Live From DC – Social Media & Other Tech Trends (no gavel required)
Near the end of 2010, I attended the PRSA’s annual International Conference in Washington, D.C., and had the opportunity to record an interview for the popular ‘On The Record Online,’ the event’s official podcast. OTRO, which focuses its interviews on “How Technology is Changing the Way Organizations Communicate, and the Way People Consume Media and Information," also produces other pertinent interviews throughout the year by attracting a diverse guest roster across media, PR and technology.
During my interview with the guest hosts - media consultant Sandra Burrowes and the Marine Corps' Internal Comms Director Greg Reeder - we delved into some of the ongoing challenges in social media, measuring engagement and setting social media policies, as well as some predictions on trends in emerging technology.
Here are some of the highlights of the podcast:
Determine what success looks like before you design your social media strategy. According to a study conducted by Sysomos, a Marketwire company, only 29% of the 1.2 billion tweets they examined generated a reaction. Of this 29%, 19.3% were retweets and the rest were replies. As I observed in an earlier blog post on this site, the research caught a good deal of attention in the social media universe, with much discussion surrounding the fact that perhaps most social media efforts – especially Twitter activities – were falling on deaf ears.
I firmly believe that it’s an erroneous leap of faith to extrapolate that most Tweets and other social media posts just hang there. A 29% actionable response rate from 1.2 billion tweets far exceeds what email and direct marketers can ever hope to achieve.
Ultimately, what success looks like in social media begins with designing a strategy that clearly identifies the important goals of why you’re engaging in social media in the first place. Is your social media strategy just to have a presence as a competitive advantage, or should it simply serve as an additional information channel? Is your company seeking to drive one-way dialogue only, or do you desire better organic search engine optimization, more web traffic, two-way engagement and customer conversation? The most effective approach we've found in social media is to determine the ultimate end goals, create the strategy (not just pick the hot platform) to achieve these, and then back into the metrics that actually measure the goals you’ve established.
Mobility/wireless, cloud computing and other emerging technologies continue to exert profound professional and personal impact on PR practitioners. From how our publics seek, manage and consume information and engage in social technology, to how we ourselves manage our work flows and client relations, the geometric progression of new technology and innovation continues to accelerate. We’re rapidly approaching near-universal wireless and networked connectivity with every electronic device we interact with – from our smartphones and tablet computers, to our vehicles and even home appliances. Not to mention that an increasing share of our personal digital assets – from our files and periodicals, to our movies, TV and music – are migrating to the cloud computing environment. As PR professionals, we need to not only understand these seismic shifts, but also explore and embrace the potential of new technology for improving our approach to communications strategy, not to mention tech’s impact on how we work and how we live.
Listen to the podcast for these and other insights. And we welcome your feedback on the challenges you feel are most important in social media and new technology.