Social Media Strategies by elfphabet2



P r o p o s a l
f o r 
t h e 
P R S A ­ N C C 

   The Marketing and Public Relations Committee

           Prepared by Mary Fletcher Jones

                with the assistance of

                 Samantha Maslaney
Introduction: Social Media Marketing

The conservative Washington, DC area business sector is not known for its early
adoption of the social media trends within the multi-billion dollar interactive marketing
industry. However, the results associated with social media marketing are well known.

       How did Starbucks decide to promote its good corporate citizenship status?
       Through a podcast series.

       What did Nintendo do market Wii? They created a MySpace page.

       Why are Webkinz are so popular? Because they come with their own, custom-
       designed social network.

       What did Doritos do to create an unforgettable Super Bowl commercial? They
       hosted a contest for the best, user-generated online video. The amateur
       commercial was produced for a budget of twelve dollars, and was named the best
       ad of 2007 by USA Today, generating millions in earned media.

The decision to employ cost-effective social media marketing is a “no-brainer” decision
for many businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Acceptance of Social Media Among DC Communicators

The first question to consider when employing a new marketing strategy is whether it will
appeal to target audiences. To determine the potential acceptance level of social media
applications among PRSA-NCC members, the Marketing Committee reviewed the online
content of ten local groups, including PRSA-NCC (see chart).

Of the organizations reviewed, the DC Ad Club uses the greatest number of social media
utilities, while IPRA uses the fewest. DC Ad Club is the sole organization to incorporate
video in its blog. DC Ad Club also features a weekly poll on its homepage, which is an
easy way to encourage and receive member feedback. Almost all of the organizations
send an e-mail newsletter to their members. The Committee believes social media
strategies would be well accepted by the technologically savvy members of the PRSA-
Supporting Board Goals Through Social Media Marketing

The second factor to consider about a proposed new marketing strategy is whether the
strategy will support the organization’s goals. The Marketing and Public Relations
Committee has been tasked with meeting three objectives in 2008. These include

   1. Launch activities to attract and retain chapter members.
   2. Increase media coverage about PRSA-NCC, its chapter leadership, and its
   3. Develop partnerships with other communications organizations in the
      Washington, DC metropolitan area

Creating and implementing a social media strategy will help meet these objectives. The
benefits associated with social media marketing include enhanced awareness for an
organization and its goals through improved SEO for the website and other online
content. Social media helps impart a personalized and friendly tone to PRSA-NCC,
which will help attract and retain members. Finally, adapting these social media
techniques will allow the Chapter to nimbly cross-promote itself and its activities with
other communications organizations.

Importantly, while social media marketing requires planning and effort, it is very
inexpensive. Email marketing is widely used and is an effective marketing tool for
PRSA-NCC, but because email communications will increasingly face the
challenge of SPAM blockers as ISPs become more aggressive about blocking
commercial email to their users, the Committee advocates for the use of media
marketing (in addition to email) to communicate news and promote events.

Typical Objections About Social Media Marketing

When social media marketing tactics are discussed, several objections tend to be raised.
The most common objections and the Committees solutions are listed below.

Objection 1: Making our information available on social media sites (such as blogs)
will cannibalize the exclusive content we offer our members.
With the free availability of informative content on the Web, all membership
organizations are struggling with the challenge of creating value for its members’ dollars.
The fact is, however, that members can and will find alternative free content on the
Internet. The SEO benefits and public awareness value of making online content, such as
podcasts and blogs, freely available to the public outweighs the modest financial gains
provided by keeping the content exclusive to members.

Objection 2: Someone will say something negative about PRSA-NCC and it will
“live” on the web.
In weighing this risk, it is important to consider that the PRSA-NCC is a well-organized
organization of enthusiastic supporters, and that the benefits of making social media
applications available to members far outweigh the impact of a few negative comments
or reviews. Blogs, for example, work best when they are unmoderated and self-policing
by its contributors. The chances are that most comments will be positive or neutral, and
that other commenters will address any truly unsupported and unreasonable comments.

In addition, dissatisfied comments present an opportunity rather than a threat. Negative
opinions that would otherwise be expressed offline are brought into the open, where the
organization can address them (either online or offline).

Objection 3: Someone will post advertising/self-promoting content, or libelous,
insulting, or defamatory content.
An unmoderated blog or other social media content site should post a TOS (Terms of
Service) that explains that these kinds of comments will be deleted. The most probable
challenge is posts from those promoting business services. If this is done in a way that is
irrelevant or distracting, that user can be warned or even blocked from the site.

Objection 4: Someone will post SPAM.
One reason why most leading companies are using social media sites with great success
is that social media sites (such as WordPress) employ SPAM-blockers and other utilities
that prevent SPAM from being posted.

Objection 5: It will take too much time.
It takes very little time to set up social media sites and they are virtually self-maintaining
afterwards. Users will also provide content (comments, photos, and videos).
Announcing events on Facebook and a blog are additional efforts, but these efforts also
promote revenue-generating attendance and memberships.

The Case For A PRSA-NCC Blog

                       Nearly every journalist blogs, or read blogs. News media such as
                       CNN, USA Today, and the Washington Post allow its audiences to
                       submit comments, news stories, photos, and video. Many
                       communicators who belong to the PRSA-NCC publish their own
                       blogs on public relations topics (e.g., the Fletcher Prince Blog, the
                       Capital Buzz).

                       Blogs are one of the best ways to increase the SEO of the PRSA-
NCC website and achieve increased visibility for the chapter and its leadership. Blogs
also present an easy and free way to promote PRSA-NCC events, publish polls, and share
photos and video.

The Marketing Committee believes that a blog would be well-supported by the
membership, and recommends that the PRSA-NCC publish a branded WordPress blog
with unmoderated content focused on public relations-related topics. The blog should be
linked to the PRSA-NCC website.
The Case for A PRSA-NCC Facebook Page

                                    The leading social networks -- Facebook, MySpace,
                                    and LinkedIn -- are all excellent social media sites
                                    for the PRSA-NCC.

                                     The Marketing Committee particularly recommends
creating a Facebook page for the Chapter. Face book’s user base grew 162% last year,
compared to MySpace’s 5% growth. Other local DC organizations are on Facebook, and
having a page on Facebook will permit PRSA-NCC to “befriend” other DC
Communications organization and maximize cross-promotional opportunities. The
ability to create “events” on Facebook will allow the PRSA-NCC to promote its revenue-
generating programs to other groups, as well as PRSA-NCC’s individual “friends.”

The Case for PRSA-NCC Online Video and You Tube Channel

                       Video production and sharing is a compelling way to
                       communicate key messages about PRSA-NCC.

                       Posting short, informative, and entertaining video on a PRSA-
                       NCC-branded YouTube “Channel” is an inexpensive and effective
                       way to promote the chapter. It also provides a simple way to
embed video on the PRSA-NCC site, or share with online newsletters, such as the Capitol
Communicator. Embedding video in a blog increases SEO for the PRSA-NCC website,
since it provide opportunities for backlinks, tagging, and social bookmarking.

The Case for Photo Sharing Sites

                          The Marketing and Public Relations Committee believes the
                          PRSA-NCC website is its most important and visible
                          communications tool, and that it requires the greatest
                          investment of resources and effort from the Chapter.

One important improvement to consider is enhancing the visual appeal of the PRSA-NCC
website. Creating a positive emotional response and a distinct brand image on the home
page is achieved with compelling copy that conveys key messages and member benefits,
appealing photographic images, and professional graphic design intended for the
chapter’s target audience. The committee recommends the following improvements:

   •   Creating a professionally designed logo specific to the Chapter.
   •   Creating a graphic design of the website that appeals to the chapter’s target
   •   Making the Chapter “widget” Mac-accessible.
   •   Presenting alt-tagged images and photos on the home page.
   •   Associating a blog with the site.
   •   Embedding video on the site.
   •   Updating the photo gallery, using third party applications, if required (such as
       Slide or Flickr), including chapter logos and insignia.
   •   Presenting a more prominent link to the photo gallery.

Creating Chapter-branded pages on photo sharing sites such as Flickr and Slide will
enable the chapter to easily and inexpensively feature and share photos on its website, the
proposed blog, in email communications, and in other ways.

The Case for a PRSA-NCC Podcast

                     PRSA-NCC has already explored some aspects of podcasting by
                     making podcast episodes available to members and non-members
                     for a fee. However, the podcasts “live” only on the PRSA-NCC

                     The Marketing Committee believes that the benefits of producing
                     podcasts, and making podcasts publicly available at no cost, far
outweigh the benefit of any minimal revenue that may be obtained by charging for the

One way that podcasts could support Board goals, for example, is to feature interviews
with Chapter leaders, which would help raise their profiles and would promote awareness
of Chapter goals.

Typically, podcasts are free to listeners. If the PRSA-NCC podcasts were freely
available, they could be posted on iTunes and other major podcast directories, greatly
enhancing the image and reach of PRSA-NCC. Audiences could then easily download
and share this content by email, or embed it on their websites and blogs. This is the true
social media spirit of podcasting.

If there is a fear that the making the content of the podcasts freely available would
cannibalize future registrations for workshops and seminars, the podcasts could feature
excerpted content, or be released six months to one year after the workshop or conference
date. This is a typical solution employed by other conferences and organizations that
wish to make their workshop content available by podcast.

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