The Rise of #SocialTV

Note: This post originally appeared on Heather Whaling’s blog

As we all know, an occupational hazard of PR is never being able to take your “PR hat” off. This has even started to creep into one of my favorite pastimes, watching television. A product placement here, a really good 30-second spot there — that was the limit of brands joining the television experience. Now hashtags, GetGlue check-ins and live-tweeting are the next generation of ways for brands to reach consumers.

A prime example of this rise was this year’s Super Bowl. There 12.2 million social media comments, which was 6.8X growth from last year’s Super Bowl. The half-time alone was the 4th highest entertainment Social TV event with more than 862,000 comments. Social TV is definitely on the rise and I am really excited to “watch” this trend grow in 2012 and beyond.

I think my affinity for watching television can be traced back to my childhood. When I was younger I lived on a street with lots of kids my age. My mom loved to cook, and more often than not there were a few non-Shipp’s at the dinner table. After dinner everyone usually headed down to the TV in our living room to catch one show or another. My early memories of television are of it bringing people together.

For the past 15-20 years, TV has gone the opposite way. As more TVs have become present in the home, many of us find ourselves watching alone. But, are you actually alone when you have your smart phone and laptop? Due to this significant rise in social media and multi-screen viewing of television, we are seeing a significant shift in the way television is watched. It is once again bringing people together.

I mean, check out these numbers according to a Yahoo! And Razorfish survey of U.S. adults

  • 94% exchange email, send IMs, text, talk or social network while watching TV
  • 80% are mobile multitasking while watching TV
  • 15% are on their phones for the entire duration of programs

Many of us are tweeting, facebooking, checking-In and searching the web about the shows we’re watching.  We want to share our thoughts about these shows, and now television networks are starting to encourage the conversation. For example, shows feature hashtags in the bottom corner of the screen, which I’m sure many of you have seen. However, a few networks and shows are stepping up their game.

The Voice (NBC)

  • The Voice has a social media correspondent that is featured during the show. The correspondent usually highlights viewer tweets in live-time pulling the viewers into the show.
  • Each episode highlights tweets from the judges such as Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and Christina Agulara during the show. As the show and contestants grew in popularity the show took it a step further and highlighted contestants tweets as well.

The Walking Dead (AMC)

  • AMC has developed a talk show after The Walking Dead called The Talking Dead. This is a talk show with cast and celebrity appeances that is all things The Walking Dead. The smart social TV tie-in here is that viewers can post questions on the shows Facebook page or tweet questions to the show’s twitter handle @AMCTalkingDead. Additionally, the host of the show live-tweets with viewers after the show.

Suits and White Collar (USA)

  • The #Suits and #WhiteCollar hashtag will periodically be replaced by a question during a pivotal scene in each episode, such as “What would you do if you were Mike?” (I mean who doesn’t love a good call to action?!

How Brands Can Get Involved

As I put my “PR hat” back on, I am blown away by the enormous potential for brands to utilize these conversations. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a lot of good examples.  Here are a few things to remember as you begin to brainstorm way to get your brand involved in the Social TV space.

  • Remember social is a party. Be a part of the conversation, but don’t dominate it.
  • Give viewers something they can’t get anywhere else. Whether it’s a product giveaway, exclusive content, featuring a user’s tweet on your Twitter brand page or traditional website – make it memorable and talkable.
  • Make sure the show supports your target. This may seem elementary, but it’s always worth reaffirming.

In addition to following the Social TV conversations on Twitter and Facebook, here are a few helpful resources you can leverage to become a part of the Social TV new trend.

Television has always had the ability to bring people together, just like me and the neighborhood kids when I was growing up. Combining that offline talkability with the immediate connection social media provides with your online community can generate significant social TV commentary. I predict that the sheer number of social media users talking about television presents a key opportunity. Brands that strategically interact with their consumers in the social TV space should reap big rewards in 2012.


Ford: Doing Social Media The Right Way

I recently had the opportunity to hear Craig Daitch of Ford speak to the #cincysm group about Ford’s use of social media. I knew it was going to be a great presentation when I received this tweet from Craig the day before:

From corporate branding to the dealership to Ford Credit, Craig and Ford are truly making Ford one of the world’s most social companies. Here are a few takeaways from his presentation.

A Big Social Media Budget (but it’s not all for what you think)

When it comes to Ford and social media a lot of the attention, and money, is centered around the Facebook exclusive launch of the 2012 Explorer or the Go Do Campaign that lives on Youtube. These were obviously some big budget initiatives that paid off in terms of impressions and website traffic. While he didn’t share those budgets with us, but he did throw out a budget number that surprised me.

Ford has a seven figure, let me repeat seven figure, budget just for monitoring. As any good social media strategist knows, it is all about the data. I was really happy to hear Ford put such an emphasis on monitoring and listening to their consumers. Kudos to Craig and the Ford team for spending the money to truly listen to their customers.

Taking it to the Dealers

As a result of their monitoring budget, Ford has learned a majority of the brand’s negative sentiment directly references a specific dealership, such as “Conin Ford has horrible customer service” or “The service department at Kerry Ford just ripped me off.”

To counteract that negative sentiment, and to encourage dealerships to get involved in the conversation, Ford will rollout more than 3,000 dealership Facebook Fan Pages throughout 2012 using partner Buddy Media. Content for these pages will be provided at the corporate level and monitored at the dealership level.

I’m glad to hear Ford has recognized the need for individual dealership pages that have a specific strategy. Working for a local auto dealership as a community manager, I know the value Facebook pages as well as other social media tools can provide.

What’s Next?

After hearing Craig’s presentation I’m definitely impressed with the steps Ford are taking. It will be interesting to see how Ford continues to bring the car buying experience to the social space.

PRSA Is More Than 4 Little Letters

On Wednesday night the new pros group had the opportunity to learn more about how new members can get the most out of their PRSA experience. Three veteran members of Cincinnati PRSA were on hand to share their stories about their PRSA experience. Jonathan Kissell, Jill Dunne and Darcy Little, 3 Cincinnati PRSA board members, were our speakers for the night.

Here are my three biggest takeaways from last night’s discussion:

There are lots of ways to get involved

Whatever time you have to offer, the chapter can use. To get involved right away there are multiple volunteer opportunities with local non-profit organizations. Peter Osborne our community service chair does a great job finding opportunities for PRSA members to use their skills to help these organizations.

In addition to volunteer opportunities members can join a leadership team committee. There isn’t a formal process to join a committee, all it takes is an email to an individual committee chair to get the ball rolling. Leadership team committees include: Social Media, Sponsorship, Blacksmith Awards, New Pros, APR, Newsletter and Media Day.

You get out, what you put in

I know, I know, this seems like a, “well, no duh” statement, but it is especially true with PRSA. As I mentioned in my previous points there are plenty of ways to get involved. Each of these opportunities is a way to strengthen your overall skill set and make you a more well-rounded pro. Additionally, by joining these committees you get the chance to meet a more of our chapter members, which is current more than 200 professionals strong. Our members are the undisputed PRSA leaders in the Cincinnati who are really, really good at what they do and are almost always willing to help, which leads right into my last takeaway…

PRSA Members are Friendly

All three speakers alluded to this multiple times during the discussion. If you have a question, all you have to do it ask. Whether it’s about about a job opportunity, career advice, or how to track down someone at one publication or another, chances are good someone else has been in your situation at one point or another and can offer some help.

Those were my biggest takeaways from the benefits and importance of being a PRSA member, what else do you have to add?

One last thing… As the Cincinnati PRSA New Pros Committee Chair I will be sharing recaps of our monthly events throughout the year. If you have any suggestions about speakers, topics or venues for future events I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

What’s your proudest Twitter moment(s)?

The other day I was looking through my Twitter stream and saw a few brands and other big time influencers RTing some typical, everyday Twitter followers and I got to thinking… I wonder if brands and influencers understand the impact they can make in 140 characters or less? A simple “Thanks” or “Keep up the good work” can go such a long way with consumers. When it’s done the right way, brands and influencers can even evoke a sense of pride.

I still remember my proudest moment even though it was over a year ago. I wrote a blog post on my little 10-12 page views per day blog and expected my parents and a few other kind souls to check it out. Somehow it caught the eye of some at Ragan’s PR Daily and they shared it on the PR Daily’s News Feed.





I mean that alone was awesome. I was so pumped that I tweeted @MarkRaganCEO to thank him and his team. I didn’t actually think someone with more than 30,000 Followers would get back to me. Within the hour I got a response telling me to keep up the good work. As a young pro, it absolutely meant the world to me. I still remember where I was when I saw the tweet. It was a pretty awesome feeling.

My interaction with Mr. Ragan, and a few other instances on Twitter have shown me how the power of Twitter can be harnessed to truly connect and make an strong impact in someone’s life.

Now it’s your turn. Everyone has a great story and I’d love you to share it here. What’s your proudest Twitter moment(s)?

Social Media Tools, Tactics and Trends

I have been fortunate enough to serve on the New Pros Committee this year with a few other incredible young pros. I was tasked to set up the June speaker to discuss Social Media. I am REALLY REALLY EXCITED to announce Stephanie Wonderlin (@swonderlin) as our guest speaker.

Mrs. Tweetheart TV Herself

Stephanie, based out of Austin, Texas will be joining in via Skype. At her day job as The Director of Account Services at 44 Doors (@44Doors), a Mobile Experience Solutions Agency, Stephanie empowers clients such as Kendall-Jackson, Coca Cola and AT&T with more impactful and measurable ways to engage mobile consumers.

When Stephanie isn’t on the cutting edge of mobile innovation at 44 Doors she is a @NikeWomen Make Yourself Blogger and hosts her own Youtube webisode series called Tweetheart TV, the first interactive social media show. Stephanie reviews the latest social media tools  in power packed 2 minutes videos. Check out her latest video here:

Stephanie will lead the group in a 30-40 minute presentation on the latest tools, tactics and trends in social media. We will have 20 minutes of Q and A after so have your questions ready!

Here are all the event details:

When: Tuesday June 14 @ 6:00 PM

Where: Northlich (720 Pete Rose Way Cincinnati, OH 45202) Parking is free to attendees in the Northlich lot.

RSVP to or on our Facebook Event Page – Please submit any questions on the Event page’s wall

Tweeting is Encouraged! Please use the #cincyprsa hashtag and chat it up with Stephanie –@swonderlin

See everyone there!

Let Your Motto Be Resistance

I had the opportunity to attend the sneak preview of a new exhibit opening at The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits.” The event runs through June 19.

The exhibit includes 68 portraits of inspirational African Americans who truly made a difference. The exhibit has a very simple, but powerful layout. The entire exhibit is in one room large room. The 68 portraits hang on white walls that take you on a journey through history you’ll not soon forget.

Powerful Simple Display

In addition to the 68 portraits there are several, never seen before items on display.

Signed Muhammed Ali Gloves

A Signed BB King Guitar

You may be asking, why are you writing about this? Where’s the social media… Where’s the PR…? Well here we go. The Freedom Center does a great job of integrating digital strategy due in part to their Web and Marketing Communications Manager Jamie Glavic (@NURFCJamie). They have recently started an iPod tour and it sounds like more innovative and exciting digital integration will soon be available at the museum.

An important component of Let Your Motto Be Resistance, expressed by the curator Dina Bailey, is continuing the conversation. The exhibit has two “reflection areas” where attendees are encouraged to answer two questions.

If you get a chance to attend the event, I would highly recommend writing your thoughts down. In addition to writing your thoughts, why not add in a social media component. The NURFC is encouraging users to share their thoughts and comments during the exhibit using the #FantheFlame.

When you #FantheFlame remember…

They were activists… MLK and Malcolm X

They were athletes… Ali and Jesse Owens

They were singers… B.B. King and Sammy Davis Jr.

They were educators… George Washington Carver and W.E.B. Dubois

They were difference makers. #FanTheFlame

Building Relationships with Charlene Li

I recently had the opportunity to take part in a Skype presentation (courtesy of Cincinnati PRSA) featuring renowned author, Charlene Li. She is the founder of the Altimeter Group, co-author of Groundswell, and author of Open Leadership. She also really knows her stuff!

Charlene shared her insights on building relationships with social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, etc. She emphasized that while these tools help facilitate relationships, they aren’t the foundation.

That foundation comes from a mutual understanding of the informality of the platform.  Think about your personal relationships. They are safe, trusting and friendly, right? Now, envision social media relationships exactly the same way.  Here are two important things to remember:

Relationships take time to grow.

A strong social media community will not be built overnight. Yeah, Charlie Sheen may have been the fastest to 1 million followers, but is that really a community or simply a popularity contest?  Healthy social media growth is built on a strong strategy of consistent and valuable content that helps everyone succeed.

Relationships are not immune to problems.

In all relationships, mistakes are made and apologies are needed. Inappropriate tweets and status updates will inevitably happen. When they do, take ownership, apologize, and begin the process of rebuilding the relationship. That old adage about what you put into a relationship is what you get out of it.

Yeah, it applies to social media…