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Social Media Plan: UrbanPromise December 14, 2009

Posted by moving4word in Creating a Social Media Plan, Urban Promise.
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Here it is. The fruit of my labor 🙂

This is a link to an outline of the social media plan I created for UrbanPromise (Sorry if i sound like Kermit the frog, I’m a little under the weather) The actual plan goes into more detail, but I was limited to 5 min (Yay for Free version of Jing!) If you want more details just let me know!

Merry Christmas!

God bless us, everyone 🙂


SlideShare: Social Media for NonProfits November 30, 2009

Posted by moving4word in Creating a Social Media Plan.
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This presentationby Primalmedia outlines reasons why non-profits should adopt social media platforms and how they can use these tools to develop relationships with current and potential donors. Although UrbanPromise uses some social media tools, they have yet to recognize the importance of regularly engaging with and listening to its audience. This slideshare presentation offers important and practical advice for UrbanPromise and other non-profits.

Public Relation(ship)s November 17, 2009

Posted by moving4word in Creating a Social Media Plan, Understanding social media.
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Everyone (in one way or another) works in PR. Maybe you’ve been the good sibling who advocated for your parents’ forgiveness after your brother wrecked the car? Or perhaps you’ve recently updated your Facebook status to remind your friends how much you love your peppermint mocha from Starbucks? (stop salivating). In both cases, you’re managing the communication between a client and an audience and to communicate your message effectively you must understand your audience.
putting public back

Putting the Public Back in Public Relations

This principle also applies to PR professionals. In their book, Putting the Public Back in Public Relations (PPBPR), Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge, suggest that PR professionals have failed to understand and listen to their audiences, thus turning PR into a one-way communication stream in which professionals talk at an uninterested public. However, Web 2.0, with its vital social networks and long tail of organizations and niche markets, warrants the development of a public-centered PR, or PR 2.0.

Instead of trusting traditional media outlets, consumers now use information from bloggers and social media publishers. Thus, to understand the conversation about a client, PR practitioners must identify where their customers aggregate. The authors suggest that blogs in the “magic middle,” or with 20 to 1,000 inbound links, are most likely to inspire real people to try new products. However, companies shouldn’t just target consumers; they must also listen to consumers. Johnson & Johnson learned this the hard way when it invited mommy bloggers to a Baby Camp event in 2008. Although planned with good intentions, the event failed because it was scheduled during another blogging conference and prohibited participants from bringing their children. The result: the wrath of mommy bloggers (now that’s punishment). Thus, you must know your consumers and build relationships with them; not just use technology for the sake of it.


Death of PR 1.0

 Solis and Breakenridge advocate joining social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to interact openly and honestly with consumers. However, social media isn’t just about PR and can affect all aspects of an organization from marketing to customer service to product development. As PR professionals participate in communities and tell brand and product stories, they’re also in a position to listen to customers and gain valuable insight into the effect of their efforts as well as new communications opportunities.

Public Enemies?

It’s tough to argue with the main tenets of this book because they offer PR professionals pertinent and practical advice. However, I thought this book was too long (very repetitive) and not very innovative (is the idea that PR is based on relationships really new?). Blogger, Bill Sledzik adds to my list of grievances by noting that PPBPR relies on too much opinion (Robert Scoble’s and Chris Anderson’s blogs) instead of quantitative evidence. And in that vein, as soon as this book was published, its references to blog posts were not news, but ancient PR 2.0 history. So although this book may be helpful for late social media adopters, others may find different books more beneficial.

Find the public or the public will find you.

There are already many examples of how companies have built relationships with consumers through social media. For example, Starbucks launched mystarbucksidea.com where customers can offer suggestions and comments to the company.


Companies are listening

Also, companies that aren’t paying attention to, or don’t care about costumers can get burned fast. Case in point: “United Breaks Guitars.” In short: United Airlines broke Dave Carroll’s guitar and refused to pay for it. He writes a song, makes it a video, the video goes viral, and United’s public image is tarnished (Can you say epic fail?). Lesson: We have a voice and companies are listening. What have you done for PR today?

It’s about people and relationships.

Unlike Groundswell, which targets business executives, and Here Comes Everybody and  The Long Tail, which could be used by businesses or the general public, PPBPR focuses on third party PR professionals. PPBPR sums the other books’ themes together. All considered, successful organizations must listen to the groundswell, find out where consumers are (identify niche markets) listen to them and talk with them. Through social media platforms people have the power to publish and share information that make your organization a success or a failure. Technology changes, but relationships with customers will always be most important.


PPBPR suggests that UrbanPromise supporters could be the greatest public relations advocates for the organization. With limited staff and finances, tapping into what current supporters and potential want from and think about the organization is essential to success. By encouraging or inspiring them to create positive buzz about UrbanPromise, supporters can raise awareness and empathy towards the organization’s mission.

Entering the Groundswell September 21, 2009

Posted by moving4word in Creating a Social Media Plan, Uncategorized.
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Unless you’ve been living in complete isolation for the last ten years (and if you have I’d like to know how you found this site), you can’t deny that social media tools like Facebook, Digg, and blogs are changing how people communicate. However, maybe less obvious are these tools’ implications in the business world. As described by blogger Matthew Hodgson, many business executives are hesitant to adopt social technologies because of fears of insecurity and appearing unsophisticated.

 In their book, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, Forrester Research analysts, Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li address these fears and provide a manager’s guide to creating a social media strategy.

According to the authors, “the groundswell is a social trend in which people use technologies to get things from each other, rather than form traditional institutions like corporations.”


Groundswell by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li

Using numerous case studies from companies including Best Buy, Dell, and Sony, Bernoff and Li discuss how organizations can adjust current practices to remain relevant to consumers and benefit from the growing groundswell.  

From early in Part 1, the authors emphasize that companies should focus on the relationships, not the technologies. To maximize media efficiency, organizations must understand who their customers are, their interests, and their social media habits. For example, Forrester Research has developed their own profiling tool, “The Social Technographics Profile,” which categorizes groups of people as social media creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators, and inactives. Matching the target audiences’ engagement level will allow companies to develop more fitting social technologies.

Tapping the groundswell involves a four-step planning process symbolized by the acronym POST. Managers must first consider People, Objectives, Strategy, and lastly Technology. Once the audience has been identified, organizations should define their primary objective, which the authors suggest should involve listening (i.e., finding out what people are saying about your organization), talking (i.e., engaging in discussion with customers), energizing (i.e. getting people excited about your organization or product) supporting (i.e., assisting customers with products or services), or embracing (i.e., using feedback for development) the audience.

However, when entering the groundswell, organizations must be willing to give up some control. Failing to use customer feedback can result in a decline in public credibility and ultimately doom a company.

Ultimately, to develop a successful social media plan, the authors suggest that organizations start small, listen first, educate executives about the groundswell, get the right people to manage the strategy, and plan for the next step. Initiating a social media plan can be an experiment in itself. Don’t be afraid to fail, and always remain humble.

Overall, Bernoff and Li’s book successfully offers managers practical advice about how to enter and operate within the groundswell. It’s well written and provides a multitude of fact-based case studies. And although they suggest actionable advice, they never suggest that every business should follow a simple social media formula.

However, Bernoff and Li seem to assume that their readers have no familiarity with social media development. Those who have experience with social technologies may find the book very basic and less helpful.  For example, while tools’ purpose and importance are emphasized, specifics on how to create and use the technologies are omitted.

Also,  Groundswell never steps out and discusses the broader context of social media. Sure, this may not have been the authors’ purpose in writing the book, but it would have been nice to gain a better understanding of why the groundswell is happening now and what it means for our society, history, and culture. Including this kind of commentary would enable readers to see the big picture, and perhaps motivate them to participate in social media just because everyone else is doing it, but because this is a significant societal shift in communications that they cannot afford to ignore.( For more on this, check out NevilleHobson’s thoughts on the cultural context of social media.)

Finally, I believe that, instead of portraying the groundswell as something that we’re all actively constructing, the book presents it as something that we are passively and inevitable being led by. Yes, from a company perspective, joining the groundswell means giving up some control. However, as thoughtfully discussed in the blog, Altitudebranding, we are not being carried by some mystical force. We (like all the other social media participants) can control our role in the groundswell. We can choose which tools we use, the purpose we will use them for, and when we will implement these technologies.