Week 10 – The Future of Social Media

When social media first became popular about 10 years ago, sceptics claimed the platforms were a ‘fad’ and the trend would die down. Social media has now become apart our lives, being used everyday by people from all different age demographics.  There is now a common knowledge among businesses that having a social media presence alone just isn’t enough to create awareness and generate business for the company. Companies will continue to take advantage of these platforms, while consumers will continue to use social media to “amplify their voices to their own networks”. Key predictions of the future of social media include:

–       Organisations cashing in on ‘big data’ and generating interactive marketing communications with consumers that are customised more so than ever before

–       Mobile technology with internet capabilities built into cars

–       Organisations listening to the consumers more than ever through social media platforms and using this customer input to create and improve products and services

Future of social media

Pic source: http://www.mytubedesign.com/how-the-social-media-helps-the-bright-future-of-global-business/

Even though Facebook’s popularity has declined by 6% in recent months and Twitter’s popularity falling by 3%, Twitter’s co-founder Biz Stone believes that social media networks are only “just getting starting”. Stone said social media platforms are still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and that any negative criticism against the platforms is far outweighed by the benefits.

future-of-facebook-forbes

Pic source: http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2012/8840/facebook-views-on-timeline-the-ipo-and-how-long-the-social-network-will-last

While it is easy to assume that international companies like Facebook and YouTube determine the fate of social media, the future lies on what the users what and what the consumers need. Love it or loath it, social media networks are here to stay.

Week 9 – Adapting crisis communication to social media

Traditional crisis communication plans are designed so companies have structured statements, points on anticipated issues and other messages in place that are ready to go in such times of a crisis. As with any crisis, it is important for companies to remain transparent and honest in all of their communication. This transparency and honesty must be carried through all Facebook posts, blogs and Tweets that published during times of a crisis. As Tegan Ford discusses in her thesis featured on PR Conversations, companies must use social media as a tool to respond to a crisis immediately. Other tips for using social media during such times include:

–       Two-way communication with publics

–       Listening and responding to the audience

–       Holding accountability (if necessary)

–       Using compassion

–       Continuously monitoring all social media platforms

Crisis-communications

Pic source: http://tcapushnpull.com/crisis-communication/social-media-crisis-communication-best-practices/

An example of how social media crisis communication management can go wrong is Carnival’s attempt at managing the 2012 Costa Concordia disaster. The Costa Concordia cruise ship tragically capsized after striking rocky seawalls off the cost of Italy. The disaster claimed the lives of 32 passengers and injured a total of 64 people. Carnival’s CEO at the time Micky Arison limited his crisis communications to a handful of tweets on his Twitter account. Arison did not promptly visit the scene, nor did any of his senior executives. The response to the crisis was issued through a crafted PR statement, with Arison waiting a week before visiting the disaster. It was also noted that Carnival copied and pasted their responses to commenters on Facebook, showing no compassion to families or people who suffered from the disaster.

carnival-twitter

Pic source: http://allisonmatherly.com/2013/02/floating-at-sea-carnival-triumph-and-crisis-communications/

Week 8 – Managing Social Media

Social media management is simply a service or an individual that manages all the social media accounts for a particular brand or organisation. Some organisations may hire a Social Media Manager, while other companies may outsource a social media management company like Social Media Mansion to take care of various social media platforms. The Search Engine Journal features a list of the top 10 apps that can be used to manage social media accounts. A key favourite is HootSuite, which has the ability to execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one web-based dashboard. Tools like HootSuite allow Social Media Managers to track conversations, measure campaign results and schedule direct content-posting times.

A company’s social media platforms are not the only aspect of social media that need to be managed. With social media being widely popular and common among now many demographics, it is highly important that organisations develop a social media policy to implement across staff members. It may seem difficult and tedious for companies to develop such a policy, however, PR Daily noted 3 recommendations taken from the National Labor Relations Board:

–       Employers cannot restrict anyone from commenting on his or her work life

–       Employers can make sure employees sign confidentiality provisions

–       Employees can’t lie

Pic Source: http://donordreams.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/creating-a-social-media-policy-for-your-nonprofit/

Pic Source: http://donordreams.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/creating-a-social-media-policy-for-your-nonprofit/

If it is still not entirely clear about what to include in a social media policy, Marketing website Inbound Hub notes five significant examples of corporate social media policies.

 

Week 7 – The plus side of Google+ & the Facebook for professionals

Google+ is an online social networking platform owned by Google Inc. In January 2013, Forbes announced Google+ as the world’s second largest social network in terms of active users, following closely behind Facebook. Even with statistics reporting 343 million active users, there has been recent speculation of Google+ slowly dying. PR Daily recently described the future of Google+ in a blog published in June, however still highlighted 3 key reasons as to why businesses should still have a Google+ profile:

– For Search Engine Optimisation; Since Google owns the social networking site, it provides key advantages for SEO. The content that is posted to your Google+ profile, can rank significantly in search results where the company’s website may not
No paid posts; Unlike its rivalry Facebook, content posted to Google+ is free and does not have to deal with picky algorithms
– High levels of Engagement; Google+ has the second-highest social media post-click engagement, behind YouTube. Google+ also provides excellent opportunities to engage with Google+ Communities

Google+

LinkedIn is a professional social networking site known as ‘Facebook for white-collar professionals’. According to The Social Media Examiner, over 3 million companies have a LinkedIn company page, with 148 different industries represented on company pages. LinkedIn company pages are essential for brand visibility and for building a sustainable, engaged community around the products and services that an organisation offers. And if you’re still not 100% convinced, PR Daily also featured an insightful infographic about LinkedIn’s extensive business potential to really enforce the reasons as to why businesses should make the most of the professional networking site.

LinkedIn