Webinar Q&A: Overcoming fears, proving ROI

social-media-q-and-aOccasionally we like to answer questions here that come up in our Cision Social Media Webinars. Our advanced session tomorrow, Engaging Social Media, is full, but is being offered again on Wednesday, August 19. Also, check out our webinars Understanding Social Media (for beginners) on Thursday, August 6 and Monitoring Social Media on Thursday, August 13.

 Mauricio: How do we get clients over the fear of social media?

 Jay: The biggest fear amongst brand managers I talk to is that their company will be attacked on blogs and social sites by people who haven’t checked their facts, don’t use their real names, and aren’t accountable for what they say. For any company with a certain level of visibility, these incidents are inevitable at least occasionally. But if you are monitoring for relevant conversations and taking part in those conversations, you will become aware of these remarks more quickly so that you can correct misperceptions before they spread. No matter what your industry, you’ll also find yourself talking with a lot of perfectly rational people doing honest research into their options for a product or service, and those discussions will come to typify the perception of your brand on the social Web, rather than the occasional salvo from a “hater”.

Mary: What about the liability issues brought out by social networking?

Jay: For companies, the social Web is not a place where “anything goes”. A lot of industries, particularly healthcare and finance, have strict regulations about the sharing of information that apply to conversations on Twitter just as they do face to face. One rule of thumb is not to discuss issues online that you can’t discuss in other forums. In other words, the game has perhaps not changed so much as moved to a new court. The reason companies are concerned about liability on the social Web is that the quantity of discussion about them is increasing, possibly drawing in more of their employees, and all of  those comments are amplified in a public space. Check out our post on creating a corporate social media policy.

Dan: Is it possible to measure press release hits in the social media environment?

Jay: So glad you asked! There is a wide variety of metrics available for measuring the impact of an online release, including traditional measures of reach like Unique Visitors, but also gauges of content sharing such as inbound links, comments and citations on social news sites like Digg and Delicious. You can increase your impact as scored by these metrics by incorporating outbound links into your releases, adding multimedia content, writing them for broad appeal and submitting them to social sites as part of a larger mix of interesting content.



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