Tag Archives: Twitter

Did you hear the one about…?

14 Nov

I’d like to think that I have the capability to be a funny person, sometimes. But would I be willing to risk combining my particular brand of humor with a public relations move? It depends how courageous I was feeling.

“Humor and business writing:  At first blush it may seem like a strange marriage — Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn-level strange,” said PRSA’s Ken Scudder in a 2013 article. “Humor is about taking chances, pushing envelopes, finding weaknesses and contradictions and pointing them out in ways ranging from lightly disparaging to downright cruel.

Business writing is about selling an idea, playing it safe (for the most part), giving the facts and explaining what they mean.  These appear to be contradictory methods and goals.

Despite this, humor can be an effective part of a business writer’s arsenal. When you correctly execute it, humor will increase comprehension and help you win over your audience.”

You don’t always think humor when you think of JPMorgan, but the financial institution showed a little humble wit when its #AskJPM didn’t go as planned.

The audience was asked to send in questions related to the topic of “leadership and life” for one of its executives to answer during a Twitter chat this week. This is how that went.

Source: latimes.com

Source: latimes.com

“Probably wisely, JPMorgan decided to cancel the Twitter chat,” said Walter Hamilton of the Los Angeles Times. “At least the company kept its sense of humor.

Asked for a comment on the PR mishap, this is spokesman Joseph Evangelist’s response via email: ‘#Bad idea! Back to the drawing board.’”

Humor can be proactive or in response to something. JPMorgan’s example was responsive, but it still worked to save some face.

“If you use humor incorrectly, however, then it will trash your argument, alienate your audience and force you to look for work in a country with limited-to-no-Internet access,” said Scudder.

Ohio State University might have taken a few moments before attempting to put a humorous spin on the evacuation of a dorm, due to a busted water main, by combining it with rape education.

Source: PRtini.com

Source: PRtini.com

“Conveying humor through social media is a challenge. When it’s done well, it can be really effective. However, if it’s misinterpreted or your intent is unclear, you leave yourself open for criticism,” said Heather Whaling, of PRtini.com, about the incident.

If you hone it well enough, it can turn into more than just passing engagement. Clorox earned the 2012 award of “Best Social Media Campaign” from PR Daily with its campaign, “The Clorox Lounge,” which lead users to the site with “potty humor” but kept them there with relevant videos, a prize giveaway and forum discussion.

“Humor isn’t the whole meal, but it makes a great appetizer,” said Kathy Klotz-Guest in a 2005 marketingprofs.com article.

As Scott Stratten, president of UnMarketing and “named one of the top 5 social media influencers in the world on Forbes.com,” shows, even PR pros need some humor thrown their way from time to time to get important best practice points across.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite YouTube videos from him based on his book, QR Codes Kill Kittens.


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.

Homecoming mums go social

18 Oct
Source: hairbowblog.fifthavenuebowtique.com

Source: hairbowblog.fifthavenuebowtique.com

Drive around most Texas cities on a fall Friday night, and chances are you’ll pass by glaring stadium lights, busy parking lots full of cars, bleacher seats packed with color-coordinated fans cheering with megaphones, plastic pompoms, wearing letter jackets and bearing the sacred colors of their local team as the marching band plays in the background.

Friday night high school football has an electric energy all its own. Never is this truer than during homecoming, a right of passage for Texas teenagers.

Other than going to play-offs, the homecoming game is as big as it gets. The cheers are louder, the sea of colors is larger and homecoming mums are on full display in all their glory.

If you’re from Texas, there’s no need to describe to you what a mum looks like, but, apparently, if you’re from outside the borders, it’s a different story.

Source: my personal photo collection - junior year of high school

Source: my personal photo collection – junior year of high school

My junior year of high school, my homecoming date’s craft-gifted aunt had used three regular sized round mums to make me one huge heart-shaped mum.

Garland, bells and whistles adorned the purple, white and black ribbons that swished all the way down below my knees. My date’s name and football number were written in a cardboard star right at the top of the mum. In case that wasn’t eye-catching enough, the dang thing lit up.

There was a string of white Christmas lights powered by a battery pack that was mounted to the back of the mum, which was mounted to little me. This was more than a decade ago, so before neck or shoulder straps were used to help bear the weight.

The 16-year-old version of me felt a mixture of mortification and victory at all the attention my mum and I received.

I secretly loved that mum, even though I felt like a walking pep rally.

The rise of the Internet has taken mum-making and exposition to a new level.

It use to be that high school yearbooks and personal photo albums were the final resting place for visual archives for mums, but social media has exploded with ways to digitally share photos and videos.

There are 60 pins and 841 followers for mums on Pinterest, although the California-based site lists them under the “sports roses” category, which I’ve never heard before.

There are numerous how-to blogs and videos. One 15-minute video on YouTube has more than 60,000 views.

Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Statigram, house ever growing photo collections of mums of all colors and sizes.

What about the mum-makers?

Growing up, you were either related to someone who made your mum or you paid someone to make it for you. There weren’t too many options in our town. The lady who worked at one of the only two dry cleaners we had downtown also ran a side mum and garter business during football season.

Other than that, Hobby Lobby or H-E-B grocery store made more generic looking mums for a hefty price.

Now, in addition to having their own websites, mum-makers have set up virtual shop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I think this is a good partnering of new technology and Texas tradition to let mum-enthusiasts have their fun year round.

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.

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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