Our first Social PR conference in the UK, Social PR 2011, proved a popular and fascinating day for the 160 or so attendees and live streamers who joined us – plus the many hashtag followers on Twitter. Here were my takeaways from the day:
- Social PR is an Opportunity, not Just a Threat – Social PR is often driven by the fear factor of reputation and crisis management, yet the opportunities go way beyond this. The excellent presentations by Marshall Sponder on How to Identify Influencers and Ebony Tamara Walker on Blogger Outreach demonstrated how pro-active engagement with the right people is a positive opportunity for brands to grasp.
- Pointers on Dealing with a Crisis – It helps to have planned for it (what will you do, what will the effects be, what can you do now to mitigate the damage). You also have to accept that saying sorry may not be enough, you may have to change how you operate in order to really to fix the problem. There may also be long term problems – e.g. negative comments in search – that you need to deal with. Getting a statement out before the crisis breaks is one approach. It’s been dubbed a “Prebuttal”.
- Social Media Monitoring is an Essential Activity – especially for companies wanting to find out what kind of content generates engagement. Five by Five and Brandwatch combined well to do this while monitoring the launch of various Activision video games.
- Influence is a Tricky Concept – While Marshall gave us lots of tools for influencer analysis (Peekyou, Ecairn, Mpact, followerwonk, Tweepsearch), Philip Sheldrake of Influence Crowd dismissed the tools on offer and suggested his influence scorecard as an alternative method of deciding who matters. Buy Marshall’s book here.
- There are Best Practise Methods for Blogger Outreach – Bloggers need PR’s to provide them with access to blog-friendly materials and to communicate with them clearly before, during and after events. Bloggers don’t want to compete with each other (e.g. in competitions), but they do like to show off at bit, and having the latest news is valuable to them.
- Engagement Metrics are Critical to Success – Katie Delahaye Paine gave a great virtual presentation from an airport lounge in the US :). We need to measure which “Phase of Engagement” our customers are at and move them along her 5-point scale towards “purchase” and “advocacy”. Her final word on measurement? “Look for your failures first”. Buy her book here.
- Good Social PR Starts with Good Internal Communications – Katie Howell, who knows a thing or two on this topic, stressed that brands cannot hope to engage properly on the social web unless they engage properly internally. There must be close and slick comms between departments. Social media cannot be silo’d and crises cannot be limited to a PR effort. To coin a phrase “We’re all in this together”. This issues will feed into our next event Social CRM 2011 – on 6th May.
- The PR Industry is in for Some Interesting Times – For an industry that aims to exert control over external communications, social media is going to prove a major test. There are new skills to be learned, new tools (often highly technical) to be understood and integrated, new “influencers” to be connected and engaged with, new jobs to be filled and new audiences to be reached.
All the presentations from the day (except the Sony Ericsson which is not for public release) are available now on our Slideshare account. The videos of the day are available below (please bear with the brief but annoying adverts).
Early Bird tickets are on sale now for Social CRM 2011, taking place on 6th May. Don’t miss this important follow-on event.