Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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February 7, 2014

“The Influence and Power of Social Media on Corporate Reputation:” My session in the Reputation Academy

They say that most news – or sometimes the best – happen on a Friday afternoon. At least that is what I am told. :) However, I am very excited to announce a project I was able to be a part of officially now. No, I am not launching a new album under the radar like Beyonce. However, I have to admit that Queen B does have style many PR professionals (and professors in fact!) could learn from this.

So, what is the news? I just found out the training session I did for the Reputation Institutes Reputation Academy on social media and reputation management is now available. I am truly honored by having this wonderful opportunity.

The Reputation Institute is the world’s leading reputation-based advisory firm with some of the leading minds in the profession and research on the area of reputation management, branding, and strategic communications. For me, this is super huge! Not only they are a great firm, but they are also hosts for a conference I’ve been to ever since I started the PhD program at Tennessee. Since 2008, I have been attending and presenting research at the annual conference hosted by the Reputation Institute. I’ve been to a lot of different conferences over the years, but this one is one of my absolute favorites. The presentations are engaging, relevant, and bridges between research and practice.

The Reputation Academy brings forth leading experts (both professionals and researchers) to create webinar training sessions for top level executives on a range of topics associated with reputation management. You see some of the thought leaders and visionaries of the field within these listings.

When I got asked to do a session on a topic that I love both professionally and personally, I was beyond excited. This was truly an opportunity I could not refuse and I jumped on board with it immediately. Creating content, organizing talking points for the session, and figuring out the amount of time each slide needed explanation were all factors that came forth with this experience.

What were some lessons I learned from creating the training session for the Reputation Academy? Here are some things I wanted to share about my wonderful experience:

  • Determine who your audience is first: This was key for me – I have done a lot of social media presentations across various industries, and it really does set the tone for what information you need to present, and how to frame it. I found out top level executives from brands and corporations around the world would be my audience – so that put things in motion to create the presentation.
  • Concise presentation and writing will be your friend: I’m naturally a wordy person when I am writing, and I know I do have a lot more words presented in my slide deck. However, I had an awesome friend/colleague/mentor who was able to be reviewer and pointed some places where I needed to reformat and even edit down a few of the points. Thanks Craig!
  • Practice, practice, and practice!: One of the things I realized very quickly is that I had to practice making sure to talk slowly and clearly. When I talk about social media – I get so excited I almost talk at warp speed! I realized that I had to take my time and make sure I was consistent with my tone as well as speed during the presentation.
  • Eye contact is crucial to have: With this presentation, I had to have both a microphone and I was on video. What does this mean? Not only do you have to make sure you are clear and concise with your talking points, you want to make sure you give the audience key eye contact at all times. This does not mean reading from the screen or looking all over the room when you are on camera. This is where doing lots of guest lectures via Skype and Google+ really came in handy for me.

In summary, I am again honored and extremely excited about this opportunity and chance to do this online training session for the Reputation Institute. It’s another big extension for me to help me become what I want to be as a professor, researcher, and consultant in the field.

Professors – I would encourage each to consider looking at opportunities like this as well. Students (particularly PhD students) – add this as a goal for when you are entering the profession as well. I highly recommend it – it’s been a wonderful learning experience and truly an honor to be a part of. Special thanks again to the professionals at the Reputation Institute for allowing me to be part of the sessions offered at the Reputation Academy.

Hope you all are having a wonderful day! :)

Best Wishes,

February 6, 2014

Apps, apps, and more apps!: 7 must have apps for social media and PR pros

Instagram of course has been a fun tool to explore for class along with research possibilities and applying them for social media campaigns for #Freberg14 and even #Freberg14.

What are some of the must have apps for Instagram? Many outlets like Mashable, Social Media Examiner, and others have shared their best of the best apps to download. Some are free while others are paid. I’ve tested a lot out myself (I consider it research for my social media class) for both professional and personal reasons (I love photography!).

With this in mind, I had several friends, students, and colleagues ask me what were the best apps to have for Instagram. Here is my list:

  • InstaCollage: I tell my students that one photo is just one way to showcase visuals on Instagram, but what better way to do this by making a collage. There are a lot of apps out there, but I like the range that InstaCollage has to offer for pictures. When it comes to videos, that will lead me to my next must have app.
  • PicPlayPost: An awesome way to showcase videos and photos in collages. What better way to showcase a talk, guest speaker, or even experience by having both videos and photos present. I have used this in classes as well as travels and even events (ex. concerts). A must have app for sure!
  • Camera+: When you need to edit a picture, boost color, or even add some cool features to it – Camera+ is the app to have here!
  • Partykl: Best new app I have found. Love the fact you are able to create animations with photos with various layers and features to it. It was one that I found by accident when I was following another professional on Instagram.
  • Rhonna Designs: If you want to look for an app that has great fonts, inspirational quotes, and other items to add to your photos, this is the one you will want to download. I use this for my classes especially on Instagram to promote positivity, engage with motivational quotes, and expressions as well. Awesome designs and visuals here!
  • #Selfie360: If you are going to do any selfies, go big or go home! This new app allows you to redefine what exactly a selfie is supposed to be. Awesome and lots of possibilities here.
  • Cycloramic: An app that allows you to take panoramic photos AND videos? Pure awesomeness. I think there are a lot of possibilities here for sure to use this app both in and outside the classroom. This is one I am recommending for my students who are working on their social media plans to download and use here.

In summary, there are lots of apps out there to choose from when it comes to all social media platforms. Like Twitter, Instagram does have an entire market of associated apps to look at and use for variety of different features. These are just some of my recommendations and suggestions on which ones I think are the best. I would be interested in hearing what you all think about this and if there are others that you think are top notch as well.

We are a visual society, and if we as social media and public relations professionals and we have to be able to communicate our ideas, insights, and even personal brand visually as well as in written form. With Instagram and these apps, you are able to do this successfully.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

January 24, 2014

Potential opportunities & lessons from blogging for #Freberg14

Blogging has been one of the more consistent activities I have done from begin a graduate student at USC (I started this blog right after I completed my eligibility for track) to now as an Assistant Professor in StratComm at the University of Louisville.

One of the elements I have thoroughly enjoyed about blogging is the fact that it does allow you to share your point of view. I get a lot of inspiration from what I see both in and outside of the classroom, as well as in research and practice. I also found several bloggers who I think are exceptional in their writing and sharing stories and best practices to the community. Mark SchaeferShonali Burke, and Jason Falls are a few I follow and highly recommend for their engaging content and point of view.

My family blogs and are all very active as well on their blogs. Mom writes about neuroscience and psychology while Dad writes about cooking and hunting. Kristin has done a great job with her blog in creating a balance between personal and professional interests.

Why is blogging so important? It does seem wherever you look – students are required to blog and write on particular topics related to class. However, it is not only about writing about content that is relevant for the class, but also it helps establish your digital presence and voice online. Other benefits include the following in my opinion:

  • Huge networking opportunities: You never know who may read your blog and offer you consulting jobs, internships, or conference presentation opportunities. It is exciting to see how a post can showcase your insights and voice to help you establish your presence in the professional industry as well.
  • Platform to practice writing: I told my students in my classes where I do have a blog requirement for them on how I look back at my first posts in 2006 now and I am amazed with how much my writing has improved. In order to become a better writer, you have to practice, practice, and practice!
  • Serves as the hub of your online persona: You want to have social media be the extensions of your identity and who you are online, but your blog is where you want to have everyone go back to for more information, content, and updates from you. Share and cross promote your blog through multiple social media platforms to engage your readers and brainstorm ideas that can spark new contacts and conversations.

#Freberg13 meeting #Freberg14. Diana, Jessica, Amanda, and Rachel all talked about the importance of blogging to the class today.

With all of these benefits, I am asking my social media class (#Freberg14) this semester to maintain a personal blog to help establish their online reputation in the field of social media. I would like to highlight a few I think are good not only for the content they have already shared, but for being creative and having a unique point of view on social media.

Hunter has done a good job in producing good content that is insightful and well documented with good resources to spark further conversation on. If you want to find someone who know all about Tumblr, you need to follow and look at what Giselle writes about – along with fashion, swimming, and social media. I would also say that Maggie has done a good job not only having a distinctive voice, but she does display her point of view confidently on your blog as well. If you are interested in following sports, Zach , Mollyand Brittany are the students to look at for their blogs.

What is great is the fact we have so many #Freberg14 guest speakers as well who have blogs (personal as well as professional) and are engaging in writing great content to share their point of views to their respective audiences. Here are some I would like to share:

In summary, blogging is a lot of fun and can open so many opportunities! I will make sure to share relevant blog posts from the class and guest speakers as the semester goes on. If you want to see what the students are writing about, make sure to follow the #Freberg14 hashtag on Twitter.

Have a great day!

Best Wishes,

January 4, 2014

Engaging Brands through Social Media: My experience w/ US Airways

It’s interesting to see how social media has changed how customers engage with brands.  One of the industries that does a lot of customer relations via social media is the airline companies. To be honest, I was a bit surprised to see some of the conversations some customers and passengers have with the airlines, especially on Twitter.

However, I want to share with you a positive story I had yesterday with US Airways. I was traveling back to Louisville from my Christmas holiday out in California with my family. Of course, along with travel concerns with the storm on the East Coast, I had a pretty tight connection with all of the delays we were experiencing.

I was on my flight from Phoenix to Charlotte and got on to the wifi in the air (what a wonderful feature) and decided to contact US Airways via Twitter to see if they could help me out with my flight.  I went on Twitter to see their timeline and followed some of the conversations – and I knew they were already following me and I was following them, so I decided to contact them with a DM.

The result of the DM? A very positive, respective, and personal conversation with the US Airways social media representative named KP. The first thing I saw was that I was addressed as Dr. Freberg – which has never happened to me for a brand. I was like – wow! They really looked at my profile and respected my position. So, that was a plus. However, I was able to go back and forth with KP and  here was part of our exchange on Twitter:

I laughed when I saw the last exchange – since I’m a fan of The Hunger Games and have posted on Twitter for my #Freberg13 class several times using this phrase (especially for their final presentations).  I did end up making my Louisville flight and let US Airways know – which they sent me back a nice update.

So, what did I learn from this experience from a social media customer relations perspective? Here were some tips I wanted to share with you all:

  • Take a moment and think before you post. Many customers (especially those who are flying) forget that there are people behind the screen answering your tweets, updates, and questions on social media.
  • Be calm and you will be able to carry on your travel: Consider also what your own followers and community will think if they see your negative post to the brand online – they may think you are like this all the time? You want to be calm with the other person on the end of social media – think about how you would approach this person if this conversation was offline and you were talking to the professional.
  • [Positive] Emojis are your friend. In a situation like this, you want to bring positivity and a unique voice to your interactions so you are remembered. I love emojis and have used them a lot in social media – so happy faces were my friend in this case.
  • Everyone is going to contact publicly, so that is where you use DM: I wanted to go directly to the DM and ask for help that way. I provided US Airways with the information they needed for my flight ahead of  time so they didn’t need to ask me for this information, compared to what the other customers were not doing on social media.
  • Update via social media to thank them: I wanted to give US Airways a shoutout for their work and support with my travels. I did have to sprint through the Charlotte Airport (got my workout for sure!) but I did take a moment before my flight to Louisville to let them know. When I landed in KY, I found they had responded with enthusiasm and positivity.

In summary, my exchange with US Airways was very positive. It’s refreshing to have a brand who is engaged with responding to your comments and concerns in a timely manner. I know, especially in the airline industry, how much they are going through let alone what customers are saying about them on social media, but I would like to thank US Airways , the social media team for US Airways, and the US Airways representative KP for their support and help yesterday on my travels through social media. Thanks so much!

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

December 31, 2013

Reflecting on 2013: Some of my blog highlights for the year

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! It’s amazing to see how fast this year has gone by. In so many ways, it seems like it was just yesterday we were all talking about what to expect in 2013 and what our New Year’s Resolutions were going to be.

One of the things I think is interesting is to see what posts generated the most interest and engagement for the year. So, I wanted to share with you the five posts from my blog that got the most visits and engagement from my readers and social media community:

  1. Hootsuite University Feature on Blog (August 15):  This was the biggest post for my blog for the year. I was interviewed by Hootsuite for incorporating their Hootsuite University program into my social media class at the University of Louisville. It was great to hear what others thought about the project and many of my friends who teach social media at other universities were all about incorporating this program into their classes. I started using the program during the spring semester of 2013, and I plan on using it again in the Spring. Highly recommend this program!
  2. What is a Social Media Professor? (September 22): This was also a very popular blog post, thanks to Dennis Yu and the Blitzmetrics team. I was interviewed by Dennis (along with my colleague at UofL, Dr. Scott Sanders) to talk about what it means to be a social media professor. It was a fun opportunity and chance to explore the various characteristics and attributes necessary for being a social media professor.
  3. Becoming a Google Glass Explorer (July 3): It was hard to choose one post related to Google Glass since they were all pretty popular, but the first one started the regular updates on how I am using the device both in and out of the classroom at UofL. I was able to write several posts this year dedicated to teaching, what it’s like being part of the Explorer Program, proper etiquette for Glass, chances for UofL to use it for football and basketball games, and many more. Look for more posts on this for 2014!
  4. Reflections on #Freberg13 & Tips for Professors teaching social media (December 9): This was pretty much one of the more popular teaching posts I had for the year. I was able to share my thoughts and insights from teaching social media for two semesters at UofL in this blog post. This year marked many turning points for me as both a professor and researcher – which was something I thought was pretty cool.
  5. The Ethical Issues in Social Media (September 11th): I wrote several posts this year dedicated to case studies, crisis situations, and other examples to analyze from a PR, crisis, and social media perspective. This was one of the popular ones due to the ethical issues we continue to see among individuals, brands, and organizations. It appears we are still seeing some issues at play that can be address with proactive measures and strategies, and hopefully we will see more education and training in these areas for the upcoming year.

With this list, I realized very quickly that one thing to note here – for professors, students, and professionals – is to note how your blog can evolve and change over time. I saw each of these posts and I was surprised that from these five, only one was dedicated to crisis communications while the others were really focused on teaching and social media.

Crisis communications is still a huge part of who I am professionally both in consulting and in research, but I found it interesting how my interest in social media and teaching grew a lot this past year. I think this is exciting and something I will continue to pursue along with my other research avenues.

Another surprise for me this year is to hear how many professors, professionals, and students have read my blog. Several have mentioned that they tell their students to follow my blog for class and to get insights on what it is like to have Google Glass, etc. I am truly honored and humbled by this – thanks so much! :)

With 2014 coming around the corner, I felt that there are some resolutions I wanted to share both for my blog.

  • Incorporate more visuals in posts. I try to do this, but sometimes not. Will try to address this for 2014.
  • Come up more with a regular schedule of blog posts. Traditionally, I have been posting on content that really inspires me on a regular basis. Finding a particular time of day would help – and for me, it is early mornings.
  • Continue to lead by example by blogging more. I will continue blogging and writing to set an example for my students in my classes. I found this to be very effective when I was having my social media class create and maintain their blogs. I told them that I am assigning work that I am either doing myself or have done.
  • Launch new features and exclusives. Possible guest posts and maybe more video could be the answer to this. Will have to ponder and think about this some more for the upcoming year.
  • Continue to mentor by sharing stories, resources, and tips with community. I found this to be very useful for this year in particular with my teaching materials. Will definitely continue doing this for the next year.

In summary, today is the last day of 2013, and it has been a great year for me and my family and friends. 365 days were spent well with lots of hard work, conferences, travel adventures, and wonderful times that translated into precious memories. I wish each and every one of you reading my blog a fabulous and joyful new year. Let’s make 2014 fabulous!

Have a great day!

Best Wishes,


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