Using social media effectively

As future PR professionals, knowing how to use social media is essential to our field. The question is, do we really know how to use social media effectively?

A recent study has shown that nearly 70 percent of businesses are using social media in some form, but few of these businesses have a measurable objective. Many have successful pages with a plenty of friends or followers, however, they have no way of really knowing how many people are receiving their messages.

One  way to find out if your followers are understanding your messages is using a “click to action.”  This is when you have your audience actually click on something on your site to get the desired result.  Through this you can easily track how many people are receiving the new message you are currently using.

Think of social media like any other objective in a campaign; it needs to be measurable and a specific timeframe.  The latter part is vital in social media campaigns.  Social media is ever changing, therefore, your company’s social media sites should be evolving as well.

A company’s page that gets updated once a month will fail. It is important to update your site and build relationships. This also means any new social media program a company launches should be designed to have an ending point.  For example, Dunkin’ Donuts has launched a Facebook campaign looking for the ultimate Dunkin’ Donuts coffee fan.  The campaign has a set end time, Oct. 20.  It also effectively tracks if the campaign is successful by having each contestant actually send in a video.

Is it important to have a better way to track social media’s effectiveness other than followers and friends? What other ways should we be tracking our success on social media?

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7 Responses to Using social media effectively

  1. shotchk1 says:

    I absolutely agree. Social media needs to be looked at as a form of advertisement that has a perceived outcome. According to a report by Nielsen, online games are second most popular activity on the Web, and now advertisers are capitalizing on this large market — advertising inside social games!

    Social media is a constantly growing channel for marketing and PR professionals alike, and it’s about time we all recognized it.

  2. jmjohn27 says:

    Just because people/businesses are using social media doesn’t mean they are using it effectively. Everyone has a Facebook and Twitter is getting there too as far as popularity but how a company uses these mediums is much more important than just subscribing to them. It seems like an obvious observation, but how many people actually have a plan of how they will use social media to achieve a goal? I certainly don’t … not for my personal nor for my business objectives. Having a specific plan like Dunkin’ Donuts is a smart move because it gives the plan a measurable aspect; it allows for the success or failure to be clearly assessed, which is part of any successful PR or marketing goal.

  3. rmmoore5 says:

    Social media is a great channel of communication for PR professionals. It is a way to reach new audiences and engage consumers in client products and services. As a student and intern, I believe I have learned the tools and skills needed to utilize social media effectively in the professional world. I have worked for a few companies handling their social media and it really is a great resource to engage in conversation and meet new people. The future of social media in public relations and marketing is evolving so I am looking forward to seeing what we will have to learn in the next few years.

  4. hdfulton says:

    One thing I find helpful is that Facebook sends admins of a company profile weekly updates with the site’s traffic. It will tell you how many people posted new content or how many people added to a discussion.

    I agree that including a “click to action” device on a Website is helpful and can allow mediators a chance to see if people are interacting on their site; however, with all “click to action” devices, you’re not guaranteed clicks. Since this method isn’t reliable, companies may need an alternate feature to measure site traffic.

    I am new to the Twitter world, but I would suggest companies monitor how often their content, or “tweets,” are “re-tweeted.” This is a great feature that will help gauge the popularity of a company’s content, and also allow admins to see the demographics of the people re-posting a company’s content.

    FYI, you might want to recheck the link at the beginning of your post (“study”). I wasn’t able to open it.

  5. cmmassey says:

    Social media boomed out of nowhere, and I think it took people aback. People know they have to use it, but certain questions emerge that take time to answer.

    First, why do you need it? If you decide you need Facebook or Twitter, you need to think about what purpose will it serve. Then, you have to think how you are going to use it. I like the Dunkin’ Donuts example you gave. Dunkin’ Donuts decided to target their audience, donut eaters and coffee drinkers, and create a campaign through social media that will interest them and get them involved.

    Social media is about turning online interaction to offline action. If you are just creating posts about anything you want, you are not directing your efforts toward what you need/want to get out of social media presence. If you are a company, you want to use social media to get people to purchase your product. I think that businesses, entrepreneurs and even individuals need to think what the offline action is that they want their friends and followers to take.

  6. mwilson9 says:

    I never really heard of the phrase “click to action,” but it makes sense. I definitely think that it is a better way to track social media’s effectiveness than followers or friends.

    I have quite a few likes on my Facebook page, but half the time I have no idea about what is going on with the product campaign. Merely existing online is not enough, neither is simply having 5,000 friends. However, having friends and followers participate and communicate going both ways is surely effective.

  7. sbfogel says:

    I think that in this age where social media is all around us, it has become more and more important to build relationships with “fans” and “followers” from a public relations perspective. As described in this blog, a majority of businesses are using social media but not many are utilizing the tools to their utmost potential. By interacting with the potential consumers posting on your Facebook page or following you on Twitter you have the ability to build a sort of cyber-friendship that can add trust and value to your product. I don’t believe that the number of friends you have on social media outlets means you are more effective or not, but the amount of friends you have who interact and explore your product because of the incentive and “human” guarantee you add to it.

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