Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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November 8, 2014

A must have social media book for #prprofs: Trendology by Chris Kerns

I am always looking for new books, articles, and resources to bring into my social media classes. I have used a range of different books for class, and I have found one that is not only going to be included in my class for the spring, but it should be on the list for all professors teaching social media classes. The book is called “Trendology” by Chris Kerns.

I have to be honest, there have only been a handful of books where I went and sat down and read it all in one sitting. The first one was Michael Brito’s book [another great social media strategy book I am using for my social media class again next year] and this one. What I really like about this book by Chris is the bridge he is able to connect between data analytics to strategic applications – some books have done this, but not as effectively. It was very refreshing to review this book and I realized very quickly that this is a must have book for professors teaching social media classes.

There are so many different elements of Chris’s book that are not only relevant for professors and practitioners to consider, but for students as well. There are a lot of relevant RTM case studies in Trendology, so that is very helpful for professors to talk about these in class but also showcase how students can take these lessons from examples of B2C RTM [Business-to-Consumer Real Time Marketing] and B2B RTM [Brand-to-Brand Real Time Marketing].

  • Accepting rather than setting the narrative. This is one point Chris highlights in his book which is very good to focus on and address. This point does provide us with a way of looking at RTM in a different light rather than just a current trend we are seeing. Instead, it’s about the strategic mindset we have to be aware of here. I am really glad Chris has pointed this out for all of us.
  • Having great visuals and case studies: I LOVE the amount of case studies, current examples, and frameworks Chris has in this book. The visual illustrating the RTM framework is concise and to the point – but it also can serve as a guide for others when implementing their social media strategies. We all know about Oreo of course, but Chris talks about DiGornio’s, Tide, Charmin, KitKat, and many other cases which is very refreshing to see and be able to talk about with the students. Plus, having the list of brands Spreadfast has followed on RTM specifically on Twitter = fabulous!
  • Best explanation of measurements on Twitter: This was a big factor for me here – and Chris nailed it and really created some great definitions that are concise and very clear. This is PERFECT to have for a reading for the students in a social media class. Chapter 2 is essential to look at – one of the best overall presentations of this platform from a strategic/measurement perspective I’ve read.
  • Breaking down to the metrics effectively: Chris does an excellent job in walking the reader through the strategic analysis process of looking at the data – what are some trends we are seeing, how do we calculate and evaluate the results, and how do we apply this. Really excellent to see this presented in this book. Chapter 3 focuses on the application of RTM for known events while also highlighting the importance of data analysis and implementation to help guide these strategies.
  • Having a blueprint for a dynamic social media team for RTM: Chris has this down for Chapter 5 and continues on this path for Chapters 6 & 7, so if you have a social media class that is focusing on a group project or proposal for a client, this would be good to note and have your class read. Very good strategies and ideas here. These three chapters will help guide students into the strategic mindset process – figuring out what they need to do in terms of the planning stages for their social media efforts so they are able to capture and execute creative messages that are effective on social media.

Overall, I was very pleased and impressed with this book by Chris Kerns. Trendology is not only a book for fellow practitioners, but it is a necessary book to include as part of the required readings for social media classes, especially those who are working with clients and have students propose a campaign proposal.

I am very excited to have Chris speak to my class virtually in the spring for #Freberg15, and I am sure my students will really enjoy reading Trendology for class. Make sure to follow Chris on Twitter as well as use the hashtag for the book as well #Trendology on Twitter.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

November 7, 2014

Engagement + information + relationship management = effective combination for a social media professor in the classroom

Juntae Delune just posted a really good quote from Gary Vaynerchuk about Twitter, which states “I’m not using Twitter to consume information, I’m using it to consume engagement.” What exactly does it mean to be engaged on social media?

Jason Falls had a good quote about what engagement stands for overall on social media for professionals – but why shouldn’t this be included in the classroom as well?

As professors, what we need to do is instead of just passing along information and relevant articles to our students on social media, we have to consider how to inspire them to be engaged.

How do we go about in doing this exactly?

  • First, you have to be there for the conversation [Engagement]: Take on a role as a lead discussant for the class online and be prepared for some ice breakers. For me, I have shared various items like articles and such, but I follow up with saying – what do you all think about this?
  • Apply and personalize ideas for classroom content from practitioners and brands [Information]: As professors, we have several brands we are a part of. We are part of our respective universities, departments, profession – as well as managing our own professional brand and our class brand. There are many ways to brainstorm ideas for how to create visual, personalized, and memorable content for our classes for social media. We see this done for brands and our students create ideas for how to do this for their campaigns class – so why can’t we do it for our classes and our professional brand as professors? The answer is – of course we can!
  • Being open and available for the conversations that emerge [Return On Relationships]: This is the thing when it comes to social media – you are not only engaging in conversations with your students on social media for your classes, but you are allowing a window and virtual seat open for others to join and be part of the conversation. Practitioners, fellow colleagues, and other students even can see what you are sharing.
  • Walk the walk, tweet the tweet: In order for getting engagement from your students – you as the professor have to set the standard. Be part of the class, do the same activities, and show students the potential and amazing opportunities that can arise from being active on social media. The conversations, networking connections, and updates are all public for them to see and be an eye witness to. Once they are able to see what you are able to do, students may be more likely to follow your lead. You first have to show them the way on how to do this with fellow social media professionals, brands, and agencies. Take on the role as a coach and mentor in this area rather than just passing along information.

In summary, there are a lot of benefits for being an engaged part of the social media community as a professor. There is a combination for everything to work out – you do have to be engaged not only with providing relevant content for class, but be there as well. Answer questions, have conversations that showcase your personality, and be open to comment on items your students share. The mixture of all of these updates is what creates a dynamic, energetic, and vibrate learning environment that will last not only in the class, but also create a community that can be sustained even after the students graduate from your university.

You never know who may be observing your conversations online with your fellow students. All of the conversations I’ve had with students have been professional and related to class, and I had one of my Twitter friends and fellow social media colleagues comment on this last night.

Russell is the director of digital media for the University of Oklahoma Athletics Department, and he shared this with his followers based on a conversation I had with one of my #FrebergGrads graduate crisis students. This comment really made my evening – it was very humbling to hear this from a well respected professional like Russell about my teaching and how I am using social media as a professor. Thanks so much, Russell!

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

March 24, 2014

6 Social Media Trends from #MarchMadness

It’s been an eventful and emotional March Madness this year! From Cinderella stories to major upsets, it’s been quite the overall experience for NCAA Basketball.

One of the major elements we are of course seeing along with great teams and players is the growth of social media strategy and implementation for universities who are participating in the tournament, primarily on Twitter.

We have incorporated a lot of social media strategies and campaigns for the University of Louisville this year when it comes to March Madness. UofL has being using their established their social media hub and have been working hard to come up with some innovative and creative campaigns for fans, media, and the UofL community to participate and get engaged in. Stay tuned to what we all have planned coming up to our game in the Sweet Sixteen!

How has social media been used so far in #MarchMadness? There are a lot of strategies and campaigns that have been utilized, and here are just a few of the trends we have seen from a social media perspective:

  • Becoming the platform to go to to respond to fans after a loss and upset: After Wichita State lost yesterday to Kentucky, they went to their various social media platforms and sent out a message to their fans and those who have been supporting them this year. We also saw this when Dayton beat Syracuse as well in the tournament – fans, media personalities, and others got on social media and shared their initial reactions with the world.
  • Rise of Selfies: If this year’s March Madness shows anything in terms of emerging trends, then it would be that of the selfie. From Coach Martin from Tennessee posting an epic selfie after winning their game to advance to the Sweet Sixteen to the President of the University of Dayton taking one while crowd surfing after their upset win, it seems to be  all part of the strategy for creating content that people can share and discuss with each other. UofL has created a campaign dedicated to this as well called #CardinalSelfie, which you can check out here with the photos from fans and others showing their Cardinal spirit during the tournament. So – in case you needed some tips on how to create a selfie, here’s a short video on how to do that. :)
  • Infographics and Data Visualization on the Rise to be part of the story: We all like interesting statistics and information, and info graphics for March Madness have created this for teams to utilized and showcase their information in a  visual manner, like this one from Mashable. Whether it is about providing information about brackets or updates from the team’s games, these will continue to be part of the digital strategy to produce information that is visual and relevant for social media strategies.
  • Evolving lessons and best practices for brands: This is an event that creates a lot of opportunities for brands in terms of sponsorship, but a lot are of course monitoring and listening to what event they can get involved in to tap into some real time marketing opportunities, which can be seen here. However, there is a time and place for this, which is one lesson KFC learned just a few days ago during March Madness.
  • Establishing influence by having exclusive content and engaging fans on social media: There are many accounts and the NCAA has been proactive in addressing the role of social media in March Madness by of course setting up branded content and incorporating it into their app. However, we are seeing also the rise of posts on who to follow on social media for the latest and updated content. However, these are not just media personalities, but others that have established themselves with creating engaging and even interactive content for social media. I
  • Social media is getting integrated into everything: It’s almost to the point where social media has to be aligned and connected to all traditional aspects of strategic communications nowadays, and we are seeing this clearly not only with the teams, but also with traditional media. Sports Illustrated put fans on their cover and tagged them with their usernames, which does show again the prominence of social media in society. Also, this is an opportunity for universities to come up with their own branded content whether it is established hashtags, logos, and photo contests to engage, interact, and showcase the personality of the team and university to the online community.

In summary, there are a lot of lessons to be noted for March Madness so far, and we are not even done with the tournament. I am sure we are going to look at these trends and see what we can do to improve these and even integrate them in other forms of social media campaigns. Major props to all of the teams – great work! And, got to of course give a shout out to the UofL Athletic Department and social media team for doing a great job with all of the content, updates, and visuals they are sharing to keep all of the fans updated!

It’s been an exciting time to be a fan of basketball, especially being at the University of Louisville! Looking forward to the game this Friday against Kentucky and Go Cards!

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

February 25, 2014

Help Me, Help You in Social Media Education: Part Deux in Rick Pitino Social Media Case

I wrote about this topic a few days ago when the story first came out. Of course, this sparked a lot of conversation among my friends and colleagues as well as students in my social media class about the topic.

Another popular blog post that talked about this topic came from Nick Stover, who shared some good points about what people need to know when it comes to social media and coaches at UofL. After a few days, the topic has reemerged via social media and the blogosphere, I have to thank Jason Falls for inspiring me to write this post.

I’ve known Jason a few years now and he has been a tremendous resource for all of us in working, teaching, and researching in social media. He has been a great person to reach out to and talk about various trends and issues in social media – I actually had a chance to interview him last year for a study that I worked on with a few colleagues of mine. Also, I was able to spend some time chatting with Jason as well as participating on quite the travel adventure this past June from the Integrate Conference. This was the day that we will remember as the time that it took us all day to get back to Louisville from Philly. Major props and thanks to Jason for helping me out on this! These are just some of the major reasons why I respect Jason as a person and as a prominent voice in the field of social media.

Jason wrote this blog post yesterday regarding the comments and point of view Coach Pitino has taken on social media for his athletes. I absolutely agree with Jason on the role that coaches can take when it comes to educating athletes on social media.

One of the things that could be done in this area is to lead by example – like how Coach Pitino does on the basketball court. Social media in general is another court – there are some rules and expectations for people to follow and there are times where you have the have the referee come out and say – okay, that was not right.

Another point that makes what Jason say more impactful is the fact he worked as a sports reporter previously and with collegiate athletics as well, so he has a window into the landscape and overall culture of this industry. He made a comment in this post about how an Instagram video from Russ Smith became viral and integrated into the mainstream media after the win against Cincinnati.

The point is for student-athletes in the role of social media education is to provide them with the skills and tools they will need to be able to handle social media commentary and managing their online presence AFTER graduation and finishing up the their collegiate eligibility. Some may go on to the pros, but a lot of them are going to go pro in something else – whether it is business or engineering or communications. The students need to have the skills and education to be able to translate what they are doing as a student-athlete on social media to what they will do in the workplace.

There are so many opportunities for implementing social media for athletics right now. Let’s imagine this possible scenario – what if you had 1) a team that was having an awesome year in their sport and having the potential to win another national championship 2) great engagement with the student-athletes on social media who were posting great content to showcase their skills, 3) a coach that was also on social media interacting with media, fans, and their student-athletes on social media and off the court as well.  You can say that this would be the perfect combination, right?

Louisville has 2/3 points to fulfill this scenario – and the possibilities that this could bring to the University of Louisville and Louisville community are tremendous. Jason has done some work with UofL Athletics, but not basketball. However, UofL has a social media class (actually several) for the students to take. I’ve had several student-athletes come and take my class so far ranging from sports from football, swimming, volleyball, cheerleading, and dancing.

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With this in mind, I do think that this discussion needs to continue on the issue of social media education. As Jerry Maguire says in the movie, “help me help you.” We are here to help, Coach Pitino – there are many professionals like Jason Falls and at UofL who would be more than happy to be part of this social media initiative. As I mentioned in my last post on this topic, you’re more than welcomer to stop by my class and see what we go over. We’re all on the same team here, so let’s get the ball rolling on this.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Best Wishes,


February 9, 2014

Sochi 2014 is the not just the social games, but the Instagram Games

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics have started and the world is of course following the results and cheering on their teams both through traditional and social media means. The time has finally come for athletes around the world to jump, ski, skate, and participate in the bobsled in Sochi, Russia.

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Even though the games have just started, we have experienced and witnessed some early social media (and crisis communications) trends already for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Here are a few elements I saw that caught my attention for social media professionals to pay attention to:

  • Hello Instagram, Good bye Facebook for social media sites for must follows for the games:  We have seen lists from everyone from Buzzfeed to others on must follow accounts for the Winter Olympic Games. It seems that FB was so 2008, and now we are seeing Instagram become not only a powerful visual platform, but the one where athletes, brands, and society are following for exclusive photos and visual stories from the games.
  • Reporting exclusively first on Instagram: We have already seen reports and articles featuring the best pictures from the games. Yes, we still are seeing updates being featured of course on Twitter, but it’s interesting to see how this is developing and if this is going to be the trend for future 2014 events. Why is this the case? This article from Huffington Post talks about how certain Instagram accounts will “bring life” to Sochi – which is interesting and key to point out here.
  • Sochi 2014 is Social indeed – showcasing both positive and negative events on social media: We have many ways to follow what is going on in the winter games for sure. We have seen lists about which accounts to follow and make sure to watch for sure, but we also have seen issues come up from the games, which brings up the next point I want to share.
  • Social media has been the place to point out problems and issues: Can we say @SochiProblems? Pictures, stories, and updates from journalists to athletes showcasing what are some of the main issues  and problems happening before and during games are being shared (and becoming viral) on social media. From pictures of hotel rooms that are not finished to other problems, there are stories and articles that have just covered this. In many ways, these are the events and actions that are taking up most of the attention for the Winter Games, and this of course causes a crisis for the organizers and other parties involved. Are they gone? Not really.
  • Brands are utilizing event to engage in real-time marketing: Like most events, brands are actively engaged in sharing, cheering, and positioning their brand as part of the news of the games. Whether it is for particular athletes or teams, we are seeing the brands showcasing their position and message related to the event.

Several students wrote about their insights and thoughts regarding the Sochi 2014 Olympics. Here are some of the posts from students in #Freberg14:

Overall, the Sochi 2014 Winter Games are already showing some new trends and strategic practices for social media for brands and individuals to pay attention to for sure. Some are trends we have seen before, but others we need to evaluate and pay attention to. Wishing all of the USA team members, coaches, and support staff a safe and wonderful time in Sochi for the Winter Olympic Games. Go USA!

Hope you all are having a great day.

Best Wishes,

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