Monthly Archives: June 2011

Give Them What They Want: A Hot Heaping Mound of Multimedia

A study that came out last month from PR Newswire revealed that multimedia news releases grab 77 percent more views than those that just had text. This really isn’t a shocker. It’s no secret that the evolution of social media and TV has slashed our attention spans down to almost nothing. Heck, I’ll abandon a web page if it doesn’t fully load in under four seconds.

Just text, even combined with SEO, isn’t cutting it and that’s been coming for some time now. Journalists want pictures, personalized landing pages and of course everyone’s favorite: videos. The study got me thinking about the relationship between public relations firms and their clients. It’s more crucial than ever to have them on board when anticipating the need for multimedia to accompany a future release. It cripples PR efforts to distribute a press release and have very little to offer visually to journalists. I think that when any company begins a PR initiative, they should have at least two things in their multimedia arsenal that are consistently updated:

1. Amazing pictures. They should invoke interest and illustrate the specific message/news/product the company wants to achieve.

2. Video. This could be of the CEO delivering the newsworthy message, or a finely edited reel showing creative and powerful visuals. Tailor it. Make members of the media see why they should contact you for more information or even pass along the video to their colleagues. Link the video to YouTube or a specific landing page. Creativity is king.

Look ahead at all major upcoming projects and brainstorm the most visual and newsworthy aspects with your client. Identify the key players who approve production of such multimedia ahead of time. A working relationship with those players assures that it won’t become an afterthought when it’s time to distribute the press release.

Working with a company that understands the value of developing multimedia for press releases is pure gold. As the study shows, doing so ensures more eyes will be on your release and efforts won’t be made in vain.

So is the press release extinct as many would say? Nah, it just evolved into a colorful 300 dpi, linkable, HD butterfly.

– Follow me @SaraAlisia

Are Males The More Social Gender?

I just saw a report that initially surprised me – until I read a little farther. Men are more social than women, at least on the professional networking site, LinkedIn.

Maybe it’s just my own experience, but I’ve always thought that women were much better at keeping up with friends and associates. LinkedIn sees it another way.

The recently released report found that men, overall, are better at making connections and advancing their careers via social networking. The so-called social “savviness” of the sexes was measured by ratios of LinkedIn users compared to the percentage of men and women in various industries. Really?

The report did recognize other factors such as job seniority and function could also play a role in the findings. I think those considerations may be far more important.

Who is more social?

Men make up 63 percent of LinkedIn users, making it one of the few social networking sites where they outnumber women. Only 43 percent of MySpace and Facebook users are male. On Twitter, men represent only 36 percent of users.

The LinkedIn study was interesting enough to catch my eye, but I really think other issues, both social and economic, account for the male bias in this case.

What do you think, are men really more social? Or is it that there are still more men holding top-tier jobs in American businesses?

— JD

Twitter: @jdaum

Take a Chance on Change

Change can be frightening. We get comfortable doing things the same way. So when something new comes along, we look for reasons it won’t work.

That’s really true of many businesses and their approaches to social media. Facebook, Twitter and other outlets are new ways of communicating with customers. That scares a lot of marketers so they find reasons to avoid making a change.

Yet the upside of social media is too big to ignore.

At the New York Times Small Business Summit this week, the president of American Express OPEN told attendees that her business originally had been too cautious with social media. But AMEX is now totally engaged and her advice to other companies was to not “let over-caution keep you out of the spaces where businesses should be today.”

She recommended first getting involved with Facebook, followed by Twitter.

Of course, there will be bumps along the way. It’s a new way of communicating. And social media does offer disgruntled customers and other malcontents a place to air their grievances and tirades. But day-to-day or during a crisis, there is no better way to quickly and directly communicate with customers than through social media. It may take a major change in thinking and a bold leap of faith, but if done with honesty and openness it will be well worth the effort.

Change isn’t always a bad thing.

-JD

Twitter: @jdaum

A Social Media Story To Kill For

The uses for social media never seem to end — or amaze me. Here’s a good example from Facebook.

Recently, an ex-girlfriend of a Philadelphia man – and the father of her one-year-old son – posted this on her Facebook wall:

“I will pay somebody a stack to kill my baby father.”

One would-be hit man quickly responded to the woman – also on Facebook – saying he’d take the job and claimed “ima mop that bull.”

Fortunately, the intended target saw the posts and called Philadelphia police. Detectives quickly arrested the woman and gunman-for-hire. The pair face charges ranging from attempted murder to solicitation to commit murder. They could both be looking at long prison stays.

The police urged citizens to be careful about posting on social media websites — especially if they are upset at the time.

Good advice.

-JD

Twitter: @jdaum

Five Tips to Manage a Successful Facebook Page

Managing a Facebook page sounds easy, right? Well, from my experience it can not only be stressful at times, but also a little chaotic. Thankfully, there are a few things page managers can do to make our jobs a little easier. Here are my top five tips in managing a successful Facebook page.

Be real. Let your page have a voice and be sure to interact with all posts on the wall and discussion boards. Trust me, not all comments on your page will be positive and you need to not take these personally. Act quickly to respond to both positive and negative comments.

Know your audience. Define what you want your message to be and stick to it. A Facebook page can be a place to be creative with posts and sometimes trial and error is the only way to figure out what your fans will like. Don’t be afraid to take risks, just be sure to learn from something that doesn’t go as planned.

Plan your posts. Have your posts scheduled out as far as possible. This will give you more time to make sure you have the most entertaining and engaging content for your page and will help avoid any errors.

Invest in a page management platform. Once a page starts growing it becomes difficult to monitor every comment. Using a page management tool is extremely helpful because many of these will send your team an email with every new post or comment and allow you to schedule posts in advance. Our office has had good experiences with both Vitrue and Involver.

Be resourceful. Social media is evolving quickly and new technologies are appearing everyday, so keeping up with the latest and greatest is key. If you don’t already, I highly recommend reading Mashable every morning, as well as The SocialTimes. A quick look through your Twitter stream is also a great way to keep up on the latest in social media and technology.

So I shared some of my tips for keeping myself sane while managing a Facebook page. What are your top tips? Did I miss anything?

I’m on Twitter @MereEpp

Golden: You Don’t Know About Me but I Want You to…Genuinely

Someone reached out to me the other day on Facebook and it wasn’t an old high school friend or long lost ex-boyfriend. It was a personal message from a complete stranger who noticed that we both “liked” the raspy-voiced, guitar playing folk musician, Ray LaMontagne. The message went as follows:

“How are you? You don’t know me but I’m a music lover and a musician myself… I see we share a common interest in that of Ray LaMontagne… He is incredible… Seen him live a number of times and he never disappoints… As a struggling artist it would mean the world to me if you would check out a couple of my songs… I will post a link to a music video of mine… I hope you enjoy it… Would love to hear back from you :)”

It’s not that I’m a softy for ending sentences with smiley faces; this guy really had the right idea about shameless self-promotion. He not only appealed to me through a personal message to my inbox, but also connected to me through a common interest we shared: Ray LaMontagne. Right away this peaked my interest and I have a sneaking feeling that he knew I would be inclined to click his link. So what did I do? Well…I clicked the link and proceeded to watch about 5 of his videos. Would I have done this if it was just a spammy impersonal message linking to some other struggling musician’s rap page? No way that’s just annoying.

Not only did I click his link, but I shared it with my friends and I “liked” his page. Not bad, one email to me resulted in possibly 600 more pairs of eyes on his musical talents. Who needs an agent at that rate? Well played. And now I leave you with one of his videos.

"What You're Doing to Me"

Check Out His Video Here

Follow me @SaraAlisia

The Twitter Changes Keep Coming

The wonderful world of Twitter is changing right before our very eyes. In fact Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, said today that it “took 3 years to send the first billion tweets. Now we do a billion tweets every 6 days.” And the changes keep coming – check out the most recent Twitter changes.

“140 characters, now worth 1,000 words.”

Twitter just announced it’s own photo and video sharing service. Twitter will start rolling out the service that will allow users to upload photos and videos right from Twitter.com. Check out how it will function and the increased search capabilities.

The Brand New Follow Button

It’s now easier then ever to follow new accounts — just click the “Follow” button directly from sites you frequent. You can also click on the username for a snapshot of the account profile – followers, following, recent tweets and bio.

Better Searching

Now when you click the “Following” link to see whom someone else is following you see the same timeline of tweets that person sees in their main feed. What is more interesting is that Twitter has introduced a shuffle feature — while looking at someone’s followers you can jump to check out someone else you follow. This is very Facebook-esque in the way you can get lost and all of the sudden realize you spent 15 minutes jumping around profiles you forgot you were following.

A Little Sidebar Rearranging

Lists and Favorites have both been removed from the right sidebar. Since they have been tucked away Shea Bennett, co-editor at AllTwitter.com, questions is it a sign that they will soon be removed completely?

A Reporting Blessing

Twitter caves to email notifications. You can now change your settings to receive an email when you are sent a reply or mentioned and when your tweets are retweeted. In the past Twitter and third-party applications have had trouble catching all retweets depending on how they are executed. I for one hope this (and the purchase of Tweetdeck) helps remedy the problem. But it is important to note that the retweet email notification says, “you will now receive notifications when someone you follow retweets you.” This may mean we are out of luck for non-followers that retweet.

Regardless of Twitter’s underlying motives, I think change is necessary to keep evolving the platform and keep savvy users’ thirst for more efficiency and native tools at bay. I only hope the automatic URL shortener is up next.

-RGD

Follow me @RGDwyer