Tag Archives: Social Media

If you’re not part of the conversation, at least be privy to it!

Monitoring the conversations that are taking place about you is a must-do. There is no excuse for not listening and it could help save your reputation.

I was driving into work on 14th March wondering if  Spring was ever going to spring, when BBC Newcastle radio station announced in a report that TT2, the company that operate the Tyne Tunnel linking South Tyneside with Newcastle and Northumberland, had not installed speed cameras in their tunnels despite substantial rumours.


“You have about 20 minutes northbound and 15 minutes heading south.” I was always going North!

The Tyne Tunnel was once a frequent utterance on local radio breakfast shows; mainly in the traffic reports. But since the construction and opening of the second tunnel it faded into memory; especially for me now that I had moved my place of work from Ashington to the much more conveniently situated Walbottle.

The Tyne Tunnel was great now. They opened it up on time, in an era when construction company deadlines held as much weight as your wallet after you’ve bought a season ticket to Wembley Stadium, and they had received  generally good press coverage.

However, all this was to end one cold day in March when rumours started on Twitter that they had secretly installed speed cameras. Furthermore, the tweets seemed to indicate they had not publicly announced this as it had been their intention to use it as a profiteering tool.

All of a sudden TT2 had a PR crisis on their hands, and what’s more it was not even true!

This spread of information was contained to Twitter, but had already spread to a huge reach, and damage to TT2’s reputation was at the heart of the discourse. There was a conversation happening that they were not part of.

I don’t know exactly how they found out about the rumours on the electronic grapevine; they should have had someone monitoring there name, but I fear they were probably contacted by a journalist, or someone else who monitors social media as part of their everyday tasks.

All organisations need to monitor social media

Interestingly, even though they have a Twitter account they chose not to use it in their efforts to get their side of the story out. They used local breakfast radio as their medium. This optimised their potential to reach their key public – motorists in the area of the tunnel.

So even though you are not communicating through social media platforms, don’t forget the importance of using them as a monitoring device. There is no excuse for ignoring it.

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8 reasons why all PR is online PR: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love to tweet

  1. 90% of media consumption is done via a screen

Courtesy of the Telegraph

Research carried out by Google has suggested that all but 1/10 of media consumption happens looking at a screen. Although this statistic includes television, it highlights the increased dependency on mobile devices with an internet connection.  According to Ofcom 58% of the population owned a smartphone in 2012, and almost a fifth of U.K. residents owned a tablet; and this number is on the rise. This graphic from the Telegraph shows that internet shopping and social media exceed making calls on our mobile devices.

  1. The demise of the press

Although some newspapers, such as the Sun would suggest otherwise, print versions of newspapers are in rapid decline. In 2005, when the Guardian bought new printers at the cost of £62 million to accommodate their Berliner format, the editor said that this would be the last printers the paper would invest in. The life span of such machines is about 12 years. Many local newspapers have also been forced to reduce staff, relocate and amalgamate to survive.

  1. Real-time news

The role of the journalist is changing and the powers and influence they once had has dispersed. The move to online versions has eradicated the copy-date and phenomenon born from the power of social media, such as citizen journalism has transformed the way people consume news. Traditional sources of information have been challenged putting influential content in the hands of the masses, not just the privileged few.

  1. Online formats allow audiences to engage with content easily

An engaged audience is an audience that can contribute. Media which promotes consumer participation will have a more engaged audience. Modern consumers want to be in control of content; they are active participants in the conversation. Audience contributions give PRs the opportunity to hear genuine opinions and learn about audiences’ wants and needs. This is invaluable information that is easy and in most cases free to acquire.

  1. Your publics will talk about you whether you contribute or not

Influential blogs can cause companies a lot of trouble

Online platforms allow consumers to publish their opinions about you to an audience of millions even if they are complaining. It is surely better to take part in the conversation, respond to their complaints or at least give yourself the opportunity to hear what they are saying. There have been several examples of consumers costing companies big money, and more importantly running their reputations, by refusing to acknowledge the power of the web. See Dell (who spent an estimated $150,00,000 on customer service after the ‘Dell Hell’ blog) or United airlines, who watched their reputation being ripped up to the sound of Canadian band; Sons of Maxwell.

The video has over 12 million views.

  1. There is a lack of trust in large organisations

The opinions of online strangers has more value than your own promotion

People are increasingly looking towards supposed independent, non-bias opinions online before making decisions. Sites like trip advisor are the first port-of-call for many before making accommodation choices for a weekend away. Reputations are organically grown in the field social media where bloggers and posters are influencing consumer decision making. Finding out what is being said and being able to contribute to and influence the conversation is vital.

  1. Television

The way we engage with our televisions is unrecognisable to what it was 10 years ago. Tivo and Sky+ have rendered scheduling and therefore targeted advertising futile. The patterns of consumption is firmly in the hands of audiences who can choose to watch their favourite programmes at any time regardless of when the schedulers chose, and access to inline media players with the click of a button has brought multi-media viewing into our living rooms, offering a huge range of choice thus, segmenting audiences to a much greater degree than ever before.

  1. Online suits PR

The social web suits the way PR has always defined its target audience; a plurality of publics with a range of different opinions, ideas and levels of engagement. Publics are segmented by their increased choices into specific groups and sub-groups allowing for more specific targeting and evaluation.

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