Many organisations are using social media to get closer to their customers, see what they say about their products and/or services ‘in the moment’ and give their business an opportunity to respond to their customers’ concerns or complaints in real time. But there is a growing divide between companies that use social media and those that don’t. Ryanair has chosen not to engage with social media despite operating in an industry that generally does.
Fully a third of FTSE companies, predominantly financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies, have no Twitter presence. This seems surprising: even companies which don’t sell directly to consumers still have their corporate reputation to look after. A small piece of research we recently conducted at Ipsos MORI (albeit not in enough depth to draw robust conclusions) seemed to suggest that there is a link between the extent that consumer brands are talked about online in conjunction with their corporate parent, and the relative strengths of both the corporate and consumer brands themselves. Meanwhile, fully 82% of the Ipsos MORI Reputation Council (carefully selected senior corporate communications professionals across Europe) agree that discussions in social media channels can directly impact a company’s overall reputation and license to operate. So why the disconnect? Or is the FTSE 100 not representative? Or – frankly – do some communications professionals need to put their money where their mouth is where it comes to social media?
My son Truman Fraser Devaney was born June 1st.
Planning how to announce this news to everyone became a real challenge of thinking who likes to use what form of communication. My partner and I had to go down the list of names and figure out if the person would get a phone call to their mobile or landline, a text message, a blog post, an email, Skype, iChat, G-Chat, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and in some cases the mail and word of mouth. Read More
Planning is now in works for the annual European Mobility Week 2010 to take place September 16-22, and this year’s campaign will see an increasing promotional use of social media by cities across Europe who are embracing digital media to tell stories about how they are reducing use of motorized transport.
This week I visited Brussels, to present ideas to the public relations campaign managers for the cities involved with European Mobility Week about how they can increase presence online through social media tools. Joined by other trainers from Pinnacle PR, we helped 80 representatives better understand how to use online tools to engage people and encourage them to bike or walk rather than use a car. Many cities across Europe participating in the campaign host car-free days in city centres, celebrating with pedestrian-friendly events that draw crowds of thousands.
As part of the 2010 campaign, the organizers are busy planning events and promotions that will increasingly see encouragement and use of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, and blogging, to showcase what happens during the week, and increase resident’s participation. Andrew Manasseh, Managing Director of Pinnacle PR’s Brussels office, talked about how the online media landscape has changed the rules of how government engages with people, and presents opportunity to embrace new practices that involve and help two-way conversations happen. He talked about how using online tools show that an organisation is transparent and open to listening to what people have to say.
Incredible examples demonstrate how powerful online communication tools can be, with the recent events of the earthquake in Haiti illustrating how social media helped raise funds, quickly. Other examples presented are the efforts of the World Health Organization’s World Health Day 2010′s campaign of 1000 Cities, 1000 Lives, that is using digital media to tell stories from urban health champions. In one example, a young boy from Japan started a campaign to stop people smoking in public places, to combat asthma problems. His story is posted in YouTube videos.
While the tools are available, free, and relatively easy to use, participants did express concern about how to manage and provide enough time to orchestrate an online campaign, in addition to running traditional media promotions. This is an increasing question private and public companies have, and many are now assigning new roles in communication departments of Social Media Managers, to focus on the many elements an online campaign requires. In some cases, marketing and communication departments are increasingly assigning members of staff, or even teams, to manage social media. Some companies are hiring in specialty social media agencies to manage the effort. To run a successful campaign, it does take planning and dedicated professional staff to be given authority and time to manage all the elements of online communications. Running an online communications campaign can also require a change in organizational culture, transforming the internal process for how messages are shared from just talking at people, to inviting people to talk back by sharing opinions through tweeting, leaving comments on blog posts and uploading videos to YouTube.
European Mobility Week is a terrific opportunity for municipalities across Europe to embrace online communication tools, and already you can see photos on Flickr, connect on Facebook, watch videos on YouTube, and see people tweeting about the campaign on Twitter. It will be interesting to see how this campaign grows momentum online, and to look for the pictures of people smiling as they enjoy their home city on car-free days.
Glad to share digital media knowledge with people from throughout Europe,
With the release of the government’s Digital Britain report this week, it comes at a timely juncture in the industry of public relations, where new technology tools are increasingly being used for communications campaigns, far more than in past years. While the main highlights of the report address infrastructure needs, improving digital access for all and controversial funding decisions for media resources such as the BBC and Channel 4, the ensuing discussions of the report have put digital on the intellectual radar for all, including those crafting PR strategy in what is more and more a fractured, niche-driven digital media landscape.
Previously, and still today, traditional PR professionals, and clients, have been reluctant to include digital media in their outreach strategy, among some excuses being:
Now, partly by force as a result of high profile cases such as Amazon experienced with bloggers and Twitter, or Domino’s experienced with employees posting inappropriate YouTube videos, partly because of recessionary budget restraints on PR budgets, and partly because it seems that the tipping point of mainstream involvement in social networking has been reached (Oprah Winfrey is on Twitter!), it seems digital has snowballed into a force that must be reckoned with — like it or not.
The government’s Digital Britain report addresses many issues, and its recommendations are controversially being debated among many industries, but one of the key things it does is further force digital into the forefront of public attention and gives it a new level of credibility among businesses who may have previously scoffed at the online world.
For many years now I’ve been an advocate of using digital media for communications outreach and have advised many clients in how to incorporate new technology tools into campaigns, often being met with a mix of disbelief as to if it would be a worthwhile investment, and general befuddled ness as to what I’ve been talking about. It seems the whole wide world is now turning new attention to using digital media, and this, I think, is exciting and positive both for people and bussinesses.
While many of us who can be classified as early adopters of the digital age are already well established or have even moved onto the next new thing with tools like Audioboo for the iPhone, FriendFeed, Su.PR and the coming soon Google Wave, we’ve all got to remember that there are millions of newbies from all walks of business and humanity that are just testing out the tools of the online world, with a bit of intimidation and fear.
It is is up to us, who are deeply online, to welcome, to teach and to help newocmers navigate this territory. It may be your family members, your co-workers or even your boss, who have basic questions, and if the government is going to see any success from its Digital Britain report, it is up to everyone who is already active online to be friendly mentors and teachers in helping the rest of the world catch-up with digital life. Yesterday, after reading over the report, it seemed to be a 200+ page document stating a lot of the obvious. However, these last few weeks, I’ve got more and more people both professionally and personally asking me questions about the basics of how to use Twitter, how to write a blog, how to manage the weird professional/personal world of Facebook, and what might seem obvious to some, just isn’t to most.
Recently I’ve also joined the ranks of being a trainer with Pinnacle PR, a company providing all levels of communications training. My role is instructing a course in PR 2.0, providing a comprehensive look at the many multimedia digital media tools available online, and giving real-life workshops in how to construct campaigns with the tools. With the release of Digital Britain this week, I’m seeing more of the increasing importance digital is playing for business, and, based on training and conversations with people, understanding more that it is still, in fact “new” media for most people.
If you are in PR, and would like to increase your skills of PR 2.0, or other offerings from Pinnacle PR (including traditional courses of media training, media relations, crisis communications, strategic campaign planning and more) sign up for a course, and get a 10% discount up until the end of July. Pinnacle PR has offices in London, Brussels, Dubai and a newly opened training centre in Bahrain, where experienced instructors both from the media and public relations sectors provide junior up through senior level executive courses and instruction.
Training for the digital future,