Digital Marketing, Social Media Case Studies, Social Media Strategy, PR 20, Social Media Marketing, Twitter Top 20 Interviews

Dave Fleet – The Twitter 20 Interview About PR and Social Media

DaveFleet social media and PR Dave Fleet   The Twitter 20 Interview About PR and Social Media

If you’re in public relations or social media (preferably both), and you aren’t following the thinking of Dave Fleet, you’re resource-deficient.

A Brit living in Toronto and working as an Account Director at social PR powerhouse agency Thornley Fallis, Dave takes a lucid, common-sense approach to the upheaval that social media has brought to the shores of public relations.

Despite his growing, deserved notoriety in social media and PR circles, Dave spends a lot of time on the social Web discovering and promoting new bloggers and helping PR pros work through tough issues like disclosure, authenticity and measurement.

I interviewed Dave live on Twitter on November 4, 2009 where he waxed specific on social media, PR, and listening. Enjoy!

1. @jaybaer: What’s been the greatest impact of social media on public relations?

  • @davefleet: Enabling organizations to engage in dialogue with their audiences. Previously one-way, through the media. Removes the filter.
  • Also lets companies observe issues and feedback in real time. Provides a real lens into what people are saying about your brand.

2. @jaybaer: Is PR’s future then in content creation or content advice, rather than intermediary wrangling?

  • @davefleet: Intermediaries aren’t going away; mainstream media still command vast audiences. The definition of “mainstream” is changing though.
  • Content creation or advice (depending on situation) are playing an increasing role in PR as content moves online.

3. @jaybaer: Does social media’s always-on nature change staffing patterns for PR firms? Should it?

  • @davefleet: Certainly has resource implications, but I think organizations should set expectations with consumers re: response times.
  • Social media is 24/7, but that just doesn’t make business sense for most organizations. Slower outside business hours/weekend.

4. @jaybaer: What’s a better approach for agencies? Social media specialists, or making sure all staff understands social media?

  • @davefleet: The lines between social and traditional media are blurring, so we aim for all our staff to have a broad understanding.
  • Can’t expect everyone to know everything though, so there will still be specialists within that. Same with media relations.

5. @jaybaer: What social media responsibilities are better handled by the client, rather than the PR firm?

  • @davefleet: Depends on the client. Ideally, clients handle the direct interaction but in reality not all are ready or have the resources.
  • We know we’ve done our job well when the client turns and says they’re ready, or staffs-up for direct engagement.
  • Agencies are still well placed to help clients with strategy, ideation, monitoring, dev, policies & counsel on interaction.

6. @jaybaer: What do you think about social media crises? Is having a specific social media crisis plan required? A best practice?

  • @davefleet: Crisis plan is certainly helpful – it fits in with other processes companies should put in place for engagement.
  • Decision tree (like the one the Air Force produced) and decision-making tree are very useful as issues can blow up quickly.

7. @jaybaer: Are good social media practitioners trained, or born? Is the “social” part inherent?

  • @davefleet: This isn’t rocket science. You can learn the tools and the norms.

8. @jaybaer: Your agency (http://thornleyfallis.com) has many employees with their own blogs, instead of a group blog. Why?

  • @davefleet: Depends on how you look at it. Our company website aggregates all of our blogs into one place – you can subscribe to one feed.
  • On the flip side, we all own our own sites – we maintain them ourselves, under our own steam, with our own take on things.

9. @jaybaer: You recently redesigned your own blog http://davefleet.com (a must read). Why? What makes for a good blog design?

  • @davefleet: I thought it was about time my site started to look professional. My 76design colleagues did a great job – hope you agree.
  • My main objectives were focusing the site more on conversation, and making it easier for people to connect with me.

10. @jaybaer: You write about blogger pitching.  What’s the difference between blogger pitching & reporter pitching?

  • @davefleet: Most of the principles are the same: research; know your audience; tailor your approach; don’t spam.
  • Good media relations folks should be able to transition to blogger relations fairly easily. Bad ones will get outed more.

11. @jaybaer: But for a long time, “spam” PR worked (at least sometimes). Isn’t a news wire just organized spam?

  • @davefleet: I wrote a post a while back about why spam won’t go away – it often works, in the short term. Not so much long-term though.
  • Great relationships won’t get a non-story published, but they may get you a chance to explain why there’s a story.

12. @jaybaer: Will all companies eventually have some sort of social media program, even if it’s just social CRM/customer service?

  • @davefleet: I think companies are foolish if they’re not listening, even at this point. However, communications isn’t a one-size fits all thing.
  • Basic communications – look at your audiences, where they reside & your objectives and find the best way to marry the two.
  • Social media changes many things about PR, but it doesn’t change the basics of communications strategy & planning.

13. @jaybaer: You published a great ebook on social media policies. What’s the guiding principle for sound policy?

  • @davefleet: Common sense. For many organizations, the scary bits (re: confidentiality, leaking info) are already in employee agreements.
  • Policies can actually enable as well as constrain – they remove uncertainty for employees and show the boundaries.
  • Policies can also set expectations outside the organization – conversations you’ll engage in; when you’re around to respond.

14. @jaybaer: Is that your 1st step in social media strategy? Find what’s being said about a company, and where? How do you do that?

  • @davefleet: First step is researching until you feel you know the client almost as well as they know themselves.
  • Listening is key. Tools depend on the client- could be free Google Alerts, Twitter Search etc; could be Radian6 or similar.

15. @jaybaer: Many social media success stories feature an employee that’s the “face” of the brand in social media. Good tactic?

  • @davefleet: I think multiple faces are a better solution – you avoid the “all eggs in one basket” risk. Molson does it well.

16. @jaybaer: How has your own usage of social media changed this year?

  • @davefleet: I’ve become more selective in the tools I use. Less shiny new toys; more evaluation of the ones worth using.
  • I’m also gravitating to mobile apps, which I think will be an ongoing trend over the next couple of years.

17. @jaybaer: You’re in Toronto. Any differences in U.S. vs. Canadian social media usage or trends?

  • @davefleet: There are some differences. Canada adopted Facebook more quickly than the US, where MySpace dominated for quite a while.
  • Canadians also can’t access some US-based tools. Broadly speaking, though, many overall trends are the same.

18. @jaybaer: You’ve written about the power of online video yet don’t do much video blogging yourself. Why? (chicks dig the accent)

19. @jaybaer: What’s the biggest misconception about social media in most companies?

  • @davefleet: Biggest social media misconception is that if you ignore what people are saying, they’re not really saying it.

20. @jaybaer: Curiously, you were on the badminton team at University of Bath. How has that helped your PR/social media success?

  • @davefleet: It made me realize that I was awful at badminton… which eventually led me to a career in social media.. icon smile Dave Fleet   The Twitter 20 Interview About PR and Social Media

Wow. Dave was really on the mark in this interview. Took a lot of complex subjects and boiled them down for easy comprehension and consumption. Not easy in 1-2 tweets. Of the 20+ Twitter interviews I’ve done, this quote is one of my favorites:

Biggest social media misconception is that if you ignore what people are saying, they’re not really saying it.

How about you? What did you learn from Dave Fleet? Who should I interview on Twitter next?

(photo by Rannie Turingan)

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  • Jennifer Gordon

    Reading: Grab notepad and read this interview w/ @davefleet on SM and PR. (via @DaphneLeigh & @jaybaer) http://bit.ly/2IajGh #hcmktg #hcsm

  • http://twitter.com/elizabethsosnow/status/5456713985 Elizabeth Sosnow

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    If you're in PR, you need to read this quick interview: http://bit.ly/2IAHwM (via @newmedialab). Love this!

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    RT@ Dave Fleet – The Twitter 20 Interview About PR and Social Media | #SocialMedia #PR http://ow.ly/zSjW – very nice

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    In case you missed this: Dave Fleet – The Twitter 20 Interview About PR and Social Media (via @jaybaer http://bit.ly/2nrZoW

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