Tag Archives: socialmedia

73: A Naked Conversation

Shel Israel

Shel Israel

When Paul and David were reporters working for major tech publications, they used to occasionally get pitches from a PR guy named Shel Israel. Israel’s been around the business a long time and knows the ins and outs of pitching reporters. He also understood very early that the rules were changing and that power and influence were moving into the hands of individuals.

In early 2006, Israel teamed up with superblogger Robert Scoble to publish Naked Conversations, the first book to dramatize the increasingly powerful effects that bloggers were having on markets. The book’s success catapulted Israel into the category of industry thought leader. Suddenly, people like David and Paul were calling up asking to interview him!

Which is precisely what they did for this episode. In an interview set up via the great democratizing agent called Twitter, our hosts spent a half hour with Shel Israel talking about the continuing evolution of markets into conversations. In a session that really is more conversation than interview, Israel spoke about the impact that Naked Conversations has had on his career, but more importantly about the changes that social media are engendering in the public relations field. It’s not a matter of if PR pros should engage with online influencers, he said, it’s a matter of how quickly they can rush to learn the new rules.

Shel Israel is brash, funny and very opinionated. This half-hour clip should give you an indication of why he’s become such a prominent voice in new media.

Download the podcast (30:58)

50: The Social Media Think Tank

Jen McClureThe Society for New Communications Research has been studying social media since before the term was created. Founded by veteran publicist Jen McClure in 2004, the nonprofit group known affectionately to its members as “snicker” now counts more than 40 futurists, scholars, business leaders, communicators and other new-media professionals as research fellows. Its signature event in the New Communications Forum, a multi-day multi-track conference that features top speakers and results of the group’s most recent research. It also hosts the New Communications Research Symposium, a more intimate gathering on the east coast each fall.

New Communications ForumJen McClure’s passion for new media is the fuel that drives SNCR. In this interview, she talks about how the group was founded, the four new research studies that will debut at the New Communications Forum in April and what value PR professionals are getting out of their SNCR membership.

BTW, Tech PR War Stories listeners can take advantage of a $100 discount. Just use code NCF08100 when you register.

Download the podcast (16:05)

46: How to find influencers

Paul’s writing a book, and he’s devoting a chapter to hands-on techniques for finding influencers online. It isn’t as simple as it sounds. Google indexes only a small percentage of online content and no search engine taps in to all the features of the various photo-sharing and social network sites. This week, Paul talks about what he learned conducting influencer searches on behalf of a mythical Quebec resort. Step one: master advanced search. It will save you a load of time. Learn how read tags. And understand that del.icio.us is actually a very powerful influencer search engine.

Download the podcast (19:26)

45: The social media skeptic

Jennifer Mattern calls herself the “social media Grinch.” But that doesn’t mean she’s down on social media. On the contrary, her NakedPR blog is one of the more popular online journals in the PR world. It’s just that Jenn thinks the focus on social media can distract PR people from their real work, which is to influence the organizations that shape opinion and achieve business results for their clients. In this interview, she outlines her cautionary advice about social media and stresses the fundamentals that PR people still need to employ. She also discusses the value of press releases (they do have value, you know) and how to use the impressive list of free press release distribution sites that she’s assembled.

Download the podcast (18:28)

38: Boo hiss

ThumbsdownPaul was attacked in the blogosphere last week, and it got him thinking about dealing with negativity online. The risk of blogger attacks is one of the biggest reasons companies avoid social media, but Paul and David argue that fears are overblown. Sure, you need a thick skin to invite customer feedback. But companies with good products and happy customers aren’t likely to be hurt by one bad seed. And companies with poor products and angry customers should research their situation thoroughly before wading into the blogosphere.

Negativity can be an important indicator of future trouble, so it pays to monitor customer conversations. Also, the speed at which a story spreads these days can catch businesses flat-footed if they don’t react quickly. A recent story involving AT&T and the California wildfires demonstrates this; the story was “dugg” more than 2,100 times in the six hours before AT&T issued an apology. The good news is that fast action and a willingness to admit mistakes can quickly quell negative publicity.

 Listen to the podcast (9:32)

37: How to measure social media success

Katie PaineThis week our guest is Katie Paine, the social media measurement guru of the great northeast. Katie’s an experienced journalist and PR professional who has spent the last several years developing a business around understanding the payback of social media campaigns. She has strong opinions about what marketers should do.

Katie believes that the Internet is the most measurable medium ever invented, but that people generally don’t do a good job of using the metrics they gather. It’s not about bar charts, she says, it’s about trends. The important thing to measure is how your reputation in the blogosphere is developing over time, using a variety of promotional means.

Katie tells the story of the ASPCA, which had an epiphany when it realized there was a direct correlation between news stories in the media and traffic to its web site. The organization used this insight to increase contributions and membership.

Lots of services try to automate the task of measuring online conversations, but the human factor is still needed. Even Microsoft is on record as saying that machines alone aren’t up to the task of evaluating online results; people still need to interpret the data. In the early days of the Internet, measurement was all about total eyeballs, but Katie argues that the important factor today is audience engagement. In that respect, online media is a powerful complement to traditional media. You can use online metrics to assess the effectiveness of print and broadcast campaigns.

Listen to the podcast (18:39)

34: Blogging at SAP

Paul’s at BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas, where he met Mike Prosceno, VP of Marketplace Communications at software giant SAP. SAP has an unusually progressive approach to working with the blogosphere. Not only does the company use blogs for internal and external communications, but it has embraced bloggers as important influencers, treating them in much the same way it treats mainstream media. In this interview, Prosceno talks about how SAP evaluates influence in the blogosphere, the company’s PR strategy as it relates to bloggers and why blogging is so compatible with the SAP customer service philosophy.

Listen to the podcast (11:42).