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An interview with Doug Simon of D S Simon Productions
What’s the most effective way to persuade? Use video storytelling.
Doug Simon of D S Simon Productions and Jim Delaney, Marketwired’s CEO discussed video storytelling recently. Doug had some great tips regarding how to frame your brand’s story when using video. He noted that the major difference in developing your message is asking yourself “What do we want to demonstrate?” instead of “What do we want to say?”
This ability to show instead of tell presents a great opportunity for marketers to create more engaging content in a visually driven world. Check out the conversation.
When investor relations officers think social media, Twitter and Facebook leap to mind– and with good reason. But LinkedIn, a tool many IROs may have tried but are not necessarily using to the fullest, is increasingly meriting a closer look. Over the past months, many experts have begun arguing that LinkedIn has evolved into a social media platform that’s extremely valuable to anyone in a communications field.
According to LinkedIn’s IR site, 259 million professionals worldwide in over 200 countries and territories have registered to use LinkedIn since the site’s official launch in May 2003. Here’s another statistic that the company loves to publicize: LinkedIn is growing at a rate of more than two new members per second.
In May 2012, LinkedIn acquired a social media darling: SlideShare. A report published in October showed that 25% of companies sampled use SlideShare, with 52% of the active group saying that they use SlideShare for IR purposes; that’s compared with just 8% in 2012.
Exploring New Uses
Given that networking and maintaining strong relationships are the bread and butter of an IRO’s job, LinkedIn makes particularly good sense within this profession. According to NIRI’s 2013 “Social Media Use in Investor Relations” survey, 28% of IROs report using social media, and among that 28%, LinkedIn ranked as the third most popular tool, behind only Twitter and webcasts.
As LinkedIn’s popularity grows, so does information on the typical LinkedIn user. In a 2013 edition of a survey titled “Portrait of a LinkedIn User,” Wayne Breitbarth, a LinkedIn consultant and author, found that 75.8% of users described researching people and companies as the most helpful aspect of LinkedIn.
When it comes to companies on LinkedIn, Breitbarth found that 33.5% had their own company pages. Within this group, popular uses included reviewing company followers (61.6%), sharing status updates with company followers (56.5%), and displaying products and services on a separate products and services page (53.6%).
Here are a few more suggestions for using LinkedIn within an IR program:
An interview with Katie Paine
It used to be that PR measurement consisted of counting clips and impressions. Now it’s about quality and context – what people are saying about you. But with so much digital data at your disposal it’s critical to find metrics that matter to your organization. The key is to define which stakeholders and what outcomes matter.
Marketwired President and CEO Jim Delaney interviewed Katie Paine of Paine Publishing, a veteran of the measurement field, at the recent PRSA conference in Philadelphia. She shared some great insights that will guide and simplify what and how you’re measuring. This is a great video to watch if you’re developing PR strategy.
By Bernadette Lee, Vice President Global Partners and Media Solutions
We’re glad to see David Segal at The New York Times raise the important issue of PR spam. Given the infinite amount of content shared in today’s digital environment, it’s more important than ever for public relations professionals to take advantage of available technology that can help them fine-tune their outreach and zero in on the right audiences. This helps separate the glut of unwelcome distractions from valuable news and information so that media professionals can work effectively.
At Marketwired, our goal is the same as it’s been for the past 30 years: to connect news makers to news consumers. We provide user-friendly digital research tools so our clients can sift through data that matters to their target audiences. We help them tap into and take full advantage of market intelligence so they can identify influencers by topic and incorporate the most relevant messages into their content. And we guide them in making the most appropriate use of ‘traditional’ distribution of press releases to targeted, relevant audiences – so they can direct their news to the journalists, bloggers, investors and consumers who will benefit the most.
Calling attention to unsolicited PR spam is an opportunity for the public relations industry to distinguish best practices for media relations and focus on the importance of building meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships.
Our lines of communication are always open, and we welcome the opportunity to talk to and learn from our clients, the media, and the industry at large.
By Steven Read, Senior Pre-Sales Consultant, Marketwired
Let me explain the traditional composition of the social media landscape within the Read household. It has always been simple and binary. I use Twitter on a daily basis and my wife uses Facebook. Every once in a while one of us looks up from our phones to be greeted by a look of disdain from the other followed by a debate about the shortcomings or vacuousness of each other’s chosen network.
But recently a paradigm shift has taken place in our cosy, mutually exclusive relationship. My wife has joined Twitter. Well, to be more precise she’s started to actually use the dormant Twitter account that I set up for her some years ago. I’d like to think that her change of heart was a reaction to my erudite summaries of the value of Twitter as an information network. I always particularly like the definition that Twitter themselves quote:
Although my all-time favourite summary of Twitter still comes from Shayla Maddox:
Sadly, even with the support of such eloquent proponents of Twitter it was not my attempts to extoll the virtues of Twitter that prompted Mrs. R to embrace her long-inactive Twitter handle. During one of the many excursions to collect one of our children from a club she spotted a minor celebrity (and we are talking minor even by UK standards). I suspected it may have been a case of mistaken identity until my wife shared with me the “Yes, I am who you think I am” private number plate on the yellow Range Rover of the individual in question.
Then she did what any sane person would do and logged into her long-dormant Twitter account and contacted the celeb in question to ask if it had indeed been him. As soon as the reply from the verified account came back the love affair between my wife and Twitter was cemented. For a Facebook devotee the sudden ability to interact with a ‘star’ instantly sold Twitter to the most stubborn of cynics.
The problem with cutting your social media teeth on a platform like Facebook where it’s easy to close off your content from public scrutiny is that it takes time to adapt the content you post to a different format. I was frequently chastised for not responding to or favouring tweets published by my wife. I explained (a little gleefully) that Twitter wasn’t Facebook and that she was in the wrong place to seek the constant affirmation that she was used to.
Over the following weeks various references to and pictures of our children had to be removed from Twitter, although I’m pretty sure that despite their lack of response both Niall and Harry from One Direction were touched to be sent pictures of my children posing with their waxworks.
What surprised me was that someone who had been active on social networks as long, if not longer, than me was sharing information that we’d always agreed to keep away from the public domain. When I gave the matter a little more thought, though, it was no different than the earlier expectation that Twitter would function more like Facebook. Importantly no harm was done, and my wife quickly got to grips with the privacy and access levels of a new social network. Nothing inappropriate was posted online and no one mistakenly published a Direct Message.
Arguably the responsibility of flagging up the potential pitfalls of your usage should lay with the social networks themselves. However, this is unlikely as anything that could potentially deter adoption and usage is not going to be included in their business plan.
I’m pleased to say that since then, my wife has started to behave far more as a Twitter native. She will disdainfully show me her friends’ Facebook updates with, “Why put that on Facebook? Save that for Twitter.”
Mrs. R has also continued to embrace Twitter as the means of bringing her closer to things that are important to her, as I discovered the other morning when I left her in bed in an attempt to watch a Grand Prix in peace…
By Karen Geier
It’s generally accepted that to promote yourself and your company, you need to be on social media. This extends further when you and your company are promoting a new initiative or product and need others to help spread the message. Many people simply share company updates to their Facebook or LinkedIn pages as short link updates. But these often get lost in the noise of social media, which is counterproductive to your self-promotion efforts.
So how do you cut through the noise and get your friends and business associates to be your best online cheerleaders? Try these few tried-and-true marketing methods – they will help you achieve a higher rate of success and allow you to share your message properly.
Define Success Upfront
It’s important to go into your campaign knowing what you want out of it. What defines success for you? Is it raising money for a charitable effort? Is it click-throughs to a website or signups to a marketing list? Is it shares of your message? Know what you want, and build your campaigns to drive people to that conclusion. Craft your messaging around a clear call-to-action.
Build and Segment Your Lists
Segmenting your lists is important to this type of a campaign because it allows you to make your message more appealing to different groups of people.
Facebook allows you to easily segment your friends into lists (instructions here), which is extremely helpful. LinkedIn offers something similar. Twitter has a lists function, but it can be buggy, so you might be better off just building an Excel spreadsheet with Twitter followers you’d like to reach.
You can start by simply segmenting people into “Friends,” “Family,” “Close Business” and “Extended Business” for now, which will help define how personal your appeal will be. The farther removed the contact, the more professional your message should be.
Tailor Your Message to Each Segment
Imagine you’re in a room with a key member of each of those groups. How would you tell them about your amazing new product to get them on board? Craft the message in language those groups are accustomed to hearing you use and that they will relate to. Anything artificial will ruin the efficacy of your message. Save personal appeals and stories for those in closer circles to you.
Reach Out to Some People Outside of Social Media
This might sound counter-intuitive, but you should reach out to those people who are closest to you and offer the best chance of spreading your message to people of high influence with a personal appeal in a direct message or through e-mail. This will help them spread your posts when they see them in their timelines. If you can get insider interest up front, you will stand a better chance of achieving the reach and shares your campaign needs.
Share a Short, Well Crafted Message
Social media is not the place for long, drawn-out stories. You need to quickly capture interest, get your request in, and produce a call-to-action. Think of a really punchy headline and work from there. Keep this sharing message under 125 words, or you’ll lose people.
For instance, if you’re trying to promote a product, don’t ask people just to “check it out.” Think about funny or strange headlines to make people stop when they are scrolling. Use Upworthy or BuzzFeed as a template for how to catch people’s attention. Asking questions or using intriguing phrases works well here.
Make a personal appeal to friends and family. To business associates, mention how hard you worked and give credit to people you have in common.
This will take time and many revisions. If you know professional copywriters, ask them to proof your work.
Don’t Chase or Heavily Remind People
Think about your appeal like inviting people to your party. You usually invite people once and remind them once along the way. No one wants to go to the party of someone who won’t shut up about it, or keeps bothering people about it. The fastest way to be muted is to pester those closest to you.
Don’t Expect Everyone to Help
As much as it would be nice for everyone to give your campaign a boost, it simply won’t happen. People will be away, not see your message, or think they will come back to their timeline and share, click, or comment later. Do not worry. If you’ve done your homework properly, your message will have been spread enough to boost your campaign.
Friends and business associates can be your best allies, but you need to adhere to a few etiquette rules. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable asking for a favor in public or at work in front of colleagues, don’t ask for it on social media without qualifying the message.
For shareholder activists, social media is a godsend, a concept that’s begun to catch on with some high-profile corporate raiders. Carl Icahn is increasingly viewed as the poster boy for how a billionaire activist can use Twitter and other forms of social media to make his viewpoint heard quickly and effectively.
On August 13, Icahn revealed on Twitter that he had a large position in Apple and he then began publicly lobbying the computer giant for a $150 billion share buyback. On October 7, the billionaire tweeted that he had bought approximately 61 million shares of Calgary, Alberta-based Talisman Energy, a roughly $277 million stake. Icahn also told his more than 113,000 Twitter followers that he might soon initiate conversations with Talisman management about strategic alternatives and board seats.
With the Icahns of the world revealing their investment strategies to Twitter followers before their positions are made public through regulatory filings, it’s no wonder that the lion’s share of institutional investors – 80 percent – expect shareholder activists to increasingly leverage social media to target companies, according to FTI Consulting Group’s Digital Engagement Study published earlier this month.
Unfortunately, institutional investors don’t evince the same levels of confidence that public companies are capable of using social media to deflect these threats. In fact, only 11 percent of investors surveyed by FTI said that they are confident public companies could defend themselves using social media platforms.
“It is clear to us that activist investors have staked out a new battleground from which to attack corporate America,” according to Elizabeth Saunders, senior managing director and Americas chairman of the strategic communications segment at FTI, in a November 6 press release. “This is a wake-up call to companies that IR and corporate communications teams can no longer operate as independent silos – particularly in the case of social media, through which information and opinions are so rapidly generated.”
FTI’s survey looked beyond shareholder activism on social media to the places where investors are going to find content. The study found that 40 percent of investors seek content from the media, sell-side analysts, and other third-party influencers. In contrast, a mere 14 percent of investors seek information directly from companies on social media.
To gather information for the digital engagement study, FTI conducted an online survey of institutional investors between October 3 and October 11, 2013. Included in the survey were 201 global analysts and portfolio managers.
Unique challenge combines team-building and humanitarian outreach
One measure of a successful company is how well its internal teams work together to bring corporate goals to life. To achieve this admirable goal organizations often use team-building exercises to foster collaboration among their various employee teams, but those exercises – like falling backward and trusting your team-mate will catch you – tend to elicit collective groans because the lessons don’t usually carry over into the workplace.
During its recent quarterly executive summit, Marketwired’s leadership team participated in a team-building exercise unlike any other. That’s because it combined team-building with humanitarian outreach: building prosthetic hands for amputee victims of landmines around the world. This engaging activity left the entire room of 39 participants visibility moved and emotionally invested.
Called the Helping Hands Project, its run by Helping Hands Canada, an organization dedicated to getting companies involved with a worthwhile cause while super-charging employee engagement. The exercise also supports Marketwired’s community giving initiative.
After an introduction to the program’s goals the group split up into teams of three. Each team received a set of prosthetic parts, a toolkit and an instruction guide and was given only one hour to build a ready-to-use prosthetic hand.
As each team soon discovered, some vital tools were missing from different toolkits, requiring teams to rely on each other to achieve their goal. In all, the Marketwired teams assembled 13 prosthetic hands and packaged each one in a personalized pouch for delivery to land-mine victims in Vietnam.
At the end of the day Jeff Cann, Marketwired Director of Sysomos Customer Experience, said “I can’t wait to go home and tell my wife and my family about what we did today because it’s the most impactful I’ve ever taken part in. It’s pretty amazing. It says a lot about the company – getting us involved in something like this.”
Conducting the exercise was Montreal-based HR consulting firm Bromelin People Practices, an organization that administers the Helping Hands Project. According to Shelley Brown, Practice Leader at Bromelin, “It was very exciting to introduce the Helping Hands Project to Marketwired’s executive staff and watch team collaboration grow at the same time the prosthetic hands were taking shape. Helping Hands illustrates the power of a lasting, purposeful activity – it connects to who you are, where you are going and how you will get there by engaging your hands, heads and hearts.”
On November 8th what’s being called the largest super typhoon to make landfall tore through the Philippines. The storm, however, had been hitting the area for days previous to that. Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Typhoon Yolanda) is officially the second worst disaster to hit the area. But the call for help is going out around the globe, and a lot of it through social media.
Social media has been a driver in both the sharing of information about the super typhoon and a call for help and aid. Today, about 2 weeks since the storm entered the area, we explore how Typhoon Haiyan has been talked about through social media using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software.
We started our search from November 6th, when Typhoon Haiyan is reported to have entered the area around the Philippines and ran it through yesterday (November 20th). In that time we found “Philippines,” “Haiyan” and “Yolanda” had been mentioned 5.6 million times.
When we added in the more generic term of “typhoon” the number of mentions rose to 6.1 million. There has been 102,726 blog posts, 293,648 online news articles, 52,907 forum postings and 5,723,430 tweets so far.
The aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan has gotten the whole world talking. People around the globe are trying to share information about the destruction that happened, but also about how people can help from where ever they happen to be in the world. A look at where mentions are coming from shows that so many countries around the world have been significantly talking about the super typhoon’s damage. Below is a pie chart that shows where mentions across social channels have been originating from followed by a heat map of where tweets about Typhoon Haiyan have originated from.
Once again, Twitter seems to be playing a significant roll in the sharing of the latest news and ways that people can help during a disaster. When we looked at the types of tweets going out we found that 37% of the tweets were one off tweets of people talking about the super typhoon. From there though, 59% of the tweets found were retweets of some of those one off. Almost 60% of all the tweets about Typhoon Haiyan were people trying to share information. It’s actually quite incredible at how the service can be used to spread information quickly across the globe.
Of those retweets we found, the six most retweeted tweets were all about people trying to help. Say what you will about 1 Direction and Justin Bieber, but when it comes to spreading a message these people can help to get it done. They own the four most retweeted tweets about Typhoon Haiyan and all of them are about ways people can help (at least we assume that’s The Biebs has in mind).
Popstars aren’t the only way that people are trying to spread call for help. When we pulled up the top hashtags being used around talk of the typhoon the third most used is #TyphoonAid behind #Haiyan and #Philippines.
On top of all of this, certain organizations are running some of their own campaigns to help. One that came across our radar the other day was people who were donating their selfie pics that day to helping spread awareness for aid from Unicef. It’s a cute idea that helps to spread the word as most people are dawn to looking at pictures. Using the clever hashtag #unselfie for this camaign, we were able to already find almost 2,000 instagram pics using the tag. Over on Twitter, we found that over 5,000 tweets contained the hashtag, most of which contained pictures. It’s a great easy way for people to do something they’d likely do everyday (take a selfie) and turn it into something charitable and helpful.
Are using social media to help or seen someone or group that is? Tell us about it in the comments.
By Aaron Broverman
Six seconds, that’s all you get.
Six seconds of free looping video courtesy of Vine – the Twitter-owned app that allows users to share their videos across various social networks. Used effectively Vine could be the latest social networking tool to take your business to the next level, but how do you use those six seconds wisely?
1. Engage with Customers
This past summer, Honda launched a Twitter campaign asking people to tweet them anything with the hashtag #Wantanewcar. The best tweets received a personalized six-second video response from Honda via Vine. Often, they were plays on the customers’ own tweets — almost like personal video love letters to their most creative customers. In doing so, Honda was able to show their own creative side and sense of fun, while making their customers feel special and valued in the process. Plus, thanks to the retweet potential of each video, they could potentially generate massive amounts of brand awareness across cyberspace.
2. Share Tips and How-Tos
Lowe’s, a chain of American home improvement stores, used Vine for six-second household tips and instructional videos on how to stop hardwood floors from squeaking, how to stop a jack ‘o lantern from getting mouldy and how to keep squirrels from your bird feeder. Tips like these have great share value and consumers will potentially revisit Lowe’s page again and again to better absorb the tips they viewed, watch the tips they missed and share them with friends. Thanks to this content Lowe’s becomes a destination brand for these home improvement secrets and a huge corporate brand is suddenly boiled down to their mom and pop roots, making them more accessible to their customers and drilling the company down to the essence of who they are and what they do.
3. Reward Fans of the Brand
GoPro is the waterproof, virtually indestructible camera that’s versatile enough to mount and wear practically anywhere, making it a favourite among extreme sports practitioners. GoPros have taken footage from the highest peaks on Everest to the lowest depths of the Great Barrier Reef and the people who use them are so thankful to finally be able to take cameras to these previously inaccessible places that every video they post is essentially an advertisement for the quality of a GoPro. Many of them post their videos as Vines and attach them to a branded hashtag on Twitter hoping for a shout out from the company. GoPro obliges and gets some great viral marketing in the process.
4. Go Behind-the-Scenes
Fashion brands such as Marc Jacobs take customers behind-the-scenes of their brand past the Fashion Week season festivities. Jacobs gives viewers of their Vines a glimpse into the day-to-day operations of their headquarters and stores. They offer up inside looks into their campaigns, celebrity interviews during in-store book signings and under the #staffstyles hashtag, highlight the patterns and prints worn by their staff. Doing this gives customers something they probably can’t get any other way and produces exclusive content and product previews for the most loyal among them before anyone else.
5. Highlight Product Features
Car company Opel uses its six seconds on Vine to highlight the various colours its cars come in, but Vine can be used for a closer look at any particular product feature prior to release or upon launch. This is a great way to create buzz and generate desire among your potential customer base. It’s also a great way to generate feedback and first reactions to a new feature instantly, so you can start an immediate dialogue with your customers and know where you stand with them instantly.
6. Create a Stop-Motion Advertisement
One of the most popular ways to create buzz on Vine is by using the technology to create six-second stop-motion advertisement. These ads are eye-catching and show the brand isn’t afraid to be artistic and creative. Their creation has become a cottage industry in and of itself, with some artists specializing just in stop-motion Vine videos. These efforts create great word of mouth and have the potential to be shared great distances across many social media platforms. The most creative among them tend to put the responsible brand on the tip of everyone’s lips and generate publicity that few can ever buy.
So there you have it, six ingenious and innovative ways to generate brand awareness for your business using what the looping video of Vine has to offer. The best part is it doesn’t take much – just a phone and the Vine app and you are ready to go. These videos are quick, concise, easily shareable and, when done right, highly focused. Waste the opportunity and it can be a disaster, but hopefully with the guidance above, you will find at least one way to utilize the technology. After all, who knew you could do so much in six seconds?