Help for those “Vote for my SXSWi Panel” headaches

If you’re in technology, business or entertainment (music, film), you’ve certainly been exposed by now to a steady stream of “Vote for my SXSW panel” messages, blog posts and Tweets. With thousands of entries, not only is the noise deafening from your social buddies, but the time it takes to truly read the panels and give them the “thumbs up” is nearly impossible. (Bless the panel – they are certainly going to be doing a lot of reading.)

Why is everyone asking for your vote? Well, because votes – the community’s opinions – account for about 30% of the decision of who gets the much-coveted speaking slots. The Advisory Board (40%) and Staff (30%) make up the other percentages. SXSW is held every March in Austin, TX and is THE place to be to create new relationships, learn and share with the social media, business, tech, and entertainment crowd. It lasts a week, with a divide between interactive, music and film. You can read all about it, here.

With the deluge of panels and all the posts about them, you’re likely just to vote for your pals and they’ll vote for you and once again, popularity – not necessarily quality – will prevail. But one thing we’ve noticed that’s missing from a lot of the recommendations is the WHY. Why vote for these panels other than a friend asks you to do so? Seems a lot of the promotion is leaving out that crucial detail. So, we’ve chosen a few of our favorites so far, below, and a reason why we believe each is worthy of you clicking that “thumbs up” button. We kept our focus on the interactive side, FYI.

We’ll try to add more as we find them but feel free to leave your favorites - don’t forget the why – in the comments. There are so many, we’d love to learn about more great ones that we haven’t yet heard of, and from people we might not yet know (isn’t that what’s great about social networks?!).

  • Because we’re “inspired women who want to inspire other women,” we vote for Breaking Glass Ceiling(s) – Fearless Women Entrepreneur by Amita Paul, ObjectiveMarketer. We’re not crazy about the title but get past that and read the content – are there really only 13 women at the top?!
  • Turns out Carla Thompson of Sharp Skirts sees women everywhere – in startups, that is. We’re always interested in the gender gaps in business and again, empowering women. So we give a “thumbs up” to Where are the Women in Startups? Um, everywhere! and hope you will, too.
  • Noticing a theme here? Yes, we are all about supporting the ladies. But, this one is truly unique – focused on African American women and their use of the Internet for activism. Cybercrusading for Women by Gina McCauley, Blogging While Brown.
  • Speaking of powerful young women on the Internet, we’ve got to give a shout out to our industry colleagues at Sevans Strategy. They’ve got a PR panel – and as big proponents of ensuring a brighter, smarter PR industry – we highly recommend it for any PR executive. Spin Doctors: PR Best Practices for Social Media includes founder Sarah Evans, Jason Kintzler of Pitch Engine and Ryan Osborn of NBC News.
  • Sarah is also a part of this panel – which intrigued us as we continue to research the impact of social media globally ourselves. The Global Online Community – Improving Cross-Cultural Relations also includes Andrew Kneale, of the British Council.
  • Another woman we’re proud to know is Alicia Staley of The Staley Foundation. Alicia’s got an amazing story to share and we love her panel because it combines her personal experiences with cancer and the timely topic of crowd sourcing. Crowd Sourcing Cancer deserves a thumbs up because it’s got a higher purpose and can truly help many people above and beyond this event.
  • As PR executives, our daily work revolves around story telling – and story shaping. So we were interested when we read Storytelling in an Age of Industrialized Content by Upendra Shardanand of Daylife. We’re all story tellers now – do you know how to keep ‘em human?
  • And finally, we wouldn’t be very good PR professionals if we didn’t also ask you to give our panels a thumbs up. In The Networking Conundrum, I’ll analyze how people and businesses are building communities online and off – and whether or not both are important. Are they inclusive of one another? Why or why not? What if you live in a rural area – can you still build influence online as successfully as your city-dwelling competitors? And what behaviors are most effective in each? We think this is an important topic as social networks continue to grow and thus the world seems to simultaneously get smaller.
  • Our EVP Heather Mosley will take a look at who’s already done well in this vein – and what you can learn from them – in Dissecting What Really Works in Social Marketing Campaigns. What companies are doing it right and what have the results been? Is it possible to take elements of their successes to build your own – why or why not? She’ll help you understand what’s worked, why, if it can work for you – and maybe more importantly, what doesn’t.

We’ll continue reading through the panels and let you know what else catches our eye. What have been your faves so far?

See you in Austin!

 

South by Southwest or Bust!

SXSW 2009PerkettPR is heading to Austin, Texas this week to attend one of the most anticipated events of the year – SXSW 2009 Interactive! Heather Mosley (@mosleyppr) and I both served as panel liaisons for this year’s festival and we are looking forward to meeting with all the social media movers and shakers at the event.

Along with attending the many sessions the conference has to offer, we will be conducting several informal video interviews from the event to share on this blog. We have already confirmed some great interviews with David Meerman Scott, Chris Brogan, Justin Levy, Peter Kim, Steve Garfield, Michael Langford, Mike Lewis and others, and we are looking for more! If you are a tech blogger/reporter, entrepreneur, social media enthusiast or just a big thinker who would like to speak with us at the show and tell us about your innovative spirit, please let us know – we’d love to connect in Austin to learn and share more.

If you are not attending but would like us to try and catch someone specific for an interview, please send us a note or post some suggestions here – we’ll do our best to catch those folks on video. Also, send us your suggestions on the “must see” events, parties, and activities we should plan on attending. We don’t want to miss anything!

Here’s what we’re looking forward to:

  • The Accelerator, in which about two dozen startups will demo their services or products before a panel of judges; venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki and tech journalist Brad King will emcee the event
  • Core Conversation: Why Gen Y Won’t Friend Your Brand
  • Guy Kawasaki’s Keynote Interview with “The Long Tail” writer Chris Anderson
  • Core Conversation: How to Create a Great Company Culture
  • Opening Remarks by Tony Hsieh of Zappos
  • Core Conversation: Advertising is Entertaining – Who’s Selling Out?

And so much more! We look forward to seeing you at SXSWi!

Contact/follow us at:
Christine Major – cmajor [at] perkettpr [dot] com or DM at @cmajor
Heather Mosley – hmosley [at] perketpr [dot] com or DM at @mosleyppr

Christine Perkett and Heather Mosley Talk “PR and Social Media” on Lotame’s Social Media Remix

Lotame’s (client) “Social Media Remix” on BlogTalkRadio is described as “a show for all the publishers, advertisers, fans, skeptics, employees, and friends of everything and anything that is Social Media.” As mentioned in last Friday’s Persuasive Picks, PerkettPR’s own Christine Perkett and Heather Mosley appeared on the show last week to talk about PR’s role in Social Media and some best practices that are applied when using it for clients.

What do you think? How do you use social media in your promotions? We’d love to hear your stories and anecdotes as well via comment, links, etc. We’ve embedded the BlogTalkRadio player for easy access to the show – Enjoy!

How Important is Social Media in PR? Ask us Live Today on Lotame Radio at 11:30 ET

UPDATE:

In a timely twist of fate, ZDNet’s Jennifer Leggio wrote a blog post today titled, “Research report: Is ’social PR’ for real? Which agencies get it?” The purpose as stated was to “determine which PR firms are best attuned to social media and are developing the most beneficial social programs for their clients” and to “get an answer to the question, “Is social media even what clients want?”

In it, Jennifer unveils some interesting takeaways for both PR agencies – how they can improve overall – and for clients. She also talks about some fundamental – but not all new – issues with the PR agency/client relationship, such as these commonly-heard concerns:

  • Only 38 percent of respondents feel they’re getting quality of coverage promised during new business pitches
  • Only 32 percent of clients consistently feel as if their agencies understand their core business objectives

And these newer concerns:

  • A lot of PR agencies want to plug themselves into the social networking channel because it is the hot thing right now but PR is floundering
  • Many high tech PR firms claim to “get” social media, but then turn around and push tactics as strategies in a one-size fits all way

More than 40 percent of respondents claimed that they are considering switching agencies. The top three reasons for wanting a new agency include:

  • Agency does not understand the business / not getting coverage in the right outlets
  • Agency does not have a blog or demonstrate good use of social networking tools
  • Agency does not appropriately demonstrate the ROI of the program

We were of course ecstatic to read that out of all the PR agencies out there, PerkettPR was named as a “Top Considered Agency”one of only six agencies consistently named as a viable consideration for clients considering an agency switch. For all of you who named us – here’s my direct line: 781.834.5852 – we look forward to hearing from you!

Read the full report here for all the details. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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ORIGINAL POST:

At PerkettPR we pride ourselves on staying ahead of the curve and moving quickly. We try to recognize the shifts in our industry before our competitors, and quite often we are successful at embracing the shifts long before our competitors do – perhaps we are more flexible and nimble due to our size and therefore faster to adapt.

We’ve certainly seen this when it comes to social media. While bigger agencies are adopting social media and have begun to execute some interesting campaigns, many PR agencies fail to showcase any sort of social media presence of their own. Making a few videos for clients isn’t exactly a complete social media strategy. It’s just one component.

Cece Salomon-Lee of PR Meets Marketing decided to do her own analysis of which PR firms have a social media presence. Unfortunately, her list only covers those agencies listed on O’Dwyer’s list of Top 100 Independent PR firms. It’s unfortunate for us because we don’t share revenues and therefore cannot be included on that list. But dare I say our own social media presence tops everyone on it? It may be presumptuous – but take just one example – our corporate Twitter account has more followers than the top 20 companies combined and just about the top 100 as well.

Does a Twitter account make us social media wizards? No – it’s only one part of our social media presence – but it’s been a huge part. Twitter has opened so many opportunities for us and consequently our clients, and has led to a great deal of thought leadership opportunities. And, having been on Twitter for about two years now, we have learned many valuable lessons that other agencies are just beginning to read about. In addition, every PerkettPR team member is required to be part of the conversations happening in social mediums and each is consistently well trained on best practices across all these mediums, to ensure we put our best foot forward – for our firm and our clients – on all fronts.

Shouldn’t PR agencies be initiating more personal engagement to teach their clients how to do so? Or is it not important? What do you think? We don’t buy the whole “cobbler’s shoes” theory and how PR doesn’t have time to do PR for themselves. In one of Cece’s reader comments they mention that you should look at their client work and not their own. Is this enough for you if the agency doesn’t have a social media presence themselves? I guess in some cases this may be true, but when it comes to social media, you can’t really pull that off – if you’re not engaged and navigating these waters every day for yourself, how can you be successfully doing so for your clients?

We’d like to hear your opinions – is social media important to PR? Do big brands not yet recognize the value of social media and therefore the large PR agencies handling that work also have yet to care? Should PR firms be engaging as their own brand or just on behalf of clients? Does it matter?

Heather Mosley and I will be talking about this and more today on our client Lotame’s live radio show today at 11:30am EST http://ow.ly/jDX . Come listen, ask questions and test our knowledge. We’d love to hear your thoughts on social media and PR.

Web2.0 Summit SF TweetUp 11/6

Fred (@FredFunk) and I (@MosleyPPR) took a few moments to stop by the @TimOReilly Web2.0 TweetUp last night held at the House of Shields on New Montgomery street in SF (@schlomo). All in all, the event was the usual group of technophiles and entrepreneurs, but I don’t think they expected it to be so crowded and so difficult to network there. This was pretty evident when they tried to make an announcement to welcome everyone to the event and they had to resort to standing on a bar stool and shouting with very little success.

With no name tags and a ‘mix it up’ mentality of folks just meandering, among locals having drinks after work, it made it tough for us tech geeks to tell who was who. Our recommendation for next time is never doubt the power of Twitter and plan for a big crowd of folks to show up especially on a Thursday night. Must  have name tags or at least a separate room set aside to corral the tech geeks into the same place for optimal networking and cocktail enjoyment.

In any event, it was good to get out and unwind for a bit. It was also nice meeting Tim O’Reilly in person, and thanks to Luc Levesque from @TravelPod for snapping this shot of Fred and I with Tim on his way out for the night.

Fred Han, Tim O'Reilly and Heather Mosley at Web2.0 Summit SF TweetUp

Fred Han, Tim O'Reilly and Heather Mosley at the House of Shields