New Media, New Influencers and Implications for the PR Profession

SNCR Research presentation

Patterns of influence are changing, and this has a fundamental impact on the PR profession.

Research goals: examine the PR landscape to observe how PR uses social media; to define influencers; to examine how PR creates relationships in social media.

Research methods: survey of nearly 300 PR & marketing professionals, case studies

Survey results

  • Most effective channels: blogs, online video, social media
  • Value of social media to PR: growing or core to PR function
  • Most important metrics: enhancement of relationships with key audiences, of reputation, awareness
  • Measurement behaviors: only half of PR practitioners measure the efforts to communicate with new influencers
  • Who are the new influencers? Publishers or relevant & quality content that appears in search enginges – but did not look as much at number of comments a blog post gets
  • Influence in online communities & social networks: frequency of participation & posting, name recognition
  • Evaluating effectiveness of social media initiatives: search engine rankings, number of unique visitors, audience awareness

ROI of listening: American Red Cross case study

American Red Cross started monitoring blog posts and responding.


  • corrected a lot of misinformation and misperceptions
  • identified conversation trends: people blog about their blood donation experience & what type of cookie they got :); most people have positive opinions of the Red Cross
  • raised level of social media awareness internally by sharing social media monitoring data within the organization

5-step listening process:

  1. search technorati, twitter, facebook, youtube & flickr – save all relevant content
  2. aggregate data in an internal e-mail report
  3. respond – use personal judgment to decide what posts to respond to
  4. bookmark and tag all relevant content in account. Save it for later reference and long-term tracking
  5. issue monthly report


  • blog search engines: technorati & others
  • internal feedback: it helps other Red Cross employees do their jobs better, feel connected to their publics, and understand social media
  • external feedback: bloggers appreciate responses


  • major culture shift
  • fear
  • hard to measure
  • organizational firewall: only social media employee has access to social media sites


  • created internal value: everyone values the feedback
  • laid groundwork for future social media campaigns
  • made case for integrating social media into all communications
  • Red Cross IP shows up in blog visitor analytics, bloggers react positively to knowing Red Cross is listening

Emerson case study – B2B (Jim Cahill)

Services are about people and building belief of trust, competence, commitment, creativity – which brochures cannot do. Emerson needed to market its expertise, not products. Needed to get the experts closer to the customers.

Businesses seeking services started with search engines. So decided to start a blog.

Internal approval process:

Approval process took 2 years. Took Steve Rubel’s advice to “show it, not talk it” and started a blog internally. Had to fight fear. Created worst case scenarios to anticipate what could happen if start blog.

Finally, started Also use RSS feed reader to monitor relevant blogs and respond 2-3 times a week.


  • the blog gets more hits than many regional websites
  • sales inquiries
  • media inquiries
  • media calls to interview experts who blog – resulted in trade magazine article

[all SNCR coverage cross-posted from New Communications Review]

2 thoughts on “New Media, New Influencers and Implications for the PR Profession”

  1. Dr. V., I came across your notes in my RSS search feeds. It’s a great summary!

    I’d also add for measurements that we look at overall monthly visits to the site and RSS subscriptions which we track using Feedburner.

    Take it easy,

    Jim Cahill

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