Integrating social media in communications

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1 Integrating social media in communications

2 Chapter 2 Planning a social media campaign

3 Is my company ready for social media? Success in social media takes time, patience and the right approach, so the question is really if your company is ready to do what it takes. You need to be willing to listen and not just talk at the people you meet online. You don t want to be a fair-weather friend, and that s exactly how your brand will come across if you try to sell your wares at every opportunity. Many companies struggle with what they perceive to be a lack of control, but social media requires a certain amount of letting go and allowing the conversation to take its course. And while you can t control it as such, you can certainly participate and engage with the people having the conversation. Finally, social media requires a personal touch, so you need to be prepared to let your personality shine through. How can I tell if social media is right for my brand? If you see social media simply as a way to sell your products, then it probably isn t for you. If, however, you see it as an opportunity to build a community around your brand or to better connect with your customers, and are prepared to invest the time and effort needed to maintain it, then it could be the right thing to do. Essentially, social media is not a quick fix it is a long-term commitment. The best way to truly understand the opportunity for your brand is to actually spend time in some of the social media communities and listen to what is going on. Set up a Twitter account. Explore Facebook. Step up your LinkedIn activity. This will enable you to find out if your customers and prospects are there and where they spend most of their time. Take a close look at how they are using social media and what they are talking about. Various free search tools will also help you track who is saying what about your brand (and competitors). What next? How do I get started? If you decide to take the plunge into social media, you need to think carefully about what you want to achieve so that your activity has a purpose and can be measured as much as this is possible. There is no point in doing social media simply because you think you should. Also, only fools rush in so start by listening carefully to what is being said find out how your brand and industry is currently being talked about in social communities and then join the conversation when you have something interesting to say. 12

4 How exactly can I find out what s being said about my brand? Keeping up with what is being said about your brand is a daunting task and there are many and various tools and services designed to help so many in fact that it can be confusing. You can of course use a specialist service such as Onalytica or Nielson Buzzmetrics or a professional (i.e. paid-for!) application such as Radian6, to track the so-called buzz around your brand. However, we recommend you make use of the plethora of free tools available; a few used in combination can provide you with a comprehensive view of what is being said and the only real investment needed is time (this may be something you outsource to your PR agency or assign responsibility to one of your in-house team). Unfortunately there isn t one tool that monitors all social media sources and the best approach is really to use a general tool and a few platform-specific tools. Try some out and see which work best for you. / General Tools we recommend you look at are: > Google Alerts can help you track what is being said and receive streaming or batched reports. Set a comprehensive alert to monitor across various media news, blogs, web, videos and groups > MonitorThis enables you to scan up to 20 different search engines at any one time > Samepoint tracks conversations across multiple sources whostalkin is a great tool for seeing what is being said about your brand in social media > Social Mention (and Social Mention Alerts) pulls content from across 80+ social media properties directly. You can also set up daily Social Mention Alerts to track what is being said about your brand on a daily basis > whostalkin.com is similar to Social Mention and enables you to track over 60 of the Internet s most popular social media platforms As well as monitoring what is being said about your brand, you should also track what is being said about key competitors and topics specific to your business. / Platform-specific Tools include: > BoardTracker is a search engine, message-tracking and instant alerts tool for forums > Ego Surf helps you keep track of where your blog is mentioned not only within Google but also within Yahoo, MSN, delicious and Technorati. It keeps a historical track of your ranking too so that you can track changes over a period of time 13

5 > Friendfeed Search is a conversation tracker for Friendfeed > Google Blog Search (and Google Blog Alerts) Google s index of blog posts, allows you to see who is blogging about your brand and what they re saying. With Google Blog Alerts you can set up daily, weekly or as-ithappens alerts for any time someone mentions your brand online > Technorati allows you to search the blogosphere. You should search for your brand on Technorati and subscribe to RSS alerts so that when someone blogs about you, you find out > Monitter provides real-time monitoring of the Twittersphere > TweetScan (and Twitter Alerts) enables you to see what is being said about your brand on Twitter. It includes the option to set up Twitter Alerts > Tweetbeep is a kind of Google Alerts for Twitter that will show you who is tweeting about your brand and related topics. The key is to make your search as specific as you can, you can even narrow it down to a specific place, otherwise you may get more alerts than you bargained for > Twitrratr allows you to see the tone of voice of what is being said about you and how much of it is positive, negative, neutral > Twitter Search allows you to see what people are saying about your brand or on a particular topic / Other tools you may find useful are: > HowSociable? allows you to measure your brand s visibility across social media > Del.icio.us is a way of saving bookmarks and allows users to manage their bookmarks online and share them with friends. Searching for your brand, product or event in this way can be a real eye-opener it is a good way to see how and in what relation others are talking about you Check out econsultancy s list of 20 free buzz monitoring tools for a few others not included here / Making sense of it all Once you have identified the tools that work best for you, we recommend you set up a monitoring dashboard which brings together everything you are monitoring in a central place news sites, RSS feeds, blogs, social networks, etc. This makes life so much easier! The ones we recommend you use are Netvibes, Pageflakes and Addictomatic. A useful guide to setting up Netvibes can be found here

6 How do I identify the right people to target in the social media space? In social media it is less about targeting individuals and more about targeting communities. Or as social media expert Richard Stacy says, It s about space not place. Of course it is useful to know who the influential bloggers or tweeters are, but more from the point of view of monitoring or following them in order to find out more about your industry. Some of the tools you can use to track down specific people are: > Twellow: a kind of yellow pages for Twitter which allows you to search people by name, by biography details or by business category > Tweetbeep: a kind of Google Alerts for Twitter that will show you who is tweeting about your brand and related topics > Twinfluence: this tool enables you to identify the most influential Twitter users based on reach, velocity and social capital (i.e. how influential their followers are) is a great way of keeping track of who is tweeting about you To identify influential bloggers, use a combination of Google blog search and Technorati. I ve now found out what people are saying about my brand. What next? Your next step is to decide how important it is and what to do about it. The kinds of questions you should be asking yourself are: > Is it real conversation? > What s the source? > Is it a reliable source? > What are people talking about? > What is the general sentiment towards my brand? > To what extent are their comments valid? The answers to these questions will largely determine what you do next whether it is feeding comments into product development, responding to criticism or using feedback to shape your marketing and communications programme. 15

7 What should I do with feedback for my brand both positive and negative? / The good If someone says something positive about your company it is good to post a thank you or show your appreciation. Perhaps provide advice or greater insight this added attention can go a long way to turning a happy customer into a real brand advocate. Over time you may want to form a panel or group of VIP customers who you can consult and offer special offers to. / The bad It is important to deal swiftly with criticism to prevent any negative comments being spread further via blogs or Twitter. Even if you don t have the answer, it is important to say that you ll look into it and avoid getting defensive at all costs. Responding to the criticism shows that your brand is open, is listening and values its customers views. Finally, try to keep a level head and take every complaint in your stride think of it as an opportunity to resolve a customer problem and improve your brand image. Are any particular social media types more influential than others? Not as such although different social media types may have more resonance with some target audiences than with others. Quite simply, the most influential social media types for your brand will be the ones which your customers use most frequently. Who should converse for my company? It really depends on your company culture but it is important that whoever converses on behalf of your company commits time and effort to it. Some companies appoint a small team of representatives within corporate comms, others recruit people from across the organisation who show a genuine willingness and ability to converse for the company. Forrester recommends a Hub and Spoke model, based on the fact that social media can involve many different parts of a business PR, marketing, customer service, support, development and so on. With a Hub and Spoke set-up, the Hub facilitates information sharing among different business units or spokes. This makes a lot of sense with corporate communications probably the best suited to the Hub role. To facilitate the conversation from your company it is also important that you have a social media policy in place. 16

8 What should any social media guidelines or policy for my company contain? These should set out how your employees can make the most of social media. As The Carphone Warehouse s Guy Stephens says: It s about providing your employees with a sense of freedom within a framework. It s not about stipulating a strict code of conduct, but rather about drawing on the individual s sense of ownership and responsibility for what or how they tweet. We ve included some links to companies social media policies below, but common traits include: > How people should conduct themselves in the social media space openness, transparency, honesty about who they are and who they work for > The type of content they should be sharing interesting, value-add, with quality over quantity > Subject matters such as company secrets that are strictly out of bounds

9 About K+R and ECCO

10 About K+R and ECCO K+R is the UK arm of ECCO International Public Relations, a company owned and operated by 35 of the best independent, owner-managed public relations consultancies around the globe. Kinross+Render +44 (0) Through ECCO we lead and manage global and pan-european programmes for clients including InterfaceFLOR, Regus, UPS and Toshiba Tec which are proven to reduce costs by an average of 40% compared with large, multi-national consultancies. K+R is a full-service agency with a 22 year track record in the IT, financial services, business to business, healthcare and public sectors and a raft of blue chip clients including Barclays, Philips, Shell, Sony and Xerox. We also have a significant client base in the public sector including government departments, executive agencies, NHS trusts and local authorities. Our social media experts have recently been helping organisations such as KPMG, BT, Telenet, Siemens, Volvo and Nurofen understand and engage with the social media space. We have also run social media clinics for organisations including The Retail Trust, World Gold Council, Capco, and the London Stock Exchange. ECCO +44 (0)

11 Content by Janine Maxwell and Clare Baxter at K+R. Design by bloodybigspider.com

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