Week 2 Guest Speaker Roundup – by Daria Palizban

A Conversation with Serena Ehrlich, Executive Director, Attention

By UCLA X425 Student Daria Palizban

Serena Ehrlich considers social media a process of “Digital Building,” which aims to generate awareness by using various tactics and tools, such as apps and life-streams with celebrities (who talk about a certain product or brand).

Serena points out the importance of audience targeting, or analyzing the target group you or your company is trying to reach. You can narrow down the audience group – step by step to get more and more precise – until you have figured out the core: the most relevant audience!

According to Serena, audience targeting can also include the search for journalists who write about particular topics most likely read by the particular audience you are trying to reach. In this regard, Serena mentioned and explained different blog sites and powerful search engines for blogs, news, et al.

In addition, we learned how to use services such as sysomos.com that provide – among other features – a great package of information with stunning graphic results regarding data such as audience gender and country distribution. The best part is that you can print these reports in PDF format and present the good looking results to your clients. The only drawback of tools such as sysomos is that you need an account and have pay for the service.

Serena also described how to get consumers directly instead of reaching them through a third party such as a blogger. One direct way of addressing the target group is by using Facebook advertising or “sponsored stories,” which look like posts but are in reality paid ads.

In addition to finding and monitoring your target audience, Serena considers the actual content you create as one of the most important factors in social media. In other words: You can have the best toolkit, but if the content isn’t interesting, it simply won’t be of interest to very many people.

At the end of the class, Serena told us about some other useful websites. One that seemed particularly interesting to me is viddy.com. Viddy is similar to tout.com – a popular video service that is especially practical for journalists and PR people to post videos. You can record and send videos directly from your phone, and post them on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Another tool Serena discussed are “infographics,” which she said are “super hot right now.”

To conclude, the discussion with Serena made it clear that when it comes to digital building, there seem to be a lot of technical features and innovations that I did not know much about. And it seems like I might have to step up my game so I don’t appear old-fashioned or ignorant in this increasingly digital world.

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