Measuring Social Media

Everyone knows by now that social media is important to the work that they’re doing, whether that’s creating a great product or saving the world.

In public relations especially, knowing what one is getting out of a tool, tactic or strategy can be especially complex. Most of the time, we’re faced with multiple, overwhelming needs to prove ourselves: to show that massive culture change is happening around an issue, to demonstrate to our Powers That Be that we’re successful, to engage supporters in a way that avoids confrontation, the list goes on and on. Adding in social media efforts can feel like “just another task,” and without understanding how to measure those efforts, they– and we– can get lost in the shuffle.

Chapter 19 in the book covers some possible ways for public relations practitioners to measure the effectiveness of social media. In 2009 AMEC (the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) partnered with some global public relations bodies, declared the Barcelona Principles. The principles where seven statements detailing how public relations measurement could and should be done as best practices.

Those seven principles are:

  1. Goal setting and measurement are fundamental aspects of any PR programmers.
  2. Measuring the effect on outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs.
  3. The effect on business results can and should be measured where possible.
  4. Media measurement requires quantity and quality.
  5. AVEs are not the value of public relations.
  6. Social media can and should be measured.
  7. Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement.

The AMEC published its Valid Metrics Framework, which provided a template for communications to be measured.

These are very effective ways to measure the impact of your social media effectiveness, but with technology constantly changing there are many companies emerging with sites and programs that will do it for you, that is if you have the money of course, and for the looks of it there are not cheap. Regardless of the way you choose to measure social media, the fact now is it is a must do for companies and organizations in order to keep up in the fast pace, ever-changing world of social media.


Real-Time Public Relations

Real-time means news breaks over minutes, not days. It means ideas percolate, then suddenly and unpredictably go viral to a global audience. It’s when companies develop (or refine) products  or services instantly, based on feedback from customers or events in the marketplace. And it’s when businesses see an opportunity and are the first to act on it.

Caught up in old, time-consuming processes, too many companies leave themselves fatally exposed by flying blind through this new media environment.

Chapter 17 in the book Share This starts the chapter off with a solid point. It says real-time communication impacts public relations in ways that cannot be described simply as it is the same as before but faster. It is both a central cause and effect of what it means to practice PR in the digital age. This pretty much sums it up; it is completely different than it has ever been. I don’t think you can even compare how public relations was to how it is in this day and age, and one of the main reasons which the book covers is Twitter.

Since rolling out in 2006, the micro-blogging service has become the online equivalent of a massive global square. Twitter now has more than 200 million active users creating more than 400 million tweets each day, according to Twitter’s blog. For PR pros Twitter is like oxygen. It’s a way to breathe life into new PR campaigns, cultivate relationships with media reps, stakeholders and consumers and handle crises with more alacrity.

Indeed, for communicators and, in particular, younger PR pros it may be hard to imagine executing a PR campaign without Twitter playing a central role. It’s also affected how PR folks craft their messages. As George Stenitzer, VP of marketing and corporate communications at B2B company Tellabs, put it:  “Twitter is the world’s ultimate headline writing contest. It teaches brevity. Good tweets equals seven to capture attention, 70 characters to maximize retweets.”

Twitter had enabled PR pros to take a real-time temperature of their audiences, enabling on-point messaging, and it also lets your workforce become your biggest brand champions, giving your employees a chance to evangelize about our brand’s attributes.

The book also talks about what success looks like, that in a real-time public relations demands answers to the following questions: The what, who, how, and when which can be summed up as make sure you pay attention, respond fast and effetely.

The final thing in this chapter that is really helpful is that it gives some essentials for real-time public relations success, these include:

  • (re)connecting public relations to the business
  • Investments in knowledge, skills and policies
  • Defined analytics and workflow
  • An approiate culture
  • Rigorous measurement and evaluation

This outline is essential for PR practitioners in this ever changing, fast paced social media world we live in.

Media Relations Modernized

With the way social media has been changing faster than it ever has it has forced public relations to adapt to these changes like never before. Chapter 15 in the book Share this talks about media relations being modernized for this day and age. The chapter opens up with a quote, “ In a social media driven world, the fundamentals of good media relations practice – relevance, authority, engagement and relationship – are more important than ever.” I think this sums up the way we have to treat social media as PR practitioners. Most companies are putting the responsibility of social media on the PR, when it should be spread across the company.

The book goes on to talk about what should a PR practitioner role be? It says that we should be looked at as advisors, guiding and training the different parts of the organization in effective and coherent social media engagement. I believe this is a key concept that every company should have in place. Public relations should not be the only people responsible for social media; I believe it should be a melting pot with every part of the organization having a hand in it.

A good example would be if someone tweets a question; lets use dell for the example. If the question tweeted is something along the lines of “will the new NIVIDA g force card be compatible with amount of ram I have, if not what would you suggest.” Now personally I would not want a PR responding with the same response I just found on Google. Instead you have an R&D guy, or someone in manufacturing gives the response.

The book also goes on to identify relevant media influences on Twitter, the four things you should do are: Get involved- by being on Twitter and becoming part of the community, by sharing information and engaging in discussions you will come across as a relevant individual. This is an easy step that I think many PR practitioners do not do, it just is one sided with no participation. The second is looking up current contacts, because chances are you will already have existing lists of media contacts who you already know, which could save you a lot of time. The third is the use of searching tools such as Twitter search, and social mention to look for individuals on Twitter who are potentially relevant to you.

The last one the book mentions is using curated lists, and using sites like Listotious and PeerIndex that save you time with their lists of Twitter accounts that have already been curated into groups by other individuals. This is really good for PR because everyone knows, time is money and these will save you quite a bit.

The last things the book goes over for making media relations modernized, I believe are some of the most important to any company or organization, and that is listen and engage.  Many PR practitioners just jump head first into every social media site they can get their hands on, when in fact they should take the time to sit back to listen and observe. This seems to get over-looked way too much, and needs to really be looked at first when a company is diving into social media.

Social Media and Face to Face Communication

In an age where your Facebook page is where to find “you” and your Twitter feed represents your thoughts, feelings, interests, and even your best news source, how can millennials even rationalize sending a letter or having a private face-to-face conversation?

Even when people are physically in the same room as one another, they are updating their status, following someone on twitter, texting, checking their email, googling something someone just said, looking up a video on YouTube, posting a picture they just took – all in between sentences. I have seen this first hand on multiple occasions. I was once eating at a fast food restaurant, when I noticed a group of teenagers sitting across from me, and every single one of them were sitting there texting each other. It blew my mind!

There is never a moment we are not entertained. We are texting when we should be having one-on-one conversations. Relationships are formed in the social media world without ever physically meeting. Can these distractions ever be effectively muted so as to allow for reflection, reading, or even learning? This multimedia overload is completely redefining human interaction. Replacing in-person conversations with text, email, and social media may completely change the way we interact and understand one another. This constant multitasking and informational overload may also have serious implications on education, including verbal and writing skills in the coming generations.

Over 250 million Americans are currently on Facebook. A study in the journal New Media & Society looks at how young people use social networking to define themselves and their interactions. The “older” millennials tend to have social networking pages that are somewhat mild and centered on their connections with other people, authentic relationships they have made in the “real” world. In contrast, young teenagers seem to be using these sites to create dramatic, creative, and sometimes fantastical identities; and both groups, seem to have no sense of privacy or shame when it comes to their internet identities, almost relishing in whatever activity contains “shock value.”

The cyber bullying phenomenon as well as YouTube videos made famous by millions of “dislikes” gives rise to some serious questions. Questions such as the negative impact of relationships and communications, as well as identities, created through these mediums. The social media user feels somewhat “removed,” and thus freer to engage in risky and negative behavior. The increasing communication through technology mediums rather than face-to-face conversations is also reflected in the young adults “texting” obsession.

Social Media in Football Recruiting

In the past, when a coach wanted to talk to a recruit he had to go through a horde of gatekeepers; coaches and parents were unavoidable barriers to direct contact. Now, however, almost every high school student is active on at least one platform of social media. Any coach can send messages directly to recruit. Social media technology allows schools to recruit much more broadly and successfully, and, as a result, the recruiter’s relationship with high school coaches is becoming less vital in the process.

The growth of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have given coaches a window into the life of players outside of football that they did not have before. Many young people have no filter in what they place online, so evaluators are able to view players up close, and see what they are really getting into when they recruit them.

In the past, only the highest-profile powerhouses could recruit nationally because they had the reputation to get a foot in the door across the country. Now, a coach in New Orleans can see a highlight reel from California and send the player a private message in a matter of minutes.

This has been becoming increasingly popular over the last five-years and shows no signs of slowing down. Some people are saying it is an unfair advantage and is ruining the reputation of being a high-school football coach, I personal believe it is a good thing for college football as-well-as social media, and excited to see what the future will bring.

Social media and the uprising

There’s been some backlash over the last couple of months against the idea that the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt were brought on by Twitter or a “Facebook Revolution.” And certainly, it takes a lot more than the 21st century version of a communication system to persuade people to take to the streets and risk harm, imprisonment, or death. But that doesn’t mean social media didn’t play a role. It did. Given the magnitude of grievances in each country, revolt would almost certainly have come eventually. But social media simply made it come faster.

Before Egypt shut off the Internet and mobile phones, before it even started blocking Twitter and Facebook, those tools were used to coordinate and spread the word about the demonstrations that were scheduled for January 25. Without these mass organizing tools, it’s likely that fewer people would have known about the protests, or summoned the kind of courage that’s made possible by knowing you’re not the only one sticking your neck out. Without them, fewer people might have shown up, and the Egyptian authorities might have more easily dispatched them. Chances are, we’d be waking up to today with the skirmishes being nothing more than a fading headline from a time long gone.

Did social media make all this happen? No, of course not. Did it bring everything to a head much sooner than it would have, had Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube not existed? Absolutely. This is only the beginning of this type of uprising, and we can expect to see more like it in the not too distant future

kid’s too young using social media

What were you doing when you were 10,11,12, and 13 years old? I know what I was doing, playing with pokemon cards, and being excited to play dodgeball in gym class. Well, fast forward a decade or so, and the average 13 year old is now equipped with a smart phone, tablet, and laptop computer. It is because of the ease of accessibility, kids are using the social media sites like never before.

Facebook restricts minors below the age of 13 from using their site. To get around this, kids from all around the globe are creating e-mail addresses with or without the help or consent of parents and creating Facebook profiles. Keep in mind, Facebook now allows anyone with an e-mail address to register on their site, not like the good ol’ days when you needed a college e-mail. A site I stumbled across called Minor Monitor, claims that 38% of kids on Facebook are under the age of 13! Which is pretty crazy, but then they went on to say that 40 out of every 1,000 children on Facebook are six years old or younger, which completely blew my mind.

According to a CNN article, Facebook has already started to take charge of the issue of underage user-ship. They’re apparently throwing out 20,000 underage users per day. Facebook is also testing out several features and functionalities that would allow parents control over child accounts. Features include: linking a child’s account to the parent so it can be monitored and controlled, allowing parents to decide who connects with their child, and access to any applications or games.

I still believe young children should not be allowed to use social media sites, but if a parent is allowing them, I feel these features would make it much safer for the children, and maybe eliminate some of them from using it all together, because if those kids are anything like my 13 year old brother he wouldn’t want my mom anywhere near his Facebook.

Week2O Why Social Media Failed on Xbox Live

In early 2009 Microsoft added social media apps to Xbox Live on the Xbox 360 video game system. These apps allowed you to login to your Facebook and Twitter accounts on the dashboard of your Xbox when you first logged in to Xbox live. When they first released the apps I tested out the Facebook app to see how it was. The first thing i noticed was, it was exactly like Facebook on your phone or computer. The second thing i noticed was, how unbelievably slow it was, so i never used it again. I personally thought they went about it all wrong and that it wouldn’t last, but every article I read was saying how many users are using/loving the apps. Here is one of those articles,

But then in early October of last year Microsoft announced that they were scrapping the social media apps. Microsoft did not say much on why they did this, the only thing i found was that it was in the interest of “streamlining” app functionality on the service. Let’s make a safe assumption: if the apps were popular and used by Xbox Live members, they’d still be up. No one is talking about taking Netflix down to “streamline” Xbox Live. At present, you’ll be able to access Twitter and Facebook using Microsoft’s Internet Explore App on Xbox Live. On the surface, it seems odd that such popular service which, for many, serve as a central connection to their friends and family, met with so little success on Xbox Live. However, I can’t say that I’m surprised. I am personally a frequent user of Facebook and (slowly) Twitter on my home computer and Iphone.

Between Facebook, Twitter, instant messages, text messages, message boards, and email, I’m not lacking for ways to digitally connect with my friends and online acquaintances. With most “gamers” they are not looking to post status, and send tweets when they turn on their Xbox, they are looking to lose themselves in a virtual world. The main reason I believe the apps fell short was the speed, by the time the Xbox 360 boots up, I could have sent 30 tweets and updated my whole profile from my phone. If Microsoft could update the speed of the apps and add some features where you could post in-game stats, or tweet progress form the game it would fare a lot better with the gaming community. i do not think they should abandon the social media aspect, because it is a really good idea. I believe they just need to go back to the drawing boards and revamp the idea.