Tag Archives: cuprap

Pinterest: Evolution Means You’re Not In Control

We in the marketing business are shameless users, snatching  the latest social media hit which always starts out as a fun, sharing platform among students, hobbyists, musicians, grandparents.

As soon as we see it grab traction, we jump on the machine  to see if we can steer it toward our purposes.

But in the beginning, we never have control of the steering wheel or the direction.

Pinterest is the latest platform exploding onto the scene.  Its mission is  to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”

Wikipedia also reports that for “January 2012 comScore reported the site had 11.7 million unique U.S. visitors, making it the fastest site ever to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark.”
Recently there was an interesting CUPRAP thread (CUPRAP is the world’s best organization for PR and marketing folks.)
There were many questions.  Who uses Pinterest?  What is the ROI?  Who is the  target audience?
It’s too early to ask these questions.   We’re in new territory.  Study it, play with it and experiment.
Seven years and a universe ago,  MU gained international attention for its use of podcasting. Now it’s not in the news but tens of millions of people listen to podcasts. Facebook was a college game and evolved into a $100 billion business.
Is Pinterest headed in the same direction?  My guess is yes.
Remember, we, the marketers are the intruders. Pinterest started as a site where people (mainly women) shared recipes, patterns, quilts.
It grew quickly  into much more and now we’re trying to make it work for us.
Don’t try to control it. You can’t. Social media evolves itself. Don’t ask right now what your target audience is. The target audience finds you if you do it right. Don’t ask what the ROI is. The target audience delivers it if you do it right.
How do you do it right?  You experiment.

As Mike Moran says Do It Wrong, Quickly.

We’re exploring Pinterest  at Mansfield and I’m experimenting with it personally.  UW Tacoma has a good site with variety and a sense of play, and other schools are fast joining the party.

Forget the “suit” questions right now.

Have fun and make sure your boards — interesting and substantive —  are there when your audience comes searching for  for you.


Mansfield University’s Journey into the Social Media World

These are notes from a presentation I gave at CUPRAP in Oct. 2009, hoping they’ll be helpful to the audience and my general readers.

Started with podcasting in Oct. 2005. We began with the concept of weekly interviewing freshmen to get their experience, growth, learning first hand as they experienced it. We branched out into interviews with faculty, administration, other students, alumni. We’ve done more than 200 shows and get about 500 hits a month from 10 countries around the world.
Conclusion: Start with a solid concept, knowing your show will evolve. This is the way of social media: content must be good; evolution is inevitable.

Two years ago we began producing and uploading videos on YouTube.
Later, IT created a Mansfield YouTube channel so all videos are uploaded there.
We use Animoto. Upload slides, choose music and it will play the slides in synch with the music. We’ve had a lot of success with it.
IT created Mansfield Facebook page. They synched our news page with so whenever our news director posts a news release it appears on Facebook.
IT ran photo contests and drawings to attract fans. We have about 1300 fans, not bad for a university of 3500 students.
Created Mansfield Twitter. Jury still out on that.

Last spring I started a weekly half hour TV talk show called Conversations.
Concept: 1-2 guests that will be of interest to cable viewers. No special effects. Some B-roll to break things up. Sometimes we go into the field for interviews. Informal dress to avoid image of stuffiness. No ties allowed.
The show has no budget. The only cost is my time and the time of my producer to record and edit it.
We also upload the show to YouTube.

Summer 2009 I started the MU Blog.
Concept: 300 words or less. Can be read in two minutes, but have enough links that it can last two hours. I try to find off beat and human interest things. Try to include as many photos as possible. In one blog linked to photos, web sites, video and podcast.
Whenever I publish a post, I announce it on my Facebook, Twitter, & our internal daily announcement list.
The blog underscores another important concept — on the Web there is no  linear time. I can link to videos and podcasts done a year or two ago. To my blog audience, it’s all new.

The blog opens a whole new world of quick, direct writing, a world of subjects, and multimedia links.

September 2009 Terry’s Take, a 2-minute video news cast went live. Again, no budget. Terry records directly into a web cam, does very light editing and posts. Content is news of interest to faculty and students.

Our home page has become the center of all news activity. It’s where people  go to find news and answers.

in 2008 we formed the Web Advisory Group and meet monthly — the admissions director, news director, myself and IT folks.

The above sounds overwhelming, but you must jump into it. There are perceived challenges:
-the administration doesn’t understand the new technology or the social sites
-administration is wary of it and are afraid of losing control of the university image and message (they’ve already lost it)
-administration is wary of letting you take control because they don’t understand (teach them)
-you don’t understand the full scope of the new media (learn — quickly)
-you don’t have the technical expertise or experience to do a blog or TV show or podcast (well, learn it!)

Other Notes:
Traditional media is plunging into irrelevancy.
Students, parents, alumni, are talking about you in various social media settings.
You need forums where you can engage the above in conversations and share your institution’s stories.
You don’t shotgun your message out and hope people see it and believe it. They find you and if your message, your story is simple, real and sincere, they’ll follow you.

Quality has taken back seat to content. If you have good content you can get away with lesser quality. Cannot have bad content and bad quality.

Excellent quality with bad content is also worthless.

To stay up-to-date with social media, subscribe to:


Recommended reading:

Putting the Public Back in Public Relations by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge. This is the book on how social media is reinventing PR.


Questions?  Email me at dmiller@mansfield.edu Put in the subject heading CUPRAP

Note: CUPRAP is the best PR organization in the world.

CUPRAP Highlight: Mike Richwalsky

The CUPRAP audience was happy with Karine Joly’s presentation.  She left us feeling good, confident, informed.

Mike Richwalsky of Allegheny College shook us out of our comfort zone with his presentation,  “Put The Technology to Work” .

He cited the March 2009 Nielsen report that “social networks and blogs are more popular than email.”  The biggest jump in users is in the 35-49 age group (and based on my own anecdotal experience, I’d guess the 50-65 age group is gaining ground).

He then proceeded to describe how to blogging is the subfloor for the rest of social media.  They’re also great search engine magnets.  Everyone from students to the college president should be blogging, Mike said.  RSS feeds are the 2×4’s of site construction.

Crowdsource your content.  Share it with all who want to partake, and encourage them to share it.

Mike is a smooth and quietly enthusiastic presenter.  By now he had everyone nodding.  At precisely the right moment, he introduced Twitter.  Most of the audience had heard of Twitter.  Some use it for their personal lives.  A few use it professionally.

By the time Mike demo’d Twitter posting–Web, TXT, iphone, Tweetdeck, Twitterific and hashtags you could feel minds spinning at various speeds.

Twitter was creating a gentle buzz.

He showed examples of how the mainstream media is using Twitter, and how to use it in the field of customer service.  He also showed how it can keep you up to date on what is being said about your institution.

He asked how many people were totally freaked out with all the info.  Most of us raised our hands.  I’m pretty sure  I raised mine twice.

Mike nodded and moved onto Facebook.

He talked about fans, groups, creating and targeting ads, analytics and costs.

He forayed onto YouTube and showed examples of Allegheny’s work.

When he mentioned Ning, a guy at the next table, shoulders sagging with info overload, echoed in helpless despair: “Ning?”

Mike then mentioned that we’re all moving  to cloud computing and a woman near me shook her head:  “Oh my God, what’s cloud computing?” I think her hands were shaking.  Several people reached for the mini-chocolate bars that the Hotel Hershey makes available for crisis moments like this.

This crowd of new and seasoned PR/publication/Web pros talked about Karine’s and Mike’s presentations during the rest of the conference.  They were both models of good content presented in an organized, interesting manner.

I had created a Twitter account a couple years ago but just couldn’t get into it.  At the end of the presentation, I walked back to my room, sat down with my laptop, logged on to Twitter and began tweeting. . . .

*  *  *

Both Mike and Karine are pioneers in the social media field.  I would suggest subscribing to their blogs to stay on the cutting edge of the field.

Here’s a link to Karine’s  collegewebeditor

And to Mike’s blog:  http://highedwebtech.com/

Wouldn’t hurt to subscribe to Bloghighed.org for a ton of great info on PR, publications, Web design, etc.

CUPRAP Conference Highlight

The definite highlight of this year’s CUPRAP conference in Hershey, PA was the duo of Karine Joly of collegewebeditor.com and and Mike Richwalsky, assistant director of Public Affairs at Allegheny College.
Karine’s presentation was titled “It’s The Community Stupid! 7 Step Plan to Raise & Nurture any Community Online.”
She kicked off by noting that RSS and podcasting were new/hot in 2005. In 2006 it was blogs with video being the mover in 2007 and social networking and Twitter in 2008.
She also offered several messages building upon Marshall McLuhan’s “The medium is the message.”
In 2008 she mused that “The conversation is the message.” Later in the year she offered that “The conversation is killing the messenger, the message and the recipient.”
During the CUPRAP conference she debuted: “The message is dead, the conversation — diluted on a multitude of social media –is almost impossible to follow.”
How do you catch up and keep up? She asked. The answer: “You don’t.”
You need to define what’s important to you and your create your goals.
Her seven step plan includes:
-Finding your audience’s needs
-Defining your goals
-Participatory design
-Including exclusive, invaluable content in your conversation
-Listen, identify, empower
-Cross promote
-Treat your audience as stakeholders

We’re in a relationship building business and conversations build those relationships.
It’s a masterful distillation of a process that takes shared vision, discipline and a lot of participation.

Here’s the full Powerpoint and videos.

I saw people nodding their heads as Karine reassuring us that we can’t do everything and that we’re on communication overload.  The room full of PR, publications, Web and design people sighed in relief as Karine told us to stop, breathe and think.

Yes, somebody understood and was telling us to slow down.

Then Mike came on and deftly made us sit up, pay attention, take notes, and for God’s sakes, think.

More in the next post.