Holidays and social media, internal comms, and more

How can social media be used for upcoming holiday sales?

Social media
How can social media be used for upcoming holiday sales?

"Creatively and extensively," says Lisa Wehr, CEO of Oneupweb. This season's hottest products are employing an extraordinarily creative variety of social marketing tactics - from podcasts, forums, and shared video content to entire virtual worlds where fans can interact.

Wehr offers numerous examples of corporations embracing social media in this way: Webkinz created a safe social network for its plush pet owners. The Nintendo Wii has its own MySpace profile. Sephora updates subscribers to its beauty/fashion blog via mobile phones. Target allows customers to post their own product reviews.

"Creative social media applications are everywhere," she notes, adding that the key is understanding your market and developing a social media strategy that engages them.

"Marketers who take advantage of these evolving social media opportunities and integrate them into their overall holiday marketing plans and promotions will be most successful this holiday season," Wehr concludes.

Internal comms
How can I leverage podcasts and webcasts for internal communications at my company?

"There are a few key points to consider in leveraging [these tools] for the maximum internal effect," says Shany Seawright, a director at Strategic Communications Group.

Define your message. "In preparing a webcast, it's important to develop a clear, concise script," she shares.

Determine your audience. "Each audience is different," adds Seawright, "so it is critical to find the best mode of communication for your target audience." For audiences in one location, a live interactive webcast may be best. For multiple locations, a scripted, pre-recorded webcast may be more effective. A podcast will provide a less visual version of a webcast, but with the same benefits of a scripted message.

Select the messenger. Determine the best executive to deliver the message and make sure the person is well-prepared. "It's important to take into account how comfortable the person is delivering a message on-camera," she advises.

Rehearse the content. In doing so, allow ample time for warm-up and multiple takes before going live or recording a final piece. "Appearance and body language should be taken into account as much as the message itself," notes Seawright.

Google News
What are the implications of Google News adding comments?

Right now, public awareness of the feature is low and the restrictions on who can comment are high, so it's still squarely in the experimental phase, notes Pete Snyder, CEO of New Media Strategies. With fewer than 10 comments a day on the thousands of news stories that appear in an average month, it has yet to gain much widespread attention.

"What makes their approach interesting is that only direct participants and experts are allowed to comment on an article," he adds. "And most of the comments so far have been concentrated from the scientific community, who chime in to clarify research, and politics, with office holders and think tanks expanding on comments in articles."

Though the qualification requirement drastically reduces the volume of conversation, it increases the quality of the responses, allowing for a deeper and more comprehensive conversation than those of typical online forums.

"Agencies should already be monitoring Google News for their clients," he stresses. "And now they should have a go-to strategy on when and how to respond."

Send your questions to: Please contact Irene Chang if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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