Week 2 Guest Speaker Roundup – by Vicki Vaughn

A Conversation with Serena Ehrlich of Rogers & Cowan

By UCLA X425 Student Vicki Vaughn

Week 2  featured Serena Ehrlich,  Associate VP of eMedia at Rogers & Cowan. As someone who is not a Gen-y’r, it is heartening to see someone with some experience in old school PR be so experienced now in social media, and to see that just because the medium and some methods have changed, the basic tenets of good PR and marketing have not.

The three hours flew by, filled with more information than I could possibly write down – made me sorry I didn’t bring my PC for notes! The topics ranged from getting a CEO to buy-in to social media to developing a media plan.  As always, getting a CEO to buy-in to anything requires proof of benefits including return on investment. Putting a plan together helps support claims of potential ROI while helping ensure success in the campaign.

Serena went on to discuss what to put into a social media plan to help sell the campaign to the CEO. Instead of guessing what the client (CEO) wants, always (1) ask the client to define their goals. The more specific they are the better.  Then (2) do a competitive analysis and see what the competition is doing to address their needs. What are they using? Facebook? Flicker? YouTube? The next step (3) is to provide the client with details about what will be done on each platform, and the goals for each. And lastly (4), establish benchmarks to measure the results, and plan for checking various online media outlets.

If the plan doesn’t sell the CEO on social media, odds are they will eventually come around to the fact they must do something in this arena besides setting up a Facebook and Twitter account. There needs to be an active plan for how to best use these tools to benefit the client and to not just leave themselves open to attack without any defensive plan.  A sharp CEO knows the future will contain social media – whether it is to provide customer support or promote new products.

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