Tag Archives: media monitoring

Small Business Communciators Monitor Online Conversation With Multiple Channels

Anyone who has implemented a plan for monitoring online conversations and social media mentions knows how tough tracking all these discussions can be fore even the most ambitious and well-intentioned communicator.

That’s why findings from a survey conducted by PR Newswire and PR News aren’t terribly surprising.   Fewer than 40% of small business communicators monitor conversations daily, despite the speed with which conversations and rumors can take hold  online.    The good news is that only 3% of communicators reported that they don’t do any monitoring.  Another 18% indicated they monitor conversations weekly.

One reason why the majority of communicators aren’t listening on a daily basis likely stems from the simple fact that many people find themselves relying upon multiple channels in order to keep tabs of key social networks and online groups.

The the survey found that the topics monitored were roughly even, distributed between monitoring for the brand, the industry and (to a slightly lesser degree) competitors.

The Small Biz PR Report covered the survey comprehensively in the article titled 37.7% of Communicators Monitor Conversations Throughout Each Day.

PR Newswire is conducting another survey , this time on the topic of content marketing.  Your participation is invited!  Take the content marketing survey.

We know that monitoring social, online and traditional media can be hard.  PR Newswire’s new Agility platform puts monitoring different channels in one place.   Monitor your media, interact with your audience, identify media & influencers and distribute your content – all in one place.  Learn more about the Agility Influencer Engagement Platform.

Introducing Agility: Media Targeting, Monitoring & Response

It’s taken months and months to develop, and more than 300 customers have road tested it.  We’ve done the market research, listened to the feedback and have tested it and tweaked it and tightened it and polished it.  And today, it launched.   “It” is Agility, our new workflow platform for public relations.

Agility makes agile engagement possible, marrying a giant media & influencer targeting database with powerful media monitoring and real-time response tools.   Users can define audiences, research influentials, distribute messages, monitor results and manage responses in real-time all in from one sleek and intuitive dashboard.

Agility is covered with fingerprints from all across PR Newswire – it seems like everyone had a hand in its development.   We’re all very proud of this unique – and very useful – new platform.  We hope you’ll take a second to view the video, and scan the press release.  If you like what you see, we’d be happy to give you a demo.

Related reading:

TechCrunch: Beyond the Press Release: PR Newswire Launches Agility Dashboard

PR Week: PR Newswire Debuts One-Stop-Shop Media Tool

AdRants: PR Newswire Unveils Marketing, Social Media Workflow Product

Our announcement: PR Newswire Unveils Agility

5 Tips for Using Social Collaboration to Inform Your Content Strategy

The "sweet spot" exists at the intersection of audience interest, social discussions and relevant topic areas. The audience will have a high level of interest in good content focusing on the issues and topics surfaced in the sweet spot.

A secret to success in today’s communications arena is not just the actual production of content, but incorporating the voices of our social audiences into the content mix by building social collaboration into the strategy. In other words, it’s an exercise in agile engagement, in which the brand listens to what people are talking about in networks, and uses that information to shape and guide content development to serve audience need – and gain their interest. The efforts your brand commits to building social collaboration as part of its strategy will be repaid with an engaged audience that trusts your brand’s content, and is willing to share it with their own social graphs.

Here are some easy ways to start building social collaboration into your content strategy.

  1. Train your social media teams to interact with your audiences, re-tweeting generously and responding to comments and wall posts.  Interaction is the pathway to engagement.
  2. Curation can lead to more than an interesting news channel.  People are flattered when others tweet their blog posts and re-post links they’ve shared.  And often, curation is a two-way street.
  3. Find the online groups where enthusiasts live, and participate.  These plugged-in groups are fantastic sources of intelligence, ideas and influence. Listen to the conversations. Which questions come up over and over?  Which complaints never seem to go away?  Within these conversations are opportunities for your brand. (Here are some ideas for developing traction within these types of groups:  Virtual Focus Groups for Communicators.
  4. Look to your own customer service teams and customer surveys.  Mine customer questions and problems, and turn those into content in the form of blog posts about the solutions. (Related reading from BlogBrevity: Content Marketing Biz Blog Idea: Turn Customer Problems Into Solution Blog Posts
  5. As you get to know members of your online audience, seek their opinions.  Interview them for blog posts, invite them to preview content, solicit their opinions.  In addition to generating good feedback, you’ll have solidified relationships.  These folks are more likely to amplify your messages.

So what does the output of social collaboration look like?  It can be as simple as incorporating relevant tweets or quotes from your audience into a piece of content. On a larger scale, collaboration can steer the direction a particular piece of content takes. And writ very large, social collaboration can lead to significant use of user generated content and crowd-sourced projects.

All of the resulting content has one important common factor: the voice of the audience comes through, loud and clear; signaling unequivocally that this brand is paying attention. And, as a bonus, using incorporating social collaboration into your strategy will virtually ensure that your audience will be interested in the content your organization publishes.

At the outset, collaboration with audiences can seem daunting.   And there’s no doubt that on a larger scale, communities require resources.  However, building social collaboration into your organization’s communications approach gets easier as your team gains experience – and as the audience’s respect is gained – triggering a loop of authentic interaction, and message amplification.

Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the free ebook Unlocking Social Media for PR.

It’s Fryday! (Lessons learned from #frenchfries)

Today is Fryday - a national promotion from McDonald's, derived from social media intel.

Social media monitoring is something we all know we should be doing, but winnowing out the signals from the noise can be difficult, and beyond that, figuring out what to do with the resulting data can also be a challenge.   To be successful, an organization needs to be agile – its business processes need to be able to ingest the data and recalibrate communications on the fly.


That last sentence in can sound pretty daunting.  Business processes, ingesting data, recalibrating communications … at this point many folks are inclined to think “that’s for other companies, we simply can’t do that…” and turn quietly away. Fact is,  listening isn’t so hard, it can be done by any organization for little to no money, the changes can be incremental, and in order to be successfull, all you really need to do is pay attention, and use what you learn.

I heard a great example of this from Heather Oldani of McDonald’s earlier this week at PR Newswire’s Social Content Leadership Forum in Chicago.   McDonald’s has real traction in social networks, and they’re paying attention to online conversations and building relationships with different communities and constituents.  Conversations encompass everything from environmental, parenting and nutritional topics to tracking national availability of the McRib to discussions around menu innovations, such as Fruit & Maple Oatmeal and apple slices in Happy Meals.   Conversations ebb and flow, but the McD’s team has noticed a constant.

In less than an hour, McDonald's Facebook post had garnered thousands of likes, shares and comments.

“French fries are social,” Heather noted.   Topics and issues may come and go, but people love McDonald’s fries, and they talk about that devotion online.

Now, in the grand scheme of McDonald’s menus, the fries are certainly a lynchpin, but they aren’t the headliner.  New sandwiches, salads and coffee drinks steal the headlines and are the focus of the company’s menu-oriented promotions.

But because McDonald’s was paying attention, they realized that there was more lasting, ongoing enthusiasm for fries than for pretty much any other menu item, unless you’re this guy:

Bet he likes fries, too. #fryday

But I digress.

McDonald’s realized it had a unique opportunity with the approach of Friday, 11/11/11 – an aesthetically very French-fry appropriate date.  Using the palindrome as a hook , McDonald’s developed the Fryday promotion, offering fries for $.50 today.

In the Chicago area, McDonald’s is using billboards to promote Fryday, but true to the roots of the promotion, a lot of activity is happening on social networks, too.  The company’s Twitter team (follow them @McDonalds) is chatting up the deal online, and several franchisors are also getting into the game.   The Twitter hashtag #fryday is busy and the McDonalds New York Tri-State Area Restaurants have created a check in for the promotion on Four Square.  Is the suggestion of hot, crispy, salty fries powerful enough to get people in the door?

My guess is the answer is yes.   Not bad for a little promotion derived from simply paying attention to what people are talking about online.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the free ebook Unlocking Social Media for PR.

Social media monitoring delivers quick returns

My favorite screen in PRN Media Monitoring shows top conversation topics within the social media monitoring results for the keywords I've selected. So cool. And dead useful.

A new report from IBM detailing the extent to which CMOs were unprepared for the advent of social media caught my attention yesterday.  Fairly stunningly, the report revealed that while most CMOs consider social media to be a key engagement channel, only a quarter of the large group surveyed were actively tracking blogs.  About half paid attention to different types of reviews.

Not surprisingly, the CMOs indicated that expressing ROI on social media is difficult. Furthermore, most of the CMOs surveyed indicated that developing their skills and understanding of social media was low priority.

Ignoring social media and its influence on customer buying decisions really seems like a risky approach to both planning a company’s communication strategy, and one’s own professional development.

I mused on this for a while and then opened up my PRN Media Monitoring suite, which I use to keep tabs on what’s going on in social channels.  I’ve used it for a while, relying on settings and parameters I set up months ago.  Frankly, it’s been a while since I set up a new monitoring profile.

In an attempt (albeit a biased one, I know) to look at social monitoring with fresh eyes, I set up a new monitoring profile and set about to see what I could accomplish.  In 20 minutes.

I bumbled around a bit, futzing with the keywords for my new search, before settling on the keywords “social media” with “press release” or “news release.”     And once my results loaded, I started having some fun.  Instead of following my “habitrail” and just looking at a handful of key metrics, I instead made discovery my opportunity.

  • I found a guy who’s blogging for a small business site on the subject of PR.  He’s new, but prolific.  We need to talk to him.
  • I admired the ripples the announcement of the PRN/Ektron partnership made last week, and spotted some coverage I hadn’t seen.  Cool.
  • I found a raft of people on Twitter to follow and add to some of my lists.  They hadn’t @messaged me, but they are talking about topics I care about.
  • And found a discussion on LinkedIn that I had managed to overlook despite my regular activity on that network.

All that, in just twenty minutes.

Any social media guru will tell you the first step you must take when considering developing a social presence for your brand is listening.   Understanding what your audience cares about is absolutely fundamental to social success.

Simply put, if you don’t listen, your programs won’t work, you will have a heck of a time defining any return for the time and resources wasted and you’ll probably think, “Eh, this social media stuff doesn’t work.  To heck with it.”  So why do folks skip the listening step?  I have a couple theories:

  • It’s hard.  Setting up the monitoring parameters can be an exercise in experimentation.  You may wind up with way too many fish in your net.   However if you spend some time tweaking your searches  (I personally prefer to have a host of smaller, more focused searches), you will find the input is not only germane, but manageable.
  • It creates more work.  True.  You will uncover opportunities that require response right now.   You will start to truly understand what people mean when they say the audience is now in charge.  And a lot of social media interactions are very high touch.   Blast e-mail doesn’t work here.

Ultimately, I think listening does make a company’s communications more efficient, and effective – simply because you know what your audience is interested in and where they’re gathering, and you can plan accordingly.

There’s no question the dynamics of attention have shifted.  Influence and information look far different today than they did five years ago.   The good news is that social media monitoring can reveal the new dynamics in your marketplace, enabling your brand to garner new insight and visibility.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the free ebook Unlocking Social Media for PR.

Eight steps to building a connected brand

Ally Bank's friendly Facebook presence curates useful content focusing on personal finance.

Many brands are flocking to social channels, dipping into the streams of conversations, interactions and information that swirl around brands, industries and products, reflecting marketplace pain and desire.  But developing the truly connected brand – one that is in synch with its marketplace, involved productively in conversations with customers and generating meaningful business results more of an organization than the establishment of a page on Facebook.  Creating a truly valuable presence in social networks requires brands to recalibrate decision cycles, re-tool approval processes, hone listening on an enterprise-wide scale and essentially operationalize information creation and re-engineer the corporate comfort zone.

Ally Bank's Twitter presence is proactive and service-focused.

Vinoo Vijay of Ally Financial described the changes he and his peers faced as they managed the re-branding of GMAC and used social networks to support the new brand, which launched with Ally Bank.  Looking back at the process, he outlines eight key steps an organization needs to take to establish a successful social presence:

  1. Let go (in terms of your organizations’ approval processes) – gradually, but not entirely. Vijay suggests that creating an ecosystem to convey a unified voice across numerous channels is important.  It’s at this point that approval processes and trust in the communications teams will be most challenged.   Putting processes into place to determine what sort of comments can be made publicly without approval, for example, and gaining agreement on what types of content require different levels of oversight and approval will help the organization communicate more quickly, and comfortably.
  2. Understand that consumers are part of the process. Content and dialogue needs to be about what the consumers are interested in, and consumer interaction should be expected.  Monitoring social networks and listening carefully to what consumers are talking about, and keeping an eye out for response or questions from online audiences are new behaviors for many brands.
  3. Community management is crucial.  You have to be active on an ongoing otherwise you disappear.  Responding in real time is particularly important – if you don’t respond instantaneously, you don’t get heard.  Developing the framework and approval process to respond quickly (and efficiently) is a must for brands hoping to develop effective social presences.
  4. Develop relationships with influencers in your space.  They have credibility that can trigger significant attention from your consumers, and media.   An interview given to a blogger in the financial services space for Ally Bank resulted in an article in Time Magazine, which then sparked an avalanche of Tweets and significant visibility for Ally online.
  5. Weigh in on topics that are broadly relevant to your expertise. Publishing relevant and useful information your audience values is the cornerstone of building a connected brand.  In addition to building credibility for your organization, the content itself can be a powerful magnet for customers and prospects.
  6. The new world order has to meet old fashioned organizational change.  Your organization will need to learn to deal with an environment that requires the brand to be much more participatory.  One excellent tip from Vijay – look for the worst case scenario in the situation at hand. If it’s not there, let it be.
  7. Drive your agencies to collaborate. Common keywords and vernacular, creating content that can be repurposed and republished, and measuring results across the board are vital to a brand’s success.
  8. Remember you are never done.

Vijay’s tale of Ally’s rebranding from GMAC and supporting the brand’s new approach to the banking business by building a social presence that is truly connected with the marketplace is inspiring – Ally Bank was able to drive measurable results.  They changed the tone of online conversations, increased natural search results, and, ultimately, increased consideration for the new brand and got people to open new bank accounts with Ally Bank. But as Vijay stressed, learning how to play messaging out in actual dialogue with customers in social networks requires a new framework for brand communications.

SXSW Video Recap: TnT TV Episode 2

In order to keep tabs on all the SXSW happenings, Tom Miale and Thomas Hynes have been recapping their experiences at the end of each day. Watch them drive the points home as they try not to crash their rental car.

And stay tuned for more TnT TV from the Toms, reporting live from SXSW!