Infographic: Winter Olympics 2018—A Data Story

The Olympics always promise competition and a fair bit of drama. While watching the Winter Olympics is obviously much less rigorous than competing in the games, it can feel like a marathon when you’re trying to stay on top of it all for two weeks straight, day-in/day-out. 

To help us keep track of the experience, we know that reams of data were generated and gathered through the 2.5 weeks the Winter Olympics took place in Pyeongchang. And this data covered the gamut: logistical data that included the number of athletes in each competition, how they arrived in Korea, and where they were going to be housed. Or, once the competition started, data was tabulating each country’s medal count, the breaking of Olympic or world records, or even how many triple lutzes versus triple axles were performed in a given ice skating program. Knowing that the games rack up stats that go beyond those of the athletes, we wanted to turn to social media listening to see how the games were playing out on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

We presume that much of the world has also been watching the games for the last two weeks, and most likely using their third screen to document their own Winter Olympics experience via tweet, update, video, or photo upload. And whether they were in Pyeongchang for the competition and pageantry or watching it from the comfort of their living room, we were interested in what they were discussing. Did the competition between the OAR figure skaters blow up social mentions as much as they did the ice? (Mostly, yes.) Did Intel’s IOC sponsorship inspire the fan interaction they hoped for? (Also, mostly, yes.) 

To answer these questions and more, we put Pyeongchang Winter Olympics related searches into our media intelligence platform. Check it out to see who came out ahead on social media, even if they didn’t make it to the podium.

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Strategy: 3 Ways AI Will Help PR in 2018

It’s that time of year again when PR pros are making predictions. And the industry revisits the death of the press release as the need for more creative media relations becomes necessary as newsrooms continue to thin out. Those doing the work face the reality of why paid practices are a must have, the rise of influencer marketing, an increased focus on content distribution, and how new measurement tactics will help redefine ROI for PR.

These predictions, among other tried-and-true trends, seem to resurface every year. And, they’re not wrong. But, for those–like me–who jump at the mention of new tech, the PR trend to watch for 2018 is the incorporation of AI (artificial intelligence) into our everyday publicity work.

3 Main Ways AI Will Help PR

1. Audience Insights

Just as with advancements in data science and machine learning, AI will help companies delve deeper into their target audiences to reach them on a more discreet and personal level. With the ability to predict interests and uncover trends, companies – especially consumer brands – will be able to create more relevant products and services with the buyer experience front and center.

With this level of intel, PR pros can produce more sophisticated campaigns with relevant messaging that corresponds to specific audience segments. PR and comms priorities can align with reality and adapt quickly as markets change. Talk about ensuring the most bang for your buck!

2. Day-to-Day Tasks

A lot of day-to-day tasks that PR teams undertake are crucial to understanding the industry landscape, competitor activities, and new trends, or to demonstrate the success of a campaign and establish benchmarks or records.

But, the amount of time spent on these types of tasks – including news scanning, media monitoring, coverage clipping, social listening, sentiment analysis, reporting, and other similar endeavors – are greatly reduced with the help of AI. There are already services out there for such tasks, but many still require a lot of manual oversight or corrections since the software isn’t quite there yet for the tools to really know what’s relevant and what’s not.

This could all change with AI so that PR pros can get even more time back in their day and use their strategic brains for more creative campaigns and relationship building – the things that lead many of us to join the field in the first place!

3. Social Interactions

When it comes to social interactions, human involvement is obvious. Or is it?

Chatbots are increasing in their capabilities and prevalence as major companies invest in the development. But, for PR, we need to think beyond today’s most common chatbots like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, and typical questions like, “What’s the weather today?”, to fathom an interaction that helps further PR goals of brand awareness and beyond.

AI advancements are helping create smarter chatbots that are paving the way for PR pros to help further conversations on behalf of brands in a relevant way.

The easiest place to imagine this is on social media where chatbots could interact intelligently with relevant hashtags, or respond to comments or direct messages on a company’s behalf. It’s just a matter of harnessing that level of machine integration in a strategic way to help expand PR efforts, which can focus on more of the human elements that bots can’t take over!

 

This article originally appeared in March Communications, it was by Meredith L. Eaton from Business2Community, and is legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

How Social Media Went from Exciting to Ingrained in Our Lives

When social media first started to emerge in the mid-2000s as a popular way to connect online, marketers and consumers split into two camps. One camp boldly proclaimed that social media was the wave of the future. The other denounced social media as a fad (something people still occasionally insist today, more than 10 years later).

It’s clear that social media has had and continues to have a substantial impact on our daily lives—and it’s hard to imagine sites like Facebook ever going away, with more than 1 billion people currently using the platform. But when you look at the broad context of social media, and some of the recent developments shaping the industry, you have to wonder—are we heading to a post-social media world?

Coming and Going

For starters, let’s take a look at the rates of emergence and decay of social media platforms. In the early days of social media, and even as recently as a few years ago, new platforms would spring up constantly, looking for a piece of the social pie, and they’d die off just as quickly when their user bases wouldn’t grow to sustainable levels.

These days, that rate has substantially slowed, and people are gravitating only to a handful of apps—Facebook earns the attention of 79 percent of adults, with a cluster of other apps (WhatsApp, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter among them) hovering close to the 30 percent mark.

This slowdown means a couple of things that could indicate progress toward a post-social future:

  • Normalization of social media. With social platforms becoming more stable, less novel, and more intuitive, users aren’t focusing on social media as separate from their daily lives. They’re becoming more integrated, and over time may cease to be considered distinct entities.
  • Centralization of platforms. It’s also worth noting that single platforms are rising above the fold, giving them the power to dictate the future of social media development in the same way that Google dictated the development of search for years. As this trend increases, social media platforms will likely start heading in newer, bolder directions that leave our old conceptions of “social media” in the dust.

Live Streams and Constant Interaction

Many platforms are also heading toward further integration with the “real” world; user interest in live video and other “in the moment” posts is enormous, especially when compared to reflective or retrospective posts. This is at least part of the reason why Snapchat has become as popular as it has; since messages are temporary and capture a specific moment in time, they’re a form of interacting with the live world.

The fact that most social apps cater to mobile users is another indication of this trend; mobile users are more likely to share things as they happen, rather than waiting to post about them at a later time. Social media apps run in the background, and users interact with each other on a constant basis. Already, social apps are becoming more like instant messaging platforms than a distinct entity on their own.

Wearable Tech and New Interfaces

As technology evolves, we’ll likely see new worlds of socialization emerge. Wearable technology and smart home systems like Google Home are encouraging users to decrease their reliance on screens and traditional interfaces. For technology like smartwatches, screens are too small or unnoticeable to present easy engagement. For smart home systems, hands-free communication and functionality is essential. That doesn’t leave any room for the world of social media as we’re used to it—a place to browse through the posts and photos of your friends and family and interact accordingly.

Augmented and virtual reality will make this trend escalate even faster, and given Facebook’s interest in the technology already, most social media platforms are clamoring to get to that next level. With integrated AR and VR, you can talk to people as if they’re in the same room as you, and you can even experience what they’re experiencing vicariously, complete with a full sensory experience and no need for the platforms of old.

What the Post-Social Media World Looks Like

Any social media interface you can imagine will be long gone. There might be buttons or menus that allow you to do things like call up a specific contact or stream a projection of your current line of sight, but online social interaction won’t exist the way we know it today.

Instead, social media companies will be focused on advanced forms of messaging and broadcasting, which will transcend our current limitations by a factor we can’t yet imagine. I imagine most interactions like “comments” and “likes” will disappear too, in favor or real-time feedback, and decades down the road, all this technology may become so minimalistic and so integrated that it doesn’t exist as an external device.

A Timeline

This projected reality of social media is exciting, and may sound a bit too sci-fi for your taste. That’s fine; I encourage you not to make any bold business or marketing decisions based around this far-off projection of what’s to come.

In reality, social media will likely evolve gradually, with no major revolutions over the next few years. But don’t write off these developments too far—if I had to nail down a date, I’d argue that we’ll start seeing a full transition away from traditional platforms within a decade.

But before that happens, if you have questions about setting up a social media program for your company, consider downloading our ebook, Social to Scale.

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This article was originally posted on this site on January 25, 2017. On Saturdays, we republish posts our readers might’ve  previously missed. It was written by Jayson DeMers from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Sick and Tired of the Same Old Content? Create Evergreen Content!

Have you been chasing down every holiday, trying to jump on every trending hashtag, only to be worn out by the chase? Why not try creating evergreen content? Here are some ideas for you.

Same Questions, Different Day?

To you, that question about why you should not wear stripes and polka dots together seems obvious. After all, you’ve been a fashion designer for 20 years! But to your clients, not so much! Explain to them in a blog post why stripes and polka dots clash. Not only that, show them pictures! You might even have one great idea that could be turned into a series.

Share Widely

Now that you’ve written that article, share it all over! And then after a decent amount of time (five days? one week?), share it again! People will probably not remember that they saw that article the first time. Even big brands share their content more than once! Of course, you can probably get away with more sharing on Twitter than say, LinkedIn. So mind where you share.

Rinse and Retweet

Continue sharing, scheduling, and repeating articles. After all, you’ve taken a lot of time to write that article, haven’t you?

Don’t Forget to Share Others’ Posts

While you’re at it, share others’ articles and content as well as your own. Your audience doesn’t want to see just your own content, after all. Unless you’re the New York Times or a big media outlet, that is.

What to Write?

I’ve found a very good place to start is with those frequently asked questions that you hear all the time! Start with those. Have an outsider ask you questions about your business and if the answers aren’t already obvious and easy to find on your website or social media, answer those questions with an article. Here’s a good article about finding things to write about 50 Can’t-Fail Techniques for Finding Great Blog Topics. By the way, the tip to write about pain is a great one. Pain points are where your product or service can step in and provide a cure.

If you’re looking for a compelling story that only your brand can tell, consider delving into your data around your brand and industry. Storytelling with information only you are privy to will resonate with your colleagues, your community, and hopefully, your target audience.

Evergreen

 

This article originally appeared in Your Social Media Works, it was written by Carol Stephen from Business2Community, and is legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

How to Create an Effective PR and Marketing Strategy for 2018

How do you plan to market your business in 2018? How can you guarantee an effective PR strategy?

As 2017 comes to a close, now is the time to think about your PR and marketing plan for the coming year. What’s been working well? What hasn’t? What new strategies will you try for 2018?

Follow this convenient guide to set up your foundation for the new year.

How to Create Your 2018 Marketing Plan

Step 1: Review 2017

Before you can figure out where you’re going, take a look at where you are. What were your goals for this last year? Did you achieve them?

Also, think about the marketing strategies you used this past year. How did they work out?

If you didn’t have specific goals for this year, now is a great time to collect some baseline data, too:

  • Set up a Google Analytics account so you can measure your website traffic
  • Export and review analytics from your social media accounts so you have data saved showing your current numbers
  • Check your e-newsletter’s open rates and click-through rates to make note of where they are now

Step 2: Establish New Goals

After you’ve established how 2016 went, it’s time to look ahead to 2018. What goals do you want to achieve? Make sure that you set goals that are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

It’s much better to have a few realistic, clear goals than a vague idea like, “I want more customers.” Instead, set goals like:

  • 50 new Facebook fans
  • 25% more website traffic
  • 5 new sales a month

Once you have SMART goals established, you can figure out how you’ll get there.

Step 3: Brainstorm Strategies to Achieve Your Goals

Did you take the time to brainstorm new ideas for your 2018 marketing plan?

This is the time you’ll come up with specific ways you’ll achieve your goals. For each goal, write down a couple of strategies you think will get you there (see below for a few suggestions).

For example, if one of your goals is to increase website traffic, you might want to include blogging regularly in your marketing plan. Or, if you want to see a certain amount of growth on your Facebook page, consider running a Facebook ad campaign.

In addition to thinking about strategies you think might work, take the time to do some research and write down ideas you want to try. Look at industry trends and strategies experts are predicting to be important in the coming year.

Step 4: Write Out a Marketing Plan

Once you’ve written down your ideas, it’s time to turn your thoughts into an actual plan. I suggest doing this by writing each month of the year on a piece of paper and then listing the strategies you plan to employ during the month underneath it. This helps you visually see how many different marketing activities you’re committing to taking on each month.

Of course, some strategies (such as blogging or social media) are ongoing, but some (such as pitching the media or running Facebook ads) can be done a couple of specific times during the year. This way you can plan extra activities in your marketing plan for the months you know tend to be a little slower.

Once you’ve drafted your plan, type it out month-by-month so it’s clear for you to see which activities you need to do when.

Step 5: Put it into Action

This is probably one of the most important steps! Your marketing plan is useless if you don’t follow it. Yes, things will come up that take over, but make sure you stay on track with the strategies you put in place so that you can tell if you’re successful by the end of the year. Actually write down which activities to do and when you plan to do them on your calendar or planner. Give yourself deadlines and stick to them!

Each month, go through your various points of data collection to take a quick look at how you’re doing. Check your Google Analytics, e-newsletter open and click-through rates, and social media data. If you see your e-newsletter isn’t getting many opens, maybe try a different approach to the subject lines, or if you see a certain blog post getting a lot of traffic or clicks, consider writing a follow-up to it.

Also, make a note to evaluate your plan toward the end of June. At that point, you can do a full review of your marketing plan to see what’s working well and what isn’t. It may be a good time to shift focus from one area that isn’t performing well to an area that is or to try a new strategy altogether instead.

Bonus: Common Strategies for Your Marketing Plan

It can be hard to know which strategies to use to achieve your marketing plan’s goals. Here are a few common tactics that we’ve seen work well across a wide variety of industries:

Strategy: Creating & Distributing Press Releases
Goals it Helps: Increased website traffic, editorial media coverage, name recognition and brand awareness

As long as you have something newsworthy to share, press releases can be used in a few ways. If you release them on the wires, they can provide hundreds of links back to your website, increasing your search engine optimization (SEO) and your traffic. If you send them to specific media contacts, and if the news truly is important to their readers, they can write about your company and introduce your business to even more possible customers.

Strategy: Event Creation & Promotion
Goals it Helps: Increased consumer engagement, editorial media coverage, website traffic, name recognition and brand awareness

Despite the growth of digital media, consumers crave connection. An event can be a fantastic way to interact with your customers face-to-face, and depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you might even be able to get some media coverage out of it. As you consider creating an event as a way to connect with your consumers, think about ways you can give them an unforgettable experience with your brand.

Strategy: Editorial Media Pitching
Goals it Helps: Increased name recognition, brand awareness and (sometimes) website traffic, in addition to establishing you as an expert in your field and providing a credible testimonial endorsement for your business, making consumers more likely to make a purchase

It can be exciting to see you your business’ name in the press! In addition to providing yet another way for potential consumers to see your company, editorial media coverage is a third-party endorsement from the journalist, telling their readers, viewers, and listeners why they should consider your business. This can carry a lot of weight! In addition, if the coverage runs online, the reporter will likely include a link to your website, which can make a positive difference for SEO and your website traffic.

Strategy: Social Media Ads
Goals it Helps: Increased consumer presence and engagement, website traffic, name recognition and brand awareness, in addition to establishing you as an expert in your field and showing followers why they should work with you

Advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn can be a very affordable way to increase your reach across the platforms. In addition to the traditional ads you see on the sidebars of these websites, sponsored posts actually show up in users’ newsfeeds as any update would. As long as you target the ad correctly, write a compelling update and using an engaging image or two, they can greatly increase your visibility to new potential followers. In fact, Facebook’s algorithm actually weights posts from advertisers, so if you’re spending money on ads, chances are your organic posts will be more visible too.

Strategy: Organic Social Media
Goals it Helps: Increased consumer engagement, website traffic, name recognition and brand awareness in addition to showing followers why they should work with you or buy from your company, and providing a convenient way for customers to communicate with your business

Even if you don’t pay for social media advertising, maintaining a presence on the platforms your target consumers use can be extremely helpful. In addition to providing a forum for you to connect with users that are interested in your business and industry, your social channels are a fantastic opportunity to remind consumers about the services you offer, your expertise and that you care about them. They can be fantastic for increasing website traffic and SEO, as well as providing excellent and attentive customer care.

Strategy: Blogging
Goals it Helps: Increased website traffic, name recognition, and brand awareness, plus it gives you authority as an expert and shows visitors why they should work with you

The primary benefit of blogging for your business is that it can drive additional traffic to your website. By publishing quality, helpful posts at the same day and time each week, you show the search engines that your website is high quality and helpful for internet users, which can greatly increase your ranking in search results. Because the best way to write for search engines is to write quality posts, your content should already be helpful to your target consumers. Your blog can also establish you as an expert and provide a fantastic forum for customer care.

Strategy: Email marketing (or an e-newsletter)
Goals it Helps: Increased website traffic, credibility, name recognition and brand awareness, in addition to reminding contacts you already have that they should work with you

Email marketing continues to be an important component of a successful marketing plan. Research shows:

  • Email use worldwide will top 3 billion users by 2020.
  • Gmail has 1 billion active users worldwide.
  • 86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly.

If you want to increase your website traffic and credibility with your consumers, as well as name recognition and brand awareness, a monthly e-newsletter can be a fantastic strategy. A brief email with helpful articles, links, etc. can be another helpful reminder for your target consumers to contact you and find out more about your products and services.

 

This article originally appeared in Three Girls Media, was written by Emily Sidley from Business2Community, and legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.