Blog of the Week – Sydney Owen: Unfiltered

Sydney OwenThis week I decided to talk about the girl who really got me turned on to blogging in the first place. Though she’s not from Minnesota, she is a close neighbor living in Chicago. And her blog is too good not to share – regardless of where she’s from!

Sydney Owen is the author of Sydney Owen: Unfiltered which I have read religiously for a number of months now. I think what has made her so intriguing to me is that we have a lot of basic things in common. She’s my age, she works in public relations, she loves to network and integrate social media into her personal and professional life.

I first started reading her blog when it was called Sydney Owen: On New Media. Her focus was her documenting her progress towards landing an internship (and then full-time job) in public relations. She was basically doing everything I was trying to do – except better.

Along the way, she wrote about the risks she took, the people she met, and the things she learned that would ultimately lead her to accomplish what she set out to do. It has been really fun to watch her learn and grow through her blog.

After reading her posts for so long, it got to a point where I thought, “Okay, this girl is smart. Why am I not following in her footsteps?” And that’s when I decided I might want to take a stab at blogging myself.

Now that Sydney is working in the big leagues as an Assistant Account Executive at Weber Shandwick in Chicago, her blogging has taken a slightly different focus as well as a whole new name.

On Sydney Owen: Unfiltered, she still writes about some of her original topics (I mean, they’re all still an integral part of her life!), but now she’s taken a more personal approach to her writing. While slightly different, I still love her writing style and getting to know a different side of Sydney.

Sydney is definitely one of those people I can expect to make it big in this industry. I mean, she’s already found herself on a speaking panel at 2010’s SXSW convention in Texas. Not to mention her blog is wildly popular and generates about 500 comments per post (okay maybe not that many – but a lot!). And she’s only 24. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Her writing is smart, sassy, and innovative. She is full of great insight that someone just starting out can really relate to. That’s why I’d encourage any college student or young professional to follow her blog.

Great posts:

SXSW – My trip to self-discovery – part one

How to: Find a Mentor

From A to B: Part Four – network your face off

Social media works. I just can’t tell you why.

On October 8th, I attended a social media roundtable at Weber Shandwick facilitated by David Krejci and Chris Werle of their digital communications and consumer marketing departments. They were kind enough to let me join last minute and listen in on an interesting discussion. The group consisted mainly of corporate marketers and the conversation had a heavy focus on social media measurement.

Measurement is a big issue when it comes to social media. Most of us are well aware of the importance of incorporating social media into marketing/PR campaigns because we understand the power behind it. The problem is, how can we prove it? We can see there are people Tweeting about our brands, but what does that mean in the long run?  

A strong social media presence is something you need to develop. It’s not gonna happen overnight. (Unless of course you’re Shaq). And this is precisely why measurement is so difficult to do right now. Most brands have only recently jumped on the social media train. Everything is still very new. The thing is, we probably won’t be able to really tell what works and what doesn’t for a while.  The best way to justify social media campaigns will be when we can take a look at their impact and growth over time. Right now, there’s just not much to compare.

But until that happens, there have to be some ways to evaluate how a social media campaign is doing today. A couple things mentioned were:

  • Track and score any mentions, comments, or forwards. Place value on how your brand is represented, be it positive or negative.
  •  Look at the engagement between your brand and its audience. How well and how often are you starting conversations and responding to customers?
  • Compare yourself to your competitors. Look at their number of followers, fans, mentions, etc. What might they be doing better than you?

Overall, it was really interesting to hear how social media is being used from a corporate standpoint since my background is mostly small business. I’m pretty sure the conversation could have continued well beyond the allotted hour and a half we were there which makes me hope Weber Shandwick will do something like this again soon.