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Social Media Musings from a Millennial

We’re here to help you keep your finger on the pulse of the ever-changing world of social media. Start off your week on the right foot by catching up on the latest changes and updates to your favorite social media platforms.

Facebook wants to provide the most relevant ads on News Feed
Last week, Facebook announced two changes to the News Feed. Now when users indicate they don’t want to see an ad, Facebook will ask why. These answers will help Facebook serve the best ads. Facebook also announced that they would begin prioritizing feedback from users who hide advertisements less often than others.

Posts that self-delete may be coming to Facebook
Catch them while you can. Facebook is currently experimenting with self-deleting posts. Certain users on iOS devices can set posts to self-delete after a set period of time. We’ll see if self-deleting posts become a reality. For brands, self-deleting posts could be useful for specific sales, coupon codes, contests, events and much more.

Twitter ads show impressive results
Where are you spending your ad dollars on social? One new study found that promoted tweets convert 160 percent more customers than organic tweets. For some brands, Twitter may be a great place to spend ad dollars. Learn more about Twitter advertising.

A “Buy” button debuts on Twitter
Speaking of spending, Twitter announced that they are beginning to test a new way to buy products directly through Twitter. A small percentage of U.S. users will see tweets from test partners featuring a “Buy” button, letting you buy directly from the Tweet. After tapping the “Buy” button, users will get additional product details and enter shipping and payment information.

I personally am extremely excited to see how Twitter’s “Buy” button impacts ecommerce. On September 15, Burberry became the first brand to test out the new feature – announcing a new line of nail polishes available exclusively through Twitter.

 

 

What do you think about the new changes? Let us know by leaving a comment below or by reaching out to me on Twitter, @carolaskyn.

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Posted September 16th, 2014 in social media | No Comments »

Who says we don’t do fashion PR?

When you’re in the agency business, one of the first questions people ask is what industries you represent. In our 11-year history, we’ve always had a diverse client roster, so this question can be a tough one to answer succinctly.

At some point, it occurred to me that it might be easier to say what we don’t do than recite the long list of what we do — B2B, consumer, building/architecture, DIY, ed tech, financial services, tech, media, etc. We generally aren’t hired by fashion, beauty and entertainment brands. We’ve all dabbled in those areas (Tracey and I once donned headsets to work Fashion Week for Tommy Hilfiger!) and some of our clients do as well, but they’re not really our focus.

I’ve struggled with this answer, though, because I would never advise a client to start with the negative or any response that would limit their potential. And an experience I had this morning only reinforces that internal conflict.

Our client, Lucite International, was recently approached by Alexis Bittar to collaborate on a campaign to celebrate his 25th anniversary of working with their material, LuciteLux®. Details are still in the works, but I was invited to take a tour of the Council of Fashion Designers of America 2010 Accessory Designer of the Year’s studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Alexis Bittar paints myriad colors and patterns on LuciteLux®.

I’ve been a fan of Alexis’ work for many of those 25 years, but to see how hands-on and involved the design and manufacturing processes are was simply awe-inspiring. He brilliantly embodies LuciteLux®’s tagline: JUST IMAGINE.

While LuciteLux® isn’t a fashion brand per se, its story is relevant to those who design accessories and embrace the creative possibilities of the material. And I was reminded during the tour that Alexis’ story transcends fashion — touching design, craftsmanship, art, color, manufacturing excellence and so much more. I walked away wanting to open my mind and push my own creativity even further.

Bangles waiting to be colorized.

What or who inspires your creativity?

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Posted September 16th, 2014 in image management, interesting experiences | No Comments »

As the social media world turns

Twitter and LinkedIn recently revamped their advertising platforms to court more advertisers and join in the social advertising frenzy created by Facebook. Here’s my take on the latest social ad options.

As we all know, dynamic social media content (i.e. infographics, video, photos, etc.) outperforms text. Tapping into our collective desire for short, snackable video content, Twitter announced the Promoted Video, a new Twitter Video Card that builds upon the Twitter Amplify program launched in 2013.

What’s cool about Twitter Video Cards is you only pay when someone actually clicks the “play” button. Unlike Facebook, where videos automatically play when they appear in the newsfeed (hate this feature? Turn it off), Twitter is attempting to offer value-based engagement with their video content.

Twitter is also working hard to deliver advertising tools that generate highly qualified leads via its Tweet Card tool. Also referred to as Twitter’s Lead Generation Card, these Cards allow Twitter users to securely share their email addresses with a brand without leaving Twitter. Note that while Tweet Cards are free, you have to advertise first before having access to the capability. But if you’re advertising anyway – no matter what your budget – why not take advantage of this perk?

Like Twitter, LinkedIn is switching things up to generate more revenue from highly targeted ads on its network. I love this platform because you can get very specific with your target audience. Where else can you deliver a native ad to a target group identified by job function and geography? Sponsored Updates are useful on LinkedIn. But if you’re trying to grow your page and reach new audiences beyond those who currently like your page, try a Direct Sponsored Content (DSC) campaign. With DSC, the advertisements won’t post to your brand page. This feature differentiates DSC from Sponsored Updates.

Here’s a PayPal DSC that appeared in my LinkedIn newsfeed

 

We recently managed a DSC campaign and learned some interesting lessons along the way. First, LinkedIn needs to hire more ad sales reps! It took them a whopping 28 hours to approve our DSC. We’ve had Facebook approve ads in less than two minutes. Keep this time delay in mind when planning campaigns.

Here are a few more insights for your next LinkedIn campaign:

*  Test different content. Mix it up with various images, headlines and commentary

*  Call out to the people you are trying to reach. For example, if you are trying to reach marketers, direct the communication to them: Attention savvy marketers…

*  Test a few different campaigns to hone in on the right audiences

*  Include a call to action. For example, if you’re trying to grow followers, ask users to follow the page

The social media realm is ever-changing and all of these new tools help content communicators deliver content in a way that is meaningful, relevant and engaging. What’s your experience with Tweet Card and/or LinkedIn DSC?

Share your stories with us in the comments section.

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Posted September 15th, 2014 in social media | No Comments »

Social media and collective mourning on 9/11

The view of lower Manhattan from Hoboken on 9/11/14.

When I ran to grab coffee this afternoon, I had my first moment to think about something other than deadlines. A thought popped into my head: How would 9/11 have been different if there were social media channels?

My stomach turned just thinking about it. I had a Blackberry in 2001, but we weren’t even texting, let alone posting thoughts and images to the many sites we use to chronicle our daily lives. That day, and in the weeks that followed, we relied heavily on television news for updates.

Then this post appeared in my newsfeed. It beautifully captures what I was thinking. These lines really resonated:

“It was all so raw, so terrifying—and it was all so analog.

After all, this was three years before Facebook, four years before YouTube, five years before Twitter, six years before the iPhone, and nine years before Instagram. So there were no anguished tweets or status updates from those trapped on the upper floors of the Twin Towers. There were no color-filtered smartphone pictures of the burning buildings, uploaded in real time onto Instagram. There was no destined-to-go viral YouTube video from al-Qaeda, claiming credit for the atrocities.”

On 9/11, I had lived in Hoboken for about 16 months. I never felt connected to my community — like I was just passing through while working in Manhattan — until that day, when we lost 53 of our neighbors. We helped each other get back across the Hudson that afternoon. We took turns having sleepovers so no one would be alone. We shared meals together. We attended memorial services and candlelight vigils. We cried together. And we walked quietly and slowly beside one another to the train station on the first day back to work in Manhattan. I have thought many times over the years how grateful I am for the role my community played in helping me through the tragedy. And, like the post’s author, I’m particularly grateful there was no Facebook or Twitter in 2001. Have you thought about how social media would have changed your experience that day?

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Posted September 11th, 2014 in social media | No Comments »

Facebook’s Hot For Teacher

Back to School

Is it just my Facebook News Feed or is there a whole lot of teacher love going on? My News Feed feels light, cheerful and kind, as we enter this brand new school year. The uptick in such messages flourished a couple of weeks ago when the latest Holderness family (Christmas Jammies) video  Baby Got Class went viral. The back-to-school parody entertains from a parents’ point of view, but concludes with the true message: a dedication to the amazing teachers who care for our kids all day, 180 days out of the year.

And the love continues. I’ve noticed a high number of ‘teacher-love’ themed blogs shared in my newsfeed. I’ve seen incredibly touching dedications to my friends who are teachers. Another one that got me was a tribute to a spouse. A wife commended her husband for his work as a teacher and said the family is ready to “return him to the eighth graders who need him.”

I realize this isn’t a grand phenomenon and that it has more to do with me being a parent of a school-aged child, but the idea of influencing through the right tone alongside authentic messaging is worth observing.

Of the many messages that cross my path on social channels, a decent amount of messages seem to be delivered in the wrong tone. Typically the well-intended individual sharing the information hopes to influence people, but lets their passion get in the way of delivering a clear and meaningful message.

The teacher appreciation movement is one of great passion. It acknowledges the positive impact and value teachers provide without stepping onto a pulpit to preach. This current trend gently encourages heightened awareness of the important issues around the teaching profession.

Striking the right tone is key on social media. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you craft social media messages both personally and professionally:

- Develop authentic messaging through sincerity, avoid forcing a message.

- Create a fertile soil for organic growth – don’t just plant something and demand everyone water it; true evangelists will naturally  contribute to the growth of a message or cause.

- Lead by example. A positive tone can have great influence, consider presenting your message or idea in a way readers can feel part of it and not alienated by it. People like to see themselves as part of a solution.

Do you plan to give a shout out to former or new teachers this school year?

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Posted September 9th, 2014 in best practices, communication, social media | No Comments »

Graphic Tools Help with Storytelling

The following post is a submission by our fantastic intern, Katherine Kalis.

Information today moves at lighting speed and consumers are inundated by messages vying for their attention. With time and attention running low, visuals are increasingly important.

As a millennial, I’m a digital native.  I’ve never known a world devoid of social sharing, so when I read an article in The Hub recently about 12 free and low cost visual tools, I was intrigued and I set up accounts to test them out. I broke the tools into two categories: photographs and infographics. Here’s what I learned…

Photographs

The photograph tools allow users to create a photo with a message superimposed on it – useful fodder for channels like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.  The list:

  • Canva
  • Quozio
  • Pinstamatic
  • Pinwords
  • Quotes Cover
  • Picmonkey
  • Pixlr
  • Recite This
  • Chisel

The verdict? Canva is my favorite.  It allows you to create pictures for any type of social media presence from a Twitter cover photo to a Google+ background, to a basic profile picture on Facebook.  It lets you select which medium the picture is going to, and pre-crops the photograph based on that medium.  Highly recommend!

Infographics

The infographics websites help even the non-designers among us develop compelling data-based visuals. They include:

  • Venngage
  • Infogr.am
  • Pik to Chart

I like Pik to Chart best because it allows you to create infographics from numerous pre-fab backgrounds. You can even start with a blank canvas and create an infographic using an unlimited supply of icons given.  For someone with little experience in creating infographics, I found it very easy to use.

PR has gone far beyond the written word and savvy practitioners are embracing these new visual tools to enhance their ability to tell a compelling story.

If you’re interested in trying the tools for yourself, click here, and if you’ve already tried them, let us know what your favorite is!

 

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Posted September 5th, 2014 in public relations industry, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Lessons from the #IceBucketChallenge Keep Coming

I wrote a piece for PR Week last Tuesday (8/19) called “Seven Lessons for Communicators in the #IceBucketChallenge.”

At the time the effort had raised $15 million. Videos of people throwing ice water on their heads had been streaming through my Facebook newsfeed since early August, so I felt like I was weighing in at the tail end of the phenomenon. But now – just a week later – the campaign has raised more than $88 million. EIGHTY-EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS. Wha???! Lessons indeed. I’d say this one has taught us all a thing or two. Stunning.

Ice Bucket Challenge

Bill Gates doing the Ice Bucket Challenge

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Posted August 26th, 2014 in best practices, non-profit public relations, social networking, word of mouth | No Comments »

Let’s put an end to click-bait headlines

It’s no secret that professionals in the online media industry love traffic. Not the road rage, bumper-to-bumper kind of course, but the online traffic that puts a spike in our Google Analytics, proving that our content is getting the visibility we crave.

The hunger for online page views has resulted in the most unfortunate of practices: click-bait headlines. While you may not know the term, you’ve definitely been exposed to these devils while browsing your social media feeds. This week, Facebook announced that an abundance of click-bait headlines (and dissatisfaction with the practice among users) is the reason for the social media giant’s newest algorithm changes.

The term “click-bait” refers to a headline that has the sole purpose of making a large number of internet users click the corresponding link. It’s true that this is the purpose of all headlines, which are crucially important to attract readers. However, click-bait resorts to sensationalizing in order to increase the view counter of the article, which is often written to increase the source’s website traffic. This practice results in higher placements on Facebook’s newsfeed without adding any actual value.

Here are some real examples of click-bait headlines:

  1. “You Won’t Believe The Ridiculous Purchase This Man Just Made. Why? Just, Why?”
  2. “The 3 Biggest Mistakes You’re Making With Your LinkedIn Photo”
  3. “The Surprising Thing That Could Be Killing Your Productivity”

I would be lying if I said these headlines didn’t pique my curiosity, as they most likely did for you. However, while click-bait headlines and this resulting interest may drive website traffic, it can create a bigger problem than low viewer stats. Because of click-bait’s overly exaggerated nature, the headlines are often deceiving. The audience clicks the link expecting a big, even groundbreaking story, only to be immensely disappointed with the ordinary:

  1. “You Won’t Believe The Ridiculous Purchase This Man Just Made. Why? Just, Why?” – An unidentified man bought a carnival-sized teddy bear, and was spotted in a parking lot trying to load it into his car.
  2. “The 3 Biggest Mistakes You’re Making With Your LinkedIn Photo” – Not having a photo is the #1 mistake listed.
  3. “The Surprising Thing That Could Be Killing Your Productivity” – Noise (not too much of a surprise).

As information sources, we shouldn’t have to trick our audience to get them to read our articles. It’s important to establish trust with those who consume the content we produce.

Take the time to write superior content with an accompanying expertly crafted headline. It will speak for itself. Viewers will come, seeking out the expert knowledge you provide, knowing that you are a trusted source because you deliver what you promised. This type of traffic is immeasurably stronger than a huge influx of viewers who come to your site, feel cheated and leave, with increased wariness of your reliability as an information source. The quality of viewers far surpasses the significance of the quantity of viewers.

On a positive note, I am happy to say that Facebook’s algorithm changes are not the first steps taken in the fight to end click-bait. It seems that the practice’s increased annoyance has caused more media outlets to cut down on its use – it was more of a struggle for me to find recent over-the-top examples of click-bait for this blog post than I had anticipated! The industry is picking up on the negative long-term outcomes that this practice brings, hopefully leading to more deception-free readership in the future.

What is one of the most outrageous click-bait headlines you’ve read recently?

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Posted August 26th, 2014 in best practices, communication, public relations industry, writing and grammar | No Comments »

Not every day should be seized

The death of Robin Williams last week prompted a spate of commentary examining the sad news from a multitude of angles. In the midst of the coverage, global PR shop Edelman came under fire for posting a “Carpe Diem“ blog outlining the promotional opportunities the event created (they subsequently posted a brief apology). The Washington Post pop culture blogger Alyssa Rosenberg railed against the “worst public relations pitches“ she received from publicists using Williams’ death as a hook.

A major part of our work involves monitoring the news to uncover areas where our clients could bring valuable perspective to the conversation. When there’s a tragic event in the news, we have to balance the need to highlight a client’s relevant expertise with the profoundly personal nature of the event. What value can our client add to the public discourse?

In the case of last week’s heart-breaking news, I had to walk that fine line because we do have a client with the credentials to participate meaningfully in the discussion. The client’s organization is a non-profit with decades of experience treating the co-occurring disorders that some say had been plaguing Williams. The litmus test for me was whether or not I believed the public would benefit from our client’s expertise relative to reported challenges Williams faced during his life.

In many ways, it’s no different from what we should be doing as PR pros anyway. In every case, we must take care to fully evaluate whether our client can add something meaningful to the dialogue.

That’s where I believe the how-to blog post and misguided pitches crossed the line. They represent everything critics say is wrong about PR – i.e., keep throwing stuff at the wall until something sticks.

I firmly believe that whenever there is a tragedy of this sort, it represents an opportunity to raise awareness in the hope of helping others who may be dealing with similar struggles. But we must not simply position a client for the sake of the exposure; we must be sure we are providing a solid source of assistance to people who are desperate to find answers.

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Posted August 19th, 2014 in best practices, media relations, non-profit public relations, public relations industry, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Facebook musings on eye rollers, SquareWallet and fried chicken

Rosemary saw a thought-provoking post on her News Feed and shared it with us. In the office, we find ourselves discussing issues such as connectivity and the influence of millennials. The note to the team sparked strong feelings and a lively discussion.

Some of the language in the Facebook post below is PG-13.

Jennifer, Victoria and I shared our opinions:

 


Whether you’re an avid fan of technology or not, it’s certainly here to stay and has transformed our business and our lives. What’s your take?

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Posted August 14th, 2014 in interesting experiences | No Comments »