The ‘in’ crowd

When it comes to internal communications, things can get complicated – but they don’t have to.  What does internal communications mean anyways?  

internal communications – the sharing of information within an organization for business purposes.  According to Chelsea Varney, “these internal interactions are pivotal when upholding the momentum of employee relationships and, ultimately, the probability of a company” (Varney, January 17, 2014).  Seems simple, right?  But, when you add social media into the equation the situation becomes more than just communicating.  “Social media has publicized the whole affair, with staff being encouraged to take an active role in the development of marketing practices online” (Varney, January 17, 2014).  

Social media has allowed us to receive information 24/7; whenever and wherever.  We demand to know the who, what, when, where and why at the time we request it.  “Our expectations have shifted, so employees expect more – more speed, more transparency across organizations and from senior leadership, more information and the ability to comment immediately” (CIPR, 2012).  But, without knowing your organization’s environment and culture, it’s close to impossible to communicate effectively with employees.  

Communicating with your employees is much like communicating with your audience.  Often time, organizations and businesses feel the need to adopt the newest social media, because they think that they’re staying “up-to-date” and “on-trend” with their audience.  “Introducing a whizzy social media site because it is the latest ‘must-have’ is a recipe for disaster if you’re not clear why it is right for the organization and its culture” (CIPR, 2012).  What are you trying to accomplish; with your audience and with your employees?  “Determine what you are trying to achieve before introducing any new channel” (CIPR, 2012).  

So how do you have good internal communications?  “Listen to your employees and ensure you’re matching business needs with your internal communication recommendations” and “get [them] involved in the process and decision making” (CIPR, 2012).  What’s best for one organization or business isn’t best for another.  I believe that creating personal and unique ways of communication with employees that addresses their needs and wants will be key for successful internal communications.

“‘Social media will be the main engine of discovery, giving us the ability to find the signal within the noise.  As people’s networks and interactions expand, massive data sets will generate predictive models that will know what you want before you look for it'” (CIPR, 2012).

 

Sources

Chelsea, V. (2014, January 17). The role of social media in internal communications. Ragan’s PR Daily. Retrieved from http://www.brandwatch.com/2014/01/internal-communications-a-look-at-the-untold-story-of-marketing/. 

Internal communications. (2014). In Business Dictionary.com. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/internal-communication.html. 

CIPR. (2012). Share this: The social media handbook for PR professionals. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Mental Health Monday: Who you are & the media

I’m assuming that many of you have heard recently of the passing of fashion designer L’Wren Scott.  Unfortunately, suicide has taken the life of yet another person.  I chose to focus this week’s Mental Health Monday on two important issues that need to be addressed regarding L’Wren Scott’s death.  

When we think of suicide, we think that we’re invincible; that it would never happen to someone we love or that it would never happen to someone like L’Wren Scott.  The truth is, it can.  I’ve experienced the lost of a friend at the age of 10 and some still think that a 10 year old never thinks of suicide.  I’ve heard stories of people who lost a father, a mother and some still think that adults with children never think of suicide.  We all think that celebrities like L’Wren Scott have it all and that they would never think of suicide.  But they do.  It doesn’t matter what your age is or how much you have, thoughts of suicide can and do happen.  So we need to take a stand to make sure that when those thoughts do occur, we recognize them and we know what to do, before we lose someone else.

Commuting 45 minutes to school gives me plenty of time to listen to the radio and catch up on the news and what’s trending.  But, I was extremely bothered by the poor reporting of L’Wren Scott’s death.  How many times have you heard or even said “committed suicide”?  I hear it all the time and before I became educated and informed about suicide, I used to say it too.  So now whenever I hear “committed suicide” it’s like nails on a chalkboard for me.  By stating something as simple as “committed” it’s implying that a person has committed a crime.  Suicide is not a crime.  Also commonly heard is “killed themselves”.  Stating something like that implies that that a person is a killer.  That person is not a killer, that person was fighting a battle within themselves.  Instead, say that this person has “taken their own life” or “took their own life”.  That way, you’re not implying that the person was a killer or committed crime, you’re simply stating a fact.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a great resource for more information and facts about suicide and prevention.  They have an entire page specifically for the media, so that they know how to report on a suicide.  News organizations need to be more educated and informed about how to report on suicides, it’s a public health issue and the public needs to know about it.  You take a look at the page here and AFSP also provides a handy dandy two-page spread with recommendations on reporting a suicide. 

The music of social media

While glancing through Ragan’s PR Daily, a certain article caught my attention – ‘What social media managers and jazz musicians have in common’ by Zach Pearson.  I’m definitely not a jazz musician of any sorts, so I was anxious to discover what this common link is Pearson believes to exist and I have to say that I completely agree.

5-tinh-nang-can-co-cho-web3

The analogy that Pearson makes is something that we should all consider:

Jazz musicians are “more interested in playing for 5 percent of the population who will understand the technical cleverness of their compositions than the massive audience that’s just looking for something that pleases them aesthetically” (Pearson, March 21, 2014).

Social media managers “design and implement social and content programs that are more about pleasing our pears than our audience” with “simple metrics that are easy to measure and look great on powerpoint slides…how to court influencers, which management platforms are the best and how to generate conversations” (Pearson, March 21, 2014).

Pearson’s argument is that we treat the audience that doesn’t actively engage in social media as if they’re doing it wrong.  The segment of the audience doesn’t engage on social media shouldn’t be ignored or forgotten.  There’s no right way to use social media and there’s no right way to listen to music.  Often time organizations or businesses get too caught up with gaining new members or new customers, but what about the customers and members that already support you?  We can sometimes unintentionally ignore segments of our audience.  Should we pay more attention to Twitter users with 500+ followers or tweets on a regular basis?  According to the O’Reilly radar when you only include accounts that have tweeted in the past 30 days, that media users has 61 followers (Stadd, December 26, 2013).

“Step into the shoes of the audience” (Pearson, March 21, 2014).  The key is to put the audience first and to generate posts that would catch the attention of the audience that actively engages in social media as well as the audience that skims through their social media during commercials or waiting in line at the store.

 

Sources

Alisson, S. (2013, December 26). The median twitter user has 1 follower. All Twitter. Retrieved from http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/median-twitter-user-1-follower_b53261.

Zach, P. (2014, March 21). What social media managers and jazz musicians have in common. Ragan’s PR Daily. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/socialmedia/Articles/What_social_media_managers_and_jazz_musicians_have_16266.aspx.

 

Twitter: one bird is better than two

Okay so we’ve all heard the saying ‘two is better than one’, right?  Well, when it comes to Twitter ‘one is better than two’.

Twitter

There’s still plenty for us all to learn about social media and once we finally get the hang of juggling our LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts there’s a brand new social media tool to add to our toolbox.  I suppose there’s more than one of us that have learned the hard way that having one Twitter account enough to handle without adding in another.  Then there’s the other boat load of us that still question whether we should have two Twitter accounts to separate our corporate and personal brands.  ‘Why one Twitter account is plenty’ by Jason Mollica on Ragan’s PR Daily is here to help us out.

Mollica (who does have two Twitter accounts) doesn’t think it’s necessary to have more than one Twitter account.  He states that “focusing on your personal brand can be difficult” and “the more honest you are with yourself and your audience, the better for your brand, and the better for your career as well” (Mollica, March 14, 2014).  There are several reasons that Mollica gives for why you should only focus on one Twitter account – time, confusion, transparency, noise, personality, and smarts.

My personal favorite of these reasons – smarts (read the others here: http://www.prdaily.com/socialmedia/Articles/16255.aspx).  This remains my number one reason why I feel no need to have two Twitter accounts to separate my personal and professional lives.  “Display some smarts”.  In other words – think before you tweet.  Not everything but the kitchen sink needs to be posted on Twitter.  If you wouldn’t want your grandmother reading it, you probably shouldn’t be tweeting it and chances are she might actually have a Twitter (it’s possible!).   Overall Mollica believes that showing some smarts on your Twitter shows that you considered your audience and your personal brand before you tweet.

In the article ‘Twitter 101: how to tweet your way to a strong personal brand’ on TheSavyIntern, it’s suggested that “if you MUST tweet about topics that are not “on-brand” for you [what you ate, what your kids are doing, etc.], set up a recreational or personal Twitter account” (JobHunt.org, February 27 2014).  I beg to differ.  Do you REALLY need to tweet about those topics, so much that you’re willing to give up a chunk of our time to juggle two separate Twitter accounts?  Even if you only follow Mollica’s ‘smarts’ reasoning for only having one Twitter account, that should answer your question.

So tell me, is ‘two better than one’ or is ‘one better than two’?

Sources:

Jason, M. (2014, March 14). Why one twitter account is plenty. Ragan’s PR Daily. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/socialmedia/Articles/16255.aspx.

(2014, February 27). Twitter 101: how to tweet your way to a strong personal brand. TheSavyIntern. Retrieved from http://www.youtern.com/thesavvyintern/index.php/2014/02/27/twitter-101-how-to-tweet-your-way-to-a-strong-personal-brand/.

#TBT

If you’re on any social media site, chances are that you’ve either seen or participated in it.  It’s fun.  It’s (sometimes) embarrassing, yet funny at the same time.  It’s history.  It’s Throwback Thursday or better known as #TBT!

Urban Dictionary does a swell job at explaining what exactly Throwback Thursday is all about – “When you put a picture from a “while” ago on your social media sites” (January 26, 2012).  Okay so it’s not the best definition, but it gets the point across, right?

TBT2

If you were to explore my personal social media accounts, you’re bound to find numerous Throwback Thursdays.  It’s a great way to reminisce through social media and I enjoy the laugh from viewing everyone else’s throwbacks.  So it came as a surprise to me that it never crossed my mind about this being something great for businesses and organizations until I read Craig Carter’s article “8 brands making the most of Throwback Thursday” on Ragan’s PR Daily.

Carter does a much better job explaining Throwback Thursday and how it came about “as a way for people to share older pictures of themselves or reminisce about the past in general” (Carter, March 7, 2014).  Carter uses specific examples of brands that have jumped on the #TBT bandwagon, my favorite being Wendy’s and their #TBT to when they opened the first modern day pick up window (drive thru).  This made me realize how extremely clever it is for businesses and organizations to join in on the fun of yet another social media trend.

The #TBT trend allows businesses to share a piece of history with their audience; it gives the audience a slice of who the brand is.  It invited the audience to share the laughter of how far you’ve come and be thankful for it.  Also, it’s a great opportunity for the audience to learn something that they hadn’t known before about the brand.

So what’s your next #TBT going to be?

Sources:

throwback thursday. In Urban Dictionary.com. Retrieved March 9, 2014, from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Throwback+Thursday.

Craig, C. (2014, March 7). 8 brands making the most of throwback thursday. Ragan’s PR Daily. Retrieved from http://prdaily.com/socialmedia/Articles/16200.aspx.

Get Linked on LinkedIn

When you think of social networks, LinkedIn is probably on your list, but I would bet that it’s not at the top.  Even though some consider LinkedIn “the ‘grandfather of social networks'” (Appleby, 2012, pg. 79).  Now, I’m not sure if I agree with that statement, but I do believe that we should take LinkedIn more seriously than other social networks.  LinkedIn has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to maintaining our professional network.

LinkedIn

With Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, who has time for LinkedIn, right?  I say we make time.  We can’t forget about our professional network.  Chapter 9 in Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals gives a solid argument for how we can benefit from expanding our professional network.  “LinkedIn is a vital tool in ensuring we communicate the professional side of our identity as part of our wider online personality and profile” (Appleby, 2012, pg. 82).

But how do we “manage a personal professional brand online” (Appleby, 2012, pg. 82)?  Kristin Piombino suggests “17 must-have features on your LinkedIn profile” to help you do just that.  According to Matt Ray’s chart (http://www.business2community.com/linkedin/17-steps-perfect-linkedin-profile-infographic-0777280) only “50.5% of users profiles are 100% complete” and only “42% of users update their information regularly” (Piombino, February 13, 2013).  Where do you fall?  I’ll just say, I need to do some updating…

LinkedIn isn’t only for individuals looking to expand their professional network, it can also be utilized by businesses and organizations to communicate with their audience.  There are several new features highlighted in Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals, including Company Pages and The Groups network that can help build the mutually beneficial relationship with the audience.  LinkedIn states that it allows businesses and organizations to “present an opportunity to reveal the human side of a company, to see the individual behind the brand and highlight how people use its products” (Appleby, 2012, pg. 84).

It’s time that we take advantage of everything LinkedIn has to offer.  “There is a valuable role for us to play in supporting strategic engagement through LinkedIn, both at the corporate and individual level” (Appleby, 2012, pg. 85).

Sources

CIPR. (2012). Share this: the social media handbook for PR professionals. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Kristin, P. (2014, February 21). 17 must-have features on your LinkedIn profile. Ragan’s PR Daily. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/16148.aspx

Matt, R. (2014, February 13). 17 steps to a perfect LinkedIn Profile (infographic). Business 2 Community. Retrieved from http://www.business2community.com/linkedin/17-steps-perfect-linkedin-profile-infographic-0777280

‘Like’ us on Facebook!

It seems like every time we turn around, there’s the blue thumbs up encouraging us to ‘Like’ a page supporting a brand, organization, celebrity, or business.  And we do.  Whether it’s just to show our overall support, to stay up-to-date, or participate in contests or promotions; it works.

Screenshot_2014-02-16-17-54-42-1As a former title hold within in the Miss America Organization, building a following is crucial.  I used Facebook to keep my audience up-to-date with appearances, photos, etc. and I was always told much people enjoyed following my journey as a titleholder through my posts on Facebook.  Sometimes people just want to feel like their “in the loop” that you take the time out of your day to keep them updated and know that their investment in you is well-spent.  And when it came to raising money for various causes, like the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, I was able to spread the word through my Facebook page, using various give-aways and raffles.

Robin Wilson in ‘Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals’ states that “most successful Pages use a combination of human conversations plus competitions, promotions and interactive initiatives” (2012, Wilson).

It always looks great when you’re able to maintain thousands of ‘Likes’, but how many of those followers are active?  You’ve got them to ‘Like’ your page, now’s your chance to be active on your page.

A recent article in PR Daily, ‘How to turn social media fans into engaged customers’ by Kristin Piombino gives seven different types of Facebook followers and suggestions on how you can get them to engage with your company, organization or brand.  Piombino is hopeful that followers “can become strong advocates if you approach them the right way” (2014, Piombino).  There’s even a pretty awesome chart (http://www.sociallystacked.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/7typesoffans.jpg) to help you along your way to get strong and active Facebook followers!

“The most successful uses of Facebook all tend to have a few things in common: defined goals, clear strategies and a thorough understanding of what appeals to the audience” (2013, Wilson).

Sources
Kristin, P. (2014, February 14). How to turn social media fans in to engaged customers. Ragan’s PR Daily. Retrieved February 16, 2014, from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/16102.aspx

Robin, W. (2012) Share this: the social media handbook for PR professionals. Chisester: John Wiley & Sons.

Let’s take a selfie!

Selfie (sel-fie) – a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

Oh, the famous selfie; we’ve all taken on!  Maybe it’s because we’re having a good hair day, or we want to show off our cute Pinterest-inspired outfit or just because we’re having a good day.  We all find reasons to take a selfie.  That’s why it SELFIEEEEseems genius-like for a company or organization to take advantage and jump on the selfie train!

Jessica Gioglio on PR Daily posted a recent article ‘5 Creative Selfie Compaigns’ that suggests ways that companies can use selfies to “tell a story that is relevant and strategic” (Jessica, 2014).  It turns out that selfies have much more potential than we thought.  Selfies can be used to motivate, inspire and celebrate.

It’s a smart move for companies to find ways in which they can incorporate ongoing social media trends, such as the selfie.  This gives companies another way to inspire their audience to be active.  By encouraging your audience to take a selfie to support a cause or just support the overall brand, it’s allowing for audience engagement and advocacy.

Just recently the American Heart Association (AHA) celebrated National Wear Red Day as part of their Go Red for Women campaign.  On February 7, AHA hosting the Go Red Challenge, encouraging their audience to post a picture of themselves wearing red with the hashtag #GoRedChallenge on their Twitter, Instagram or the AHA website.  I can’t tell you how many people I saw on my Twitter and Instagram feed participate.  It was great!  I even posted my own Go Red picture on Instagram (follow me to see it!) and it felt amazing to be a part of such an important cause.

So, next time you want to take a selfie, see what causes or brands are celebrating a day of selfies!  But, it’s also a good idea to keep to the Oxford rule of thumb when it comes to selfies:

“occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn’t necessary” (Oxford, 2014).

selfie. 2014. In Oxford Dictionaries.com. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/selfie

Jessica, G.  (2014, February 4). 5 creative selfie campaigns. Ragan’s PR Daily. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/socialmedia/Articles/16023.aspx

Where are you, @ ?

Ragan’s PR Daily posted a article recently that I found to be surprising and a little scary.  ‘Brands simply aren’t replying on Twitter, study finds’ by Kevin Allen (http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/15963.aspx) discusses that the average company tweets at least 12 times per day (great!), but they are sending out less than one @-reply per day…what?!

One of the great benefits of social media for companies is the ability to engage with your audience – your valued customers.  It’s silly to not use a tool like Twitter to it’s fullest potential.

 I know, from experience, that after I send out a tweet to a company or brand, I absolutely LOVE getting tweeted back.  It’s something magical that without social media, I wouldn’t be able to experience.  As a consumer, when a company engages with me directly and personally through social media it shows that they care and value my business.

 By the way – I LOVE Rent the Runway!

 Katie Howell describes the beauty of social media perfectly in her book Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals, “social media are about presenting the human side of your business, engaging with your audience to build trust, understanding and brand loyally” (Howell 18).  Now, I understand that maybe some companies know or appreciate the value that social media can do for them, but if you’re going to implement social media into your business plan, at least use it for all that it’s worth.  “The ideal situation is to firmly align your social media goals with the core drivers of your organization’s success” (Howell 17).

Twitter was founded in 2006, it isn’t new, but I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon.  So there’s no better time than now to understand how Twitter can benefit businesses.  Yes, the article I’m about to tell you about is a little old (2011), but it features ’15 business benefits of Twitter’ (http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/10252.aspx), which is still extremely useful today (2014).  As it states in the article under customer service, “when people “call” your company on Twitter, do you pick up the phone?”

Allen, Kevin. “Brands Simply Aren’t Replying on Twitter, Study Finds.” Ragan’s PR Daily. 24 Jan. 2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.

Sanders, Simon. “Kick-start Your Social Media Strategy.” Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals. Ed. Stephen Waddington. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2012. 15-22. Print.

Schaefer, Mark. “15 Business Benefits of Twitter.” Ragan’s PR Daily. 8 Dec. 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.

It’s a social media world after all

I’ll start this blog off by telling you a little secret; I love social media!  But, I’ll be the first one to admit that although I love social media and all that it has to offer, I don’t know too much about writing blogs.  Being a soon-to-be graduate with my degree in communications, I know that I should be well-versed in social media and that includes blogging.  I’ve started a couple blog prior to this one, but I hit the writer’s block wall that I feel every blogger must hit a one point or another.  So, here’s to starting fresh!

Recently, I read the first chapter of the book Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals by Katy Howell.  Like I said before, it’s important as an aspiring PR professional to be well-versed in social media and Howell does an excellent job explaining why that is.  Let’s be real here – “57% of people talk more online than they do in real life” (Howell 4), that doesn’t include the amount of time people spend talking on cell phones.  So what does this mean?  It means that our lives are becoming more and more virtual than ever before and as a future PR professional this significantly impacts my job.

Let’s take a second to thank Web 2.0 for helping us maintain and establish relationships easier and more accessible than ever.  According to Howell, Web 2.0 principles are found throughout the social media landscape.  These principles are ones that “ensure communications are two way, interactive, and above all, shareable” (Howell 7).  I mean think about, that’s what we all look for when we log in to our social media sites, right?  We look to communicate with our friends, family and coworkers; we look to share our interests, beliefs, and personal (sometimes too personal) feelings; and we all look for the same thing in return.  “Social network sites are the vehicle, not the destination” (Howell 5).

My favorite quote from Howell on page 12 that I feel captures the significance of social media in PR.

“Tapping into conversations that are relevant to your stakeholders allows businesses to build relationships, influence communities and ultimately inspire advocacy and trust.”