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

Fort Worth PRSA March Luncheon

Office Politics: Why PR Executives Frequent Starbucks & Fitness Centers

NegotiatingLRDr. Marlene Neill, APR, lecturer at Baylor University in the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media, will discuss what services public relations executives and their colleagues in other divisions consider to be essential services that are provided by public relations at the management level. She also will discuss the importance of building internal relationships and the use of allies and informal coalitions to influence company decision making. Her research on this subject includes interviews with 30 senior executives at three Fortune 500 companies and a fourth multinational company.

Wednesday, March 13 • 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Colonial Country Club (3735 Country Club Circle, Fort Worth, TX 76109)

Complimentary valet parking provided!

Click here to register.


  • GFW PRSA Members – $25
  • National PRSA Members – $30
  • Non-members – $35
  • Students – $20

Walk-ups: Add an additional $5 to the above prices

To account for additional costs associated with walk-ups and other meeting services, the Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA uses the following reservation policy: Online reservations are due no later than 5 pm the Friday prior to the luncheon, and cancellations must be made by 5 p.m. the day before the luncheon. No-shows will be billed or a representative may attend in that person’s place at no additional charge. Walk-ups are accepted for an additional $5 if space is available.

Speaker Bio:

marlene_neillDr. Marlene Neill, APR, Lecturer at Baylor University
Marlene Neill, Ph.D., APR, is a full time lecturer at Baylor University. Neill began teaching at Baylor as an adjunct professor in August 2006 in the journalism department. She teaches courses in public relations, writing for new media and writing for the mass media. She also serves as the faculty adviser for the Baylor PRSSA chapter. Her research interests include public relations management and ethics. Her first journal article was published in the December 2012 edition of the Journal of Mass Media Ethics and is titled “PR Professionals as Organizational Conscience.” She is an accredited member of the Central Texas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She served as the chair for the Southwest District of PRSA in 2011. At the national level, Neill served a three-year term on the Universal Accreditation Board, which administers the examination for Accreditation in Public Relations; the Nominating Committee, which selects national board officers in 2012; and was appointed to the Board of Ethics & Professional Standards in January 2013. She received her Ph.D. in advertising from the University of Texas at Austin, her Master of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia, and her Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. Neill previously worked for 10 years in government public relations at the City of Waco, 1.5 years in nonprofit public relations at the Waco Family YMCA and 3.5 years at KCEN-TV as a reporter.


Fort Worth PRSA Members Honored as Finalists in PR News’ Nonprofit PR Awards

PR News has recognized Gigi Westerman, APR, and Sandra Brodnicki, APR, as finalists in the annual PR News Nonprofit PR Awards for their work with Catholic Charities Fort Worth and United Way of Tarrant County on a financial education rebranding effort. The award salutes the top nonprofit public relations campaigns of the year, the smartest communications initiatives and the people behind them.

The entry, titled Money School, highlighted a successful branding and strategic communication effort designed to support a communitywide financial education initiative for individuals and families making less than $50,000 per year. It was named as a finalist in the Branding/Rebranding Campaign category.

“Financial education is an essential step to ending poverty, and the tools and techniques provided in this program teach individuals and families to manage their finances and make informed decisions,” said Christie Mosley-Eckler, Money School program manager for Catholic Charities Fort Worth. “Thanks to our new Money School brand and strategic communication plan, we’ve seen a significant increase in families seeking financial education. We are also capturing the hearts of community partners, which will help make this initiative even more successful.”

PR News is known across the public relations industry as a strategic resource and training tool, and the Nonprofit PR Award showcases the industry-leading campaigns and outstanding individual performance. The winners and honorable mentions will be celebrated at the Nonprofit PR Awards Luncheon on March 11, 2013 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Westerman is president of Strategic Image, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in branding, public relations, integrated communications and presentation training. Brodnicki is president of Brodnicki Public Relations, Inc., focusing on branding, key message development, strategic marketing communications and public relations strategy.

President’s Column – February 2013

Chris Smith, Greater Fort Worth PRSA President

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,, 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 (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, kept current by our Website Chair Rebekah Moore.

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

Fort Worth PRSA January Luncheon Photos

At the PRSA Jan. 9th Luncheon, Phil Beckman, partners in education specialist at Northwest ISD, and Dan Halyburton, vice president of innovation at McVay New Media, spoke about their experiences as public affairs volunteers with the Red Cross while deployed in support of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

A-January Program - Group

Pictured (from left to right) Chris Smith, GFW-PRSA president; Dan Halyburton; Michelle Clark, GFW-PRSA Vice president of programs; and Phil Beckman

January Program - Beckman
Phil Beckman

January Program - Halyburton
Dan Halyburton