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Welcome to

Candice’s
Social Media
Guide
Introduction

Social media is a fascinating and expanding multi-faceted platform for knowledge


sharing and communication. Through my own personal use, classroom experience
and internship positions, I have learned the value of social media for personal, edu-
cational and professional use, and how to differentiate between the three. In “Can-
dice’s Social Media Guide,” I will explore the three uses and various applicable sce-
narios.

Objectives:
Personal 1. To demonstrate the value of social media as a
personal communication vehicle.
Educational
2. To outline the uses of social media as an edu-
cational and learning platform.
Professional
3. To highlight social media as a professional
knowledge sharing and relationship-building tool.

U T I O N A H E A D
CA
- About the author
- Five Tips for Building Relationships Via Twitter
- Personal,Educational and Professional Blogs
- Google Analytics
- Overview of Internet Tools
- Books
- Case Studies
- In Class Insights

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Introduction

About the author:


Candice DeForest is a senior Public Relations major/French minor
at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in
Orange, Calif.

Currently, she interns with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland


in the knowledge management area. Since summer 2009, she has
researched and analyzed the use of communities of practice within
the Federal Reserve System, used marketing and communication
skills to enhance the internal social networking site for the FRS
and wrote and implemented a System-wide marketing plan for the
site.

She is the co-director for the first student-run PR firm at Chapman University, Chapman
ImPRessions, and is leading a team of twenty three students to maintain working contracts
with three clients. Her goal for this year is for the firm to become PRSSA Nationally Affili-
ated to gain credibility and recognition for the hard work and dedication of all of the firm
members.

She recently competed in PRSA’s 2010 Bateman PR Case Study Competition, and was a
member of one of sixteen teams across the nation to receive honorable mention for the PR
campaign for the 2010 U.S. Census. This past school year, she was the Fund Raising and
Promotions Producer for the 2010 Cecil Awards, a several thousand dollar awards show
for Chapman University Dodge College students.

Before graduation, Candice hopes to gain experience in public relations and marketing
through internships, coursework and volunteering for various events, as well as hold-
ing positions in organizations on campus and continuing education through reading, re-
searching and networking with others. Candice is particularly interested in the fields of
public relations, social media, knowledge management and marketing.

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Twitter
Five Tips for Building Relationships via Twitter

1. Engage in two-way communication with peers, colleagues and target audiences.

As important as it is to share infor-


mation and tweet on a regular ba-
sis, it is equally important to listen
to what your followers are saying.
Whether it is about you, a topic rel-
evant to you, or simply something
of interest to yourself or brand, it is
imperative to continually search and
respond to your followers. Retweet
content when applicable and re-
spond to followers directly to spark
dialogue and demonstrate genuine
interest.

2. Identify trending topics to your brand, company, or subject of interest.

Twitter is a great research tool to identify the latest trends and popular topics. In ad-
dition to the handy right hand side “trending” list that is filtered by location, users can
manually search for particular topics or “hashtags” of interest. This is particularly useful
for researching target audiences, competitors, a specific brand, or a general subject.
In this example, I searched “#Google” to see what people are saying about the com-
pany and found that
many results in-
cluded tweets with
links to relevant
news articles or
blog posts.
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Twitter
Five Tips for Building Relationships via Twitter

3.Share newsworthy information to educate others.

To create and maintain a


following on Twitter and
other social media outlets,
it is important to keep cur-
rent with the latest trends
and news. From a person-
al perspective, I think this
is an easy way to inform
and educate my followers
(in particular my peers) on
subjects that I am inter-
ested in. For example, I
follow several technol-
ogy news organizations
(including @Mashable,
@TechCrunch and @
Droid_News) as I am
particularly interested
in the content that they share and if I find it of relevance, will “retweet” it to share with
my followers. I also directly tweet people with links to articles or other websites that I
think they may enjoy or be curious to read. If relevant, I will add conversation hashtags
(such as #IntCom to reach my classmates in Internet Communications) to direct my
tweet at a larger group of people.

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4
Twitter
Five Tips for Building Relationships via Twitter

4. Use your voice wisely and respectfully


As tempting as it may be to voice
every opinion or negative com-
ment you may have, there is value in
maintaining a positive and respect-
ful attitude, even on Twitter. Users
must keep in mind that all tweets are
archived and will remain somewhere
in cyberspace forever. When engag-
ing in dialogue with others,
as in the above example, it
is beneficial to all following
the conversation to remain
cordial and friendly, while
also offering real insight to
add value.

5.Be genuine

Last but not least, stat-


ing the obvious is still well
worth it – your audience can
identify a fake from miles
away. Do not make empty
promises or use a “voice”
that is inconsistent with the
brand (or your own personal
image.) It is best to identi-
fy one tone to carry throughout all
marketing collateral and social media platforms and stick
with it. Chapman Coffee House, a local family-owned busi-
ness, exemplifies this in conversations with customers by
using a friendly, approachable tone.

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Blogging

Tip #1
Engage the
reader to keep
their interest.

In August 2009, I began “The Daily Challenge” blog


as a personal outlet for sharing positivity and op-
timistic viewpoints with readers. It originally began
as a small initiative to journal my personal thoughts
but quickly became a way to connect with other
bloggers, friends and family who followed the blog.
Additionally, I spent time researching search engine optimization and commenting
on other blogs to drive traffic to the site. Eventually I started a Twitter @smileon-
ceaday solely for the purpose of integrating it with the blog. I also added several
widgets to increase the interactive aspect of the site including user comments, live
Twitter feed, RSS feed capability, subscription by email and the occasional reader
poll.

To date, I have over 250 posts on the blog and contin-


ue to keep up with it on a weekly basis. The most im-
portant lesson that I learned through my personal blog
is to continually update content and change features to
keep it fresh and interesting. I also found that the importance of connecting and
“networking” with other bloggers cannot be overlooked. From analyzing the sta-
tistics, it is clear that readership is highest when I consistently post new content
to the site. Most recently, I had over 500 page views in one month which is a per-
sonal record.

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Blogging
Tip #2
Educational can
be EXCITING.

A requirement for the Public Relations/Advertising program,


the Internet Communications class at Chapman University re-
quires each student create a blog identifying a subject they are
passionate about, clearly outlining a realistic change and the
change agent necessary to make it happen. For the assign-
ment, I wrote to the director of the local chapter of the Crohn’s
and Colitis Foundation, requesting increased scholarship funds for college students living
with chronic illness. As the title of the blog suggests, “The Real Cost of College,” I explored
how students living with chronic illness often face higher stress levels and suggested in-
creased scholarship funds as one potential way to alleviate this. As the subject of “chronic
illness” is not particularly exciting, I challenged myself to incorporate elements that would
appeal to the target audience – my peers. Based on my classmate’s comments and feed-
back, I incorporated comedic elements, YouTube videos, music clips, photos, graphs, in-
teresting facts, a section devoted to additional resources
and my own personal story to engage the reader through
interesting material.

I was pleased with the final content of the blog and satisfied
knowing that I educated my classmates on an important sub-
ject. From reading comments posted on the blog as well as
classmates’ feedback, I am confident to say that I presented the material in an engaging, yet also
informative, way. I also learned a lot along the way regarding format, design and additional ideas
for engaging readers that I can apply to the next educational blog I contribute to.

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Blogging

In Spring 2010, I worked with


Girls Incorporated of Orange
County as the public relations
intern. I devoted a majority of
my time to social media initia-
tives, and quickly realized that
Facebook and Twitter were not
sufficient to post the detailed content I was re-
sponsible for disseminating. I identified an easy
solution – publish press releases, photos, event
fliers and other content to a blog that would
seamlessly integrate with the other social media
tools as status updates when appropriate. This had never been done before, and
as the ten-hour-per-week intern, I was unsure of how to lead the initiative. Once I
proposed the idea with a solid basis as to why it was an important and imperative
public relations initiative and got the “thumbs-up,” I
immediately began publishing content regularly.

The blog served as the main communication platform


during the three-month internship. I used it to post
press releases, event information, interesting stories,
fun facts, volunteer opportunities and ways for viewers
to “give back” to the organization. I learned that staying

Tip #3 on top of emerging trends is a valuable way to be an


asset to an organization and make a meaningful sug-
gestion or contribution. I consider the creation of the
blog to be a great learning experience and also one
Dare to try new of the first “successes” in my developing career. I also
ideas learned that sometimes being bold and going out on a
limb can have a positive and lasting impact!

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Google
Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool that provides insightful informa-


tion and statistics for analyzing web traffic. Data provided
includes: visits, bounce rate, page views, average number
of pages viewed, average time spent on site, percentage
new visits, direct traffic, referring sites, organic search
traffic, tags, keywords, landing page, e-commerce, aver-
age order value report, transaction report, visits to purchase, e-commerce tracking site and
conversion goals.

The Value of Statistical Data KEY


- Increase website traffic and readership USES
- Draw conclusions as to what content influences
readership positively or negatively
- Make changes based on findings and continue to analyze the data
and brainstorm ways to improve the blog and enhance search en-
gine results
- Identify where readers link from, how long they visited the pag-
es, and if the type of content posted dictates an increase or de-
crease in site views.

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Internet
To o l s
Points of Interest: 3
1. RSS Feeds
2. Yelp Podcasts are download-
able series that are pro-
3. Podcasts duced by anyone and
4. Hunch on a number of topics.
5. Trendrr Some are free and avail-
able on iTunes. Quick
and easy alternative to
sharing news versus a
1 Format for delivering web con-
tent in one centralized location.
video.
Reduces time spent browsing and
searching through multiple web-
sites and blogs. Popular service
providers include Google Reader
and Feeddler RSS (iPad app.) 4

2 Free “recommender”
website that surveys
Free social networking, user review you for your interests,
and local search web site. Allows hobbies and prefer-
users to post reviews, ratings and ences. Generates in-
candid comments on businesses. dividualized products
and services based on
each user.

5
Paid subscription business intelli- INTERNET
gence and social media management TOOLS
platform website. Provides detailed AHEAD
analysis of trends within specified
topics, websites or social media tools.
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Internet
To o l s
6 Points of Interest:
6. Tube Mogul
7. Gin System
8. Linkroll
9. Vimeo
Free service that takes a sin- 10. Flipboard
gle video and uploads it to 12
services; also keeps track of
viewer statistics.
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10 Social networking program
that allows private groups
to keep in touch with several
features including: announce-
ments, documents, calendar
and contact info. There is also
iPad application that aggregates an iPad/iPhone app.
web content into an interactive
“magazine”. Allows users to di- 8
rectly view links, photos and em-
bedded videos within a status up-
date or news article rather than
browsing between several pages.
Website that allows users to
organize bookmarked sites
and blogs in an easy-to-view
9 format. Accessible via RSS feed
or Javascript. Also allows us-
ers to subscribe to other users’
categories
Video and film sharing web-
site that offers HD uploads. NEXT EXIT
Encourages networking and
collaborating between film
makers and independent
parties.
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Books
“Naked Conversations,” written
by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel,
provides an inside look at how the
blogosphere is rapidly changing
business models to adapt two-
way communication with custom-
ers. The book provides several an-
ecdotes about popular blogs and
bloggers, and what elements con-
tributed to their success. Nota-
bly, the rise and spread of Mozilla
Firefox is shared as a model example for blogs following
Scoble and Israel’s “six pillars of blogging.” Additionally,
the book provides examples of a companies that chose to
stay out of the blogosphere during a time of crisis and the
negative implications it had.

Highlighting the theme of storytelling and conversations


as the essence of human culture, “Naked Conversations”
provides a glimpse into how blogs impact businesses and
marketing models through two-way access, relationships
and interactions with key audiences. Aside from stories,
several tips and additional resources are provided to as-
sist readers in driving change within their organization.
The book walks readers through the process of initiating
a blog within an organization, and encourages bloggers to
be patient by initially joining the conversation, reading other blogs, and linking to them in posts. A
few key tips reiterated throughout the book include responding to comments in real time to remain
credible, demonstrate passion, tell the truth, acknowledge screw ups and build a network by linking
to other websites and blogs.

Paramount to the success of an organization’s transparent and open public relations and communi-
cation initiative, blogs provide an outlet for both sides of the conversation in a world that is rapidly
expanding online.

1. Being a successful blogger takes re-


:
IGHTS Personal
search, time and passion to build and
NS
KEY I sustain readership.

NAKED NS 2. Blogs support two-way communica-


RSATIO
Educational
CONVE tion, which is key to networking and rela-
tionship-building.

3. Businesses need to find and join the Professional


conversation on blogs because it builds
trust through transparency. 12
Books
“The Tipping Point,” written by Malcolm
Gladwell in 2000, is an insightful look at
the characteristics of an epidemic and
how trends are sparked and take hold.
Gladwell explores why some ideas, be-
haviors or products start epidemics and
others do not, and describes the “tip-
ping point” as “the biography of an idea”
– thinking of phenomena as epidemics
that are 1. contagious behaviors, 2. have little changes that
cause big effects, and 3. happen in a hurry.

He provides an in-depth explanation for the key concept of


the book: the three rules of epidemics. The first, the “Law
of the Few,” states that the success of a social epidemic is
heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a par-
ticular and rare set of gifts. The “Stickiness Factor” states
that there is a simple way to package information that, un-
der the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. The
last, the “Power of Context,” concludes that epidemics are
sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times
and places in which they occur, and an epidemic can be
reversed by tinkering with the smallest details of the envi-
ronment.

The book further explores the inter-relationships between the three key concepts and the
overarching theme of defining what, exactly, makes something contagious. Gladwell notes
that there are distinct influences and patterns that play into every trend, which prompts the
question of what can we do to deliberately start and control positive epidemics of our own?

From a public relations and advertising perspective, this book is a knowledgeable resource
for understanding what influences trends and epidemics, and why small but significant
changes in content can have a powerful impact.

1. Evaluation of what, exactly defines an epi-


S: Personal
Y I N SIGHT demic and how this is relevant in understand-
KE ing social patterns and human behavior.
PPING
THE TI Educational
POINT 2. In-depth look at case studies of trends and
epidemics that quickly spread in popularity.

3. Applicable to social media’s quick spread in


popularity, such as Twitter and Facebook, or Professional
other tools that achieved overnight success. 13
Case Studies

“Decor My Eyes”

Web-based eyewear company, Décor My Eyes,


was recently featured in the NY Times highlight-
ing the intentional negative public relations phi-
losophy in place designed to increase Google
search rankings. The founder, Vitaly Borker,
thrives off the negative publicity and believes it
to be the key factor in his company’s continued
customer base. “It’s all part of a sales strategy,
he said. Online chatter about DecorMyEyes, even
furious online chatter, pushed the site higher in
Google search results, which led to greater sales.
“I never had the amount of traffic I have now since my 1st complaint. I am in heaven.”
Borker encourages customers to complain in online forums and blogs as the mass amount
of content continues to push his website to the top
of the search results, ultimately boosting his return
on investment. While his values are questionable
and his business manners are nonexistent, Borker’s
website continues to outrank many of the designer
brands’ that he sells, clearly indicating his success at
the unfortunate expense of the customer. However,
I do not believe that this is a lasting or smart busi-
ness model because if not the Better Business Bu-
reau, I believe that lawsuits or Visa/MasterCard po-
lices will eventually force his company to shut down.

1. Engage in two-way communication to boost


INSIG
HTS :
credibility. Personal
KEY
ES
MY EY 2. Negative publicity will not yield positive
DECOR long-term results, and a short brush with #1 Educational
search engine results is not worth it in the
long run!

3. Know what people are saying about your Professional


brand or organization, as consumer feedback
can ultimately drive search engine results.
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Case Studies

Google Privacy Issue


Recently, Google has faced some heat from
consumers as well as the U.S. Government on a
leak of collected personal data from the Google
Street View cars. This, however, is not the main
focus of the company’s PR efforts. It is certainly
the number one topic that I found on any news
site or blog, but surprisingly is only minimally
mentioned via Google, specifically one time in
The Official Google Blog. I think that while the
social media presence is strong, Google needs
to significantly increase the number of press
releases written and distributed to encourage media out-
lets to write stories about the company in a positive light.
Most of the information that I found through my research
was negative coverage, specifically regarding the ques-
tionable recent invasion of privacy which consumers are
outraged and strongly opinionated about. While Google did
address this event in one blog post, I think the most ap-
propriate method would have been to issue a press release
or interview the CEO and post it to the blog in addition to
the article. While I was impressed with the straightforward
and honest tone that the blog post presented, I was surprised that this was the extent of the ac-
tion taken to address this issue, especially considering Google’s active presence on Twitter and
Facebook. Another recommendation that I have is to encourage the CEO Eric Schmidt to increase
visibility and transparency of his own thoughts and images on Twitter and the blog. I think par-
ticularly in light of the recent events and the concerns that consumers have over the company’s
questionable ethics, and the fact that the collection of personal data broke the law in multiple
countries, I think it would add comfort and an element of “realness” that people want to see.

NSIG HTS: 1. Transparency, immediacy and honesty are Personal


KEY I key to maintaining a positive image.
LE
GOOG 2. Social media has potential to aid in crisis Educational
communication and clear up
misconceptions.

3. Engaging with publics on social media “hu- Professional


manizes” an organization or senior level ex-
ecutive.
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In Class

In a world that is quickly evolving from a top-down model


into a networked system of communication between all
people, it only seems appropriate that students partici-
pate in “networked grading.” Uncomfortable at first with
charting this new territory, I quickly grew to love the idea
of networked grading and even implemented a similar
system into the evaluation process within Chapman Im-
PRessions. Modeling the classroom environment after the
real world is an informative way to not only relate key
concepts to communication online, but also gain an un-
derstanding of what to expect in a corporate environment.
I believe that this was a valuable way to give and receive
feedback from my blog’s true target audience – my own
peers. Ultimately, this endeavor taught the importance of
“two-way communication,” which provided an experience
that relates to multiple facets of life.

1. As my harshest critics and my most highly valued


audience, my peers provided feedback that allowed
me to overcome the discomfort of knowing their true
thoughts on my writing, blogging and persuading

Personal
abilities. I received feedback that will assist me in
future endeavors while also overcoming a personal
hesitation toward peer “judgment.”

2. I learned the value of providing honest feedback,


despite my intrinsic desire to be “nice.” Given that Educational
the blog evaluations were anonymous, I opened up
to my peers with my candid thoughts and critiques
on their work with the goal of offering helpful advice
and suggestions.

3. I believe that open lines of communication are es- Professional


sential to both internal and external success of any
organization. The “networked grading” approach
not only resembles systems used by top executives
among employees, but also the inter-relationship
between an organization and its’ key publics.

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