A guide to the hottest social media tools from Philadelphia’s top public relations agency

February 6, 2014
spike computer

This post was written by Mike Lizun, Senior Vice President

There are countless online tools that public relations and marketing pros have at their disposals to help their organizations or clients rise to the top of the social media conversation. I detailed the ones I use the most last year on our blog. I’m always pruning my list to make room for new tools and looking at my existing tools with fresh eyes to find new ways to use them to meet clients’ social media and media relations goals.

Lately, I’ve found myself experimenting with, and reaching for, some of these tools more often than others because of their ability to help me develop better strategies to help drive my clients’ social media efforts. Here are three of them and some ideas for how you can use them in your own campaigns:

1. Flipboard. Flipboard is doing for magazines what Twitter is doing for major newspapers; resurrecting a print medium by allowing readers to curate online and digital articles from a variety of publications that matter to them most. The result is a customized magazine that users can share and promote across their own social networks.

How you should be using it: One of the most important rules of public relations is to think like an editor, and with Flipboard, you also become a publisher. Not only can you use it to stay up to speed on what’s interesting to readers in your particular area of interest or expertise, you can also pair a blog post from your company in with an article from a major publication in your space.

You should be promoting your magazine by sharing it on social networks. And perhaps if it gets enough engagement, it will receive the opportunity to be highlighted by the Flipboard editors, where your magazine will be featured in its picks or “new and noteworthy” section.

When creating a magazine on Flipboard, keep in mind the title of the magazine, making sure it is highly optimized by doing keyword research to find out which words and phrases are highly influential in the space you are working in. Next, make sure to pair each article from a major publication with a piece from your company’s blog where you can highlight a client as a thought leader. For example, when a new blog post is published by a client, do a search for articles on the same topic in major news publications, and then place them next to each other on a page in your magazine.

For more detailed instructions on how to use Flipboard, read the user guide: View my Flipboard Magazine.

2. Spike. Spike lets you monitor and follow stories trending on social media. Each day, Spike tracks the real-time social impact of over 100,000 news stories, finds the ones that are getting people talking, and delivers them to you in a live stream. Spike ranks stories based on how much engagement they’re generating. The platform attributes each story a score that represents its social velocity, which Spike defines as the numbers of new tweets, shares, Likes, and comments the story is getting every minute.

SOCIAL IMPACT: Spike monitors and ranks over 100,000 stories
every day.

How you should be using it: I like to refer to Spike as a global, online water cooler. Visit it hourly to immediately see what’s trending in the news on social media in your space. Then use a tactic we call “news jacking,” and piggyback on that story by relating your organization’s latest news, creating content on the fly, such as an image, video, blog post, graph, data analysis, or message around the article on your own social channels. If you think you have something of value to add to a story, share it with the media. And don’t just share the link on social media; add your own opinion on commentary to add value to the conversation and showcase your thought leadership.

INSIDE STORY: Spike CEO and Founder Paul Quigley lets us in on which
national brands are using Spike.

We spoke to Paul Quigley, CEO and Founder of NewsWhip, the company that created Spike, about some of the most interesting use cases it has seen for its tool:
“I’ve seen people managing social media accounts for brands including Victoria Secret and Venus and using Spike to zero in on which stories are driving engagement in in women’s health, fashion, and in women’s interest stories generally, and then finding stories that are worth sharing on Twitter and being kind of early to the party by finding content that’s socially updated and started getting shares. [They see these stories] are getting a good reaction, and are finding them much earlier than they might otherwise and then … effectively joining in the conversation.”

3. Vine. Since Vine debuted last January, it’s amassed over 40 million users. The mobile app allows you to create short, 6-seconds-or-less videos that play in a continuous loop. Vines can be shared on the app itself, Twitter, or Facebook.

How you should be using it: Vines can be an ideal way to communicate quickly and visually. For example, say you have a new study coming out, and you want to build momentum for the release. You can create a series of Vines that tease the most important data points of the study and says “stay tuned for full details and analysis,” and flashes the release date on the screen. Or, if you have a new software platform coming out, you can create Vines that give users a sneak peek of the features they are most excited about. In 2013, Nintendo teased its Wii U ZombiU Deluxe Set, and Go Pro asked customers to create their own teaser Vines.

The key to having success with Vine is to make creative videos that spark imagination and bend the mind of the user. Take a look at this round up from Time’s NewsFeed blog on the top Vines of 2013 to get a flavor of what I’m talking about.

Once you’ve created a Vine that strikes a chord with your audience, build on the interest by extending the video to 15 seconds, which you can post on Instagram. Then, build it out even further for YouTube, and embed it on your blog or website.

We used Vine to bring a tech client to the forefront of the social conversation surrounding last year’s Cloud Computing Expo. We created a series of 10 animated Vines and dripped them out on our client’s Twitter handle with calls to action to visit its booth, and see demonstrations of its new offering. We increased traffic to the booth, successfully hijacked the social discussion at the Expo, and put our client front and center in the overall online discussion.

The Cloud Expo Vine campaign generated a million impressions and elicited multiple retweets from @CloudExpo, @SysConMedia, and countless other partners and attendees.

These tips should give you a new perspective on some tools that you use every day. Keep your eyes on this space, because I’ll continue to update you on how I’m reevaluating the rest of the list.

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