Monitoring and measuring web presence – paid and free tools

In today’s digital age, monitoring and measuring of social media serve a fundamental function to growing a successful business. With the help of various analytical tools, companies are able to listen to their current and potential customers, and to determine the best ways to engage in a real-time conversation with them. Monitoring serves a crisis management function. Where as, measurement is a continuous process, which is used to help meet organization’s goals.

There are many monitoring and measurement tools out there – both, free and paid. It is up to you to determine which ones work best for your organization.
Let’s look at a few different technologies.

Addict-o-matic
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This is a free tool, and it is very simple to use. Addict-o-matic enables a quick search, pulling results from a wide array of social media sites, news, tweets, blog posts, video and image sharing platforms. This tool, however, does not offer any metric data and does not provide you with any visuals, such as graphs or charts. The search capability is very basic. As well, this tool does not monitor Facebook.

Social Mention
This monitoring tool is also free. Unlike Addict-o-matic, Social Mention allows for a more detailed search. It allows conducting a search based on the following categories: Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach of your brand, as well as the tone of the voice.
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It aggregates information from over a hundred social media sites, including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, and produces reports. Social Mention is easy to use. This tool also lets you add a Social Mention’s Real Time Buzz Widget.

TweetReach
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With a free TweetReach account, you can get reports analyzing the most recent 50 tweets. It is an easy-to-use tool. TweetReach lets you track your tweets, find out who retweeted your tweets and view how many people received them. It measures reach and impressions. When you upgrade to a paid plan, it lets you conduct a more detailed search – related to sentiment. This is a great tool for finding influencers on Twitter.

Trackur
The application was founded by Andy Beal in 2007. It is a paid tool that monitors relevant mainstream and social media channels. This service includes graphs. It also lets you export data into Excel, or get results on the go – with the RSS/XML feeds, or email alerts. Furthermore, it lets you measure influence and sentiment metrics. This is an excellent tool for tracking online reputation, and it is offered at a lower price – compared tools, such as Radian6 and Attentio, which offer similar services.

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What analytics tools do you use or recommend?

Handling crisis communications in the Digital Age – a lesson learned the hard way

“The challenge you have with crisis communication is not to make it worse, because you can’t make it better” – Robert Jensen, CEO of Kenyon International Emergency Services.

In a time of crisis, it is critical to have a plan for an adequate and timely response. The absence of a crisis communication plan, in most cases, leads to negative and long-term consequences for a company’s reputation. The unfortunate reality is that accidents occur unexpectedly, and pose a negative impact on the stakeholders – internally and externally. Thus, when managing a crisis, it is absolutely crucial to utilize strategies to communicate with various audiences to meet their needs and to avert a poor response that may open the door to further speculation.

Nowadays, crisis mitigation should also be carried out as a real-time conversation – as much of the communication takes place online. Equally importantly, crisis communication planning should be viewed as a learning process and an opportunity to prepare better for future emergencies.

Malaysia Airlines has been hit with the back-to-back tragedies of MH370 and MH17. With the disappearance of Flight 370, the airline had made many mistakes in terms of communicating information to the public. The airlines’ response to the MH370 flight crash has been found very inadequate. First of all, it was very confusing. The airline also did not communicate relevant information in a timely manner. And although, Malaysia Airlines did try to address the crisis with the help of social media and instant messaging – their approach failed – once an insensitive text message was sent to families, omitting to express any sympathy for their loved ones. Soon, people began to tweet about the subject.

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Following the Twitter storm, a story got picked up by mainstream media. This ensued further criticism, and generated discussion as the story spread all over the social media. Looking back this crisis, it is clear that key fundamentals of handing a crisis were not practiced. Malaysia Airlines was simply not prepared to manage the incident, which additionally ignited a PR crisis. The company has also lost a good chunk of its value, and its reputation has been tarnished.

The ill-fated Malaysia Airlines has been faced with another crisis this year – as Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down by a missile over Ukrainian airspace. In the case of MH17, however, it seems the airline has learned hard lessons from its earlier disaster and was able to improve its crisis management tactics.

The response statement issued by Malaysia Airlines was well thought out and compassionate, as opposed to the text that was sent at the time of MH370 disaster in March. This time, the messages were conveyed with an immediate reaction to the crisis. The airline promptly issued a statement outlining all of the available details on the crash. Also, the response regarding an investigation was followed by a tweet from Malaysian Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Tun Razak.

Malaysia Airlines learned from the experience and revised the plan to crisis management. The second time around crisis within a four-month span, the airline was able to effectively improve their communication strategy. The airline conveyed its messages in a clear and transparent way, and managed the crisis with a concern for the victims. As the investigation continues, it is important the Malaysia Airlines continues the dialogue and keeps people updated. To keep public’s trust in today’s digital world, it is essential that the crisis management team constantly listens, monitors social media platforms and leads the real-time conversation on what is happening.

Of course, there is no one size fits all plan when it comes to crisis management – as there are many differences between MH370 and MH17 incidents. Crisis communication plan, however, has to be in place and be carried out in a timely manner – with the help of appropriate channels and people.

In the course of unpredictable events, a business must have a plan prepared ahead of time. There are number of steps to ensuring disastrous events do not lead to further crisis and brand damage. Effective communication is an essential part of this process. For that reason, a business must own the conversation and demonstrate the ability to mitigating crisis through a two-way dialogue – with a focus on social media and its popularity as a way of communication.

The Content Strategy: Going Visual

Content is a critical component to achieving business goals and planning for the future projects, which a reader must be able to easily understand and benefit from. The creation of content is a constant process, also known as the content strategy, which includes guidelines and measures to defining the direction an organization may take in its storytelling. A good content plan includes numerous elements, such as: target audiences, an analysis on topics, key messaging, a purpose, voice and tone, as well as a section on sources (Content Strategy for the Web, Halvorson and Rach, 2012). Visuals, such as topic maps and other forms of infographics, help shape information in a more meaningful way. Content creators are using visuals to better convey a message, intended to capture the attention of an audience – which should also be easily shared through the social media sites.

This week I would like to look at a few images, which summarize the elements of content strategy for the web.

Content Strategy Burger:
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Let’s look at Mark Smiciklas’ 5-layered hamburger image and examine why it is a good visual element to content strategy. First of all, this visual metaphor is very popular:  a hamburger put together of all the tasty elements – just like a good content strategy. Everyone also understands that there is no hamburger without the beef patty. As seen on the image, “the meat of your strategy” is your audience. Smiciklas underlines that you simply cannot create a successful strategy without this foundation, as you must know your target audiences. To learn and understand to whom you are writing and why, there needs to be an engaging part to your content. The bun in the hamburger analogy symbolizes the hub of all of the social content.

Transit Map for Social Strategy:
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This is another example of an excellent infographic created by Mark Smiciklas, which communicates the idea of an effective social media strategy. The image shows that there are many parts to developing a successful strategy. The “subway stops” represent steps to this process. Looking at the map, it is easy to understand that points overlap and feed on each other. At the same time, when looking at this infographic, it is unclear where to start. This image is a bit complicated. However, it shows that content development is a complex process. To understand this image better, you should focus on the 5 major lines. This will let you learn the essentials to building a good content strategy.

ReSoMe, Revelant Social Media:
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This infographic was found on Pinterest. It illustrates the elements of content strategy by breaking them down into percentages. By looking at this image, it is easy to understand what comprises a good content strategy. Though, the visuals in terms of the selected colours and fonts are well selected, the image does not provide information on the particular steps to developing a sound strategy. Also, I wonder how many of you noticed the spelling error?

All of those three examples were used to serve as a source of information on content strategy. Each of these images contains visual analogies, which help people observe data in an easily digestible format. Thus, the use of infographics should be highly considered by PR practitioners and content strategists, as visual storytelling helps businesses achieve their goals.

Which content strategy elements are most important? What do you think?

 

Promoted tweets, accounts and trends – value and cost behind these Twitter programs

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 1.59.38 AMWith an increased popularity of the social media use, businesses are now looking for ways to “promote” their content as much as they can through platforms such as Twitter. Twitter, among other various social media sites, serves as a tool to generating as many users possible, interacting with followers in an innovative way and letting them know about specific products and services. Twitter, as well as Facebook, can also be used as a monitoring function – which is crucial to PR practice.

Twitter has its specifics – “promoted tweets,” “promoted accounts” and “promoted trends.” Through a better understanding of these features and their functions, a PR practitioner will have a better idea whether a particular technology is suitable or not for engaging with businesses’ stakeholders.

Promoted tweets are paid for by the companies, and are seen as an effective way to advertising specific services or programs. When a tweet is “promoted,” it appears at the top of a follower’s feed with a “promoted” label. The cost of such tweets range from $0.20 to $5.00, and charge businesses on a per engagement basis – as information on Quora indicates. Promoted tweets are believed to increase traffic to company’s webpage. This program is also considered a good marketing strategy, which can improve chances of a higher ROI.

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When a user clicks on a “Who to Follow” section, he or she will be able to see various accounts that they may choose to follow. Many businesses register under the “promoted accounts” program – in order for their account to appear at the top of the list in a search icon. The cost of such program is in a range of fifty cents to $5, as answered by Quora.

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“Promoted trends” work in a similar fashion, as this feature allows for trending topics to appear at the top of Twitter user’s search bar. According to Quora, promoted trends are charged as a flat fee – and may cost “thousands of dollars per day.” This may be a pretty costly option for some companies, as they look to engage like-minded users in a conversation under a specific #hashtag.

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By looking at the specifics of Twitter programs, a PR professional must understand that these tools can be used to add value to their organization. However, sharing content through the social media channels has to be viewed as a well-thoughout strategy. Simply, there is no guarantee your followers will retweet or like your posts – even if these posts are “promoted.” The content has to be interesting to the public’s eye, as it must appeal to the audience and be engaging.

Organizations need to work on earning the public’s trust. The use of social media platforms, of course, maybe utilized as one of the strategies to achieving such goal. Nevertheless, social media techniques will only discredit themselves if a business that can afford Twitter ads does not focus on efforts of creating relevant content. Consequently, companies will receive a return on investment only when the communications part is done right.

Success in social media doesn’t happen overnight: Reach, attention, and influence cannot effectively be bought in this space. They have to be earned and developed, much like friendships are earned and developed – writes Olivier Blanchard(“Social Media ROI”).

That’s where I’d like to leave things for this blog post. In the comments section, you are welcome to name some of the case studies – listing organizations that have succeeded by choosing Twitter-based advertising.

Welcome to CDPR108

(Social Media for PR)

As we start this course, I am sure we are all eager to learn more about the use of social media within a business context.
During the first lecture, we’ve already heard that with the emergence of Internet – journalists and public relations professionals continue to adapt to the changing world, moving away from the traditional ways of information delivery.

By taking this course, I hope to discover ways to utilizing the tools and technologies in order to generate new audiences and to engage customers in the most interesting way.

Over the course of seven weeks, I will use this WordPress-based blog to draw upon relevant topics discussed during the lectures and will share my insight on the class material.

Which channel/tool would you prefer to use for this assignment?

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you continue to follow me throughout this course.

Feel free to comment on my posts.

Myroslava Stadnyk, aspiring Public Relations Practitioner