Monday, January 4, 2010

Should We Really Be Updating Multiple Networks Simultaneously?

So I just read that Seesmic acquired and now we can update 50 of our networks simultaneously with the touch of a button. But hey, wait a minute, don't people in the PR business tell us that we should choose the right networks that can be geared towards the right audience? Then isn't it safe to say that each network may have a different audience? I think so.

The people who follow you on Twitter may very well not care what you're doing on vacation, but may be very much looking forward to hearing about your take on the newest industry trend. Maybe that's just how I see it. My three main social networks are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I use Facebook mainly for staying connected with friends and family, while Twitter is a much more professional network for me, used to follow industry leaders and trends so I can stay informed about PR, social media, and technology. Finally, LinkedIn is my most professional network, catered completely to making connections for future employment and other professional opportunities. Clearly, these three networks all have different audiences for me. In fact, I can't think of 10 connections I have in common on any of those networks.

Today, I updated my status on Facebook to say I was playing Bingo with my grandmother during my vacation in Florida. I tweeted about interesting articles I found, such as a NYTimes article discussing the rumors of the Apple tablet. I don't update LinkedIn quite as often, but when I do, it's relevant to work or research projects that I am doing, or opportunities I am looking for. None of my followers on my Twitter account really care that I played bingo, and none of my friends or family care about social media and PR (in fact they say I talk about it too much already). The same principle can easily apply to organizations with different audiences for different networks.

All I'm saying is that if you're a business person, you should respect your clients enough to cater your messages to them individually on each network. Ant professional person should to the same. Different audiences deserve different messages. That's the best way to get the greatest value out of social media. That's my PR thought for the day.

Image taken from Google images.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Value of Video: Connect with Your Audience

Recently, I've read a lot about the value of using videos online, whether it's on a blog, a social networking site, or posted to Youtube. Here are my thoughts:

Videos add a greater sense of being connected to your audience, and even more specifically, your audience being connected to you. In a video, you express more about how you really feel about a topic, and you present more emotion. There's more "you" in a video than in written word. For example, during finals week this past December, I was really into leaving video posts on people's Facebook walls. Now, these weren't professional posts, but more comical and a better way to connect with other students going through similar difficulties as me, and also with people from home who I hadn't seen me in a long time. After I left a few, people started writing to me, "hey, where's my video post? I want to see what you're up to!" I never got responses like that with regular written posts. The feedback on my video posts was almost tripled than with written posts. I thought about why this was, and so I asked a few people. The responses I got were that they got to see my facial expressions and hear my tone of voice. It made it more funny in some cases, and people from home said they felt much more connected with me.

Of course, this was not for professional use, and this video format would not work in every situation. One area where videos can be immensely useful is in promoting nonprofit organizations, and asking for donations. You may be able to write on your Website why this cause is great and should be supported, but isn't it better to show them? These videos are different than commercials; they allow for greater flexibility, and therefore creativity. You can add a song; have a child speak; use still frames with sounds; and many other things that stir up emotions. Furthermore, with online video, you are usually seeing real people, and that also creates connectivity. Check out this video for a great example of a nonprofit cause using video for promotion of the cause. It's called the Pink Glove Dance, and it's fun to watch, as well as powerful.

Like I said, videos may not work for every platform, but many organizations in many different industries have experienced great success using videos. The key is that it really connects you with your audience. If your audience doesn't feel connected, you're doing something wrong. That's my PR thought for the day.