Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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April 18, 2014

Presenting at the YAP Social Media & Digital Panel in Louisville: Reflections from a social media professor

I had the chance to be part of a great social media and digital media panel session yesterday evening at Power Creative, one of the main advertising agencies in Louisville that was sponsored by the Young Advertising Professionals (YAP) group of AdFedLouisville.

It was great to hear insights from professionals working in the field and from different industries. Ali Turner comes from Yum! Brands and David Jacobs has worked with some great brands like McDonalds with The Tombras Group in Knoxville. UofL had two representatives on the panel with Nick Stover from UofL Athletics and me – where I was able to share some insights on what I am doing with my research and social media class at UofL. It was cool to hear the stories, insights, and best practices from everyone and how we all came from different points in our careers and industries.

What I think is cool about being part of the panel was not only the overall focus on the range of topics associated with social media, but also how this panel and speaking opportunity came about. Of course, I have to thank social media for that! Got to give a shout out to Christy and Sean for reaching out to me and allowing me to be part of this panel yesterday. Had a wonderful time!

I had several students ask me how this panel went, and there are a few things I felt were key for me to note based on my experience to reflect on. Here were a couple of things I noted:

  • Having a digital presence and way for people to reach out to you is key: This was not only a time to present and talk about the field and area of interest, but it was also focused on a great networking opportunity. Sharing business cards is of course traditional – but the main question I had yesterday was – what’s your Twitter handle so we can connect?
  • Even professors can serve as students in the classroom and at events: What I liked about being part of this panel session was the fact that I was learning along with the panelists on these topics as well. I found it interesting to see what were some of the items and topics that were key for agency professionals to know and be skilled in, but also what are some future trends they see coming up as well. As a professor, I want to make sure I am preparing my students for the growing expectations that are coming from the field, so this was very useful and helpful for me.
  • Serving as a connector for introductions: I had several friends at the panel yesterday and I realized that they had similar connections or interests with others I knew at the event, so I felt that it was key to make sure they were introduced. This is an industry where it is not only what you know, but who you know that is also important. Also, I had the chance to see several former students I have had in the class at the event, so I wanted to make sure they had the chance to network as well.
  • Continue the conversation after the event: Sending out notes to people you saw at the event, sharing pictures from the session so others can see what the event looked like, and reach out to those that were in attendance on social media. This event was not only about sharing knowledge and experiences for one time, but it really has opened the door to a community with professionals that have similar interests, views, and insights in the profession.

Overall, it was a great event and I would like to thank AdFedLou for having a great event for young professionals and for Power Creative for being our hosts. Looking forward to seeing what future events you all have and continue this great discussion and network!

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

February 26, 2014

Presenting at the upcoming 2014 ICRC Conference

It’s always exciting to attend the first conference of the year, which is actually what I will be doing next week. I will be attending and presenting along with Kristin (my sister and fabulous research partner) to present a research paper that we did along with the original Dr. Freberg (aka Mom) on a crisis and situational analysis study at the upcoming International Risk and Communication Conference in Orlando next week.

And if you are wondering, yes – I worked on this research project with my Mom and sister. You can say that we are the family that researches together. With that in mind, the three of us bring forth three different points of view when it not only comes to research, but also different perspectives and experiences based on our fields of study. Kristin comes from a systems engineering and risk analysis perspective from the US Army, and Mom is a neuroscience and biological psychologist. Me? Well, I am the crisis and social media professional in PR.

Working across disciplines has been one of the biggest learning and growing experiences I have had as a researcher and professor. It’s always cool to see what other perspectives and ideas come out of having a conversation with someone else outside of the field. Which is what resulted in this case – actually came out of a conversation we had over dinner I believe. We all had a lightbulb moment when we found out what we could do with this research study. Pretty exciting stuff!

This is a study that we wanted to build on from a previous one we did late last year, so this is a research line we hope to grow and enhance over time to help both researchers and practitioners in crisis communications.

Kristin and I are both going to be doing the presentation at ICRC and we are very excited. This has been one of our favorite conferences to attend and present at – one I would highly recommend to anyone interested in working or studying crisis communications. I’m already noting all of the presentations I want to see and make sure to meet up with some of my favorite researchers and professionals at the conference. It’s going to be a great couple of days at the conference and I am very excited. Stay tuned for more information and updates on this from Orlando.

Have a great day!

Best Wishes,

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,

February 3, 2014

Analysis of social media trends during #SuperBowl: A professor’s perspective

We of course saw Twitter put up some huge numbers when it comes to social media engagement and interactions during the game. Here’s some stats related to the game that you may want to check out from All Twitter.

Hashtags were the rage of course on social media for the game, even creating sponsored partnerships and hashtags for others to participate, engage, and share insights on what brands and the teams were doing during the game.

Of course, one trend we did see over and over again was the pressure to become the next big brand to have the best commentary, tweet, and wit during the game, or otherwise capitalize on Real-Time Marketing (otherwise known as the #RTMBowl). Here are some that caught attention from MarketingLand on their website.

What were some of my thoughts on the trends related to social media for the Super Bowl? Here are just a few things that I saw:

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  • Budweiser wins big with warm and engaging content: By far my favorite post was with the puppy and the Clydesdales. This was not only engaging as a commercial, but Budweiser was able to extend the commentary appropriately with their audiences with visuals, assigned handles (even one for the puppy!) on social media. This created an engaging, memorable, and warm experience for everyone to participate in.
  • Analytics were key for measurement of engagement during Super Bowl: Engagement and views were of course some analytics noted for the Super Bowl when it came to the commercials, really showing how social media is now not only a key medium to consider for brands, but has to be integrated throughout the campaign and translate also into traditional media. It was surprising how few commercials really had branded hashtags in their commercials.
  • Some brands were just trying too hard to become the next Oreo: I am not sure where JCPenney was at during the Super Bowl, but they were I guess tweeting with mittens on but most people thought that they were not sober while tweeting. If this was the case, they needed to be consistent with all of their tweets with this hashtag if that was the case. The timing to respond to other brands was not fast enough and brands like Snickers, Kohls, Coors Light took this opportunity to extend their brand and tag lines in.
  • Brands engaged with each other, but not necessarily with customers. This was one surprising note to consider here. I think because we have built up such a presence and focus on brand exchanges that we forgot what social media really entails. It’s about having conversations with everyone – so it was great to see brand interact with others, but they didn’t interact with individuals as much on social media. Maybe this can be addressed next year.
  • Oreo did not participate, but others took notice on social media: Oreo stated that they were not going to participate in the social media commentary during the Super Bowl game, which I think in itself was genius. Even without having a presence, people were still referring to what they did last year and they didn’t have to pay for any of this content. Brillant move – cookie does know best!
  • #RTM didn’t come in the form of just tweets, but visuals (especially Vine) played a big part: Here’s a recap of some of the other #RTMBowl moves from brands in response to what was going on. Some brands like Tide really capitalized on Vine to respond to commercials that were being aired and other brands with Vine, which was creative and another way to tie in their product.

Overall, I think that while the game was pretty much dominated by the Seattle Seahawks (congrats to former USC Coach Pete Carroll!), it appears that this was only one game being played out. There were a lot of lessons and trends we are able to take away from this particular Super Bowl here not only as social media and PR professionals, but also students and professors.

Brands who were authentic and were able to translate their vision and story across platforms seamlessly were successful (Budweiser). Some brands were just trying too hard – take a moment and focus on quality posts versus posts to be in the here and now on social media. Also, engage with all parties on social media – not just with each other. It’s about focusing on the relationships, stories, and experiences shared by everyone online.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

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