A few weeks ago, I bought an Amazon Echo Dot.
Complete impulse buy.
If I remember correctly, we were at Best Buy to purchase something for my son. But, I walked out with an Echo Dot.
A few weeks later, I hadn’t touched it. Until earlier this week, when I added it to my office environment.
Really, I just wanted to experiment with it professionally. That was my whole MO for buying the darn thing. But, as I started playing around with it this week, I’m starting to think: Every PR/social person should have one of these things in their office.
Why? Mostly for the multi-tasking capabilities (and really, the novelty). And, as PR people, we love our multi-tasking.
But also, for the improved productivity. As a one-man-band, I thrive on productivity (don’t tell my wife that–doesn’t translate to personal life :). Not to mention, they’re pretty cheap–just $50 for the Dot.
So, the Echo Dot intrigued me.
And, so far, it hasn’t disappointed. I’m just one week in, mind you, but Echo has helped improve my office environment and productivity in the following ways:
Instead of reading the news–I now HEAR the news
I still read the newspaper every morning (one of the few left, apparently), but when I have a few minutes of downtime, I’ve found it useful to “hear” the national news via Echo. Multiple ways to do this–the most easy: Simply saying “Alexa, what’s in the news?”
Voice-activated music catalog
Obviously, this is one the functions most people use Echo for. And, as a power Spotify user, I’ve found it very useful. Not much different than using my Jambox, but I like that I can get my news, do research and get my music in one spot with Echo. I also like that the example on my Alexa app is “Alexa, play Taylor Swift.”
Check your calendar with a simple command
Again, all I have to do is click and I can see my calendar, but it’s all about multi-tasking, right? For example, let’s say I’m on a call, and I can’t remember my schedule for the afternoon. A simple, “Alexa, what’s my calendar?” will tell me what’s coming up, at what time and who I’m meeting with. All I had to do is sync up Echo with my Outlook calendar. Pretty slick.
Conduct basic research
Now, to be clear, this isn’t going to replace more hard core research. But, for easy research requests, this is a nice option. For example–you get a question from a client on a call about how many users are on Facebook these days? Simply mute your phone and ask: “Alexa, how many Facebook users are there?” Boom–answer in seconds. You look brilliant. Amazon magic in motion.
Quiet your mind with a babbling brook or thunderstorm
I do a decent amount of work during the day to music. But, one thing I can’t do with music in the background is writing. And since writing is such a big part of my day, that’s an issue for me. Enter babbling brook and thunderstorm sounds via Echo. A simple “Alexa, open thunderstorm sounds” and I’m instantly transported. And, if you haven’t tried this yet, believe me, it’s worth it (warning: You may fall into a deep, deep sleep, but after you wake up you’ll be so refreshed! :).
Those are just a few of the “skills” I’ve found useful in my first week. Do you have an Echo (or Google Home or similar tool)? Have you used it for business? What skills and tips would you share?
Traackr recently released a study named “Influence 2.0–the Future of Influencer Marketing.”
I was curious, so I downloaded the full report and checked it out. But, I also take these types of studies with a very small grain of salt. After all, Traackr is a IRM (influencer relationship marketing) platform. It benefits by sharing data that reinforces the fact that many companies are spending more on IRM, but might not understand the process as well.
While much has already been written about this report, I have yet to see anyone tackle what I thought was THE big topic within the report: Who OWNS influencer relationship marketing.
Sure, the spend data is interesting (although, again, self-serving).
Sure, the maturity data has some merit.
And, actually, the data on goals of IM was pretty interesting.
But, the stats on who OWNS IM–that, to me, was the real nugget of the entire report.
And, it should upset every PR counselor out there.
Why? Because when asked who owns IM, a full 70 PERCENT said “digital marketing.”
You know how many said “PR?” 16 percent.
Because at its core, IM is really all about relationships and content–two topics PR folks should know much more about than their marketing counterparts. In fact, 5-7 years ago, this whole thing was called “Blogger Relations” or “Blogger Outreach”, before “influencers” were even a thing.
Nowadays, IM is big business (hence the Traackr study). And, that’s why digital marketing took over, which should surprise no one who’s worked in the PR field for more than a cup of coffee.
But that doesn’t make it right.
I believe PR, wholeheartedly, should own IM. Three big reasons why:
1: Influencer marketing skill sets are more attuned to PR folks
Like I said up top, influencer marketing is about two things: content and relationships. These are not skills marketers, in general, excel at. In theory, PR people should be much stronger here. Why? Because we’re trained to cultivate relationships–just like they have with journalists with years. And, in their hearts, PR folks are storytellers. They know how to spin a yarn or two. Marketers? Not so much. Their skill sets, generally, are more analytical. Skill set-wise, this should be a slam dunk. Yet, to date, it hasn’t.
2: Marketers have (always had) a different focus
A marketer’s job is all about the 4 Ps–product, pricing, place and promotion. And it’s that last one that worries me from an influencer marketing perspective. A marketer is always going to think “promotion” when dealing with an influencer. But, that scope is far too narrow. Effective influencer marketing involves nuance. It involves working with the influencer to tell a story TOGETHER. Not to instruct them to help you promote your product. PRs, on the other hand, have a completely different focus. Their MO is more centered on messaging. On storytelling. Again, just more suited to influencer marketing.
3: PR just has flat-out more experience
Not to beat a dead horse, but again, influencer marketing is very similar to media relations. No, they’re not exactly the same–obviously. But, the approach you take with an influencer is pretty close to the way you approach a journalist (even in today’s climate where many influencers are paid). At first, you just try to establish contact. Then, you work to get to know the journalist/influencer–find out what they write/post about. Who their audience is. Then, you make the pitch–and again, it’s a pitch built around co-producing content, not simply promoting. You follow-up. You keep that relationship going. All that work screams PR–not marketing (who typically see the world as a series of “campaigns”). PR folks have years of experience in this area. Why not leverage that? Why let a discipline that has virtually no experience doing this kind of thing completely take the lead? That really doesn’t make any sense to me.
Note: Images courtesy of Traackr. Download the full report here (Disclaimer: I was not paid by Traackr or its affiliates to write this article)
Close your eyes for a moment. Think back to 2010.
Twitter was only a few years old. Social was relatively new. Some brands still didn’t have a Facebook page.
And follower counts on Twitter, Facebook and other social channels was a big deal. In fact, you could say it was a key metric for many companies.
Fast forward to 2017.
“Dark social” is prevalent.
Video rules the roost when it comes to content.
Snapchat is the social media darling.
And, tracking follower counts appears to be completely dead.
Today’s socially-savvy brands are focused on the following 3-4 big key metrics (in no particular order):
How did we get here? A few key milestones contributed:
- Facebook moved from a social media platform to a paid advertising platform when it went public a few years ago. Ever since, follower counts on Facebook are completely irrelevant since paid advertising allows you to target content to anyone, anywhere with the right dollar amounts
- Dark social platforms like Snapchat emerged where follower counts don’t matter as much (if at all).
- Direct/text messaging has eclipsed social media platforms in terms of usage–where “follower counts” don’t mean a thing.
So, I’m breaking news here: The era of the follower is officially over.
Think about it. On Facebook, for the reasons I mentioned in the first bullet, follower counts don’t matter a bit. And, I would argue same thing goes for Instagram as it moves (slowly) to an all “pay-for-play” model as well.
In fact, I would say the ONLY reason followers matter on Facebook (and soon, on Instagram) is ego. Executives and directors want their companies to have more followers than competitors. I’ve seen it before. It’s the only reason I can come up with as to why it still even registers on people’s radars.
What about Twitter? Follower counts still matter there, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, follower counts still matter when you think about who will see your content when you post. But again, given advertising’s influence, brands can use even a small amount of money to ensure followers (and those OUTSIDE their followings) see and engage with their content.
As I think about Twitter, really the only audiences who care a ton about follower counts are media (who refer to follower counts often in stories) and celebrities/influencers (who rely on follower counts to curry favor–and lots of money–from advertisers).
What about LinkedIn? You can follow brands there, right? Yep–and follower counts probably do matter there more than they do on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. But again, in 2017, I would argue engagement, traffic and impressions are key metrics that would come far before follower counts if I were managing a corporate page. And, with the advent of LinkedIn Publishing, engagement and impressions become more important metrics when you’re talking about executives using Publishing to share stories and POVs.
Again, we’re back to the holy trinity of social media metrics:
- Traffic (and maybe leads)
The era of the follower is over, my friends.
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to speak to 150 social media enthusiasts at Social Media Breakfast. My topic: Social media trends! Tis the season, right? But, I had a little different take on social media trends than you might think. You see, most trend posts are largely garbage–the trends are typically outdated or overblown and there’s usually very little depth to the advice or ideas the author is providing. Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about.
So, I aimed to take on these “trend du jours” and instead, talk about nine more realistic social media trends that I see emerging in 2017. For each, I provided specific examples, stats and advice for how people could take advantage of these trends in the year ahead.
Now, I’m no futurist. I’m not a “social media expert.” But, I do read an awful lot of PR/social media industry material. And, I often have opinions on this stuff since I work in the trenches each and every day. Obviously, the entire presentation with the voice-over is better, but if you missed Social Media Breakfast last week, this will have to do!