Please join us at POPSignal Thursday: Wii’d Love to Meet

PerkettPR will be sponsoring POPSignal’s Boston event Thursday night at Tequila Rain. There, we’ll be mingling with clients, VCs, reporters, bloggers and social media friends from various backgrounds. Please stop by our table to say hello and light up the night (yes, we’ll be the ones glowing in the dark again), or come challenge us to a game of Wii, where we’ll be introducing our new client, Slingpage, and offering additional private beta invitations. (The first 500 went like hotcakes today after TechCrunch offered them in a pre-launch post.

We’re also continuing our trend of on site interviews – we’re interested in turning the camera on reporters, bloggers and entrepreneurs. Have a new technology to tout? Opinions on the social media landscape? Insights on the future of tech? Please share them with us and we’ll feature them here post-party. We look forward to seeing Boston’s best!

Thanks to Brian Balfour and Jay Meattle for organizing the event.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 05/05/08

How I Increased Page Views on My Forum by 66.7% in a Month
In addition to ProBlogger.com, Darren Rowse also runs Digital-Photography-School.com, a wildly popular digital photography blog. In this post, Darren chronicles his experience in bringing more traffic to his forums by running a prize-based competition. It’s a nice little case-study for those looking for new ways to stimulate activity within their online communities.

Social Media FAQ #5: How Do I Talk to my Executives about Social Media?
Jeremiah Owyang continues his excellent on-going Social Media FAQ series with this post which contains advice on convincing your executive team why social media may be important to your business.

Building Community in the Enterprise
ACDSee Community Manager, Connie Bensen, visits the topic of community in the enterprise by recapping the main points from this week’s Forrester webinar presented by Rob Koplowitz. She provides an excellent summary for those who weren’t able to catch it live.

Make a Professional Podcast on a Minimal Budget
If you’ve considered starting a podcast for your company but have been overwhelmed with the technical aspects, then this post from SocialMediaTrader.com will help ease your anxieties a bit. The whole process is really easier than you would think. Our client Mzinga has been turning out great interview podcasts for a while now. Feel free to check them out at http://www.wearesmarter.com

FaceBook In Reality
I’ll wrap up this week’s set of picks with some humor. If you use Facebook in any capacity, you’ll appreciate the humor in this YouTube video from idiotsofants.com and BBC’s The Wall.

Have a great weekend!

Drop the Excuses and Start Participating

As you may know through my various Tweets, I spoke yesterday at the Ragan Corporate Communicators Conference in Chicago with our EVP, Heather Mosley. We substituted at the last minute for another speaker who dropped out unexpectedly. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous coming in as the backup substitute – none of the conference materials had indicated any change in the session until about one hour beforehand, when it was announced at the opening session. It was definitely on our minds that the audience had been expecting some heavy lifters (a much larger, global agency) to discuss digital marketing. I’m not a “digital marketer” and we had only a few days to pull together our presentation. Would we disappoint them? Could we teach them anything new? Would they walk away feeling the session was valuable? What if they already know everything we were talking about?

We changed the subject matter to something more our in line with our expertise, of course. At PerkettPR, we’re enthusiastic about social media and the opportunities – and challenges – that it presents to the PR profession. Our session was titled, “Join the Conversation: More Effective PR Through Social Media.”

For some, this may seem to be an oxy moron. Many constituents are shouting from the rooftops that PR is dead – due to social media. I completely disagree. I think it’s forcing us to evolve – but that’s a good thing. Social media presents amazing opportunities for communications professionals to engage with their publics in ways never before possible. For me, it’s thrilling. I am so enthusiastic about social media that I liken it to wanting to jump on the couch like Tom Cruise to emphatically express my love for it.

Yesterday, as we started speaking on this topic, the majority of faces in the room looked at us like we were crazy. Facebook for business? Linkedin Answers? Link love on blogs? Twitter-what??? Although, their eyes did light up when Heather explained Twitter like this: It’s like entering a noisy, crowded stadium and saying, ‘Is there a doctor in the house?’… The entire stadium quiets to silence and everyone sits down except for four people that raise their hand and say ‘I can help!’…It’s that powerful and can provide a whole new lifeline of resources to draw from.

We had expected that the majority of the room would not yet be embracing social media (luckily, we were right or we could have been really boring). We knew we weren’t going to be in a room full of technology PR professionals. However, I’m also surprised at how many communicators haven’t embraced what is arguably the biggest evolution of our industry in decades…and their reasoning has nothing to do with technology.

Here are some of the questions and objections to social media participation that really stood out for me:

1) How do you find the time
2) What do you do if someone says something negative about you in the blogosphere?
3) How do you get corporate management to let you participate in social media?

I could go on and on about these topics but I’ll try to keep my recommendations simple.

1) If you don’t find the time I believe you will be out of a job. This is the way communications is going. Participate or be left behind. It’s that simple. Seriously.

Okay, okay, I did provide real tips such as: start slowly; join Twitter and observe for a while. Try to go on a few times a day to begin – post a question in the morning. Come back at noon and check for responses in DMs or aggregators like Tweet Scan. Post thank yous/follow up and another question. Come back before the end of your day and repeat. This can take ½ hour total.

2) It depends. Was it a customer? Was it a competitor? Was there any truth to the complaint or comment? There is no one right answer but there are guidelines to keep in mind – transparency and common sense being two of them.

We provided a few examples from experiences with our own clients. Two different crisis and two different recommendations: one, a posted apology and two, a personal phone call to the blogger. Different situations that called for different actions. In the end, both were turned around by … participating.

3) My answer for this today is simple – hand them a copy of the new book Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research. (Really, it should be required reading for all marketers, communicators and C-level executives.)

Better yet, read it first, highlight the parts that apply to you and the company (and trust me, no matter what industry you are in, there are examples that will apply to you) and put it on every corporate executive’s desk. Include a sticky note with this great quote – one of many – from the book:

“…While you can’t stop it, you can understand it.”

And just for good measure – maybe include another of my favorite quotes from Charlene Li: “While you cannot control word of mouth, you can influence it.” Then explain to them that you cannot do either of these things if you are not allowed to participate.

I hope we helped some communicators at the conference to begin to understand “it.” Forrester calls it the groundswell. Others call it Web 2.0 and still others the new social landscape. Whatever you call it, it’s here to stay…so jump in!

I’d love to hear comments from you, Dear Community, as well. Can you chime in with your ideas and help these professionals learn? After all, isn’t that the spirit of what this new social movement is all about? (Thank you, in advance!)

SMB7 – Hiring/Getting hired in a Web 2.0 World

On the morning of Thursday May 1st, Bryan Person hosted the seventh Boston area Social Media Breakfast. This time around, the venue switched to the spacious Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge where there was a great mix of both new and familiar faces.

This month’s topic focused on hiring and getting hired in a Web 2.0 world. In support of the topic, Bryan recruited Stever Robbins, Aaron Strout, Todd Defren and Chris Brogan to present their perspective in support of the topic. Each speaker did a great job in telling their story as well as answering the audience’s questions during a short panel at the end.

I attended the event with video camera in hand to capture some footage for those who couldn’t be there in person. The first video we have available features Aaron Strout, VP of New Media for Mzinga speaking about his experience with hiring though the use of Twitter, LinkedIn and other web-based tools as opposed to requesting traditional paper resumes.

Once completed, the remaining presentations will be available on the PerkettPR Vimeo Channel. I’ll update this post and send out some “tweets” when the are complete and ready for viewing.


Thanks again to Bryan for hosting the event, and we’re looking forward to attending again next month!

UPDATE:

Additional videos: Chris Brogan

The CrunchNetwork Experience

CrunchNetwork MeetupOn the evening of Thursday May 1st, we attended CrunchGear’s CrunchNetwork Meet-up Held at Red Sky in NYC. Having been part of several TechCrunch meet-ups throughout the last year, we’ve come to expect an environment that blends a level of traditional networking and vendor demos, with a healthy dose of hip and trendy party-going.

This particular event seemed to reverse the formula with a compact, oversold venue that at times felt more like a techie frat party with vendors thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, the shoulder to shoulder, standing room only crowd and extremely loud sessions of Rock Band (played by hired gamers) didn’t allow for capturing a few video interviews like we have in the past. Ultimately the event catered to the the CrunchGear audience (as it should) and is clearly in a different category than the traditional TechCrunch experience.

With that being said, there were plenty of attendees who where very happy with the event and what it had to offer. All things aside, we still managed to spend some quality time with several notable individuals including Jeff Mould, President of Announce Mobile (and new client!), Joe Walsh of SquareLoop, Sarah Meyers of Pop17.com, Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch, Andrew Keidel of ModMyLife.com, Gunnar Larson, CEO of NetworkGlobal.TV, Donna Bogatin, founder and CEO of StartUp Alpha and Hunter Cohen of NQ.com.

At the end the night we walked away from our first CrunchGear event with mixed feelings. It certainly wasn’t what we expected, but worked for the younger audience it was intended for. There were certainly plenty of smiling faces after the numerous raffle prizes were handed out! Ultimately, the experience, while not completely our scene, hasn’t soured us from attending again. Next time, however, we suggest a bigger venue and better locations for demo stations. Look forward to hearing more about bigger and better CrunchGear hosted events in the future.