing links to your company website. I know, I have put it very simply but remember that doing this requires skills which mostly PR pros tend to possess and if you do it in right way it will prove to be a successful online PR strategy.

Why is it important for PR?

With a continuous increase in number of blog posts and active blog readers every day, blogger’s outreach has gained significance as a part of social media PR. Blogger’s outreach adds credibility to your brand by building relationships. The relationships that you build with the key bloggers are equally important to the ones you build with journalists. You can build numerous relationships in an instant with targeted readers as a result of their trust associated with a single blogger with whom you have built a strong relationship. More number of journalists are turning to blogs in search of stories. So, there are high chances of your story getting picked by them if they come across it on one such influential blog.

What are the basic tips for doing it?

1. Firstly try to find out which bloggers are most relevant to your industry and have a reader base that you are looking to target and then compile a list of these bloggers.

2. Most of the times bloggers tend to be active across many social networking sites like Twitter and Google+. It is the best place to get in touch and socialize with them. Reading their blogs and commenting on their posts will help you garner their attention.

3. Don’t ever send spam to them since most of them will block you when you do this.

4. While sending content to them make sure that it goes with their style of blogging and is in sync with what they blog about. When you do this on a continuous basis it will help you build relationship with them faster.

5. Once a blogger starts taking interest in your stories he may ask for additional information and content. When they do so, you need respond quickly to their requests otherwise an unresponsive behavior will prove to be fatal for your relationship with them.

6. Lastly, remember that it should be a win-win situation for you, the blogger and his readers.

So, as you can see this strategy can help you create awareness by building and nurturing relationships. When it comes to building and managing relations who can do it better than PR pros? In case of blogger’s outreach all you need to do is pay attention to every detail required to build this relationship and you will get this strategy right!

Can you suggest some more tips to PR pros for doing blogger’s outreach?

Social media tools for PR

Credits: turkeltalks.com
Credits: turkeltalks.com

How many times have there been instances when you simply couldn’t decide what to choose from the vast range of tools that social media offers for PR? Have you ever been confused whether to go only for Twitter and Facebook or to use a mix of some more not so known yet useful tools? This post will help you decide which tools you should be going for and how they can help you spread the word in right way to your right audience.

According to me, following are some vital tools which you can use to build your online presence, manage online reputation and at the same time reach out to your target audience in order to engage them with your brand:

1.      Facebook:

Facebook is regarded as one the most powerful and influential social media tool for PR. If you want to create awareness, increase your reach, make announcements and build relationships, then Facebook is what you should be using as your major tool. Following infographic from Topwebdesignschools.org shows how Facebook is the most used tool by companies as compared to other tools.

Most used platform: Facebook
Most used platform: Facebook  

2. Microblog like Twitter

Twitter is supposed to be the next valuable tool after Facebook for PR pros since it lets you make latest announcements and post breaking news about your brand, tweet on upcoming products, share links to your blogs and multimedia content on other platforms, share exclusive deals and engage your audience in a real-time manner. Twitter is also the best tool when it comes to building media relations as both the media and PR pros can directly reach out to each other in order to share news or story ideas.

The following screenshot shows how MTV India made it big with 855,291 followers on twitter by having a frequency of 6 tweets per day with their content ranging from Bollywood to Hollywood and from music to cricket.

MTV

mtv1
Click on the image to enlarge

3. LinkedIn

Created in order to help build a network of professionals, this social networking site is another important tool for PR pros. PR practitioners can create their own groups to stay connected with other experts in the industry and to upload and share content. They can mainly use it to share press releases, post upcoming events, upload facts and stats, provide links to blogs and websites and to stay connected with journalists.

One best example is of HP since it has achieved a major milestone by becoming the first company to attract 1 million followers on LinkedIn this year. Natalie Malaszenko, Vice President of Digital Marketing for HP said, “LinkedIn has been critical for HP in successfully reaching and building relationships with our community of customers, partners and prospective employees. Through this platform HP shares information on our leading product solutions, and insights on the future of technology, to the world.” The infographic depicts HP’s strong online presence and engagement on LinkedIn.

HP_1M_Infographic_FINAL_518x

4. Blogs

A blog of your company is a tool that you simply cannot do without because it is the best way to disseminate information about your company and its upcoming products and services to your public. Blogs can be used to put up press releases and then these can be linked to other social media tools like Twitter and Facebook which can help you to increase your search engine visibility. If you succeed in drawing attention of influential bloggers to your blog and have a positive impact on them in such a way that they talk, give good reviews about your products and reblog about you then their thousands of followers will end up reading all of this content about you. The interested ones might ask for additional information and then gradually become your customers.

5.  You tube

If you want to show that you care for your customers, if you wish to connect with them by getting more personal, make yourself look more approachable then no other tool than YouTube can let you do so. The visual and personal nature of this tool can be used to create brand awareness, build up recognition and perception for the brand. PR pros can do this by showing the media and audience what their company does and how it does it. Responding to crisis can also be best done by YouTube.

This video sharing tool is considered to be the best for a PR campaign as it helps you to get the word out in right way to right people. “Gangnam Style” video has got more than a billion views thus proving YouTube to be the excellent tool to promote your company. Your aim should be to make the bloggers and journalists share your videos as this would get you more reach and exposure through them.

6. Instagram

This image sharing tool has passed the 100 million mark of users. It claims that 40 million photos are uploaded every day and about 8,500 ‘likes’ and 1,000 comments are made every second on it. You can thus make out how important this tool is for PR pros as it will humanise your brand and let you indulge in a genuine dialogue with your public. Along with sharing images, interacting with influencers and users is also equally important. This will let you leverage the followers of your influencers.

Thus from all the tools and their advantages that I listed above, you can figure out which ones shall best suite your company or brand. Don’t get stuck in the confusion between Facebook and Twitter, I would suggest use both. But at the same time do make use of other platforms mentioned above which is where your customers, stakeholders, investors, employees and media are also likely to be.  You may not be able to become a master of all. But in the end it will all depend upon your skills to leverage one to the advantage of the other.

So, tell me which of these tools will you incorporate in your PR strategy?

How does social media benefit PR?

Credits: blogs.moash.edu
Credits: blogs.moash.edu

It was Brian Solis who first coined PR 2.0 in the 90′s in terms of how one day PR, multimedia and the web would intersect each other. But it is now that the PR industry has begun to realise and understand its importance due to the various ways in which this integration of web and multimedia with PR has proved to be beneficial over and over again.

One best example to show how using social media as a PR tool benefited a brand is that of Cadbury’s. In order to thank its fans for reaching a 1 million fans mark on Facebook it constructed a huge Dairy milk chocolate thumbs-up which resembled the “Like” button of Facebook. This stunt which live streamed the construction of the thumb, aimed to increase Cadbury’s brand engagement on Facebook from 16%, resulted into an outstanding success with some of its fans leaving their live feeds running. More 40,000 fans joined in and 350,000 were actively engaged!
Here’s the video of Cadbury’s Thumbs-up’s construction. Take a look!

(Credits: Cadbury Dairy milk)

Brand engagement is not the only benefit one can get out of the effective use of social media but there are many others as well which are listed as follows:

1. Building relationships
Whether it is about building relationships with your public (consumers, investors, shareholders, employees, etc) or the media, social media will prove to be of great help as a tool. For example, Starbucks had launched mystarbucksidea.com where it welcomed suggestions, ideas and comments for the brand from its consumers. This effort helped them to portray their brand as the one which listens and cares for what their public has to say about them and thus was able to build a strong relationship with them on a long term basis.

2. Creates brand exposure and gives widespread coverage
The viral nature of social media makes sure that your brand communication reaches several users instantly and this, then ultimately comes into the notice of your key influencers and bloggers. When they blog about you or ‘re-tweet’ and ‘like’ you, your message further spreads to their fans and followers in an instant. The viral nature not just gives you a widespread coverage but this form of snowballing effect also keeps on multiplying your brand exposure.

3. Let’s you do damage control and crisis management immediately
The instant reach guaranteed by this medium lets PR professionals get into the action mode quickly to combat any crisis situation which might pop up and prevent it from doing more damage. There have been instances when celebrities have tweeted through their accounts immediately to deny a particular rumour about them. Model turned actress- Nargis Fakhri took to twitter in order to deny a rumour about she being all set to marry actor-producer Uday Chopra. She tweeted, “Happily single and totally into my work. I am not getting married anytime soon to anyone. Who started this rumour?”

4. Creates awareness
More the number of blog mentions you get, more the fans and followers you have, more will you be able to create awareness for your brand. The stronger your online presence, the better will be the amount of visibility that you will get. This can then be used to promote your brand.

5. Enriches public opinion
Social media will help you mold your public’s opinion about you as and how you like. The tremendous influential and impactful quality that this medium possesses will let you enrich your public opinion through the quality of content you present before them.

6. Makes you click with the public
Social media lets you add a personal touch to your messages. Due to this the brand is perceived as more relatable by the public. It is the customization of messages which makes you click with your public. The interactivity helps you to connect with them better.

7. Builds brand loyalty and enhances brand value
When a brand gives a quick response to a consumer’s query or complaint it mostly works in its favour by converting the disgruntled consumer into a delighted one. The impact in this case is much more than what could be achieved by a number of press blurbs. When a brand creates an impression of being the one which cares to listen to what its public has to say about it, it ends up building brand loyal customers.

The above points show how social media if put to use in right manner can help your PR efforts bear fruits in numerous ways and lead you to prosperity and success. To conclude I would say that the best benefit one can get out of social media is to be able to keep your company in your public’s spotlight and be in constant touch with them through social media engagements.

In what way has social media benefitted your PR campaign or a PR stunt or an activity?

Share your experiences with me in the comment box!

Importance of Social Media as a PR tool

Credits: circuscommunication.ca
Credits: circuscommunication.ca

Today social media has become a potent tool to influence the ideas and opinions of millions of people around the world.  It’s dynamic and authentic nature simply cannot be ignored by us. If PR pros want their clients to survive the fierce competition in the long run then it is the need of the hour for them to join the bandwagon of using social media as a critical tool of PR and not committing a sin to ignore its power in an informational age.

PR revolves around building two-way mutual relationships between your company and public. Social media turns out to be the best forum for listening to what your public has to say about you and knowing what they think of you. Social media has made it much easier to reach influencers, journalists, decision-makers, lobbies, experts and customers directly.  It plays a pivotal role in putting the “public” back in PR.

Social media thus, is an essential tool of public relations in the online world, since each of its channels blogs, social networks, micro blogs, or websites serve as a platform for the components of public relations — writing, corporate communications, media relations, community relations, event management in some way or the other.

Some key points that highlight it as PR tool are:

  • Direct two-way communication with the public.
  • Authentic and influential.
  • Wider reach and continuous exposure.
  • High level of engagement.
  • Ability to create viral buzz.
  • ROI measurability.
  • Customizable nature.

A key principle of PR is to always be where your prospective customers are. In today’s world the best place for this is to be online and maintaining strong presence of your company or business there.

This can be supported by the statistics given by a study called The State of Social Media released by comScore (in February 2012) which is a global leader in measuring the digital world:

The study states that, “More than half the online population across the world is engaged in social networking. India showed that 95% of the online population is engaged in social networking;  while  figures for the US were 98%, Canada 94%, Brazil 97%, Spain 98%, UK 98%, Philippines 96%.” Thereby indicating the extent to which people have adopted this media and their comfort level with it. The study also claimed that, “Social media accounts for an astounding 18% of all time spent by consumers online.”

The name of my blog PR 2.0 evolved, clearly states that public relations is no more in an evolving stage but has already evolved into a new avatar with the onset of web 2.0. By this I mean that PR has gained more importance as a result of this evolution. It has made PR practice more measurable and responsive. Thereby restoring everyone’s faith in the PR industry and increasing the dependency levels on PR pros.

So the bottomline is that PR pros need to catch up with the changing times before it is too late. They need to understand that the social media tool of PR should be used in combination with other traditional tools of PR and not all on its own to get the best results out of their PR efforts.

Do you think PR pros can afford to ignore a tool as potent as social media?

Leave your views in the comments box below!