As a small business embarking on social media marketing, it’s all too easy to feel like a small fish in a vast digital pond. Fortunately, a plethora of tools exist to make the task less daunting, with many of them available for free. Whatever the size of your business and social budget, here are some of the simplest, most cost effective tools we’ve found to help you achieve big results.
Independent from Twitter, Tweetdeck is one of the most popular total Twitter management tools. With Tweetdeck, you can organise, track and engage followers using a customisable dashboard. Here, you can view at a glance all activity generated from different lists, followers and hashtags. You’ll discover who your most influential followers are, implicitly guiding you towards the right people to target when promoting online content.
Bonus tip: You know that one element of your activity that you find yourself checking manually whenever you go to Twitter? Whatever it may be, by adding it to your Tweetdeck dashboard you’ll be able to view everything in one click, saving time and effort.
Social media measurement
Another free tool popular among social media enthusiasts, Social Mention monitors over one hundred social media sites. Analysing data in greater depth and measuring influence across four categories (Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach), this is probably one of the most informative free tools on the market.
Bonus tip: Click on any of the hyperlinks at the top of the page to limit your search result with precision to that particular category, for example ‘blogs’, microblogs’ or ‘bookmarks’. More »
It’s well known that celebrities love Twitter because it gives them a platform, an audience and the chance to control their own ‘brand’ online. It also offers the chance to mess up spectacularly, though there’s a certain Darwinian justice in that.
PRs have equal cause to love Twitter, especially when it comes to ‘media relations’ work – or in plain English – selling stories to journalists. Here’s three reasons why:
1) No more verbal decapitations
Having been in PR for a decade now, I have of course had my head bitten off more than once by a grumpy journalist – it just goes with the PR territory (anyone who says otherwise isn’t trying hard enough). This is usually for the totally understandable reason that you’re the 20th call that morning, the writer has copy to file and possibly your story isn’t as interesting as you (or your client) think it is.
Then along comes Twitter and removes the peril from this phone roulette. By observing their Twitter stream, the astute PR can now gauge the mood of their target writer (or influencer as we call them nowadays) prior to phoning and see what they’re talking about. You might even be allowed to join in the online conversation. Hell it could be the start of a beautiful relationship.
2) You can chat to Sophie Raworth or Giles Coren
Before Twitter, access to high profile ‘journalebrities’ like Sophie or Giles seemed as remote a prospect as an audience with the Queen. Yet in the last 12 months I’ve had very pleasant exchanges with both Sophie & Giles on Twitter, simply by replying to one of their tweets. You can pretty much reach anyone on Twitter (apart from the Queen). More »
A poll of marketers and PR practitioners by Furlong PR has shown that the majority (51%) think social media is the most valuable expertise PR agencies can bring to a pitch scenario in 2011.
Both social media & online content generation polled way ahead of old school media relations expertise which only 16% think is now key to winning new business.
However the poll did reveal a massive disagreement between the older and younger pollsters. In the 45+ age category media relations is considered most important and social media the least.
Search engine optimization came in last with 7%, underlining that clients do not expect SEO to lead the agenda in PR pitches.
Furlong PR CEO Ross Furlong commented; “The poll confirms that age is a massive factor in the perception of ‘new fashioned’ pr techniques. While the young clearly believe a social media ingredient is crucial to winning a PR pitch in 2011, anyone over 45 just as clearly thinks it isn’t. This is disappointing but not surprising. Convincing senior management of its value is the chief obstacle to adoption.”
232 votes were cast in the month long poll conducted on LinkedIn during April 2011. Full results of the poll are available here:
1)It takes 24 hrs for them to return my call/email. If it’s taking this long, either your account handler is too junior to know the answer, too busy on the 15 other accounts they ‘service’ or off with stress because the agency financial structure demands they work 16 hours a day.
2)It takes a month to get a press release back. So who’s writing this stuff? Is it going up and down some bureaucratic chain of command at the agency, being amended for style not substance. When it does appear, is it lost in jargon with no discernible news hook?
3)I haven’t seen the account director since the pitch. All the IP and experience you saw in the pitch has been very busy with internal projects and has become merely a CC on hundreds of emails from the AM asking questions, questions, always with the questions.
4)You’re their smallest account. If you’re the smallest account at a large agency, they just don’t care enough about you. Doesn’t matter how well known the agency is, you won’t benefit from their award winning expertise. More »
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog” said Keith Weed, new CMO of Unilever at Cannes last week, answering the question “do big agencies do the best work…or small agencies”.
Interesting too that he was saying it to Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP – one of the world’s largest comms groups (138,000 employees in over 2,400 offices in 107 countries) for whom Unilever is a major client.
Weed goes on to say that when working with a big agency, his aim is to make sure he has that agency’s best people on his account, implying that in a big agency, employees are a mixed bag.
While it’s feasible to demand the best staff if you’re Unilever with a budget of £5bn a year, if you’re looking for a PR agency and have say £60K a year to spend, the size and quality of the agency you’re dealing with become more mission critical factors. More »
At the Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles, it was agreed, according to Gorkana that Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) – the main PR measuring stick in use for decades has now been rejected by delegates from 33 countries.
Well we always knew it was a bit iffy, not least because the well known phrase ‘you can’t buy coverage like this’ is literally true – you can’t buy advertising in many of the editorial situations the PR industry gets clients onto, plus AVE massively undervalues the longtail benefits of positive coverage.
While Barcelona has put it’s foot down on AVE, the great and good of PR haven’t yet proposed an alternative. Offline they may continue to struggle but happily online we’re got plenty of options, here’s a few off the bat:
1) The number of new links to your site/blog – good for reputation, SEO and reach
2) The increase in the number of mentions on Google your brand gets.
3) Website grade – use one of the online tools to measure how well your website scores before and after a campaign. More »
An interesting statistic has been uncovered by Adam Clyne in his PR Week blog, that shows only 22% of PR Week’s Power 100 list actively use Twitter. Clyne suggests five possible reasons for this:
1. The PR Industry is out of touch – and has been slow to embrace social media.
2. Social media is not the remit of the PR industry and is the realm of digital agencies.
3. The top 100 is more likely to consist of ‘older’ practitioners and business leaders – whose expertise lie in traditional media and may not have time to Tweet – but their staff may be fully engaged in social media and their companies are running effective campaigns.
4. Twitter is not for everyone.
5. Twitter may not be that important.
My view is that 1 & 3 are the most accurate and related. The profile of most PR agency CEOs suggests Twitter is something their kids are more likely to use than they themselves.
I remember talking to the MD of a sizeable advertising agency a couple of years ago and he seemed almost quite proud to state that he wasn’t interested in Facebook, didn’t use it. The implication was that he considered himself too senior to have to worry about it. The same is probably true of many PR agency CEOs
You’re unlikely to hear a PR agent publically criticise a major news outlet, unless they’re feeling commercially suicidal that day, yet sensationally Matthew Freud has made a gloves-off attack on Fox News, the leading US TV news network owned – and this is where it gets even more surprising – by his father-in-law, Rupert Murdoch.
Agreeing to contribute his thoughts to a New York Times profile of Fox founder and boss Roger Ailes, Freud said: “I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes’s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corporation, its founder and every other global media business aspires to.”
Commentators suspect that his comments don’t so much represent a spectacular gaffe by Freud as a tactical move to destabilise the station chief. Michael Wolff, a biographer of Murdoch said “Matthew Freud, a PR man of extraordinary craftiness, is not going to say anything off the cuff, certainly not that.” More »
A social media strategy meeting expertly lampooned, the advocates quaking as they fear the wrath of the old guard, referencing the Toyota Yaris Australia pitch where five agencies have been given $15,000 each to show what they can do with social media.