Survey results provide roadmap for 2013 programming activities

In January, the Greater Fort Worth PRSA chapter surveyed its membership about expectations and interests for 2013 programming events including luncheons, professional development workshops, mixers and more. We sent out 182 invitations to the survey, and 57 of you responded, giving us a healthy 31 percent response rate. First, thank you. And second, please know that your chapter leadership has taken your comments to heart.

We learned some interesting things about what’s interesting to our chapter members. Nearly 75 percent of you say you’re looking for education when it comes to your local PRSA programs; while networking and interaction with our peers is important. You’re also looking for the “how-to’s” and those nuggets of wisdom that push you to pursue your career even more effectively and passionately.

When it comes to luncheon programs, some of your top interests were social media strategy; case studies / war stories from our chapter members; promoting digital literacy within our organizations and developing our own personal brands and career paths as public relations professionals.

For professional development workshops, again respondents stressed the importance of learning more about social media strategies and measurement techniques. Our members are also interested in hearing from local media about the state of the newsroom in 2013, along with making more effective presentations and training others to do the same.

In addition to providing feedback on topics for speakers and workshops, respondents also provided valuable feedback about timing of evening events and mixers, which will help several of our committee chairs plan appropriate events that generate value for our members.

Please know that we’re listening, and so far we’re on the right track for 2013. Our first professional development workshop, held last month, focused on the intricacies of social media and was a great success for our chapter by all measures. You can also rest assured that the next half-day workshop, scheduled for October, will certainly focus on one or more of our membership’s top recommended topics. And this month’s luncheon program focuses on how public relations professionals can develop crucial internal relationships that earn them a seat at the leadership table – another key area of interest.

Moving forward, our chapter’s board of directors will continue to use your feedback as our guide for planning effective programs and events for the rest of the year. We’ll also report back to you at the end of 2013 for an assessment of how we measure up. And in the meantime, if you’re struck by an idea for a great program, send it my way: clarkm@trinityra.org. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

Forging Social Media Successes

By: Brian Murnahan

WeberSocial media success has long been a difficult area to quantify for employers and clients alike. Bosses want to know how much it will increase sales, improve branding or assist with customer services and are often worried that because they can’t control the conversation, they see more problems than it is worth. But, on Feb. 13 the Greater Fort Worth PRSA heard from some of the areas’ social media experts on how to set goals, create content and grow engagement!

Measuring social media can be nebulous and precarious for many, but working with tangible and measurable metrics can be the key for success. Part of determining what success is, is determining what level of social media proficiency your organization is working at. For instance, if you are walking, a goal might be to simply increase your brand awareness or increasing “likes” or if you are in the running area you might set a goal related to increasing potential sales traffic by a set percentage.

Cosmin Ghiurau, the digital media strategist for Radio Shack spoke about how they were able to get their message out via digital on Cyber Monday. “I would describe RadioShack as in a jog mode last fall with a goal of being at a run by the end of this year.” This past year RadioShack set up a program to introduce #24dealsin24 beginning at 11 p.m. on Sunday before Cyber Monday. By introducing clues via twitter to what will be coming on scale, RadioShack was able to encourage shopping on the site during the full 24-hour cycle. The program was generating such a good response, the Twitter team actually reached out to RadioShack in part because they saw RadioShack was the only U.S. brand to organically trend, 20 of 24 hours, driving 10 million impressions. Ultimately Twitter wrote a piece on RadioShack’s success.

To that end RadioShack set goals to measure the social media programs success, but some of those are secret, though he did share that Web traffic increased related to these promotional efforts. In fact, RadioShack saw Web traffic increase 14 percent year-over-year. They also saw a more than 1,200 percent increase in social engagement compared to a regular day. Be sure to check out Ghiurau’s presentation here.

Measurement is not exactly easy for most to actually measure, though there are some tools out there that may be able to help. For those larger businesses, services like Radian Six, are available for a price, but for those on a budget there are services like what Catholic Charities of Fort Worth uses such as Sprout, which only costs less than $20 a month for the non-profit.

Brian Conway, an account supervisor with Weber Shandwick’s Dallas office spoke about measurement specifically and highlighted that while working on American Airlines social community, they were able to find brand ambassadors that with some assistance where able to spread AA’s message far better than the brand itself because they appreciated the brand and knew its strengths. When trying to determine what to measure, it was clear that Brian wanted organizations to look at what their core function was and how social media can support that mission. From there, goals can be crafted and then metrics can be formed and measured. Brian also led the group in an introduction to social media with this presentation. To view his presentation, click here.

@CCFortWorth joined the conversation talking about how it is able to be successful from a non-profit perspective, noting that even those agencies that have “no budget” can be successful. Also, it was noted that personnel dollars used on social media is budgetable. Using many of the free tools available from Google and Facebook it is possible to measure impact. @CCFortWorth went through an extensive rebranding of its social media program to align its online presence with its brick and mortar programs.

The question @CCFortWorth had to answer was how to take all the programs available and make a viable social media program. To their credit they went back to the core of @CCFortWorth and set themselves up to be a thought leader of poverty and social innovation. From there they could highlight their programs and comment on other interesting news and situations that dealt with their topic. Katelin Cortney, public relations director with @CCFortWorth said it was important to stay on message or risk losing the audience. “You can’t start posting about a new restaurant just because a friend is opening one up. But say, a restaurant is hosting a fundraiser or doing something that supports poverty that may be a different story.” Check out their Prezi presentation, by clicking here, and use the arrows at the bottom to move through the slides online.

Scott Baradell, founder of Idea Grove brought much of what was said together indicating that no matter where you call your internet home, make sure you are putting up content that keeps your audience coming back. Well worth note was his passion for not losing control of your “field” or internet real estate as he said “You don’t want to get caught in a position where you work real hard to get an audience to follow and then the rules are changed and the work is all but lost.” The reference was twofold, first was his personal experience where a flickr community that he built was removed due to an erroneous complaint (flickr acknowledged the error, but the community was already gone.) Second was the advent of promoted posts and ads on Facebook that will allow you to purchase your way back in front of the fans that you may have already earned. Scott was not a fan of “sharecropping,” but encouraged use of those sites to drive them to your Web site or blog, where you could control the message, look and feel of the site and not risk losing so much! Check out his presentation here.

Be sure to check out these great speakers at their sites and within their social media accounts. Here are the speakers and their handles.

Cosmin Ghiurau, RadioShack – @RadioShack
Brian Conway, Weber Shandwick – @WeberShandwick
Scott Baradell, Idea Grove – @IdeaGrove
Katelin Cortney & Kate Blackburn, Catholic Charities Fort Worth – @CCFortWorth

President’s Column – February 2013

Chris Smith, Greater Fort Worth PRSA President
csmithcommunications@gmail.com

ChrisSmithPortraitLRDon’t know about you, but my February schedule is already jam-packed (what happened to January?).

Last month I wrote about the necessity of always learning something new, and thanks to the planning efforts of our Vice President of Programs Michelle Clark and Professional Development Chair Brian Murnahan (with input from our new Digital Committee Chair Chip Hanna), our February half-day program has the potential to teach us all something we didn’t know beforehand.

Forging Social Media Success, http://fortworthprsa.org/2013/01/23/social-media-success-program, will include knowledge for the novice as well as the expert. Speakers will present case studies from RadioShack and Catholic Charities Fort Worth and encourage interaction during breakout sessions on audience engagement, content creation and metrics. It promises not to disappoint, so sign up soon.

Also, Activities Chair Lisa Albert has been busy planning evening events that might especially interest those who can’t make our mid-day monthly programs. The first one has already been confirmed, so mark your calendars for Feb. 19 when she brings in a speaker to give an overview on The Value of Networking http://fortworthprsa.org/2013/01/23/prsa-after-hours. (Lisa also shared her goal of hosting at least one evening event each quarter this year, so stay tuned.)

Have I left something out? Be sure to visit our website at http://fortworthprsa.org, kept current by our Website Chair Rebekah Moore.

Honestly, who could ever complain of boredom with such an active February agenda?

Making the News: The Rise of the Crowd

On Tuesday, September 15, GFW PRSA members Tracy Syler-Jones and Richie Escovedo provided a session for the chapter’s Education Special Interest Group.

Making the News: The Rise of the Crowd

Tracy Syler-Jones (@TracySJ) – Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communication at TCU
Richie Escovedo (@vedo) – Media and Communication Development at Mansfield ISD

Today’s supercharged communication world presents numerous challenges for communicators. In the recent past, one could rely on traditional media to pass along news and information that could reach, and hopefully, influence the masses.

However, a shrinking number of reporters means communicators must learn how to effectively utilize, integrate and manage social networking and new media tools to remain visible and connected with key audiences. Learn more about the role the crowd plays in pushing your message along and how to tap into that energy.

Additional links promised to attendees:

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Using Wikis In Marketing And Media Relations

This is cross-posted from PRSA member Kay Colley’s Community blog. It is her presentation from the Best of the Southwest Communicators Conference last weekend. The conference was put on by the Texas Public Relations Association and PRSA Southwest District.

Wikis are really good tools to create community. Far better than blogs because they offer a more open environment and an egalitarian approach to participation. Check out this SlideShare presentation and let me know if you agree.

Go to Kay Colley’s presentation wiki.