Social media and how you use it seems to be the hot topic on everyone’s mind nowadays. The explosion of social media has added an entirely new dimension to the field of public relations. As consumers follow their favorite brands on Twitter, become “fans” on Facebook, and read a CEO’s personal blog to gain insider info, it is clear that they are increasingly seeking alternative paths to connect with their favorite brands. I am proud to work at an organization that recognizes the importance of social media and has been at the forefront of integrating it into programs.
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The concept of “brand ambassadors” intrigues and delights business communicators. It’s a fact that people trust peers more than any other source, so what better marketing channel than one in which ordinary consumers do the marketing for you?
There have been hundreds of successful examples of companies enlisting customers to promote their products. My favorite is Fiskars, the Finnish maker of fine cutting tools that has used a private network of crafting enthusiasts called the Fiskateers (below) to focus product development, generate instant feedback and help sell products into specialty stores.
Expert speakers at PRSA’s Digital Impact Conference, co-presented with Cision, Lexis-Nexis, and PR Newswire, held April 30 – May 1, 2009, shared their insights and knowledge, and provided strategies and ideas to help attendees keep current with all-things-digital. Check out the caliber of Digital Impact Conference speakers and their presentations linked below.
We’re already planning the 2010 Digital Impact Conference. Stay tuned for details.
Digital Impact Conference Speaker Presentations
A World of Strangers: How Social Media Is Transforming Our Networks and the Way We Find Information
Tom Smith, founder, Trendstream
Social Media Public Relations: How to Use Social Media to Reach Reporters and Analysts
John Wall, co-host, Marketing Over Coffee
Christopher Penn, co-host, Marketing Over Coffee, and chief technology officer, Edvisors, Inc., Student Loan Network
Leverage the Power of Pull: How to Make Your Brand More Digitally Discoverable
Steve Rubel, senior vice president and director of Insights, Edelman Digital
Jay Krall, manager, Internet Media Research, Cision US, Inc.
Educational psychologists talk about six levels of thought that are known collectively as Bloom’s Taxonomy: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. For public relations professionals, utilizing social media requires all of those skills. Monitoring blogs and social networks for mentions of our brands, and responding when appropriate, is a new challenge for the public relations community. It requires new tools and an attention to the unique cultures of social destinations online. But all of that falls in the categories of Knowledge, Comprehension, Application and Analysis that have always been integral to public relations.
What many people find most intimidating about using social media for professional communications is the idea of creating content: blog posts, videos, podcasts, widgets, microsites and more. That’s Synthesis, and while it may seem scary, it presents enormous opportunities for us to bring our messages directly to clients and consumers.
The foundation of the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century was universal literacy. Out of that foundation came intellectual curiosity, discovery and discourse, Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations,” James Hutton’s Theory of the Earth, and Watt’s engine. I’ve always been fascinated by the history of the Scottish Enlightenment and from my reading of that time I draw parallels between that explosion of discovery with today’s digital world. Where universal literacy helped foster Scottish scientific and economic development in the 18th and 19th centuries, I sometimes think access to Web content creation and participation, while not yet universal, will have a similar impact on economic, intellectual and societal development.
Some of these digital developments — Conversation, SEO, Twitter, social media, crowdsourcing, community management, Web 3.0, semantic technologies, social networks — will be discussed at the PRSA’s upcoming Digital Impact Conference: Learn to Profit From New Media, where many of the speakers will be exploring how to use the world of digital for the next great discoveries.
I’m personally curious about semantic technology or Web 3.0, where people use technology to pull content together from disparate sources across the Web to provide actionable information. I will be talking about building sustainable communities at the conference. I’ve come to realize that the scope of the Web means that today organizations need technological help to find conversations about their industry, and processes for triaging and managing a response to opportunities and threats that exist on the Web. I’ll be exploring how companies are starting to use social media research with customer relationship management, and that in the final analysis technology is merely a tool for helping companies to get to the point where they can interact with people in their industry’s community.
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