#InnovateNow With Nichole Kelly: Stand Out on Social
The proliferation of owned media. The democratization of voice through social. Media’s evolving landscape. New ways to accurately measure and track PR’s value.
The PR and social media landscapes have changed so much in such a short period of time. While some may see that as daunting, many have relished the new opportunities it presents and innovated methods for connecting with target audiences.
To celebrate the launch of two innovative products Cision Social Edition and Cision PR Edition, we have scheduled a series of Q&As featuring some of the finest innovators in our field. Up next is Nichole Kelly.
The CEO of Social Media Explorer, Nichole Kelly spent 15 years as a brand-side marketer working for organizations such as Sherwin-Williams and The Federal Reserve Bank. In 2012, Nichole launched SME Digital, the digital consultancy arm of Social Media Explorer, and has since assumed responsibility for day-to-day operations of Social Media Explorer, a top 40 marketing blog. She also co-founded TRKS.IT, a link shortening, measurement and remarketing platform. She is a sought-after speaker and author of How to Measure Social Media.
Without further ado, here are Nichole’s answers to how public relations has changed and how she has innovated in this space:
How has social changed over the last five years?
In the last five years, we’ve watched as popular platforms gain larger audiences and then get inundated with brands trying to capture the audience’s attention. The downside in my experience has been that networks like Twitter have lost the secret sauce that got me excited about them in the first place.
Instead, we are seeing a shift of social networks becoming an extension of advertising networks. Frankly, we’ve seen every brand big and small try to jump into social to get cheap marketing sales and the networks moving to a pay-to-play model. All of it can suck the fun out of it for the general user who is there for the conversation unless the platforms truly put their users desires at the center of their mission.
We’re seeing what happens when they all try to do both, it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
What are the biggest trends in the industry today? How do they help you innovate?
There is a definite trend towards podcasting, video integration and live video streaming. This is causing marketers to have to step out of the box and build strong relationships with their creative director and get more comfortable with real-time and less scripted content creation.
A lot of people are talking about how innovative all of this is, but I see it as a natural evolution of marketing and we’ve seen it before. It’s just like when the newspaper expanded into radio and then to TV, the only difference is that we have some better technology to deploy it on today.
Can you tell us about the most innovative social project you’ve worked on?
One of the big challenges brands are facing in the pay-to-play model is the limited reach they are getting on social networks without paying for it.
We are working with a major healthcare brand on recruiting their biggest advocates: employees, sales teams and external partners to opt-in to sharing their social content. We are using SocialToaster and have created gamification for the users to make it fun. They receive an email with a status update, tap the share button and BOOM it’s on all of their social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
It’s been a really fun way to test how to create wide distribution without advertising and it’s working…really, really well.
What are some lessons or best practices social media pros can take away from your most innovative campaign?
Look for the shortcut that gets you the results you are looking for with the least amount of resistance, in this example it was budget. Think outside of the box and beyond what social networks offer. They offer you what makes them money, which can leave amazing opportunities on the table.
By tapping into the social profiles of our client’s biggest advocates, we’ve been able to create a distribution platform that is set to outperform their advertising very soon, and it’s costing a small fraction of what advertising did and producing the same reach. Additionally, it is a solution that will last way longer than a single ad. That’s just smart marketing.
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