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Good stuff, Chris. You're examples above are very helpful. I've always found it beneficial to set KPIs specific to what PR can control and then measure impact on those KPIs vs ROI overall. In fact, I don't like to use the term ROI at all unless we can show a direct line from a PR tactic to sales. Executives just get confused. 

5 months ago on Breaking Barcelona: Why Measuring PR Shouldn’t Include Sales

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@malbooth Sounds like you've been taking some bad medicine. cc: @flexnib 

10 months ago on 3 Things Good Leaders Do NOT Do

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If I was starting a company today, we would have one overall goal: Do whatever it takes to improve the customer experience. That's it. Nothing else. Simple customer service. I do not understand why so many companies are hesitant to adopt this philosophy. It works. Here are two more examples. Good stuff, @DannyBrown.

1 year, 9 months ago on On Fostering the Long Tail Effect of True Brand Loyalty

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 @rmadison Thanks for stopping by!

1 year, 9 months ago on Key takeaway from the Applebee's uproar

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 @Nikki Little Yes, good call on planning the conversation. Treat it like a client meeting, right?

1 year, 9 months ago on HAPPO Series: How to leave a job the right way

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 @MikeSchaffer That's a great add, Mike. Very good call on clean transition. And another way to show you're handling the situation professionally, like an adult. It's our first inclination to get ourselves out of an awkward situation as soon as possible. But in this case, that isn't the best way to handle. Cheers! And congrats on the Super Bowl win. Pretty good sports year in Baltimore, huh?

1 year, 9 months ago on HAPPO Series: How to leave a job the right way

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 @sue_anne Yes, Sue Anne, good distinction. I think I was somewhere in between. I have seen people who don't write well but are very connected have a lot of people comment on their posts. That doesn't necessarily mean they're the right person for a client-facing job. Just like their large Facebook friend list doesn't.

1 year, 10 months ago on Bubble Watch: Which employee would you hire?

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 @MattLaCasse  @kmskala All good points. Per my comment to Betsey, a lot of this is can companies take a long-term approach with how they address customers online. Adam makes a good point -- the relationship isn't only built via social. But if the customer reaches out via social, in most cases the company misses an opportunity if it isn't prepared to respond.

1 year, 10 months ago on Do customers want a relationship with brands?

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 @decillis1 Yep, both good examples. What's tough is measuring the value of connecting with customers online like that. You have to believe that offering help now produces loyalty later. Or if the person isn't a current customer, you the brand are inserting yourself to be top of mind when a consumer need comes up that you can solve for that person. Hard to draw a straight line and show direct impact there, so leadership has to believe in the value. You can see it in the results for companies like Blendtec and Zappos.

1 year, 10 months ago on Do customers want a relationship with brands?

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 @kmskala Well said. All about how the term is defined. Customers want what they want via the channel they prefer. Some are reasonable and worth engaging. Some are unreasonable and worth ignoring.

1 year, 10 months ago on Do customers want a relationship with brands?

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Haven't been by the blog in a while (my bad, dang kids :)). But the posts are still smart. I recently asked one of our leaders at FH if we were still a PR agency. He said we are still going to offer the services that got us here, but we do a whole lot of different things now. I think he is right on the money. The next part of that discussion needs to be how we tell that story. Back to your shoemakers children scenario...

 

In the end, our jobs have to be about connecting with customers. Sharing with our clients what customers say about them. Talking to our customers as brand reps. And educating our clients about why PR has changed. It's an ongoing battle and I know I could do a better job fighting it. Thanks for the inspiration. Cheers!

1 year, 10 months ago on The Future of PR: Beyond Media Relations

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@sdgully Really good point, Scott. Setting expectations is crucial. That is for sure best case. A scenario I have often run into and struggle with is when you are asked to show the value without having that access to the C-level. How would you suggest handling a situation like that?

What you call ROO I call showing impact. You are absolutely right that one of the best ways to show value is setting those measurable objectives (business and communications) pre-campaign, sharing them with leadership and then showing how we used social to help accomplish them. Good stuff. Thanks for stopping by!

1 year, 10 months ago on A new way to answer the ROI of social media question?

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@MattLaCasse Agree wholeheartedly. Not far from mine neither. 

1 year, 11 months ago on Jovan Belcher does not deserve your sympathy

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@Go2Juliet So a savvy company would launch a Rewards program...right? Agree, Groupon could have built its biz model on facilitating rewards programs and the benefits for companies that come with them -- many of which you highlighted above. That's where the not understanding who its actual customers are burned Groupon.

2 years ago on Groupon invested in hype, not customers

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@Nikki Little Joyfear. I like it. Sounds like the way I felt when we had Eric -- maybe you are becoming familiar with that feeling :). Lot more joy than fear, btw, now that he is here.

You are right about calculated risks. The problem is too many people want the risk to be so calculated that there is no chance of failure. That is not possible. But that desire keeps a lot of people from doing what they think is right, IMO. Kind of sad.

2 years ago on What are you so afraid of?

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@KensViews Thanks, Ken. I agree, people are so worried about what they might lose. Great things happen when people focus on what they can gain. People who spend a lot of time focusing on what they might lose stay in the same place. Yet if you ask most people, they want to do what it takes to advance. Well, can't have it both ways, you know?

2 years ago on What are you so afraid of?

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@BethWardPR1 Well said, Beth. You know what's really scary. Large corporations that pay lots of money so people can do the same thing and expect a different result. Happens all the time. That's scary.

2 years ago on What are you so afraid of?

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Exactly, Jake. Very well said. There’s a reason why there are a few case studies in every industry that people point to. The reason those people stand out is because they avoided the paralysis by analysis, embraced an approach they believed in and went for it. Corporate America is super guilty across the board of killing game changer ideas with approvals and what ifs. The next time someone asks what if, we should ask back: What if we just keep doing what we’re doing? Where will we be then?

2 years ago on What are you so afraid of?

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When I changed comment systems, a comment by Jake Jacobson was accidentally deleted from the post. Here is Jake's comment in full: "Great point, Justin. Time to get past the “If only” disclaimers and “What if” hypotheticals and try to initiate change if you think something needs to be done. I’m as guilty as the next guy of falling into the “we could never do that here” mentality, but you never know until you try. And if you try – and fail – then address the reason you failed and try again. If someone’s not willing to do that, they forfeit their credibility when complaining about the original situation. Thanks."

for posting this pep talk for all of us!

2 years ago on What are you so afraid of?

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@jessicamalnik Yes, learning is one of the main reasons to take chances. If you don't ever do so and learn from the situation, then you will always have a fear of the unknown. Vicious cycle.

2 years ago on What are you so afraid of?

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@commammo All good thoughts, Sean. Definitely no perfect metric that I know of. And @tperzyk just pointed out that avg engagements per tweet tells a better story if we include impressions as the denominator and factor that in. For example, 100 engagements for someone with 100k followers tells a different story than 100 engagements for someone with 1,000 followers. 

Regarding reaching the right people, ideally that is part of the story. Of course, the company has to have done an influencer mapping exercise or ID those people beforehand to be able to tell that part of the story. More evidence that one metric alone never tells the whole story.

2 years, 1 month ago on What would be the best Twitter metric?

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@GeneWillis Very well said, my friend. My colleague @nstrembley and I have had many conversations on why we value our IABC experience. The reasons you shared above always come to the top of the list. I had to work six different positions on that board, so I couldn't specialize in anything. I managed professional development event calendar one year and then wrote the chapter budget the next. And as president, I managed a board of 20 people. Where else is someone with less than 10 years experience going to get the chance to manage a team of 20. In other words, I couldn't agree with you more. Cheers!

2 years, 2 months ago on You can only go so far as a social media specialist

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@ShellyKramer Thanks, Shelly. I think it's easy to get so many accolades for being a specialist when starting out your career that making the transition can be tough.

2 years, 2 months ago on From specialist to strategist

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@Nikki Little Great question, Nikki. I think at least 50% of it is perception. Even if you're a social media specialist, stop calling your self that. Go for something like business or communications consultant with social media experience. We counsel our clients all the time about the importance of perception. Second, raise your hand and ask to be put in situations where strategic planning is happening. Even if all you're doing is listening. Step outside your comfort zone. Don't just do social media all day every day. And show you're being strategic about the way you use social. 

In an ideal world, we should be consultants who solve problems for clients using whatever tactics we need to -- including social media where it makes sense -- to get the job done. As some have noted here, being a specialist at the start of your career is probably ok. But five years in, if not sooner, you don't want to be someone who specializes in a tactic. Take the initiative and ask to be part of or trained on strategic planning sessions. Too many millenials these days assume they should know strategy when no one has taught them. Heck, I'm still learning strategy every day. And too many folks who've been in the biz a while assume millenials should know strategy when no one has taught them. Someone has to make the first move. My thoughts. Yours?

2 years, 2 months ago on You can only go so far as a social media specialist

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@snackmantis I hear ya. That's where I was 3 years ago. Having that social media experience can provide you opportunities at your current job or a new one down the road. But I would definitely start asking to try new things and be part of the conversations about strategy. Read as much as you can. Even ask to attend professional development sessions around strategic planning. All good ways to broaden your skill set. 

 But above all else, don't call yourself a social media specialist anymore. Call yourself a communications strategist or something similar. Talk about yourself in broader terms and you will find more opportunities that align with those terms.

2 years, 2 months ago on You can only go so far as a social media specialist

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@cbaccus Exactly, Chris. Couldn't agree more. My background is in journalism and communications. But if I'm doing my job well for the client and my agency, I'm a business consultant using the IMC toolbox to solve problems. That is a lot different than being a specialist. Hope all is well with the new city and gig. Cheers!

2 years, 2 months ago on You can only go so far as a social media specialist

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@sjhalestorm Well said. Being a specialist at the start of your career can get your foot in the door. Being a specialist 5-10 years into your career can start to move you toward the ceiling. Important distinction.

2 years, 2 months ago on You can only go so far as a social media specialist

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@zMcQ Some good advice from @sjhalestorm. Being a specialist isn't a bad thing, especially when you're first getting started. But even if you're a specialist, you can take initiative to try new things and ask to be part of the strategy conversations. Even seek out professional development around strategy. I didn't learn how to talk "goals, strategies, objectives, tactics" until I was almost 30. I waited too long.

2 years, 2 months ago on You can only go so far as a social media specialist

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 @arikhanson But comms/mktg background and understanding of strategy are two very different things. Plus, I can teach someone who understands strategy and has a diverse comms skill set how to engage via social media. Can't always teach a "social media rockstar" strategy. Good topic of conversation, my friend.

2 years, 3 months ago on Are companies realistic about the social media candidates they’re seeking?

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I have definitely seen these types of job descriptions. Biggest problem with them for me is two things: 1) No ask for strategic planning skills; 2) No ask for work done in other communications disciplines. If all you know is social media, you won't go very far. And I don't want you on my team.

2 years, 3 months ago on Are companies realistic about the social media candidates they’re seeking?

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 @JayBaer Thanks for the info, Jay. Good to know. I hadn't heard of Woobox and will definitely check it out. That said. I still see a lot of agency and corporate folks pushing tabs as solutions, and they aren't pushing the free/low-cost options you're talking about.

 

Besides the cost, I think if a brand does due diligence, they'll find 99 times out of 100 that there is a more effective solution to achieve their objectives than a Facebook tab. People get caught up in the pretty designs and don't realize the solution they just paid for is pretty ineffective. I've seen it happen a lot.

 

As you note in your post I linked to here and use as a reference frequently, tabs were ineffective even before Timeline because almost no one came upon them organically. It didn't matter that tabs could be set as defaults for brand pages because people started using links in sponsored stories and other FB ads to like brands without ever going to their pages. I'd argue there is almost always a better way to spend a company's time and money.

2 years, 4 months ago on Facebook tabs are almost always a #fail

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 @cbaccus I think you said it well here: "It does not happen organically." I would guess 1 percent of Facebook tabs are built and deployed with the proper promotion plan behind them and after analysis has been done and the tab wins out as the best, most cost effective way to meet the business objective.

 

I just know what concepting and building a well-designed tab can cost. And I have seen them pushed as solutions when simple listening and engagement via social media or other paid/earned/owned tactics would have done the job much better. Cheers, Chris. Hope you are doing well in your new city and job!

2 years, 4 months ago on Facebook tabs are almost always a #fail

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 @annedreshfield Exactly. It's a slap in the face anytime you offer a better deal to new customers. Have to think about that perception.

2 years, 5 months ago on Too many companies still take customers for granted

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 @MattLaCasse Will be interesting to see how they position Sheryl vs Zuck with these opps moving forward. Good thoughts.

2 years, 5 months ago on Is Zuckerberg smart or stupid for keeping quiet after IPO issues?

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 @annedreshfield People definitely remember stories more than any other type of content, especially stories they hear from friends. And then when someone asks them about the company, they tell the story they heard from you. This has always happened. Social media just expedites the process. Thanks for stopping by!

2 years, 6 months ago on The difference between winning and losing Part 2: Company culture

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 @HeidiCohen Thanks for stopping by and sharing that smartphones stat. It's a good one. Photos are definitely easier to digest, which gives them a distinct advantage.

2 years, 6 months ago on Pictures draw the most engagement on Facebook

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Good stuff, @bethwardpr . Thanks fro sharing, @arikhanson . I love this answer:

 

"The more examples a candidate can provide me that demonstrate measureable results on behalf of the client, the more attractive they are to the me and the agency. Our clients hire us to get results, if a candidate can walk me through a case history laying out the challenge, the objective, the strategy, the tactics and the measurable results they will separate themselves from the pile."

2 years, 6 months ago on How to land a job with a PR agency: Q&A with a Fleishman Hillard’s Beth Ward

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 @MSRheinlander Right. Face-to-face isn't going away. And in-person connections are always stronger relationships. Speaking of in-person connections, great to meet you IRL at the #HallmarkTour in Austin. So glad you could make it! Hope we get to work together again soon. Cheers!

2 years, 7 months ago on I don’t want our child to be best friends with Siri

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 @Nikki Little And you will help younger PR pros because you will have the model your managers gave you to learn from. And that is why our managers are SO important -- they start the cycle.

Confidence and conviction are key. A daily struggle for me, but something I continue to work on. Thanks for sharing your POV.

2 years, 7 months ago on Manager stories

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 @Nikki Little Thanks, NL. That's actually my favorite thing about sports in general. It reminds us to dream, to root for the underdog and to believe we can do anything we set our mind to. It's easy to lose that feeling when we become adults, take on our everyday jobs and don't actually become the professional baseball players we -- ok, I -- wanted to be.

 

But we should never stop dreaming. And Opening Day is the perfect reminder of that fact.

2 years, 7 months ago on Opening Day memories

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Interesting conversation here. We just had one from the KC area development council asking similar questions about how we can better promote our city for startups or larger companies. And how we can make it a "destination location" for people to live their lives.

 

This is a hard one for me because I like what @sarahjstorer  found in her survey about the Midwest. It's why I love the Midwest. There are amazing, nice, down-to-earth people here. I think the best way for us to grow is continue promoting our people and cities and shine a light on the stories we bring to the table.

 

As for the startup specific question, I know Zaarly eventually opened its doors in NYC and SF, but i set up shop in KC first, as I know you know @prtini . So it can be done. And we can help by using our platforms to share the amazing people and stories we know in our communities. Call me glass half full, but...

2 years, 7 months ago on Embrace Risk. Stop Being So Humble.

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 @thebrandbuilder You make solid points and if you have an example to share that might help me and others visualize even better. And of course, we could all read your book :). I know it's on my list -- not just saying that.

 

A couple things: 1) The term ROI miffs people. It is the most overused, misunderstood term in corporate America today. So as communicators, we should work to help people understand bottom line impact or awareness drivers in whatever terms they can best understand. 2) Most people understand measurable objectives. So if one of our measurable objectives is to spend XX to drive XX number of users from our social channels to the e-commerce section of our website and then track how many of them purchased XX products, then great. For some reason, IMO, people seem to understand that line of thinking better than they do the term ROI.

 

One of the biggest problems with these panels and presentations about ROI of social media, is that those speaking never give actual examples of how they have presented the ROI of social to an executive or leadership team for a specific campaign. Not sure why, but I have never seen it done. That frustrates people. The point of this post is not to say don't think about the money in these decisions. It is to say let's reframe how we talk about the money, because the way we're talking about it right now isn't getting through to people.

2 years, 8 months ago on 5 from South By: The Social Media ROI question

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 @jeffespo "Campaigns have different measures of success, it is just about tying your measurements to that."

 

Agree.

2 years, 8 months ago on 5 from South By: The Social Media ROI question

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 @margieclayman Hi, Margie. Thanks for stopping by. I don't disagree with your premise at all. One point we all need to consider is that MAYBE 5% of the communicators out there understand what ROI means. It is the most overused and least understood corporate buzzword I can think of.

 

That said, what many communicators (and people for that matter) do understand is setting a measurable objective and trying to reach it. Most of us have to do this as part of our performance planning exercises to receive merit increases and promotions at our jobs. Therefore, I'm not saying we shouldn't try and show how social media impacts the bottom line. What I'm saying is the way we address this issue -- by asking "How do you measure the ROI of social media?" -- is falling on deaf ears. People don't understand the question or the answer. So we're communicators...let's rephrase things in a context people understand to get to the point you are raising -- that our social media efforts, like all of our communications efforts, need to be helping us make money or need to be re-evaluated.

2 years, 8 months ago on 5 from South By: The Social Media ROI question

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 @DannyBrown Thanks, appreciate it. The Dell, Southwest and Zappos examples are great. But they hold little water unless we can relate parts of them back to our current situation. And some of the time, they won't relate at all per your point. Cheers!

2 years, 8 months ago on 5 from South By: The Social Media ROI question

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 @KenMueller That's because it's different for every brand and there is no general rule for measuring ROI. The other problem is that when we talk ROI, without the context of the program and tactics, we aren't telling the whole story -- see AVE and all that stuff. What's funny is I know veteran communicators who are still trying to grasp the technology behind social media. But they are some of the best at basic measurements to track the value because they have always been believers in strategic planning and setting objectives. The number of clients/companies that run major campaigns without measurable objectives set is scary.

2 years, 8 months ago on 5 from South By: The Social Media ROI question

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 @MattLaCasse Thank you , sir. I think people hear ROI these days and their brain shuts down. The term is misused in so many ways, that I bet 8 out of 10 people couldn't tell you what it means. But measurable objectives are crystal clear. If we set measurable objectives designed to help achieve communications and business goals and then perform well against those objectives (using social as one of our performance channels) then we start to tell a story people can understand.

 

True that we should always try and show how our efforts affect the bottom line. But it's not bottom line or bust, if we put some marks in the sand before we start our programs.

2 years, 8 months ago on 5 from South By: The Social Media ROI question

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You don't always have to come up with brand new ideas to be successful. What we do have to do is understand when ideas that have worked in other scenarios for other companies actually make sense for our clients. This can actually make leadership feel more at ease with an idea because they may not want to be the first to do something and will see this as more of a calculated risk.

Some great links you shared in this post. Good stuff.

2 years, 9 months ago on 4 Ways to Innovate PR Best Practices

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@KensViews Thanks. I will check this out. And for the record, I think this type of an approach to show business value is MUCH more important than defining PR.

2 years, 9 months ago on Redefining Public Relations

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You hit the nail on the head with those definitions. No one talks like that. And if I gave one of those definitions to an exec, he'd/she'd smile, nod and cut my budget after I walked out of the room. Heading over to read the PRSA guest post now.

I applaud PRSA's effort to try and define PR, because I know they are trying to help paint PR in a better light. But I'm not sure defining PR is what's needed here. Imagine if instead of trying to define our discipline, we focused more on the value what we do -- communications -- can bring to a business.

2 years, 9 months ago on Redefining Public Relations

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