Week14R

Chapter 26

While reading through the last chapter of Engaged, we are able to link the reading to our current project of creating a social media plan for a company. I found this to be very helpful when thinking of our plan for The Rocket, and how we could show our ROI through SM. Solis gives us not only a way to put together a SM plan through steps, but also shows us several ways to prove what we are doing is working for a company and worth keeping around.

I fully related to this chapter to our projects, and reading through gathered ideas for our own ways to expand on our PPT slides what and why we are putting together a plan, and how to show those measurements through engagement, volume and action. Those three ideas alone could be the reasoning behind keeping a SM plan around for a company. If people are engaging and being active with the SM, and in turn bringing them into your stores, or shopping online for your product, that to me in itself seems to be a win when considering the minimal amount of cost that is put into putting a plan together.

While you may have to consider how many hours are put into SM versus other work tasks, you also have to consider if those other work tasks are actually working to bring in customers. If your company is stuck in a lull of little to no customer interaction through the store, maybe it is time to reach out to social media to see if it will make a difference. The amount of time people spend on the internet, let alone social media, is astonishing. If you are reaching out to the right people, it could make a big difference in the amount of foot traffic you get through your shop, which increases sales revenue.

I found this chapter to be very beneficial, and a great one to end the semester on, especially since it correlates so well with our project!

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Week13R

First off, let me say how awesome Thanksgiving break was! No classes and lots of food! In all the excitement I forgot to post last weeks blog post…..oops. So on we go, to the next blog post!

Chapter 25: Twitter, Twitter, Twitter!

What I gathered from this chapter is: Use twitter, use twitter often, and use twitter well.

Being able to target your audiences, get your fans and friends to follow you, appreciate you and actually gain something from it is what the social media/workplace is all about! Here we see hard numbers-proof that for many companies, social media works! “on April 23, 2009, Naked Pizza reported that Twitter accounted for fifteen percent of total sales that day.” Reaching out to your public, getting tem involved and giving them something for it, such as a discount or free item, can have a huge impact on your businesses customer expansion.

Companies that may not be able to gather tweets organically can “pay per tweet.” Upon doing research, it seems that this can be gone about in a way that is not completely falsifying the idea. “Final control still lies in the hands of advertisers, so that they can ensure quality, sincerity and that the tweet is in line with the advertiser’s core values and message before it is tweeted, thus maximizing the value of the tweet,” an article posted on Adotas, an advertising company, called Pay Per Tweet: A New Twist on Affiliate Marketing elaborates a bit more on the idea of paying per tweet, and how it can be left up to the users what they post about,and even leaving which companies they want to talk about up to them. To read more from this article visit:

http://www.adotas.com/2012/08/pay-per-tweet-a-new-twist-on-affiliate-marketing/

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Week11R

Chapter 23 seemed to be an overall view of how to put together a group to become more engaged in social media. This was a bit vague to me until I got to the example of the new media board of advisors, where it lays out the actual role of the media board of advisors and how this will make a difference when trying to show that social media is necessary for a company.

While I understand that companies need to engage with social media, I do not think I agree with Solis in the matter that every part of the company needs to be fully engaged in it, such as assigning legal or IT a part in the daily activity of social media, unless it really pertains specifically to them. Parts of the company where social media is something they need to pay daily attention to are positions such as HR, marketing, communications, and branding should be involved, and could give different views of the company. Granted, I think everyone should play a part by agreeing to interviews for stories, giving their input on topics, or even volunteering to post something on a big event that is happening with their part of the company, but not every day since it is not necessarily related to their field of work.

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Week10R

facebook

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Chapters 21 and 22 are probably the most influential chapters for me so far in this book. As I was reading through the chapters, I couldn’t agree more with what was being stated about Facebook and Twitter, and how it is absolutely changing the way companies take on customers, and states just how large it is through facts and statistics. We are in an era when social media is of the utmost importance, and it is slightly surprising that there are companies who turn a blind eye to this. When comparing our bike shops social media to that of other bike shops, I am amazed that we are actually coming out on top in the area. As I become more submerged in social media, I am fascinated with the reactions and interactions I gather from others. The thing I enjoy most is knowing people are paying attention, and not only just paying attention but taking the time to interact with me (the company) about ideas, events, and concepts that I am putting out there or bringing to their attention. I have definitely noticed an increase of interaction since taking over the social media, and I love it!! Sometimes I wish social media and communications were the only things I focused on at my job, because it doesn’t seem to be nearly as interesting for anyone else.

The Breakdown

In chapter 21 Solis does a great job of giving you a step by step plan on HOW to make a change in your company, regardless of your size, and how to prove it is worth their time, money and dedication to get involved in social media. I will definitely take notes from this chapter if I ever have to put together a social media plan. The outline is fantastic! I love that he goes step by step from the summary to the conclusion, whom you should be focusing on, what stats you need to be including, what the company will expect to see (why should we care/what benefit does this REALLY have) and how to counter those disbelievers. I can definitely say these have been my favorite chapters so far. Way to go Brian Solis!

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Week9R

KNOW you are connecting with your readers

As we begin to emerge as Social Media experts within companies, it is important to not only know how to reach users but how to gather information to prove that what you are doing matters. In chapters 19 and 20 we learn about how to connect with readers “as social architects and engineers,” with what tools we can use to maximize our chances of being heard, how the “human network” connects, and again, gathering that information to  show you are making a difference via social media for your company. All of this is important, especially knowing how to connect with readers, as we have discussed throughout this semester, showing that a company is not only professional, but personal (without being too personal) can make the difference to consumers.

In chapter 19, we are reminded that again, we must look at what we are writing as consumers first, and then as the company. This allows us to show the most authentic and relatable personality through our writing, and that is what readers respond to. Readers do not want to engage with you if you are simply trying to sell them something, so make sure to show who you are, and how to do so professionally.

Using Tools Improves Your SEO

While this is important, there are tools to help you make sure you are doing a good job of  reaching the public. In chapter 19, Solis gives several companies that use tools to monitor what they are putting out and who/how consumers are responding to it, and how we can edit what we are putting out there to correct our writing if it is not being perceived in a positive way, or how to reach a wider audience if what we are saying is getting out in a positive way, but not many people are seeing it.

Solis names tools such as Tweetdeck (which we have discussed in class several times to use in your twitter to help organize and understand groupings), Scout, and CoTweet, as well as several others that can help you find keywords, reactions, and what people are linking to help YOU put out what is relavent to the social media community, allowing you to be found and useful!

Social Media Builds Bridges to Connect Different Networks

In chapter 20, Solis discusses what is known as “The Human Network.” He states “Our human network comprises both of professional and personal connections and they differ from each other on the basis of shared interests as well as established relations,” meaning, while we are connected to many networks, not everyone is looking for the same information. Your personal network could be searching for much different topics than your professional network. There are ways to track what your networks are writing about, and ways to see who your readers are and how THEY are connecting with each other, even if they are not in the same networks!

I think this is truly fascinating  because it is what social media is all about. Even though two people you know may have never met each other before, their interests may be the same. So when you post a blog or tweet something that is relavent to both parties, they are then connected by that. Before social media, this would have been very difficult to do. Time, space and even medium may have prevented this from being possible, but with todays technology, we are able to reach an endless audience with our writing if we are writing about the right topics.

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Week8R

Questionable Social Media

Over the years social media has been questioned as a form of sharing information. While it allows us to connect with others on a personable level, it sometimes can be used irresponsibly. When professionals use social media in a way that is unprofessional, such as posting personal feelings or views on the companies social medias, it can cause conflict, and sometimes can infringe on the companies security.

In chapter 17, we briefly touch on this when the Army beings using social media. Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff maintains a Facebook profile and Twitter account. When the benefits of social networks are questioned Mullen wrote “Obviously we need to find the right balance between security and transparency. We are working on that. But am I still going to tweet? You bet.”

I think this is a great example of how even though you may be in a position where it could cause conflict, you are taking responsibility through these medias and using them in a professional way. Many companies should view social media like this. Knowing your boundaries and what you should and shouldn’t be posting (regardless of your personal feelings) should always take priority when it comes to social media. Keeping an image clear of judgement and negative views of the public by following the “Intel social media guidelines”  can make a big difference when comparing your company with other companies who do not take it as professionally as you do.

Listen before you Speak

One great way to see how you compare to other companies is to “first be a consumer before a marketer…” so making sure to listen to what your consumers have to say rather than telling them what they want can make a huge difference. Like chapter 18 says, “listeners make the best conversationalists,” and this is shown through the ways that consumers communicate, and where we should be focusing.

Regardless of where we stand within the company, we should always consider the consumer first. Where they go, we should go. What they say should greatly affect the way we communicate with them, the products we produce, and every other aspect of our workforce. Once we begin listening and allowing consumers to tell us what they want, that is when we become great companies.

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Week7R

Inbound Marketing Video: PR for Inbound Marketing

This week we watched a video about how media has changed, and how we can use it to our advantage as companies. Most of the information that was included in this video is exactly what we have been discussing, experiencing and viewing in our class- How are companies getting involved, and are they doing it right. Last week we paired up and looked at companies and what they are doing in social media, what people are saying about them and how they are reacting to what the companies are putting out and what we thought about these companies.

The inbound marketing video tells us what companies should be thinking about, and how to go about putting out information that is going to be relevant and important to readers. I was a little surprised at how companies are expected to post every day. Right now, for my job I am the only person in charge of social media, as well as communications. Knowing that I should be posting every day is a lot of pressure, especially when I am required to wear so many hats at work, and having shorter hours because of school. It was good to know that we are not required to post NEW things every day. Retweeting, commenting and adding insightful information to the community that we hope to get traffic from makes it a little easier.

It was good to see more examples of what sites companies are using to study and review their own websites or forms of social media to see what kind of traffic they are getting. I have not yet done this for my company (frankly, I am a little nervous to do so….) but I now have a list of websites I can refer back to when I decide to take that leap and see what is working and what is not, to make the changes that are necessary to gain more traffic and involvement in the community.

After reading about SEO, discussing it in classes, and watching this video that heavily relates to it, I am now realizing how important it is to optimize your chances of being found. It is no longer about marketing, it is about how easily people can find you. In order to do this, you have to put yourself out there (every day) and gain influencers that are going to mark you as reliable and credible. This seems challenging, which is probably why most companies are struggling to find their way to the top of social media. Knowing how to use the proper key words in your website, posts, and blogs and knowing how to not over do all of this could mean the difference between gaining an audience or turning one away.

Homework Assignment:
Consult a hypothetical client on how to create an effective inbound PR campaign. What content would you create?
What channels would you use? Why?

My client is looking to advertise for a new product line of cycling clothes that wicks away moisture quicker and keeps you cool or warm while riding in all temperatures. Based off of the video, I would certainly advise my client by using several methods of communication to reach the public. Using Twitter, Facebook, podcasts for personal interviews, videos, and blog posts. Also, it would be a good idea to be involved in other relevant posts by retweeting them, commenting or reposting them to get your product information out there and build traffic to your pages. Making sure to do this every day will get your name out there and building credibility.

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Week6R

Social media is propelling forward as long as technology keeps evolving, and with it, writing professionals and public relation practitioners. We are swept up in the need for instant updating, answering and the unification of customer and company. However, we also have to keep in mind the amount of information that customers can take in at one time. “Social network fatigue” is one way to describe this. When customers are constantly being overloaded with information from companies, it can cause them to turn away and easily give up on the company as well as what they are putting out to the public. This can be especially true of the information that is being put out there is not timely or relavent to what consumers are looking for, making the decision to turn away all that much easier.

Social Media not only promotes the good, but everything that is out there.

Chapter 15 talks about how we are perceived on the internet based on what we put out on the internet, regardless of whether or not it is in a personal or professional way. When people search for your company name or someone specifically within it, the internet is not going to pull up only the good things, but everything that you put out there. Being mindful of what photos, videos, or posts you make to any form of social media can make the difference between getting the job you want and not getting it. One example of just how important it is to understand that you represent the company you work for is the incident including the Taco Bell franchise. When an employee tweeted photos of himself urinating on a “about to be thrown out anyway” platter of nachos. This cost him his job, which he did not seem to care much about, but ultimately also set back the local Taco Bell’s reputation. These types of posts can be damaging to companies that revolve around cleanliness, honesty, and integrity. http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/08/03/taco-bell-employee-fired-for-allegedly-urinating-onto-nacho-platter/

 Writing major means you are a Jack of All Trades, Right?

Chapter 16 goes over a lot of what I am dealing with now in my current job (as well as what we happen to be discussing in PR writing!). I was hired in as a sales person at a cycling shop, but once they found out I was a written communication major they asked me to deal with the social medias (their Facebook and website mainly). Walking into it, I had NO experience what-so-ever for web design, or even the platform they were using (which, happens to be WordPress). I was very frustrated at having to not only figure out how to update the website to the best of my abilities, but had to figure out how to work the platform to post them in, as well as how to use tools such as Adobe products like Photoshop. This was the most frustrating part for me. Not knowing how to interact with these tools and use them to my advantage made my task of doing updates very difficult and time consuming. I watched many videos, scoured the web for help, and asked the last person who was in charge of the website for helpful tips. I began to play around with these tools and started making some basic posts to get the feeling for how these tools worked. Even if my work is just at a basic level as of now, we all have to start somewhere and I am so thankful that this company is allowing me to run with whatever ideas I have for their social media.

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Week5R

The topics discussed in chapters 12-13 are an essential part of social media and how we (as a company) interact with the public. In order to do so, we must evaluate our company and define what image we want to interpret to our customers.

The Brand Reflection Cycle Solis suggests how to do just this: evaluate our company and reassess how we want to connect with our audience. A lot of older companies (or new companies) need to assess their want to get involved in social media and just how they are going to do so. In order to do so they need to come up with a cohesive idea for their company, such as a brand promise, or a mission to give people a reason to connect with them. As Solis states in previous chapters, gaining social media popularity is based off of what we can do for the public, how we can solve an issue, or how we relate/are influential to the audience. Once we have answered these questions, the information we put out will become relevant to searches people make on social media networks, or even the Internet.

One blog post I found interesting was posted by blog.kissmetrics.com about how companies today use social media to connect with their audience and what social media means to them. Most of them came up with very similar answers: to interact with customers, gain feedback and created dialog. Read the article, and what popular companies are saying about social media and how they are using it to their advantage here: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/how-to-rock-social-media/

In today’s world, social media is more influential than “regular” or standard media. News travels faster to us via social media than it does through television, radio or newspaper. This is because instead of us looking for news, news comes to us. It is more specific to what we want to know more about and others that are interested in the same topics. At the bike shop I work at, it is obvious that through regular media, because we are an established company, media that comes through is specialized to the shop. Fitness magazines, cycling events and flyers, new pamphlets on Ann Arbor street laws and other forms or traditional media are relevant to the shop and the customers coming through. However, media that we do not wish to share with our customers also comes through. Religious booklets or events that are not fitness related are not necessarily what we want our company to be associated with, or topics that we wish to promote, so we often have to weed out such items. Social media is very similar, except we are able to pick and choose what media we are receiving without having to weed anything out. We choose what we want to read or don’t want to read, and this significantly narrows down our searching time, and allowing us to take in exactly what we think we want to know more about.

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Week4R

This weeks reading and video were great reference points for companies who are starting to get involved in social media and how to gain social interaction. I felt this weeks reading did a great job following up on last weeks reading by following up on SEO-search engine optimization, and stepping into SMO-Social Media Optimization. The combination of these two strategies, as well as paying attention to things such as social objects (content that can induce responses), and how different networks and social medias work, can make a big difference in your companies social media success.

Brian Solis elaborates on the forms of searching that are most commonly used now: traditional, real time, social network, and social search, and how to be found within these styles of search engines. In order to do this, we must utilize ‘metadata’ by inputting the proper words into our titles, descriptions and tags so that people will be more likely to find our pieces among relative pieces.

I completely agree with this, and the fact that we, as social media users, have become our own librarians and are able to categorize our work into sections and areas of interest for readers gives us the freedom to choose what we write about and where we want readers to find it. I find this to be very helpful on both sides of the scene- when searching the Internet and when posting something on the Internet. Being able to identify where pieces can be found makes my search easier, and being able to place my own writing into a specific category will allow more traffic through my work. This becomes increasingly important for growing companies and getting their news and product information out to consumers.

The inbound marketing video we watched discussed the ideas of how we put information out to readers and consumers. In order to get people to pay attention to what we have to say, we have to make sure we are presenting our information in the proper ways. A few tips he gave were to:

-Find and target your influencers
-Avoid link fatigue
-Help your audience look cool
-Stick with safe and new information
-Combine relevant information for your audience-blending old and new

If you are able to use these ideas while posting on social medias, it will help increase the likelihood of traffic on your companies page and keep readers coming back.

One great representation of this is a website that I follow frequently: http://www.yogajournal.com/
This website regularly posts great videos, blogs and newsletters to allow readers to follow their information, and shows how many tweets or Facebook likes they receive on their articles, enticing readers to read, which was a large topic during the video. They keep their information relevant, as well as their ads and post on new topics instead of regurgitating old topics from other sites.

All in all, I think this weeks information is noting that it is important to keep the subject anchored, know how to deliver it to the audience, and make it interesting for them! If you are able to do this, then your writing will be that much better.

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