Archive for social content integration
We recently conducted a crisis communications summit for the communications team of an international organization that highlighted best practices on crisis communications plans, including the integration of social media as a key engagement strategy.
It was a session filled with great conversation and the sharing of experiences, anecdotes and thoughtful questions and answers that all contributed to one of the best summits we have conducted.
However, we were struck with the old adage of “the more things change, the more they stay the same” when the day ended with participants talking about ongoing challenges with their leadership when dealing with the media – from media training to being accessible to a reporter to staying on message – and most everything in between.
We know of no simple, easy or pat answers to successfully dealing with this challenge other than to stay the course, keep trying and be ready to immediately implement a back-up scenario if the challenge becomes an insurmountable barrier to communicating effectively with the media.
This year we’ll mark the anniversary of our decision in 2007 to add social media to Sawmill’s suite of services (media relations, media training and crisis communications were the original three). As an early adopter and one of the first PR firms to go in this direction we gained a lot of attention for the move, and the Baltimore Business Journal later marked the occasion with a news story (left) about Sawmill’s role in this emerging trend, headlined: “PR firm trying to get its clients face (book) time with new media”
Back then, we didn’t quite know what to call it and wound up with the moniker “Social Content Integration.” Now everybody calls it Social Media, but we like the original name and that’s what it still says on our agency materials. Since the beginning, we’ve never viewed social media as a separate strategy or tactic. Instead, we believe the content should be integrated with traditional communications and that the emphasis should be on solid and authentic exchanges and not on automated or gimmicky Facebook or Twitter promotions.
Sawmill recently completed a comprehensive social media analysis and social media plan for a major international airport, and, while we won’t go into details in this post (contact us if you want to talk further), a few nuggets from our research offer a glimpse into the trends in social media for top airports in the U.S. and what airport managers should be doing to meet the needs of these on-the-go travelers.
We reviewed airport industry social media research, including a survey by Airports Council International, and we spoke with representatives from travel apps and interviewed marketing, technology and operations personnel at airports of all sizes. We saw examples of “best practices” in airport social media. We also learned “what not to do.” Here is some of what we learned:
Be Aware: You need to know what people are saying about your airport on social media to take advantage of the benefits of an airport social media program. Establishing a listening and monitoring program is a good way to start and a way to convince skeptical management to get a program going. People are tweeting in your terminal right now. Do you have any idea what they’re saying and what you can learn from it?
Airport Leadership is Key: Management buy-in is crucial, as is ensuring employees are aware of your social media policy so they can support the program. We came across one airport that says it wants employees to contribute to airport social media messaging through social media, but when they sign in to those social networking sites, a red warning page pops up!
Bigger than Marketing: For many of the airport representatives we met with, social media is managed by the marketing department, but our research showed there’s much potential to realize the value beyond marketing, in areas such as operations, retail, procurement and fire/rescue, where your airport crisis communications plan must integrate social media monitoring and response. Customer service interactions and alerts from emergency services are just as important as marketing-oriented posts on Facebook.
Connect the Silos: Each department has its role, but the public sees the airport as a single entity, and social media can be that unifying source. Best practices call for cross-organization cooperation, appointing social media advocates from each department and ongoing training to keep personnel on top of the ever-changing social media.
With mobile communications firmly in place and an increasingly savvy customer base of travelers, it’s time to do what the best airports in social media are doing and establish an airport social media program to meet their needs and protect your reputation.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Baltimore Business Journal‘s “Crash Course in Social Media” event yesterday at Sheppard Pratt in Towson. Attendees were treated to a half day of solid content from some of the top PR and social media companies in Baltimore. Here are links to the tools I mentioned during my presentation:
Dashboard for monitoring social media accounts: HootSuite; daily emails with mentions on Twitter: Twilert; instant alerts from across the web: Google Alerts; advanced monitoring and analytics: Radian6
For examples of crisis situations, search for Domino’s Pizza and Chrysler. The new book I mentioned is #FAIL: The 50 Greatest Social Media Screw-Ups by Bernhard Warner.
Finally, here is my slide on steps to take to protect your reputation:
HUNT VALLEY, Md. — Taking a close look at a company’s data and using it in creative ways will likely elevate opportunities to tap into new sources for sales, according to Tom Loveland, founder and CEO of information systems firm Mind Over Machines.
Speaking at the May 8 Knowledge Session hosted by the Baltimore/Washington chapter of Sales & Marketing Executives International, Loveland provided case study examples of how companies strategically “mined” data in search of information that illuminated a path toward their business goals and leading to profits that otherwise might have been overlooked. Data mining can range from intense analytics and repackaging or mashing data, to simply sifting through company email exchanges to identify contacts with prospective customers. A sampling of take-aways from Loveland’s presentation included:
- A key to success in business intelligence and data mining is a cooperative relationship between the marketing and IT departments. Each needs a common understanding on business drivers and, in most cases, these relationships depend on executive management leading the way by recognizing the opportunities and fostering communication, innovation and creativity when it comes to using data.
- Both IT and marketing must know the business, and each must reach beyond the bounds of their typical functions. IT should step into the role of solving business problems with people and for people, while marketing should know how to use the data to benefit sales, create richer stories that lead to sales conversations, and also use the data to help focus and drive the creative process.
- Companies must set themselves up for success by positioning themselves to be in the business of collecting data and train their teams to look at their data in different ways. If you are ever faced with a situation that makes you think “there must be a better way,” then treat that as a flag that there may be an opportunity to turn your data into an actionable opportunity, Loveland said.
Founded in 1935, Sales & Marketing Executives International (SMEI) is the worldwide organization dedicated to ethical standards, continuing professional development, knowledge sharing, mentoring students and advancing free enterprise. For more information about the Baltimore/Washington chapter, visit www.smeibaltimore.org
During a breakout session during the Counselor’s Academy conference this week, “Mobilizing Your Firm for a Smartphone World,” presenters Linda W. Cohen, APR, CEO of The Caliber Group, Inc., and Michael Barber, director of digital strategy, Cohn Marketing, shared the following eye-opener facts and insights:
- By June 2012 (next month!) more people will read email on their mobile devices than on laptops or the computers at their offices or at home. No longer are they tethered to the stationary computer work-stations of the past;
- In 2012, a total of 58 percent of consumers will buy something using their mobile device;
- By 2013, half of the internet traffic to your site will be via people on their mobile devices;
- By 2015, more people will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs or other wired computers;
- To accommodate and promote all of this, the marketing spend has flipped as budgets for mobile now dominate social. Now is the time to plan your mobile marketing strategy, from providing apps to converting your website so people can access your information when they need it.
If you haven’t done so already, grab an iPhone or Android and visit your company’s website. Like what you see? Ready or not that’s the first impression you’re already offering a significant percentage of visitors to your site.
The “revelation” could not be further from the truth, and the blog post the agency shared, “Death to the QR Code,” is so off-base that it had to be written to generate comments and new readers (aka “link bait”). If you read the post, scroll through the comments as well. Either way, it got me to thinking about all of the other declarations of death in our industry:
The press release is dead – this one’s been going around for a while. Kent State Professor Bill Sledzik traces one of the earlier proclamations to 1979 in this post. The reality: there is a new role for the press release; sloppy usage by clueless PR people is the real problem. Social media is dead – Google (or “Bing”) that phrase and you’ll find post after post informing us SM is over. Twitter is dead – #exaggerations anyone? Facebook is dead – a meme resurrected this month as Google+ hit the scene; and, of course, Google is dead. As I said, anything to generate comments and links!
BALTIMORE, Md. (May 3, 2011) — Sawmill Marketing Public Relations, specializing in media relations, social content integration, crisis communications and media training, participated in the Barclay Greenmount Spring Sweep 2011, a community service project sponsored by client Greater Baltimore AHC, on Saturday, April 30.
“We spent the morning working with neighborhood residents, representatives of community organizations, volunteers from schools as well as individuals and Greater Baltimore AHC, Inc. staff,” said Susan J. Anthony, partner with Sawmill Marketing Public Relations, headquartered in Baltimore.” We picked up trash, mowed grass in the common areas of the neighborhood and other similar tasks before enjoying a cookout together.”
This was the first year for the Barclay Greenmount Spring Sweep. Greater Baltimore AHC officials said that they are considering making it an annual event.
About Sawmill Marketing Public Relations
Sawmill Marketing Public Relations is a Baltimore PR firm and social media marketing communications agency established in 1995 specializing in the development and execution of marketing public relations programs as business development strategies for business-to-business, business-to-consumer and professional services clients. The Maryland public relations company specializes in social media, traditional media relations, media training, and crisis communications. For additional information, visit www.sawmillmarketing.com
Laura Vozzella’s column in the Baltimore Sun does a great job of capturing the PR firestorm over a local restaurateur’s decision to trademark “Hon.”
Rather than debate the merits of the decision to claim rights to the word and the way the restaurateur went about defending her point of view, look at how PR missteps and social media are intensifying this storm.
Many people continue to say “any publicity is good publicity.” BP doesn’t think so, and the owner of this restaurant (and gift shop and festival) surely won’t believe it when this fiasco eventually fizzles out.
The mishandling of the news led to a spoof Twitter account, boycott the restaurant Facebook page, blog posts, newspaper comment section posts, a protest and a string of critical Yelp “reviews,” all within hours of this firestorm. Fanning the flames even more, the restaurant’s graphic design (and presumably not PR) consultant weighed in with a profanity-laced post (click on comments to find the one from “springray“) that went viral, while a rejected Yelp review found a new life and many more eyeballs on countless blogs.
This week marks the anniversary of our move in 2007 to add social media to Sawmill’s suite of services (media relations, media training and crisis communications were the original three). As an early adopter and one of the first PR firms to go in this direction we gained a lot of attention for the move, and the Baltimore Business Journal marked the occasion with a news story about Sawmill’s role in this emerging trend, headlined: “PR firm trying to get its clients face (book) time with new media”
Back then, we didn’t quite know what to call it and wound up with the moniker “Social Content Integration.” Now everybody calls it Social Media, but we like the original name and that’s what it still says on our agency materials. Since the beginning, we’ve never viewed social media as a separate strategy or tactic. Instead, we believe it should be integrated with traditional communications and that the emphasis should be on solid and authentic content and not on automated or gimmicky Facebook or Twitter promotions that someone sitting in a back office passes off as “engaging in a conversation.”