My December 7th Vocus Webinar on “The Techniques of the New PR Champion,” sparked many questions from participants. Here is the fourth and final part of the Q&A. Parts I, II and III are also available on my blog for review. I hope that I’ve answered everyone’s questions from the Webinar. If I’ve missed any, or you have more, please don’t hesitate to post your question and we can answer them together.
1. How does record retention work on social media for government agencies?
There are resources that allow you to archive your tweets and Facebook updates for record retention. For example, Backupify is a service that provides automatic daily backups, archiving, and export of Google Docs, Facebook page updates, your Twitter feed and Flickr streams, and comments in your other social media channels. In addition, if you’re using a monitoring platform, such as Vocus, Sysomos, BurrellesLuce Engage 121, Alternian, or Radian6, you should ask your service provider if you can archive manually (by exporting a PDF report), or if there’s a way to automatically archive updates to your social media sites.
2. Do you have a DVD included with the book with templates for helping to chart a businesses progress?
I’m still working on how exercises will be presented in my book (if they will be at the end of the chapters or in an additional guide). However, with respect to charting business community progress, there’s one tool I used in my presentation to show how a business can “Chart a Social Map.” This tool is called Mindmeister, for mind mapping and brainstorming. It’s a very easy (free) online tool to use and it shows growth of social communities over time. You’ll want to have an updated chart in your social media plan.
3. For a major hospital, what are some metrics to analyze using social media?
Hospitals are an extension of community, so you will want to look at growth in a number of ways. In addition to looking at how many people follow and friend the hospital, you should also be tracking how people move from your social media sites to your website to find out more information about the hospital, doctors, areas of specialty medicine, community events, etc. It’s really important to tie your social media efforts to your website analytics (traffic to pages, views, time spent on site, referring location, etc.) You should always be driving to your hub, which is your website, because it houses the most important ways for people to interact and to find out more information.
Sentiment is another really important community measure. You should be looking at the sentiment of conversations about the hospital and comparing your positive, negative and neutral sentiment over time (making sure that the positive is on the rise). You can also track other hospitals in your area to see a comparison in sentiment. I would recommend doing the same with Share of Voice (SOV) in social networks. How does your hospital’s SOV compare to that of a competitor on Facebook or Twitter. These are just a few metrics that are useful as you increase your social media participation.
In addition, if your hospital has a foundation, you will want to track how many members of your social media communities become aware of your foundation, request more information and interact on your foundation’s website, as a result of social media participation.
4. How do you start in the right direction, if you have the responsibility to be the PR Champion, but not the authority or upper administration support?
If you are tasked with the responsibility of social media, but need to get the buy in, then you have to put together a “formal ask.” Social media is not something that can be approached loosely in an organization. Here’s one approach:
- Step One: Find research and highlight similar types of organizations with respect to how and why they are using social media. Be sure to document any success stories, as well as any negative situations, due to the lack of a social presence.
- Step Two: Begin tracking competition to show that direct competitors are out there using social media effectively and your company may need to play catch up.
- Step Three: Audit your own company’s efforts to show that there are people already talking, maybe even your own employees, and, in this case, proper guidance and training would benefit the company. You may also uncover a few social media fires that need to be addressed immediately.
If you document and present this information in a more formal way to upper administration, it will become more of a priority and hopefully an eye opening experience to get you the buy in that you need.
5. Is it best to ignore and delete comments on company social media pages or respond to them?
No. The only comments that should be deleted are the ones that violate your social media policy, if they are defamatory, harassing, abusive, etc. Otherwise, any comments that are negative need to be addresses based on your Comment Response Chart. A Comment Response Chart shows you how to move through situations from misguided information and bad experiences to handling “Deterrent Detractors” and “Angry Ragers.” It’s okay to have some less than flattering comments on your Facebook wall or company blog. It actually humanizes the company and makes your organization more transparent to the community. If someone visits a company’s Facebook wall or blog and there’s nothing but glowing remarks, they may be skeptical. It might appear the company only keeps the positive comments and deletes the negative or helpful criticism.
6. How do you find editors respond to social media releases? Do editors want to be reached via Twitter or through email?
The answer to this question always varies based on individual preferences. With respect to the first part of the question, editors want a really good story with factual and credible information. If you can deliver this information packaged in a helpful manner with additional resources, then they will like whatever tool you’re using. I remember one editor who interviewed in my book, PR 2.0. He said that if you don’t have a well-written release, with information that his readers would find useful, then don’t bother sending a tool with fancy bells and resources (he was referring to a social media release). It’s really important that you deliver good information regardless of the format.
To answer the question about Twitter vs. email, you’ll learn quickly how a journalist prefers to receive information. If you are unsure then make sure that you ask. Most journalists are still very comfortable with email, although I’ve come across instances where conversations with a journalist move to Twitter DM, upon request. Everyone is different, so you want to make sure you accommodate based on a person’s individual preferences.
7. How aggressively do you pursue these types of strategies in a more methodical organization, where process is ingrained and slow to change?
When you uncover the need for new processes and procedures, you will have to aggressively show why social media is important to business communications. However, that doesn’t mean that the change will happen quickly. In a more methodical organization, where culture is embedded, and historically change is slow to occur, you will have to take a crawl, walk and then run approach. One of the most important steps to spark the change will be to use a social media audit. The audit usually uncovers the issues or areas of liability, which then results in the writing of a policy. Slower organizations feel more comfortable with a policy in place so that employees understand how to participate properly and that there is guidance or training involved. Chances are many employees are already participating, so the practices outlined in my webinar will actually help the organization move to a more comfortable level of participation.
8. How do you institute the handling of personal information protection while pushing for PR and marketing product?
A good social media policy will instruct employees, as well as the company’s public, on how to participate properly including the use of personal information. Some policies have a section that discusses the personal vs. company use of social media. I look at examples of organizations using social media effectively including the United States Armed Forces and many hospitals across the country. They handle both propriety and personal information that can’t be divulged to the public. If these types of organizations can participate successfully, then it’s just a matter of getting the right guidance and training in place, so people know what’s considered an acceptable use and unacceptable use of social media.