Social networking by PRefect theatre

Technical PR, Engineering PR, Industrial PR, Manufacturing PRWelcome to PRefect theatre. The scene opens in a University where the students are studying the impact of Social Networking Web sites on the marketing mix. A befuddled lecturer asks questions of his fashionable marketing students, all bedecked in matching NHS style glasses and polo necks.

Lecturer: Right then, hands up if you actually know what social networking or social search is? Anyone? Good, well done Jones, give me your answer.

Jones: Sir, Social Networking is a term coined to describe the increasing quantity of Web sites driven by user generated content and social search is a phrase describing the more sophisticated idea that such sites can rank the relevance of their own content according to how interesting the users themselves find that content, Sir!

Lecturer: Well done Jones, you may have a house point. Now, are there any benefits to business in placing content on such sites? (Jones frantically waves his hand in the air, begging for permission to speak). Yes, Jones, you may answer again.

Jones: Well Sir, to the extent that Blogging can be seen as a kind of social networking Sir, yes. For instance Chris Rand, an online journalist, reports that he recently bought a TV which turned out to have compatibility problems with a satellite receiver - a problem with the equipment which only revealed itself when the design was out in the real world. He recently wrote in one of his newsletters:

“Instead of ignoring the problem and perhaps replacing the TVs of customers who complained, the manufacturer set up a Blog where its engineers working on solving the problem could let us all know how they were getting on. As a result, customers like me were happy to wait for the resolution, and our opinion of the manufacturer, Pioneer, wasn't damaged in any way (in fact, they turned a potential negative into a real positive).”

The relevant Blog can be found at http://www.pioneerhdblog.com/, Sir!

Lecturer: Okay Jones, thank you. But what about things other than Blogging?

Jones: Well Sir, if you can locate a site with the right audience, it seems to me that social networking could be a powerful medium for businesses willing to approach it in the right way. Wikipedia, perhaps one of the first and best Social Networking sites, provides the following set of links for others Wikipedia. This could be useful in finding your audience. However, there are plenty of places to look – you simply have to tour the Web. Furthermore, if you have a general consumer story to share, a site like www.digg.com could be appropriate.

Lecturer: I see – perhaps I will stick with Friends Reunited for now.

The camera pans away from our scene as Jones begins making a paper aeroplane…

Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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