Social Media

Vodcasts, video and vlogs are a hot marketing tool right now. Some work, some don’t. Sometimes it seems that people don’t realize how hard being funny or satirical is …

Think about Saturday Night Live, some of the best comedy minds in the business are focused on being smart and funny for this show and it doesn’t always work. Often, it doesn’t work. How many times have you thought “that’s just not funny” when watching a sketch.

Yet, organizations keep trying to be funny and they seem to have lost perspective about what IS funny and smart and what others (the ones who aren’t in the room when the idea is pitched) will think about the video. Let us know what you think. Check out AOL’s video with Alec Baldwin. Or have a look at the recent internal video done by Microsoft …we bet the “real” Boss isn’t too happy about this ….

Not sure what stakeholder reaction was to these videos. We’d be interested to hear.

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I have a profile on  Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. I spend time on all these sites – sometimes for fun, often in looking at them through the eyes of my clients – thinking if this would this be a good place for them to be.

There are several new sites out there including xanga.com (link) and another one I have just heard of – which is a take off on Facebook for dogs… I haven’t found it yet – I heard about it on the news and didn’t catch the URL. So if anyone knows it, please send it my way! I really want to see what a Facebook for dogs looks like – and what its reason for being is…

I LOVE social networks for a lot of reasons. One of my favorites is Project Opus (link) – and not just because they are a client J. In my mind, Project Opus has a reason for being – the love of music. When I go there it’s going to be about music, listening to it, talking about it, searching it out.

I am still working out the role of some of the other social networks in my world. For some clients, they are great ways to reach out to groups that have showcased their interest in a topic. In my leisure time, I surf through the networks because I like to know what people are thinking and talking about… but, I keep getting invitations to be “friends” with people that I don’t know very well or have maybe met once … as well as invitations to link to people I do know well. The people I know well are easy to say yes to. I know them, I am comfortable in a personal or professional sense in introducing them to others. And – I have to admit, some of these networks have reintroduced me to people that I really like and respect and have lost touch with … BUT …what happens when an acquaintance or the acquaintance of a friend of a friend sends an invite to connect on a social network. How do I gracefully get out of that? And should I?

There seems to be a need for people on social networks to have a large number of friends. Professionally, I can see this for musicians or any other role that needs to showcase that you have a fan base. It helps get the word out about gigs, performances and events. That makes sense. But if I say yes to an invitation to be “friends” – am I endorsing that person – either obviously or in some subtle manner? Am I saying to the online social community that in my opinion, this is someone who has something to say? This is someone worth listening to? If at a networking event an acquaintance came up to me and asked me to introduce them to a respected colleague, strategic partner or client – I would make sure that a) I was comfortable doing that and b) that I let the person that I was introducing the acquaintance to know that they were just that – AN ACQUAINTANCE. Someone that I have met before, but have no real life knowledge of, that I am not endorsing or encouraging them to connect with…it’s just a neutral introduction at an event. And the truth is, if I was the least bit uncomfortable, I wouldn’t do it.

If someone I didn’t know well asked me to introduce them via email or to give them the phone number of a respected colleague or client, I wouldn’t do it without doing my due diligence and checking the person out.

Social networks are still working out some bugs… this, I think, being one of them. I find that since I am often in the public spotlight because of speaking events and workshops and when I take on the role as spokesperson for a client, that I have to deal with a larger group of acquaintances in my professional life. I would say that 90% of “acquaintance” phone calls, emails or requests to be “friends” online are from people who want some kind of favor from me or from AHA. I don’t think that is the way social networks were made to work. I believe that there is a two-way street out there … where people connect because they can benefit each other. Don’t get me wrong, we also get calls from people who have recommended us to someone looking for a great PR agency or who want to bring something to the table that will mutually benefit both companies…but for the most part, I think social networks are being overrun by people who haven’t started to live in a world where you go out of your way to show your value and what you can bring to the table to another entrepreneur first, before you ask for something from them.

I think social networks will evolve and it will become the business utopia we all hope they can be. Right now, I worry that this mad scramble to connect is creating some disengagement on the part of people and companies that want real, strong, authentic connections rather than phony, “I don’t really know you but will accept your invitation so I don’t have to reject you” kind of things.

So – while social networks find their rightful place in connecting people for the right reasons – I will say this here and now… just because I am connected to someone on some social network doesn’t mean I am recommending them, know them well – or in some cases have met them more than once. If you want a vote of confidence in someone I know, call me. Don’t believe everything you read online.

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Our AHA blog is farily new – but I’ve seen a spike already in visitors to our site. Now, that could be because we let our business contacts know that we had updated and upgraded our website…but we’re seeing a lot of return visitors – who I hope are coming back to check out the blog, podcast and social media that we are using here.

Everyone’s talking about social media, but do you know what it is? If you don’t – you aren’t alone. We’ve all heard about blogs, podcasts, videocasts and vlogs, but how many of you are using them? And if you are using them – what are they doing for your business?

So – let me know – are you blogging? Podcasting? Vodcasting? If not, why not? And if you are – is it working?

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The rumour of our demise has been greatly exaggerated …

We’re big fans of social media – it has put the power back into the hands of people, which is where it should be (in our opinion). However, this also surprisingly has created a bit of a rumour that social media will mean the death of public relations…

Just for the record …we don’t see it that way. Social media is definitely changing the way companies communicate to their stakeholders – and that’s a good thing. Blogs, podcasts, vodcasts…it all opens up a conversation that is interactive, engaging and truthful; all things that good PR should be.

A great blog can give a voice to your business – it showcases the human factor. And – remember this is coming from a PR person – a blog shouldn’t be written by your PR or marketing department. It has to come from a person, an individual…someone who is going to give your clients, customers and stakeholders a glimpse of real life at your organization. You know what I am talking about – hit a blog written by a marketer and you feel the sales pitch coming, no matter how well written or well-intended. Now, I’m not saying that a company doesn’t need to set up boundaries and a mandate for their blog – sometimes excited bloggers might give away trade secrets. And blogs aren’t the vehicle to air your grievances with your boss, talk about the guy that sits beside you and doesn’t believe in personal hygiene, or bad mouth the IT department who are just trying to do the best they can like everyone else. If you have a problem with those people, talk directly to them.

To me, a blog is about opinions, but not about personal attacks. Dislike a new product or service, think it wasn’t done right – tell the company. Find a discussion on a topic that you are informed, knowledgeable or passionate about and post to it…engage, interact, and communicate.

There is a great video (sometimes called a vodcast or video podcast) on YouTube – that talks about the value of Web 2.0 and what it give us.

And remember that your blog is important, but it’s not the only voice out there. Check out other people’s blogs, comment on what they are talking about, engage with others in the blogosphere – that’s where the magic comes from.

Some of the blogs we subscribe to or check out regularly are
Chrisflett.com
rocketboom.com

You can also check these out on our blog roll as well.

They aren’t all about PR, but they always inspire, engage and often amuse us. Check them out and let us know what blogs you like. If you have a question about how you can use a blog to help get the word out about your company – send us an email and ask us. We will do our best to answer it. (Just for the record, we don’t answer technical or design questions about your blog – that isn’t our thing, so please don’t email us with those queries.)

This blog is going to give you tips and information on blogging, public relations and other business-related topics. It will be a how to, how come and “WTF” about some things that happen in the world that you just can’t quite figure out. Come and visit us often, we’d love to connect with you and hear what you have to say.

So you see, the death of PR is just empty talk…PR 2.0 is just the beginning!!

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