Feb. 27 Digital PR Summit Executive Summary

Executive Summary: PR News Feb. 27 Digital PR Summit

The Westin, San Francisco

By Bill Miltenberg

Opening Keynote Presentation: The "Dragonfly" Model of Social Media Communications

Andy Smith, Co-Author, The Dragonfly Effect, Principal, Vonavona Ventures -- @kabbenbock

Andy Smith, co-author of The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change, discussed how to tap into concepts from social media, marketing strategy and consumer psychology, to help you focus on and achieve a single, concrete goal that results in either social good, employee morale, customer loyalty or other end goals. In summary—small acts acting in concert can create big change.

Smith said that there are four core pillars in the process of communicating for social good:

1) The power of a clear goal: Smith said there are five design principles for goals including humanistic, actionable, clear, testable and happiness.

2) Reverse the rules: How might others address the challenge? Do the opposite. What grabs attention better than surprise?

3) Tell a good story: Smith said engagement principles require communicators to speak authentically, empathize with the subject (know who they are and where they're coming from), tell a complelling story and match the media to the message.

4) Design for collaboration and enable others to contribute and choose their own weapon: "Put the means of action and retransmission into the hands of the people who would be affected by it," Smith said. "When you enable action, you transform the customer to teammate."

The dragonfly is Smith's main metaphor. "Through ripple effects and emotional contagion, small acts can lead to big change," he said.

How do we build social brands? According to Smith, think about the people you want to effect transparently and authentically. "We're loyal to brands that hold meaning for us, and we reward them with our business," Smith said.

What are the next steps for communicators looking to enact big change? Smith said  identify a single focused goal; identity a higher purpose for your program; reverse the rules (it's safe to do what's done before, but you're guaranteed to not stand out); see what stories your customers share and seek to amplify them.

The New Basics of Digital Communications

Speakers:Ephraim Cohen EVP of Technology and Digital Content -- MWW @ephraimcohen
Esmée Williams Vice President, Brand Marketing -- Allrecipes.com @Allrecipes

This session painted a broad picture of the state of digital communications for you to use as a backdrop for the rest of your experience at the Digital PR Summit, including the demographics behind social media usage, ad quick tips on what times of the day and days of the week to tweet, post, pin and more.

Esmée Williams, VP of brand marketing at Allrecipes.com, said women's use of the primary social media channels outpaces men's on all sites except for Twitter.

"Females are consuming more content than males," she said. "Pinterest, for example, is female dominated (3 to 1), and it does skew older than Twitter and Tumblr, etc. It also tends to be more of users from [the] heartland and less coastal and urban areas." The top cities for Pinterest users are Dallas, Houston and Indianapolis.

For Tumblr, however,  Comscore data shows it's split between men and women, and it is very young. "Half of the audience is between 18-34, and it's growing fast,” Williams said. "If your target is millennials, I recommend Twitter and Tumblr. If you want to connect with GenX, Facebook and Pinterest are great. For boomers it's Facebook and linked in."

Ephraim Cohen, EVP of technology and digital content at MWW, said that as PR execs the first thing to focus on is earned media, but relationships with influencers are still the center of the PR industry, just as creative is the center of the ad industry. "We do a lot of other things, but without the earned media we fall apart," Cohen said. "News is to PR what creative is to the ad industry—the center of our life."

"Paid media should act as a catalyst, not as an end game," Cohen added." Mobile is still thought of as an afterthought, but every so often consumers are starting search on mobile as they're walking down the street."

For PR pros knowing which content is right for the right sites is paramount.  "Infographics are all the rage," Cohen said. "They're useful and engaging and make a massive difference in how people read and share them. We'll do a big info graphic for a blog post, and then a smaller one for social media."

The Oreo Cookie fast-action response at the Super-Bowl blackout reminded us that everything had to be adopted and executed really fast, Cohen said. "Speed can make the difference between mediocre results and great results—if not failure."

How to Use Visual Storytelling to Connect Your Brand With New Audiences  

Speakers: Karl Gude, Graphics Editor-in-Residence, Michigan State University School of Journalism -- @karlgude
Stephanie Xavier, Senior Communications Manager, New Relic -- @SXavier_NwRelic

Karl Gude, editor-in-residence, Michigan State University School of Journalism, is a fan of showing, not telling. Gude, who was the director of information graphics at Newsweek for 10 years, said that, at their best, infographics can provide a structure for organizing, planning and studying information and revealing hidden relationships. At their worst, they are link bait.

And while making complex infographics can take time and money to produce and may require input from a variety of people (researchers, sales personnel, database managers, department heads, writers, data visualizers, artists, designers, etc.), some of whom don’t want to be bothered, sometimes you can draw the idea on the back of a Starbucks napkin and get by with the help of a single designer, Gude said. 

Gude provided 9 ways for public relations pros to capitalize on visual opportunities and create infographics—whether it’s for a press release or any other communications vehicle. 

1) Show where it is: Make a map. "There's a story in a map," Gude said. He stressed that  a band's cross-country tour, which is usually shown in a list of cities and dates on the back of a poster or T-shirt, is a great example of visual mapping and storytelling. 

2) Compare it to something else: Side-by-side analysis can provide an audience with a engaging contrast and compare-style graphic that the eyes can scan. 

3) Highlight for emphasis: Infographics can help emphasize stats or numbers, and "it doesn't mean just making a big purple number," Gude said. "There are elegant solutions used for emphasis."  As anm example, Gude cherry-picked important sections of an email chain for a criminal case and highlighted certain sections. 

4) Explain it with a drawing: "You may sometimes need really good designers, but sometimes you can draw the idea on a Starbucks napkin," Gude said. After the September 11 attacks Gude quickly scrawled on a napkin the sequence of events and the destruction of the towers and the surrounding area, and the idea was developed from there. 

5) Organize items into groups: Gude said that organizing a company's products into groups can make them more easy to understand. He provided an example with the wide world of Microsoft product offerings that included products for the home; for multimedia content; for the workplace and for communications. 

6) Break things down: Gude used an example of a soldier and all of his equipment breaking down in order to demonstrate that the most well put-together images  are interesting when looked at in their individual parts. 

7) Show structure of a hierarchy: Gude said that tree diagrams and other types of directional relationships can provide a visual narrative for readers to follow along. 

8) Use a flow chart: Gude discussed a simple example with an organization's business strategy going from one stage to the next.

9) Look away/cut inside: During president Bill Clinton's scandal with Monica Lewinksy, Gude created a cutaway of the White House that showed the geographic locations of rooms in relation to one another. 

Gude said that free tools are available at freevisiualtools.wikispaces.com for graphics.

Stephanie Xavier, senior communications manager at New Relic, said that when developing visuals, be authentic, have a personality and incorporate your customer’s culture. “Use technology trends and customer data points to create a forum for your company and others,” Xavier said. “Support groups and conferences and find ways to build a community. “

Boost Your Reach on Facebook With Content the News Feed "Likes"

Kati Dahm, Project Special and Community Manager, Cisco -- @KatiDahm; @CiscoSystems
Krisleigh Hoerman, Social Media Strategist, American Heart Association -- @KrisleighH; @American_Heart

Facebook continues to optimize its news feed to show posts that people are most likely to engage with. The social network has changed the algorithm it uses to filter posts to users, and brands have reported a 5% to 40% decline in the reach of their Facebook posts. This may be great news for Facebook users who are weary of spam, but for brands it means that their organic reach might be taking a hit.

“When your reach starts to drop, go to social forums and ask what's going on. Odds are, Facebook has changed something,” said Krisleigh Hoermann, social media strategist for the American Heart Association.

Hoermann said that only 6% of fans actively engage with a brand’s page on Facebook, so it’s important to concentrate on your brand’s super fans to help spread your message.

“Don’t forget to integrate with other platforms, like Red Bull does with its Instagram photos on Facebook,” Hoermann said. "Lowe's does a good job with integrating other platforms and creates content on Facebook—extra platforms means cross-pollinating.” Lowe's increased followers by 62% and reach more than 2.6 million followers.

Kati Dahm, project special and community manager at Cisco, said that  focus on engagement requires a  two-way conversation. How? At Cisco it's difficult because it's an enterprise company with 75 different unique Cisco Facebook pages. “Cisco has niche fan groups, so we spotlight the most engaged fans,” Dahm said.

In October 2010, Cisco Superfan Spotlight was created to provide community recognition, which resulted in a 20% increase in average engagement and a 200% increase in likes. That grew the Facebook community to 400,000 fans from 100,000 fans.

Key takeaways

·      Recognize and reward engaged users.

·      Visual content is the future—Pinterest and Instagram.

·      Test visual content with Pinterest, Instagram and other visual social networks.

·      Experiment with paid Facebook services; $200 can go a long way.

How to Make Twitter Your Brand's Secondary (or Even Primary) Online Home

Speakers: Chris Brooks, Manager, Social Engagement, Hilton Worldwide -- @chrisobrooks
Jessica Henry, PR and Marketing Director --  Not for Sale

Chris Books, manager, social engagement, Hilton Worldwide, said that Hilton is making Twitter the company's home away from home on the Web. “There are 10 brands at Hilton on Twitter, and while it can be a great home base, it has to be part of a larger strategy—it’s not quite yet to replace your home website.”

Creating a digital footprint

1. Making a case: “We wanted to engage our target audience while communicating into their space,” Brooks said.

2. Determining audience and goals. “Our company mission is that we’re very focused on putting heads in beds,” Brooks said. “Our goal is to communicate the value of Hilton to key audiences.”

Hilton Worldwide launched online channels in Aug. 2011, and since then has had zero paid engagement. “Networks are rapidly evolving and tactics change constantly,” said Brooks.

Brooks’ First steps on Twitter

·      Direct integration with guest assistance team (customer service).

·      Have a sound social media policy.

·      Listen to what are people saying out there and how can we engage.

·      Maintain a consistent look and feel.

·      Drive people to website—that's the home base.

How does Hilton create content for Twitter? Brooks said his team uses a weekly content calendar, which contains contributions from across the enterprise. Most content is repurposed from existing communications.Apply traditional communications, and content must be made visual, shareable and actionable,” Brooks said.Put out 20 pieces of content per day on Twitter—repurpose and be creative.”

Measuring: Weekly/Monthly reporting helps to align measurement to corporate goals. Hilton also tracks Web traffic referrals from social. “Our social report goes out to wide variety of folks at the company—especially to the people who feed us content. Then they know what is helpful, what is not,” Brooks said.

Engaging media on Twitter: “Mention journalists and publications in tweets,” Brooks said. “It’s a good way to softly pitch news.”

Other Twitter Tools:

·  Brooks sees a lot of potential in Vine in creating truly in the moment content, despite it being available just on iPhones, and has experimented with it already.

·  Social Bro: A great way to see who's following you by category—has free and paid versions.

·  Muckrack: Tracks what journalists are saying about you.

·  TweetReach: A great way to pull reports. Can run quick reports to discover, for instance, how a tweetchat resonated with the audience.

·  Paper.li: Created a newspaper report.

Jessica Henry, PR and marketing director at Not for Sale, said that on Twitter, telling a great story will attract more followers. But how do you tell a great story?

“Define your brand's personality, define voice attributes and create the right mix of content,” Henry said. Determine your value proposition and consider what can you offer your audience. At Not for Sale, thought leadership is a major goal. How can you enchant your audience? “Create an experience—a sense of progress,” Henry said. “Put followers on a journey and create a sense of a movement and a sense of community.”

Once you know your personality, you can plug and play different forms of content while maintaining your voice, Henry said. “Be accountable, enable real-time feedback and do Google Alerts daily for your brand," she added. "Don't just grow followers, look at patterns of what content is being retweeted.”

Henry’s Final Thoughts:

·      Know who you are.

·      Create an experience for your followers.

·      Offer value and thought leadership.

·      Connect with people who love you.

·      Tell a good story. Period.

Content Marketing: Socialize Your Content and Reshape the Role of PR   

Speakers: Eliza Anderson, Global PR Manager, Intrepid Travel -- @eliza_tron ; @Intrepid_Travel
Chad Melton, Manager, Digital Marketing & User Experience, Ingersoll Rand -- @Ingersoll_Rand
David Patton, Vice President and Editor in Chief, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide -- @davidapatton

Content marketing has transformed traditional notions of public and media relations, as content-hungry audiences are less interested in the source of content as they are in the quality and utility of the content. 

David Patton, VP and editor in chief, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, said that we are all doing content marketing now—here's how to do it better:

"There are no boring subjects, just poorly told stories, disinterested audiences and lame content," he said. “With social platforms, we’ve now got a lot of hungry mouths to feed, so let's take a page from the folks who are really good at this—news organizations.”

It's about finding best practices: reporting, curating and pulling things out, Patton said.  Start with the audience and listen and find out what they need.

Tell a Story: Patton said every good story has the following elements: people, tension, action, resolution and meaning (some kind of context).

Media will re-imagine content. “White papers can be broken down into series of podcasts,” said Patton. Understand whether it's working by looking at performance. “Whether it's Web analytics or social analytics, put data in ways that show the deeper action,” Patton said. “Remember what the business goals are. If you're trying to sell things or gain donors, make sure content has a call to action.”

Eliza Anderson, global PR manager at Intrepid Travel, said that in this day and age, it's paramount to think like a publisher, but don't feel like you have to write the book.

Anderson suggested reaping the rewards of a content partnership. "Once we have a partner to provide content, we approach each piece of content as its own campaign," he said. "The second thing we do is think about how we're going to be part of the conversation."

"Set clear measures grounded in your business and do the ABCs for a content partner—audience, brand fit and credibility to be your partner," Anderson said. "Approach every bit of content like it’s a mini campaign to amplify its reach and success. Keep monitoring and adjusting it—by this you can make fantastic inroads as a small business."

Chad Melton, manager of digital marketing and user experience at Ingersoll Rand, said that it's important to start with the content that you do have. "I'm always amazed talking to our engineers about how much information they've accumulated over the years and that content hasn't seen the light of day because it's been seen in one medium and not necessarily on the Web," Melton said.

When it comes to social media and tapping fans for content creation, the driving force of social media is that fans want to be heard. "As good marketers we need to embrace that and create brand advocates," Melton said. 

Keynote Presentation: How to Move Your Online Visitors to Action  
Speaker: Amy Africa, CEO, Eight By Eight -- @amyafrica

Amy Africa's provocative keynote presentation showed where your brand's online presence misses the point of connection with the most important metric of all—consumer conversions and actions that drive the business' bottom line.

Africa provided 12 aspects for making a perfect website, based on human nature. 

1) You are self-centered. When your uses come to your site, do they see themselves? Do you speak their language?

2) You are an inspector. "You react to new information the same way each and every time," Africa said. "Ask yourself, if someone comes to your site today and then they come back next Tuesday, will it look familiar or will they need to assess it for danger all over again? Are you changing things up all the time? What does that do to the user? It freaks them out, is what it does."

3) You process best in black and white. The brain is designed for efficiency, and contrast allows the brains to comprehend things faster, Africa said. 

4) You are visual.  “You only think you think, Africa said. “You really just see.”

5) You look for patterns. Patterns are safe, not dangerous. "You only need to see something once, and then you can't un-see something you've seen," Africa said. "When the pictures of victim Nicole flashed up on the screen during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Simpson didn't look—while all her parents did—because he had seen it before," Africa said. 

6) You like things you can touch and don't like things you can't. Ask yourself—what does an integrated solution look like? What about "flexible approach?" or "Revolutionary product?" Africa asked, "What words do you use that are meaningless to your users?"

7) You like a beginning and an end. "We remember the first date and the divorce, everything else is murky," Africa said. Ask yourself, are you using deadlines? "Deadlines create urgency and they cause users to focus," Africa said.

 8) You take a lot of shortcuts. “Efficiency is good, except for when it’s not,” Africa said. “Are your users smart enough to understand the way you present pricing?”

9) You like to connect the cause with the effect (and act before you think). "Our brains don't like random behaviors," Africa said. "We do things in hopes of particular outcomes." In terms of your website, do you have buttons? How many? Does your site have a perpetual cart/lead form? How many places to you have it?

10) You Like What's First. "That's why the whole chicken egg thing drives you bonkers," Africa said. 

11) You have present bias. "When you go to the grocery store and get amazing healthy groceries and then end up buying M&Ms while waiting online, that's present bias," Africa said.  

12) You are more impacted by the fear of loss than the possibility of gain. "The fear of loss is so important to us," Africa said. 

Measure the Effectiveness of Your Social Media Programs  

Speakers: Jennifer Burnham, Director, Social and Content Strategy, Salesforce.com -- @jennydburnhamJessica Payne, Director of Digital Strategy, PAN Communications -- @jpaynebu

Every social media program worth doing is worth measuring, and providing metrics that matter to senior leaders is the best way to protect your budget and see it grow.

Jessica Payne, director of digital strategy at PAN Communications, said that when it comes to share of voice (and a lot of premium tools track shared voice) there is some value in understanding where you stack up to competitors. "Why has your share of voice—or theirs—increased? Do that extra bit of homework to actually understand it," Payne said.   

Quite simply, Payne said to measure what matters. "It's all about that roadmap, do the research and identify what the data is telling you," Payne said. "Then set benchmarks that are based in reality. Don't forget the human side of analytics—the tools are only as effective as the person using the tools."

Jennifer Burnham, director of social and content strategy at Salesforce.com, asked what is the ROI of Social? "Rolling out social in big brands is great, but in the boardroom they still want to know the bottom line is, not just hand waving and tap dancing," she said. "Today's social scorecard has fans and followers, social mentions, prospect traffic and valid leads."

Burnham was tasked with growing Salesforce.com's social subscribers. "We called it our social heart of marketing—we said we wanted to double social subscribers and triple our blog visits. We did this through prescriptive guidance," Burnham said. "We gave really direct guidance to teams to tell them what direct success was--to grow over 6% month over month, doubling year over year."

Here's how Burnham and her the team helped to grow the traffic to Salesforce.com's corporate blog:

Goal: Grow blogs 300% year-over-year. "The top tactics were to make every press release a blog post, and get people within the company to blog, SEO, content marketing, PR and social ads," Burnham said. "When we tried to convince teams of the value of blog, we started exceeding web page inbound traffic of well-established pages."

Goal: Measuring offer conversion. Set a target—# of valid leads per month. " The top tactics were blogging, eBooks, webinars, campaign integration," Burnham said. How is Salesforce tracking social offers? "Salesforce uses campaign IDs— anything that gets pushed out via social can be tracks back to pipeline using campaign IDs via bit.ly," Burnham said.

It's a four-part measurement strategy: 1) People click on the URL in your Facebook post 2) The tracking ID is captured when that person fills out a form 3) Inside your CRM the source of the lead is tracked as Facebook 4) Report on leads and pipeline attributed to that campaign.

Burnham also provided 8 tips to measure social ROI:

1) Focus on the 1-3 metrics that drive the bottom line

2) Measure and plan social activities within the media mix (not in silo)

3) Be disciplined and consistent reporting progress against goals

4) Fix any leaky plumbing to measure the pipeline from social offers

5) Use free tools like Survey Monkey to better understand your audience

6) Apply social ad spend to expand your reach and impact

7) Track each content offer with unique ID

8) Create your own social = ROI executive dashboard

Build Relationships With Journalists on Social Channels in Advance of Crises 

Speakers: Jake Gasaway, Co-Founder and Director of Business Development, @StitchLabs
Joshua Karpf, Director, Digital Media, PepsiCo --  @jkarpf
David Sommers, Director of Public Affairs, Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office - @lacountyceo

PR practitioners have to be knowledgeable, skilled and savvy listeners and conversationalists to be able to proactively interact with journalists on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr and beyond. Journalists are using these networks more and more to find story ideas and sources and to report on reputational crises.

Jake Gasaway, co-founder and director of business development at Stitch Labs, said PR pros must be smart with limited resources. “Use Google Alerts to target industry leaders, adjacent companies and competitors,” Gasaway said. “Identify a targeted list of journalists that are writing about your industry.”

Gasaway also suggested using Twitter lists. “Create a list in Twitter to make it easy to follow your targeted journalists. Like, comment on and share their articles and posts.”

Gasaway said to use LinkedIn to send a short note to journalists when you’re ready for direct contact, but beware, you only have 300 characters to get their attention unless you have a premium account to send InMail.

David Sommers, director of public affairs for the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, said it's crucial to get a social media management tool to monitor what’s being said about your brand.

In terms of relationship building with media, Sommers said its important to build media lists and anticipate needs during normal mode and build trust for crisis mode. If a crisis happens, Sommers said to establish effective hashtags as quick as possible.

Sommers asked, "What's the plan for posting if your website is down? Our site's two IT guys who  work Monday-Friday, from 8;00 to 5:00, and they don't even carry Blackberrys." He added: "The notion of real-time marketing is very trendy right now, but it needs to be about like being a newsroom," Sommers said. 

Why Didn't I Think of That? 14 Unique Digital PR Ideas in 30 Minutes

Speakers: Morgan McLintic, Executive VP -- Lewis PR
Victor Reiss, Manager, Digital and Social Channels, Corporate Communications, FedEx Services -- @FedEx

Victor Reiss, manager of digital and social channels in FedEx's corporate communications office, provided the following tips:

1) Stack up on images. "Consider options that are low-cost, train employees with low-cost equipment, even when they're on business travel or on vacation," Reiss said. "Or hey, you can always hire a photographer."

2) Showcase your employees on social channels. "People want to do business with companies they feel they know," Reiss said. "With FedEx, we honor our employees and celebrate their personal and professional achievement as a key differentiator. "

3) Get emotional when sharing good news.

4) Be an orchestra leader on Facebook, not a solo virtuoso. 

5) Leverage the Facebook marketing page, business page and Facebook studio.

6) Shut down your dormant social accounts.

7) Balance your social, local, owned, paid and earned media strategy. "Contest should be social by design, share-worthy and localizable," Reiss said.

Morgan McLintic, executive VP, US, Lewis PR, provided his tips, staring with search:

8) Set up Google Author tags. "Google is looking to add context to its content," McLintic said. "if you're running a blog, Google is looking to make sure blog posts are linked to who writes them. All of your author should have filled-in Google profiles.

9) Use Google's keywords tool to find top performing and new keywords. "It's amazing how businesses have their own vernacular, but if those words ante the same as those searching, you won't be found," McLintic said. 

10) Time-Shift Twitter: "If you don't have the luxury of someone managing your Twitter feed all the time, use auto-scheduled features in HootSuite to issue tweets out through the course of the day so you can get it all done in the morning," McLintic said. "It won't be engaging, and it’s a broadcast mechanism, but it at least shows the lights are on throughout the day." 

11) Don't cross the streams. "Social media managers must make sure the interfaces look different for personal and corporate profiles," McLintic said. "If you're managing multiple clients, using multiple manage consoles is safer."

12) Tracking Codes: This is all about attribution, and make sure you're using them in your outreach. "You want to get credit for the potential customers that have come from clicking that link to your website," McLintic said. Even if it takes multiple touch points, if you don't do it, another branch will take credit for it."

13) Regularly change your social media passwords.

14) Use Cardmunch to digitize all those real life contacts.

Andy Theimer, founder of GroupHigh, capped off the day with one final tip:

15) Make it really easy for media to accept your pitch. "We have something called a 'starticle,’ with a couple headlines, bullet points, images and video content all ready to go that makes it really easy for media to run a story," Theimer said. "Have a landing page that holds the content, and they can write about it at their own leisure."