Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free service to monitor and measure websites traffic. It can help you to monitor things like the number of visitors, the most popular pages/posts, the time lengths people spend on your websites, traffic sources and so forth.

I've been using Google Analytics since I started this blog. It is quite interesting to look at the analysis report of my blog.  As you can see from the picture to the left, most people, about 52.24%, came from referring sites and 29.39% visited my blog through searching engines. As I have put my blog link on some social websites such as FacebookTwitterabout me, and Travbuddy. I'd like to know which websites "contribute" most to my blog traffic. Well, not to my surprise, in terms of referring sites sources, Facebook has become my biggest traffic source, followed by about me, and Travbuddy. When Google Analytics being used by the organization, it can be very effective for organizations to monitor the traffic source of their websites so that your organization are able to make better and more specific plans depending on the different traffic sources. 

Another useful function is that it can help you to find out what key words brought visitors to your websites via searching engines. Among 154 people who visited my blog via searching engines, about 51 of them searched the key words "the bitch hits back" - my previous blog post about Danish anti - violence campaign. The rest of key words including coca cola, social sites, augmented reality, and so on. It can be learnt from the keyword what is current trend, what are people interested in and etc. It can help you decide what keywords you may want to target at about your website/campaign. 

Also, by using Google Analytics you could also be able to know where your visitors are from. I'm quite surprised that there were so many visitors visiting from outside of the UK.  Besides the UK, people were visiting from the US and then followed by India, Australia,Serbia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Greece, Germany, Spain and so on. Visitors came from 6 continents out of 7, no people visiting from Antarctica though! This function is a very helpful function as well - it helps you improve your website and possibly expands your business.  For example, if your company is based on the UK, and your website is in English. It has been a large number of people visiting from Japan. If you are considering expanding your business and want to communicate with your audience better, you might want to add Japanese version to your site and write more things related to Japan.

At last, Google Analytics is a great tool to monitor your websites. But one thing I am still very confused is by comparing the results from Googe Analytics, Statcounter (same function as Google Analytics) and Stats (intergraded with Blogger), I could get three different analysis results sometimes. So it made me wonder how accurate can Google Analytics be. I wouldn't know the answer. Anyone?

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Twitter and PR

Twitter is so commonly used in public relations sector to help organizations raise awareness of their brands and  communicate with their target audiences in time.  In this blog post, I will talk about some uses of Twitter in public relations and suggest  what organizations should do in terms of ensuring a successful Twitter PR.

1 - One -way Communication or two - way Communication?
Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton set up Twitter pages. Obama has more than 6 million followers whereas Hillary has only less than 20 thousand. The reason why Obama is more popular than Hillary on Twitter, despite the fact that one is the president and one is the secretary of the state, Obama interacts with his followers from time to time and gives feedback - my friend was followed by Obama on Twitter and he was so excited! On the other hand, Hillary Clinton follows zero people and never interact with her audiences. From this case, we can learn that it is a bad idea that organization set up a twitter page just giving out information without receiving any. This kind of one way communication is doomed to fail.

2 - Customers Service
When a man called Jonathan Fields tweeted some doubts about American airline JetBlue, a few minutes later, he soon got the feedback from JetBlue, and solved the problem. JetBlue uses twitter as a monitor and tracking tool to answer customer' s queries in real time and also keep customer updated about the flight information and all relevant news. Using Twitter to solve customers' problem, to a great extent, shortens the response time for organizations and  it is much cheaper than using traditional customer service.

                                                            3 - Evaluation and monitor tool
Twitter helps a lot of organizations monitor comments made by customers about the brand, product or services. These voices of customers could help organization to get to know what they think, what they like, what needs improving and etc. Moreover, by monitoring organizations could sense whether crisis is going to happen and make early preparation for crisis.

4- Carry out PR campaign on Twitter
Taste live! once hold a PR campaign on Twitter. The company provided 5 different kinds of wine to people for free and chose a fixed date to discuss with people on Twitter how they feel about the wine. Don't even need a venue for wine tasting, people could share opinions without considering any constraints, such as location, and transportation etc. The company had a chance to have in-depth conversation with its customers and at the same time more potential customers were discovered through the influence of Twitter.

So the most important rule of using twitter in PR is to let your audiences know your existence and at the same time interact with them. Also, one last hint - don't tweet TOO much otherwise people would unfollow you!


Monday, 25 April 2011

Challenges for PR Practitioners

This video is based on a essay I wrote from last semester. It simply explains some challenges which PR practitioners might find difficult to cope with. Enjoy!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Augmented Reality in PR

Lynx augmented reality campaign in London Victoria Station
When people step onto a marker with Lynx symbol on it, an angel then falls on the ground in the digital video billboard at London Victoria Station. People could interact with the angel via the digital billboard. This technology is called augmented reality which is a relatively new technology that can be applied to PR campaigns.  A PR communication agency Lewis describes the use of  augmented reality quite well: “augmented reality… allows your customers to experience your product or service in a totally new way. Merging reality with computer generated graphics you can offer brand interaction on a new level, whether it is via a webcam or a smartphone; at a desk or walking around a city's streets.”  To make it simple, augmented reality is able to mix the real world into virtual one by means of webcam, smartphones etc.

There are several advantages of augmented reality when being used in PR campaigns . Firstly, people would pay more attention on the message the PR campaign is going to send out when interacting with whatever it is with the help of augmented reality. Therefore, the exposure of the message/brand/product is more likely to increase. Moreover, it is quite fun for people to interact with virtual world, they may share this with their friends. Consequently, more and more people will get involved in the campaign, brand awareness would be increased greatly.  Last but least, with augmented reality, organizations are able to communicate with their key publics in spaces, not being restricted by physical communication as well as the traditional media.
Although augmented reality has been used by various industries since 2009, such as film, shoes, NGO, watch, automobile and so forth, it is still a rather expensive technology  to be used, especially for those smaller companies. However, in the near future, it is likely that augmented reality will be widely used by organizations as a tool to send out key messages and to communicate with key publics.


The Use of Social Networking Sites in PR

Recent years, social networking websites have become more and more popular all over the world.  Those websites are not only used by individuals for the purpose of  keeping in touch with friends, but also by companies for marketing/PR purposes. According to Harvard Business Review Analytic  Services Report, social networking sites are the most popular form of social media among all orgnizations, with the majority (87%) using sites like Facebook and twitter. The reason why social network sites are so popular is becausen practitioners can directly reach their target audiences in a cost effective way. There are four major uses of social networking websites when engaging in public relations.

1. Build your brand awareness
Social networking sites provide opportunities for both big companies and medium/small companies to publicize themselves in a cost effective way. Big companies with already popular brands could make the brands even popular; Medium/small companies could become more well –known by using those social networking websites through online PR campaigns. Moreover, a key feature of social network sites is its viral nature – because people like to share information which they find interesting and useful. When a company is carrying out an online PR campaign, someone mentions this campaign and your brand on a social network site, it is more likely other people pay attention on it and share it to their friends. It is much easier for companies to spread the messages and reach a much larger audiences.

2. Build relationships with your target audiences
It is essential for companies to build up good relationships with their target audiences. According to Grunig, two-way symmetric communication practices are a keystone for excellent PR. It is social networking websites that provide a platform for companies and their target audiences to communicate in an easier and more effective way.

3. Find the right channel
Different social network sites have different focuses, such as LinkedIn is a business oriented network websites; MySpace and are connecting music lovers, etc.. Also the use of social network websites varies from different countries and culture.  For example,  Mixi is the most popular social network sites in Japan, Facebook and Twitter can’t be used in China and so forth. Therefore, PR practitioners are able to carry out different PR campaigns with various focuses on the right networking websites all depending on who/where their target audiences are.

4. Monitor and analysis tool 
PR practitioners could monitor the progress by social network sites and react/respond at once. For example, just simply by monitoring the feedback, PR practitioners are able to know what people like or don't like about your product/service or how they feel about your campaign etc; also PR practitioners could monitor the number of people's participation and the number of groups or fan pages have been created.

Tench, R. & Yeomans, L (2009) Exploring Public Relations. 2nd ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Monday, 11 April 2011

The Bitch Hits Back


QQ截图未命名I first saw this viral video on a popular Chinese social website called Renren ( Chinese Facebook ). In the video, a teenage girl violently beats a young boy after the boy pushes her away when they were kissing. I was shocked by the girl’s violent behaviour and  I felt sorry for the boy. The name of the video is “The Bitch Hits Back”, I then searched it on YouTube, it was updated by a YouTube user called "BITCH999991” and the caption of the  video was full of worship of violence. This uploader also provided a website and encouraged people to watch more movies of violent beatings. From the uploader’s name and the caption, I therefore firmly believed whoever uploaded the video must be a violence-oriented gangster.  Out of curiosity, I opened the website the “gangster” provided. It was a website which contained three videos on violent beatings. When I was watching the video on the site, a harsh sound came out from nowhere and a conspicuous red sign with some Danish words shown on the center of the screen before the webpage was closed automatically! I looked up the Danish words via Google Translate, and it says “BUSTED, VIOLENCE IS NOT ENTERTAINMENT”. I then understood  all the previous set ups. This video turns out to be a part of anti-violence public communication campaign, which conducted by a non government organization in Denmark called Børn og Unge i Voldsramte Familiers. The Main goal of this organization is to prevent  violence in families and in personal relationships.
Along with the videos, the organization also launched a game website  called “Hit the Bitch” (This website is now only open to users from Denmark due to “an extremely high amount of traffic”). The goal of the game is to hit a girl to see whether you are a “pussy” or “gangster”. After several hits you reached the point and the girl fell down, the moment you thought you “won” the game, there’s something shown on the screen:
It is NOT gangster to be hitting women!
You lost the game the first time you raised your hand!
There is NO excuse to hit, so seek help before it is too late!” (this was translated by a YouTube user)

I like the initial idea of this PR campaign using game and videos to implement goals and I also admire the fact that this campaign is very eye catching. Also the campaign did a great job in terms of reaching the target audience. And the target audience they focus on is very clear – (potential) domestic abusers in Denmark (male and female).

YouTube has been used by the campaign as a powerful communication tool to reach the target audience and conduct the key message, however, what if some people only watch the video and don’t even click on the website which was given below the video? In this case, it is just an entertaining video for some people. As I was reading the comments on YouTube, I found out that vast majority of people who left comments found this video entertaining.  I believe only a small number of people realize this video is a part of the anti-violent campaign. 

Moreover, the messages that campaigns are trying to conduct are not strong enough to influence behaviour change of the target audiences. Especially the game campaign. Interactive games can always draw people’s attention in an online public communication campaign. This game does draw a lot of attention even from outside of Denmark, however, the message which hides behind the game is so weak. Why would an anti-violent campaign provides an opportunity for people to slap a poor woman online and then tells you that you are an idiot because you hit a woman. At least  I would not be convinced. Additionally, people would be so easy to be carried away by just slapping the girl and therefore the key message of the campaign tends to be ignored.

Sources were taken from:

Sunday, 20 March 2011

UCU Action in Stirling


Staff at the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling are facing compulsory redundancy on 21st March. As a part of UCU (University and College Union) protest campaign, we had our Public Relations & Digital Media class at the University night club!

However, most of the students absolutely had no idea what was going on with the Institute of Aquaculture and the teach-in campaign in the University. Obviously, communication is needed amongst UCU, students and teachers. So I started to wonder what efforts has UCU (Stirling branch) been made in terms of online PR. Here are what I've found out:

   1.UCU Official Websites
  • News update on a daily basis

  2. University of Stirling Official Websites
  • No related news in terms of compulsory redundancy and strike

  3. Twitter (@UCUScotland)
  • UCU Stirling Branch doesn't have its twitter account

  4. UCU University of Stirling Homepage
  • No related news in terms of compulsory redundancy and strike

  5. Institute of Aquaculture Homepage
  • No related news in terms of compulsory redundancy and strike 

  6. Facebook page of the Institute of Aquaculture 
  • Frequently update about the campaign

      7. Facebook page of the University of Stirling
    • No information about the strike

      Five out of seven websites I mentioned above didn't even mention the strike or anything related to the UCU actions.The only two website which update often constrain the target audiences to a very limit scale. That could explain why most of the students in the University didn't know the coming strike.

      Therefore, to make sure efficient communication to the key publics and people's participation, digital media must be made full use of as one of the efficient PR tools, and the corresponding websites should be updated on a regular basis, or at least let the key publics know what is going on at the moment and what are UCU further plans.

      Saturday, 12 March 2011

      Fight against the Great Firewall of China

      I excitingly shared my blog on Renren (Chinese Facebook) the other day, hoping to get some feedback from my friends in China, but all the feedback I've got was the same: "I can't open it". Not to my surprise, Blogspot is just another victim of Great Firewall of China.

      Since the great firewall is working so hard in China, Facebook & Twitter were both undoubtedly blocked. As the most popular social websites in the world, both Facebook and Twitter are so widely used by all kinds of organizations as cost-effective PR tools throughout the world. Some people may wonder how Chinese organizations carry out online PR campaigns without those social websites such as Facebook. Well, we've got website clones - not only the functions but also the layouts are 95% the same as the original ones, such as Renren (Facebook), Fanfou (Twitter), ect. Although there's nothing to be proud of to have those website clones, they run amazingly well in China. Take Renren as an example, there are about 160 million registered users and more than thirty thousand public pages, which create by organizations and celebrities. What is more, QQ, which originally called OICQ (ICQ)  is the largest instant messaging service in China with 632 million registered users. Organizations set up QQ blogs correspondingly in order to attract Chinese netizens' attentions from the largest online community in China. 

      When dealing with international publics, the Chinese social websites I mentioned above are not of any use. So what can those organizations do? Do they have to say goodbye to one of the greatest online PR tools? From what I've observed, most of the China-based organizations or Chinese media, which I followed on twitter or liked on Facebook, update at least once a day. It's not some magic spells. It is just a well-known secret for most of the people in China to climb over the Great Firewall. In this case, it makes little difference whether those websites were blocked in China or not (although sometimes it is not quite stable for people to get onto those blocked sites). Organizations in China are still able to access the blocked websites.

      I don't know how long people in China have to fight against the Great Firewall. Not too long, I hope!

      Sources are from:

      Sunday, 6 March 2011

      Share Happiness with Coca-Cola

      In 2010, the world's largest beverage company had a successful PR campaign called Expedition 206, which was considered as the largest social media project that Coca Cola ever launched. Three "happiness ambassadors" were chosen through social websites and their mission was to travel 206 countries where Coca Cola is sold, and to report and document what makes people happy around the world via YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Typepad and other social websites.

      The whole PR campaign sounds a little familiar to everybody. Firstly, the process of choosing "happiness ambassadors" reminds me of some similar campaign such as choosing the suitable island caretaker for Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Although the purposes of those two campaigns were totally different, the overall ideas are similar - publicise product and place by choosing suitable candidates through traditional and digital media. Secondly, traveling 206 countries reminds me of "The Ford Fiesta Movement". Both of the two campaigns shared a lot of similarities: a.The world travellers were all chosen from internet users; b. The traveling routes were the places where their products were sold; c. The purpose of traveling was to spread a certain concept.

      However, the most distinguish feature of Expedition 206 was the widely use of social media - almost all of the mainstream social websites were used by this campaign. Different social websites have different ways communicating to various groups of internet users. The full use of various social websites enables a broader group of people from all over the world taking part in this campaign.

      Take China as an example,Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were all baned in China, Coca Cola turned its focus on the most popular instant messaging provider in China - QQ. During the World Expo 2010, by uploading smiling faces, Chinese internet users could vote for the best one to become "Chinese Happiness Ambassador",who could have the chance to meet three "World Happiness Ambassadors" in "Shanghai World Expo 2010 Coca Cola Day". QQ also opened a blog for these world happiness ambassadors in order to share their experience to Chinese people. As a result, there were more than 1 million of Chinese people have taken part in this campaign;One hundred and eighty thousand people have visited the campaign blog. According to Anne Carelli, Senior Manager Digital Communication,"We have been extremely pleased with the success it's had in the different markets.The program created more visibility for the brand in key markets like China".

      As far as I am concerned, the idea of Coca Cola's Expidition 206 campaign was not that creative and novel, however, Coca Cola made it at its best.

      Sources were taken from:

      Sunday, 27 February 2011

      First post!

      I am currently doing my Masters in Public Relations and Communication in Scotland. This blog is going to focus on the area of public relations and digital media. If you are interested in my blog, please follow it and feel free to leave any comments.

      Picture was taken from: