My so-called Social life, and hitting up Social PR

4 Jun

Every now and again I dabble in the various forms of social networking that exist online.  Contrary to popular belief, I did not start out with aspirations of becoming a social media maven.  I merely hit the social networks for the same reason every else does (i.e. lost job) and began writing about my thoughts, insights, experiences.  As I went along, I found I had a knack for digesting things quickly and explaining them somewhat concisely, so I blogged about it.  That led to my recap of social media news, often called Social Media News – Day’s End (or Week’s End, if I’d had a busy week, remember those 4 kids?).  I couldn’t keep the pace and maintain the day to day for my family & home life responsibilities, so I had to pull back.  Social Media News Day’s/Week’s End is being revived by moi!  So fret not!  (I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting for an encore performance.)

Anyway, I’m addicted to the written word and have my own strong must-be-voiced opinions on just about any subject you can imagine, so I’ve continued to write here and there.

I’m very interested in social networking as it pertains to creating virtual communities (less interested in social media as an exclusive VIP club, thank you very much).  That led me to have some wonderful discussions both online and off about the best uses of social technology in the virtual community.

This, in turn, led me to write the following piece on Social PR, which I’ll share with you here:

Social PR is the art of managing communications in the virtual community.  While strategy must be discussed and implemented in the real world, it can’t all be done manually, not by a long shot.  So here are the top 5 tools for managing social PR online:
  1. The Facebook Fan page.  Perhaps the easiest way to find entree into Social PR is to start with a Facebook fan page.  You’ll notice this is the first place forward thinking entrepreneurs/individuals turn to when trying to manage their communications online.  The ease of posting links, the freedom to write  as much as one deems necessary (no 140 character limit here), the plethora of Facebook apps, all make the Facebook Fan page a great stepping stone for communicating with your audience (or fan-base) online.  Although you can espouse to your heart’s content, one would caution that clarity & brevity are the name of the game in this new generation with an even shorter attention span then 20th century generations could imagine.
  2. Social Media Tools.  Social media one-stop shopping like CoTweet or HootSuite is a great way to manage your online PR campaigns while allow the multiple member of your team access to the same accounts, data, and connections.  While social media research tools, such as SocialMention or Addict-o-matic can allow an organization to track popularity of topics in the world of social media.
  3. CrowdCampaign.  It’s no big secret, one of the best ways to garner attention is by running a contest!  And what better way to run a contest in the 21st century then by using Twitter?  Crowd Campaign offers Twitter users a way to easily launch “cost-effective branded online contests.”  There’s a basic free version (for very, very small campaigns) and then a tiered pricing system for larger, more professionally managed campaigns.  If you’ve got your Twitter game face on – check out CrowdCampaign as a good Social PR resource!
  4. Twitter.  Speaking of your online “game face”, you must consider Twitter if you’re looking to manage your PR in the virtual social community.  No matter how much you do or don’t use Twitter as a company communications strategy, you’ll most definitely want to use Twitter as a way to monitor and gauge what’s being said about your company or brand in the world of social media!
  5. Google Alerts.  While not a PR “tool” in and of itself – you can’t effectively manage communications in the online community if you don’t know what’s being said about your organization, brand, product or service.  To that end – there’s no better free service online for tracking what’s being said about you, your company or organization and your brands/products/services.  And Google does the work for you.  Simply enter a phrase and Google Alerts will notify you by either an email or a feed of any references on the Web to your topic or phrase of choice.  You can select to receive notifications as the occurrences happen, once a day or once a week.  You can limit notification to the top 20 results, or receive up to 50 results on a per notice basis.  Google Alerts will do a comprehensive search of the Web, or you can select to limit search results to just news, blogs, web, video or groups.

Keep in mind that these are merely tools to help you along the path of finding your best strategies for Social PR online.  No one tool (or group of tools) can replace the work that must be done behind the scenes before one delves into the process of implementation online!

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