Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week 13 - Crisis Communication

Social media can be a key component to an organization’s crisis communication plan.  Because news has become a 24-7 cycle, the need to control information has become more and more prevalent.  Social media allows organizations to control what information is out there for the public to see as well as to frame the issue in ways that benefit the organization and its publics.

In sport, the most recent example of a need for crisis communication is the Penn State scandal that occurred a little more than one year ago.  The athletic administrators were forced to deal with the crisis immediately because ESPN and other news outlets quickly responded to the scene and were demanding information and interviews.  The administrators tried to frame the issue as an isolated incident, but further information was unearthed that caused the university to change its crisis communication plan.

I think social media can be integral to an organization’s crisis communication strategy.  Getting the word out on their own terms and controlling information are desirable for all organizations, and social media allows this to happen. With the number of people on Twitter and other social media sites, the news cycle has changed and companies have had to adapt to this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Week 11 - Metrics

Metrics are a very important part of social media for organizations.  They help companies measure specific things like which of their publics are being reached, how many hits their different social media platforms are receiving, and what specific types of social media seem to be the most effective.  It is crucial for organizations that desire to use social media to interact with their constituents to use metrics because they will have little to no idea who they are reaching and how effective their social media plan is.

In my case with working in sports media relations, Pacific’s athletics website has their own built-in metrics system.  This system measures which pages are being viewed the most, and that can be narrowed down to days, weeks, or months depending on what kind of information is being searched for.  The website also measures which pages people exit the website from as well as which links are the most popular (i.e.: weekly releases, game recaps, special features).  I know this has helped me define what kinds of content to post for my sports.  For example, I decided to include links to both the men’s water polo Facebook and Twitter accounts because I saw that people who visited the website often clicked on the social media links on the sidebar of the sport’s main page.  I figured they would also want to visit these sites if I provided the links within each release I wrote.

I also use HootSuite for the social media accounts for my sports, which provides metric data.  However, since I use the free version, I am unable to access the metric features, but I have looked at the different types of data they offer and it looks like it would be extremely helpful.  I may push for our department to sign up with HootSuite or TweetDeck full time in order to get more accurate metrics that would help our marketing and connecting with our fans.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Week Ten - Content Curation

I must admit, the concept of content curation is one I was unfamiliar with prior to our class discussion last Thursday.  I now understand content curation to be the process by which content generated on social media websites is placed together based on the subject matter of said content.  For example, tonight’s election is going to generate millions of tweets and Facebook posts, among other things.  The organization of this particular content into one specific location is how content curation works.

After learning about the concept of content curation, I now understand what Storify is meant to do and why it is such a useful tool for us to use to present our live tweets.  Storify allows tweets to be organized around a specific subject determined by the creator of that particular Storify entry.  In our case, we will be using the content curation tool to group all of our live tweets, along with those tweets that interacted with us during our live tweeting session, into one “story.”  Now that I know the idea behind Storify, I must admit I am more excited to use it than I was before.  It will be neat to see all of my tweets about a specific topic neatly organized, as well as those tweets that interacted with me.

This project will be my first interaction with content curation.  I had certainly seen groups of tweets that revolved around the same subject posted together, but I did not think of it as a form of curation until now.  I really find the concept very interesting because I think it speaks to where we are now as a society in that each individual on social media creates their own content, and we connect with one another based on our shared interests.  The fact that this concept grew out of the content that we are responsible for is very cool in my opinion.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Week Nine - Personal Branding

Personal branding is a concept that not everyone spends enough time thinking about while using social media.  Social media is so prevalent in today’s society that it has become second nature to the millions of people that use it everyday.  With this level of integration into our lives, we have come to view sites like Facebook and Twitter as informal conversations.  This leads to problems when people post things that portray themselves in a negative light, and that is where the idea of personal branding comes into play.

I think it is always important to keep the concept of personal branding at the forefront of your mind when posting on social media sites.  Nowadays, the first thing potential employers do before they hire someone is put their name into Google and run a search.  This leads them to that person’s Facebook page and Twitter site, and any other social media site on which they are active.  The content that is present on these sites can make or break any chance of getting a job with that company.  It is crucial that young people realize that this change has occurred and react accordingly.  I tend to think that social media users don’t realize everything they write stays on the Internet forever.  I know it took me a while to change my posting habits!

I would like to think that I do a nice job of maintaining my personal brand across my social media world.  All of my “About Me” sections on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn read the same and inform people that I am a GA in Pacific’s athletic department working in the media relations office.  Further, I make it a point to never use foul language or post any photos that contain alcohol or other inappropriate things.  I post about a variety of things that reflect my interests in the hopes that whoever is looking at these sites sees that I am a well-rounded person with a variety of interests.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Week Seven - Magazine Research

I started my research for this week’s blog by Googling the phrase “best magazines on Twitter.”  It took me to a website that had found the 25 most-followed consumer magazines on the social networking site.  After going through a few of them, it is clear that there are different methods of operation for each magazine.

The most-followed magazine on Twitter was “People.”  They also had the best engagement with their followers.  They posed questions asking their followers to respond and would then retweet some of the best responses.  I also looked at “TIME” and “Sports Illustrated” and their feeds were very cookie-cutter in that they felt pre-programmed using TweetDeck or HootSuite.

I then proceeded to look at “People” on Facebook, to which they have 1.6 million “Likes.”  They use the same social media philosophy as on Twitter, asking their fans questions.  On average, their posts have between 50 and 300 comments, and a dialogue is created between their fans.  “Sports Illustrated” had less than 300,000 “Likes” and simply posted links to stories on their website, the same tactic that “TIME” uses.

It is clear that there are different tactics at work when comparing the two magazines.  “People” has figured out how to engage and listen to their fans, giving them a forum in which to share their opinions and interact with each other.  The same cannot be said for the other two magazines.  Their social media offerings feel very robotic and that they are only on those sites because society says they should be.

Social media should be a key component of a company’s PR and marketing strategy.  Using it effectively can grow a given brand by leaps and bounds.  Using it poorly, in contrast, can hurt a brand and give people a different feel towards that brand than perhaps they intended to generate.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Week Six - "The Social Network"

I found “The Social Network” to be a very engrossing film the first time I saw it, and the same can be said for when we watched it in class last week.  It is a well-written, well-acted film that chronicles the rise of Facebook from a website for Harvard students only to a worldwide, global phenomenon.  However, upon second viewing, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of what takes place in the movie took place in the actual development of the website.

To me, it is clear that Mark Zuckerberg used a lot of ideas from the Winklevoss’s “Harvard Connection” website in his creation of Facebook.  In its infancy, Facebook was available to just college students, as was the Harvard Connection.  Creating a profile, networking with your friends and posting photos were key ingredients in both sites.  I found it hard to believe Zuckerberg’s character did not use the Harvard Connection as a basis for what is now Facebook.

The way the character of Zuckerberg was written in the film made him unsympathetic, as well.  He appeared rude, short-tempered and difficult during the multiple trials he was involved in.  It made me want to side more with the other parties than with Zuckerberg.  He also came across that way during his time at Harvard.  He seemed bitter about being rejected by the school’s final clubs, even hinting at his partner, Eduardo Saverin, that his inclusion was due to a need for diversity.

Having said all of that, I still find it amazing that Facebook has become what it is today.  Growing from a small site on Harvard’s campus to having one billion users is absolutely ridiculous.  Perhaps the thing I am most impressed with is the simplicity of the idea.  People want to connect with their friends online.  They want to share photos and exchange information.  It almost seems like Zuckerberg knew what people wanted before we knew it.