Shout it Out

On the Social web billions of conversations occur. These conversations take place across many platforms and in many different languages. Conversations also come in many different forms. It is a constant challenge for Social Media Managers to get the results that the companies they work for desire in order to show a return on the investment of having a social media presence. An ongoing hurdle for Social media Specialists is to find out what kinds of audiences are engaged in their product and service, while also trying to connect with their own established targeted audiences. The answer to this challenge is social web analytic tools. These tools allow a companies social media team to align the companies goals and objectives with the social media activity.

free grungy social media icons


Social web analytic tools provide an avenue for companies to take collected information and provides essential feedback in different ways. Measurement comes in many forms and these analytic tools help to decipher which information can put your business in the best scenario to succeed in the social web and in the corporate world. Depending on how detailed you want your feedback to be will determine how much time and money you will need to invest in these tools. Here is a look at a few tools and the value they provide to organizations drawing information from the social web.


Unpaid Analytic Tools:

Social Mention:

A widely used free tool that is capable of executing social media searches and analysis. It draws from a variety of sources and turns the collective data into a single stream of information. This allows you to track and measure what is being said about your organization, similar to Google Alerts.

The downfall of this tool in comparison to paid products is the lack of real analysis that most companies demand.


Focusing on the Facebook social media platform. You can track your organizations Facebook performance and also compare it against two competing companies. If Facebook monitoring is key in meeting your business objective than this would be a good free tool to try.

Google Analytics:

One of the preferred free tools available for social media monitoring. This tool is free to use on any website and doesn’t have a limit on page views that is tracked and is capable of generating reports. Basic users can get info on how many visitors and page views are being received, what sources are sending the traffic, search phrases that lead to visits, and bounce rate to name a few.

There is more settings available for advanced users like goal tracking and custom reports. This is a great platform for new users to begin with the more simplistic functions and move on to the more advanced settings once the user feels more comfortable with the features this tool offers.

Paid Analytic Tool: Lithium – Packages start around $1500 a month

Lithium is a social monitoring tool that aggregates and analyzes social media content from blogs, Twitter, mainstream news, photo and video sharing sites, comments and forums.  The searches draw from the various platforms in real-time and provide a generalized insight to the sentiment of conversations and social mentions around your organization or brand. The tool lets you know if the things being said about your brand is positive, negative, or neutral.  The Social media specialist has the opportunity to change the sentiment but it gives you a generalized look into how people might be feeling about a brand at any given time. Buzz tracking is another feature that provides real-time metrics around conversations about your business and has the capability to compare the data against the industry competition. In addition, there is multiple saving option included with this search analytic tool including bookmarks, notes, and social media mentions with team or individuals set to receive them. Quotes is a feature that is unique to Lithium and allows users to see praise complaints and issues from the social web very quickly.


By Matt Mulvihill





It is no surprise that social web changes the public relations game when dealing with crisis. When news breaks, there is a good chance that someone will be around to take a picture, video, or comment on some sort of social platform about what is unfolding before their eyes. These digital impressions are then shared through the social web in varying platforms including communities of friends, social groups, companies and people with similar interests. The rules have changed and the message is direct. Public Relations practitioners timelines have  changed in recent years with a direct line of communication being opened up to anyone and everyone who uses a smartphone or computer. The message is instant and unexpected, and in most cases there is a lack of context about what is unfolding.

This past fall, the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club were struggling on the field. If the Toronto media wasn’t hard enough on the under achieving teams on field performance, current Blue Jay outfielder Yunel Escobar was doing his best to put the organizations reputation in turmoil.  Mr. Escobar made a poor decision to portray a  homophobic insult on his eye blacks during a Blue Jay’s baseball broadcast. I suppose Yunel Escobar was unaware of the fact that he was being broadcast on a nationally televised  network , which includes a wide spanning audience of social media users following the team. It didn’t take a fan in the audience long to capture a picture of his eye black and quickly take to Twitter, Facebook and many other social platforms. End result, a Social Crisis.

The direct translation of the message he wrote under his eyes was ” You are a f*ggot”. Yunel’s response in a New York press conference the following day was that he didn’t intend for the message to be received as a homophobic slur. In my opinion, i don’t think he got the benefit of the doubt on this one. This is a term that people use in his native country, it apparently it holds different meaning depending on the context, he explained. Yunel was suspended for three games and his intended earnings for the duration of the suspension went towards charities supporting homosexual rights.  The fact that The Jays are Canada’s only team and have a widespread and diverse viewership left management in a bind. They had to mitigate damage as quick as they could before things got even worse on the social web.

From an organizational standpoint, the team did what most organizations do in a crisis situation, release a statement to the increasingly engaged audience. If i were the managing the Blue Jay’s Twitter account i would have taken a similar approach. Within hours of the picture being released, the Jay’s put out a message on their official Twitter page and tweeted this message to all of their followers.

“The Toronto Blue Jays do not support discrimination of any kind nor condone the message displayed by Yunel Escobar during Saturday’s game. The club takes this situation seriously and is investigating the matter.”

This message is direct and official. Many news and broadcasting outlets were quick to publish it showing the concern from the franchises perspective. The following day, Blue Jays management, coaches, and Mr.Escobar  held a press conference where Yunel offerered an apology and statement for the comment he had written. By releasing the initial tweet, it bought the Blue Jays some time to cover off many of the questions being asked around this unfortunate event. By creating a two-way channel on Twitter the Jays Social media team can then monitor and project the types of questions that may have popped up at the press conference. In addition to buying time, it also represents a degree of transparency from the organization representing an act of good faith in keeping the media and fans informed. Win or lose, the Blue Jays have a strong brand and a long way to fall if their reputation isn’t managed properly.

Yunel finished the season with the team after serving his suspension, but the writing was on the wall. Alex Anthopolous ended up dealing the troubled outfielder in the off season in a revered blockbuster deal that not only saw Escobar leave Toronto, but ended up bolstering the roster significantly and created a buzz surrounding the Blue Jays that has not been present in many years.

This was a great example of an organization not overreacting on the social web and using it to reach and influence the fans and media. They accepted the fact that they would need to address this matter face to face and used the social web to manage their message in lieu of the public outcry on Twitter and other social media platforms. Since then, they have left this player and fiasco in their rear view mirror and are off to greener pastures, or fields for the 2013 baseball season.

Visual-Based Social Tools are being integrated into companies overall communication plans more than ever today. Companies simply cannot ignore the traffic, channels, opinions, and feedback that their companies can utilize to recruit, engage, inform, educate or respond to their client base. It is especially important that companies are prepared to enter into the social media ring with proper community management staff in place to post material, monitor customer engagement an its effectiveness. Further to that point, response to the communities requests and comments in a timely and productive way for the brand or business that you represent is key for gaining trust and reputation amongst your viewership. With any outgoing social media tool, community managers must listen, process and react to positive and negative things being said about their business. Even if the comments are negative, simply engaging with an audience in the right way could result in finding the right solution.

* Photo Courtesy of AG beat

A community is everyone who engages in your brand and organization. It is important that community managers are aware of not only the external community needs of their organization, but  their own internal community engagement as well. Keeping employees, especially the ones in departments that deal with the external customers, abreast of the company’s approach to engagement with the social media community is beneficial to a whole company. This will benefit the organization greatly because everyone will be in the know in terms of approach towards advertising, marketing, product management, and corporate communication (1) which are all key components to operating successfully in the various online social media outlets. I think that relatively new social media outlets that are largely visually based, such as Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, will influence companies as they evolve in the social media realm. There is already many analytic tools in place to monitor and measure a company’s success on social media platforms. These tools help provide quantifiable data for organizations to compile and use.  The ability to integrate visual-based social media applications into other social media platforms and websiteswill help get your company’s imagery and voice seen and heard. I personally believe that community managers will be more privy to using these applications once organizations fully understand the tools and the terms and conditions in which they operate. It simply isn’t smart to jump into a large social media platform without having the commitment from and executive level, with time and resources that give your company the best opportunity to succeed in the social web.

Pinterest for example, is a great personalized, visual based social media tool. Organizations can learn a thing or two from this application because it is the voice of their consumer base. Company’s can observe what is trending on Pinterest and identify ways that they can expand their brand and engage their audience. Whether you are a professional chef, or a company that sells ties, Pinterest will have people talking about things that relate to your business. For example, a professional chef may post a photo that shows different ways of telling how fresh an egg is by placing it in a bowl of water. The general food audience will be engaged by this little trick, but your restaurant or site will benefit because it is driving traffic to your personal social media hub. As for the tie example, if you were to post a chart of all of the different types of ways to tie a tie, than again this may captivate not only your customers, but bring in people who are curious or engaged with your pin or post. I’m sure we will see a more personalized  and increased approach to advertising and marketing tools on the social web with plenty of imagery or info graphics. As company’s write more and more about their success stories others will come on board. People like to be engaged. They do not want to spend all day finding what they like, community managers need to serve it up!

By: Matthew Mulvihill

With excessive amounts of social media channels and users, it is important that content creators are aware of the increasing importance of creating content that is rich in substance and visually appealing to the audience at the same time. Infographics can be used  to express a particular message  or outline components of a strategy using interesting visuals while developing a social media content strategy. Today’s market is extremely competitive and content strategists need to utilize the resources they have to create content that their targeted audience will want to come and see, learn and experience the information they provide. Below are three examples of content strategy info graphics and charts that I found online. Each info graphic summarizes the importance of content strategy for social platforms in a unique way. I will provide my thoughts on why each info graphic is effective and also where the creators could have taken a different approach.

This info graphic is a very strong visual that summarizes various layers of a content strategy for social media in the form of a hamburger. The hamburger, lettuce and cheese show how audience, content theme, voice and tone are co dependent on one another to provide substance and structure to your content strategy. The buns and condiments are more tied to content format and digital channels which are people components that provide workflow and governance that are tied in to your content strategy. The burger is a clever visual because people can relate to the steps it takes to assemble a burger prior to eating it. It also represents how each of these components for a content strategy can be relevant, or tasty by themselves, but when combined are far more effective, or in this case delicious. The creator of this idea Jeffrey L. Cohen from Radian6 and artist, Mark Smiciklas have done a fantastic job of summarizing content strategy for web.

This second graphic takes a different look at content development and content strategy through a life cycle. I found this graphic to be of particular interest because every content strategy is going to be implemented through a lifecycle from the onset of the strategy until the strategy requires retooling or a different direction. The visual leads your eye around in a circle and has a nice flow for users to easily understand the lifecycle of content and key components of each phase during the implementation of a content strategy. This info graphic could almost be used as a checklist or guide to determine a projects content requirements and potential content sources. It can be used as a guide to ensure that the content is rich and the users are going to find the information that they are seeking. Although the content is well organized and flows nicely in this graphic, it does lack a bit of creativity. Perhaps a more dynamic 3d looking pie chart or some more creative visuals to represent the lifecycle would drive even more users to this example of web content strategy planning. I think this info graphic serves its purpose conveying information but is lacklustre when it comes to entertainment or persuasive elements.

As a content creator you want your content to align with your business needs. You will also have specific benchmarks that you would like to achieve while implementing your content strategy. This info graphic takes a look at planning from a social media content creators perspective. This graphic is powerful because it covers many questions that a content creator will need to ask themselves when developing a strategy. How your content is structured and channelled to the public or audience, what sources to use, what type of substance you’re looking for, what tone you will use with your audience, who will be creating, administering and carrying out specific tasks associated with the strategy. This graphic is great food for thought if you are a content creator that is viewing it for the first time. Though the article has a lot of specific questions that are very useful, the actual content strategy initiatives are not clearly defined anywhere in the graphic. Perhaps the graphic could be altered to show what questions are gearing towards specific components of a content strategy plan or underlying topic map.


By Matthew Mulvihill

October 7 , 2012



Resources mentioned in the article:

Mark Smiciklas, Digital Strategist,

Content Strategy For the Web, Strategy /Content, pg. 29, 31

Tweet, Tweet, Promote! Why?

Promoted tweets can be an effective way of conveying a message as a public relations practitioner. Crisis management or prevention can especially be utilized by industry practitioners to get accurate information to the right audience in a timely fashion. They have the capability to target search results specific to user timelines and geographic location.  Information can be shared amongst a potentially large audience in a very short time using a promoted 140 character tweet that includes links to additional information.  It is a way for an organization to amplify its message to the right audience and gain feedback through retweets as people view, share and react to the content or substance that you are providing them. Examples of promoted tweets being used could include The Ministry of Ontario releasing a promoted tweet about a fire ban in a particular area, or a power producer warning the public about increasing water levels related to power production. In addition, it is also a way for users to become aware of other related content that is relevant to the success to your business. Examples of this would be key messages found in related tweets or links to other substance found in your overall content strategy.


Promoted accounts are very similar to promoted tweets in the sense that you are trying to reach a broad audience. The difference is that the search algorithms associated with this feature are slightly different and the target is more of following a company or entity, rather than a particular message. The promoted accounts is an extension of the “Who to Follow”  section on Twitter and helps to find similar accounts and followers that are more likely to have vested interest in your company or organization. This allows Twitter to promote your organization amongst the people you follow as well and hopefully steering you towards some content that is relevant to the consumer, customer and the businesses objectives and goals. Promoted accounts may have been a worthwhile investment for Maple Leaf Foods, for example, during their food crisis a couple years back. It would have been an opportunity to obtain more followers through promoted tweets during a time of crisis, in hopes of amplifying the message of steps being taken to mitigate safety concerns and manage reputation during a time of crisis. The question that the company needs to ask itself prior to making a commitment to promoted tweets is whether or not the cost of promoting an account is in line with the companies overall business needs. In Maple Leaf Foods case it would have been a definite must with consumers wof their products spanning so many places geographically.



Promoted trends shows up in Twitters suggestions of what to follow based on popularity. This difference is that promoted trends are not popular from there onset, but purchased. Promoted trends can be expensive in nature and a companied Public Relations practitioner must be confident in a suggestions to a companies upper management to sell the idea of selling a promotional tweet. To put it in perspective. If I own a grocery store are I want to advertise a particular dollar sale that will be happening in Canada I would simplay buy some advertising in the local paper or perhaps increase my flyer distribution for that week. It wouldn’t seem feasible to invest $40,000 dollars to promote my message to the Twitter world in hopes that followers would come to my store and take advantage of the sale. It just wouldn’t make good business sense. However, if I were a huge company like apple and I was releasing a new phone, it would make perfect sense to promote the trend that a new phone has been released. This would align with current users, prospective clients and all of the businesses that carry and distribute Apple products. It is also a good measuring stick to see how engaged consumers are with your product.


Whether you are promoting a tweet, and account, or a trend, the success is very dependent on whether or not it aligns with your company goals, financial planning, and whether or not Twitter is the correct channel to convey that particular message.


By:  Matt Mulvihill




Here with a Trace

Okay, so we don’t have a jacked terminator coming into a bar asking a biker for his clothes, his boots and his motorcycle quite yet. We also don’t have scanners in our eyes that the terminator used to match the correct size clothing of the biker he ripped off, yet. That day may be closer than you think. With Google Glasses upcoming launch in 2013 we may be on the verge of taking a huge step in this direction.


Significant strides have been made with location service technology in iPhones and smartphones in recent years. Our phones cannot become our eyes and tell you what clothes fit you by scanning a rack  in a store, but they sure can help show you how to get to that rack by finding the store with modern location service and augmented reality technology. Users are now able to access any information from anywhere they want. In my mind, the only thing that is really going to advance  is the technology and the amount of data, we, as users feed into these applications. 

Foursquare and Q2 readers have made locations and information about people, events and places more readily available than ever. I think that both foursquare and Q2 readers are relatively new and exciting, but are not necessarily a final solution for the problems they were originally designed to solve. They help the users get information faster but only as far as thedevelopers that drive them can take it. I can see users and developers taking these concepts, or applications, and enhancing them for their business and personal needs even more so, as technology advances. Hopefully as our devices become more compact and condensed, so will the search for information that we strive to communicate .

The increased numbers of users in location service applications such as Foursquare and Google maps will give developers and businesses leverage in gaining additional information about their customers. Increasing accessible profile information that helps determine what users specific interests are and what they are likely to be interested in viewing or hearing. With the launch of Google Glasses next year the opportunity for users to use location services and interact with their various social media tools will increase dramatically. This will also significantly enhance the opportunity for users to geo tag, take photos and build an overall larger repository of information that is exposed to a worldwide audience.

Google glasses opens a whole new world in the way that we as people interact with socail media and network with each other. Users interact in their own way and provide a new perspective from their own point of view. Public relations practitioners will now be able to seek and release  information quicker than ever through software that is integrated into the Google Glasses interface. Information can be uploaded,directed or collected by the users which will help practitioners produce accurate, timely feedback in seemingly larger numbers, depending on the success of the product. This will help justify with senior leaders and executives of companies who strive for results that they associate with a companies bottom line and their business communication goals.

Google Glasses are hands free devices which will have calling capabilities. I can see PR practitioners integrating promotional materials, important messaging, and channels for customers to provide feedback into their communication plans easier than ever.

Offering up incentives by uploading content to a social media application that has been chosen to direct people for a particular company or promotional interest.  This will be made available to all users, even if they are stuck on a major route on the way to work. They are hands free  and have full internet capability.

Another use i could see Public Relations practitioners getting involved in is initiatives for charity. Corporations will now be able to extend their reach to larger audiences. Fun and new dynamic ways to support charities can be created and integrated into new software. In turn, it will not only be able for the user to participate, but perhaps easier for them to become closer to the campaign by having the capability of accessing additional information on the spot, or perhaps providing a strong message of support for an initiative without evening touching a button!

iLike Where Things are Going!

I can remember just a short time ago when i didn’t have a cell phone, except for work. I was the kind of person that enjoyed seeing and experiencing things for myself. I didn’t want to be found unless people knew where i was,  running as far away from a computer once the work day was through. Last January, i  finally forked out the coin and picked up the iPhone 4S, boy has my life changed. I realized how narrow-minded I had become. I had started to resent my friends for always having their faces buried in their phones and didn’t really care to much as to what they were looking at. Guess what, I’ve joined the club. I am now a osterich with my head in the sand, or cyberspace.

The advancements since my last cell phone three years ago are simply astronomic. I now rely on my phone to get me everywhere using my phone’s location services apps. I also find myself increasingly seeking instant gratification in things that i used to take in stride. For example, I can now upload my fishing photos and brag away to my friends while im still in the boat, update my fantasy football pool anywhere at anytime, scan a concert posters QR code and get tickets to a show instead of rushing to a computer and instantly  reach my friends and favorite sites through a series of dynamic and amazing apps and browsers. Photos of events are available instantantlywith many people contributing their images and thoughts in a split second.

I feel closer to the companies along with people who mean the most to me. Social media application’s provide me with updates through channels like Twitter and Facebook, dangling events, notifying me of  my favorite interests and sending me promotions I would have never came across while browsing on my home computer. I see the potential in location-based marketing and promotion. Especially with the exponential growth in technology and interactivity that people crave, wanting the latest and greatest content instantaneously. With this new content i am certain that everyone, everywhere will become more creative, more knowledgable (answers at your fingertips), and more honest because everyone everywhere will have the power to find out where you are at any given time!

One final thought relates toPublic Relations (PR). As discussed in my first social media class by our professor. PR practitioners are going to increasingly have to provide context to stories because they will break so much quicker to the mainstream media through all of the social media channels that are interconnected with users who keep close tabs on other users who they find interesting or captivating. I look forward to learning about the intrcacies of social media as it relates to PR and find out a bit more about where its moving too.

Here are some other blogs and sites i thought were pretty neat taliign about socal media as it relates to Public Relations:\