Continuing my “People You Should Know” series, I want to call your attention to David Mullen. A PR pro at Mullen (nope, not his firm, just coincidence) David is one of the most insightful bloggers out there. I’m always impressed by fellow bloggers that manage to have a family, work a full-time gig and are still able to keep up a solid blog. David gets the value of conversation. He understands how to connect through social media and is humble in recognizing and channeling other people’s thoughts into his own perspective.
He’s falls into my “must read” Google Reader folder. He should be in yours as well.
Thanks for taking the time to provide some insight David!
On a given day, how much time do you spend engaged in social media? Which sites do you devote the most time to?
DM: On average, I’d say an hour if you added up all the time here and there. On days that I write a blog post, I spend about two or three hours engaged in social media. I spend the majority of my time on Twitter and blogs – both my own blog and reading and commenting on great posts by other fine folks. I also spend a little time on Facebook and LinkedIn, but less so these days.
As a PR Pro, what struggles do you face in helping clients understand the value of social media?
DM: I think the biggest struggle is that many people still don’t engage with the tools, so they don’t understand them. That leaves them either uncomfortable when it comes to dipping their toes in or unconvinced that the tools really have great potential. I’ve heard some people say something along the lines of, “if I’m not on [insert social network here], then chances are not too many other people are either.” The second biggest battle is ROI. Clients need to show numbers to their CEOs. While social media definitely has some quantifiable aspects, it also has some very important, but not easily measured, benefits. I mean, how do you assign a monetary value to minimizing the spread of a rumor or engaging in direct conversations with your consumers?
What are your thoughts on PR firms managing blogs for clients as long as transparency is in place?
DM:I’m not a big fan of it. I wouldn’t be upset about it if transparency was in place, but I think it defeats the purpose. One of the biggest benefits of social media is humanizing your brand for consumers. The best way to do that is to present voices from inside your organization.
Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. In your opinion, what’s the next big site or social media trend?
DM: Seriously, who can keep up with it all? I bet 17 new applications or sites were created today. I’ll take a step back and instead of focusing on which tool will be the next big thing, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the next big trend will be the death of “viral.”
Every client wants its agency to produce a viral whatchamacallit these days. And, of course, agencies are happy to chase after it. The truth is, though, that you can’t predict – and therefore, create – “viral” campaigns. You can create online campaigns that you *hope* will go viral. But we know that most don’t. As more clients experience the letdown of that and better understand the difficulty of achieving success at it, I think we’ll see more of them get over the “let’s do something viral” knee-jerk reaction and concentrate instead on creating smart integrated campaigns that include compelling digital work.