Measuring and Monitoring Social Media


Social media measurement and analytics are essential in helping organizations evaluate the effectiveness of social media programs and their overall social strategy. Measurement and monitoring tools provide valuable intelligence to inform or deepen engagement with audiences, to refine messaging and content, and importantly to monitor, manage or avert crises in the social web. As well, they can be used to track the ROI of social.

Organizarions big or small must leverage these tools for the social insights and opportunities they can reveal, namely to understand:

  • The impact of your social media activities – Is there Connection, Engagement, Influence, Action with your target audience?
  • What type of content drives deep engagement with social audiences?
  • Audience demographics – who exactly is behind all the Likes, Follows, and click-throughs? What are their preferences and aversions?
  • Who are your evangelists and opponents, and how might you identify opportunities for conversions, or red flags for social web crisis management?
  • Importantly, how to leverage the data and analysis to demonstrate to the Big Boss ‘C-suite’ the value of your social media and ROI.

There are oodles of social media measurement tools available. Selecting the right one can be daunting and will require research and planning based on your budget, goals and objectives. A good place to start is to check out some of the free tools first and see if any are a good fit, before jumping-up to paid services.

Free Measurement Tools: Google Analytics Social Reports, Addict-O-Matic & Hootsuite

Big-Wig on the Block: Google Analytics Social Reports. Pictured above is the Overview Dashboard.

1) Google Analytics Social Reports is a tool designed to track many things but their main claim to fame is to help companies measure the ROI and financial bottom-line of social media activities. As explained by Phil Miu of Google Analytics, the tool’s goal is to tie social activities and referrals to revenue so that businesses can evaluate which social channels are impacting their bottom line, and which tactics will lead to measurable economic value. The tool generates an Overview Dashboard and reports for Sources, Pages, Conversions, Social Plugins and Social Visitor Flow. 

Features of note:

  • Conversions Report: provides insight into which social media sources drive or refer traffic to conversions or ecommerce transations. This can be a boon for organizations looking to measure the ROI of their financial and human resource investment in social media, because the tool measures click-throughs from social activity all the way through to web sales. Conversions are not just financial, they also can be video views, file downloads, or other click-throughs depending on your goals and objectives.
  • Social Visitors Flow Report: tracks which social platforms are sending the most traffic to your site, as well as the top landing pages and top drop-off pages. This is valuable information to use if Facebook and Twitter for example are sending you the most traffic versus expensive AdWord campaigns. This type of information can inform where best to spend valuable dollars and resources!
  • Social Sources Report and Google+ Conversations Activity Stream: used to monitor social conversations in real-time and identify evangelists. This is a great opportunity for organizations to refine  targeted messaging or content for key influencers, and set up specific Google+ Circles for influencer relations.

Addict-O-Matic results for search query Rob Ford

2) Addict-O-Matic is a simple social monitoring tool that is all about Buzz. It allows you to see what is being said about any brand or topic across all social media sites. After typing in your search query (in my case, Rob Ford) the program instantly generates a neatly categorized page of the search results. You can personalize the dashboard and bookmark your page to revisit at any time.

Features and Benefits:

  • Great for monitoring keywords and buzz.
  • Addict-O-Matic searches a wide array of social media sites, news sites, blog posts, videos and images and can update by the minute
  • You can personalize the dashboard and bookmark your page to revisit at any time.
  • Easy to use and I like that it pulls results from both social media and traditional news media.


  • Addict-O-Matic however does not offer analytics of the trends, nor any visual summative graphs, charts or reports.
  • Does not measure sentiment.

HootSuite Analytics

3) HootSuite (Paid and Free options) is a popular tool that can be used to manage and measure social media. It tracks brand mentions and sentiment and analyzes social media traffic including the growth of Likes and Fans and Followers. The free version let’s you run 5 social profiles, run quick basic reports, and run Facebook and Twitter searches. It incorporates Facebook Insights and Google analytics in it’s reports.

Features and Benefits:

  • Paid and Free options
  • Measures sentiment
  • The added benefit of HootSuite is that you can also use it to manage, schedule and post on Twitter and Facebook.
  • It is mobile friendly so you can use it on-the-go.
  • Reports allow you to get behind the demographics of Likes and Followers, to see who your audience is.

Paid Free Measurement Tool: Lithium

Paid Analytics Tool: Lithium

Lithium is a comprehensive measurement tool that analyzes and aggregates social media content from Twitter, blogs, traditional news sites, video and images, forums and comments. Results appear in real-time allowing you to stay on top of issues and competitors.  

Features and Benefits:

  • Sentiment: Lithium aggregates real-time sentiment and tone of all mentions in the social web.
  • Quotes: Lithium generates real-time conversations, so you can respond immediately. This is particularly helpful when monitoring, managing or averting crisis, issues, or dissatisfaction on the social web. This is also helpful for identifying and building relationships with evangelists.
  • Buzz: It tracks industry buzz so that you can keep track of what competitors are up to.
  • You can save results and share them with your organizational team via bookmarks and saved mentions.


  • The price tag comes in at a hefty $1,500 per month (read more here) so it is geared to big wallet companies and agencies. I would love to get my hands on a tool like this to really try it out, but the cost for my circumstances is prohibitive.

Finding the right tool and learning how to effectively use it is important to help you measure and improve your social media performance and social reputation. Apparently and interestingly, Mashable uses 8 measurement tools to track how their company is doing in the social web – as captured by this Instagram


Week 9 – Social Web Crisis Management Tips and the Bic For Her Debacle

111 bic for her

This week we looked at the social web as a trigger of crisis, and crisis management strategies for the social web. The lateral communication, velocity and reach of the social web means that crises can erupt from anywhere at anytime, and organizations have to be equipped and ready to respond quickly with social crisis management smarts.

The golden rule seems to be that the more proactive an organization is to respond to a crisis, the faster they can recover. In addition, speed is key, however it is not so cut-and-dry because knee-jerk reactions can do more damage than good. Careful and smart crisis response is required. It is wise to ensure you have a social web crisis response plan in place for every imagineable what-if scenario. The plan needs to be easily actionable and have clear heirarchies of response within the organization. Monitoring is crucial, too, in order to stay on top of what is being said about your organization and to track any rising or sudden issues.

The infographic (original here) presented by Boy Neil in class last week summarizes three social media crises and their respective management strategies – Nestle, Domino’s and United Airlines. I have repeated it here in my blog because it is a useful comparison of different response strategies when handling crises – to see what worked and what didn’t.

The Fail Trail: Understanding 3 Social Media Crises

The Fail Trail: Understanding 3 Social Media Crises

Social Media Crisis Example:
Bic for Her
Perfect for the oh-so-delicate female hand

The recent “Bic for Her” debacle is a great example of how not to handle a social web crisis. The company went through intense social as well as traditional media attacks for a new line of pens they marketed specifically for women. A lot of people were flabbergasted and insulted by the out-of-whack stereotypes associated with the gender-based marketing campaign, and took to social media in mass expressions of ridicule, sarcasm and outrage (see Buzzfeed, Tumblr and National Post). Despite being approached by Bic to stand-in as a spokesperson to aid in the debacle, Ellen Degeneres refused and went on to parody the pens on her television show.

Bic may have mis-judged the market on this one, but the learning here is that they mis-judged and were unprepared for the extent and power to which consumers would take to social media to articulate mass sarcasm and ridicule of the brand.

Bic was mute and slow to respond to the social media crisis and missed valuable opportunities to manage and resolve the situation.
Here are some way they could have handled the social crisis better:
1) Bic should have had a crisis response plan in place that was well understood, rehearsed and allowed them to act quickly with clear guidelines and heirarchies. Social web crisis planning would include training for staff on best-practices and drills/exercises in dealing with crisis management in the social web.
2) Bic should have had pre-emptive monitoring tools in place, tracking daily sentiment online and identifying and evaluating criticism and negativity.
2) Bic should have acted quickly by participating in the conversation and providing an official response on the same platforms where they were being targeted – in this case Facebook and Twitter.
3) Bic should have responded with messaging that takes responsibility, apologizes to those they upset, and pledged committment to be bettter. People want and expect to hear concern, authenticity, responsibility and action.
4) This was a prime opportunity for Bic to use humour to ease tensions and poke fun at themselves – to turn criticism around into an opportunity to show they are not out of touch with the modern world. A video parady (such as the Bodyform example) could have worked well. A great way to poke fun at themselves would be to release a parody video wherein they admit they judged the market wrong and will be rethinking their ‘Bic for Him’ pens. In the video they could play on male stereotypes in a humourous way, demonstrating that they can laugh at themselves and within the social space. People in turn will appreciate Bic’s humility of the video and hopefully look back and laugh at the entire incident. This could help Bic reconnect with those they upset and perhaps even win them some social media street cred.

bic notbuyingit



In researching examples of good and bad social media crisis management, I came across Leslie Poston’s article “Shining Examples of Excellent Social Media Crisis Management”. She says companies that have succeeded in positive crisis resolution have all had the following five key practices in common:

  1. Listening – above all else, learn how to listen across platforms for developing issues and what customers truly want and need.
  2. Crisis response plan – have a plan in place that enables speedy and correct response.
  3. Tone – know that empathy, humor and/or authenticity will go a long way to resolve crises and diffuse tense situations.
  4. Top-down adoption of social – responses directly from, or directed by, the folks at the top of the organization. Leading by example is key, and creates a company culture that leads to successful resolutions of crises (and less crises to resolve in the first place)
  5. Follow through – follow up and follow through with the people affected by the crisis.

I think that a major best practice is to keep listenting, researching and learning from failures and successes. The social web is ever-evolving and changing, and responses need to keep pace with this complexity and we can always learn from the experience, tribulations or triumphs of others.

Week 7 – Social Media Guidelines and Policies

Wow, the semester is speeding along faster than a Romney meme or viral video!

This week we looked at management models and structuring of the social media function within organizations, and the all-important fundamentals of social media guidelines and policies within organizations.

Guidelines and policies for social media use are a fundamental aspect of any organizations social content strategy. They need to be well-structured, comprehensive, and explicitly define the guiding principles and rules for social engagement, community management, tone and messaging that employees are to follow when using social media channels for organizational use. They must also cover personal use.
If the sh1t hits the fan and a crisis comes along, guidelines and policies provide clearly defined decisions and practices to follow so that responses can be speedy, effective and everyone is on the same page in how to move forward.

No matter how well an organizations social media policies and governance may be laid-out, training and follow-through is crucial, otherwise the best intentions can go horribly wrong.  Case in point: The Gap’s major blunder earlier this week with an insensitive Tweet about ‘safe shopping’ in the face of devastating Hurricane Sandy. (See full PR Daily story here)

Gap’s Twitter Blunder  on October 29, 2012: “All impacted by #Sandy, stay safe! We’ll be doing lots of shopping today? How about you?” (The tweet has since been deleted.)

Despite the praised social media guidelines that Gap had in place, the Twitter blunder occurred and caused immediate outrage in the Twitterverse. Gap deleted the Tweet and a few hours later issued an explanation that in my opinion was a sorry excuse for an apology:

“To all impacted by , stay safe. Our check-in and tweet earlier were only meant to remind all to keep safe and indoors.” October 29, 2012

For the record, snippets from Gap’s social media policy are listed below. By all accounts it looks comprehensive, with all they key ingredients and best-practices covered — but clearly someone dropped the ball in a big way and they failed on most of the points listed below:

  • There’s really no such thing as “delete” on the Internet, so please—think before you post.
  • Some subjects can invite a flame war. Be careful discussing things where emotions run high (e.g. politics and religion) and show respect for others’ opinions.
  • It’s a small world and we’re a global company. Remember that what you say can be seen by customers and employees all over the world and something you say in one country might be inaccurate or offensive in another.

  • If you #!%#@# up? Correct it immediately and be clear about what you’ve done to fix it. Contact the social media team if it’s a real doozy.
  • Add value. Make sure your posts really add to the conversation. If it promotes Gap Inc.’s goals and values, supports our customers, improves or helps us sell products, or helps us do our jobs better, then you are adding value.

Week 6 – Social Web Community Management

This week our assignment was to analyze and understand community management and blogger relations in the social web of public relations.

I think that Community Management is the kind of job function that not a lot of people fully appreciate or understand. For example, the image below lists out cheerleader, traffic cop, spam warrior, empath, sponge, mediavore…

Inside the Mind of a Community Manager

…I think they forgot coffee addict!

After digesting the numerous course readings and the presentation by guest speaker Mary Pretotto, I have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the complex role of community management and blogger relations, and specifically how it fits into the overall social content strategy of an organization. Community management is invaluable and cannot be underestimated for it’s powerful role to connect, engage, influence, and (hopefully and ideally) spur action with audiences (@boydneil), particularly when it comes to reputation management and crisis communications.

Since public relations can be defined as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” (, community managers play a key role because they are both the voice of an organization online, and the voice of the audience inside an organization.

Community management can boost the reputation and public image of an organization but well-structured social media policies and guidelines need to be in place and be well understood by community managers….or else there is potential for things to go horribly wrong. Mary Pretotto offered her experience and guidelines for the Do’s and Don’t of community management. The ones that stood out for me were:

  • Do have your own personality – this can provide a genuine experience and connection with audiences, especially if humour is involved. However staying on message is still important.
  • Do treat everyone the same – you never know who you are dealing with, so treat everyone with respect and equality.
  • Do take it offline when issues escalate – know how to proactively and preemptively identify issues before they escalate out of control. Take a conversation offline if it remains unresolved after a couple of replies or escalates in tone.
  • Do have excellent customer service skills – I found this particularly interesting, and agree that providing excellent and professional service no matter the situation, is the golden rule and skill in content management.

Blogger relations is a key aspect of any social web strategy particularly for brand or reputation management.  PR professionals need to develop relationships with influential bloggers with as much gusto and personalized outreach as they would with journalists in media relations. As Mary Pretotto pointed out, engaging and developing Influencers into Ambassadors, and ultimately into Advocates is the golden egg of blogger relations. Advocates will go to bat for an organization when issues arise, and their words and support can provide tremendous clarity, buy-in, recovery and loyalty with their fans and followers.

…I’d like to think “What I think I do” (bottom row, middle image) is the prevailing image and reputation for Content Managers!  How about you?

Week 5 – Harnessing the Power of Visual Social Tools for PR

This week our assignment was to explore visual-based social tools such as Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Viddy, to see how they can be used to build connection, engagement and action with existing and new audiences, and enhance organizational or brand reputation. These tools provide a great way to connect, engage and grow relationships with digital influencers too, which is especially valuable in times of reputation management or crisis communication.

To quote Sarah Skerik in “Using Video in Social Media and Search Engines”, the goal in using these tools is to post content that your audience loves, finds useful, and will share readily. These tools are great places to highlight your best visual content – and take advantage of the fact that visual content elicits emotional responses in your audience. Furthermore, Pinterest, Instagram and Viddy are based on lifestyle sharing and connecting. With ease and speed, fans and followers can click, share and spread the word about an organization or campaign. There is enormous potential for viral spread.

I am a newbie to Pinterest and this week I checked it out for the first time. The “How to Use Pinterest for Business” (Maggie Georgieva, Hubspot e-Book) was a great guide for explaining the value for brands and organizations. I guest curate on a travel and lifestyle website Milk in the City, so I used the Milk in the City Pinterest account to explore the potential for audience engagement, vertical communication, and brand and reputation management.

Milk in the City Pinterest account.

Oh the places you will go… Milk in the City Pinterest board, featuring travel and lifestyle visual content (

I like the lifestyle vision and credo of Pinterest, and that it is not an overtly marketing-oriented space for brands. It appeals and entices the senses and emotions. To use it effectively and with correct etiquette, organizations need to select images and videos that showcase the lifestyle their organization or brand promotes.The Milk in the City Pinterest boards provide lifestyle imagery and themes around travel, inspiration, exciting places and discoveries, dreams taking flight, and simple luxuries. Over the coming weeks I am going to put as many of Georgieva’s best-practices and guidelines to work (well, as many of them as I can), to try and bolster Milk in the City Pinterest account.

The best-practices for using Pinterest for brands or organizations that Georgieva pointed out are summarized below:

1)  It’s all about the content you share, not necessarily what you sell. Pin content that represents your brand or identity and attracts visitors back to your website. Find creative ways to show how your brand fits into the lifestyle of your target audience.

2) Leverage and feature user-generated content. Focus on the concept of lifestyle and encourage users to share their tastes and interests with others.

3) Always provide link backs to your website and use #hashtags.

4) Use Pinterest as a tool to understand the interests and needs of your ideal customers.

5) To engage audiences and digital influencers:

  • Again, focus your visual content on the concept of lifestyle and encourage users to share their tastes and interests with others and on your boards.
  • Create a user-generated pinboard – select a few of your top followers, and create a board dedicated to their pins.
  • Hold a contest that asks users to create a pinboard on their own account to demonstrate what they love about your brand. Get them to send you the link to their board, and determine the winner. Or, repin their boards to your Pinterest page, and your followers can vote on their favourite.

According to Sarah Skerik’s article “Using Video in Social Media and Search Engines”, these visual social tools provide a compelling experience to viewers, enable PR practitioners to present visual messages, and importantly, work wonders for search engine ranking. Skerik explains that videos are given extra weight in the algorithms that search engines and some social networks (like Facebook) use to select the content we see in their channels. Learning how to effectively use these video tools is therefore critical to any PR practitioner who wants to effectively drive traffic, awareness, grow audience and connections, and build brand and message visibility in the social web.

Week 4: Visualizing Social Content Strategy

Social Media Tools and Tactics Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg (Adapted from Mark Smiciklas)

Great social content is just the tip of the iceberg. To be effective and successful, it must be rooted in the guiding principles of content strategy.

This week our assignment was to explore content strategy and data visualization, and find three images or infographics that summarize the elements of creating a content strategy for social media.

I like the idea of the Tip of the Iceberg when it comes to understanding content and content strategy. While social content is important and fun to create, it must have a purpose rooted in an overall strategy that “connects the needs of your organization and your audiences to add business value over the long term” (See Mark Smiciklas Social Media Iceberg).
Content strategy provides the guiding principles for the creation, delivery and governance of content to serve the goals and objectives of both the organization and the target publics. (Content Strategy for the Web, Halvorson and Rach, 2012) Many key elements go into an effective content strategy for social media, and the three infographics I have selected have various strengths and weaknesses as standalone images for describing the elements of content strategy.

1) Content Strategy Burger:

The Content Strategy Burger by Mark Smiciklas. It’s a burger, what’s not to love?

These days it seems its ‘burgers gone wild’ everywhere. The popularity and prevalence is stronger than ever, and now even appearing in social media infographics! In this smart and to-the-point infographic, Mark Smiciklas provides a visual metaphor that assembles all the elements of content strategy into a 5-layered hamburger (he created this after reading 6 Layers of Social Media Content Strategy by Jeffrey Cohen ). I suspect a few people in class will post this image on their blog assignment.  Here is my reaction to the standalone image for its strengths and weaknesses of describing the elements of content strategy:


  • First of all, who doesn’t love a burger? It’s a universal icon. Just about everyone knows what a hamburger is. The visual metaphor is persuasive, likeable and resonates with the audience: Everyone understands how to put a hamburger together and all the layered elements that make it a tasty and a popular meal. The image says this: here are all the elements of a tasty, juicy, successful cohesive content strategy.
  • Everyone understands that without the meat (or soy patty), there is no hamburger. The visual play on words gets straight to the point that “audience is the meat of your strategy” – the target audience is what counts. Without the audience, there is no foundation on which to base your strategy. You have to know what and to whom you are writing and why.
  • The visual icons make up the hamburger image itself. As a standalone visual, even if you took away the text legend at the bottom, most people could still grasp Mark’s concept based on the icons and the visual cues of their placement. (Compare this to Elizabeth Lupfer’s Social Content Strategy Cheeseburger which relies heavily on text to explain the cheeseburger concept.)
  • I love the bun, it is an easy to understand visual to describe the social channels that hold the content together.
  • This infographic uses a great content intent mix of persuasion (it is enticing, who doesn’t want to bite right in?), entertaining (it is humorous), informative and instructional (describing the layers and the how-to of the strategy). It tells a story and has a clear beginning, middle and end. It is a great image to share on social media.
  • Rife with puns, it is easy to digest at a glance.


  • All the layers are easily understandable, except I found the distinction between Voice & Tone (the personality sauce – Tabasco, ketchup, mayo) and Content Format (condiments that add texture) a little blurry and confusing because condiments are listed in both, which dilutes the impact of the point. The Content Format description should instead say ‘crunchy toppings’, instead of ‘condiments’ because to me the word ‘condiment’ implies sauce …But this is minor, really.
  • This burger is not edible.

2) The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media for Business

The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media for Business

This infographic by The Steel Method summarizes the important do’s and don’ts of effective social content strategy for businesses. Here is my reaction to the standalone image as it pertains to describing the elements of content strategy:


  • The infographic is instructional and entertaining, getting straight to the nuts and bolts of the topic without too much text. It provides great visual cues for each example that are summative, easy to understand, and tell a story.
  • There is good flow, with a clear beginning, middle and end, plus there is equal balance and area coverage between the Do’s and the Don’ts – conveying the idea that it is just as easy to get it right as it is to get it wrong.
  • The graphic entertains, informs, instructs. I am not sure how persuasive it is.
  •  There is a good level of humour, Twitter bird has a tie and briefcase… he is ready for business! For the Don’t’s the foot breaking through the shoe is effective in saying that one size does not fit all.
  • The visuals and colours are strong, with clear target imagery, and structure imagery.  This is a likeable, shareable infographic befitting of social media.


  • The content intent of this infographic lacks persuasion, a key element to combine with entertainment for an emotional response from the user.
  • From a visual point of view, I think the image is too blue-heavy, however this may be because a lot of social media use blue. It is also too corporate looking for my tastes, however that is fitting I suppose with the business target audience.
  • While instructing me on the Do’s and Don’ts is important, I don’t feel a theoretical understanding of content strategy, unlike the Hamburger example, which clearly conveys the importance of a cohesive structure for content strategy.

3) Social Media Strategy Framework

Social Media Strategy Framework

The Social Media Strategy Framework infographic by Advanced Human Technologies summarizes eight elements or steps for developing a social content strategy. The visual is a circle with eight main headings, or call-out spokes, each with a set of sub-points. Here is my reaction to the standalone image for its strengths and weaknesses to describing the elements of content strategy:


  • From a content point of view, the graphic provides detailed information organized by eight headings and sub-points, as such it can be used as a checklist for developing content strategy, so that aspect is good.
  • The graphic informs and instructs. It allows you to dive deeper into the content if you choose to, otherwise you can step back and just get the basic, necessary information from the headings.


  • This image is busy, corporate and overall boring. It is neither entertaining nor persuasive. It is too text heavy and you have to do a lot of reading. Because of this, is not likely going to be shared that much across social media.
  • It doesn’t have good flow – there’s no clear beginning, middle or end, and there is no story. Even though there are arrows, my eyes do not follow them. It just comes across as a spiral of complexity. It should provide a hierarchy of importance of activities.
  • There are too many social media icons and logo’s, maybe because this was designed in 2010 and since then things have narrowed considerably (Wikipedia?)
  • Bottom line: create this into more of a story with a clear chronology, graphics and entertainment factor. Then it would be more useful.

Week 3: Twitter it Up – Promoted Products for PR

Twitter Amplification Cycle: Integrating Twitter’s Promoted Products into your organic cycle to increase buzz and reach. (Source 6smarketing )

Twitter is a powerful social media channel that PR professionals can use to connect and build relationships with stakeholders – be it mass audiences, targeted constituents, new followers or existing followers. It is a great tool to engage, provide information, solve problems, build a brand, and manage the reputation of a company or a campaign. To get the engagement level of your campaign to stand out on Twitter, the golden rule to follow is to be engaged yourself, by listening and being part of the online conversation.

All of the above is fine and dandy but unless people know where to find you, Twitter isn’t going to be a very useful tool!  How can you be successful on Twitter if you barely have any followers?

To help you get noticed and grow your reach, Twitter provides paid advertising tools – called Promoted Products – to help elevate yourself in Twitterverse: “Promoted Tweets,” “Promoted Accounts” and “Promoted Trends”. For the PR professional, these tools can be used effectively to share content, build awareness with relevant audiences, build a brand voice, and offer deals if that’s your thing (see Twitter Promoted Products).

My Twitter homepage, showing Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and Promoted Trends

Twitter Promoted Tweet:
With a Promoted Tweet, you pay for an ordinary tweet to appear in the Twitter feed of audiences of your choice, depending on your targeted interests. Promoted tweets are just like normal tweets and can be retweeted, @replied, searched, etc. by anyone on Twitter. They are labelled “Promoted” and appear at the top of homepage feeds, in search results and in the trends list. Promoted Tweets are targeted based on the key words and segmentation of followers you wish to reach, and served up minute-by-minute in real time.

  • A good starting point for a Promoted Tweet is to look at your existing content to see what has already received positive engagement from your followers, as it may get positive engagement from new audiences too.
  • Develop a key tweet about your PR campaign or event, and use that as a Promoted Tweet – be sure to include your #hashtag, call to action, web link or some kind of graphic or video component that followers and new audiences would be interested in and want to interact with.
  • Promoted Tweets are a great tool for crisis communication. When it seems like all hell is breaking lose and you need to stay in front of the crisis, having a Promoted Tweet can ensure that your message is top-of-feed and therefore top-of-mind too for people who are seeking information about the crisis. This is a particularly useful application for communication around product safety recalls, emergency preparedness, and factual health matters or outbreaks.
  • For more on this, see Tips for Using Twitter’s Promoted Products for Brand Exposure.

Monitoring and evaluation is paramount to any PR campaign, in order to benchmark your success and see what goals you are achieving. Twitter provides a dedicated Promoted Tweet dashboard for real-time analytics and insight into your campaign’s performance so that you can change or maintain strategy, as the case may be.

Cost: Promoted Tweets are charged on a cost-per-engagement (CPE) basis. Engagement is a retweet, reply, favourite or a click. As per guest speaker @ZackSandorKerr, promoted tweets in Canada cost between $0.80 to $1.50 CPE. Further research online shows minimums starting at $0.10 CPE and a suggested $0.50 CPE.

Promoted Tweet for Virgin Airlines

Twitter Promoted Accounts: PR professionals may experience frustration in building a Twitter follower base – it may not happen as quickly as you wish through an earned, organic approach. To boost your numbers, Twitters offers Promoted Accounts as a way to reach new audiences and new followers. It works by suggesting accounts that people don’t currently follow and may find interesting. Promoted Accounts are listed on the Twitter homepage, Who to Follow page, and on the Similar to You section. Like Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts are targeted to the key words and segmentation of followers that you wish to reach.

Cost: Promoted Accounts are charged on a cost-per-follower (CPF) basis, meaning you pay for every follower who clicks through to your account page. @ZackSandorKerr quoted the pricing between $2.00 to $4.00 CPF in Canada. The price varies because advertisers can out-bid each other to serve up more ads. Additional poking around online showed pricing a little lower – with Promoted Account bids starting with a minimum CPF of $0.50 and a suggested CPF of $2.

Twitter Promoted Trends: To get noticed in a huge way, PR pro’s can pay to be the one and only Promoted Trend on Twitter for 24 hours in a particular country. The result is millions of impressions for that one day alone for your campaign or brand. Promoted Trends are marked “Promoted”, and appear in fixed top-spot locations on every Twitter homepage, Trending page, Search Results, and Explore on mobile Apps. When you click on the Promoted Trend, you can see all the search results and conversation happening for your trend, and see what reach and impact your campaign is having.

Cost: This is where the big bucks get spent. Zack told our class that Promoted Trends cost $45,000 in Canada, and $125,000 in the US for the 24-hour period.  Online I found that starting prices for the 24-hour period are around $120,000 worldwide, and in Canada around $100,000 or less. Clearly this is “for big campaigns and big activations”, to quote Zack. This type of spend is beyond budget for many organizations – all the more reason to create your own trending topics and #hashtags and be really engaging and creative in a way that can catch on and go viral. …Kitten video anyone?

I think that these Promoted Products can be very effective for a big one-way push of information and exposure. But what about two-way flow and relationship building?  A good Twitter presence for PR takes more than big dollars. PR pro’s need to focus on providing content that will compel targeted publics to read, click, act, engage. Otherwise it is mere Advertising.


For a handy summary of using Twitter Promoted Products for PR, see this article.

Sources – Promoted Tweet Cost:

Sources – Twitter Promoted Account Cost:

Source – Twitter Promoted Trend Cost: