Archive for September, 2008

Getting started

I went to the CIPR northern conference last week. I never expect these events to knock me for six but as PR conferences go, it was pretty good.  Highlights included the talk by Katie Perrior from inHouse PR  about the campaign they ran to get Boris elected for mayor.  A fascinating talk which demonstrated the power of PR to change opinion and influence.
Another popular one was Neville Hobson's talk – titled Futurology, he gave an overview of the need for PRs to understand the online arena – particularly liked hist comment that PR should stand for 'Personal Relationships'.  However during questions, a rather bewildered looking press officer said, "I don't understand any of this techy stuff so how do I start?"  I think this is a really common feeling so, for what it's worth, here's my take on how to get 'started' in understanding social media.

1.  Set up google alerts for terms of interest – even generic ones like 'online PR' or 'social media' can bring you back some interesting results.

2.  Get FeedDemon or similar RSS feed and start subscribing to blogs.  If you're not sure which blogs to read or how to find them, your google alerts will give you a starting point and once you've found a blog that interests you, have a look at their blog roll and before long you'll be subscribing to a long list. 

3.  Join Twitter.  Honestly you have to.  The common sequence of events with a new Twitter user is a) they join b) they announce that they just don't "get it" c) never use it again. The best way to get started with Twitter is to follow some of the bloggers that you read, look at who they're following and off you go.  Like any social networking tool, the more you use it, the more you get out of it.

4. Start a blog – it gives you an idea of how blogs work, etiquette etc which is vital if you're a PR person hoping to target influential bloggers.

That's it.  No mystery, no smoke and mirrors. You just have to dive in.

Social media dashboard

A quick post following on from my recent comments about how most monitoring packages for social media are prohibitively expensive.  This post from visionary Christopher Penn explains how you can create your own social media dashboard using iGoogle. 


TwitterGrader – are you top of the class?

If you're a Twitter devotee then you'll be pleased to hear that there is a new site which will mark you on your Twitter usage.  TwitterGrader  gives you a score out of 100 and ranks you against other Twitter users (based on a combination of factors including the number of followers you have, the 'power' of your followers, how often you update and the completeness of your profile). There is even a list of TwitterGrader rockstars – barackobama is currently number one although obviously this is subject to change at any time…

So where do I rate?  I receive a Twitter Grade of 62 – Rank #8,552 out of 23,724.  Apparently this translates "..a grade of
62 means that the user scores higher than 62 percent
of the other user profiles that have been graded".  In plain English I think this means it's respectable but could try harder. 

Social media monitoring – do you have to have mega bucks?

I'm very interested in looking at how online PR and social media can benefit clients and I'm currently trying to get a number of them to push the envelope in terms of what they're doing.  But sometimes, working as a self employed bod, it can be difficult to find sources of inspiration and more practically, fund some of the more useful social media monitoring/tracking tools (since understandably clients want to see if/how this digital malarky is working for them). 

There are some useful free tools out there – measurement camp's wiki has a good list but equally there are interesting tools like Radian 6 that I'd love to have a play around with but at starting price of $600 per month, they're pretty full on.  Yes I could pass the cost on to clients but if you're not a huge company with an equally vast marketing budget, that's an awful lot of money to shell out on something that they might not see the benefit of for a good six months.  Also, I do wonder how useful some of these tools are in relation to B2B – many of them seem to have big brands in mind.  Anyway, hopefully over the next few weeks and months I'll learn more since I'm planning to pick the brains of the lovely people at nixonmcinnes, social media experts that I've made contact with via Twitter.  

Welcome to 3WPR

Stephen Davies is a person who knows a thing or two about the online arena.  His hugely popular blog has marked him out as an expert in online PR and he's very well respected.  Interesting to read that he's launching a new digital specialist PR agency called 3WPR.  I'm going to be listening to Stephen speak at the forthcoming CIPR Northern Conference, his topic is about managing reputation online. A big good luck to 3WPR – I'll watch with interest.