Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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November 22, 2014

Embracing opportunities and gaining inspiration at NCA 2014

I have been in Chicago these past few days for a communications conference – this has been one I have attended a few times over the years. The first one I did was back in 2010 when I was still a doctoral student.

However, the other times I have attended this conference I had presented research, but that was not the case this time. I did not present research at NCA this year. However, I had the opportunity to be a respondent for the social media and PR panel on Thursday in Chicago. The research that was presented in this section cut across all aspects of PR – from restaurants to NGOs to emergency management to stakeholder engagement measurement.

 

The level of research that is being conducted now in the field is both relevant and inspiring. It was great to be able to read these papers and respond with some initial comments to the audience. It was a full house!

The social media presence was felt as well at the conference. The PRD for NCA was active on Twitter sharing updates, insights, and comments from the presentations. Sarah VanSlette was in charge of the engagement we saw at the conference and did a tremendous job! As someone who has live tweeted, managed multiple accounts, and covered various panel sessions on social media for conferences like AEJMC, I know the amount of energy it takes to do this and Sarah has done this extremely well. The NCA PRD is super fortunate to have an engaging, hard working, and innovative professor and professional managing social media for the PRD. Well done, Sarah!

Another great thing about conferences is you get a chance to see fellow professors, mentors, and friends at the conference as well. It was great not only catching up on what everyone was doing – but checking in to see how they were doing outside of work. Some of these professors I have known for almost ten years, and then there are others I got to finally meet in person after years of corresponding on social media.

It was also fun to see graduate students who are now professors and being referred to as “Dr. So and So.” This last part made me realize it has been three years (going on four) since I was in their position. Time has certainly flown by when you’ve been busy!

Overall, even though it has been a short trip to Chicago for me, it was well worth it. I feel energized, excited, and inspired by the conversations and research I have heard these past few days. I also feel the field is in good hands with the graduate students who are entering the workplace and the professors who are mentoring them.

If you are interested in finding out more about the NCA PR Division, make sure to follow them on Twitter at @PRprofs and save the date for the conference next year in Las Vegas.

Safe travels everyone from Chicago and I wish you all a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving. :)

Best Wishes,
Karen

November 21, 2014

Uber & Disruptive Technologies: A PR case study at a crossroad

One of the things we have to do both as PR and crisis communication professionals is to explore how not only the field is changing, but specific industries. We are living in an exciting time where we are seeing technologies advance as well as industries, which is one reason why I am actually going to have a section for each of my classes focusing on disruption technologies and industries and how it is connected to PR.

This came about actually after heading a great professional give a talk a month ago. I had the chance to hear Kyle Lacy speak at the LDA Digital Media Summit last month (was great to finally meet him after following via Twitter and Instagram for a while!). What struck me about Kyle’s presentation was the role disruption technologies have changed traditional business practices, but also have positioned the customer in the control seat with some of these features.

One of the things we are seeing right now is one of the companies that really has brought this up to the forefront in PR, social media, and news circles. This of course is Uber.

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Uber has been in the news for a lot of different reasons – some of them are reflected in this post from Digiday and PR Daily. However, they have been a successful case of a start up that has disrupted the taxi industry and put the control of how people travel via car. And it has been of course reported recently how much revenue they have received and how much their drivers receive as well, according to Business Week.

Is Uber experiencing a crisis as a brand? You can say as a young emerging brand, they are at a point where they are at a crossroads type of situation and it really does come down to how they act and how this is consistent with the messages they are saying. Several of the incidents they have been involved with (listed here) do raise some concern.

So, what can Uber do? There are several things at the moment they can address. First, they have to consider sustainable measures and what they can do to take control of the narrative as well as making sure their actions reflect how they are perceived. Second, there are a lot of voices out there that are being associated with the company (Ashton Kutcher and Uber Executive Emil Michael). Both are financially connected and aligned with the brand – their comments and actions are tied to the Uber brand.

I think this is going to be an ongoing case and brand we are going to see come up both in classes as well as professional circles. We are seeing pushback from industries that see brands like Uber as a threat because they are disrupting the dynamics within the industry. In addition, we are seeing various entities and industries come together to formulate their own views and opinions about the situation both in person, but especially on social media. We will indeed have to see what happens here.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,
Karen

November 17, 2014

Is social media losing the “social” component to it?: Not necessarily

There are a lot of benefits for Twitter for students, professionals, and even professors. It provides a virtual community where people are able to share perspectives, brainstorm ideas, and network with others sharing the same interests and perspectives. I have found Twitter as my go-to platform nowadays – more so than Facebook. Was it like this for me a year or two ago? The answer would be no.

I have used Twitter only for my social media classes as a form to engage and interact with my students and professionals outside of the classroom. I’ve been able to connect with many great professionals all around the world and formulate very good professional relationships. Twitter has been a very prominent tool for me as a social media professor.

However, weekend discussions with some fellow professionals got me thinking about where Twitter is going as a conversation platform on social media. Is Twitter turning into the anti-social media platform for 2014 and 2015? We have seen other platforms arise this year that claim to be the anti-Facebook, like Ello has done. However, is this a bigger issue and topic to cover than just focusing on one platform? Is social media turning into an anti-social media platform?

A PR professional I had the chance to meet and talk to this summer is Stephen Waddington, who wrote a great blog post about how we don’t talk on Twitter anymore. Instead of focusing on the conversation, it’s about the promoted content by brands based on certain demographics and psychographic information collected on you by social media analytics companies.

Essentially, we are actively engaged in promoting ads, content, and updates from brands and individuals who want to present a certain image of themselves online. On the other side, we are seeing how users are taking to getting their opinions out to the masses – some positive and some negative. Kelly Mosier (Director of Digital Media for Nebraska Athletics) shared this link yesterday on Twitter which also sparked a lot of discussion online pertaining to the role Twitter is playing in the social media sphere.

Social media has allowed us the opportunity to connect and engage users – but it is easy to comment and state certain feelings and reactions in the comfort of your home behind your smartphone screen. Cyber bullying, antagonism, and extremely negative reactions targeted to both brands and individuals are just some of the things we are seeing right now on social media.

While providing a strong and positive reputation online is key – we have to ask the question – is this really what is going on? Are brands and individuals being authentic and transparent about their updates?

These behaviors we are seeing on Twitter primarily may have been there (ex. sports reactions, etc) – however, what we are seeing now is that not only are they open to everyone to see, but are shared, reposted, and even cited in news articles now for everyone to be aware of.  With social media – people are able to reach, talk, and say whatever they want to you at any time, any place, and at any format.

As social media professionals – and professors – we have to continue to teach and discuss how social media is a platform for great opportunities and conversation, but we also have to be aware of how others are using it that may impact our respective communities and industries. Education is more important than ever – we talk about how the tool shouldn’t necessarily be the rule – but this is a bigger issue than social media.

I think we are at a crossroads here when it comes to social media.Yes, I do believe there is a social aspect still to social media, but we have to look at what that exactly means. We are seeing people still coming together and engaging with each other, but there are some conversations or actions we may or may not want to see, and we are able to due to the content being shared and discussed from our networks and communities. We have to be more active – and protective – of ourselves and what we want to be exposed to. Filters, lists, unfriending, unfollowing, and even taking digital sabbaticals to some degree are just some things to think about. However, don’t feel you have to abandon a platform completely due to a few people making noise.

With this being said, I personally feel there are more positives about social media than negatives. If you have a balanced perspective of the tools out there and what to expect, you will not be as blindsided with some of the comments and incidents you see.  However, all we can do is lead by example and treat others like how we would like to be treated. Sometimes this works, but there are times where this does not work.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Best Wishes,
Karen

November 14, 2014

Igniting confidence and embracing H2H: Online reputation management strategies for the future

Managing your personal brand as a professor, professional, and even young professional entering the workplace now is not only essential, but expected. Not only are you expected to have a blog, presence on Twitter and LinkedIn, and be an active member of the social media community – you are expected to create, curate, cultivate, and communicate your insights, stories, and experiences that distinguish yourself from others around you.

Of course, we are seeing social media integrated into classes at all levels more than ever, and it does appear most professors have similar class exercises to propose for their students to complete for the course.

Writing a blog, creating content to be shared on Twitter, and engaging in group projects are just a few examples. However, creating a sustainable online persona and make the right first impression on social media is key. It’s important to share these same insights we give corporations and brands with our students as well as colleagues and fellow professionals. We have to formulate a strong communication strategy to engage and sustain our reputation online and offline.

CIO has some good ideas about how brands can utilize tools that can be used to monitor online reputations, however, why can’t these be applied on an individual level? The answer is of course yes. We can apply these best practices as well as tailor them for the audience, industry, and overall personality characteristics we want to highlight and promote online as well.

So, how do we go about in doing this exactly? Well, there are several best practices when it comes to doing this for 2014 and beyond that Fast Company highlights here.

What struck me about this article in particular were two things. First, we have to be confident in what we are doing on social media. Too many times we see people state that they are afraid to be present on social media because “it’s public and for the world to see.” Yes, social media is public and everyone can see what you post, tweet, snap, and comment on. However, if you know this, you have to integrate this as part of your daily interactions online with various community members. Second, it’s key to be more than a promoter and marketer when it comes to social media. Having the ability to showcase your story, experiences, and interests as a person is absolutely key.

I’d also add a third component here to consider when it comes to managing online reputation. We think we are dealing with brands and corporations as a social media professional at times, but essentially, we are dealing with people. Brian Kramer talks about this as H2H in his new book, and how it is essential to keep this mind in even when you are engaging with others online.

Again, we can tailor these practices to managing personal brands as well. Connecting the dots strategically is essential here for strong online reputations. So, if we are able to share these examples and best practices with students in and out of the classroom, they will be able to have the insights and tools necessary to not only proactively use these tools for business and communication practices, but they can also integrate these as well for their own personal brands.

Hope you all are having a great day! :)

Best Wishes,
Karen

November 12, 2014

7 memorable social media campaigns for 2014

As we are entering the end of the year, we are most likely going to see some favorite social media campaigns and examples being shared and discussed that have captured the attention, heart, and emotions of society.

With this being said, I asked myself – which campaigns were memorable and should be highlighted as good examples? There were several to choose from this past year, but here are my top five picks.

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  • #ShareACoke: This really got a lot of traction this summer across the world. It really motivated people to find a Coke with their name on it, but also having the opportunity to share the experience with another. This was one effective campaign that happened this year and even more this summer.
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  • ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: A huge success on social media to support ALS, and this reached everyone from celebrities to sports figures to CEOs. These videos made a powerful presence on Facebook in particular and this campaign raised a substantial amount for the ALS Foundation.
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  • Samsung Selfie Campaign at the Oscars: This definitely made history as the most RT image ever on Twitter. Selfies were of course popular and part of the social media culture this year, this particular incident really did raise the bar for Samsung on social media.
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  • NASA & #GlobalSelfie: For Earth Day, NASA asked everyone in their community and audience – where are you on Earth right now? Of course, this prompted many submissions of visuals and pictures with the hashtag to be sent to NASA to celebrate this day, which was very successful. NASA continues to lead in this area for government agencies on social media.
  • Denny’s & their memorable social media content: Whether you are looking at the Rose Bowl or even looking at a brand that has successfully integrated themselves into a must follow just for creative social media commentary. If you are looking for this, then Denny’s is your brand. They have done multiple campaigns this year, but the story here is the fact they have rejuvinated themselves as a brand to notice in the social sphere.
  • Honda and YouTube: If you want to see the interactive creativity that can be done with video, Honda is one to check out. They have done some cool social media campaigns before, but this one video really does showcase their presence in the industry.
  • Taylor Swift and new album launch: First there was Beyonce, and then there was Taylor Swift. There are a lot of interesting and relevant strategies and best practices we can learn from Taylor’s recent album launch and how Instagram played a huge role in this successful endeavor.

Overall, there have been a lot of great social media campaigns from this year. The bar continues to be raised for PR professionals, social media strategists, and brands alike.

However, the campaigns and brands that have been successful this year have been creative in how they promote, engage, and create content for their audiences. They are innovative but strategic, and they look at social media tools that can be utilized as a part of their overall strategic communications plan. Are there other campaigns you feel should be on this list?

I am sure we are going to see more exciting and creative campaigns moving forward in 2015. Hope you all are having a great day.

Best Wishes,
Karen

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