Finding Your Freaks: Niche Audiences

I love reading blog posts from ChrisBrogan.com. When I read those blogs I feel like I’m sitting down right next to him having a conversation. I read the blog “The Single Most Effective Change I Made to My Digital Presence.” Brogan explains that the details of social media have changed. Here are just a few ways it has changed:

Before: The tone of social media was conversational, now it’s becoming more promotional.
Before: Social media was all about “thoughtful sharing” now it’s more “shove it over the wall” type of approach.
Before: Users were eager for lots of information. Now: Users are drowning in information.
Before: Users were happy to be part of any social media group. Now: Users want to find people like them.
Because there are so many changes in media presence, your tactics as a PR practitioner also have to change in order to effectively communicate with your niche audience.

Free Information

“The biggest change I made to my digital presence is that I stopped trying to please everyone and I started serving the very specific community I’ve had the pleasure to serve.”

So instead of putting so much work and effort into this blog, where his followers receive free information, Brogan puts a lot of his valuable material in the content that isn’t free. If you put so much information into a free website people may take you for granted and eventually take on the attitude of “I’ll just read this later” meaning never. Brogan has put a lot of his effort into “building low cost but valuable projects” like his Foundation Group, or Digital Business Mastery course. “Instead, I just add a lot more value to the not-free information, because the people who are choosing to consume that information are really doing something with it.” This reminds me of what one of my professors said. In my TV Journalism Course Professor Paul Conti said to never work for free. Especially when it comes to creating videos which is very time consuming and requires hard work. Even if you’re right out of college don’t supply free work because people will take you for granted.

Find Your Freaks
When Brogan uses the term “freaks” he means people who are genuinely interested in the content he posts. The people who are part of his niche audience. For Brogan, the content he posts isn’t about getting the most likes, or comments on his page. It’s about serving people who are passionate. “I’m building something, and I need to gather up the people who want to work on their growth and goals in the ways that I can help. If I can’t help you, I don’t want to take up your time.” This is effective for both users and Brogan. The users don’t have to waste time going through material that is uninteresting. People who pay for Brogans information actually care about everything he has to say. He knows he’s not boring them.

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Digital Presence and Success of Apps
Digital Content is also a reason why apps are so effective. People who are looking for a specific solution research apps, find one they like and use it. In the article “Digital Content Trends That Will Change the World,” Ritika Puri discusses how digital content effects many of us, “Digital content is helping everyday people live healthier, start businesses, and get smarter. Think of Pinterest. I love finding new work out ideas on the app and always use them when I go to the gym. My love for Pinterest is changing my every day life because I’m attempting to eat healthier, and work out harder.

According to the article, “6 Apps That Changed the World,” the invention of apps really took off in 2008, and the impact of smartphones on our society has been life changing. This year there will be over 100 billion app downloads worldwide creating a global revenue of $26 billion.Here a the apps on my phone.

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These are some of the most popular apps:

Angry Birds
The Angry Birds phenomenon began in December of 2009. This game was similar to Nintendo games and was claimed to be very addictive. While I have not played the game, I heard about it from friends, via Twitter, and via my Facebook news feed.

Spotify
The way we gather and listen to music is always changing. Spotify can be downloaded with any smartphone or tablet and allows you to access 20 million songs. This is a very convenient app especially if you’re always on the go and don’t have time download single songs to add to your iTunes playlist.

Instagram:
150 million people use Instagram every month and the Instagram community has posted more than16 billion photos to date. 55 million new photos are shared every day on Instagram, and there are 1.2 billion daily likes. This app became so popular because we let pictures speak as snapshots of our lives. Plus the ability to filter each photo makes it that much more desirable and glamorous.

Ushahidi
The word “Ushahidi” is Swahili for “testimony” or “witness”. This app was created as a source for  “democratising information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories.” This was created because of the Kenyan crisis in 2008. It began as a website where users could look at eye witness reports of violence which were plotted on Google map. This app has been used to help with humanitarian efforts of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to studying the Armenia parliamentary election in 2012.

Brogan, Chris. “The Single Most Effective Change I Made to My Digital Presence.” Weblog post. ChrisBrogan.com. Genesis Framework, 10 Apr. 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2014.

“Our Blog.” Integrated Change. England & Wales, 21 Oct. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.

Puri, Ritika. “Digital Content Trends That Will Change the World.” The Content Strategist Digital Content Trends That Will Change the World Comments. The Content Strategist, 26 Mar. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.

Public Relations: Real Time —–> Real Responses

“Real-time communication impacts public relations in ways that cannot be described simply as same as before but faster! Real-time communications pushes public relations practitioners towards the Excellence Communications model of public relations, and raises the criticality of the discipline in every organisation” (147).

“Real-Time Public Relations” by Philip Sheldrake discusses the idea and reality that a business’s stakeholders are having conversations about that business at the speed of a conversation. This means that they can individuals can post their thoughts about that company on any social networking site they want. It is the businesses responsibly to respond to that individuals comment whether it is negative or positive. Think about it: blogs, Twitters, wikis, Facebook and forums all allow users to post their opinion. That’s why it’s crucial for businesses to consistently monitor their page and what is being said about them on other pages (148). As a company, you need to understand that your stakeholder’s expectations have changed. Because people are having conversations about your company they expect that you will update and monitor your page. It’s also up to you to decide which conversations you take part in (148).

“Given the radical transparency enabled by social media, pretending to be something you’re not or, perhaps more kindly, attempting to project an image that isn’t entirely reflective of reality, cannot be sustained in real-time for long” (151). It is near impossible to hide the truth on Internet. Especially if you’re an organization working with many members who post content on the web. The author gives the example of living two separate lives on the web. It is near impossible, and you will most likely get caught.
In the article, “Facebook is Making it Impossible to Hide in Search” Bosker explains how Facebook has transformed from a social networking site that could be private to one that doesn’t even offer that option anymore. “Once upon a time, Facebook members could be invisible when people searched for their name. Users could have normal profiles, and friends could tag them in photos, but when others looked up them up by name, their profiles wouldn’t show.”Profiles set to private could not be found when searched. Now that is no longer possible. If someone searches your name they will find you. Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Michael Richter stated that the change took place because Facebook’s search tool was confusing users because they couldn’t find their friends when looking to add people. Users thought the feature was broken because they couldn’t find their friends. The search options on Facebook have gotten very specific. For instance, you can search “Married people who like prostitutes”, or “People who work at ….”. I find this to be a little creepy. Why has Facebook gotten to a point where its search engine is that specific? I find it unnecessary and only promotes stalking.

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Situations occur in real-time and our response to those situations must be quick.

Succeeding in this requires you to answer the following questions:

What? – Active listening, responding appropriately and with the right content, remaining professional
Who? – The correct group members (with credible titles) of your team enter the conversation to help support your claim.
How? – Creating one fluid voice that translates onto the screen. Understanding when to take further action.
When? – When do you respond to certain comments being posted?

It’s crucial to keep in mind, the PR model needed when completing every task.
1. Mission- why does this company exist?
2. Values- What guides your behavior? What do you stand for?
3. Vision- What is your ultimate goal?
4. Business objectives- Get from point A to point B.
5. Strategy- what is the plan to get from A to B?
6. Strategic objectives- necessary to execute the plan.
7. Tactics- the nuts and bolts of the strategy that will execute the plan.
8. Measurement and analysis- your strategy must be measurable so you can see whether or not you succeeded.

“Social Media Monitoring” by Andrew Smith expands on what Sheldrake was explaining. “Listening to your audiences has become a truism in both public and private sectors” (157). Listening to public opinion has always been a PR tool. From knocking on doors, jaywalking to clipboard surveys we have only modernized our way of gathering public opinion. Sometimes, companies don’t have to create a survey to gather public opinion because brand names and products are everyday conversations on the Internet. Companies can simply tune in to a discussion forum to absorb what consumers think of their product without the fear of dishonesty (158).

Sentiment Analysis
One way to gather public opinion is sentiment analysis. “It the attempt to deduce how somebody feels about a particular person, topic, issue or organization based on what they say” (159). The analysis can simply gather negative and positive words associated with that product or service. At the end of the analysis, if the amount of negative words is greater than positive words, the content is labeled as “negative”. This is a great way for businesses to get a second, objective, unbiased perspective on their company. One downfall to this analysis doesn’t recognize when uses are using slang, or being sarcastic so it can lead to inaccuracies (160).

Contextual Analysis:
This approach focuses on computer algorithms and semantic analysis to provide a high level of accurate analysis of content and analyzing different viewpoints. Tools such as Klout, PeerIndex and PeopleBrowser can identify whether or not one individuals viewpoint is more important than another’s, and can identify who this individual is (160).

Network Typology
This is the idea of relationship network analysis. “An audience is identified, a list of relevant journalists and media titles is built and content is fired at them with the hope that key messages will stick and influence the target audience” (161).

In “Measuring Social Media” Richard Bagnall explains the various types of tools companies can use to evaluate their business. The International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications created a seven principle model detailing how PR measurement should be executed.

1. Goal setting and measurement are necessary components for any PR program. They measure whether or not you have succeeded.
2. Measuring the effect on outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs.
3. The effect on business results should be measured when possible. How is what you’re saying or doing effecting your revenue? Your website visits?
4. Media measurement requires quantity and quality: How many people bought your new product? How many people genuinely like this product?
5. Advertising Value Equivalency is not the value of PR. AVE can help push you toward making more profit, but that is not at the core of PR.
6. Social media can and should be measured- This will help you utilize and narrow down the tools to use to the best of your ability.
7. Transparency and replicability are top factors when measuring the overall outcome.

Bosker, Bianca. “Facebook Is Making It Impossible To Hide In Search.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 Oct. 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

Waddington, Stephen. Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. 147-173. Print.

Ready. Set. Goal!

When creating business goals, whether it is small or large it is so important to strategize. That can best be done by working backwards! I read Chris Brogan’s blog, “Work Backward from the Goal,” and gained so much knowledge about how I can be proactive when planning my goals; this blog also taught me about different work ethics.

Working ?sdrawkcab       
When working backwards from your goal it’s important to write everything out, this can be done on a calendar or excel spreadsheet, etc. Brogan uses the example of fitness trainer Jacq whose major fitness competition is 8 weeks away. Jacq has a goal weight she wants to reach for the major fitness competition and has laid out exactly how she is going to do that. For example: what workouts she will do on what day, what she will eat, how often she will weigh herself. This example highly relates to that of a business model. Say you need to generate 1 million dollars in revenue over the next year. That means you have to generate $84,000 revenue a month. This is easier said than done though. Brogan states some of the questions you need to ask to actually reach your goal: “What are you doing to hit that number? What are you pricing out your products and services to be to hit that goal? How are you finding ways to deliver that much value to your community at large?”

Goals aren’t linear:
So your goal is the outcome you want to receive, but how you get to that outcome is key. “Yes, the process and method become important, but only if they’re the winning process.” There a probably various ways you could generate revenue in 12 months, but which way is going to help you create the most revenue is a short time frame? You have to keep this in mind: If your strategy isn’t working, change it. Don’t stick to a strategy that’s not going to get you to your overall goal. “If one road is closed, you don’t just go home. You try some other way.”

Build Your Plans Around Outcomes and Goals
When creating plans it’s important to stick to a strategy that will allow you to reach your goal. It can be difficult sometimes to get off track. For instance, if I had a business, and my goal was to increase the number of followers I have on Instagram. I should not attempt to do that on my twitter and Facebook page as well. By doing this, it could very much take away from what you’re posting on Instagram. You could become so involved with posts on Facebook and Twitter you are not giving 100% to your Instagram account. Sometimes it’s necessary to deviate away from an original strategy, but remember to stay focused and know what your ultimate goal is. Baby steps- complete smaller goals to get to the larger ones.

 In the article, Setting goals and objectives makes you PR planning more effective, by Kim Harrison, the author states that planning ahead helps you know what resources you are going to need. This will most definitely help minimize costs which are very important for PR practitioners especially when they have a smaller budget. Planning also, “Helps to improve communication between the participants, and it creates measurable results.” When you are able to have a set goal in mind you can better help your consumers. One of the biggest myths for PR jobs is that it is not possible to measure your overall performance and measure if you stayed within budget or not. This is untrue,

“These days you can prove the value of your PR work by setting and achieving measurable objectives for your activities.” It’s so important to make sure that each of your PR goals is measureable. This will help build credibility and show clients whether or not you met the goal, stayed within budget, etc.

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It’s also important to focus on different objectives: Output and impact objectives. The output objectives is what that communicator produces and the impact objectives are the effects the PR activity on target audiences and stakeholders. Impact objectives are regarded into three different groups: informational, attitudinal and behavioral. What information are you sharing with consumers? What is idea that you are trying to get across about a product? What is the overall action you want the consumer to take?

 In Forbes magazine Molly Cain explains that goals are used in our day-to-day lives. Eg: you wake up, you make it a goal to get dressed, brush your teeth, etc. The bigger goals that we set are usually set because we want to be better versions of ourselves. This goes for PR as well. A business makes goals because there is always room for improvement.

 One of the tips that Cain pointed out was to break it up: “Many people abandon goals because they’re just too dang big. If you’ve done this to yourself, stop now. Change your game plan.” If you set a major goal it may seem to intimidating. That’s why it’s necessary to make smaller goals to reach the ultimate goal, so you won’t get overwhelmed. 

 Another tip is to set a date. Put the date on your calendar. If you put a stake in the ground and impose a date on yourself, you’re much more likely to reach it.” If you don’t put an ending date on a specific goal you will be less likely to accomplish it. When you set a date on a calendar it provides a visual of how long you have beforehand to get other tasks done.

This leads into tip #3: Be realistic. Deep down, we all know which goals are too big to accomplish and which goals are tangible. “Simple but true…you’re more likely to reach goals that you realistically set for yourself.” By setting goals that are too large you’re only setting yourself up for failure. Okay, so you want to create $300 revenue a week. How will you do this? Are you going to make advertisements? Post more interesting content on SNS? If generating $300 in revenue hasn’t been working for the past 12 weeks, maybe you should try to reach $250 in revenue. Tweak your goals if it’s not working out.

 And the last tip is to commit to yourself. There’s only one person in this goal-setting process that matters. You. You’re the one who has to put the hours in at the gym. You’re the one who needs to stay late at the office to finish that task for your boss so you can score the promotion.” Scary, but true: it’s all on you. It is the easiest thing to give, but speaking from experience, whenever I feel like giving up the best things happen. I was so disappointed when the St. Rose baseball games got cancelled. For my sports journalism class I needed to cover a story. I later found out about a bowling league. The manager at the bowling alley didn’t tell me much information, so it was really frustrating and I was about to resort to handing in my paper late, but I went to the bowling center to find out what the league was all about. There was a blind bowling league playing! It made for a great article and I didn’t have to receive a lower grade because I handed it in on time. As tired as I was, as drained as I was, I kept chugging through, and now my article will run in the paper. It’s great when you see your hard work pay off.

 

 Brogan, Chris. “Work Backwards From the Goal.” Web log post. Chrisbrogan.com. N.p., 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.

 Cain, Molly. “6 Ways To Achieve Any Goal.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 14 Mar. 2013. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.

Harrison, Kim. “Setting Goals and Objectives Makes Your PR Planning More Effective.” Cuttingedgepr.com. Century Consulting Group, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.

News Releases and Social Media: Out with the Old, In with the New?

Since the launch of Shift Communications’ original social media news release template there has been much work to develop, refine and improve the social media news release by organisations such as the Social Media Club and the International Association of Business Communicators (Wiley, 105).

In chapter 12 of “Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals” Stuart Bruce discusses the essential elements of a social media news release. I took my Intro to PR course my sophomore year so this was a good little refresher.

The headline: This should be written for humans and computers. For humans, the headline needs to be catchy and tell a story in a nutshell. For a computer, the headline needs to have keywords so it comes up when that topic is being searched. The headline should be 90-120 characters, especially because it makes it that much easier to share on Facebook and Twitter ( Wiley, 105).

The introductory paragraph: This should tell the whole story. This means answering the 5 w’s . This paragraph should be clear, concise and make the readers want to continue reading.

Quotes: Social media differs from traditional news releases because there can be a variety of quotes to choose from. Quotes are very effective, but should be used sparingly. They should be something better quoted then paraphrased. Often times, it’s best to include quotes not just from company management, but staff, customers, etc (106).

Links: The links you provide should direct the reader to a site that supports what is being said in the news release. As I spoke about in my previous blogs, it’s a good idea to share links that direct the user to competitors or other media related information.
One important thing to remember about social media news releases is that it is not sent out like traditional news releases; it’s not emailed or sent to journalists. “Instead it is intended to be discovered via search and to be pointed by circulating a link to relevant contacts using both traditional email and other social channels such as Twitter and Google+” (Wiley, 107). Therefore, it’s really important to have a headline and first paragraph that stands out because sometimes that’s all the reader gets to see (Wiley, 107).

Stuart explained some of the pros of using a social media newsroom that I found very interesting. Social media newsrooms can be used as it’s own publishing platform. Therefore, it can be used to publish content meant for customers or other stakeholders, not just for journalists (as it was traditionally). A company can choose to publish news or feature stories that they believe will be of interest to certain stakeholders. So in a sense, the company is targeting an audience.
“Social media news releases and social media newsrooms should not be seen as a panacea on their own. They will only work if they are coupled with a new approach to modern media relations which means learning to interact with journalists and online media in a new way” (Wiley, 111). Today, there is so much competition business-wise which makes it hard for your company to stand out. If a company wants to stand out they need to find a new approach, find target audiences and effectively state their message.

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In chapter 15 of “Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professional”, Adam Parker explains how crucial it is to practice effective media relations, especially in such a modernised time. PR practitioners and other organisations are becoming more aware of how social media can easily help companies engage with their consumers. Parker states the one of they key roles a PR pracitioner has is “Acting as a change consultant- advising, guiding and training the different parts of the organisation in effective and coherent social media engagement to ensure associated risks are managed and that there is consistency of approach” (Wiley, 129). Social media makes it that much easier to be the best consultant. You can address issues quickly and prevent further problems from occurring.

Social media allows companies to look at their organisation from a new perspective. It’s online that they can see the issues they face, whether it be their reputation, or internal and external issues. While traditional PR elements are still being used today, if you do not participate in modern media relations you are hurting yourself, and your company because you’re missing out on all that social media offers (130).If you are a PR practitioner, here are some elements to remember when using your Twitter account.

Get involved- be active and be part of a community. Talk to your followers, engage in relevant discussion with relevent individuals, eg: journalists, editors, bloggers.

Search- Use your tools! Everyone has access to free tools such as Twitter Search, Social Mention and Followerwonk to look for people on Twitter who are relevant to you. And reach out to them!

Curated Lists-Sites such as Listorious and PeerIndex are sites that have already created a lists of Twitter accounts. This saves you time! (131).

Also, keep track of individuals who are reaching out to you and are tweeting information about your company. This can be done through various monitoring systems. It’s best to create a Twitter list of groups of Twitter accounts that are related to your business. You can use TweetDeck to view what’s being said about your business. You can even filter the comments and search for keywords. “TweetDeck allows you to create multiple columns so you can categorise different groups of influencers” (133).
According to the article, “5 Ways to Ditch the Press Release and Actually Reach Your Audience,” Maggie Patterson points out some tips to reach your audience using social media.

1. Create a Video- “Video is a highly effective way to share many stories. It can inject emotion and color into something that could otherwise be quite dull.” I think this is spot on! I love editing video and think it’s a great way to convey emotion. Patterson uses the example of asking for donations. Many times organisations politely ask for donations only to have people say no. Why is that the case? Because it’s not as emotionally appealing as a video would be. In a video, you can use music, and quotes of people in said charity. You can SHOW how you’ve helped the people affected in a charity. Videos can be thirty seconds, a minute or even two. In a short time frame you can really make a change and have more people reach out to your organisation.

2. Use Stunning Visuals: “A picture is worth a thousand words, especially on social media. It’s been proven time and time again that visual content gets more likes and shares.” Photos are shared twice as much as text is and our brains grasps pictures faster than texts. Info graphs are an effective way to share information because it can tell a story or present your research.

3. Turn your news release into a blog post- “When issuing a press release, the idea is to be able to share a story with media so they in turn will write a story that your customers, partners and other stakeholders will read.” If you take a news release and make it a blog post its forcing you to add more context to support what you’re saying. Writing it as a blog makes it more conversational and connect with people who like to read what you’re talking about.

Honestly, I’m learning more and more about social media every day. Something that really stood out to me was how easily you can monitor who is your number one Twitter follower, or fan. I think it’s so important for organisations to actually use these tools. If they don’t they’re missing out because they’re not reaching they’re full potential especially in the sense of providing the best customer service.

Patterson, Maggie. “5 Ways to Ditch the Press Release and Actually Reach Your Audience.” Web log post. SocialMediaToday.com. Social Media Today LLC, 19 Nov. 2013. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.

Waddington, Stephen, Adam Parker, and Stuart Bruce. Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Print.

Pinterest: Hidden Tools to Help Every Business Succeed

I really enjoyed reading the article, “Oh How Pinteresting” by Scott Tong. Last summer vacation I loved using the website Pinterest. This can be accessed online or on a mobile app. Pinterest allows you to make boards where you can pin what you’re interested in. You can make different boards according to various categories such as, “Makeup”, “Fall fashion”, “workouts”, “future home decor”. I was obsessed with using Pinterest last summer and got back into the swing of it about a month ago. I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t used it for so long.Here’s a picture of my Pinterest page:

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Pinterest is offering a new tool to be used on the site: A secret board. “Secret boards are perfect for planning something you’re not quite ready to reveal to the world—inspiration for that website you’re building for your business, perhaps?” I think Pinterest is already a great tool to use because it gives me so many ideas; for fashion, for working out, recipes to make, etc. Unfortunately, many of my boards are also shared to my Facebook page. When I have a board called “Potential Husbands” it’s not something I want the world to know about, including my followers on Pinterest, so this would be something I would post to my secret boards. Pinterest created the secrets board during Christmas because many pinners would post items they wanted to buy for friends and family, but of course they wanted to keep it a surprise. One thing that caught my eye is “inspiration for that website you’re building”. I think I really should create a website that highlights my skills for PR and Broadcast journalism. I could use tips off of Pinterest to create the site and decoration ideas as well.

According to the article, “12 Awesome Pinterest Tools to Power Up Marketing” by Zaman Tehmina, Pinterest took off three years ago and now has more than 70 million global users. It has also beat Twitter in becoming the fastest growing social platform in the world by active users in the year 2013. “This explosive growth may be due to the unique demographics of Pinterest users and an aesthetically pleasing site design that drives sales.” Not only does Pinterest allow you to create categories of different ideas, but you can go directly to the site if you want to buy the product. For example, if you see a scarf you think is cute you can like it, repin it, add a comment, or click on it to go to the direct site to buy it. This is a great tool for businesses, what business isn’t looking to sell their products?  And it’s super easy to use.

Over 70% of users on Pinterest are from the USA, they’re young, and mostly females. Young + females= more shopping. On Facebook and Twitter both males and females of all ages are users, and these social network sites are not directly correlated to shopping. Pinterest can be used for browsing, creating ideas, but also online shopping. “A study by RichRelevance revealed that the average order placed by Pinterest shoppers is $169, far exceeding those from Facebook ($95) and Twitter ($70).”
The sales potential that Pinterest has, has caused every major brand to have a Pinterest account.
I will talk about some of my favorite tools that Pinterest offers, but very few people know about.

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One tool that Pinterest uses to further themselves is photos. “Think beyond simple product shots and explore creative ways to turn your customer testimonials, reviews, case studies, positive PR, etc into an image.” Many Pinterest accounts use PicMonkey to edit their photos and SAVE MONEY by not hiring a designer or Photoshop expert. Personally, I’ve used picmonkey and know that it works. I’ll admit I used it once or twice to cover those under eye bags. You can even add quotes to your photos or make them look vintage, etc.
The number 3 tool is to add a Pinterest tab on your Facebook page. If a company already has a Facebook account then you have users who have “liked” their Facebook Fan Page. They can use the Facebook account to lead users to the Pinterest account. You can easily install a Pinterest tab for your Facebook fan page and it’s very quick to set up.

The fourth tool is pinalerts. These are emails that tell you when someone has pinned something from your site. This allows you to build a community because you know who has repinned your item and can communicate directly with them and invite them to other boards. Pinterest also has Postris which is a “content discovery dashboard” which allows you to see what the latest trending topics are. This will help your company post content that is relevant to what topics are current.

An easy way to take content that was posted on your Facebook fan page and simultaneously add it to your Pinterest page is through Pinvolve. This is an app that automatically synchs what you post on Facebook and Pinterest together. “The key difference is that Pinvolve arranges your content in a Pinterest-like format and pulls in any Facebook likes and comments linked to that post.” This will show just how popular your post is. Sometimes I will post a picture on Instagram only to later share it on Facebook, but the amount of likes and comments from my Instagram page don’t transfer over to my Facebook page. This is not a big deal for me, but for a business it is because they seem less popular. And who wants to buy a product that’s not popular? This app offers a forever free option which has its limitations between Facebook and Pinterest. There’s also a pro version for $5 a month and a Bundle package for $25 a month which allows unlimited synching for a maximum of 10 Facebook pages.

As a PR practitioner you probably wish there was a way to reach out to your biggest consumers/fans. Tailwind is a campaign management tool that analyzes Pinterest activity on your account. It’s directly associated with your Pinterest account so it has the same username log in. It helps you discover who your number one followers are, who the number one repinner is, and even see who your competition is. “Tailwind is used by over 2,500 brands and agencies including Nike, AOL, Walmart and Target so it offers several plans.” The free version is limited, and the Lite version costs $29 a month and is best for small business owners, social media consultants and bloggers. It covers 1 Pinterest account, tracks 2 competitors and provides some different dashboard features. There are also other membership packages.

“We PRs know the key to communication success is relationships. Get to know your audience, understand what makes them tick, tock and go to the shop” (Wiley, 91). By using all the tools on Pinterest to your full ability you will be able to create that relationship with your audience.  This shows that you’re going above and beyond to be more personal with your consumers, instead of having them feel like they’re a small consumer in a corporate field. By being more personal with consumers they will want to shop more. I think it’s crucial for every PR practitioner to try to have a two way communication with consumers, especially their number one consumers. While many of these different tools may cost some money I think you have to spend money to make money. If you truly care about your consumers you should be willing to go above and beyond to show them that.

Tong, Scott. “Oh, How Pinteresting!” Weblog post. SocialMediaExaminer. Socialmediaexaminer, 28 Feb. 2014. Web. 7 Mar. 2014.

Waddington, Stephen. Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Print.

Zaman, Tehmina. “12 Awesome Pinterest Tools to Power Up Marketing.” Weblog post. Jeffbullass Blog RSS. Jeffbullas’s Blog, n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014.

How Many Facebook Accounts Is Too Many?

Some people are on Facebook every minute of every hour. They keep track of all their friends’ moves, read every notification, eventually search their friends’ profiles to look for more friends. They live to increase their number of “friends” mostly to increase their audience.

Facebook has recently celebrated their ten year anniversary. While we have read many articles talking about how social media can be used to benefit a business, Audrey Rochas thinks otherwise. Rocha wrote the article, “Why You Can Work in Social Media and Use Facebook Only For Personal Matters,” which explains how many Facebook users, such as Rochas, decide to keep their Facebook completely private. My Facebook account is set to private, but others can see some of my albums and statuses.

One category of Facebook users are the very curious ones. The ones who are looking to gain more friends so they can become more popular. Then there are some Facebook users who create their account and make it as secure as possible. “The ultimate move being to simply go on a Facebook detox that eventually ends up in deleting the account.” These people use their account for personal matters such as communicating with relatives or friends. But don’t be confused; these users aren’t paranoid about “big brother” watching them either.

If I receive a friend request from someone I don’t know I’ll look at the other person’s pictures and posts. I’ll even message them asking “Hey, do I know you?” I’m just too curious to let it slide. Why did this person add me?  Rochas is not the curious type. She only uses Facebook to connect with friends and family. If she receives a friends request from someone she doesn’t know she deletes it. The non-curious types aren’t the elderly either. They’re just like everyone else. “The truth is: those people are usually very connected, some even work in social media.” Rocha actually works in social media and is connected to her Facebook 24/7. Either from her laptop or iPhone. She even tells her clients how to use Facebook as a tool to help them promote themseleves.

Rocha keeps her Facebook, Twitter and snapchapt for personal use, not business. She uses her LinkedIn account and blogs to self-promote. “Knowing this, the question is not why don’t I open Facebook to all, but why should I?” Rocha says it’s best to create two Facebook profiles: one for personal use, and one for business use.

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James Coltham, blogger of the article, “A Facebook Dilemma- One Account or Two?” agrees with Rocha. The first reasons being that two Facebook accounts allows users to keep work and home life separate. This will also prevent emails from work and home life taking up your inbox.

The second reason I found crucial is that it avoids the risk of accidently posting a personal status on to your work page. Even worse, you could post photos of yourself on the work page. Consumers and customers of your business or service will be a little surprised if they see a selfie or picture of you drinking a little too much alcohol on the work page. A small, unintentional accident as such could be detrimental for the business you’re working for and you’re career.

The third reason I found interesting what that it keeps the public away from your personal profile. This eliminates each and any way your manager, fan base or consumers can catch a glimpse into your personal life. Business pages have objective posts whereas personal pages have subjective posts. If you were to use one Facebook for business and personal you wouldn’t be able to post what you want because you’d be too scared that someone from work would find it offensive.

What I found really surprising is that creating two Facebook accounts is against the rules. In the terms of privacy, rule 4.2 states, “You will not create more than one personal account.” I can see how this could be a bad thing though. People who are desperate to find out more information on someone could create another account with a default picture and name as someone else.

I disagree with this rule, as does Coltham. “Sadly the conclusion seems to be that you either break the rules somewhere, or end up not doing Facebook at all. None of these is really acceptable, and the best solution I can think of would be for Facebook to relax its rules.”

It’s also crucial to keep separate Facebook accounts because it could cause a conflict of interest between the relationships you have with the people you work with. “It is inappropriate to have contact with clients or pupils through personal social media accounts or e-mail. So any official use of Facebook to communicate with these groups … poses a risk.” Coltham also stated if these rules are broken it could even end a career, especially in the educational field.

In the article, “Top 5 Things Not to do on Facebook” by Ellie Mirman, the blogger talks a little bit about Facebook 4.2 rule. She stated that if Facebook finds out you have to seperate accounts they will shut down both accounts. I don’t know how exactly that would work though, maybe if they found out it was coming from the same IP address. It’s also unclear as to whether or not this rule applies to people who have a Facebook page and Facebook profile, or if they’re referring to two Facebook profiles. Mirman said, “The lines between personal and professional worlds are blurring and you should be transparent and confident enough to let them blur. Sure, you may not want your boss seeing photos of you drinking in college. But Facebook has amazing privacy settings that you can customize so your professional connections are limited to what they can see on your account.” To me this sounds like a hassle. I’ve set my status a few times so some people could not see it and it’s annoying to do. Especially because Facebook saves those settings and applies them to every post you make there on out.

 However, Mirman does promote the use of a business page because it eliminates the uncertainty of having to accept a friend request and your page can receive “likes” by anyone, and still become popular. Another plus to having a business page is people can interact with you. Sure, there will be that occasional negative Nancy, but allowing these comments proves you care about your consumers. “That interaction gets in front of that user’s network, spreading your reach far beyond your existing customer base.” That perosns comment is being viewed by all of their friends.

Overall, I think that the line between personal and professional is blurred. And I think Facebook should allow for two different Facebook accounts to prevent any confusion. I don’t think people take what they post on social media serious enough. Even on my personal Facebook page if I post a status I don’t post content that is extremely controversial. It’s jus bound to end bad. If a PR practitioner were to accidently post content on their businesses page when it was meant for themselves it would make the business look less credible, result in a poor reputation and could possibly end a career. The power Facebook has is underestimated, and that goes for any social media.

What’s Your Social Media Journey?

            “From its launch by a bunch of students at Harvard as a way to recognize people in the various dorms at the university, Facebook has become a global phenomenon with 800 million members as of October 2011 and numerous brands vying for audience attention (61).
Facebook is best described a cyber spot where people can communicate with each other. The way a person defines their presence on the website can vary. A user can make a personal profile which is more casual; you share content of your interest and talk to people who are your friends, family… and you’re free to cyberstalk whoever you please (62).
There’s also a brand page, where organizations or brands use pages to communicate with their fans. The settings are different on brand pages because it allows more than one person to access the account and these pages are also more professional and business-like (62).
The third type of page is a group page.Groups can be made by people or organizations about any topic they want. From serious topics such as child poverty to fun pages such as “You Know You’re From New York When..” (62).
The fourth type is places, which allows users to “check in” to the location they are at. So if you’re at a concert, it would say “Amal Tlaige is at The Times Union Center”. This function may eventually become an automatic aspect of Facebook (62). I have noticed though, when I went overseas I took pictures in Lebanon and when the photo’s were posted on Facebook the name of the town I was in was next to the photo posted, regardless of whether or not I wanted the name of the town displayed.
So businesses and organizations have a lot of Facebook formats to choose from if they’re trying to raise more awareness about their service. Facebook has allowed us to:

1. Build communities- A common way that communities are built is based on receiving “likes”. This allows people to connect because if they’re liking the page the users must have some sort of interest in common.

2. Engage with Fans- Creating a fan page not only allows an organization to spread word about themselves, but it allows them to have a 2-way communication with fans.

3. Amplify your message- Because of social media, word about a brand will spread faster and to more people. So, a brand should represent themselves in a positive manner and communicate with fans so those fans have good things to say about the business to other people.

4. Socially enable your business- Using Facebook Connect, a business can enable people to share what kind of action they’ve taken with the businesses web site, which will then be posted on the business’ Facebook page.

5. Sell your products and services- This allows users to buy products right from an organizations Facebook page, or they can be connected to a different buying website.

“Successful engagement tends to come from authentic two-way conversations with Fans of the Page” (64). One example of this would be Oreo’s. The long-loved cookies are able to play an emotional role by bringing back memories of users eating the cookies. Oreos Facebook page promotes people to talk about their memories with Oreos and the fans respond.

Using applications:
“Most successful pages use a combination of human conversations plus competitions, promotions and interactive initiatives” (65). The equal mix of human conversations, competing with other brands, getting great deals and  that 2 way communication street make for a great page. The users are happy and so is the business owner.
Scott Ayers, author of The #1 Secret of Successful Facebook Pages- 5 Experts Weigh-in”, agrees with that the conversational tone of Facebook is the best. “My number #1 secret is to be human & transparent with your fans.” He offered some tips too. Signing comments with an actual name. This helps fans feel like they’re talking to a real person, not a huge corporation, or a logo. “Signing off with your name lets you build a personal relationship with your audience.” His second tip is tone of voice. Don’t talk to your fans as if they understand business jargon.  “Use a more personal tone they can relate to.” This could even be using the fan’s first name in conversations.The third tip is to create conversations. Don’t just like a comment your fan posted or offer 1 word responses. Ask they why they liked the post you just posted or as if they have more questions or need help with anything else.
Facebook has been testing their “Facebook Offers” product which is available to all Brand pages. With Facebook Offers, brands will be able to offer deals such as BOGO specials. These are posted via the brands status, and users can click “Get Deal” so the offer is sent to the user via email which can then be printed out or sent to their phone. This new creation will help build customer loyalty (65).

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“Less than six years after launching for public use, Twitter has become an unavoidable communications tool. There is almost no area of public life upon which Twitter has not had an impact , and it is the meteoric and unexpected rise of influence that has made it such a powerful platform” (71).
Twitter was launched in 2006 and became a form of microblogging (71). This is very true. That’s why news outlets use Twitter, because it’s format is short, concise and can get the point across.Personally, I like Twitter. I think it’s a little more in your face than most other social networks because the information posted is constant. That’s why it’s important to only follow other Twitter accounts you enjoy learning more information about. Otherwise, it’s just too much noise.
Twitter became more popular in 2007,  when it won a web award for the blogging category.In 2009, a Twitter was the first to break a major story before a major US broadcasting network (72). A user Tweeted, “There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy” (72). So Twitter has become a major news outlet.
I read the article, Why Twitter is Bad for Journalism, by Marc Gunther. Gunther stated that Twitter is ruining journalism in various ways, but the two main points were that 1)Fact checking is not as involved. Especially when covering a live event, the person tweeting is so focused on what is occurring at that present moment they don’t check for mistakes they’ve written and if they’re unsure about something they’ll tweet it anyways because it’s live. Gunther said, “You can’t concentrate, you can’t think, you can’t convey a complex idea, you can’t persuade or explain” especially all within 140 characters. Journalism requires precise facts and Twitter can limit what you say in multiple ways.  2) Once you make a mistake, you’re done. You can delete your post, but if you have a lot of followers someone has probably already seen your post before you’ve deleted it. Even if you do admit your mistake and apologize for it, you end up looking less credible.
One way that Twitter can become more successful is Twitter accounts are able to really engage with target audiences. “When an audience can be influenced by a brand or an individual, their behavior can be changed, and Twitter starts to become a tool for transformation, not just engagement” (75).
But you really have to be careful with what you tweet. I always hear about celebrities getting in Twitter fights, while it’s pathetic, it’s also entertaining. One Tweet then went wrong was in 2011, when Ashton Kutcher spoke about the Penn State and Joe Paterno being fired. Kutcher said, “How do you fire Jo Pa? As a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste, along with the hashtags #insult and #noclass” (75). Kutcher did not know that Joe Paterno knew children were being sexually abused and said nothing until his followers told him! He quickly apologized, but the damage was done.

Ayres, Scott. “The #1 Secret of Successful Facebook Pages – 5 Experts Weigh-in.” Web log post. PostPlanner.com. Post Planner, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.

Gunther, Marc. “Why Twitter Is Bad for Journalism.” Marcgunther.com. Marc Gunther, 22 Apr. 2009. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.

Waddington, Stephen. Introduction. Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. 61-77. Print.