Okay Twitter… I think I get you

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We’ve all heard the hoopla about what a great networking tool Twitter is and how beneficial it can be not simply for your own personal social media interests but for you professionally as well.

That being said, I have a serious confession to make… I was not a fan of Twitter until about a week ago. *Pause for dramatic affect… I know, I know as a student studying Public Relations you would naturally assume that I would be completely fan girling over Twitter. But I had some major reservations about it, I hate that you were limited to 140 characters, I hated the # because I didn’t understand it’s purpose and I thought that in no way would you be able to connect with people in as in depth of a manner as you would with Facebook for instance.

But I was wrong! I have been reformed! After experiencing my first live Twitter Chat last week I realized just how useful and dare I say FUN Twitter can be! Simply from the #lrnchat I was involved in for one hour I gained over 6 new followers there by increasing my overall PLN and networking skills! Twitter is fast paced and yes can be slightly overwhelming with the insane amount of information that comes through, but those so called “weaknesses” are also Twitter’s greatest strengths. You are able to get information, news, and updates faster than even the news channels can report. Also the plethora of information that is available allows you to gather insights for yourself in a way that might be lacking in any other social media outlet. Twitter, I get you. You know what’s up.

“Influencer” Relations

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It’s a whole new ball game for the modern day P.R. practitioner. A company’s PR expert is no longer known as simply the “spokesperson” or the person you go to when dealing with an image crisis. In chapter 15 of our text, Share This, author Adam Parker writes, ” The PR practitioner is acting as a change consultant- advising, guiding and training the different parts of the organization in effective and coherent social media engagement to ensure associated risks are managed and that there is consistency of approach.”

Asking the question, “Who is our target audience?” is simply not enough anymore. It is about engaging with the individual. When you comment on your company’s Facebook, you don’t respond with a generic statement, you “tailor it to the specific person making the comment” says Jessica Ryan of PRWeek. If Susan Brown asks you about a service your company provides, find out what is Susan interested in? Why is she specifically looking for this service? The key is that you listen to what Susan (the customer) is saying. Gone are the days when P.R. agents spouted out what they want their customers to think or to know.

If you are to not only survive in today’s fast paced, multi-tasking PR world but succeed, you have to engage with the customer. And just like any successful relationship, engagement and trust is always rooted in listening to what the other is saying.

Our book makes the interesting statement that our profession should no longer be called PUBLIC relations but “INFLUENCER” relations. The brilliance of someone who influences is that more often than not an influencer doesn’t spout out a monologue of all the things one should do to be like them… influencers lead by example. Influencers attract attention because they have something that you don’t, and you want it. Influencers draw people to them because those people want to be drawn to them. I think if each PR professional, and each company focused on becoming influential rather than being “on top” that it would build trust between them an their customers, build their authenticity, and spike engagement with their consumers.

Who will you influence?

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Week 6 PR Writing Blog: CisionPoint Analysis

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I had never heard of CisionPoint before our last class. What an incredible networking tool! I learned so much from Cision, to the point where it was slightly overwhelming. To start, I learned what the website even does, and then how it works. The gist of CisionPoint, is that it gives PR practitioners the ability to track interactions with journalists and contact them through email or phone, there by giving you a large media list at your finger tips! It also allows you to see, press release distributions sent by different companies and journalists.

There is such a vast amount of information to utilize and discover that I simply want to learn more about how to use all of the benefits Cision provides to it’s full capacity. A major aspect of public relations is multi-tasking and CisionPoint allows you to do just that! C.P. is designed to handle multiple tasks at the same time. According to a review of CisionPoint done by inc.com, “CisionPoint goes from start to finish of a PR project: a PR professional can research target media using CisionPoint’s extensive media database, contact the media through lists generated using CisionPoint’s robust PowerSearch functionality, schedule the distribution of press releases, track media coverage of a client, and see which PR campaigns are most successful.”

I did research on what employers are looking for in potential PR practitioners and being familiar with CisionPoint or it’s equivalent popped up numerous times in my search. One of the most exciting yet overwhelming aspects of being in public relations is it’s a very fast paced environment where you must handle many tasks at once. Where connections and constant networking is your greatest weapon, CisionPoint creates a place where you can balance many of your “to-do’s” in one place.

The NewsRoom… “It’s Kind Of A Big Deal”

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It’s hard to believe that most organizations seek positive media attention, and yet they don’t make it easily accessible for journalists to find information to create news stories or articles about the company! I have researched over a dozen company websites and only a handful had a simple but noticeable portion dedicated on their website for “newsroom” material; such as past and current press releases, new product releases, and a compilation of articles written about that specific company. in chapter twelve of the social media handbook for PR professionals, Share This, author of the chapter Stuart Bruce lists the “Essential elements the newsroom”…

In order to have an efficient, accessible and high quality “newsroom” you must implement these important components:

-Include all past and current “news releases”

-Designate a section of the website with “supporting facts” about the company and/or facts about a specific product or service

-Combine all your “multimedia” such as audio, video and images that any potential journalist could use to help enhance his or their story about your company.

“Infographics” have become extremely popular as a way to illustrate research or survey results. It’s also more visually appealing to look at a chart or graph that pages of monotonous data.

-It is essential to have “social network sharing tools”! Make it easy for anyone to be able to connect to your company Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube channel etc.

-It is also important to provide “links” to other related media coverage involving your company or even coverage involving a competitor.

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If a journalist has to gather all sorts of information, better for him or her to make your company website their main research hub by giving them all the information they could possibly need. Remember you want to make it as easy as possible for journalists to find any information about your company that they are looking for, the easier to find the more likely they will write the story, and the more detailed and organized the information, the more likely it will be a positive and dynamic story.

As PR professional, Taylor Spain says, ” It’s our job to be consistent, newsworthy and accessible. If you’ve nurtured the relationship and developed mutual respect, a good PR professional can be one of a journalist’s best sources.”

Having a “newsroom” section on a company website allows journalists (or anyone interested for that matter) to find a plethora of information about the company both past and present so that they can better write news pieces and articles about the company, which is what most companies want… media attention!

The Mirco-Video Becomes Hottest New Trend

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Based upon the trends that we are currently seeing in social media right now, we can make assumptions on what will happen in the future. Since social media is ever evolving, it is important to continuously look ahead to where social networking is headed and how we can get on board with it. A trend that is completely dominating the social media world is the micro video.

We’ve seen a consistent trend in 2013 toward sharing through image and video rather than text based content. Visual content will increasingly become a critical piece of any solid business strategy in the months to come for social media networking. With Twitter’s 6 second Vine videos and Instagrams 3-15 second videos, that people seem to can’t get enough of! Audiences are sharing their stories through videos more than ever before. I think it creates a much more intimate character for a brand.  Companies can no longer get away with using a bunch of jargon to try and win over their viewers or simply rely on their, “image” as our textbook, Share This describes. Brands have to reveal the wizard behind the curtain so to speak. “These micro videos aren’t about selling your products”, says Forbes correspondent, Cheryl Connor, “It’s more about connecting with your audience in a way that humanizes your brand, and, most importantly, makes it likable. People like things that make them laugh, so humor is a great route for micro-video.” So the  point is no longer to simply “sell” something to a customer but to become a likable company where someone will actually WANT to buy or look at your products.

Our world is all about getting information fast and easily, with tools such as Vine and Instagram you are able to just that but in a fun and creative way. Companies such as Starbucks, Redbull, and Lowe’s do a fantastic job using both Vine and Instagram to grab their audiences attention.

 

In a recent article, Forbes journalist, Jason Demers says, “While I’d argue that investing time and resources into a social media strategy is most definitely a necessity in 2013, I believe the tipping point in public sentiment from ‘should have’ to ‘must have’ will occur in 2014.” With the social media world evolving and growing more and more competitive, any brand would do well to not only jump on the micro-video band wagon, but to develop and utilize a successful, focused and “humanized” media strategy to attract their viewers.

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Building a Successful Brand on Facebook: Oreo Nails It!

This was another Facebook post by Oreos, "If the moon were made of Oreo cookies, would you eat it? We know we sure would. Heck, we’d have seconds."

This was a recent Facebook post by Oreos, “If the moon were made of Oreo cookies, would you eat it? We know we sure would. Heck, we’d have seconds.”

There are many companies who have a personal profile on Facebook. There are not many brands however that truly nail the art of engaging, and connecting with their audience on Facebook. The brand, Oreo is an exception, it does a fantastic job of relating to their customers and making them actually want to build a relationship with the brand. In our text, Share This, chapter seven deals specifically on “How to Engage with Your Audience on Facebook”.  Author of the chapter, Robin Wilson says, “Successful engagement tends to come from an authentic two way conversation.” This makes perfect sense to me. Authenticity for one is huge and yet I would argue, one of the most lacking traits in advertising or human interaction. People don’t want to feel talked down to and they certainty don’t want to feel threatened.  Oreo creates a safe and welcoming environment for it’s audience on Facebook that allows them to put their defenses down and become part of their (Oreo) story. Sparking a two way conversation between not just a customer and a company, but a person and another person, a story and another story.

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This was a recent Facebook post from Oreos with this as it’s caption… “If friends take your cookies, take them off your news feed”.

Humor seems to be the main way that Oreo engages their fans as well as making their members the center stage of their product as oppose to the product itself. All over Facebook Oreo has posts and pictures of people eating Oreos or dunking an Oreo in a glass of milk from long distance away or people posting and commenting about their memories of eating Oreos in their childhood. There are a few strategies that are essential for a brand to follow if they want to ensure a positive and influential Facebook profile is. According to Wilson, some of those are, “Know your audience, define your goals and what you want to achieve, and have a conversation strategy”.

The thing is, I don’t even life the taste of Oreos and yet I follow them on Facebook because I am so amused by their posts, comments, pictures and videos. Now THAT is some successful engaging!

Taken from Oreos' Facebook page. With the caption, "Dunking Like A Boss".

Taken from Oreos’ Facebook page. With the caption, “Dunking Like A Boss”.

“Hashing” It Out Over Hashtags

U.S. talk show host, Jimmy Fallon delivered a hysterical skit with musician Justin Timberlake last week on his, “The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon”. The famous comedic duo showed what a conversation on most social media sites would sound like if spoken face to face with another human being. Poking fun of how so many people overuse and misuse the hashtag symbol.

Once the least used button on a phone, the hashtag has now become the international symbol for “tagging” tweets on Twitter and other posts (such as on Instagram and Facebook). The goal of the modern day hashtag was to create a way which better organized and categorized the enormous amount of updates, tweets, posts, and data being constantly infiltrated on to social media sites every second. Unfortunately the purpose of a hashtag has been utterly distorted. People now use hashtags as part of their everyday language on social media sites in ways so ridiculous, that though Fallon and Timberlake’s skit was slightly exaggerated, it isn’t by much!

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Many people agree with Gizmodo journalist, Sam Biddle when he said, “At their most annoying, the colloquial hashtag has burst out of its use as a sorting tool and become a linguistic tumor—a tic more irritating than any banal link or lazy image meme. The hashtag is conceptually out of bounds, being used by computer conformists without rules, sense, or intelligence”. That opinion only seems to be growing, countless articles have been written about how the hashtag is ruining the English language. Now I myself wouldn’t go so far to say that, although social media users definitely need to use the hashtag properly and wisely or else I would have to agree that the misappropriation of social media lingo is not doing the English language justice. According to Jeff Wilser from NYMag.com, “There are three potential reasons for this butchering of our language: 1) A failure to grasp the hashtag; 2) A failure to grasp humanity; and, most often, 3) A misguided attempt to amplify your audience.” The book, Share This, continuously talks about how social media is used to “build connections and relationships”, by simply using a symbol or a tool such as the hashtag improperly and ridiculously often, will by default not help you connect or build relationships because no one will want anything to do with you. You become a spammer!

All of us have that one friend who uses hashtags to describe every detail of a photo they posted (#selfie #pretty #blueeyes #happy #tshirt ughh) or puts a hashtag in front of every word in a sentence (Going #shopping with #besties and we are all wearing #Pink #shirts #loveus #BFFS!) If you know someone like that, make sure they watch the clip of Fallon and Timberlake. And, if YOU are that person… just don’t be that person.

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