Category Archives: Uncategorized

Making Use of Lists to Benefit Social Media Use

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We always think we know social media because we use it every day, but there are a lot of aspects to each site that most people know nothing about. As people going into PR, it is important to use each site to it’s fullest for either personal use or for public use through a business. For example, Twitter has a feature called Twitter lists that makes it easier to organize the tweets as they come up. It is not only beneficial for organization sake, but it can be incredibly helpful as a PR practitioner.

There are two types of Twitter lists, public and private. Public Twitter lists are great if you want to recognize the people on your list for being superstars.” (Meltwater.com). Public Twitter lists send notifications to those you have added to the list to let them know that they are there. People can also subscribe to your public Twitter lists and can receive the tweets from all those included in your list. Private Twitter lists are the exact opposite, nobody can see these lists, but yourself which is especially helpful for those who aren’t willing to give up their secrets on a social media site.

For a PR practitioner, having lists for journalists and bloggers can be incredibly beneficial especially if broken down into specific lists for different kinds of bloggers and journalists. By having lists for these groups of people you can easily stay in contact with them and keep a friendly relationship, which would help get your stories out into the public more often. “[J]ournalists should have plenty of relevant content that you can engage in conversation about, and share with your followers – which can help you build a relationship with a journalist you haven’t met” (Meltwater.com). Especially with journalists you haven’t had much contact with just yet, this could be a great way to build a professional relationship. The same should go with the list for bloggers, by keeping in regular contact with them and sharing their content with your followers, you are building a professional relationship to help you when you need someone to promote your product. By having these lists, it is easier to see different content from these different groups instead of putting them all together in a mess of people where you are less likely to see their content.

Of course, Twitter lists are useless unless you use them correctly. You still have to read through posts and engage with people, but there is more organization to it and can more effectively read tweets and build relationships with other users.

Do you feel you could positively impact your PR presence with Twitter lists? Have you found any other interesting social media tools that can be used in PR?

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There’s No Need to be a Superhero in the PR World

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Like many businesses, Public Relations is evolving, but it is evolving into a career where it seems like only superheroes can make it in the business because of all the different tasks PR people are required to know. So, agencies have begun to expand their market so that PR people only have to specialize in one of these many skills.

 

Storytelling

One large aspect is storytelling, and telling the story of the brand through digital channels and over traditional media. “Key to developing your storytelling skills is a deep knowledge of the subject matter. As a foundation, we need to invest time in understanding our clients’ businesses, wider industry, and above all, customers” (Bhurji, 178). Storytelling is knowing about the brand and how it should interact with that brand’s customers to best maximize the marketing and campaign strategies in order to get the best hang for your buck. PR people who work in storytelling go hand in hand with those who work in marketing and advertising for integrated storytelling that resonates with the public.

 

Content Creator

It has been drilled into the head of many a PR student how important writing is in the field whether it’s a tweet or a press release, to choose the best words to convey the meaning you are trying to get across. “It usually requires the ability to convey with and empathy and reflect a specific brand voice and personality” (Bhurji, 180). Strong writing skills in the PR world are a must and practice makes perfect to hone that skill especially since it has become so important to be malleable to each brand and each medium.

 

Technology Enthusiasts

Technology and social media is on the rise now, so it is important to have somebody who can effectively use the technology to its fullest and not only know the basics of social media, but also to know the data that lies beneath the surface. “The fact that PR is becoming more data driven is a positive step-change for the industry and advanced skills in data manipulation and modelling will become invaluable as ‘media planning’ becomes more central to campaign design and evaluation” (Bhurji, 183).

 

So, PR people may not have to become superheroes in the not so distant future, but they may have to learn to specialize in a specific area on PR. It is important to know one aspect of the business really well so that it isn’t overwhelming in the field.

Do you think that specializing is in one part of PR is important or do you think having broad knowledge in each subject could be better for a practitioner?

 

Works Cited

Bhurji, D. (2012). Share This: The Social Media Handbook For PR Professionals. United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Crisis Management Gone Wrong

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Earlier in the semester, we wrote about how to correctly use social media and the rules and guidelines to do so. Many of us found examples of how a brand can excel when they correctly use social media guidelines and create favorable conversations with their customers. Of course, just because there are so many obvious success stories, doesn’t mean there aren’t stories about companies who have mismanaged their pages.

 Earlier this year, Applebee’s was a perfect example of what happens when the social media rules and guidelines aren’t followed. “The more clarification organisations can provide and communicate around the dos and don’ts of social media, the more chance there is of employees helping to build the brand online rather than bringing the company into disrepute” (Griffiths, 41).

At the beginning of February this year, an Applebee’s waitress posted a photo of a check from a local pastor refused to leave her a tip, writing: I give God 10% why do you get 18,” on the check with the 18% crossed out. The waitress was immediately fired for this, Applebee’s cited posting personal information of a customer online as the reason for termination.

In the early days of social media, emergent networks changed how people connect to one another and the information that’s important to them. With each update, shared experience, and event, the world shrank. People were and are becoming increasingly connected and as a result they are more informed.” (Solis, 2013). Since this is the internet, people heard about it and were in uproar. To vent their frustration, customers flocked to Facebook and Twitter to see if anything could be done. Applebee’s was getting hundreds of people giving them a hard time for terminating the waitress when their pictures contain some personal information of customers with no backlash whatsoever.

 Applebee’s chose to handle this situation over social media sites by posting status updates and comments trying to ease their customers angry comments. The status updates didn’t help their case, but Applebee’s didn’t back down, they started copying and pasting the status in the comments several times and tagging the people who were complaining, thinking that it would make them read it and understand better that this was all just a big misunderstanding, but the numerous copy and pasted responses just angered customers more.

The PR team who worked on Applebee’s social media continued to handle this situation poorly by allegedly deleting people’s posts, arguing with the customers in the comments, and by writing a Facebook post over 1,000 words long to explain the situation in full. They may have thought they were doing right by explaining the whole story to their customers, but the length turned many of them off.

The situation did, eventually, blow over, but those posts and responses will always be on their page for everybody to see. Applebee’s PR team did not handle this to the best of their ability and it really showed. How do you think they could have handled this better? Do you think if their posts were more contrite they could have had a few better responses?

 

Works Cited

Griffiths, G. (2012). Share This: The Social Media Handbook For PR Professionals. United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd

 

http://rlstollar.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/applebees-overnight-social-media-meltdown-a-photo-essay/

 

http://www.briansolis.com/2013/05/brands-are-still-broadcasting/

Rise of the Social Media Release

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When we first started out in the Public Relations major, one of the first things we learn about are press releases; what goes into them, why they are important, and how they have been used in the past and present. And why wouldn’t we? Press Releases share information with journalists so they have a story to get out to the general public. It is a great way of getting the word out about your company and brand, without having to pay anything.

So what could go wrong?

In 2006, a blogger for Silicon Valley Watcher by the name of Tom Foremski called for the demise of the press release. Press releases are created by committees, edited by lawyers, and then sent out at great expense through Businesswire or PRnewswire to reach the digital and physical trash bins of tens of thousands of journalists. This madness has to end.” (Foremski, 2006). His comments may have shocked the PR community, but he may have had some method to his madness. Later in his article he described what could be done instead of a press release and how we, as PR practitioners, could change with the other media markets and the technology that goes with it. He makes a list of tidbits of helpful information about the company that could be sent to journalists, instead of a padded up with fluff press release.

Enter the social media release. Shift Communications took advantage of the hype and talk about the blog post Foremski wrote and published the first social media release template to the public. The template of the social media release has changed over the years with new social media and technology changing how PR practitioners use things, but the key aspect of them is brevity. Everything is bulleted in order for journalists to easily pick and choose the information they want to put in their articles or for people to skim while going through RSS feeds. “[N]early every online news site and blog includes an RSS feed to enable readers to subscribe to the content without needing to constantly visit the site. At the very least a social media newsroom must contain an RSS feed for all its content,” (Bruce, p.107)

There is more to it than just brevity, it is the beginning of a change towards the social aspect of public relations. SMRs are much more than bulleted text and links to multimedia content in social networks. It’s much more than simply sharing information. And, it’s definitely much more than providing building blocks in a “B.S.” free format. SMRs are a starting point for the socialization of news.” (Solis, 2007).

Do you agree with Foremski that the press release is no longer relevant or do you think there will always be a place for them in PR? Do you think Social Media Releases will replace press releases over time?  

Works Cited

http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/mt/archives/2006/02/die_press_relea.php

http://www.briansolis.com/2007/10/future-of-social-media-release-is-in/

Bruce, S. (2012). Share This: The Social Media Handbook For PR Professionals. United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Google+ – Why it’s so Great for Practitioners and Businesses

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Google+ came onto the scene in September of 2011 in order to organize your friends list. “How many of your Facebook ‘friends’ are actually your real-life friends at this present moment in time? Google+ was promising functionality to be able to segment your online contacts into groups according to the nature of your relationship” (Tyte, 88). The idea behind it was simple, a way to break up your friends list into smaller groups of people so that different people could get different information. Not only are circles a great way to keep family members from seeing embarrassing photos, but it was also a helpful tool for people in PR.

Google has made it easier for PR people to get into contact with journalists because journalists’ profiles are linked to their articles, meaning that a PR person can easily add them to a circle and connect with them. It is the easiest form of Networking available at only the touch of a button; and with Google hangouts, it is even easier to contact them about stories or have face-to-face meetings.

Brands haven’t been very big on Google+ just yet, but PR practitioners as well as businesses can see the value of having a Google+ business page. “For traditional searches, Google+ pages will show up in the SERPs like any other page and will not be weighted any more different than any other page, to comply with anti-trust regulations. However, when a user searches with a “+” in front of a business’ name, they will go directly to that business’ Google+ page, and will not see any other search results” (Solis, 2011). This has become more helpful in making Google+ brand pages more accessible to the general public and more cost efficient as well because Google+ pages will be better advertised by Google search engines than the Facebook pages.

So, while it hasn’t quite caught on to Twitter or Facebook’s success in the social media scene, Google+ has the potential to greatly help PR practitioners as well as businesses.

 

Sources

http://www.briansolis.com/2011/11/why-you%E2%80%99re-business-should-be-on-google-pages/

 

Tyte, Dan. (2012). Share This: The Social Media Handbook For PR Professionals. United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Professional Connections in the Digital Age

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Linked in is a social media site used by professionals to display their skill set and sell their professional self to future employers as well as to connect with other people in similar fields. Unlike sites like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn aims to be more professional natured and “gives us this opportunity to belong to multiple networks based on school, university, employer, shared skills, professional bodies, shared interests, local business networks and so on. It’s the ideal platform for identifying and connecting with people across multiple niche groups” (Appleby, 81). So, instead of talking and connecting to friends and following celebrities, users could show off what kind of skills they could make use of in the work force.

 

United States companies often check on possible employee’s social media sites to get an idea of what this person is like. LinkedIn is a good social media site to have in order to show off your accomplishments, interests, and skill sets that may not be readily available on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Like other sites, LinkedIn makes it easy for the user to find people they may know as well as people who share similar interests and others in the same field.

I have only had a LinkedIn account for about a month, but I have found that it is a great networking site when it comes to developing professional relationships because the users of the site are primarily professionals and businesses. It isn’t a website for people looking to talk to their friends or to promote their ideas to the world, but for those who are looking for a career. A lot of college grads create profiles on this site for this very reason; it is a great way to showcase yourself for a future employer in a digital form.

Do you think LinkedIn is a good way to connect with employers and other professionals?   

 

Works Cited

Appleby, M. (2012). Share This: The Social Media Handbook For PR Professionals. United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Disney Side and Online Campaigns

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This morning (September 30th), Disney Parks launched their latest campaign Disney Side across all social media platforms. They describe “Disney Side” as “the side of you that says yes more and embraces all things fun.” (DisneyParks) To get in on the fun, you can use the tag #disneyside on any social media site along with pictures of Disney experiences and use the tag to plan a Disney vacation with friends. To me, this was exciting because I will admit, I am a huge fan of Disney so to catch their newest Disney Parks campaign the day it started is kind of exciting to me. 

“As an engagement tool, Twitter is largely self-referential and conversational. It will either aim to help a brand serve its public better, or it will try to engender greater loyalty by creating a closer tie between the brand and the consumer of that brand.” (Lacey, p 78). In the case of Disney Parks, they began using Twitter, as well as other social media sites, to reach out to their customers and to people interested in bringing their family and friends to Disney World. “Social media however is only part of a larger digital movement that’s impacting business from the inside out and the bottom up. This is perhaps the most important part of this study and here it is buried. Regardless of your opinion regarding the word “digital,” the bigger trend is digital’s disruption on business and overall consumerism. When asked what keeps marketers up at night, the list was great.” (Solis). This campaign makes use of photos that people post to social media sites and uses some of them on their Disney Side homepage. Disney Side will have a few commercials, but it will largely be over social media sites and their web page.

This is just another example of how campaigns have started to become more and more digital because that is where so much of the audience has turned. More and more campaigns have started to be done online because digital platforms have the opportunity to be more conversational. Do you think that because of this, campaigns have been more successful through social media?

Social Media and Employment

Recently in Minnesota, the Minnesota State Police was looking for a way to recruit different people into the state police. Instead of going the usual route and taking out help wanted ads, they took to social media. Specifically, they created a hashtag on Twitter called #IwantThatHat.

 

The goal of the campaign was to recruit a large and diverse group of people and by using twitter to reach out to people. “[W]e still need to reach the wildest and most relevant audience with a carefully crafted message” (33). By creating a Twitter campaign, the Minnesota State Police was able to do just that because their message was spread out to a large audience through an interesting and fun hashtag.

 

They also used Youtube and Facebook as a way to get their message out, as well as Twitter. “The patrol tweeted that more than 200 people had applied to be troopers as of July 2. That number has since grown, and official totals should be in this week, Gordon [Director of communication for the patrol] said,” (Prairiebizmag). The imaginative and different way at getting applicants for their open positions was not only successful, but could be a telling way of how other businesses will try and get applicants in the future. It’s no secret that hashtags on Twitter are so popular that they have trickled over into other social media sites, and Twitter often has trending hashtags where people can use the hashtag and add their own thoughts. If the Minnesota State Police had success with a campaign focused around getting applicants through a Twitter hashtag, then who’s to say that another business couldn’t have the same luck in the future?

 

Is it possible that using social media to get more applicants will be more likely in the future? If so, do you think this is a good idea or is it better to go about more traditional methods?

 

Sources

http://www.prairiebizmag.com/event/article/id/15248/

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/15237.aspx#

Share This:  The Social Media Handbook for PR ProfessionalsImage

6 Steps to Kick Start Social Media Involvement

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The focus of Chapter 2 revolved around the steps for companies to use when starting an account on a social media site. It broke down the process into six steps that explain, in depth, the different ways that companies can connect with their customers through social media sites.

 

Step 1: Select Your Squad

Primarily, the people who will be handling the websites and making sure they are updated often and not ignored, will be those who are in the Public Relations Department. Share This made it a point to suggest that they are not the only people who should be reading and responding to all of the comments. Other departments can be a part of it when needed, such as the legal department when it comes to slanderous posts or Research and Development when it comes to customers offering up new ideas.

 

Step 2: Choose a Goal

When starting an account on a new social media site, it is imperative to have a direction in mind to kick-start the strategy. The text suggests using brand, sales, and loyalty as business drivers for kick-starting the social media aspect of the business. “[T]o kick-start your social media manoeuvres, you might wish choose just one to prioritise and focus on. For example, NASA has recently launched an Instagram account and “posted historic moon images and real-time photos from the launch complex leading up to and including liftoff. As of Saturday, 6,400 Instagram users had liked the LADEE launch image” (Mashable). This is a great example of how a business is using brand as a business driver on social media.

 

Step 3: Start Listening

Every market is a conversation and on social media there are many conversations going on at once. Using keywords, a business could discover what people are saying about the business as a whole and the products they create. There are also tools that can be used that alert you when somebody says something about your business on social media.

 

Step 4: Think Character and Content

What makes an agency successful begins not with fancy corporate jargon or a client roster of well known brands, but with the people at it” (PR-Squared). Nobody wants to look at a page on Facebook or Twitter that is boring and has responses that seem more robotic than human, just like nobody wants to work with somebody who doesn’t seem like they are a real person. People looking at the business want to know that real people are there working for this business and caring for the customers and their needs.

 

Step 5: Integrate your Outposts

This step is about how to direct your customers to whichever social media site is chosen to get the job done and from their chooses to stay connected to your business. That way, they can hear more about it over time. If step four is used to its advantage, the audience would be thrilled to interact with an engaging page who puts the customers first.

 

Step 6: Measure what you Treasure

Have you achieved your goals? While not everything is easy to measure, “[a] great deal of heat and light has been expended on potential metrics or KPIs (key performance indicators) that could be used to measure success” (21). This means that there are ways to find out if you have reached your goals through social media.

Social Media Shapes the Internet… and Therefore, our World as well.

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At this point, a large number of people use Social Networks. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others, “social networking already accounts for 1 in every 6 minutes spent online.” (Howell, 2012, p.4) They have become such alarge part of our lives because we are able to create content and share it with people we know, near and far.

Social Media has helped people expand their borders and not only learn things about their friends, but also about people they haven’t met because “millennials are more willing than any other generation to post their personal information online yet they don’t want just anyone to have access to their personal data or web history.” (Web Strategist) Thanks to user profiles, any user of a social media site can introduce themselves to another user of that site, linked by actually knowing the person or by common interests where users can discuss something that they both enjoy.

These Networks have also greatly increased the visibility of posts and information because of how people connect. “The value in Facebook is not necessarily the “share” but the “re-share” – what can you do to get your network to post content on your behalf?” (Amy Mengle). Anytime something is posted on a social network, somebody else will see it and will likely share it with their friends as well. The point is to show off interesting pictures, videos, and information that people are guaranteed to enjoy.

Even “Google and Microsoft Bing are incorporating social conversations (and social signals) into their results” (Howell, 2012, p.6). Since Social Media sites have become so widely used, search engine sites try to make the results that lead to these sites more well known and easy to find. This makes everything a user is looking for easy to find, which adds to the ease of using social networks in our everyday life.