Why Your Social Media Team Needs an Asset Audit

Why Your Social Media Team Needs anIt’s Taco Tuesday, and you and your friends want to make some delicious margaritas. You make a list of ingredients, and check your kitchen to see what you already have. You jot down what you’re missing and head to the grocery store.

Without even realizing it, you just did a type of audit. You identified what you needed, what you already had and what you still needed to get.

Whether your social media team is relatively new or made of more seasoned professionals, there is incredible value in taking the same approach when it comes to content for your social channels. An asset audit helps you identify what content you need, what already exists within your company and identify gaps that your social media team need to fill.

So how does this identification process work? It’s simple: Make a “wish list” of assets and think through who touches that type of content at your company. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

Photos. Who else takes photos within the organization? Is there an archive of photos and headshots (with the necessary release forms)? If yes, see if you can get access. If not, consider developing a common drop location for people within your organization to submit photos.

Written Content. Your social media team might be new, but your company has probably been writing stuff for quite some time. Think about websites, brand publications, white papers and e-newsletters. Reach out to the individuals who manage the content to identify opportunities for collaboration. Not only does repurposing content save time, but it also brings consistency to your company’s messaging.

Icons and Custom Visuals. In social media, we always need new visuals and graphics whether it’s cover photos, Facebook posts, infographics, presentations or more. Whatever it might be, it’s a heck of a lot easier to create quick graphics if you have a custom library of icons and other visuals to pull from. If your company doesn’t have custom icons, there are a lot of free icons and open source icon sets out there as long as you follow the correct attributions.

Video. Has your company created videos in the past? If so, where does the raw footage live? You might be able to pull b-roll, or just audio that could be repurposed for a new podcast. If you can’t find existing footage, make a list of all the evergreen b-roll that you’d like to have on file and set aside time for capturing it.

Spokespeople. Executives and subject matter experts can be a huge asset as you look to position your company as a thought leader and trusted expert within your industry. Think of all the potential spokespeople at your company. Are there any that might be interested in guest blogging? Being the expert for a Twitter chat or video series? Consider developing a spokesperson database with titles, bios, expertise and what social media opportunities they’d be interested in.

Taking an asset audit and organizing your company’s content resources can be a long process, especially if you’re a social media team of one. However, putting in the work up front will save you countless hours in the long run.

Have you ever done an asset audit? Have any suggestions on how to effectively manage an organization’s content? Share your ideas below!

Carly Getz HeadshotCarly Getz is a public relations and social media professional, and works to integrate the two in her current position at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. When she’s not exploring digital tools and trends, Carly is most likely to be spotted dancing, traveling, or cheering on the Syracuse basketball team. She’s an active member of PRSA, IABC Detroit, Toastmasters International and Social Media Club Detroit. Connect with Carly on LinkedIn or Twitter (@cpgetz).

Show Your Worth: 4 Ways to Prove Value with Social Analytics

rsz_screen_shot_2015-02-10_at_82849_amSo there you are, a PR pro updating executives on the progress of their company’s latest social media campaign. You describe the strategic messaging and execution, which has increased engagement and strengthened their web presence, but there’s only one problem…

These executives aren’t communications professionals and they don’t understand why any of this matters.

Measuring success and proving value is an age-old challenge for PR pros. Today, we’re fortunate to have many programs available that provide detailed analytics, which makes it easier for non-communications executives to understand the value and impact of our work. To help them understand the value PR pros create, keep these four tips in mind:

Validate Your Target Audience. Regardless of whether the executives understand the importance of public relations, they most likely do understand the importance of reaching the right customers. With many social media channels and analytics platforms today, we can be certain that we’re targeting the correct markets. For example, social ads with Facebook are highly-targeted and can focus upon people with very specific interests, jobs and education levels.

Similarly, social media analytics platforms can often tell you the gender, location and ideal engagement times of your followers. Making sure that your message gets across at times of peak engagement can increase the odds that the message will stick.

Use Charts and Graphs to Visualize Your Data. When discussing the progress of your campaign, you’d be wise to use visual tools because they’re easier to understand.

For example, a line graph that has been fairly constant and then sharply increases is far more impactful that simply saying, “Our engagement is up significantly this month.” The visualization makes it easier for the executives to see the difference between where they started and where they currently stand, which brings us to our next point…

Draw Comparisons. To show that you’ve made a meaningful contribution, stack your statistics up against those of when you started. One way to do this is to maintain a year-over-year chart. Where was the number of followers in February 2014 versus February 2015? If there has been a significant increase, take a look at things like website traffic and online sales. While it’s safe to say that a social media campaign is not the only factor influencing these metrics, it’s also safe to say that it has had at least some impact, which can be supported by your comparison.

Translate the Language from PR-speak to English. I can hear the executives now:

“Okay, so you’re saying we’ve increased in, uhhh… organic… impressions. And our number of unique visitors is up too? That’s great, I guess.”

The bottom line is that your analytics will have no impact if the executives don’t understand what you’re saying (click to tweet this!). Take the time to explain what these results truly mean. Remember, people won’t always speak up when they’re confused. The burden lies upon you to be clear and thorough in your explanation. You have the data at your fingertips – make the most of it by explaining what it means.

Remember these four tips when the time comes to provide a progress update of your social media initiatives. Aside from these, how else have you used social media analytics to prove value?

Jeff Adkins - HeadshotJeff Adkins is a communications associate with MCCI (Mort Crim Communications, Inc.), a Detroit-based integrated marketing agency. An active member of the Detroit chapter of PRSA, Jeff enjoys connecting with fellow PR pros and seeking out new professional experiences. He’s an alumnus of Wayne State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Public Relations and was a member of the university’s PRSSA chapter. In his free time, Jeff enjoys being active outdoors and volunteers as a public relations officer with Portal Paranormal Society. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter at @jeffadkins14 and LinkedIn.

Why Facebook and Twitter are Reviving PR

twitter-facebook-2When I landed my first public relations job in 2012, I sensed the field—and those within it—were experiencing a paradigm shift. Working next to seasoned professionals, I watched as savvy practitioners stumbled over using one of the most important public relations tools of our time: social media.

In my opinion, practitioners often lose sight of the purpose of public relations, focusing on output-oriented measures like the number of press releases sent out or the amount of media coverage received. Over the last three years, though, I’ve seen social media bring an exciting transformation to the field.

Thanks to sites like Facebook and Twitter, publics expect honesty, quick responses, interaction and engagement more so than ever before. Gone are the days of hiding behind press releases and media outlets. Social media makes public relations operate on real time. More importantly, social media has helped PR rediscover its relational roots.

This public-focused approach has transformed the way my company operates and executes its public relations strategy. If you’re interested in harnessing the power of social media for PR, here’s four ways to step up your strategy:

1. Use social media to refocus on relationships. I firmly believe that relationships are the glue that hold public relations and social media together. As practitioners, it’s our job to know, understand and advocate for our company’s or client’s publics. Social media offers us the opportunity to do all three on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.

2. Use social media to empower your position. Social media makes the need for a public relations practitioner mandatory. In addition, in order for the company’s social media pages to align with the business’ goals and values, the public relations practitioner in charge of social media must have support and approval from the dominant coalition, making way for opportunists to discuss and make the presence of public relations known.

3. Use social media to facilitate two-way and symmetrical communication. Social media enables businesses to practice two-way and symmetrical communication with their publics like never before. In other words, answer questions, create opportunities for dialogue and get personal! Social media efforts flop without a human touch.

4. Use social media for environmental scanning. Used as a tool for analysis, social media allows for practitioners to listen to the concerns of consumers and other risk bearers. In fact, I’ve started to track every single complaint we get on social media. It’s a great way for me to detect trends and a useful resource when asked for customer feedback.

What other ways do you feel social media has impacted public relations? 

Audrey Roeder HeadshotAudrey Roeder works as a public relations coordinator for two of the nation’s top-selling master-planned communities. She’s an alumna of Texas A&M University and the University of Houston, where she received a Master of Arts in Public Relations. In her free time, Audrey enjoys exploring her city’s ever-growing restaurant scene, binge-watching Netflix with her fiancé and posting too many pictures of her Siamese cat, Sibel, to Instagram. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Three Ways to Let Analytics Guide Your Social Strategy

DAY SPAEvery PR pro knows a good online strategy is nothing without great content to back it up. Social media should not be overlooked when it comes to strategic planning. As more and more organizations incorporate social media into their overall PR strategy, it becomes increasingly important to create content that sets them apart from competitors and builds trust with audiences. There are so many great tools available (for free!) that can help guide social content to maximize its benefit.

Here are a few ways to use them:

1. Find the Right Time to Post. Timing is everything. The great thing about social media is its instantaneous nature, so messages can get out to audiences in seconds. But is it really necessary and/or beneficial to deliver every message in real-time? Social media users can be connected to hundreds of other users or organizations, and every post is competing for attention. Most PR pros work typical 9-5 hours, so it might seem like it makes sense to post a link to a new blog on Facebook during your work day. But if those who follow a brand on Facebook aren’t online during that time, the post becomes buried among a hundred others.

Tools like Facebook Insights allow organizations to see the demographics of their Facebook followers. One of the most valuable pieces of information is a daily timeline that shows follower activity peaks. Insights is completely free to business/organization pages on Facebook, and it can help pinpoint the best time to schedule posts. It may turn out that time is at 7:00 p.m. on a Friday evening. There are plenty of tools available to schedule posts automatically so the prime posting window isn’t missed because it is outside of traditional work hours.

2. Figure Out What Content Works. It can be easy for a social media strategy to place too much focus on building an audience. Social media is a tool to engage in conversations with an audience. If the audience isn’t responding, something isn’t working. A large fan base does not equal a successful social media strategy.

“While the number of page likes or Twitter followers seems like an obvious metric to track, it is important to measure reach and engagement as well,” said Katie Hinerman, Freelance Digital Marketing Specialist.

Twitter Analytics is a new tool available for organizations to measure the engagement of their Twitter content. The dashboard shows overall impressions (how many times a tweet was viewed), engagement (how many users interacted with a tweet) and engagement rate (ratio of tweets to interactions). A good social media strategy should include a plan for increasing engagement rate across all social platforms.

“Social media marketing as we know it is changing,” added Hinerman. “In 2015, brands are going to have a harder time reaching users organically. This is why it will be especially important to track reach and engagement metrics when measuring your efforts.”

3. Measure Your Success. A strategy can’t be created without goals, and goals can’t be deemed successful unless they’re measurable (Click to tweet!). A social media strategy is no different than any other part of an organizations’ overall communications plan. Once SMART goals are set, they should be measured and tracked for progress. Lack of progress toward a goal could mean efforts need adjusted.

Google Analytics includes statistics on web traffic referrals from social media accounts. If increased web traffic is part of a social media goal, this tool is the best way to measure progress. The results are offered in real-time, and a variety of time frames can be analyzed and compared. Google Analytics is free to use and offers several tutorial videos to coach beginners through the analytics process.

In a world where PR pros are already stretched thin and wearing many hats, strategizing and measuring social media efforts can keep everyone on the right track. Using analytics to guide social media strategy is a great way to make sure that too much or too little work isn’t being done. Knowing what content is most engaging and when audiences are looking for it maximizes the impact with audiences and minimizes the drain on staff. And that keeps everyone happy.

Jennifer MaterkoskiJennifer Materkoski is a graduate of Kent State University with a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications with a specialization in Public Relations. She has worked as a writer and editor for both newspaper and television and as a member of a non-profit marketing and development team. Materkoski is the owner and principal consultant of a boutique public relations firm, Songbird Public Relations. She is an avid sports fan and a yogi. Materkoski resides in Wheeling, West Virginia with her husband and son. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @MrsMaterkoski. She can be reached via email at jen@songbirdpublicrelations.com.

February Twitter Chat Highlights: Real-Time Marketing

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the February #NPPRSA Twitter chat by discussing the opportunities and challenges of real-time marketing. This month we discussed ways that brands can be authentic when engaging in real time and also addressed some the of risks that can come with real-time marketing.

Real-Time Marketing Twitter Chat Highlights

Specifically, we’d like to thank our two special guests for February: Adam Naide and Ken Burbary. Adam Naide is the Executive Director of Marketing for Social Media at Cox Communications, where he leads overall strategy for the company’s social media presences including fan engagement, customer acquisition & retention, social commerce and Social TV. Ken Burbary is the Chief Digital Officer at Lowe Campbell-Ewald. Ken has over 20 years of marketing experience with a focus on digital for Fortune 500+ brands.

Join us again on March 6 for our next #NPPRSA Twitter chat and stay up-to-date with PRSA New Professionals on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

Review highlights of the chat below. What did you learn from the February chat? Should brands attempt real-time marketing? Is it worth the risks? How can brands authentically engage with consumers?


Amy BishopAmy Bishop works in digital PR and marketing for DigitalRelevance, a content distribution and promotion agency. She is also Social Media Co-Chair for the PRSA New Professionals Section.  Read her insights on customer experience and social business on her Marketing Strategy blog. Connect with Amy through Twitter, Pinterest or Google+.