The book wastes no time and, by the tenth page, you’re already writing a little code. Mr. Harris’s style is to learn by doing. You read, you type, you copy what he’s written, you try it out. I found myself almost immediately altering his work to see what would happen. When the code didn’t break, or if it could be fairly readily fixed, it was a victory.
All concepts are explained, even those which may at the time seem like overkill, such as the practical differences among the .jpg, .gif and .bmp image formats. One of the earlier concepts explained is why CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are the way to go. By the time you get to Chapter Two of the first book (the book is divided into eight mini-books), Mr. Harris is already talking about online validation. And that’s a good thing, as that by itself can help a novice web developer to fix recalcitrant code.
Comparing InScope, Toms, and the Century Council Plans
InScope, is a “user-friendly search engine is dedicated to finding peer-reviewed, academic research among Belcher Rollins’ publications, back-dated to 1960. This equates to 27 million document entries.” (Page 4) Note: Belcher Rollins is a publisher.
The campaign for InScope focused on planning. The idea was to become and remain an online solution for librarians and academics. Enumerated goals (Page 9) were:
“To generate substantial interest in InScope from academic librarians, in order to support sales: positioning it as the best in the market and ‘a new generation in research’
To generate understanding and support for InScope among industry influencers and opinion leaders
To strengthen Belcher Rollins’ position as the brand leader in international academic publishing, underpinning its reputation for innovation and quality
To manage communications around contentious issues within scholarly publishing: (a) pressure on academic financial resources and criticisms of profiteering by publishers, (b) the lobby for open access publishing and (c) international censorship”
Events were planned with an eye toward attracting media coverage. There were a large number of internal communications planned, in order to keep the key stakeholders informed, e. g. librarians, academics, academic budget holders (the people with the money), and the media. The budget exceeded £2M, which currently converts to over $3.8M.
The Toms campaign, in contrast, had a markedly different look and feel. InScope was traditional and felt conservative, whereas Toms felt somewhat casual and even crunchy and hippie. Toms is a shoe creator and seller (they also sell other accessories such as purses and necklaces). The company’s mission is to donate a pair of shoes to charity for every pair purchased. The donated shoes are sent to children in countries such as Argentina. As the plan itself noted, on Page 30, “When a customer interacts with the TOMS brand, it is more than just buying shoes.”
The Toms objectives were to increase sales and repeat purchases, and to boost brand awareness. For Toms, the tactics included using the opening of new stores as events, although, in contrast to InScope, these events were not touted as a means of involving the media. Further, the Toms plan acknowledged the organization’s nontraditional stance in the media as being an opportunity (Page 15). Other tactics were even more grass roots, involving an email list, a shoe drop, and even posters. The Toms budget clocked in at a far more modest $17,420, although a lot of the biggest ticket items (such as the use of a plane for the shoe drop) were not enumerated among the planned expenses. Planning seemed looser, perhaps in keeping with the organization’s more relaxed overall philosophy.
For Century Council, the main goal was to kick off a new website to reach collegians in particular and help change attitudes about drinking. A further goal is to reduce underage drinking and drunk driving. The plan emphasized segmentation, whereby college students were divided by age and by activity (e. g. athletes, members of Greek letter organizations, etc.). The website would be specially tailored for each participating school. The tailoring was broken down further for age groups, as the message differed, being zero tolerance for those under 21 years of age, and responsible drinking for those over. The budget was in excess of $8.9M. In some ways, this campaign split the difference between InScope and Toms, at least in terms of presenting a strict and staid presence like InScope did, yet relying less on traditional media (one of the ways Century Council was looking to reach its publics was through a pizza box advertisement), like Toms did.
Each plan had a lot of the components of what we have been studying all along, from careful research into publics to clear-cut goals and objectives. Budgets were carefully laid out, although the one for Toms was incomplete. The timetables for all three campaigns seemed realistic.
Reading the Plans and Recognizing their Components
There were some language alterations between the plans as presented and our readings. InScope in particular used a lot of synonyms. Goals were enumerated as aims, for example. All three campaigns laid out their SWOT analyses clearly, using an easy to follow grid format. Evaluations for all of the campaign plans were clearly labeled.
Formatting and Stylistic Takeaways applied to the ILSC
The Toms plan in particular took advantage of a stylistic look and feel which mirrored the organization’s view of itself. The plan contained images of the founder, Blake Mycoskie, in Argentina, with children that the organization has helped. These images helped to add an emotional component to the campaign plan that was missing from the other two plans.
The Century Council plan was more generic-looking which seemed to reflect almost a PTA budget kind of communication. This tied in fairly well to the campaign being related to what happens on college campuses. By having the formatting look this way (and it may not even have been intentional), the campaign called to mind straightforward academics and straight talk.
The InScope campaign, in contrast, was poorly formatted. Word allows for headings which make navigating a document a lot easier – the campaign didn’t have those. The spreadsheet denoting the timetable was a bit wide and threw off other formatting. It was walls of text with little formatting or emphasis, and no imagery to speak of. Word also makes it easy to create a dynamic table of contents whereby a reader can click on a part of the table and be taken directly to the desired section of a document. The campaign did not take advantage of these simple yet powerful formatting tools – the campaign’s typist could use an intermediate course in Microsoft Word!
For the ILSC (Institute for Life Sciences Collaboration), the website is already rather bland. They are doing interesting things, such as teaching youth around the world, possibly finding cures for all kinds of fatal diseases, and potentially saving lives in Ghana. This is exciting stuff, yet the walls of text make the site look industrial, sterile, and unfeeling. There can be stylistic symmetry between the campaign plan and the look and feel of what the ILSC website should be all about. The ILSC needs to show its heart.
Visual impressions matter, particularly online. There is no reason why the ILSC cannot get started by making the campaign plan easy to read, well-indexed, and visually appealing.
LinkedIn is almost a corporate version of Facebook, a serious social networking site amidst all the chatter. If you are looking for a job, you need to be on LinkedIn. If you might be looking for work again some time in your lifetime, you need to be on LinkedIn. If you might ever be called upon to professionally recommend someone, or professionally network together people from disparate times of your life (such as a college classmate and a person you know from your last job), you need to be on LinkedIn. If you ever need to showcase your credentials to a mass audience, for any reason whatsoever, you need to be on LinkedIn. And the cornerstone of it all is your resume.
And if there’s anyone else over the age of eighteen left in the United States, or potentially on the planet, chances are pretty good that they need to be on LinkedIn as well.
All of the aforementioned are perfectly good reasons to be on LinkedIn, but there’s one more. It puts together all of your professional data into one safe, trusted and uniform online package. LinkedIn, like your resume itself, gives Hiring Managers a well-presented collection of information about you as a worker.
That is, if you take the time to make a complete, compelling and well thought out profile. If not, well, then LinkedIn can become a fast ticket to oblivion.
Hence, you need to put together a cogent profile, and the first place to start is with your resume. It will be similar, but not identical, to the resume you provide directly to Hiring Managers.
Here are some tips for making your LinkedIn resume as good as it can be:
List all of your major jobs, no matter how long ago you did them, so long as the company (or a successor) is still in business. This is counter to what is normally put into a regular resume. On LinkedIn, you don’t really have a length issue. Plus, you want to list as many companies as possible in order to make linking easier with a greater number of people
Place key words and phrases in your job descriptions. People hunting through LinkedIn are most likely to be using the search feature, so you need to have words and phrases listed that people will be using to search for someone like you. E. g. if you’re looking for work as a Business Analyst, don’t just include the title – also include the fact that you did (assuming this is accurate) requirements gathering, which is a main Business Analyst task across multiple disciplines
List the different types of software you’ve used, with versions. This is, again, to make your profile come up in searches. E. g. if you used Excel 2003 and Excel 2007, make sure they are listed that way.
Just like with a standard resume, use action words and well-defined metrics to show what you did in your career. “Worked on the Smith project” is nowhere near as impressive as “Performed quantitative analysis; these recommendations saved the company 20% of the estimated costs on the Smith project”. Numbers are impressive. Use them.
Make sure your company listings jibe with what’s already on LinkedIn. That is, let the software give you choices (if any) for the company name. If you worked for a very large company (say, Fidelity Investments), the company name is already on LinkedIn. Don’t type it in yourself. This will automatically make it easier for you to link to everyone else who has listed Fidelity Investments as a current or past employer, and
Feel free to add more than one current employer, including any volunteer work you may be doing. Again, this will add to the ease with which you can link to others.
Quinnipiac Assignment 11 – ICM 527 – Continuing Program Evaluation
This week, we continued studying the evaluation of public relations campaigns.
Ethical Issues Regarding Evaluation
As is true for any presentation of numbers, there are ways to spin findings which can lead a reader to believe one thing or another. Numbers can be used to make a case, and some numbers, if suppressed or deemphasized or just plain omitted, could alter organizational decision-making. This only gets into telling the truth with numbers. All bets are off if a strategic planner or any sort of analyst out and out alters the figures they have to present, or if they weren’t given accurate or truthful numbers to begin with.
But even if the analyst is completely honest about results and figures, there are still issues with emphasis and language. For the Cans Get You Cooking campaign, the initial purpose had to have been to increase the sale of canned goods. Instead, the campaign was labeled as a success for leading to an increase in awareness of canned foods. While awareness is a perfectly legitimate (and objective) goal for a campaign, the goal of increased sales seems to have been swept under the rug in favor of the one, demonstrable, favorable outcome – a boost in awareness.
On page 125, Place notes, “The role of ethics in public relations evaluation was described by participants as inherently associated with truth and fairness. For some professionals, this meant conveying evaluation data accurately and truthfully to organizational leadership or clients. For other professionals, this meant measuring whether the most accurate story or brand image reached an organization’s publics.”
Professionals, fortunately, realize that their words can be misinterpreted, even if they are reporting accurately on the numbers. If a campaign increases, say, signups for a class by five over an initial figure of five, then how is that reported? Is it a report of a new five signups, or does the professional state that signups have doubled? Both are mathematically correct, but there is an exciting spin to the latter which may be making it look more significant than it truly is.
The Real Warriors and Okay 2 Talk Campaigns
A review of both campaigns revealed good attention to detail. Both campaigns seemed to be rather carefully planned.
The Real Warriors Campaign was designed to encourage active armed services personnel and veterans of recent American military campaigns (since 9/11) to seek psychological counseling and other help for post-traumatic stress disorder, e. g. ‘invisible wounds’. Primary research included focus groups and key informant interviews. All of the campaign’s goals were awareness-based. The goal was to decrease stigma felt by veterans seeking mental health assistance.
The measurement of the effectiveness of the campaign included the distribution of campaign materials, website visitors, and social media interactions, plus news stories. This is good for an awareness campaign, but where are the actions? Where are the increased numbers of veterans seeking help? A far more germane measurement would be to show an increase in personnel hours for armed forces mental health professionals. Or perhaps there could be a measurement of the hiring of more counselors, or agreements with more civilian counselors. Without naming names or otherwise violating privacy, the number of patients being seen could be readily tallied, as could the number of appointments made, even if some of the appointments were never kept. Another objective measurement of success would be a decrease in suicides and fewer calls by veterans to suicide prevention hotlines. The campaign shows none of that.
As for the OK 2 Talk Campaign, that campaign’s goals were to create awareness and also to launch a safe social media space. Tumblr was the chosen platform as it allowed for anonymity. It seems to have also been chosen for a demographic match although that is not spelled out.
The measurement of the effectiveness of that campaign was a lot more closely aligned with its initial goals than the Real Warriors report showed. For example, the OK 2 Talk report gave objective figures regarding engagement on OK2Talk.org. The page views are not necessarily indicative of much. It is the content submissions which seem to better reflect engagement. On the Tumblr blog, visitors are encouraged to anonymously post about how they are feeling. The blog makes it clear that not everyone’s writings will be posted. However, there are several well-written or illustrated posts showcasing various viewpoints. OK 2 Talk intelligently shows all kinds of posts, even those where the writers clearly need help or are just reblogging messages put together by creative professionals.
The campaign report shows the number of content submissions and the number of clickthroughs to a ‘get help’ screen. There is also a statement regarding ‘thousands’ of comments but no specifics; that could have been more clearly shown. But that does not truly matter. Showing the number of clickthroughs to the ‘get help’ screen was an objective and direct measurement of how the campaign is going. It answers the question, ‘did it work, or was it just a colorful and fancy waste of time?’ with ‘yes, it did’, and far more effectively than the distribution of materials ever could. As Smith notes on page 335, “Guesses aren’t good enough; Hard work and cost aren’t measures of effectiveness; Creativity isn’t, either; Dissemination doesn’t equal communication; Knowledge doesn’t always lead to acceptance; and Behavior is the ultimate measure.”
In particular, Real Warriors should have remembered that dissemination does not equal communication. After all, the distributed campaign materials could have gone right into the trash. Without some demonstrated actions (yes, the campaign’s stated goal was awareness, but it could only really be measured with some form of observable action), Real Warriors seems more like a lot of paper redistribution.
The two campaigns have similar goals, and both have the valiant ideal of helping the mentally ill. But it’s only OK 2 Talk which is showing objective and relevant results.
Relating it all back to the ILSC
For the Institute for Life Sciences Collaboration, deciding what to measure, and to make sure it is being accurately measured, are important steps to take. While it is pretty easy to count website visitors using Google Analytics or the like, a better measurement is actual engagement like blog comments, Facebook comments and shares, and LinkedIn comments. This will tie directly to awareness objectives.
For objectives regarding adding high schools to the Small World Initiative, good measurements include the number of times that educators click through to a ‘get information’ page which should be added to a revamped website. Such inquiries could also be expected in the comments and messaging sections of a possible future Facebook group devoted to the ILSC. A similar vehicle for obtaining such inquiries could be a possible future LinkedIn group for the ILSC, and its topics.
Measurements of the campaign reaching donors could be a look at the number of visits to a donations page. It would also be the percentages of site visitors who went all the way through the online donations funnel. Knowing where they stop (if a visit does not lead to a donation) would be extremely helpful information to have.
For the website, Google Analytics should be used to tie back to visitor acquisition. If Facebook turns out to be the most popular place for visitors to come from, then the ILSC should be concentrating their efforts there. A surprisingly small amount of money (e. g. $20.00 or so) can boost a post and reach even more people. This measurement is useful for all types of objectives, as it helps to define where the ILSC’s social media time should be best concentrated. There is little use in devoting hours and hours of time to LinkedIn if the publics don’t come to the website and don’t donate any funds. Awareness needs to be related to action, for it is action that will get the SWI out of its funding gap and help keep the ILSC going for years to come.
Rebekah Radice of Canva offers some great ideas for how to improve your engagement on Google+, a social platform that even a lot of experienced social media managers can find rather confusing and daunting, and hard to break into.
It should come as no great shock that images are key. But that is true for pretty much all social media platforms these days. Posts without images are just contributing to the enormous tidal wave of text that we are all dealing with, all the time.
The 800 x 1200 size is optimal for Google+.
Share Fun, Inspirational and Educational Content
Well, sure, that makes sense. For most social media platforms, the mix should be of fun and smart content, with a smattering of inspirational. If your business is angel flights for children, you’ve got no shortage of inspirational content. If it’s The Daily Show, you’ll never have to hunt around for fun content. And if you’ve got Harvard to promote, you can get educational content.
Then there’s the rest of us.
But Radice has some great ideas for engagement, printed here in their entirety –
“Share your thoughts, expertise, mission, vision and values.
Give a nice shout out to your favorite blogs and websites.
Share inspirational thoughts, funny quotes and timely news stories.
Share other peoples content with context around it.
Don’t post and run away. Interact, connect and engage!
Be grateful. Thank people that share your content.
Be personable and share details about your business in a fun and interactive way.
Follow people within your industry and niche and create a conversation. Get to know them, share their content and spread the good word about their business. This creates reciprocity and more meaningful interactions.
Repurpose your content. Just because it’s old to you, doesn’t mean it’s not new to someone else.”
Optimize Your Profile
This includes adding details about what you do, links to your other online content, and sprucing up your profile/logo image and cover image. The 2120 x 1192 size is optimal for Google+ cover images.
Return to Your Buyer Personae
Why are people on Google+? And how can you align your strategy, and what you provide, to what they want, need, and crave?
Quinnipiac Assignment 10 – ICM 527 – Program Evaluation
This week’s readings were about evaluating a strategic plan and program.
As Smith said, on (Page 331), “Program evaluation is the systematic measurement of the outcomes of a project, program or campaign based on the extent to which stated objectives are achieved.”
With a plan in place and measurable, clear objectives included in it, the next question is whether anything is working. This comes from figuring out how to measure results and what’s ‘good’ or at least adequate. In Module 8, we studied Cans Get You Cooking, where the idea was to increase awareness of cans’ use in cooking via cooking shows and blogs. However, another objective was increased sales (after all, why bother with such a campaign if sales don’t increase?), and in that respect the plan was unsuccessful. According to Companies and Markets, the purchase of canned goods declines because of improvements in the economy. When consumers have more discretionary income to spend on foodstuffs, they purchase fewer canned goods – no matter how well-crafted a campaign is. There was increased awareness, yes, and under that criterion, the campaign worked. But under the criterion of increased sales, it did not. It seemed a little as if the goalposts were moved in that campaign, that increased sales were seen as being a less attainable goal. Awareness was a far more readily attainable goal, and so awareness was presented as being the premise behind the campaign.
These moved goalposts are the difference between what Smith refers to as awareness and action objectives, on pages 332 – 335, with the third type of objective, acceptance, straddling a line between both of the others. For the Cans Get You Cooking campaign, it seems as if the attainment of the awareness objective was the only cause for celebration.
Smith makes a compelling case on page 334, that creativity, effort, and cost don’t count as measures of effectiveness. All of those facets of a campaign are on the side of the organization, but measures of awareness, acceptance, and action are all effects felt (and acted upon) by publics. By definition, creativity, etc. should not be seen as having anything to do with the effectiveness of a campaign.
The Eight-Step AMEC Social Media Measurement Process
Jeffrey (Page 4) outlines, “The Eight-Step Social Media Measurement Process
Identify organizational and departmental goals.
Research stakeholders for each and prioritize.
Set specific objectives for each prioritized stakeholder group.
Set social media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against each stakeholder objective.
Choose tools and benchmark (using the AMEC Matrix).
Reconcile the numbers (they won’t add up, but it’s fun!)
Check the daily/normal stuff
Sweat the TCO (total cost of ownership)
What Kaushik said, and what Jeffrey said, are similar. Measurement is an objective activity. This is why objectives need to be clear and measurable. Five percent is measurable; better exposure (in general) is not.
For both authors, the idea is to have specific objectives and then act on them, whether those objectives are to launch a strategic campaign or select a web analytics vendor. Then, once the vendor is chosen, get the yardstick in place, and use it. Kaushik further reminds us that, while our intention may be to select a vendor and essentially ‘marry’ it, we still need to be evaluating the evaluator. If it’s not performing up to our reasonable specifications, then it’s time for vendor divorce court.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
On page 7 of Jeffrey, it says, “Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication + Technology (www.holtz.com) defined a KPI as a ‘quantifiable measurement, agreed to beforehand, that reflect the critical success factors of one’s effort.’”
This puts KPIs on a par with what we have been referring to as objectives. Wanting to ‘get better’ is one thing. But it’s vague and subject to weaseling. Wanting to improve recognition of the Institute for Life Sciences Collaboration (ILSC ) and its missions by 5% as is measured by surveys taken during the second quarter of 2016 is a measurable key performance indicator. Anyone who can read numbers will be able to determine whether the KPI has been met.
Applicability to the ILSC
Beyond just recognition measurements, there are any numbers of KPIs which can be measured, including the number of schools served by the Small World Initiative by a certain date, or increasing donations by a particular amount, subject to a clear deadline.
Currently, the ILSC website in particular seems to be just sort of thrown together without any sense of how to deal with technological and design changes, or scalability. Keeping measurements out of the mix means that the ILSC website can be tossed up and then forgotten about – and it seems a lot like that’s exactly what happened. However, a website cannot be a flash in the pan, as that can cause the publics to feel the organization behind it is also fly by night. Particularly when asking for money, an organization needs to give forth the impression of trustworthiness and solidity.
Adding Key Performance Indicators and measurements means there needs to be a sea change in how the ILSC views the website. It isn’t just something thrown together in an afternoon, to be handled by some temp hired for a few weeks and then never seen again. Instead, it needs to be an integral part of the organization. While the organization’s work is (generally) offline, there still needs to be room for the website in the minds of the organization’s board members. One facet of their thinking has to include how to best utilize the website and social media, in order to better communication the ILSC’s mission and goals, and to communicate with its publics. The website has got to have a place in those conversations, and it currently does not. That has to change.
I was inspired by this post in Angela Connor‘s blog. If you don’t know Angela Connor, I urge you to check her out; her blog is extremely insightful and is one of my favorites.
Her ideas make a great deal of sense, and I think some of this is why the Blizzard forum experiment in real names for users was such an immediate and egregious flop.
The ‘net, like it or not, is for many people a place of masks. You pretend to be younger and thinner than you are. You pretend to be unmarried. You pretend to be a Klingon. Or you’re a teenager and pretend to be an adult. Or you pretend to be the other gender or richer or lovelier or more conservative or whatever.
The masks can be freeing to many — perhaps they were freeing when the ancient Greeks donned them while performing “Oedipus Rex” for the first time. I think that there is more of a place for them than perhaps we’d all care to admit. There seems to be a value to being able to spread war paint (or lamp black) on one’s face, or wear a Halloween costume.
This is not the same as our reality. It is related but not identical. The librarian who goes out for Halloween dressed as a dance hall girl wants to be known as someone who takes risks (and maybe foolish ones, at that), but when the morning after rolls around, she’s back in the library helping others do research.
This kind of anonymous commenting allows for something like this. The sympathetic guy who’s really seething inside gets to call people out, bully and be an all-around racist jerk (I have worse names, but don’t wish to besmirch my blog), and then surf to a different site where he can chat up the ladies with his sensitive New Age guy demeanor. And then when the time to log off comes, he goes home and kisses his wife and plays with his children. And this is all one guy.
To comment openly through a full, correct name (usually) medium like Facebook would be to cut off the dance hall girl, the racist jerk, the ladies’ man and any number of other secret selves in favor of a drab and ordinary world. Even on a news site, which is pretty much the definition of drab unless there’s some sort of a hot story, the jerk, the dancer and the Romeo all want to be free.
But we shouldn’t take their opinions as seriously as the real people because, even though those personae live in real people’s skins, it’s the real people who vote, marry, pay taxes, work, make the news and are members of our real society.
The trouble is telling them apart and knowing which one is real.
This week’s readings were all about getting a strategic plan off the ground.
Main Author Points
Smith; Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden; and Weinberg & Pehlivan all make the salient point that present-day marketing has to be conversational. The marketer needs to not so much ‘talk at’ or shout the message to an organization’s publics as opposed to engaging in the give and take of conversation. Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden further note that once initial connectivity is achieved, it’s got to be maintained. Weinberg & Pehlivan see this as the social currency and return on investment (ROI) of social media marketing – the strategic planner can’t just start a relationship with members of a public and then drop them and run off when they see the next shiny new toy. Smith also provides the nuts and bolts of putting together a plan and working on it with others in an organization.
The Weinberg & Pehlivan graph on media process elements provides an excellent rundown on the differences between tradition and social media in some key areas. It further serves as a reminder that trying to tie social media activities to traditional media standard measures of ROI is an apples to oranges comparison that does not quite work –
Weinberg & Pehlivan (Page 277) Table 1. Media process elements
Television, radio, print, billboard, etc.
Social networks, blogs, microblogs, communities, etc.
From source, delivered by volition of, and in words selected by, source
Awareness, knowledge, recall, purchase, etc.
Conversation, sharing, collaboration, engagement, evangelism, etc.
An analogy: in writing, it can sometimes be difficult to get started. Chapter 1 can be the most difficult chapter but, once it has been started, the rest of the story flows smoothly. But the writer needs to maintain the momentum, or he or she will be getting started multiple times.
This week’s readings were all about getting a strategic planning campaign implemented. Yet they were also about the importance of maintaining such a campaign.
As Smith reminds us, on page 304, “You don’t need to be tied into a chronological implementation scheme just because you selected interpersonal items before those in the other categories. Let the natural relationships among tactics determine how they fit into your plan.”
The plan should be fluid, much like a conversation. Even formal interviews and legal depositions allow for a give and take between the communicating parties. The strategic plan is no different.
Smith makes a case for simplicity and a focus on the most distinctive element of a given program.
Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden (Page 267) add, “In other words, marketing can no longer solely be about capturing attention via reach; instead, marketers must focus on both capturing and continuing attention via engagement. This calls for a blend of both traditional and social media.” For Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden, the relationship and attention have to continue. Showing up one time in a public’s news feed or otherwise on their radar is not enough. Rather, the strategic planner needs to get up and do it all over again, the next day, and the next.
Weinberg & Pehlivan further the point in mentioning that there is a balance. One Page 279, they discuss the specifics of the Harley-DavidsonTwitter feed. One point they make is that this Twitter stream only tweets about once per day. Hence Harley-Davidson’s publics get a small nudge and information (often the information is not sales-related at all and, instead, is about racing results and the like) but aren’t overwhelmed by continual, unrelenting sales pitches.
Applying this Information to the ILSC and the Phase 2 Plan
For our client, the Institute for Life Sciences Collaboration, the plan is more or less being drawn up from scratch, so getting organized, as Smith has specified, is Job One. On Pages 310 – 325, the Smith readings give a rundown of creating a Campaign Plan Book, and adding a campaign schedule and timeline of tasks.
Timing means announcing breakthroughs and providing Small World Initiative sign-up information at the start of scholastic semesters and even over the summer when high school teachers might have a slight bit of free time to investigate such programs. It also means publicly thanking donors and not overwhelming them with constant nagging to donate more (like public television used to do).
One of the main purposes for using social media to convey the message to the ILSC’s various publics is because of the social currency that can be attained through meaningful dialogue. If the social media relationships are good, then the ILSC will benefit, much like the offline networking that President Rick Flath deftly performs every day. With more traditional media – which can also be a part of the overall plan – the rewards include increased awareness. As we had learned in Module 6, fee-for-service nonprofits (organizations such as the YMCA, which is not-for-profit, yet sells services such as gym memberships), the use of traditional media could facilitate helping the ILSC embrace a fee-for-service model if they liked, e. g. for small charges for Ghanaian medical care, or for textbooks and other study materials via the Small World Initiative. Traditional advertising could also increase awareness of the Small World Initiative’s existence and mission. This advertising need not even be on mass media television or radio or print. What if it were in publications geared directly to educators and educational administrators, such as principals? That way, the message would be better targeted to the publics most interested in it. As for the Ghanaian half of what the ILSC does, messaging could be performed through traditional media there as well, including in neighboring countries such as Togo and Burkina Faso.
For the ILSC, a straightforward schedule could work rather well, to roll out social media and traditional media initiatives on a planned, timed basis. This would keep the publics informed without overwhelming them with too much information or seeming pushy. Plus, equally importantly, it would not break the ILSC’s budget.
(someone just like you, perhaps), what sorts of judgments would you make? What seems off? What’s being suppressed, which should be promoted, and vice versa? Is the picture clear or fuzzy?
The gist of that article is, take control of your information, keep it as a uniform brand and check it every month or so. The corollary to this is one from Shama Hyder Khabani, which is, essentially, don’t spread yourself too thin. Concentrate in only a few places.
Absolutely agreed. When I google my own last name, 502,000 hits come up. And, fortunately, my own website is at the top (Yay, SEO!). My two Facebook profiles (I have one for work) come up as fourth and fifth. Then comes my LinkedIn profile, and then Twitter. Then there’s my Examiner profile and then the last entry on the first page of results is a link to my profile at Go Articles.
Putting my last name into quotation marks yields only 2,800 hits. Most of the same usual suspects come up on Page One of the results although one place called Jobs In Social Media comes up. Classmates is at the bottom of the page. But nothing is too weird or scandalous.
To my mind, checking and rechecking every single month might just be a bit excessive. Is there a need to keep your profile accurate? Sure. Flattering, or at least not damaging? Yes, particularly if you are looking for work. But to keep it sterile and perfect, as you scramble to make it perfect every moment of every day? Eh, probably not so much.
I would like to think (am I naive? Perhaps I am) that potential clients and employers will see the occasional typo and will, for the most part, let it slide unless the person is in copyediting. I am not saying that resumes, for example, should not be as get-out perfect as possible. What I am saying, though, is that this kind of obsessive and constant vigilance seems a bit, I dunno, much.
Will the world end if I accidentally type there instead of their on this blog? And, does it matter oh so much if I don’t catch the accident immediately?
I mean, with all of this brushing behind ourselves to cover up and/or perfect our tracks, and all of the things we are leaving behind, where’s the time and energy to make fresh, new content and look in front of ourselves?
To me, there is little joy in reading a blog post or website that looks like it was put together by someone who’s barely literate. But there is also little joy in reading sterile, obsessively perfect websites and blog posts. A little imperfection, I feel, is a bit of letting the ole personality creep in there. Genuineness — isn’t that what the whole Social Media experience is supposed to be about, anyway?
I refuse to believe — I hope and I pray — that a bit of individuality isn’t costing me potential jobs or the company potential clients. And if it is, then that saddens me, to feel that, perhaps, there is a lot of lip service being paid to the genuineness of Social Media but, when the chips are down, it’s just the same ole, same ole.
Genuineness is great. One you can fake that, you’ve got it made? Gawd, please, say it ain’t so.
Quinnipiac Assignment 08 – ICM 527 – Communication Tactics
As Smith says on page 227, “A communication tactic is the visible element of a strategic plan.”
Smith mainly talks about more traditional means of communicating with publics, dividing the methodologies and strategic communication tactics into working with organizational media, the news media, or utilizing advertising and promotional media. Some of this applies pretty seamlessly to social media, whereas other aspects do not.
With organizational media, the questions are of the type of organizational control and ties, e. g. is the media internal like a company newsletter, and is it controlled? Is it for a targeted media (targeted buyer personae) or the mass media? Is the communication via popular media (e. g. The New York Times) or trade media (Variety)? Do the communications go only one way, or are they interactive (the hallmark of social media)? Is the media publicly or privately owned, and what type is it, e. g. print, electronic, or digital?
The question of popular versus trade media applies well to social media. Is a message intended for Google or a mainstream blog, or is it being disseminated in a closed forum or a specialty Facebook group?
Smith goes on to bring up planning and various events for communications, such as special events (an art exhibition’s opening, for example) or contests. Planning involves putting together print publications such as press kits, electronic communications like podcasts, digital media like websites, and social media, like blogs or wikis.
One tactic deserving of special mention is creating a ready to broadcast bit of media for a news outlet, such as a news fact sheet or a video B-roll. Smith explains, on page 276,“One of the most frequently used categories of news media tactics is direct information subsidy – information that is presented to the media more or less ready for use.” For news producers facing deadline pressure and needing to fill a ravenous 24 hour news cycle, ready-made media is most welcome.
Applying These Tactics to the ILSC
Putting together ready-made press information would be a great way for the Institute for Life Sciences Collaboration to get more positive press. A reporter looking to prepare a piece on the HIV crisis in Ghana is not necessarily going to have the time to gather the best images and most articulate patients for a story focusing on the ILSC. Even if the ILSC just provides names and contact information, that can make the difference between a story not being written at all, versus one that is not only written, but shows the ILSC in the best possible light.
The same is true for the Small World Initiative. Rather than making a reporter dig to find the contact information for educators, why not provide it for them? It’s up to the reporter, of course, to decide whether to pursue the story at all. But why not lower one of the hurdles?
Case Study Tactics
We looked at three case studies this week, “Giving Tuesday”, “Cans Get You Cooking”, and “Search for Amazing Women”.
Giving Tuesday was all about a campaign to take advantage of the spending momentum that annually swirls around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It dovetailed well with increased giving impulses that tend to coincide with the holiday season and the end of the calendar year. The 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation found the following from their research: (Page 2) “Our initial secondary research showed us that in 2011, Americans gave almost $300 billion to favorite causes, but total dollars donated had yet to rebound to pre-recession levels. People were spending, though: Holiday retail sales were increasing at a rate of 3.3 percent a year. And we know that people are willing to give if asked.”
The campaign, which was communications on social media which spread the word, was a success. According to the case study, “on #GivingTuesday, nonprofits raised amounts up 63 percent over 2013 on five major donation-processing platforms. Based on initial results from Blackbaud, U.S. online giving was up 36 percent among its clients, compared with #GivingTuesday 2013 (to $26.1 million), and it saw a 15 percent increase in the number of nonprofits that processed online donations.”
For Cans Get You Cooking, the idea was to increase awareness of cans’ use in cooking via cooking shows and blogs. It was a well-coordinated online marketing campaign in particular, which (Page 3) “implemented campaign’s Search Engine Marketing initiative, targeting consumers on Google already searching for ‘what to make for dinner’ or ‘easy recipes,’ among hundreds of other key word/phrase triggers, driving them to CansGetYouCooking.com, where they were exposed to campaign messages, the 30-minute special with Kelsey Nixon, canned foods recipes and much more.”
After reading the case study a few times, the thing I could not find was anything about sales. There was more interest in buying canned goods, but there’s nothing in the study about any actual increase in purchases. I was able to find a survey online (A Look Inside America’s Cantry) but still nothing about dollar figures.
I was also able to find a survey about the sales of canned fruit from 2011 through 2014 inclusive, and the numbers did not fluctuate significantly. And according to Companies and Markets, the purchase of canned goods declines because of improvements in the economy. When consumers have more discretionary income to spend on foodstuffs, they steer away from canned goods – no matter how well-crafted a campaign is used. It seems that Cans Get You Cooking was least effective where it really counted.
The Search for Amazing Women was an effort to draw a defunct competitor’s customers to Christopher & Banks; a clothing store catering to women aged 40 – 60. The campaign included using Facebook to target key demographics (age and gender) such as military wives and professions traditionally dominated by women, including nursing, teaching, and dental hygienists. Competitors were also targeted, as were mentions of breast cancer (men can get breast cancer, too, but women make up a good 99% of all diagnoses). A look at the Christopher & Banks website reveals that the campaign is ongoing, which fits in well with page 3 of last week’s Vocus article, which mentions creating and maintaining a steady and consistent presence and not just dabbling.
Did it increase sales? According to the campaign, not only did sales go up, but the number of qualified leads increased. On page 3, the campaign notes its results were, “Created new brand-loyal customers through the contest: 2 grand prize winners and 6 runners up were non-customers. Since being named Amazing Women, the winners have posted pictures of themselves and friends at CB stores and shared CB promotions on Facebook. • Added 4,656 qualified prospective customers to the CRM database for future marketing efforts, with the goal of converting them to active customers. With this group added prior to the critical 2014 holiday season, the company achieved their holiday sales goals.”
Unlike the Cans Get You Cooking campaign, the Search for Amazing Women showed demonstrable and actionable results.
Applications to Other Coursework
In most of our other ICM coursework, we talk about reaching buyer personae and even about identifying them, but the nuts and bolts often seem to be left out. This week’s readings detailed not only plans, but how they were executed. The Search for Amazing Women targeted its key demographics with real out of the box thinking. After all, women posting on Facebook about breast cancer might not be seen as a viable market, but of course they need clothing. The Cans Get You Cooking campaign went in a different direction by working with Kelsey Nixon and adding some celebrity appeal and the kind of authority behind messaging mentioned in last week’s Vocus reading. The less than successful nature of that campaign seems more to do with the improving economy than any fault on the part of the strategic planners responsible (sometimes a great campaign just falls flat or has unexpected results). And the Giving Tuesday campaign piggybacked on its public’s natural generosity impulses to create a successful campaign.
My other courses have outlined theory. This week’s readings, in particular, demonstrated practice. The road map has arrived.