Social media has changed the game for everyone in the marketing, PR and advertising world. There is a different approach to how we communicate and what consumers expect from a brand or organization.
Social media is a big part of what we do at AHA. Whether a client organization should participate in different areas of social media or not depends on the organization, their stakeholder groups and their communication objectives. However, every communications plan that we develop has a social media component to it – at the very least for monitoring the conversations online.
We often partner with ad agencies and marketing agencies on projects and social media is usually a part of a campaign. Who manages the social media aspect is usually an interesting discussion. It often becomes a blend of the advertising or marketing team and the AHA team.
I strongly believe that social media provides an opportunity to deliver what PR was created to do: generate authentic, transparent, two-way conversations that engage, inform, educate and, often, entertain.
I came across an excellent blog post by Cheryl Gale that clearly explains (and supports) why PR should take the lead with social media. It’s worth a read.
At AHA, we work on a range of communication or public relations initiatives with clients. No matter what the campaign, project or idea, it is always tied to measurement and results – business results.
Connecting communication or public relations initiatives to business results doesn’t always directly mean sales or revenue. It can also be raising awareness of an organization or campaign. It can mean informing and educating a specific stakeholder group or creating an action or response. It can mean building loyalty. Or it can mean driving sales. It is important when building the strategy for the initiative that you clearly identify what your objectives are, what results you want to achieve, and how you will measure success.
We recently worked with a client to develop an internal communications initiative that was created with the objective of building staff morale. This organization has gone through a great deal of change over the past 24 months under the leadership of a new, proactive president. There have been many successes that have been overshadowed by an organizational restructuring and a strategic planning process that uncovered some challenges and the need to evolve and change some business practices and processes. We wanted to focus on what has been accomplished, to spotlight some of the staff members who have stepped up and gone the extra mile to make things happen, who have shown leadership and who have supported colleagues during this transition period. I am happy to share the tactics we used with you, if you are interested. Just send me an email. But, in order to keep this blog post a reasonable length, I will skip to how we are going to tie this initiative back to business results.
Our first measurement focus will be on participation – how many staff members actively participate by attending specific events or visiting the website page, where this information will be showcased. Next will be to reach out and ask for feedback on the campaign from staff members. And, over a longer period of time (this campaign is set to run for 9 to 12 months), we will monitor changes in attitude and approach. (Are more staff members actively participating in organizational initiatives? Has engagement in town hall meetings increased?) Some of the measurement will be softer (attitude), others will have harder statistics to review. On a monthly basis, we will be reviewing how this campaign positively impacts this organization’s business – which, in this case, is the morale of staff. Without great staff who care about their work, you don’t really have much.
I came across an interesting article on Ragan.com that talks about how to connect communications initiatives to business results. It’s worth a read.
I have to admit, when Twitter first launched several years ago, I wasn’t sure whether it would have a business purpose. Now, however, I clearly see the value for some organizations – notice I say some, not all.
Are you struggling with the value of Twitter? There is a great post on Ragan.com that outlines the value and showcases a Twittermentary (Twitter documentary). If you are still wondering whether Twitter would be a worthwhile tool for your organization, this post and the Twittermentary are worth your time.
I have to admit that all the years (too many to mention) that I spent at Maclean’s had a huge impact on me. I believe that telling the story of an organization, an industry or an event is a smart way to engage your community. I also believe that it has to be authentic, relevant and truthful. It can’t be a puff piece that either ignores or dismisses challenges, issues or the “other side of the coin.” (Again – thanks Maclean’s!) People are smart, they know when they aren’t being told the truth, they realize when you are trying to “sell” them on something (as opposed to providing information about a product, service, idea or organization that may be of value to them).
At our Vancouver PR agency, we use a range of mediums to tell the stories of our clients, such as: news briefs, news releases, articles, short videos for online use, guerrilla videos, video diaries, video news releases – and in some cases even longer documentary type videos, and Q&As (often paired with video interviews). We also use photos and other visuals to tell a story. And we share them; sometimes with traditional media, sometimes with bloggers, on social media networks, at events, workshops and other meeting venues, and of course, internally.