Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Cobblers’ children? PR and blogs

Sally Whittle has some interesting observations on how well (or not) PR companies do at keeping their own blogs updated and interesting.

It raises some good questions: do PR agencies need to be active in all areas of social media to qualify as experts in the area? Do we have to maintain blogs, twitter feeds, Facebook groups and flickr profiles? Is blogging evidence enough in itself that we ‘get’ this space?

Without doubt, if we do this stuff ourselves, it helps us give our clients advice on how they should do it – but I suspect that in an attempt to be seen as cutting edge, PR teams are trying to take on more than they can manage effectively. But what we do, we need to do well.

Participating in social media is not just about being seen, but being heard – and building relationships. Potential clients will Google you. They’ll skim through your Twitter posts; check out your Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile, blog and website to get the truth behind the pitch, just as any modern recruiter would do for a candidate. We should be incorporating social media into our overall marketing plans and insuring that we:

1) Only participate in social media that is truly relevant (how many micro-blogging services do we need?)
2) Actively participate by updating our own blogs and profiles whilst contributing to others
3) “Trimming the fat” – regularly assessing what we have signed up to and its assessing its true value
4) Make sure that whatever you take on, you do well.

We’re all guilty of not doing all this – even the biggest agencies. Certainly my new year’s resolution is to spend more time focusing on social media that really works well for me, and for Carrot.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

America decides

So the election with what seems like the longest preamble in history is finally upon us. Today is the day that Americans get to vote on the next leader of the free world.

This election campaign is historic. For the obvious reasons - of course - of race, gender, a vice-presidential canditate under investigation until the 11th hour, record amounts of money raised despite (or because of?) the economic crisis. But also for the way that social media has been used by both campaigns.

Voters and candidates alike are twittering, blogging and being your friend on Facebook. They are posting You Tube videos and texting rally cries to get out and vote. Even the traditional podium debates have achieved their widest audiences on record - watched not just on TV, but online, the primary battlefield of this election.

Does this teach us anything about our own campaigns? Okay, our clients may not be running for president. But we are devising communiations campaigns to precipitate action. To engage in debate. We should be taking a lead from the US election campaigns in how to use social media to create advocates of action.