Monthly Archives: May 2012

Move Aside, Gallup, Zip It, Zogby – Leave It to Twitter

Hardly a day passes without a new survey from national pollsters reflecting our changing attitudes about Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney. With more than five months to the general election, this is already getting tiresome — even to a bit of a political junkie.

Several months ago, during the heat of the Republican primary season, one research organization attempted to measure the candidates’ use of social media to pick a winner. In hindsight, the results were very inconclusive at best.

But undeterred, another group has compared Obama’s and Romney’s Twitter-only following. Here’s a look at some of the results.

  • Obama has almost 16 million Twitter followers, while Romney counts just over 500,000. Nearly half of the Obama followers live outside of the country. About 90 percent of Romney’s live in the U.S.
  • About seven of 10 Romney followers are men. Obama’s followers are split fairly evenly between the sexes.
  • Based on percentages, Romney followers are wealthier. Obama’s are younger.
  • The top industries represented by Obama’s followers are hospitality, law and marketing/PR. Romney draws more support from followers employed in the fields of software, insurance and fashion.
  • The influence of each candidate’s followers (as judged by connections across 60 social media sites) give a clear edge to Obama with a “pull” measurement of 5,461, compared to Romney followers and their 466 rating. Yet while Obama has about 30 times the number of followers, they only have about 12 times more pull than Romney’s.

There is even more detail in the report, including a look at swing state followers. So what does this all mean? How do these numbers translate into electability?  I doubt anyone can say with certainty. But it does provide us with one more set of statistics to debate.

But before we learn the winner on Nov. 6, I think we’ll all be begging for relief.

– JD

Twitter: @Jdaum

Are You Guilty of the Intent to Distribute? (A press release without media?)

Like PB&J, press releases taste better with media

What’s Sonny without Cher? Tom without Jerry?  Or peanut butter without jelly?  Split any of these duos and you get only half their combined potential.  This is my thought process as I’m distributing a press release without accompanying media.  When pitching a news release I know I’ve got about 5 seconds to get the media’s attention.  Otherwise it quickly becomes digital trash.  But, if the release includes any picture/video/audio, it doubles my chances of getting it noticed.   Sometimes, these resources aren’t always available to me and it never fails:  I’ll send a release out by its lonesome and in come the requests for images. This is where any campaign can lose major momentum. Here’s why:

It’s all in the preparation, or lack thereof. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is not generating the appropriate visual/audio media for its PR efforts.  To fully do our job as PR professionals we need these tools.  The pitching landscape has changed too much; it’s not enough anymore to send out a traditional two-page press release.   Now, journalists are looking for these releases to be a resource full of information like audio files, links to pictures, videos, extra quotes and even previous, relative news releases.  It’s a refreshingly simpler format where bullet points and links to media are king; it’s not editorialized and gets right to the point.  This has been dubbed the social media press release (SMPR).

More and more PR pros are picking up on the value of SMPR’s.  But to create one is a two-way street between PR firm and its client.  As a client, make it a priority to get quality photos of every project/product you want to be pitched. Grab sound bites from your SME’s and take video of that groundbreaking.  Create official accounts on YouTube and Flickr in order to host the media.  Next step: hand it all over to your PR firm. I’ll breathe a sigh of relief and do the rest.

Follow me @SaraAlisia

Vancouver Harley Davidson Dealer Rides a Tsunami Toward More Well-Earned Positive PR

Ikuo Yokoyama's Harley motorcycle washed ashore on Vancouver Island. Image: Peter Mark / AP

It’s no secret the Harley Davidson’s marketing team is doing something right – the company has a passionate social media following and passionate customers, but one Harley Davidson dealer on Vancouver Island, British Columbia just earned some well-deserved PR, not as a result of a major media campaign, but because it decided to do something good for someone who had lost almost everything.

A Vancouver Island resident recently came upon an unexpected find washed ashore on a local beach – a damaged, heavily rusted Harley Davidson motorcycle in a Styrofoam-lined storage container.

Japanese writing on the license plate gave clues to the bike’s origin – turns out it had floated over 4,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean – washed out to sea by last year’s devastating tsunami in Japan.

After a bit of research and collaboration between a Harley Davidson dealership in Vancouver and a Harley representative in Japan who saw a television report of the bike’s discovery, the Harley Davidson company hatched a plan. They would restore and return the bike to owner Ikuo Yokoyama, who lost three family members, his home and all his possessions when the tsunami battered Japan’s northeast coast.

Harley Davidson’s decision to restore and return the bike makes for the best possible type of PR – the kind generated by companies that know the value of their product or service, appreciate their customers as people (not just dollars) and most importantly – show good, old-fashioned human kindness; because it’s the right thing to do.

So kudos to Harley Davidson! A company that’s gone out of its way to restore and ship just one motorcycle halfway across the world – you’ve just given the term “earned media” a whole new meaning.

Key To Social Media Success? Think Like A Wildcat

Image via

A truly successful social media campaign requires enthusiastic involvement from your employees, students or vendors – even their families. These are your best ambassadors and offer a glimpse into the organization that goes well beyond what your social media director alone can provide. And why should you expect the general public to embrace your efforts if your own immediate constituency won’t?

The University of Kentucky recently provided a good example as its men’s basketball team moved through March Madness to become NCAA champions.  Throughout the tournament, the campus’ social media team posted insights into the team on its Facebook site. It offered its followers regular Twitter updates.  Flicker was used to post team photos.

UK students, faculty, staff and alumni were encouraged to add their own comments and photos. They responded in a big way and attracted their friends and followers to the university’s sites. Thousands of new visitors – some from as far away as Army bases in Afghanistan – became Kentucky fans.

Seizing on this opportunity, the social media team added news about other UK sports, academics, student achievements and many other posts to showcase a well-rounded campus. Pardon the mixed metaphor, but this was a real homerun leading to the University of Kentucky’s use of social media being named to two Top Ten rankings among U.S. colleges and universities.

Admittedly, your organization isn’t likely to win one of the most highly publicized national competitions anytime soon. But by encouraging your team to fully embrace your social media efforts, your organization’s message opens up to a much wider community, providing a chance to gain new followers and experience what sets you apart from the competition.

There are ways to keep the process fun and informative and gain employee involvement in a big way. Do that, and you’ll be well on your way to social media success.

Need some ideas on gaining involvement? Is your social media “team” at the breaking point or even non-existent? Then look for an experienced outside vendor to help develop and maintain your social media properties.

– JD

Follow me on Twitter @jdaum