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September 30, 2010
Social Media Tools for Testing
We've been concerned with moving the ball ahead in applying social media as a new public relations strategy. There are so many tools and techniques yet to be fully understood and applied. How do you make real progress from your business or organizational applications of social media? Todd Defren on the PRSquared blog has a suggestion for the next few social media miles, offering five new concepts to experiment with out on the edge of things.

"You already know you ought to be benchmarking and measuring your (communication) efforts," he writes. "So instead of telling you what you ought to IMPLEMENT right now, I’m going to suggest some things you ought to EXPERIMENT with now, so you can get ahead of the pack as these concepts become more mainstream." Defren's suggestions:

• Experiment with Facebook ads. "We recently used Facebook ads to help with a recent recruitment drive at SHIFT (Defren's own firm), and once again were pleased with the facility and cost of the tool. ..."

• Experiment with Flowtown.What's that? "If someone told you that they were offering a single interface from which to explore the socialstreams of your most influential customers or prospects," Defren advises, "wouldn't you get excited? Get excited."

• Experiment with BooshakaTwithorityIceRocket, etc. "There's more to Social Media Monitoring than Google, folks," Defren notes. Here are some new avenues.

• Experiment with video. Did you know that approximately 85 percent of the U.S. Internet audience regularly view online videos, 46 million on Facebook alone this past July? Defren's truly impressed with numbers like that.

• Experiment with your employees. Identify potential employee evangelists, give them so rules to work with, Defren urges, and see the results. 

This isn't an exclusive list, as Defren is the first to admit. But it's a way of getting specific about social media techniques that are blossoming around us. Test some of the new tools and see whether they brighten your PR efforts. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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