Posts tagged with ‘social media’

  • Humanizing Social Media

    In Social Media on

    By Jolene Peixoto, vice president, digital and corporate communications, Blue Yonder (formerly JDA Software)

    The worst thing to ever happen to social media was the creation of the ‘like’ button. 

    Before the like button, those engaging on social media – people and brands – had no way to respond or react to comments and interactions except to simply respond with a comment, a retweet or a re-share. Now, it’s far too easy to hit the like/love/reaction button on whatever social platform you’re using. 

    But isn’t the whole intention behind social media to start and participate in conversations? When social media first took hold – particularly for brands – it offered them a new, open channel to reach and communicate with their target audience. What’s happened over the last 10-15 years (it’s crazy to think social media has been around that long, but it has!) is becoming transactional and robotic – the exact opposite of what it should be. 

    When thinking about the intersection of PR and social media, the ability to integrate the two has always been critically important as part of an overall communications strategy. Planned social media content is purposeful and intent-driven, yet the missing piece for many brands is planning for engagement (replies, DM responses, retweets, etc.). 

    The same holds true for personal social media sharing and building your personal brand. If you are posting an update, a picture, or even a blog, it’s important to respond to those who engage with your post. Otherwise, what is the point of social sharing if it becomes a static, one-way conversation? 

    Following are some of the guidelines I keep in mind for my own social media postings and ways I will put a more concerted effort into responding to my company’s branded social media channels. 

    • Respond to comments. Always. Even if it’s a short ‘thanks!’ or ‘great post!’ Someone took time to read and engage with your post. Return the favor.
    • Retweets are important – reciprocate and engage in some way. This may be an opportunity to group together the handful (or more!) of retweets and tag a shout-out to those who retweeted your content e.g. ‘thanks for sharing’ and insert each Twitter handle. The bigger the brand, the more immense this task is, so in this case, liking their replies – unless they retweeted with comment, which warrants a response in itself – is acceptable. 
    • Think about why you are posting and what medium makes the most sense from an engagement perspective. When considering response times for your shared content, one platform may make more sense than another. For example, do you want more long-form engagement for your blog? Then LinkedIn may be a better option than Twitter. And consider customization; not everything you post has to be shared on every platform you maintain. 
    • Get back to basics. Less is more sometimes, meaning you may cut back on social media postings (for the brand you manage, in particular) to allow for more organic engagement. 

    Finally, the biggest thing I keep in mind, personally and professionally is this “What if the ‘like’ button disappeared”? Responding would be your only way to engage, and if you don’t want responses to a post or don’t want to respond to them, then it may be time to rethink why you are sharing something to social media in the first place.

    Jolene Peixoto is the vice president of digital and corporate communications at Blue Yonder (formerly JDA Software). Jolene has 18+ years of B2B and high-tech expertise driving global public relations, digital communications, analyst relations, and social media. She’s been at Blue Yonder for the last 5 years driving global corporate communications, social media and thought leadership strategies, upleveling the company’s visibility publicly, with articulated, clear and consistent messaging. 

  • Social Media Strategy for Small and Emerging Businesses An interview with Jim Panagas

    In Chapter Events, Social Media on

    By Ariana Revelas, PRSA Boston Faculty Forum Student Correspondent – Bentley University


    Jim Panagas is a Boston-based marketing and communications professional with deep experience managing major brands, hiring and managing agencies, and running his own business. He believes companies should take full advantage of the full marketing communications mix — from video content to webcasting, social media, PR, and analyst relations — to connect with key audiences, communicate better than their competitors, and achieve market leadership.

     

    I asked Jim to discuss his experience in counseling small business owners, in particular about their PR and marketing initiatives.  He shares how small businesses face a different kind of challenge when it comes to PR and Marketing:

     

     

    Please share some insights on counseling small business owners.

    Often times, small and emerging businesses simply don’t have a marketing or communications professional on board yet. So, you’re often dealing with a point of contact who doesn’t have a lot of experience in this area. He or she may not know the right questions to ask and what is appropriate to spend at this point in time, and may unrealistically expect immediate results (as in closed sales opportunities).  

     

    What is your approach for counseling small business owners in the technology industry in the strategic use of social media and PR?

    My clients reside in the technology space. I tend to point them toward LinkedIn and Twitter. It is important that a company builds and maintains a company page, sends out announcements on a regular basis, and engages in online discussions. The richer your content (such as including a photo, video, survey, study, etc.), the more likely people will read what you have to say, comment, and perhaps forward that information to their friends and colleagues. When you’re sharing information on LinkedIn, there is an option to simultaneously share that same information with your Twitter audience, which I strongly recommend.

     

    That doesn’t mean that you can’t put some exclusive content on LinkedIn and/or some exclusive content on Twitter. It just means that, in general, you want to ensure that comparable information is being shared on both platforms. Social media is key to getting people to know about and talk about your company in the short term.

     

    What should businesses look for when hiring a digital marketing expert?

    It makes the most sense for a small business to engage a marketing consultant or agency rather than hiring marketing staff right out of the gate. This is particularly important because the marketing industry is in a period of extreme change at the moment and marketers tend to fall into one of two camps:  “classical marketers” i.e. people who can write, design, strategize and come up with innovative ways to generate visibility versus “digital marketers” who are primarily trained to run a marketing or sales automation platform.

     

    If a business is looking for someone to run a particular platform such as Marketo, Pardot, or even Salesforce.com, it probably needs a person or agency with more “digital” expertise. However, a business needs to crawl before it can walk, and that early formative communication is much more likely to be developed by a classical marketer. I don’t mean to overstate this schism, but it exists and the delta between them is getting wider. I cannot overemphasize the importance of these small and emerging business to engage a high quality writer. That way, they are building on a solid foundation.

     

    What are the current social media strategies that businesses should take advantage of?

    To win in today’s marketplace, it’s about quality of communication – not quantity. It’s more important to have senior, influential people within the organization communicating about your brand through social media channels rather than having a small army of people across your company – people who are not trained writers – sending out content. Again, it’s about quality of content, not quantity.

     

    Increase use of video content. 

    If you’re having a 5-minute discussion with a member of your management team…or a subject matter expert…or a partner, you should capture that conversation on video and share it through social media channels. People are used to watching video.  They are more likely to remember something that they heard or saw in a video clip than something that they read. 

     

    Update your website with compelling content.

    Your company website should contain significant content that your audience will find both useful and interesting. Here is a short list of must-haves in order to be effective on the web:

    1. List your address, phone number, email address, etc., so that people can easily contact your organization. Make it EASY for people to contact your company.
    2. Your leadership team should be clearly identified on the site with photos and bios.
    3. Feature downloadable assets such as data sheets and success stories.
    4. Webinars are a great low cost and broad vehicle for attracting qualified prospects.
    5. In addition to being shared via social media, video content can also find a home on a company’s website. If the videos are short – less than 1-2 minutes in duration – website visitors are very likely to click on them.
    6. Make sure you have a mailing list that website visitors can join, so that you can stay engaged with them over time and they can keep track of what’s happening at your business.

    The bottom line: find the right professionals. Find marketers and communicators who think like you do, who understand exactly what your business does and recognize why it’s important. If you’re in the technology space, look for marketing, communications, and PR professionals who have done a lot of work for technology companies over time. Ask about their background and credentials. Read their referencesTake the time to look at samples of their work. Hire the right person or agency, and great things can happen. 

     

    To find out more about social media strategies, attend our 7th Annual Social Media Summit, May 3, at Bentley University.  You’ll hear from some of the region’s most forward-thinking agencies, organizations and content creators!

     

  • Fast 5: Five Things to Know about Social Media and Crisis Communications

    Elaine Driscoll, Massachusetts Gaming Commission

    @ElaineDriscoll  @MassGamingComm


     

    The words “community policing” typically conjure up images of police officers walking the beat. In the 21st century, cops on the beat have moved online as well.

    The Boston Police Department was one of the pioneers of the use of social media as a communications and outreach tool. Elaine Driscoll was with the Boston Police Department when it began using Twitter in 2009, and it has turned into a method of community engagement as well as crowdsourcing tips. Elaine, a media relations professional with almost 20 years of experience in public relations, crisis communications and community outreach, now serves as Director of Communications at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

    We caught up with Elaine in advance of the Social Media Summit to talk about social media, crises and what she looks forward to most about the summit.

    Q: What role can social media play in a crisis?

    Social media is the gasoline that spreads a crisis like a wildfire; it can also be the bucket of cold water that helps to put the fire out. The traditional sense of “news cycle” now has far less significance when considering the timing and strategy for addressing a PR crisis. As a result, an organization must be prepared to be nimble and decisive with an initial response, whether the crisis was anticipated or a spontaneous occurrence.

    Social media also provides an organization with a quick and efficient mechanism to respond directly to the masses. This direct access to the public provides an extraordinary ability to control the presentation of your message and influence public perception minus the filter applied by traditional media outlets, but that’s IF you get your response right. You can count on the court of public opinion to let you know quickly if the response is inadequate (Hello, United Airlines).

    Q: You have worked at both the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the Boston Police Department. How have those organizations used social media to communicate to their audiences?

    The Mass Gaming Commission and the Boston Police Department have different missions, but they are similar in their need for a robust communications infrastructure. MGC and BPD require a communications outreach strategy that is efficient and practical for executing a high volume of external communications, provides for two-way interactions and public participation, and enhances transparency. Both agencies depend on social media to achieve their organizational priorities and goals.

    Q: Can you give an example of how you may have effectively managed social media during a crisis in the past?

    Social media is a tremendous tool to assist with the management of a crisis, particularly one involving public safety. It’s important to note that it will only be truly effective if it has been test-driven before an organization needs it to perform. Building an audience and your organization’s reputation for communicating prior to an inevitable crisis is paramount. The BPD is highly adept at crisis communications because of how they utilize their communications system when they are not in crisis. The BPD was one of the first police departments in the country to use Twitter. It started in 2009 by simply issuing public safety and traffic instructions for a St. Patrick’s Day parade. In the years that followed, the department’s use of Twitter and other social media channels evolved significantly and became everything from a friendly and innovative way to connect with the community to the remarkably effective use of crowdsourcing tips and investigative leads.

    The 2011 Occupy Boston movement offers an interesting case study in the department’s advanced use of social media. Other cities had a far more contentious experience with the Occupy movement than Boston. I believe that strong and non-adversarial communication was a major contributor to the largely successful outcome of the 70-day protest in Dewey Square – much of that communication took place over Twitter, which was an approach unique to Boston.  That same year, the BPD’s Twitter account had more followers than any other police organization in the world.

    Q: With the number of social media platforms out there, how can organizations effectively monitor the conversation and address crises?

    There are many effective ways to monitor social media conversations. I prefer Tweetdeck and Meltwater News. When an organization is deciding which social media channels to use as part of its communications infrastructure, it depends on what you are selling and to whom – a high fashion boutique has different communication needs than a government agency. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all strategy except that I would always urge quality over quantity. I don’t think most organizations can adopt every social media channel and do them all well. An organization should identify where it is most likely to reach its target audiences and master that communication before casting too wide a net.

    Q: What are you most looking forward to about the Social Media Summit?

    I enjoy the opportunity to share my experiences and also deeply appreciate the chance to learn from my peers. As PR practitioners, we have to continue to evolve in our trade and enhance our skill set in order to stay relevant and keep up with an ever-changing world of traditional and social media.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics (https://prsaboston.org/hot-topics/) blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is on the fly! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, authors’ books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com (mailto:josh@joshuamilnepr.com) and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Fast Five: Tweeting from the Train

    In Crisis, Events, Fast Five, News, Social Media on

    Lauren Armstrong has been a Public Information Officer at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority since June 2014. A passion for helping others motivates her to provide the best customer service to those who ride the T. Communicating via social media, managing mbta.com, and tracking operational performance data, is a glimpse into her day.   @MBTA

    We caught up with Lauren in advance of the Social Media Summit to talk about how the T uses social media and what she looks forward to most about the summit.

    Q. What role can social media play in a crisis?

    I think social media is one of the most powerful, and sometimes underestimated, communication tools available. It can be used to interact directly with stakeholders during a crisis, answer their questions/concerns and provide accurate and timely information.

    Q.How does the MBTA use social media to communicate with its audiences?

    Our use of social media is two-fold. Firstly, we use it to announce service delays/disruptions, news/updates, media stories and important reminders. Secondly, we use it as a tool to engage one-on-one with riders. We can answer their questions, resolve their complaints and pass along the much-appreciated operator shout-outs that we receive.

    Q.Can you give an example of how you may have effectively managed social media during a crisis in the past?

    Winter 2014/2015 was an opportunity to announce service schedules and updates to answer questions like, “What kind of service will be running tomorrow?” “Is my bus on snow route?” or “Will my commuter rail train be cancelled?” But it also gave us a few opportunities to highlight the work being done by MBTA employees to keep platforms and bus stops clear of snow and ice.

    Q. How can organizations use the vast amount of data available from social media and website traffic to spot and address potential crisis situations?

    Organizations can use data available to get ahead of a potential crisis. For example, when our web team spots a high increase in traffic to our winter service updates page, we make the decision to redirect our homepage right to our winter page. That way, customers get the exact information they’re looking for and don’t have to spend time looking around for it.

    Q. What are you most looking forward to about the Social Media Summit?

    I’m excited to connect with other leaders in the social media industry, and am looking forward to sharing what we do at the MBTA.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics (https://prsaboston.org/hot-topics/) blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is on the fly! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, authors’ books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com (mailto:josh@joshuamilnepr.com) and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

     

  • The Importance of Leveraging Social Media Expertise

    In Career, Research, Social Media on

    Help Explore Best Practices for Leading Inter-Departmental Collaboration

     

    By Kirsten Whitten, adjunct lecturer of communication and public relations at Curry College, Stonehill College and Regis College, Ph.D. candidate of Regent University and PRSA Boston Member

    Public relations (PR) publications and conferences nationwide are focusing on the importance of staying relevant in today’s collaborative environment. Last year’s PRSA Strategic Collaboration Conference focused on “multidisciplinary knowledge, actionable approaches and critical skills” necessary to become and stay significant to an organization’s communications strategies”.

    This was also a topic of discussion at PRSA’s Annual Northeast District Conference (PRXNE) in Boston in June 2016. During this assembly, the panelists in the C-Suite Success discussion focused on the importance of education and leadership in working with c-suite executives. Moderator Carl Langsenkamp, Senior Marketing Manager for Xerox Corp. asked panelists Duane Brozek, Senior Corporate Communications and Public Relations Executive for Epson America, and Jane Carpenter, head of Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Wayfair, how they position themselves as leaders in collaborative planning across the organizations they represent. Jane pointed out the importance of “integrating with marketing to work together for unity in brand infinity”. Duane said he, “positions [himself] as a partner [by] making sure he is a part of the [c-suite] conversation”.

    One area where PR professionals can impress corporate executives is in social media relations. Since public relations and corporate communication professionals have had primary responsibility for social media monitoring and participation since its inception (USC Annenberg, 2012, 2014), it seems plausible that they could leverage this expertise to take a leadership role in planning these responsibilities across the organizations they represent. But to take advantage of this opportunity, industry experts point out that PR executives need to act more boldly. As Fred Cook, Director of the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations and CEO of Golin, said recently in a PRWeek interview, “My outlook in the future of PR is simply that PR needs more balls and I translate balls to mean courage“.

    As a PR professional, educator, and Ph.D. student, I wondered about the current state of this situation and what type of guidance is available for PR executives to answer this call. I found that a handful of prominent PR companies and scholars have offered models for guiding collaborative efforts, but most of these do not focus on leveraging social media expertise as the guiding principle. Therefore, it seemed reasonable to survey PR, corporate communication and social media executives to explore what types of leadership styles and collaborative planning practices have resulted in successful social media integration efforts. If you would like to help answer this question for our industry, please take this 8-minute survey: www.SurveyMonkey.com/r/SocialMediaCollaboration.

    My hope is that the results of this study will unveil specific strategies and methods that PR executives can use in their quest to lead successful collaboration of social media efforts across the organizations they represent. Also, please feel free to comment to this post and share your own experiences in leading social media initiatives across functions

  • Fast 5: Q&A with TN Communications Group President Tom Nutile

    In Media Relations, Thought Leaders, Writing on

    One of the most important skills that a PR professional needs to develop is the ability to draft a targeted media pitch that captures the attention of a reporter, producer, blogger, etc. within three seconds. There are so many ways that you can connect with the media today – whether it’s by email, press release, Twitter, Facebook or even the old fashion way—the phone.

    We recently sat down with TN Communications Group’s President Tom Nutile to learn more about his career as both an editor and media professional and some of his tips on how to pitch the media.

    Tom Nutile says media pitching isn't like it used to be.

    “PR people [should] take a much more active role in managing the conversation” because of social media. – Tom Nutile, TN Communications Group.

    Q: What’s it like working both sides of the fence—as editor and publicist?

    It’s a huge advantage. As a working journalist I received pitches all day long—and I got to see what worked, and what didn’t. Now in my PR business, I know how to craft a media pitch, a press release, a video, that’s likely to resonate with the media and gain coverage.

    Q: How has social media changed the way PR pros pitch the media?

    Social media has opened up more channels to reach journalists and target audiences and markets. It’s a much more complex environment to work in. The news cycle is 24/7, with updates on a breaking story sometimes coming every few seconds. The conversation—the stories—can build quickly and take on a life of their own. The feedback can be instantaneous, and because of it social media is making PR people take a much more active role in managing the conversation. But I ask, who better to own that than PR people?

    Q: Do the media still matter when PR people can publish what they want?

    Absolutely yes. There is still a valuable role for the media today. There’s a reason that coverage in the media—from professional journalists—is called “earned media.” You have to earn it—you can’t buy it or just write it yourself. Coverage in the media—third party endorsements, if you will—has immense value. Study after study show that people truly value and look for gatekeepers who can judge the news and package it in a way that’s relevant to them. As long as people want that independent editorial voice, you will have the media, and as long as you have the media, you will need PR people to manage media relationships and craft meaningful messages—and pitches.

    Q: Pitching the media is as old as PR. Is there anything truly new to say about it?

    Understandably storytelling is at the heart of what we do, and that hasn’t changed.

    There are always new ways to pitch, and journalists have changed. They want things faster, and they don’t want to have to work as hard to develop a story, so background info, whether it’s a graphic or data, is very important. They want short, tight, to-the-point pitches. And they want them in different, newer formats. Remember that journalists—and consumers—can reject your content in a flash—or they can take it viral just as quickly. Another fast-moving target is the truth. A falsehood or misconception can move quickly and derail your message before you know it. Pitching the media in this environment requires good storytelling with lightning quick reflexes, plus contingency plans for that fire you just didn’t anticipate.

    Q: Do we need more and better tools than we used to in pitching the media or reaching your ultimate audience, whether it is the general public or an industry?

    We need tools that work, that are up-to-date, and that resonate with the media we pitch and, ultimately, the audience we want to reach. That can mean a great OpEd piece for an online publication with high readership, it can be a tremendous Facebook post or tweet that goes viral. It can be a 90-second video, a case study or tight, bright website content. I spent half my career as a print journalist, and now the vast majority of my writing ends up online. There are ways to write effectively for each of these vehicles. What works for a tweet doesn’t necessarily work for an email pitch to a journalist, for example. I’ll share some of the secrets of how to write effectively for each these vehicles and more at “Crafting the Perfect Pitch,” the PRSA Boston writing seminar at ML Strategies on September 29. (Register here.)

    About Tom Nutile

    Tom is President of TN Communications Group, a boutique PR firm specializing writing, editing and media relations. A former journalist with the Boston Herald, St. Petersburg Times and Gannett, winner of three national Bulldog Awards for media relations, and a former VP of PR at Staples, Tom has more than 20 years of experience helping clients gain national and international exposure through print, broadcast and digital media placements. He can be reached at 508-397-2810 or tom@tncommgroup.com.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization.