Tag Archives: Public Relations

Twitter chat – Resources to help you out

8 Nov

PR and social media Twitter chats have been around almost as long as Twitter and are one of the most useful tools for keeping up with best practices that I’ve come across this year.

Source: janetfouts.com

Source: janetfouts.com

Where to Find Them

There’s a Twitter chat wiki that makes it easy to find PR and social media chats by day and category. Some of them are crossed off because they no longer meet, but there are others that are thriving.

Be sure to make sure you look at what time zone they’re posting the chat from, so that you can make sure you’re there at the right time. It would be a shame to get dressed for the party just to see that you’re an hour early or an hour late.

Ragan gives you “Top 16 Twitter chats for social media and PR pros.” Try these at your own risk. You might have to try to make sure they’re still active because the article was written last year.  No. 8 on the list, #socialchat, is active. I know because I’ve chatted on there twice with good results.

How to Participate

In “How to be a Twitter Champion,” Heidi Cohen gives 12 tips on how to maximize your Twitter chat time.

“Contribute to the conversation. Understand that the conversation can be very fast paced, so don’t get upset if someone’s doesn’t respond to your comment immediately, especially since everyone’s using different platforms and devices. Just jump in, the conversations are generally warm and inviting. Ask yourself if you’re adding to the conversation and the collective knowledge,” Cohen says.

Etiquette is just as important as strategy.

“Show your appreciation to the moderator and others. Acknowledge the work that the moderator has put in to help guide the conversation. Also, thank those with whom you connected. It’s good manners,” Cohen says.

Smallbiztrends.com and braatheenterprises.com offer their own tips, too.

Even if you don’t have much to say at first, you’ll probably still meet at least a couple of people who you might want to follow or research to chat with next time.

“If nothing else, twitter chats are a killer way of meeting fantastic new people. Fantastic new people who share similar interests to yourself,” said Kevin Fawley of Social Media Today.

Source: socialnicole.com

Source: socialnicole.com

How to Run Your Own Twitter Chat Campaign

Once you’re comfortable in a chat, you might want to consider going the next step and hosting your own Twitter chat for your product.

“A great way to springboard your personal brand and begin establishing yourself as a leader in your industry is by participating in twitter chats. Sharing all of your industry expertise during these chats builds brand equity and credibility,” Fawley said.

Make sure you can see the big picture before you begin, though.

“Differentiate yourself from everyone else,” said Cathy Larkin, a PR professional.

“Do research so you’re not competing with another popular chat that’s already established,” she says, adding that it’s good idea to get familiar with Twitter chats before hosting your own.

Caysey Welton of PR News, Lee Odden of Top Rank, and chatter.thundertech.com also offer tips on launching or managing your own campaign.


Hashtags—Think before you become the ‘bum’ of PR jokes

25 Oct

While I was Tweetchating Monday night during #socialchat’s weekly hour-long session, the topic of hashtag usage for events came up. I really hadn’t thought much about it.

You come up with a name, you put a # sign in front of it, and you release it into the Twitter wilderness, right?

Well, you can, but it might end up like British singer Susan Boyle’s well-meant attempt to promote her new album with #susanalbumparty, but instead users had a field day coming up with this:

Source: hashtags.org

Source: hashtags.org

In January 2012, McDonald’s had the unfortunate experience of having its #McDStories, which was supposed to bring up warm fuzzy sentiments of McDonald’s memories, ridiculed and hijacked by Twitter users who went with a different messaging direction.

Source: hashtagnation.blogspot.com

Source: hashtagnation.blogspot.com

The failed campaign was taken down after only two hours. Ouch.

“Creating hashtags is no easy feat and not something left to an intern to brainstorm for 30 minutes. They embody a part of your brand in as few characters as possible, but they still tell a story. Make sure it’s the right one,” said Jon Thomas of SocialMediaToday.

Who knew so few characters could do so much damage?

“If you associated a poorly-crafted hashtag with your brand, it could make or break your reputation online,” said Vanessa Doctor of Hashtags.org.

Thomas says that being honest about your brand is one of the first steps to ensure if your campaign with flop or be successful.

“McDonald’s, as well as a number of other half-health-conscious restaurants, has to get honest about its business. Domino’s is the poster child for owning up to a negative brand story and using that negativity to craft a new brand story. Domino’s used to be like most fast-food restaurants—making the food as quickly and at the lowest cost as possible in pursuit of high volume and profit margin. Unfortunately, the lack of pride in the product resulted in feedback claiming it was ‘mass-produced, boring, bland pizza.’

Instead of deflecting or ignoring the negativity, Domino’s embraced it, publicly admitting its faults and using them to fuel a marketing campaign called The Pizza Turnaround. It documented its reinvention, changing its recipe and tracking down the detractors in hopes that they’d try its #newpizza and reconsider,” Thomas said.

When in doubt, Domino’s Pizza went all out. Their hashtag was the cornerstone of a massive PR campaign that included a separate website specifically for all things “#newpizza,” positive TV coverage and a stint on Gayle King’s (Oprah Winfrey’s BFF) radio show.

San Francisco advertising firm RadiumOne released findings in March related to a mobile hashtag survey of 494 respondents asking about how they “perceive, value, and use hashtags.”

  • 58 percent of respondents utilize hashtags on a regular basis, and 71 percent of regular hashtag users do so from their mobile devices
  • 43 percent of respondents think hashtags are useful and 34 percent use them to search/follow categories and brands of personal interest
  • 51 percent of respondents would share hashtags more often if they knew advertisers awarded discounts for sharing product based hashtags
  • 41 percent of respondents use hashtags to communicate personal ideas and feelings

With these kinds of numbers, it’s worth it to put a little effort into creating a relevant and honest message with your hashtag. Being included in the “worst of” category is never pretty. Just ask Susan Boyle.

Lack of social media presence is bad PR call for federal government

10 Oct
Source: outsidebeltway.com

Source: outsidebeltway.com

Everyone in the broadcasting world knows that dead air is a sign of loss—loss of signal, loss of the technology and loss of control.

The abandoning of official government Twitter and Facebook accounts during the current government shutdown is like radio static in the social media world.

Going radio silent during a crisis is a big no-no in crisis communication, and PR professionals and some media outlets are taking the government to task about best practices.

“Like any successful business, the government needs to have a top notch crisis strategy in place,” said Gabe Shaoolian, CEO and Founder of Blue Fountain Media. “The worst thing to do when your customers (or in this case the American people) are upset and nervous is to cut off communications. It’s the same as telling people you don’t care.

1. Never shut down communications during crisis. It tells your employees and staff you don’t care. It also threatens the future rankings of your digital properties as well (the SEO and online reputational damage could carry forward for many months, or even for years.)

2. Never underestimate the power of the underground communications network – especially in this day and age. If you are not in control of your communications someone else will take over (namely, the unsatisfied customers or employees who take to the internet and create negative impressions  or gossip about you in a variety of ways).”

Source: abcnews.go.com

Source: abcnews.go.com

At least 11 members of the House and Senate have taken to their Twitter accounts to tell Americans who are on mandatory furlough that as long as they aren’t getting paid, they will also forgo their own salaries or give them to charity.

“The government shutdown comes with peril to both political Parties.  Both need to be savvy PR wise.  But ultimately one side or the other must prevail when that happens, a whole new PR strategy will be needed for both Parties,” said David E. Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC.

For most people, the shutdown has only heightened their opinions of certain political players in the game. Blame debates are taking place in the court of social media.

“Social media channels are very powerful and important to us. We thrive on learning and staying up to date with the day-to-day gossip and the latest news. In this day and age, we control the social media we want to use, and block the rest of it out of our lives.  As a result, the government shutdown crisis is an example of just how big of a role social media plays in our lives. Luckily, social media comes to our rescue by summarizing the issue using very few words, something all Americans can understand, therefore making it not only addicting, but also demanding,” said Justine Barretta, of CPR Communications.

We don’t know the short and long term domestic and international consequences, yet, but social media is playing a huge part.

Who will the PR winners and losers be at the end of this? We’ll just have to wait and see.

ObamaCare – the lemon of the decade

4 Oct
Source: jacobsmediablog.com

Source: jacobsmediablog.com

PR consultant Chikodi Chima has an interesting take on eating “your own dog food.”

“The term ‘dog fooding’ is a well-known concept about being an enthusiastic user of your own tools.

If you build a factory to make dog food, you’ll be in serious trouble if your dog won’t eat it. The only way to know is if you sample your product and delight in using it to solve your own problems,” Chima said.

President Barack Obama is in a public relations pickle right now from public backlash of ObamaCare, aka the Affordable Care Act, which was supposed to start taking new enrollees on Oct. 1.

Part of what’s at stake during the current government shutdown, is that there are reports that aides and members of the House and Senate are threatening to quit or retire if they are forced to be covered under the Affordable Care Act, the very same act that Obama told the media several times must pass for the good of the American people.

Also, this is the very same act that Obama and his family, and the Vice President Joe Biden and his family are fighting to not be made to enroll in and give up their current insurance like the rest of the American population will be mandated to do, or risk paying hefty penalties to the government.

Source: bangitout.com

Source: bangitout.com

“This is a good law but it can’t work if people don’t understand it,” Democrat Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, said. “I hear from people on the ground in Montana that they are confused about the health care law. For the insurance marketplaces to work, people need to know their options and how to enroll. I want families’ lives to be easier, and I want small businesses to focus on job creation, not confusion.”

People are confused. They’re confused because Baucus, Obama, Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and all the other advocates of this act are playing fast and loose with the facts and definitions in the 906-page law.

In 2010, Pelosi, former speaker of the House, said that they would have to pass the bill before they were able to see what was inside of it. Does that make any sense in logical land? No, and it was just the beginning.

“ObamaCare advocates (and many supposedly neutral news outlets) regularly characterize the new law as health care ‘reform.’ But the term ‘reform’ presumes that the law is a step in the right direction — which is the very issue under dispute. By implication, ObamaCare opponents must be against progress.

This is an old tactic, long used by politicians by both parties. Names such as the ‘Save American Jobs Act’ or the ‘Patriot Act’ are deliberately chosen to undercut opposition. After all, who could possibly be opposed to saving American jobs (or to patriotism)?

If ObamaCare advocates use the term ‘health care reform,’ insist on a more neutral term like ‘health care law.’ Don’t concede the moral high ground without a fight,” said Forbes contributor Paul Hsieh.

Source: blogs.edweek.org

Source: blogs.edweek.org

If you’re not honest about all the quarks of your product, and you don’t even want to use your own product, that instills 0 percent confidence in your consumers, in this case the American people.

LinkedIn—useful for more than just posting resumes

20 Sep
Source: comunidadism.es

Source: comunidadism.es

Even though I only heard about LinkedIn two years ago, the online networking platform geared toward working professionals has been around for a decade.

While most of its 200 million users probably use it primarily for posting their digital resume and making potential business-related connections, there are others who are using the wall-posting feature to take LinkedIn to a new level.

“People who share, comment, and act as contributing members of the LinkedIn community are the aspirational leaders. They have interest beyond finding a job and show a passion for their line of work. The LinkedIn news feed is the Holy Grail for recruiters, and the more you post, the more you are seen. In fact, members who post at least once a week are 10 times more likely to be seen by recruiters. Post, read, and participate often,”  J. Barbush, a writer for iMedia, an interactive media and marketing trade publication, said.

Paula Nourse, director of Marketing at the Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance, is one of those trailblazers. The DHMCET has only 11 employees, but it has a strong social media presence thanks to Nourse.

She’s been with the museum for three years and has enjoyed a 25-year marketing career with Verizon, “The Dallas Business Journal,” Sprint and American Heart Association, among others.

I happened to be shadowing her while she was working on the museum’s North Texas Giving Day campaign, which was open to donors from 7 a.m.-midnight yesterday.  Any donations given on that day of more than $25 would be multiplied by the organizers of the Giving Day, so this was a significant opportunity to get the attention of her social media followers in order to raise funds for the museum.

Not only did she have a Facebook and Twitter strategic communications strategy for the campaign, but she integrated a Prezi into her LinkedIn wall feed.

Source: Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance

Source: Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance

She has about 25 slides answering the question “What is it like to market a tragedy?” including compelling photos of school children and a Holocaust survivor who regularly visits the museum to share his story and sign his book.

She included four talking points, addressed her core audience of teachers and students, addressed her peers, and garnered interest for those who have never visited the museum. Then, at the end, she plugged the North Texas Giving Day, with a link to donate. The audience doesn’t even see the plug coming. I thought it was a Prezi she created for the general marketing of the museum, but she told me she had just created it two days ago.I thought it was a fantastic and simple use of a digital tool to get across messaging that companies usually post an annual business report to try to convey. Up until now, I had only seen Prezi being used by college students or really creative artists. Nourse is definitely an example of LinkedIn and Prezi best practices.

Of course, I wouldn’t be my paranoid mother’s daughter if I didn’t note that a possible downside for LinkedIn users is that they are “twice as likely to report ID theft” than users of other social media platforms. So, be creative, but be careful.

‘Happy, Happy, Happy’ makes for good PR

13 Sep
Source: breitbart.com

Source: breitbart.com

When I was at Wal-Mart last week, a huge “Duck Commander” display made me stop for a few moments before I hit the check out line. There was a life-size cardboard cut out of Jase Roberton, one of the stars of the A&E reality show “Duck Dynasty,” with “Duck Commander” sunglasses on. The glasses were available for purchase at the Wal-Mart optical center, along with bins of t-shirts, spiral note books, clipboards, ice chests and other show paraphernalia.

The first time I saw the show, I was not impressed. My husband loves fishing, hunting and being a guy-guy. Naturally, he DVR’s “Duck Dynasty” on our flat-screen TV, and I watch it with him when it’s his turn to pick the show. I just couldn’t see past the beards, until one of my good friends, surprisingly, was gushing about how she loves how family and faith-centered Phil (the family patriarch), the kids and the show are.

After that, I tried to pay more attention to what was behind the beards, and I could see where she was coming from. I still don’t watch it on my own, but it’s growing on me.

That’s good public relations – making you see something in a different light that maybe you hadn’t noticed before and giving something new a shot for a reason that personally appeals to you.

“Duck Dynasty” premiered on March 21, 2012. Nineteen months and 43 episodes later, it garnered a record 11.8 million viewers during the current season premier, “becoming the No. 1 non-fiction series in cable history.” The Robertson’s are giving another reality TV family a run for their money. “Keeping up with the Kardashians” pulled in just 2.8 million viewers during the same week.

Jason Mudd, CEO of award-winning national PR firm Axia Public Relations, laid out three strategic communication lessons that industry professionals can learn from the Robertson clan.

1. “Keep it real when it comes to reputation management.”

2. “Let key characters be key characters.”

3. “Shine on through strategic endorsements and merchandise – but line up closely with what the audience already expects from the message.”

“The Robertsons themselves seem to guide the format and the pace of messages that circulate about their family and their business, rather than trying to line themselves up with a series of stories or messages that are placed before them. After all, who knows the Robertsons like the Robertsons themselves? It’s a successful piece of a comprehensive reputation management approach,” Mudd says in his blog.

Alan Robertson, oldest son to Phil and Kay Robertson and the only beardless male of the clan, also does public relations for the show. He calls his position the official “Beards and Beauty Wrangler” of the family, which I suppose is to help people like me see through the beard to the message of faith, family and ducks.

Source: aetv.com

Source: aetv.com

In addition to full episodes and video clips, the official A&E website gives viewers plenty of opportunities to interact with the “duck community” through quizzes, online chat boards, Twitter and Facebook. There is also a “shop” link with tons of merchandise, in case Wal-Mart runs out.

The long-term effects of the “Happy, Happy, Happy” culture have yet to be seen, but for now, their PR people are right on the money.

Branching out—using Qwitter as a useful PR tool

6 Sep

My aversion to technology goes way back to when I was growing up in a small Texas town. The internet came to other households in the late 90’s but not to mine. My mother developed a fear of technology after watching the 1995 Sandra Bullock thriller “The Net,” a movie about a woman whose identity is stolen through the internet and on the run from murders because she knew too much or something.

From then on, my interaction with technology was on a need-to-learn basis. I took keyboarding when I was 15 because it was a requirement. I didn’t get an email address until 2001 when I had to for college. I learned how to use Photoshop, video editing and a content management system when I did corporate communications at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport in 2007.

It’s not that me and technology are a bad combination. It’s just that I don’t have a natural inclination to want to get my hands on the latest tech toys or platforms and explore. I admit it. It’s a weakness for a journalism professional in the current social media climate.

That’s why I’m here taking a social media class because I need a little help.

I’ve heard about Twitter for years, mostly because of celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus and Amanda Bynes, who are either incriminating themselves on the platform or heightening it to a new level. Naturally, I stayed away until I discovered a relevant use for it for myself.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 5.37.25 PM

Source: useqwitter.com

One of the most interesting tools I’ve been introduced to so far is Qwitter, an application that lets Twitter users see when followers un-follow them. With Qwitter pro, you can even search by date to find out around what time a certain amount of red defectors fled and which green ones are still around. Inactive users show up as orange.

This could be a supplemental tool for public relations folk to track who left their client/s after a major blunder.

Tom Cruise’s official Twitter site, @TomCruise, has 4.2 million followers. Do you think his powerful pr team tracks the flock after each bad divorce article or Scientology outburst?

Source: bestdamncreativewritingblog.com

Source: bestdamncreativewritingblog.com

Lance Armstrong’s official Twitter site, @lancearmstrong, has 3.9 million followers. I wonder how many were there before his 2012 confession to doping? @Samjb may know this, since she’s a follower.

John McCain’s official Twitter site, @SenJohnMcCain, has 1.8 million followers. Did any of those flock away after the online poker playing incident during the open house Syria meetings Tuesday? Maybe he got some new poker-playing followers out of it.

How about @anthonyweiner, Anthony Weiner’s official page? He has 22,788 followers. Did any of them leave after Weinergate? I’m actually surprised he still has that many. Maybe it’s closer to 12,000, since 48 percent of Twitter users are apparently inactive.

Some think that Qwitter, although a very cool application, only causes drama. Others feel rejected by the whole proposition, even though the creators have been able to financially profit from the application. Who.unfollowed.me is also a similar platform worth trying.

Of course, thorough analytics from other reliable sites will be able to give a better picture of why little Tweeters are flocking away, but Qwitter could show that waving red flag to start the process of “Why?”

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