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Check out the tabs above to get to know us, or read our latest blog posts below.
By Mark Bartlett
Building your Twitter following can be daunting and difficult for organizations. Below are several strategies that can be implemented to help increase your following.
The Mass Follow Strategy is a concept in which one follows an abundance of accounts, in hopes that they will follow back. Stefan Tanese, a social media researcher, implemented this strategy by following 50,000 people—but only 8,000 people followed in return. That means Tanese had a 17 percent follow-back rate.
There are a couple pitfalls to this strategy, technically and practically. In a technical sense, Twitter has established rules that block users from following over 2,000 profiles unless they are also being followed by a similar number to deter automated accounts, mass marketers, and spam. In a practical sense, most of the followers that follow back automatically will be mass marketers and spammers, rendering the mass-follow technique useless.
The equal ratio strategy can be defined as having an account that keeps the follower to following ratio as equal as possible. To successfully use this strategy, you should only choose to follow users that seem most likely to follow you back. This strategy is usually too time consuming, unless the brand is well-known.
The target follow strategy can be best used by first following (50-150) profiles that have similar interests, target audiences or even ideas as you. This may include competition for some businesses.
Follow profiles that have the equal follower/following counts, these profiles are more likely to follow back. To increase the chance of a follow back, mentioning the account in a tweet will inform the person about gaining a follower.
The above graphic shows Twitters “suggested followers” option. This is meant to steer you towards followers that might spark your interest or share your interest.
Crafting an Effective Twitter Channel
After you have successfully mastered the framework for building your following, keeping an effective channel with interesting content can be another challenge. Below are several tips and rules to consider for your channel.
Rule of thumb: Do not market too much. Focusing on relationships first will distinguish you from the crowd of advertisers.
Provide others with links and mentions and they may reciprocate.
Keep a 10:1 ratio in mind at all times. For each self-promotional tweet, there should be 10 mentioned tweets. Generously mentioning other accounts will foster connections for the future.
Post when people are updating the most—midday during mid-week have been shown to be the most frequent times.
A prime example of optimal time was Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet that was posted during the 2013 NFL Super Bowl.
Keep time zones in mind at all times.
Firms frequently use twitter to answer questions from their publics.
Example, Nike uses a separate Twitter handle @nikesupport to provide a single place to answer user questions quickly.
Micro blogging lets users seek input from others in a business context and responding to comments, questions, or issues that customers have.
Providing useful information can build a brands reputation and thought leadership.
Ask consumers directly for feedback. This is a much cheaper option then focus groups or other tools. When asked politely, twitter users are happy to give their opinion.
Feedback on twitter can be very helpful, so it is good practice to encourage and reward users who provide it. These give and take relationships can aggregate into a gathering input machine that could have a huge input on your organizations message.
Why follow and listen to the messages being offered? If you cannot answer this question, then your message is not clear.
A good way to keep viewer’s attention is to offer special deals like coupons, special products, free shipping, promotions, etc.
The most important aspect is that the deal is only available to Twitter users. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign is an example.
By Morgan Anderson
Social media has been a critical part of public relations for almost 20 years, and its importance continues to increase. From Facebook to Reddit, this important tool can help you get your message to the public or social media and affect the way people view you. These four tips can help make your brand stand out from the rest.
1. Consistency is key
Having the same layout across each social media account will help to create a cohesive image of your brand for the consumer. Having consumers instantly recognize your brand is a positive outcome of social media. Make sure to use the same photo for each profile picture. On each social media platform you use, make certain to adjust it to the proper length so your page looks professional and appropriate.
2. Know the layout
An image that is not pixilated demonstrates the professionalism of your brand. You want your images to be clear and not appear to be stretched out in any way. Each social media platform has a different layout, so ensuring that your photos are the highest quality is beneficial. Here is a link to all the popular social media page sizes so you are able to have your images look the best. (http://socialdrive.us/content-strategy/image-sizes-for-social-media-profiles/)
3. Follow the trend
Pay attention to what your consumers are talking about. On most social media, you can find a “trending” section that has all the most popular subjects for that day. Stay in the loop and do some research on the subjects before posting so you know what you are posting about. Some trending items can be recurring and often are tailored to a certain day of the week,such as #motivationalmonday or #throwbackthursday. Others could be about current events or a viral video. Hashtags can expand your reach across social media even further.
4. Engage the consumer
Engaging the consumer is one of the best things you can do for your brand. Whether it is liking a tweet from a consumer who mentioned your product or engaging with someone who had a negative review, starting a conversation with your consumer could create a lifelong advocate of your brand. Opening a dialogue between your brand and your consumer base enhances the relationship.
By Elizabeth Fisher
Some of the most famous tweets were shared by celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres and President Barack Obama, however, a teenager from Reno, Nev., may surpass all previous retweet records. Wendy’s, “Yo @Wendys how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?” Carter Wilkerson, with one simple tweet, begged Wendy’s to supply him free chicken nuggets for one year. Soon, he may exceed the highest number of retweets ever recorded.
Wendys response was simple, “18 Million.” Now, clearly Wendy’s was joking, however, one simple joke has spawned a firestorm of engagement for both Wilkerson and Wendy’s. The most retweeted tweet in the history was created by Ellen DeGeneres, which has about 3.3 million retweets. This makes 18 million from a 16-year-old in Reno, Nev., sound impossible, but the power of social media may prove otherwise.
Carter took a screenshot of his interaction with Wendy’s and posted it to Twitter with the caption, “HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS.” This tweet now stands at 2.6 million retweets and continues to climb. Wilkerson hopes that this number will continue to rise so he can receive free chicken nuggets for a year. He is now known as the “chicken nugget man” at his high school, according to ABC News.
This is a great example about how customer loyalty could create a social media buzz. If Wendy’s had not responded to Wilkerson, there would have been no attention brought to the tweet or Wendy’s. Because Wendy’s tweeted back to Wilkerson, they brought attention to their restaurant and social media.
Personification has become popular for businesses on Twitter. People do not want to tweet to companies who give all customers the same response or no response at all. By creating a personality for your Twitter, people feel like they are actually talking to a real person instead of just a machine. This, in turn, creates strong customer loyalty. Wendy’s did a great job in showing that they were listening to Carter and gave him a unique response.
By: Jayla Kearney
According to Snapchat’s IPO paperwork, 158 million people use Snapchat daily. This number is now larger than Twitter’s daily users and still increasing. Mostly millennials and teens are operating Snapchat with 70 percent of users between the ages of 13 and 35 (Omni Core Agency). For this reason, Snapchat is an important platform when it comes to sending messages out to a younger audience.
Here are five ways to use Snapchat for public relations efforts:
Snapchat can be used to provide a behind-the-scenes look into what is going on at a company. Snapchat is informal and gives professionals the opportunity to show the personality of employees. For example, fashion brands often Snapchat a behind-the-scenes look at photo-shoots. When posting the final photo or video on other social media websites, mention that behind-the-scenes footage will be shown on Snapchat to direct followers to the brand’s Snapchat account. Also, if there is a product coming out soon, showing a sneak peak on Snapchat can build excitement and get people talking.
Who is doing it well: Forever 21 gives a behind-the-scenes look into photo-shoots with models.
Begin offering exclusive promotions for Snapchat viewers. If there’s an offer on the same day each month, consumers will remember to view the Snapchat stories and tell a friend. Reveal a coupon code that is only shown on Snapchat to measure the amount of sales Snapchat promotions can bring the brand.
Who is doing it well: GrubHub used Snapchat to reveal a coupon code for 15 percent off by removing slices of pizza. It was not only creative, but it encouraged users to continue clicking through their Snaps.
Snapchat takeovers occur when influencers in the industry takeover a company’s Snapchat. This could be a social media star or a celebrity that the brand’s target market would be interested in watching. The influencer would mention the takeover on their other social media accounts, building the brand’s social media following.
Who is doing it right: Sephora gave Hannah Bronfman, a beauty influencer with over 350, 000 Instagram followers, a chance to takeover the Sephora Snapchat account. She promoted brands and reviewed beauty products for a short period of time.
Engage with the brand’s Snapchat followers! Give them an opportunity to Snapchat a photo of themselves and a product and showcase it on the brand’s Snapchat story. Another way to engage with followers is to create a contest. Followers can either screenshot a snap to win a prize or reply to win a prize.
Who is doing it well: GrubHub, a food delivery service, asked their Snapchat followers to snap them a drawing of a pizza. Ten snaps were chosen randomly to win a discount.
Filters are what make Snapchat unique and fun. Creating a filter for a special occasion or a geofilter for a certain event is another way to encourage users to engage with the brand’s efforts on Snapchat.
Who is doing it well: Taco Bell created a filter for Cinco de Mayo in 2016 that turned users into a taco.
Although Snapchat’s audience is primarily young, half of Snapchat’s new users are over the age of 25. The user age range is widening and people use it daily, influencing social media professionals for various brands to start a Snapchat account.
By: Hali Mieser
Public relations has always been and will always be about content development and management, but with the fast evolving social media trend, PR must “keep up with the times.” Past PR professionals have taught us to curate creative and strategic stories for clients along with teaching us to measure media coverage. But the PR field has changed. As the lines between advertising, marketing and public relations begin to blur, PR professionals have to learn to navigate these new waters.
The first trend to look out for is specialized experts. In today’s Internet-based world, it is easier (and cheaper) to assemble a group of experts per project basis, instead of keeping the mental processes all beneath the same roof. Sure, it will take more effort from the agency end but the future of PR looks like partnerships between experts.
The next trend is the content train. Agencies used to simply hand over their public relations, marketing and advertising, sit back and approve whatever need be. Today, in order for work to get done smarter, faster and cheaper, promotion and advertising requires participation from the client. Simply put, your client knows the material and you don’t. But what you do know is what kind of content spreads, how to create it, market it and measure it.
You can outsource a lot of duties but outsourcing relationships is a resounding mistake. The client must be involved in forming trustworthy relationships. This means delegating time each day to communicate with the agency’s clients, hence the SOCIAL aspect of social media. Sure, the agency could outsource the building of relationships, but this could be the downfall of the agency. It could go one of three ways: the trustworthiness of the relationship would be a lie, the agency would be posting irrelevant content that is not reaching the clients but rather shouting into the void which in return is getting no interaction or the client could lose any and all of the human aspect which is imperative to forming meaningful relationships.
The last trend to consider is respect of the blogger. Traditional media and advertising is not dead, but it is important to remember the different online opportunities. Building relationships with bloggers is imperative because not only is the advertising cost-effective, it also targets and even narrows down the target audience to whom you are looking for with more precision. Getting creative with other bloggers is a strategic and engaging move; ideas could include guest posts on each other sites or reviews.
Public relations professionals have come a long way. Just years ago the only form of media relations tools was the telephone. Today, there are many more options. But with so many options, our voices could get overpowered, therefore, it is essential to watch out for future trends in the PR world.
By Elizabeth Fisher
Building audience engagement on social media is an important goal for many organizations. Audience engagement can help you form closer relationships to your consumers and followers. Below are some helpful hints to building your organization’s audience engagement.
According to socialmediaexaminer.com, simply by including a photo in your tweet the amount of retweets can increase by 35%. Almost 75% of content on Facebook includes a photo, if your Facebook and other social media posts do not incorporate photography they could be passed up on follower’s timelines.
By featuring humor or an emotional appeal and applying your specific brand to posts, you can create stronger audience engagement.
Your social media posts should be unique and differ from your competitor’s content. It is important to keep up with trends, but use these trends in your own creative way. You also want to be sure that you are not repeating yourself too often or users could become bored of your content. Launching new social media campaigns annually can help keep your social media from becoming “stale”, Coca Cola’s #shareacoke campaign is a great example. People were able to find their name and post it to social media, which caused audience engagement.
Knowing your target audience is the simplest way to reach your followers. You may want to consider the type of content you are posting and even the time of day that your target audience is more likely to be on social media. Track when you are receiving the most engagement and base your future posts off similar content and time of day.
Some audiences are particular with which social media platforms they use. Know what platforms your target audience is on and focus content to those platforms.
Look for ways to encourage audience engagement through your social media. For example, ask them to “comment for a chance to win a free T-shirt.” You could even encourage people to share their experience, for example, “now that you have heard Becky’s story, share your own and tag us.” Users like to talk about themselves on social media, this would give them the opportunity to do so.
By replying to users it builds a relationship, especially when each repose is unique. Do not avoid negative comments, this will only make users angry. Send users to a customer support site or customer service number as well as apologize for whatever inconvenience they are having.
Social Media trends move very quickly. It is important to stay on top of these trends and find ways to incorporate them within your own social media. When the Hollywood sign was changed, for example, Denny’s restaurants put their own spin on the controversy.
Videos can be compelling to viewers, but they can also loose interest quickly. Keep videos reduced to about two minutes. An exciting caption and introduction to the video will captivate the audience’s attention. GIFs have become popular because they are so quick for followers to watch and will add personality to your posts.
The greatest way to form relationships with followers is by sharing the content that they post that pertains to your organization. This will make users excited about your content and as it makes it more personal and relatable.
By Cole Braun
As you go through your Facebook news feeds, there is sure to be headlines for a variety of topics. Many of them are hilarious, or maybe even scary. But you, the public relations professional, know better than to believe everything. But what about your clients you represent, or your own family? Do they know how to differentiate what is based on fact and what is made up for the sake of increasing click-through reports? You can help them with this guide to addressing fake news and how a professional should deal with it.
The first thing to understand is that PR professionals have no business adding fuel to the fake news fire. We all know it has become a problem which is why we must take a stand against it. The Public Relations Society of America addressed fake news with an official statement in January, 2017 saying that, “Truth is the foundation of all effective communications. By being truthful, we build and maintain trust with the media and our customers, clients and employees. As professional communicators, we take very seriously our responsibility to communicate with honesty and accuracy.”
PRSA & The Code of Ethics
If you are familiar with PRSA, or the student organization, PRSSA, you know this organization established a code of ethics that members take seriously. The official statement on alternative facts, reflects on the organization’s code of honesty, saying that members, “adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.” If you wish to know more about the PRSA Code of Ethics, please follow here.
The PRSA Statement on “Alternative Facts” was released in January by the organization’s Chair of the Society for 2017, Jane Dvorak, APR and Fellow PRSA. After addressing how the society values its Code of Ethics, she finished by saying, “PRSA strongly objects to any effort to deliberately misrepresent information. Honest, ethical professionals never spin, mislead or alter facts. We applaud our colleagues and professional journalists who work hard to find and report the truth.”
One of the first things we as professionals must do is research. When dealing with information, we must ask, ‘Where did this come from?’ ‘Where does this link back to and who said what?’ You never jump into strange waters without a life preserver, or in this case, the facts.
A Rule of Three
Check your story three times before you take it seriously and hit the share button. You need to see how many people are saying the same thing and, if it is coming from a credible source. If the topic is breaking news, more than one publication will be telling the story.
CNN Correspondent, Brian Stelter said in his report, The plague of fake news is getting worse — here’s how to protect yourself, from October 2016, that there are three general categories related to misleading online information sites.
Whatever their purpose, these sites are not going away anytime soon, so learn to recognize them. Here are some tips found in the same article from CNN, shared by the Sunlight Foundation’s Alex Howard in a tweet:
These are all excellent tips, and you can take it a step further with a Google search of the author’s name to see if they are credible as a reporter.
Open the Floodgates of Positivity
When it comes to combating the fake news epidemic, there are multiple recommendations on what to do.
If you have prepared for a crisis already, you probably have a pre-written response to a situation like this; that’s good! In February 2017, an article on How PR professionals should handle the fake news phenomenon appeared in Agility PR, written by Director of Media Insights Jim Donnelly. Donnelly conducted an interview with Hofstra University Professor and Bloomberg contributor Dr. Kara Alaimo on handling fake news. One question specifically addressed these situations with two or three rules to keep in mind. One positive measure is to have a response ready in advance, because when it comes to experiencing a crisis, every minute counts.
Alaimo also points out making sure you are keeping your client’s values in mind while communicating. If this is something you have been consistently doing before this incident, then it will be no hassle to reference back to, showing your clients’ interests are a priority.
A common question is when is it best to respond?
That answer seems to vary across multiple professionals. In the end, it just depends on the situation. For example, when it comes to internet trolls, it is best to just ignore them so they move along. But when their story trends, then answer with the truth, do not allow yourself to get flustered because that only feeds the trolls.
Alaimo share as well that, “you need to monitor carefully. The time to respond is if a social media post is starting to gain traction amongst stakeholders who are important to the company, such as customers, employees, investors, buyers, or board members.”
Another form of combating fake news is to “flood the media with a positive narrative.” In a November 2016 article for PR Week by Ilyse Liffreing, So your brand is the victim of fake news. Now what? Liffreing shares that you need to embrace the crisis and make the best of it, reversing the dialogue to positive content about what is happening with your brand. Share the truth and back it up with more positivity. If you don’t counter with good news, you could potentially open yourself up to more fake news.
The question now is, where are we headed as a profession in this new era of alternative facts?
The first thing to remember is accountability. Dan Guttridge from Ragan’s PR Daily notes in his March 6 article, PR pros’ role in the fake news epidemic, that we need to hold journalists accountable and “check credibility through facts and sources.” We can even take this a step forward and hold ourselves accountable for what we say to people and how we represent our brand as we traverse this terrain of fake news.
Guttridge shares some more amazing tips as you continue through his article. Here are some other key points we should consider as PR professionals,
That last tip is fascinating because he makes the argument to find some reputable journalist to read and take the time to learn more about what is happening. Speak to people who challenge your views and make you think.
We as PR professionals can provide the cure for the fake news virus. Know that if we keep our integrity and credibility, public relations will thrive in this fight.
By Jayla Kearney
“We gave the internship to someone else with more experience.” I was stunned to hear those words from a recruiter last year. How could someone already have two years of related experience as a college student? I thought I was on the right track but little did I know, I could have been doing much more.
In public relations and many other fields, it is difficult to obtain a job post-graduation without experience. Employers expect you to already have some type of experience in your field in order to prove that you have built the right skills. Even some internships require you to have experience.
So, how do you build a portfolio of work when the majority of jobs require you to have at least two years of experience?
Here are some ways to gain PR experience in college:
If you or anyone you know would like to apply for Innovative Public Relations for Fall 2017, navigate to the “Join Our Team” tab.
By Hali Mieser
Public relations has many different definitions but it all comes down to being “the voice behind the voice.” But what if you were the “voice behind the voice” during a crisis? As a public relations professional, crisis communication is one of the many jobs we take on for our organization.
What is crisis communication?
Crisis communication is the dialog between the organization and its publics prior to, during, and after the negative occurrence. During a crisis, PR professionals must create strategic messages to inform an organization’s key publics about a crisis that has occurred within the organization. In today’s world, social media is an important factor that plays a huge role in the circulation of information. Traditional media outlets, however, are still valuable depending on an organization’s key stakeholders.
With the rapid flow of information, PR professionals have to be “on their toes” at all times. The “golden hour” has now turned into the “golden few minutes” when it comes to disseminating crucial information about an organization’s crisis.
Now you know what a crisis is but how do you handle a crisis?
Crisis management is the process of removing some of the risk and uncertainty from the negative occurrences that an organization could be exposed to which allows the organization to be in greater control of what happens to them. Another thing that allows an organization to be in greater control, particularly during a crisis, is creating and maintaining positive relations with their key publics.
Why are good relationships important?
A positive relationship with the media is imperative when it comes to a crisis. Having a good relationships with the media ensures that they know you are ethical, professional, reliable and accurate in the information you provide.
It is important to maintain a positive relationship within the community in which an organization resides. In the scene of a crisis, the organization knows it can rely on its community and vice versa.
What better way to keep an organization afloat than its employees? Building solid and supportive relationships with an organization’s’ employees and internal publics is important because it makes employees feel a part of the organization and helps them feel valued.
The final group to create positive relations with is the organization’s consumers. It is important to create a mutual bond between the company and its customers. Building this relationship can be as simple as return policies, sales advantages, educational material, open houses, and a complaint system.
Many public relations professionals say it is not a question of if an organization will experience a crisis, but when. Be prepared for these challenges, understanding that being able to add “crisis communication specialist” to your resume will serve you well in the job market.
By: Elizabeth Fisher
LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media platforms among business professionals, but many people do not know how to use it to its fullest potential. Here are some helpful hints to making your LinkedIn account stand out from the crowd:
Linked Up Life
By following these key points, you can ROCK the LinkedIn world!