Social Media and Online Public Relations.pdf

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General Education Studies
Maya Rana

Introduction Transmission model of communication Assertion that communication professionals previously could control the flow • Simplification but a dangerously misleading interpretation of the of messages and influence from the organisations they represent to their nature of human communication. publics – usually by trying to control the information entering traditional media. • Traditional PR is focused on the broadcast of messages. • Lack of control by practitioners in the media. • Concerned with the nature, power and control and the persuasion of • SM means it’s now very difficult for them to hide behind organisation, publics using the one way flow of communication. to be a faceless and impenetrable institution who only communicates to its publics through the media when it chooses. Old rules of PR • Notion of control is still naïve – publics knew there were people • Only way to get ink and airtime was through the media. behind an organisation who were not willing to address them directly • Companies communicated with journalists via press releases. and were not interested in what they had to say in return. • Nobody saw press release except for a bunch of reporters and • This ‘control’ practitioners believe they possessed is really just a editors. wall, they hid from their publics behind it and publics became more • Companies had to have significant news before they were allowed to and more disillusioned and sceptical with both organisations, write a press release. traditional media and practitioners. • Jargon was okay because the journalists all understood it. • Instead, publics turned to each other – being online. • You weren’t supposed to send a release unless it included quotes • Rather than relying on consultants, media and organisations for from third parties (e.g. customers, experts). content, they created their own (hence popularity of SM). • Only way buyers would learn about the press release’s content was if the media wrote a story about it. Social media defined • Only way to measure effectiveness of them was through clip books, The means of interacts among people in which they create share and which noted each time the media deigned to pick up a company’s exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. release. • PR and marketing were separate disciplines run by different people A group of internet based applications that build on the ideological and with different goals, strategies and measurement techniques. technological foundations of web 2.0 and allow the creation and exchange of • Practitioners were heavily reliant on the media to disseminate their user-generated content. information to the public: o Must ‘woo’ journos to gain coverage. • This fear of losing illusionary control is directly related to the fact that o Placed all their faith in the media. publics are no longer looking to the media and organisations as o Some publish MRs verbatim – naïve and risky. authorities anymore. o Using publicity as a primary source of dissemination • Consumers perceive SM to be a more trustworthy source of info than limits/eradicates feedback from publics about the messages what is communicated through traditional media. sent out to the media from organisations. • Risk of the internet (part. SM platforms) enables publics to share o Industry norm – communicated at, not with publics (illusion of their experiences with the world in a matter of seconds. control) – not very good at developing relationships. • People now rely on their friends/followers/websites before making a o Message might not reach the public it’s intended to reach. purchase. • Publics subscribe to bloggers which are extremely intellectual and Illusion of control shape public opinion on topics – consultants are now trying to ‘woo’ bloggers to get exposure for their product/organisation. • Internet provides opportunities for two way communication. person to find out what the issue is, not allowing feedback – • ‘information dump’ – rather than creating content based around what just broadcasting messages, using SM as a bulletin board. publics were looking for, consultants use it to transfer the transmission model from the offline to online world. PR online activity o resulted in a lack of dialogical interaction to publics (they could • Conversational – as if you were face-to-face speaking to someone. email the organisation but it wouldn’t be responded to in a • Personable – there should be personality visible behind what you timely manner). have to say. o Consultants used to bombard people with unsolicited emails – • Relationship driven – put effort into building relationships. now software can track who is opening promotional emails • Transparent – people want the truth. (not a true indication they’re being read), therefore consultants • Timely – people want timely responses. can’t tell is the message is received/interpreted by its’ publics or not. • Consultants should be part of the conversations – not controlling. • Conversing with – not broadcasting at. SM revolution • Publics are groups of individuals – not a faceless mass. • Digital technology (part. SM) is revolutionising how individuals and • Organisation also comprised of people – not a faceless entity. organisations communicate with one another and their audiences. • Online PR is about building connections between people online that • Future practitioners need to embrace, rather than resist new and is strong enough to transcend to online and offline realms. emerging technologies. • Practitioners traditionally oversee an organisation’s communication New rules of PR efforts with its’ publics – no longer enough. • PR is more than a mainstream media audience. • Industry needs to keep abreast of how and where publics are • You are what you publish. consuming and interacting with information and each other, the • People want authenticity, not spin. content, and if it’s going to stay one step ahead. • People want participation, not propaganda. • Not about your boss seeing your company on TV, about buyers Two way communication seeing it on the web. • Communication has progressed but PR’s approach to it has not. • Internet has made PR public again – after years of almost exclusive • Even though SM now provides the perfect facilitation for two way focus on the media. symmetrical communication with publics, many consultants are still • Great content encourages sales. using the transmission approach. • Online content (e.g. blogs) let organisations communicate directly • Two way communication is deemed to be part of the Excellence with publics in a form they appreciate. Theory which is the best practice model of communication for • Social networks allow people all over the world to share content and consultants – yet many are too fearful or ignorant to be transparent connect with the people/companies they do business with. and genuine using SM. • On the web, the lines between marketing and PR have blurred. • Using traditional methods/ideological mediums doesn’t always work. o Consultants have received widespread backlash from publics for ‘astrosurfing’ (posing as a member of the public/paying someone else, going online and writing positive reviews about the organisation, deleting comments rather than engaging the Content Curation The currency of the social web. It is what people search for. Content is what o Curators add to that social human element to content on the makes people click share, comment, subscribe, like, follow or buy from you. web – allow readers to post a comment and share content they themselves have curated. Content curator o Bring relevant and interesting content together, their efforts • Someone who continually finds, groups or organises and shares the bring like minded people together to discuss the content and best and most relevant content on a specific issue online. share their own. • DJs of the web – just as DJs mix their sets from a variety of tracks o Coping mechanism for wading through content on the web. and artists, curators mix info together also with a strong emphasis on ! Social skimming – users can scan through content until rhythm, structure and flow. something interests them and that’s why they want to • Info chemists – find the best content, measuring it out carefully and read. providing just the right amount to feed out ensuring there is quality to " Resulting in the need for snapable info (brief e.g. be republished. character limit in a tweet) to avoid feedback • Identifying and organising info that others have produced about a curators dread (tl;dr). specific topic to share with their own audience. ! Curators write with their audience in mind and don’t o Pick a topic then find and present existing content to a write slabs. segmented audience e.g. PR News Daily - curates content ! Curators aim for their offerings to be read from start to about PR practice or consultants. finish – posts must be short and sweet. • Who and where: o How: o We all are curators e.g. personal channels where we share ! Write on a specific topic, share only the best content, content we think our audience will find interesting. write continuously. o Taking place on SM platforms e.g. retweeting, linking. • Wherever you collate relevant info and present it to a specific Influence on PR practice audience, that is a site of content curation. • How practitioners can adapt their methods so that online content • When: curation can benefit them and the organisation they represent. o Constantly. o Develop quality content that will be of interest to different o Even in online newspaper articles there is links to other content curators (the more original and unique, the better). relevant content and internal/external publications. o Approach relevant bloggers in a customised and targeted way o SM about sharing info within networks. to see if they are interested in the content and let them find it • Why: for themselves. o Info overload. ! Means reading their blogs closely and developing a ! Search engines cannot overcome this problem. pitch that is tailored specifically to them. " Aggregation – what search engines do to help ! Be brief and tell them what’s in it for them. decipher contextually relevant information into o Practitioners as content curators. specific areas of interest to filter this content ! Should position themselves as being experts in a niche down. area of PR practice they could inform other " Aggregation is automated and collects info based professionals of by curating the info on a PR site. on keywords. o Should post content about things they know about the organisation and promote it to showcase them. Evolution of the Web 26/05/13 4:08 PM ! Include what others say about the organisation as well. Web 1.0 • The WWW from the time of its official beginnings in 1989 up until technology progressed to make it more interactive. • The time of organisational and personal websites and webpages. • Websites could only be created if you had a sound knowledge of HTML, or hired someone who did. • Not user friendly – for the owners and browsers of it. • ‘webmaster’ – only person who could add content to the website. • Users couldn’t post info and most often they couldn’t find info either. Henning 2009 • Summed up 1.0: o One-way – organisation’s pushing info to its publics and stakeholders without any right of reply except for possibly an email address and this wasn’t always the case. ! Many of the earliest websites did not offer any way to respond to the site owner. ! 1.0 websites are examples of one-way communication at its worst. o Authoritarian. o Passive. o Static. o Closed. Web 2.0 • Opposite of 1.0. • Evolved version of the WWW. • A place whereby content and applications are no longer created and published by individuals, but instead are continuously being modified by all users in a participatory and collaborative fashion. • Qualities: o Two-way. o Democratic. o Dynamic. o Collaborative. o Active. Differences between web 1.0 and 2.0 PR in the social network 1.0 2.0 Ways practitioners are utilising SM to address traditional PR functions About reading. About writing. About companies. About communities. • Crisis management – practitioners try to control the flow of info to the media, their publics/stakeholders, people on the scene are now About client-server. Peer to peer. Homepages. Blogs. using SM to release info themselves. o E.g. US airlines example. About lectures. About conversation. Advertising. Word of mouth. o Landing in NY Hudson River – handled the crisis well by flights for loved ones of passengers and daily calls to counsellors, Services sold over the web. Web. emergency cash for passengers, credit cards for employees to purchase necessities, cell phones, wet suits, ticket refunds Pointers for writing and functioning in SM on behalf of orgs • Be active – relationships take work, so important to respond to and $5000 cheque to replace their belongings. people in a timely manner and to keep sharing interesting and • Client/stakeholder relations. o SM has provided publics and stakeholders direct access to beneficial info with the people following your org. • Be interesting – show some personality, don’t hide behind boring organisations. • Internal communications. corp speak. • Be humble – be honest about your level of expertise using whatever o Social approach for communicating internally. • Media relations. 2.0 platform that your org is operating (don’t assume to know more than you do, publics can generally see through this). o SM has significantly changed how practitioners deal with the media. • Be unprofessional – don’t engage in corporate speak, writing should be easy to read and understand (informative, entertaining, o Media relations used to be conducted and how it is today. personable, engaging and conversational). The style is chatty in o Sending a humble MR out, hoping for pick up would not ensure coverage, esp. with new readers, writers and manner but not too casual. • Nothing to lose but their chains – open themselves up so publics can publishers online (bloggers). • Campaign promotion. see them for the first time. o Practitioners are using SM to promote events, run comps, promote new initiatives and to encourage publics to engage with them. Social Media best practice Social Media Planning 26/05/13 4:08 PM Do’s Planning your social media activity • Personalise your pages: • Strategic stance – what do you want to achieve in SM: o SM presence is an extension of your complete communication o E.g. increase awareness, research, pull people to your site. and marketing suite and needs to be branded appropriately. • Researching and understanding your SM audience: o Profile photo (logo or key branding imagery) as a minimum o Identify target audience. and corporate colour palette. • Engaging: • Monitor your pages regularly: o Listen to the types of conversations, find the trends and what o Keep on top of negative comments and ensure whoever is their expectations are. responsible has the ability to respond with authority. • What: • Respond quickly to any posts or questions: o E.g. Facebook posts will focus on answering questions about o Try to have the last word on the topic and make sure that it the product/brand. has accurate and positive info. • When: • Update your content regularly: o Schedule all activities into the week. • Manage your settings to your advantage: o E.g. blog posts daily, forums scanned once a day, Facebook and twitter each morning. Don’ts • Measure success: • Don’t neglect your fans and friends. o Ask: o Check the statistics the site provides and customise your ! Did we learn something about our customers that we content to your audience. didn’t know before? • Don’t do things twice: ! Did our customers learn something about us? o Link social media sites together so you don’t update the same ! Were we able to engage our customers in new status multiple times across different forums. conversations? • Don’t let just anybody be an administrator of your SM site: ! Do our employees have an effective new tool for o Info needs to be accurate, so don’t let your most active fan or external feedback and reputation management? junior staff be your admin. • Don’t be afraid to try things: • Don’t let yourself get hammered: o Be proactive and encourage discussion. o By responding in a timely manner you can prevent one person with a particular view from dominating thoughts and discussions. Social Media Relations o Become a valued resource. One-way communication (transmission model): • Practitioners have always relied on this to communicate with publics. Old PR versus new PR o Also rely heavily on traditional media to enable transmission of OLD NEW info. Press. Media. Emphasised good news. Willing to discuss good and bad. Agenda setting theory One-way channel. Emphasis on relationships. • Suggests that the use of media is not only just about broadcasting Mass-marketing approach. Micro-targeting. messages to publics – acknowledges that messages are broadcast Promotes products/services. Talks up issues, ideas and trends. in such a way that may not result in the public being persuaded the Focused on print publications. Skilled in all media types. way practitioners intend them to. Press conference favoured. Individual briefings and exclusives • Contends that the media has the ability to shape discussions around Addressed only the media. favoured. particular issues. Aware of all shareholders and publics. • The mass media may not be successful in telling us what to think, but they are stunningly successful in telling us what to think about: 10 basic principles for well written MRs (and a social MR) o Start discussions. • Elevate the message. o Encourage media to start discussions on your issue. • Inform, don’t persuade. o Strong relationships with the media helps journos, etc take on • Write with balance. and notice their message. • Include traditional and new media. o Media relies on practitioners for stories and content. • Be informative. ! To give important info in a crisis. • Provide resources and add links. ! Provide organisation access to speak to people e.g. • Use available SM channels to open up and distribute dialogue. CEO. • Listen. How they respond to the media effects the relationship. • Converse. • Learn. Two-way communication • Convincing journos depends on pitch and MR. Blogger relations • Pitch – call/email journo with a story idea and try to sell it. • Do your research – follow bloggers relevant to your employer/client • Successfully pitching to the media: to understand their focus and needs. o Plan the pitch. • Be part of the conversation – build trust by posting your own relevant o Think like a reporter. comments to theirs. o Find the story angle. • Test the water – ask the blogger if they are open to being pitched o Pick a section. too. o Prepare your pitch bag. • Be up front – transparency is the key – tell them who you are and o Speak in bullets. who you’re working for. o Give a clear call to action. • Traditional media relations processes often don’t translate – don’t o It’s never a good time to call a journo. send unsolicited MRs (because they’re not traditional journos). o They won’t buy it if you won’t believe. • Tell them what’s in it for them. Social Media Monitoring • Be credible – introduce yourself, let them know you’ve been Tactics following and give them an opportunity to opt out. An action or device carefully planned to achieve a specific end. • Keep it brief. Social media monitoring Other blogging tips • Captures the words and thoughts of a generation absorbed in publicising their opinions to friends and the world around them. • Conversational tone. • The medium has buzz and immediacy for spontaneous self- • Headline – to gra
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