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Optimizing Your Public Relations With Social Media

Optimizing Your Public Relations With Social Media

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Published by: Asif Khan on Dec 03, 2009
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10/13/2010

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Optimizing Your Public Relations WithSocial Media
 Vocus White Paper
 
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Vocus White PaperOptimizing Your Public Relations With Social Media
Optimizing Your Public Relations with Social Media
A Guide to Blogs, Wikis, and Social Networks or PR Proessionals
Introduction— The Emergence of Social Media
In September 2006, Hitwise, an online marketing research rm, reported that the majority o trac to online music retailer,HMV.co.uk, was reerred rom MySpace, a social networking Web site. This trac surpassed searches rom two o the mostpopular search engines, MSN UK and Yahoo! UK. While connecting users with inormation and content was once denedby complicated search algorithms, MySpace’s impact indicated a proound shit in the structure o the Internet was on thehorizon.Today’s communication’s environment increasingly relies on content generated and distributed by users like you and me. Thisis the world o social media.Evidence o the growth o social media is everywhere:In 2006, the Blogosphere had grown 100 times in three years, and accounted or 50 million blogs (Technorati, 2006).
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57% o teens who use the Internet can be considered content producers in some way or another (Fox & Lenhart, 2006).
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More than hal (55%) o all online American youths ages 12-17 use social networking sites (Lenhart & Madden, 2007).
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In April 2006, 35,000 new videos were being posted daily to YouTube and in February 2006, YouTube attracted 9
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million visitors who viewed 176 million pages (Liedtke, 2006).Wikipedia consistently places in the top-10 results or Google searches on ortune-500 brand names (Fadner, 2006).
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The Evolution of Media
As with all orms o media, social media has evolved with society. The advancements in our culture have created new vehiclesor communicating with the public.Two centuries ago, media was used in reerence to newspapers. As Thomas Carlyle (1869) noted, they were the ourth estate:the medium that existed between the political sphere and the individual citizen. The newspaper editor’s job was to rame politi-cal issues and provide local citizens with the inormation needed to make political decisions.In the twentieth century we saw a new paradigm o communications emerge, mass media. The introduction o radio, televi-sion and lm ushered in a new way to broadcast messages to a mass audience. As with newspapers the messages that werebroadcast were still controlled by a small group o distributors, resulting in relatively uniorm content tailored to appeal to abroad demographic.The 20th century, however, brought with it a change that would uel a massive shit in communications’ availability, reach andcontent—the Internet. In arguably, the biggest shit to date in communications, the Internet blurred the lines between produc-tion, distribution and consumption o media content.As the Internet grew and became a staple o society, early inormation and communication technologies (ICT) such as Usenet,Multi-user Domains (MUDs), listservs, and BBS systems emerged to assist in the adoption o this growing medium. But as abroader population went online, many commercial and academic eorts ocused on making ICTs less complicated and moreaccessible to all kinds o users.The results can be seen throughout the past several years with the emergence o blogs, podcasts, social networks and a num-ber o other innovations we collectively reer to as social media. Several common traits dene social media:
User-driven -
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Content is not controlled by editors, distributors and other outside infuences but instead is primarily gener-ated by the users themselves.
Organic Content -
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In social media, content is constantly being reshaped and repurposed. An article posted one daymay be edited the next day, while a video may reappear mixed or “mashed” with another video days later.
Community-oriented -
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Collaboration, participation and shared interests are the oundation o all social media, creat-ing a distinct community to each site.
Easy to use -
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Taking advantage o social media is simplied to be accessible or broad audiences, enabling anyone topost or share within the community, regardless o their technical training or aptitude.
 
The New Social Media Outlets
New social media outlets have sprung up throughout the Internet, including:
Blogs
Despite the early years o the Internet, Web development was only or the technically savvy. Over time, Web publishing toolshave become easier to use, opening up publishing opportunities or even non-technically savvy users. Around the year 2000,RSS (Really Simple Syndication) made it possible to syndicate Web content. These two developments: simplication o Webdevelopment and RSS set the table or the explosion o the blogosphere--the interconnected world o blogs.Although some use their blogs as a publishing platorm, most successul bloggers interact with their audiences through com-ments and with other bloggers through hyperlinks and Trackbacks
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.With an inormal tone and very limited editorial reviewprocess, i any, blogs have become more timely than the mainstream media in many cases.
Podcasts
Although podcasts are normally dened as audio versions o blogs, it is not entirely accurate. They do share many character-istics with blogs, such as RSS and the personalized tone, but the production eort is currently substantially higher than withblogging. Podcasts also lack the interactive nature o blogs. For example, while text allows the blogger to include hyperlinks,it is ar more dicult with audio or video.Video podcasts have increased in popularity over the past several years. They share many traits with standard audio podcasts,including the same challenges to interactivity. Interestingly though, interactivity may enhance video podcasting beore audiopodcasting. Several organizations are looking at ways o embedding hyperlinks into video. For example, Siemens is develop-ing a method that would train technicians with video manuals that would allow them to click on components in the video toretrieve more detailed video clips on that component (Economist, 2006).
Social Networking sites
When Microsot Outlook was introduced, people were able to place their rolodexes online and communicate with their con-tacts through e-mail. Social networking takes this basic unction and adds two important acets. First, in social networking sites you create a personal prole: your own personal Web page to represent you on the Internet, including general statistics, hob-bies and anything else you would like to include. Second, social networking provides an opportunity to extend your personalnetwork. Social networking sites allow you to extend your personal network, to include your riend’s and their riends.These sites have opened up the Web or users to socialize virtually. Creating your online persona, you are now ready to con-nect with the people you choose with no geographical boundaries.Over time, the capabilities oered through social networking Web sites have become increasingly sophisticated, incorporatingle sharing, instant messaging, orums and Blogs. With over 150 million users on MySpace alone, social networks have alsobecome the single-most popular orm o social media.
 Wikis
In its most basic orm, a wiki is a Web site that osters collaboration. Imagine you are sitting in a brainstorming session withseveral o your co-workers. Suddenly, you have a great idea so you walk up to the white board and begin to sketch it out.Once you nish, a co-worker has a complementary idea and walks up to the board and adds onto your original sketch. An-other co-worker mentions that they had a similar idea months ago, so they snap their ngers and it suddenly appears on anadjacent white board. And so on and so on.Most wikis store each version o a document, allowing you to review versions to view the various modications that a docu-ment has undergone over time. In many cases, there is an open discussion about the documents they are collaborating on.Wiki sotware drives Wikipedia, the world’s largest online encyclopedia and an increasingly infuential online resource. Wiki-pedia’s rapid ascent is in large part a result o being completely user-driven. All o the content is collaboratively developed bywriters and editors around the world.
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Trackback is a method that allows Bloggers to be notied when their content receives traction through the Blogosphere.
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Vocus White PaperOptimizing Your Public Relations With Social Media

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