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Feature Article

How Social Media Monitoring Impacts Sales, Creates Company-Wide Benefits

Search Engine Watch / Ad Age
If you're not monitoring social media, you're missing opportunities to increase sales, awareness and consumer loyalty. In Why Social Media Listening is Important for Brands, Victoria Edwards demonstrates with three case studies how social media monitoring has benefited the brands Lululemon, Taylor Guitars and Maker's Mark.
      In the case of Maker's Mark, the whisky company was met with negative feedback after announcing it would be reducing the amount of alcohol in their bourbon. As Edwards illustrates, Maker's Mark customers responded negatively on Twitter and Facebook, prompting the company to respond to its audience with a "You Spoke, We Listened" message that reversed their decision. Not only did Maker's Mark respond; they also used Google's paid search to put the message at the top of search results, which help switch their audience sentiment from negative to positive.
     By measuring sentiment in one of their client's social media comments,  McKinsey & Co. proved the benefits of social listening in a recent study that found a relationship between bad "buzz" and a decline in sales. Complaints about the signup process and call center workers at the telecom provider drove the negative sentiment, according to McKinsey Finds Social Buzz Can Affect Sales — Negatively, Anyway, which could have been resolved if the provider focused more heavily on social listening to identify the cause of the issue.
      Social media monitoring helps departments outside PR and marketing, Edwards continues. Customer service can create a knowledge base from questions and answers found on social media; sales can uncover conversations that ask for recommendations or show discontent with competitors; human resources can uncover experts and influencers and find new recruits. Bottom line: Find out where conversations are happening, leverage what you learn and don't ignore your customers.

For PR Pros

To Pitch Effectively, PR Pros Must Understand Their Audience (the Journalist)

Bulldog Reporter
Just as reporters understand their audience, PR pros must understand what journalists need and when they need it. If you invest the time and thought to define the news value, reporter's needs and audience of your pitch, you're more likely to develop a powerful, impactful pitch that has a realistic chance of developing into a published story. Media lists are dead, Sean Carney proclaims in Human Relations: Tips on Writing Effective Pitches. Make your story relevant and, if possible, be able to tie it to other current issues in the news. Tip: Read reporters' previous articles to get an understanding of their personality and how you should frame your pitch — and so you can mention which of their past work you enjoyed (flattery gets you everywhere).

Digital Media Changes Newsgathering Methods, But Not Traditional PR Values

Bulldog Reporter
Digital media is the "New Normal for News" according to the results of the sixth annual Oriella Digital Journalism Study. However, while journalists use social media for newsgathering, they still place emphasis on trusted sources with pre-existing relationships. More than half of journalists reported in the study that they will only report stories from blogs when they already know the source behind them — an important note for PR pros that digital media does not weaken the traditional value of media relations. Another key takeaway: Academics and field experts are the most trusted sources among journalists, followed by company "technical" experts and analysts. PR pros would benefit from citing such sources in pitches.

How to Prepare for Managing an Online Customer Community

Business 2 Community
Online communities sponsored by companies or brands are the epitome of consumer engagement, but PR pros must be prepared for tough discussions. Are You Prepared for These 8 Types of Discussions in Your Online Customer Community? enumerates the types of questions you should anticipate in an online community, along with tips to manage the forum efficiently. Forums attract a large amount of product feedback, some constructive, some ranting. It's crucial to have a management process to log, validate and prioritize customers' critiques and ideas. A clearly-defined process adds transparency to your "product feedback roadmap," and also gives your product and technical support teams a place to direct customers with suggestions and complaints. In answering "how-to" questions, your online community should come equipped with engagement features that drive high participation, including expert citations and screenshots to illustrate solutions. A basic (but important) tip: add FAQ's so you don't spend time answering the same questions.

Media Monitoring = Big Data; Big Data = Great PR Campaigns

Smart Data Collective
Big data provides immense PR benefits and opportunities in three ways: it captures a 360-view of your customers, provides information to create tailored stories to stakeholders, and saves your organization in times of crisis. A media monitoring and measurement supplier is key in gathering this big data from PR campaigns. As Mark van Rijmenam explains in Big Data Will Help Create Great PR Campaigns, unstructured data (e.g. not statistics) gives you a better perspective on your customers and the types of messages to construct for them. Use available demographics and social data of your audience to turn a PR campaign into a personal (and potentially fun) message that they're likely to share on social networks, van Rijmenam instructs. Next, use media monitoring to gather data on how the audience perceives the campaign — what people say about it and its overall sentiment. Then, most importantly, adjust the message accordingly both during and after the campaign. Monitoring also gives you a heads up on when and where negative messages are spread and about what topic — enabling you to head off a potential crisis.

Skill Demands and Trends in PR

Dave Fleet / PR Daily
Dave Fleet shares career advice for both PR rookies and veterans in 15 Top Tips for a Successful PR Career. Last on the list, but certainly not the least important: Understand converged media. PR pros must go beyond a basic knowledge of social media and understand how to leverage earned, owned and paid media. Measurement is another new skill demand in the PR landscape, Fleet points out, so professionals should embrace numbers, focus on details and take full advantage of measurement data. In reference to Mary Meeker's latest Internet trends report, What 9 Internet Trends Means for PR also looks into the skills needed for the current and future PR industry. Among them are the ability create video content, to make content and websites mobile- and tablet-friendly, and to act as a full-fledged reporter in disclosing information on social media.

15 Habits for Better Writing Skills

Publication Coach / Brain Pickings
It's easier to improve writing skills than most people think, Daphne Gray-Grant explains in 5 Stupidly Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing. The most common prescription of writing coaches is to spend more time reading and writing. Gray-Grant also advocates more time thinking before writing. Allow a period of "incubation" time before publishing your final piece — which Maria Popova also echoes in her 10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy. (Editor's Note: We've referenced Ogilvy's writing tips before, but they're worth re-reading). Unless you're restricted by deadline, don't send a letter (or a pitch or blog post) on the day you write it, The Unpublished David Ogilvy states. Read it aloud the next morning, and then edit. Another timeless piece of advice: Before sending a pitch, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.

Are Unpaid Internships Illegal?

The New York Times / The Washington Post
The trade-off of unpaid internships is usually that the intern receives "an education" and college credits in return for his/her work. Unpaid internships may be on the decline, however, after a Federal District Court judge's decision last week. Judge William H. Pauley III ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures had violated federal and New York minimum wage laws by not paying two production interns.
      The decision could have broad implications for businesses that employ and rely heavily on unpaid internships including publishing, entertainment, advertising and public relations. In his ruling, Pauley said unpaid internships should only be allowed in very limited circumstances, calling out the Department of Labor's six criteria differentiating between an employee entitled to minimum wage and a trainee who may be unpaid. The University of Southern California includes a good screening questionnaire to determine whether the unpaid internship through your company is valid. It's an issue that can no longer be ignored, which some law firms have made clear as they actively seek past interns for new cases. Key takeaway for PR and marketing agencies: Be sure your internships meet the DOL's criteria or pay your interns (at least) minimum wage. It's not worth a lawsuit — and it's the right thing to do.

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For Marketers & Social Media Specialists

"Keep Innovating" to Promote Blogs, Marketing Content

Social Media Examiner / QuickSprout
Everyone uses Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn to promote their blogs. But if you want a competitive advantage, you should utilize the lesser-known networks like Tumblr, Reddit or Quora, according to 5 Creative Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog Post. These sites often have an active audience and offer less competition, so your content will stand out, Kimberly Reynolds insists. She also recommends creating overviews of your post with multimedia tools like Instagram and SlideShare, and using Vine to create 6-second "teasers" about the blog's contents. Just because no one else is doing something on social media doesn't mean it's not a good idea. Keep innovating.
      Neil Patel offers similar advice in his explanation, How I Turned a 40,000-Word Guide Into 361,494 Visitors and 8,421 Email Opt-Ins. If you want to increase traffic, don't focus on the same tactics everyone else is using. Patel reflects on two white papers he wrote, learning from his mistakes on the first to improve results for the second, a content marketing guide. His recommendations: leverage existing technologies that make your work compatible for various platforms; create email opt-in methods in your material; link out to external sites, and then email those sites asking them to share the guide with their readers.

Measuring Sentiment with Facial Imaging

Monday Note
What's the next big media analytics tool? It may be your smartphone. In Your Smartphone, Your Moods, Their Market, Frederic Filloux explains how mobile devices could be used to evaluate editorial content and measure advertisement effectiveness. With facial imaging technology, phones may be the focus groups of the future: after sending marketing and advertising content drafts en masse, intelligent software installed on smartphones will use their cameras to decipher the owner's facial expressions. Privacy concerns will, of course, be hotly debated, Filloux admits. But facial imaging is a very real possibility, based on an early prototype Samsung emotion-sensing smartphone. Bottom line: Facial imaging could change (and possibly improve) the way marketers and advertisers track their campaigns.

Twitter Marketing: Tips for Success and Precedents to Follow

Business 2 Community / Conroy Media Group / CyberAlert
Twitter's 140-character limit can complicate B2B content marketing, Annetta Powell admits in Best Practices for Twitter Marketing and Lead Generation. To develop a Twitter marketing strategy that increases engagement, Powell recommends researching how your competitors tweet, what they re-tweet and favorite, and responses they get from their followers. The three best ways to drive engagement in Twitter are to announce special offers, live-tweet events and encourage your CEO to share company updates. Always consider the impression your tweets make; most of your content should be focused on others, not your own company.
      For examples, analyze how leading influencers tweet their content. 20 Content Marketing Twitter Accounts to Follow includes individuals like Gini Dietrich, Spin Sucks CEO, as well as Twitter accounts such as Copyblogger and MarketingProfs. If you haven't read it already, The 30 Most Influential Bloggers in Public Relations gives credit to leading marketers and bloggers who create and share content to benefit their followers.

The Most Important Content Marketing Metrics (Based on Input from 20 Marketing Experts)

Heidi Cohen
Which content marketing metrics are most effective? According to Heidi Cohen's survey in which 20 Experts Select Key Content Marketing Metrics, Jay Baer's 4 Types of Content Metrics That Matter were among the most cited. Baer accompanies the categories — consumption, sharing, lead generation and sales — with key questions that will point you toward specific metrics to answer. To measure lead generation, ask: How often do content consumers turn into leads? Sales metrics are the most important, Baer asserts, while so-called "sharing metrics" (e.g.: "likes") are the most overvalued. The four categories are indeed a helpful guide, survey respondent Lindsay Bell of Spin Sucks acknowledges, but they leave out a force that drives all metrics: community. The numbers from all other marketing metrics mean nothing if your community isn't loyal and engaged, she concludes.

Tools to Identify and Connect with Influencers

Search Engine People
A Tactical Guide on How to Do Influencer Outreach lists tools that help to identify key influencers, manage relationships, and conduct outreach. In identifying influencers, the key is to marry your criteria to your desired outcome, Kristy Bolsinger asserts. She recommends new tools like Followerwonk, which lets you search and compare Twitter accounts by followers, biographies and content, as well as traditional approaches like Google Blog Search, which can be combined with Klout to evaluate the audience of the influencers you find. There's no tool that will conduct the actual outreach for you, however: that part requires authenticity, ethics and understanding the WIIFM (What's In It For Me) of your audience.

The Dangers of Compound Metrics: Why Simpler is Better

Occam's Razor
Marketers must "decrapify" their measurement strategies, Avinash Kaushik declares in Excellent Analytics Tip #25: Decrapify Search, Social Compound Metrics. While the intent behind combining metrics to represent engagement, influence, etc., is logical, the outcome never is, he asserts. The problem: when you "cross-breed" a bunch of metrics, the process hinders the ability to identify root causes. He uses Klout as one example of a tool that measures something (influence) although it is not clear what is being measured. The result is that "you don't know what causes the final number to happen…hence you are blind to why things go up/down and what actions you can take to improve."
      The solution for measuring social analytics: (1) Show the compound metric and (2) show its contributing elements (metrics) that make up its formula. Use contributing elements that deliver insights on metrics that drive business profits. As an example, Kaushik shows the worth of an Engagement Score by defining the underlying conversation rates, amplification rates, applause rates and economic values.

Best Video Editing Tools and Software for Marketing & PR

Desktop Video Guide / TechRadar
Marketing and PR pros should utilize full-featured video editing tools, including free programs, if they want to produce high-quality content on YouTube, Vine and other video-sharing social media sites. Top 5 Free Video Editing Software Programs explains that Microsoft Movie Maker for Windows PCs and Apple iMovie for Macs are the best free tools for beginners, both allowing simple and effective video editing. YouTube provides editing tools, but they are rudimentary, even compared to Movie Maker and iMovie. For more interesting effects and transitions, Lightworks is the best of free packages among advanced editors, according to the Best Free Video Editing Software: 9 Top Programs You Should Download. It may be worth it to invest in purchased software if you have a large YouTube audience or frequent videos. In that case, explore the comparisons and reviews of 2013's top 10 video editing software.

Facts, Fun & Inspiration

Sure-Fire Ways to Annoy Journalists and their Editors

Pinnacle Marketing
"Follow these simple rules and you will be assured that every editor you come into contact with rolls their eyes heavenward." In A 12-Point Plan to Irritate an Editor, journalist Caroline Hayes offers a basic guide of what PR pros and bloggers shouldn't do to journalists and editors. Step 1 to frustrating an editor: Send irrelevant press releases. If that doesn't work, proceed to step 2, which is: "Be unimaginative and send unsolicited comments on recent news events. The editor will insist that if they want comment, they will contact you, but you can't take that risk, can you?"

Pinterest Ideas Tried and Untrue

BuzzFeed
You can't believe everything you read on social media, as BuzzFeed sets out to prove in 20 Popular Pinterest Tips That Are Bold-Faced Lies. One "tip" on a pin proved false: Mountain Dew mixed with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda creates a glowing lantern. According to Peggy Wang, "this doesn't work, unless you break apart a glowstick and dump the toxic contents into the bottle." Many of the myths were discovered by Pinterest users who found the idea interesting, only to see it fail after trying to create no-heat hair straighteners, homemade mosquito traps and spray-bottled condiments. Wang's advice: "put on the rubber gloves, because there really are no shortcuts in life."

For Innovation, Think Inside the Box

The Wall Street Journal
The traditional instruction for creativity tells people to think outside the box. The Wall Street Journal, however, advocates the opposite: Think Inside the Box. People are at their most creative when they constrain their options rather than broaden them, the article explains. If companies want to improve innovation, the process begins by breaking a product or service down into its main components, and then applying one of five techniques to those components to create new ideas. The five elements: Subtraction, task unification, multiplication, division and dependency attribution. For example, subtraction involves removing the seemingly "essential" elements; much like contact lenses are frames subtracted from a pair of glasses.

Factoids of the Week:

42% of Americans' media consumption is spent watching television, while 26% is dedicated to using the Internet. Only 6% of news is consumed viaprint. (Meeker's Internet Trends Report)
People consult an average of 13 different information sources before deciding which movie to see. (Google)
Companies with more than 1,000 Twitter followers generate, on average, 800 new web site visitors each month. (HubSpot)

Quote of the Week:

"In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure." — Bill Cosby

PR Meetings, Seminars, White Papers

Upcoming Conferences

Content Summit for PR, Social Media and Marketing Professionals, hosted by PR Daily and Ragan.com, will be held on June 24 in Chicago, IL, and is still available on live webcast. The cost to order is $1,195 for members and $945 for members.
MozCon 2013, hosted by Moz, will be held July 7 in Seattle, Wa. The cost to attend is $1,499 for non-pro members and $999 for pro members.
Search Exchange Internet Marketing Conference, hosted by Search Exchange, will be held July 29 in Charlotte, NC. The cost to attend is $500.
4th Annual PR Summit, hosted by Graffiti PR, will be held July 30 in San Francisco, Ca. The cost to attend is $300.
Predictive Analytics & Business Insights, hosted by Gateway Analytics Network, will be held Aug. 22 in Chicago, IL. The cost to attend is $1,799.
Content Marketing World 2013, hosted by Content Marketing Institute, will be held Sept. 9 in Cleveland, OH. The cost to attend is $1,295.

Recent White Papers and eBooks

The State of Marketing. IBM surveyed more than 500 marketing professionals worldwide to learn more about how they face and overcome the challenges in today's marketing environment.
The Power of Social Signals: How to Drive Business Results by Monitoring Online Conversations. Create a strategy for monitoring social media to generate sales and find business opportunities.
Oriella Digital Journalism Study. How digital technology is impacting newsgathering and publication around the world.

Omnibus News

PR & Marketing Job Openings

The listing for this issue includes PR job openings and marketing positions — with detailed job descriptions for each. Readers are invited to submit job postings to jobpostings@cyberalert.com.
  
Public Relations Positions
Manager, PR & Media Relations — The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum
Communications Specialist — Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Public Relations Manager — Microsoft
Public Relations Specialist — Amway
Community Relations Specialist — Western Massachusetts Electric Co.
Media & Public Relations Specialist — Zurich Insurance Group
Public Relations Associate — Babson Capital
PR Media Relations Manager — Arrow Electronics
PR Analyst — Scottrade, Inc.
Public Relations / Communications Manager — Yahoo! Search
Marketing Positions
Marketing & Public Relations Administrator — Bluegrass Cellular
Marketing Communications Specialist — A10
Marketer — Thomson Reuters
Marketing Specialist — UnitedHealth Group
Marketing Specialist/Coordinator — Actuant Corporation
Business Sales Marketing Associate — Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
Marketing Specialist — Patterson Companies
Communications & Client Experience Marketing Specialist — J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Loyalty Marketing Planner — Nordstrom
Marketing Specialist, Product Showcase — Dell

Best of Previous Issues

Determining Your Media Monitoring Needs
Print News Monitoring Vs. Online News Monitoring
Broadcast Monitoring for TV & Radio News
Selecting a Social Media Monitoring Service
F.r.e.e & Low-Cost News Release Distribution Services

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ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING
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