Monthly Archives: February 2010

T.O.W. Seven: Foursquare and Twitterstreams in Action

For this weeks Topic of the Week we were asked to look deeper behind the scenes of Foursquare and answer the following questions: What is this Foursquare thing that we keep seeing in our Twitterstreams? How could companies benefit from it? And what are some of the potential dangers of using Foursquare (and other location-based services) for individual participants?

Foursquare is a phone application that people with Iphone, Blackberries and other smart phones can use to keep friends in the loop of where you are, and what you are doing. A user of foursquare has the ability to “check-in” with where they are visiting and what they like to do in that city, such as their favorite restaurants, museums, etc. Once these lists are accessed Foursquare is able to make a list of the favorite things that the foursquare user likes to do and publish it to friends.

Foursquare combines gaming, tourism, and twitter into one user friendly website. It was created by a team of 6 individuals lead by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, with the help of 300 colleagues and friends (as stated on the site).

Foursquare can be beneficial to businesses because it can help employees keep in touch with each other, find out where they are located, find good places to eat, stay, etc., and a good means of communication with one another. Companies are also able to monitor their customer review and visitation of their company, making it easier to access their customer base. The only downside that I have seen with this service is the fact that it is location based, meaning that it is accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network. This means that the geographical position of the mobile device is traceable.

Here’s a brief recap. With Foursquare you can:

  • Check-in-tell others of your whereabouts
  • Keep in touch with employees
  • Find out where things are located
  • Find good places to eat
  • Find the best hotels to stay in
  • Communicate!

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Filed under PRCA 3030, T.O.W. Topic of the Week

T.O.W. Six: Social Media Friend or Foe

For this weeks Topic of the Week, we were required to listen to Shel Holtz, Mark Ragan, David Biesack, Vida Killian, Terry McKenzie, and Jim Ylisela discuss, “concerns and objections around the adoption of social media communication channel.”

Ragan Communications held a conference titled, “Corporate Communications in the Era of Web 2.0,” about corporate blogging on October 16, 2008. The company’s CEO Mark Ragan mediated the conference.

The goal of the conference was to answer questions and concerns that people have about social media in a panel-style session.  Throughout the session the panelists are asked questions about social media and they answered accordingly.

Some of the questions that stuck in my mind about the conference are posted below:

Why do I need to launch a blog? Shel Holtz answered the question posed by CEO Mark Ragan saying that if customers are caring enough to comment on our products, we should care enough about them to address their concerns using blogs. Social media is important for building relationships, and the best way to build relationships with your customers is to give them a reason to be passionate about your product. I think that if a company has an opportunity to build a relationship with their customers, they should take full; advantage. It could only further your company.

Who is going to write these blog posts? The employees of the company can post blogs, along with the CEO. The employees should post about the great products and great services, and what they are doing in their daily routines at work. These blog posts can be extremely valuable, and this is the way to make your company shine by answering questions customers may have and sharing information that is not available from many other companies.

Is there no censor or control for blogs? Jim Ylisela answered this question saying, “You cannot control your customers but it is a way to hear what people are saying about your product. This is a channel to immediately correct any problems or concerns.”

I like how the panel was open format and informal, especially Mark Ragan served as an uninformed CEO scared blogging. It allowed the panel to answer the questions from the perspective of an uninformed audience. As the “CEO” he brought up great questions that any newbie to social media would be concerned with. I think that the panel allowed the experts to answer questions from the perspective of an uninformed audience.

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Creating & Preparing Your Social Media Strategy: Survival Guide Reading Notes, Ch. 1-2

For my Social Media for PR class’ week 6 reading assignment we were required to read Chapters 1 and 2 from “A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization.” It’s Author, Deltina Hay is the founder of Social Media Power and Dalton Publishing, a literary press based in Austin, Texas. She has been programming and doing Web development for 25 years, so she is very knowledgeable on the subject.

Here are a few things that the first two chapters taught me:

  • There are three general areas to keep in mind when planning a strategy for optimizing you presence in the social web: Interactivity, sharing, and collaboration. These factors are key determinants of the success of your web presence.
  • Social networking and micro-blogging are a few general areas to consider when mapping out your social media strategy. Blogs and social media sites are great ways to stay informed and in touch with your key audiences.
  • The most important first decision to consider when starting a blog is whether or not to start a blog which has built in RSS feed technology, or create you own RSS feed using an XML file
  • “Tags” are important keywords or key terms that can aid your company in search engine optimization. Generate a list of great one, two, and three-word tags that will help define your presence in the social web.

These tips helped me to think of ways to improve my blog currently, and I intend to go through previous blogs to add more tags.

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Reading Notes Week 5: The Groundswell Transforms, Chapters 10-12

For our final reading assignment on Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, we had to read the books third and last section, The Groundswell Transforms. Chapters 10-12 explain how using the groundswell benefits companies. Throughout the book the authors opened with why companies should interact using the Groundswell, as well as what ways it could be used to benefit companies. This section covers specific cases to back up the first 9 chapters of the book.

In this section I learned about factors that many companies tend to forget that are key determinants of their success.

  • Instead of forcing your employees to blog, take one or two employees that love blogging and want to do so; build your strategy for blogging around these individuals.
  • Listen first, then act. If you do not know all the details of an issue or happenings within your company, how will you make the best and fairest decision? Take the time to hear all sides before you make a choice.
  • There are factors of your company’s personal Groundswell can influence how your employees are portraying your company outside of the office.
    • Never forget that the groundswell is about person to person activity
    • Be a good listener
    • Be patient
    • Be opportunistic
    • Be flexible
    • Be collaborative
    • Be humble

These are all good tips for companies looking to make the groundswell an asset to their company.

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Reading Notes Week 3&4: Tapping the Groundswell, Chapters 4-9

For weeks three and four we were assigned the second section of Li & Bernoff’s Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. This section, entitle Tapping the Groundswell,” is the lengthiest of the three featured in the book. It provided me with extensive knowledge and perspective to consider as an aspiring PR practitioner.

Allow me to share a bit of newly gained knowledge:

  • There is a four-step planning process that is very useful for managers, and its called the POST method. This is the foundation for Groundswell.
    • People- your customers determine what your business should be marketing and persuising professionally, use this to determine what your customers are ready for and asses how they will engage in your product or service, based on what they’ve been doing.
    • Objectives- these are your goals. You cannot reach a goal without setting specific and measureable perameters for your company. Of these the five most important detailed in the chapter “Strategies for Tapping the Groundswell” are listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and embracing.
    • Strategy- decide what changes you wish to be made between your company and its customers/supporters. Ask specific questions to reach your goal; remember to always keep your customers first, they are your gatekeepers.
    • Technology- the are applications that are appropriate for your specific goals. They can be blogs, wikis, social networks,  etc.
  • When dealing with business-business type sales, it is important to remember that businesspeople are people too. They have just a much control over the fate of your company as the average Joe that doesn’t have to wear a suit to work everyday.
  • Blogging is a wonderful way to keep in touch with consumers. They are able to read your personal thoughts on specific matters, as well as allow you know how they feel by leaving comments. They can also share information with friends, so creating a blog presence could potentially encourage more interaction from customers.
  • Want to know what people are really saying about your product? The book suggests that you Google the name of your company or product name along with the words awesome or sucks, to see what consumers are writing about you and your products.
  • Talking through Groundswell is simple!!
    • Post a viral video- put a video online, and let others share it
    • Engage in social networks ad user-generated content sites- you can reach out to your customers by creating a personality with social networking sites
    • Join the blogosphere- encourage your staff to write blogs, allowing people to interact with your writing. This is better than simple issuing press releases and media advisories.
    • Creating a community- communities are a way for companies to include their customers
  • Energize your company to transform it! Not all your customers are equal, meaning that some have more influence than others.  When energizing it is best to start at your base (most enthusiastic customers) and work your way up.

From these readings I see how important using social media is to benefit a company I represent. Social Media is an easy and quick way to make waves about the things a company does and promote new products, as well as break a company down if you’re not careful.

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T.O.W. Four: What is Social Media?

Many of the definitions presented on Adam’s list were all very compelling and well written and from the number of responses there isn’t one concrete definition because for each person who responded they may use social media in a different way. A few of the definitions I agree with are from the individuals who realize that social media is changing the world around us in a rapid fashion based on peoples thoughts and ideas.  After reading the definition that Adam was given I created the one below.

Social Media is sharing, learning, creating, and changing your ideas, beliefs, habits and customs to better relate to the world around you.

I created my definition based on how I use social media network in my everyday life. My friends and I use Facebook and Twitter. It was originally used to update our friends on our whereabouts and our lives in general but somewhere down the line it became so much more.  Many people use these media outlets to give inspirational advice or words of encouragement. One thing most people never realize is how words can affect someone. Social media is the best way to motivate young people and see where their mind sets are. Companies as well as politician should read these post and begin to implement them in their business and policies. Generation Y has a lot to say about how things are being done because we are the future. Social Security is a big something my generation should worry about because we are in jeopardy of losing it due to lack of efficient planning. We have to realize that we have the power to influence one another through these social media outlet and we use it to forward various agendas for financial, spiritual, emotional, religious, and generally personal gain. Social Media has been a blessing for the world as a whole.

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Filed under PRCA 3030, T.O.W. Topic of the Week