Measurement and Monitoring Expanded

5 Mar

MeasureThere are now more reasons than social media to collect online conversation data to analyse. Every section of a PR campaign whether conducted online or offline will  be mentioned on the web some where and at some point. Some people say social media and online conversation monitoring is a phase and will die out eventually when people get tired of the same types of campaign activity. However the social market is always evolving providing new opportunities to make campaigns interesting. The social web is allowing the revitalisation of more traditional campaign tactics such as the PR stunt as Warren Johnson demonstrates in his blog. Johnson claims that now is the perfect time to reintroduce more traditional methods of communication as social media and online conversations provide the perfect platform for success  in measurement.

The excitement of being able to gain bigger insights doesn’t stop at the ability to measure in numbers, there is a new way of deciphering success within communications. K.D. Paine has a view on the progression of media measurement and how the industry needs to redefine it’s valued indicators:

“In the social media environment, the sheer volume of impressions is no longer what really counts. Social media encourages the development of relationships between people and products and/or organizations. And measuring these relationships, often by assessing engagement, is the key to quantifying success in social media.”

This suggests practitioners should be focusing on consumers attitudes and behaviours rather than the number of people reached, a view that can be matched to the evolution in segmenting target audiences. Of course another important factor within modern measurement is examining the influence, for example the difference between a celebrity’s approval in a tweet and the appearance on an unpopular blog. These influencers may not necessarily be famous but will always be some sort of opinion leader or admired individual/organisation, some online tools that are good for measuring influence include:

Klout: This is a free influencer measuring tool that can be used on a personal level or a professional level. For organisations the tool can find top influencers talking about the brand from a selection of social networks including Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. This is all measured by scoring users of the networks with an influence ranking score.

Kred: This tool is similar to Klout but uses search filters to identify social communities and then within selected communities analyses the social influence on Twitter. The variants examined within Kred to measure at influence level are the ability to inspire others and the reach available to each user assessed by retweets, @replies and new followers. Communities are broken down into specific user groups such as bloggers, tech, publishing etc.

There are different level of measurement established already used in the industry, looking at behaviour and attitude change involve some measurement of conversion. Conversion rates basically look at the number of people transformed from one state to a greater value such as visitors to a site becoming a fan on the Facebook page. Brian Solis‘ book ENGAGE! (2011) examines the different methods of measurement considered when investigating conversion activity (More can be found in the book):

Click-through rates: whereby a user is seen clicking through to a desired site, and completing a desired action resulting in a success in terms of the call to action.

Sentiment conversion: Using online measuring tools the shift in sentiment can be measured, this is a useful conversion rate to monitor as sentiment change can play a large part of strategy and tactics.

Participation and membership: capturing the number of people who become a fan or sign up to be more interactive with an organisation.

Semantic analysis is a new approach to measure online conversation relating to public relations campaigns. Originating from semiotic studies semantics looks deeply into meaning of words and allows practitioners to examine issues or themes surrounding their brand in terms of consumer attitudes. Latent semantic analysis examines words outside of syntax using values of frequency and context in terms of relationships between words to determine meaning and view the attached values to certain subjects, stakeholder groups or news titles. David Phillips explains semantics further on his blog LeverWealth. The concept of semantic analysis is still new to the PR industry and should be adapted for use within the next year or so. For now there are a few good tools that can give impressions on consumers attitudes and behaviours towards products, campaign activity and organisations:

Social Mention: looks at scoring sentiment, likelihood of being mentioned within social media and being part of repeat conversations for individuals, it also examines the range of influence a term has. The top keywords, users, hash tags and sources lists help PRs to distinguish the topics and words consumers associate with a brand or campaign as well as pointing out key influencers.

Twendz: Focuses on Twitter and gives example tweets that relate to the search term, it also illustrates sentiment, gives popular words associated with the topic using WordlCoud and gives a list of subtopics.

Sysomos: Sysomos MAP is a paid tool that applies automated intelligence based on location, key contributors to conversations, time and demographics to produce detailed results. Feedback from Sysomos is easy to understand and is very detailed especially when coming to examine demographics.

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Guerrilla Marketing: Creative Communications

6 Feb

Kitkat GMGuerrilla Marketing demonstrates slightly unconventional methods of promotion within the PR/marketing industry. This method can be low in expenses and work well to gain media attention as well as giving publics a first hand experience of the brand/product/concept. Guerrilla marketing is a unique way of illustrating the culture of an organisation, brand, product, person or concept, it removes the barrier of the media within the communications and presents the message directly to the desired public.

It is usually hard to target specific consumers with this method of communication but does allow the product to be delivered straight to them proactively, it means the organisation does not have to wait for the customer to come to them and can satisfy communication goals with real word of mouth promotion. To be successful guerrilla marketing needs to be approachable, energetic, knowledgeable, fun, enthusiastic and committed to the represented brand these elements and a creative flair will encourage the ultimate result which entails the campaign appearing in the media along with the viewer sharing through viral activity. The key concept is drawing the correct type of attention needed to improve the brand’s image, humour counts a lot within guerilla marketing, creating the right brain storm with enthusiastic members brainstorming is essential to providing a truly creative idea. A downside is that it may not always work in everyone’s favour; some publics may become offended by what they see or even disappointed in the brand/product because of their actions this means there needs to be a crisis management plan in place when planning guerrilla activity. There needs to be consideration taken towards surroundings,  for example graffiti may cause damage to an area that will only reflect badly on any organisation, keeping within the law is also very important to avoid any negative coverage.

This type of marketing does not have to be done outdoors and can take place digitally some brands use social networking sites to create great guerrilla marketing and other techniques would be SEO or website takeovers, there are a few examples at the end of this blog. Some organisations have incorporated augmented reality within their stunts such as Lynx with the fallen angel campaign.

Guerrilla marketing is there initially to gain attention form consumers but this needs to be kept in their minds for future reference. This needs some planned follow up activity so make the guerrilla experience memorable, this could mean for example using posters or flyers for people to keep as a reminder about the event. Some organisations such as T-Mobile turned their activity into a TV advertising campaign to refresh peoples memory of their innovative actions. Using mobile marketing might help to jog peoples memory with the use of location based software etc.

I think guerrilla marketing is an exciting way to get the message across about a brands values and culture creating a general buzz and through further activity can firmly place a brand in the back of the consumers mind. Some good recent examples of guerrilla marketing can be seen on this Creative Guerilla Marketing site here are a few examples:

The Ikea Pop Up:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olla Condoms use of Facebook for guerrilla marketing:

What is Socially Acceptable? A Few Pointers on Conducting a Social Media Audit

16 Jan

It is extremely important in today’s world to understand what your social media is saying about you; how it is representing your organisation or client. If there is not already an efficient monitoring system in place it is a good idea to start using one and to begin by conducting a social media audit. I have had the experience of undertaking an offline branding audit whilst on work experience  a few years ago, this involved searching for inconsistencies in the brand logo internally and around the local area. The logo was being updated, so it was vital to make sure no older versions of the logo were still around, this process was done manually and took a long time to complete although was essential in order to achieve successful branding. However an online presence can be helped with the use of online tools and certain specialist companies who can help make the process quick and [almost] painless.

I have compiled a brief list of things I would start with when conducting a social media audit:

1. Gather all the login information and a list of all sites where you are currently online.

2. Make sure the name of your company is reserved on sites such as Twitter and your domain name (Whois Look Up provide a useful service for this).

3. Make sure all the profile information on each site is complete and up-to-date.

4. Ensure the landing page on each site is the one that is most relevant for your client or organisation.

5. Look at the graphics and style of the sites and certify they are consistent and giving the intended message to consumers.

6. Look at the timings of any content updates made and make sure the content is relevant and posted regularly or as much as is needed to engage the ‘audience’.

7. Measure the success of the site using online or social media monitoring tools such as Google Analytics or Sysomos.

These are all steps that will allow a PR practitioner to gain an overview to any clients online presence and understand what it is that needs (if anything) improving. To get ideas and ensure improvements to social media are made there are a few things that can be done:

What is your social media saying?1. Investigate competitors – look at what they’re doing to make their social media interactive and useful for consumers, make sure the organisation’s/client’s online presence matches the standard and hopefully goes beyond it.

2. Scheduling and planning – look at any big promotions coming up in the next few months and plan online content to support this, it is good to make online and offline communications coherent. Creating a calendar where posts or updates on sites can be planned for a certain date will lighten the workload and the pressure of coming up with content immediately. Tools such as Conversocial can help in the planning process, this tool allows you to schedule an update for a specific time and posts it automatically so you don’t have to do it manually at an inconvenient time.

3. Include more people in the planning process – share the plans with other members of the team or the whole organisation this can be done by setting up a simple Google doc and inviting the relevant people to see planned site updates (this is a good way of keep a client closely involved with the process too). Gain new inspiration by encouraging people to share any new sites they think would be beneficial to appear on, and holding brainstorming sessions to gather fresh content ideas when creativity is running dry.

I hope all these pointers help to illustrate the type of thing that needs to be done when conducting a social media audit. I have come across a few other tools of which appear to be useful for auditing: Woorank, Backtype and Trendrr, please let me know any other good ones you find!

 

Infographics Take Two: The Content of a PR Brief

16 Jan

After my first attempt at creating an infographic I knew it needed practise so here is my second attempt using a couple of different tools when presenting information on what content needs to go into a PR brief. I used the Wordle tool to illustrate all the basic elements within a brief and to highlight their importance with the most commonly used words/phrases becoming enlarged within the image. I think this is a good way to show information on a basic level, however when it comes to giving more detail there is some limitations in terms of explanation within the image. I think Wordle infographics often need to be supported by a written explanation and so are not the most creative way to present information:

The next tool I used was from Gliffy which offers several different formatted templates to choose from when creating your infographic. I chose to use a flow chart/ organisation format as I thought it would illustrate the stages of planning a PR brief clearly. It made it easier to segment the areas within a brief and show the overall plan clearly. I used subheadings and contained bullet points to make the image more detailed and easily understandable. I thought Gliffy offered more detail within it’s infographic options in comparison to Wordle, however it still didn’t look very impressive or creative:

Both of these tools offer the basics for infographics but I am looking forward to being able to use visual.ly as it looks to have a lot more interesting capabilities that give flexibility and creative advantage to the user.

Segmenting Demographics: Is Anybody Out There?

6 Dec

Segmenting is a huge part of planning any PR activity, even when a brand has a set desired public things can change depending on the type of campaign and the type of messaging being used. There are many different types of segmentation marketers and PR practitioners use to target the correct publics. A practitioner needs to examine the needs of the potential consumer by undertaking market research and consumer analysis, they also need to consider profiling their publics using different types of descriptors. Here are some examples:

Geographic: This involves choosing an area to target your audience e.g. where in the country, which countries in the world, whether the consumers would be urban or rural in their location.

Demographic: This is basic socio-economic information about the target publics e.g. their age, sex, occupation, income, religion, race etc. Information on different demographics can be found through different methods for example a country’s census results.

Psychographic: This takes into consideration peoples emotions, their personality traits as a group including categorising their lifestyle, social class and attitudes towards certain situations. (More can be found on this type of segmentation from Chandler readings).

 Behavioural targeting: Focusing on how a consumer already interacts with certain brands or products, and how they behave in typical situations when interacting with media or organisations.

These types of segmentation work well when used efficiently, even as ambassadors of the marketing/PR industry we know how annoying it is when we receive totally irrelevant messages through a media we are trying to enjoy. It only portrays more negative connotations than positive ones when organisations become lazy with their segmenting, for instance as a 22  year female I do not really feel it is necessary to receive online messaging promoting a drill from B&Q – but this doesn’t mean it won’t happen!

Choosing a segment depends on more then just the type of brand you are promoting. There are other things to consider when examining the campaign objectives, the campaign could be looking to attract new publics, re-launching, launching a new product, revitalising an old one etc. It is important to know clearly the desired outcomes to ensure the correct people are reached.

With the development of technology there is a new type of segmentation which PR practitioners need to include; the self selecting publics. This type of segment comes as a result of social media, more accessible technology such as online mobile devices and essentially the publics opportunity to voice their opinions more freely and publicly. This gives the consumer more of a chance to show who they are as an idividual online – something organisations and PR people should be taking advantage of. Brian Solis has some interesting views on more modern versions of public segmentation and shares some of them on his blog.  Here’s an infographic posted on the blog to help explain some ‘behaviographics’ by Brian Solis:

The method of reaching publics is changing, with media such as TV or Radio segmenting can be boiled down to traditionalistic segmentation however with online there is a lot more variety in methods (which can still be applied to other platforms). It has become less about the circulation of a media platform and more about the reach and richness of a message. Consumers are faced with so much messaging and have more control over what they listen to that without an appealing, relevant message it would be hard to communicate with anyone at all! Facebook base advertisements on  individuals interests and ‘likes’ and can target their users through a more behaviour based segmentation as well as using tactics such as sponsored stories to gain interest and richness in their messages.

There are some online tools including QuantcastWolfram and Alexa that can aid in decisions about which segments to choose and how to target these segments most efficiently. After researching, planning and actioning the segmentations made in a campaign it is important to consider the measurement of how accurately the desired publics were reached and whether the messages met the original objectives:

*This can be done by looking into the more basic facts such as number of clicks or views, or (on TV) the number of viewers at that particular time.

*There are also tools such as Sysomos which take a more modern approach to demographic analysis and look at influence of a site and their certain users as well as looking specifically at what types of viewers saw the message with information  from their age to occupation available.

*There are also measures on conversion rates i.e. when an action has been achieved after an individual has seen the promotional message.

These are just a few examples of measurement techniques that help a practitioner to prove the accuracy and effectiveness of the targeting achieved; this leads to the final stage of the process…. presenting all this information in a professional and attractive way to the client – more to come on this!

Practising Infographics

21 Nov

Creating infographics has become one of the most popular ways to illustrate information. Infographics are particularly useful to a PR professional when looking into good ways to present information to clients or for showing research results. With the introduction of big data being so prominent in modern day communications this simple and attractive way of demonstrating results is integral to including all the relevant information.

I have attempted to create my own inforgaphics using a free web tool called Many Eyes, this tool was fairly simple to use and publish the results but the options on how to present the information were limited. Here are the example infogrpahics I put together showing the usage of different social media platforms in the UK taken from data across one month.

The images show results for Facebook:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LinkedIn:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are far better examples of inforgraphics available online, all coming form online tools providing a more varied experience than the ones I have made from Many Eyes. The site visual.ly  looks promising in provding plenty of ways to produce a professional infographic, however the site is not available to use at present. Here’s an example of a detailed and mixed data infographic I have found (this is the type of infographic being used in the industry):

These infographics look professional and can be used in a business situation, I hope to be able to gain experience in using more technical methods to produce infographics in the near future as it is important for any PR student to look at new ways to present information. Lots of PR agency blogs feature relevant infographics and this helps them to show off their capabilities. One of the best things about infographics is that they are comprehensible throughout many different parts of the world and can be understood for many years in the future.

Original Ideas, Do They Grow on Trees?

7 Nov

Originality, creativity and success are attributes everybody hopes to embody at some point during their career or hobby. Within PR these qualities are very important to the development and admiration of the industry. Creativity is a key part of public relations and is exemplified in almost every piece of work produced for a client or project pitch, it is a quality that cannot be lacking in any practitioner in the field. However, creativity is different to originality, there are many debates surrounding the issue of originality. You can be creative in different ways but being original is rare or non-existent in some people’s views.

Can there ever be an original idea? I believe it depends on the way you look at the idea but in a basic sense, I don’t believe there is many (if any) totally original ideas. The creativity side appears when presenting an idea to others or when it is applied to real life. Most ideas are sprung from inspiration we find in other things we have seen, heard, touched, smelt or tasted even if this inspiration or application to another thought is sub concious. Humans are social animals and like to fit into groups, so it makes sense that we pick up on ideas from others, like them and then use them in a new way ourselves even if we are mostly unaware to this copy-cat behaviour. We all take part in collective behaviour to achieve a sense of belonging and this is how our ideas develop. For example, look at the fashion design industry there are seasonal trends featuring similar colours, patterns, styles etc. which are often brought about from previous design trends:

Louise Brooks: 1927 (Left)                                    Kate Moss: 2011 (Right)

The is not much difference in the design of these coats (except one is real fur and the other is fake… hopefully!) illustrating the similarities between eras in time and peoples ideas of what’s fashionable. Celebrity’s also become leaders in idea sharing and trend setting; they are innovators of fashion or whichever sector they’re involved in but are not totally original in their ideas.

People may develop, add to and transform an idea creatively but it will never be fully original despite sometimes being appreciated as so. The ability to use the internet to find trends and inspiration means the idea of originality is even less likely and even easier to be disproved. The internet provides a basis for us to search, use and interpret other peoples ideas which we then use for ourselves either in our own private thought development or through expression to other people; producing a ripple affect of ideas. Humans feed off each others inspirations and thoughts to produce better ideas, because of this combining our knowledge and thoughts is often the best recipe for success in the PR industry. There are different techniques practitioners use to share ideas with one another and one of the most popular is the brainstorm.

From my work placement at MediaCom I learnt that generally it is best to:

* Invite as many people a long to a brainstorm in order to evoke creativity, the diversity and sharing of all thoughts should return some creative and brilliant ideas.

* There needs to be an openness and willing to listen between participants with no judgement on people’s ideas; any idea is a good idea.

* There needs to be some direction of conversation, this should be planned prior to a brainstorming session by the leader of the exercise (this is usually the person benefiting from the brainstorming activity). Direction can be formed using direct questions, images, objects of relevance, associations etc.

* Eliminate all distractions.

* Sometimes inviting a selection of different ‘thinkers’ to a brainstorm is a good decision. For example, a leader, a reasoner, a creative, an analytical etc. are all different types of people who each bring something useful to the brainstorm environment.

Sharing information is in a sense the whole objective of a PR practitioners job. Through applying brainstorming and similar idea developing exercises e.g. experience days, the quality in campaigns can grow to become extremely successful. The ideas produced may not be original in a unique sense but they can be and often are creatively actioned through the use of  the media.