Don’t Forget the Red Tape

o-RED-TAPE-facebook
o-RED-TAPE-facebook

Social media has become a key player in the realm of business marketing. While having a social media marketing plan is undeniably valuable, they can often lead to trouble for the company if they aren’t carried out correctly. Cheryl Conner, content writer for Forbes Magazine, poses a question that PR professionals easily overlook: Is your social media plan legal?

Conner’s article details a campaign featuring “Ring Pops” in which the company encouraged teenagers to post social media pictures of them wearing the edible jewelry. With the hashtag #rockthatrock, young people were posting pictures that bordered on inappropriate and the company ended up receiving a lot of backlash and legal trouble. The company was ultimately found to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (see the article for full details)

Instances like this are a dime a dozen. Company’s view social media as a relatively “tape-free” entity in which they have the freedom to do whatever they’d like. Katie Creaser, VP of PR firm Affect, proposes that PR professionals ask the following questions in regards to their social media plans.

1. Does our plan follow FTC guidelines?

…don’t pretend you know every single guideline set forth by the FTC because you likely don’t. Which leads us to our next question..

2. Has this social media plan been looked over by legal counsel.

Legal professionals know social media legalities. So let them look over your plan and give you the go-ahead.

3. Is there a plan in place to respond to negative feedback?

Learn from other companies’ mistakes and be prepared for your plan to backfire.

Chelsey

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Get Linked

getlinked.google.com
getlinked.google.com

As college students, I feel that it can be extremely easy to overlook the importance of LinkedIn. We’re in this awkward not-quite-professional stage where it’s somewhat acceptable for us to still act like silly college students and get away with it. But the second this campus kicks us out, it’s time to get serious. Having a professional platform through which to showcase your strengths is a great thing to lean on when you’re trying to find your way in a world of seasoned professionals.

Aja Frost provides four suggestions to best utilize your LinkedIn presence and increase your views up to 425%.

Get in with the popular crowd.

Okay, not really. But it is important to get involved with the right group of people on LinkedIn. Join groups that are relevant to your interest or career aspirations. Connect with professionals in the industry you seek to join.

Learn the culture.

Don’t make the mistake of joining a group and then not participating or participating in a way that doesn’t fit the style of the group. Learn how the members communicate with one another and take note of the types of questions they ask.

Join a discussion.

After growing accustomed to the style of the group, start making your presence known. Add valuable, relevant comments to discussions and engage with members of the group. This is a sure way to gain lots of exposure for your profile.

Start your own discussion.

Feeling super confident now? Good – go start your own discussion. Invite people to share their knowledge and engage with you. More profile views are on their way!

Don’t Panic. Get Social.

harry-potter1.gif
harry-potter1.gif

Crisis communication plans are commonplace in any successful business, corporation, etc. I’m not trying to be negative, but disaster is kind of inevitable. And by disaster, I’m referring to a plethora of events: product defects, spider in the shower, natural disasters, spider in your sheets, corporate dishonesty, spider on the door handle of your car.. I could go on. Having plans set in place to handle such events before they even occur can allow a business to avoid sheer panic and make it through the disaster or crisis with the least possible amount damage.

Now, should you even consider social when writing a crisis communication plan? Absolutely.

In regards to universities, social media communication is a big deal. The majority of college students regularly use platforms like Facebook and Twitter, so their respective schools should too. Jimmy Daly, of EdTech Online, writes that social media needs to be a part of every college’s crisis communications plan and the following infographic explains why.

infograph.edu
infograph.edu

Daly goes on to explain the significance of social media throughout Hurricane Sandy. When the storm hit the east coast, power outages caused many universities to lose their ability to communicate with their students and staff via email and they were unable to update their website. Fortunately, they had a plan set in place. They took to social media to disseminate information and answer questions. The message here is clear: social media is valuable, especially in times of crisis.

Chelsey

They’re listening…….

theboss-seo
theboss-seo

Have you ever tweeted something totally random like “I can’t sleep” and then some totally random mattress business tweets back at you and tells you to come buy a new bed or something? And you’re thinking, “Who are you, how’d you find me, why are you speaking to me?” Or have you ever tweeted about donuts and all of a sudden you get followed by all these random donut shops? If you’re like me, these awkward social media encounters leave you suspicious, wondering HOW IN THE WORLD they even SAW my tweet about the donuts when they WEREN’T EVEN FOLLOWING ME. Well, I’ve figured it out. They’re monitoring us, people. Social media monitoring tools are kind of a big deal. There are sites that allow you to receive notifications anytime public social media users use a keyword, such as “donut”… Tamar Weinberg has identified six social media monitoring sites that are quite useful to businesses and individuals regarding their social media endeavors. Here’s a run-down of a few of my favorites: Social Mention Social mention is a social media monitoring site that operates like a search engine. You simply visit the website, enter your brand’s name (or whatever you’d like to search), and the site will give you a comprehensive overview of social media mentions pertaining to your brand.

digipolitics
digipolitics

HootSuite

steamfeed
steamfeed

Did you know HootSuite can be set up to send you notifications if a specific keyword is used on social media? Me neither! By typing in specific keywords or phrases that you’d like to monitor, HootSuite sets up a newsfeed of sorts that includes keyword mentions on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Other social media platforms are available through the premium version of HootSuite. PinAlerts I love Pinterest and believe that it can be a valuable tool in regards to driving traffic to a website. PinAlerts is a system that monitors pins that are linked to your website. Anytime someone shares and pin that is liked to your site, you’ll receive a notification. This opens the door for you to engage in conversation with individuals and build real relationships.

paxala
paxala

For more information about these sites and others, click on the above link to Weinberg’s article. Chelsey

I Stumble, You Stumble, He-She-We Stumble

http://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Stumbleupon-Banner.png
http://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Stumbleupon-Banner.png

So I recently stumbled upon StumbleUpon. (…I’m not even ashamed of that pun.)

I had definitely heard of the popular social news site, but I hadn’t ever actually looked into the hype. Now, I’m a bit obsessed. But apart from its obvious appeal to individual users, I wasn’t sure whether StumbleUpon was a worthwhile resource that businesses should look into.

So I did some research. And I’ve come to the conclusion that if your business isn’t currently using StumbleUpon as a marketing tool, it should. It’s actually a great resource for driving traffic to your website.

Shanna Mallon gives 4 Quick Tips about how to effectively use StumbleUpon to increase website traffic.

Use it Regularly

Make an account (an individual account – StumbleUpon isn’t a fan of business accounts) and use it consistently. Set aside time to research and submit content.

Add “Stumble” buttons to your website

You know those “Pin It” buttons and the Facebook “share” buttons? StumbleUpon has that too! Download it onto your website to make it easy for visitors to post your business’s content to their own accounts.

Build Community

Follow the users who follow you and follow users with similar interests. Build a community that supports you and the promotion of your business’s content.

Share Content

Obviously, share your business’s content, but share related content as well. This will also allow you to build your community.

In sum, StumbleUpon can be a valuable resource to a business if used correctly and the four tips above certainly provide a starting point for businesses to do so.

Chelsey

The Politics of Twitter

gov_avatar
gov_avatar

Ten years ago, social media likely would not have been on a politician’s radar. Facebook was just another internet fad that would soon fade away and Twitter didn’t even exist. Today, social media presence among politicians is common. It didn’t take long for politicians to realize that social media held power.

Microblogging has become a fad that isn’t likely to disappear any time soon and political PR professional recognize that. Social media platforms, like Twitter, allow politicians to be digitally vocal. Additionally, other social media users are encouraged to be vocal as well.

In his e-book “How to Use the Internet to Win,” Colin Delany illustrates the importance of Twitter to politicians. He details the following specifics regarding how best to leverage Twitter to your advantage.

Content 

Delany says that one of the most common uses for Twitter is to post links to blogs, videos, news articles, etc. Throw in some personal content that shows personality, but also attempt to drive traffic to promotional material outside of the Twitterverse.

Build a Following

This takes time and unless you’re besties with a celebrity, it can be really difficult. The best way to build an audience is to follow people that you’d like to be followed by. Hijack their audience and make it yours. Also, interact. Talk to your followers, reply to their comments, establish a connection. This is sure to increase your influence on social media rapidly.

Supporters = Ambassadors 

Whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, or Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies, appealing to your supporters is a must. Delany recommends simply sending out a “follow us on Twitter” email. It’s easy, but effective.

Other Tactics

Twitter chats: engage with Twitter users by either asking them questions or answering theirs. Live tweeting an event can also be a good tactic to have in your arsenal. Keep up with trending topics – not the latest celebrity gossip, but things that are important for you as a politician (or as a politician’s PR dude) to be vocal about.

Chelsey

This Post is About Instagram. (I’m not creative.)

Photo sharing is a big deal. There’s a reason that Instagram is currently one of the fastest growing social media platforms. For some reason, people are really in to this idea of documenting their lives via tiny square pictures.

In fact, some social media analysts are beginning to claim that social media users are gravitating more and more toward Instagram and less and less toward Facebook and Twitter (Resvani). Does this mean that businesses should spend less time focusing on their Facebook and Twitter accounts? Absolutely not. However, it does suggest that businesses should take Instagram more seriously, regarding it as a marketing tool that is just as valuable as their other social media platforms.

In this article, Jessica Lee illustrates the ways through which Fortune 500 companies effectively utilize their Instagram accounts to communicate their brand to their audience. Companies like Nike and Starbucks, for example, are known to utilize their Instagram accounts brilliantly.

Nike often posts visually stimulating photos that don’t always focus on one specific product. Their hashtag “#justdoit” is present on every post.

Nike

Starbucks has also proven itself to be an Instagram mastermind. It has mastered the concept of a “regram” and certainly knows how to get an audience involved.

Starbucks Starbucks2

These Fortune 500 companies know what they’re doing. So what does that mean for us small people? How can Instagram be used as an effective marketing tool in smaller businesses? Social media analysts suggest the following:

1. Videos, videos, videos

Videos are cool because they stimulate our brains. Pictures do too, but videos move and make noise, so they win. Taking your Instagram account a step further by incorporating videos will certainly make your account more appealing to an audience. Be careful not to saturate your account with too many videos, however. In many cases, a photo can be more effective than a video.

2. Use ALL the hashtags!

Okay. So this rule does NOT translate to Twitter. On Twitter, it’s important to cool it with hashtags and keep it to just one or two per tweet. On Instagram, however, multiple hashtags can be a good thing. According to the article, using four to 11 hashtags can significantly increase the interactions each post gets. BUT these #hashtags should try to be #worked into the #caption of the #picture, not grouped together at the end. #because #that #is #just #unprofessional #and #silly

3. 24 hours/day, 7 days/week  

Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram doesn’t really have an optimal time to post. Users are active at all hours of the day, any day of the week. This can be used to a business’s advantage. Posting at various times of the day can allow a business to measure an audience’s interaction throughout the day and adjust their future posts accordingly. During the evenings and on weekends, social media users tend to be more active on Instagram than other social media platforms. Recognizing these trends within specific audiences can be of great advantage to a business.

My Two Cents: Instagram is cool. Use it correctly. That’s all.

Chelsey