PR Pros Want To Know If You Are A Player

Dec 10th, 2007 | By | Category: Podcasting Research

Geek chickAs social media gets more and more popular, companies are struggling to understand what’s important, who they should pay attention to and what they should measure, according to a report by the Institute for Public Relations and Wieck Media.

Here are the highlights:

  • Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that social media tools are becoming more valuable to their activities as more customers and influencers use them;
  • Twenty-seven percent reported that social media is a core element of their communications strategy;
  • Only three percent stated that social media has little or no value to their communications initiatives; and
  • Respondents believe that social media is most effective for the following sectors: arts, entertainment and recreation; communications; computer hardware; and education.

“Blogs, podcasts, and social networks are changing the way we think about media and influence,” said Jen McClure, executive director of the Society for New Communications Research. “We wanted to learn what criteria communications professionals use to define new influencers; how social media is being used to communicate with these influentials; and how to measure the effects of such efforts. The ultimate goal of the study is to offer a set of recommendations to the PR profession.”

Respondents reported that the most effective tools for their social media initiatives are currently:

  • Blogs
  • Online video
  • Social networks

The top three criteria for determining the relevance and potential influence of a blogger or podcaster are:

  • Quality of content on the blog or podcast
  • Relevance of content to the company or brand
  • Search engine rankings

Surprising to the researchers was the fact that criteria that measured online engagement for blogs and podcasts were among the least important to the respondents.

However, for online communities and social networks, the top three criteria for evaluating influence do reflect the importance of online engagement:

  • Participation level
  • Frequency of posting by the community member
  • Name recognition of the individual

Fifty-one percent of respondents are formally measuring the effects of their social media initiatives. The metrics they value most are enhancement of relationships with key audiences, enhancement of reputation, customer awareness of program and comments/posts relevant to organization/products. Close to the bottom of the list was traditional media coverage.

“The respondents are admittedly power users, but their thinking on new media and influencers will be instructive to all communications professionals,” said McClure.

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