Archive for ‘Media Relations’

April 19, 2012

Guess what…Social media is NOT replacing traditional journalism [Infographic]

Far too often I see stories, comments, and infographics (see below) about how social media is taking over journalism. This simply isn’t the case. Social media can’t replace journalism – they are just too different. Those who view social media as a threat to journalism are missing the great opportunities it presents.

Social media can help with almost every function in the business of news. I’ve seen it used to: source stories, line up interviews, provide personal photos, drive readership, interact with on-air personalities, do quick viewer polls, connect with customers, and the list goes on.

When you really think about it, journalism ISN’T words on newsprint, voices on airwaves, or pictures on the nightly news. That’s just a description of the traditional distribution model. Journalism is really about telling stories. Accurate, fair, balanced, and interesting stories. It doesn’t matter that I read my news on my smartphone, and my neighbour still buys broadsheet newspapers everyday. The important thing is that we both are still consuming news stories produced by trained professionals.

“Boohoo” stories from the newspaper industry really bug me because they don’t tell the whole story about declining circulations. Who cares if some paper in Seattle is no longer offering a print edition of their paper after more than 140 years of publication? People weren’t buying it in the first place because it was a bunch of ink printed on dead trees. They were buying it for the stories. And this “historic” paper in Seattle is still alive and well online. As long as traditional news outlets are willing to adapt how they deliver stories to the public, and their revenue streams, they will be set up for success. I don’t see this as a decline in “traditional journalism” whatsoever.

Perhaps the social media vs. traditional journalism sentiment comes from the way we talk about how social media relates to journalism. Nobody likes to have the relevance of their job called into question, so I can see how the term “citizen journalism” may have upset a few people in the industry. Perhaps we shouldn’t be calling it “citizen journalism”; instead, call it “citizen reporting” – a bit more accurate.

But citizen reporting has it’s place, and journalists really can’t compete with it: in fact, they shouldn’t even try. Let Twitter  tell me that Dick Clark has passed away – I read the rest of the story on a traditional news website. Facebook can tell me the “who, what, when, where”, details of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but I look to traditional media to give me a bit more insight on the “why and how” because their journalists have the time, training, and access to newsmakers to be able to write a more fulsome story.

There is no doubt that journalists and news organizations need to continue to adapt, like every other industry. The ones who can’t (or won’t) will be forgotten, but the ones that embrace social media are using it to give them an edge in the business of news gathering and distribution. And to be quite honest, I am certain that I read more newspaper stories in 2012 than ever before because the internet gives me greater access.

The infographic below was released this week by schools.com containing stats on “How social media is replacing journalism.” Take a look, and let me know what you think.

February 15, 2012

4 conclusions on Social Media ROI [Video]

This week, I was invited to participate in a unique event put on by VIA Rail and the Fairmont Royal York on the opening day of Social Media Week: Toronto 2012. The event spanned the entire first day of the conference and was focused on discussing the business case for social media:  in other words, the “social media return on investment” (ROI). Social media bloggers from Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Kingston gathered on VIA’s recently restored Glen Fraser Lounge car to debate topics centred around social media, community management, client relationship management, mobile marketing, customer service, and of course ROI.

The “pre-conference” aboard @VIA_Rail ended with a great 2-hour speaker panel and Q&A session at the @FairmontRYH. The speakers included academics, entrepreneurs, C-level executives that were seasoned media, PR, and marketing leaders from both the public and private sectors (learn more about the speakers). Some tried to explain ROI with mathematical formulas, some took the “trust me it works” approach (then asked for the ROI on a toilet), but all of them provided examples of where they saw ROI for their particular brand(s).

After 8 hours of constant talking about social media ROI, I came to a few conclusions (for now) about calculating social media return on investment:

1. Social media ROI is difficult to do properly, but it’s completely doable. There’s no magic formula, or straight-forward way, to calculate social media ROI that applies to each case. The first thing you really need to understand is how social media is used in your industry, then figure out what you want social media to do for you. If your goal is to have  a Facebook page for your business, you have already failed. If you plan to use a Facebook awareness and acquisition campaign to drive traffic to the eCommerce section of your website because you know that customers referred from Facebook are more likely to make a purchase than those referred from Twitter, you’re off to a great start. Those are the outcomes you are looking for.

2. You don’t need to measure EVERYTHING. Once you know what you want to do, you now have to measure your efforts to see if you are working towards achieving those goals. It’s important to find the “right metrics” to demonstrate the effectiveness of your tactics, and, as importantly, to help you make decisions. If you measure everything, and draw no insight, then you wasted time measuring for the sake of measuring.

3. Measuring social media ROI requires a tailored solution. After reading my first two points, you’re probably thinking, “OK, what do I do now?” Well, it’s time for the hard work, so start thinking about your goals. Start answering some of the tough questions. What do I want to achieve? How can social media help me deliver on my business plan? What business function can social media assist with? What are the costs if I don’t engage? What are the costs if I do engage? Do I work for a social organization? What are my competitors doing? If we implemented social media, what would it look like? What is our content creation strategy? How far do we go with content curation vs. creation? How can social media be tied into the DNA of your organization and to your existing business practices? Etc. etc. etc.

The good news is that there are people out there to help us do this. Academics, business leaders, strategists, and entrepreneurs lose sleep about this each night, and many of them are for hire to help organizations thrive using social media. And don’t be shy, most organizations need some level of specialized help with this. One thing that is certain, measuring YOUR social media ROI is not easy, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

4. It’s all about influence. At the end of the day, we as social media participants (including brands) want to be influential. We want to be able to drive consumer behaviour, influence legislation, promote our personal brand, make connections, etc. You can’t do them all, so you need to pick what your want to have influence over, and tailor your social media strategy to achieve that.

The video clip below is just one of the presentations at the Social Media ROI: Myth or Reality evening event at the Royal York. This clip features Dr. James Norrie, who presents his quadratic equation for measuring ROI that revolves around leveraging the power of your “captive community.”

Social Media week is where social media becomes even more social. It is a 5-day conference that takes place in 21 cities around the globe.  Each year, Social Media Week attracts more than 60,000 attendees across thousands of individually organized, and mostly free, events. It’s a great collection of minds, from the casual social media user looking for more information on their newly forming passion, to business and academic leaders who share their latest insights on the future of communication and ROI for business. And, of course, there are a lot of us nerdy bloggers.

February 2, 2011

92% of employers say they will “creep” potential employees’ profiles: Like, manage your reputation already, OMG! :P

I was recently interviewed about social media by @alecmiske, a reporter from the Algonquin Times (Algonquin College’s student newspaper). The conversation was mainly focused on how the College uses social media to connect with its audiences and stakeholders. As the conversation progressed, I began chatting about the need for all of us (including students) to actively manage our online reputations: a notion that is pretty simple, very important, and often neglected.

After speaking with @alecmiske for almost an hour, we both thought that a blog post re: reputation management may be of  interest/value, so here it goes…

What is reputation management? I introduce reputation management in the opening hours of the social media course I teach at the college. Here’s the video (Common Craft) I use to provide a quick explanation:

Why should you care?: Two reasons. One – Organizations are desperate for employees who can use social media not only in their personal lives, but also to help deliver on business goals. Regardless of what industry you are getting into (with a few exceptions), experience in the business side of social media will be one of your strongest assets. Two – In a 2010 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey, 92% of companies who were actively hiring in the next year said that they had used, or planned to use, social media in their employee search.  This is a huge number. You can almost guarantee that what you put online will eventually be put “on file” when you are applying for a job. Here lies your great opportunity to present a professional social media presence to help you stand out above the other applicants.

Kevin Colvin

Facebook photo of Kevin Colvin at a Halloween party after telling his employer he had a family emergency

The bad: Employers have cited several different reasons why they didn’t hire an employee based on their social media profile(s), including inappropriate photos and language, references to using drugs and alcohol, and even using poor grammar – including emoticons :( .  You can find some great examples of “social media gone wrong” if you Google Cisco FattyFavreau Hillary, or Kevin Colvin (pictured right).

The good: Other employers say they have hired employees because they feel that, through social media, the candidate’s profile demonstrated the right personality and fit, supported their professional qualifications, showed creativity and solid communications skills, etc.

In short, your social media presence can make you extremely attractive, or unattractive.

Do you  think you are addicted to the outrageous side of social media? What can you do to make your presence employer-safe? Here’s a 12-step program to help “keep it clean.”

1. Never post anything that you would feel uncomfortable discussing in the lunchroom at work. I often go further and say if you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with your grandmother, spouse, and boss what you have posted online, then you should probably re-think the post.

2. Don’t post confidential information online, regardless of your privacy settings. Privacy settings change often and are misunderstood. Treat all of your accounts as if they were completely public and you shouldn’t run into any of these problems down the road. The old “I thought I had my privacy settings turned on” doesn’t hold up in a job interview.

3.  Sanitize. If you have explicit photos of you online, have posted inappropriate content, or are friends with the “wrong crowd,” it’s never too late to start to make it better.  Start by removing the offending photos and posts, then let your “friends” know your new approach to social media.

4. Promote the good. Now start posting photos and messages that you DO want the whole world to see. This could be tasteful photos, insightful comments about your industry, reports on local events, or even comments on what you are working on for school or work.

5. Don’t brag about, or admit to, anything even close to a crime. It’s very easy to jump to conclusions online, so even if you are innocent, don’t do it.

6. Remove postings by others that may get you in trouble. It’s not only the information that you post that could damage your reputation. Watch what people post on your profile and remove or edit as necessary.

7. Be considerate when you are posting things. Don’t set out to try and embarrass your friends. It may be funny now, but it may hurt them (and you) when it comes to career opportunities.

8. Monitor your information. Google your name often, look for new photos, see what people are saying about you. If you know what’s out there you can take action if necessary. You don’t know what you don’t know.

9. Don’t use social media during work hours, unless it’s a part of your job. Granted, this one is more of a “keep your job” than “get a job” tip, but still equally as relevant.

10. Be careful as you mix your personal and professional contacts online. Be sure to pause and think that you have to see these people every day, you may not want to be online friends.

11. Don’t disclose personal information that you are not comfortable having in the public domain. This can include your cell phone number, address, full birth date, etc.

12. Understand and raise your privacy settings. Even tough your security settings are maxed out, always assume your information and photos can be leaked. Security settings have been known to vanish during platform upgrades (Facebook), so check back often.

Final thoughts: Conversations that were private in the past are now public online, and it is up to you to help shape how people perceive you. It’s easy to get carried away trying to look cool or seeking the acceptance of peers, but it is extremely important to profile the professional you, not just the party you. Remember, if you can demonstrate a consistent professional use of social media when you are looking to advance your career, you will be a step ahead of the rest.

Go ahead, Google yourself, I dare you…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 92 other followers

%d bloggers like this: