Adding Up Social Media Success

Social media has become the primary tool for many PR practitioners and marketers. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer access to millions of users at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertisement placements. When using social media as a content publisher or an advertiser, your return on investment will increase and your cost per measurement will decrease.

Facebook advertising has become a second home for many PR practitioners because of its accessibility, convenience and analytics. While it may be easy to find your audience and push out your content through these paid avenues, it is sometimes hard to measure what your success may look like.

Measuring success on social media, as in measuring success in any digital environment, is difficult to master. How do you demonstrate how you improved a business or improved a brand?

Here are some measurements to consider.

Impressions: Overestimates success

One common measurement is impressions. An impressions, depending on how they are measured, is every time your post is displayed. This measurement, however, can sometimes overestimate success. For example, if one person sees a post and then sees it again as a shared post while scrolling through a Facebook feed, then that would count as two impressions. This means impressions are not measured by unique users, so impressions can be misleading in a given time period.

It’s also extremely difficult to figure out if impressions actually had any effect on your overall goal. Whether driving traffic to a site or increasing sales, impressions are not an indicator of overall success.

Engagements: Someone is taking action

A measurement that can provide more meaningful analytics is engagement. Engagements are the total number of likes, comments, shares or anyone’s interaction with a post. Engagements show that the content you are publishing is gaining the attention of the audience and that the audience is willing to engage in the conversation. In an overly saturated digital landscape, someone taking action can demonstrate value.

According to Market Land, engagements “gauge what content and which types of social media posts most resonate with your audience. At a simplistic (but still useful first-glance) level, content or posts getting more engagement are probably best hitting the mark with your audience.”

While this measurement may not translate into sales, it is a good indicator of the effectiveness of your content.

Lead generation and conversions: Shows actual value

Another valuable measurement on the customer acquisition phase of business is lead generation and conversions. Once you have acquired the attention and actions of engagements on your posts, examine the amount of leads generated and conversions. The end-all goal of promotion on social media is for users to take action in response to a product or service. This is why lead generation and conversions are so important and can show actual value. While other measurements can be effective, having a potential customer sign up for an email newsletter or create a free account is one step closer to making a sale.

In conclusion, navigating the digital marketplace, especially in social media, can sometimes be confusing. However, finding the right measurements can better redefine your audience and content to create better results. Once all aspects of the social media acquisition are mastered, the client can expect to see greater end-all results.

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Getting Your Company PR Ready

via Wikimedia Commons.

Every business owner dreams of getting enough publicity to make his or her brand the front runner in customers’ minds. However, there a few steps that a business must complete before hiring a professional (or outside agency) to make this dream come true.

1. Is your product or service ready?
There is only so much content that can be created before the physical product or service becomes available. Without media (photos, video demos) or customer testimonials, it is difficult to generate more than speculative publicity.

via Flickr.

2. Your product or service is not ready yet, but have you been collecting customers’ information to keep them updated?
Public relations campaigns along with press coverage can drive traffic to a website and social media accounts, but it can turn into a failure if your product is unavailable for sale and the company fails to collect customer information. All the money spent in said campaigns and coverage will go to waste if no information appears on the website. Creating a newsletter or a form where people can leave their information is also crucial to encourage an audience to return.

3. Is it clear what makes your product or service stand out in the market?
If you don’t know what makes your product or service better than the competition, neither does the publicist. This should be defined and clear for the entire company, since it helps in defining your target audience and the media strategy he or she will create.

via Wikimedia Commons.

4. Do you have promotional material?
We live in a digital era that has turned promotion of products and services very visual. You need professional photos, videos, a branded website with a unique template and active social media accounts to make people aware of what you’re trying to sell and establish your credibility in the market.

via Flickr.

5. Do you have a budget to hire a public relations professional or agency?
The cost of PR services depend on the type of services needed, the size of  your business and its location. The cost for a startup company with less than 10 employees, even at the lower cost end of the spectrum, could still be considered high if your company hasn’t generated sales yet.

via Pixabay.

6. Do you have the time and patience?
PR campaigns require time. There is significant research that goes into its background which can make the entire process quite lengthy. Usually, PR professionals require at least three months to launch the campaign and even more time to start landing media coverage.

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6 Tips for Writing a Pitch People will Read

via Forbes.

It is safe to say one of the biggest nightmares of young PR professionals is summed up in one word: pitch. We know our product or service is interesting and would serve the needs of a population, but it can be discouraging to disseminate numerous pitches a day and rarely get a hit or response. It also doesn’t help that the people to whom you are sending your pitches are probably flooded with new competition every day. If you do not grab their attention within the first few words, the pitch you just spent hours working on will find its way to the circular file.

So… How can you make sure your pitch stands out amongst all of them?

  1. Spell-check.

via Flickr.

This should go without saying, but there is nothing that makes people in the PR industry cringe more than spelling errors–especially if you misspell their name or that of their organization on pitch emails. The goal of sending pitches is to impress people, not make them think you are careless.

  1. Be aware of whom you’re pitching.

Have you done your homework and checked if the publication actually covers your industry? It is not difficult to open a couple of websites or social media platforms to find out. This initial research is one of the most important steps; if you are trying to pitch a restaurant to a car magazine, chances are they will never go past the subject line.

Social media engagement also plays a key role in that you should use profiles as a network tool. A simple follow and a couple of “likes” alongside some replies will make your name more noticeable to the professional you are trying to reach. Once they see your name in their inbox it will already be somewhat familiar.

  1. Never copy-and-paste.

via Flickr.

Generic pitches are as bad as sending the same email to a multitude of people as senders. Just don’t do it: it looks lazy. Personalized and unique pitches are much more effective because they create a connection with the receiver,who will be more likely to write about it if you show exactly why it is relevant to their company.

  1. Don’t be afraid to show off the benefits you’re giving the publication.

If you don’t show them their audience is going to be interested in your product or service, they are not going to pay attention to it. Describing the different ways the audience is going to engage and how it will attract traffic and interest are much more effective than just saying how awesome your product is. If after reading your email they still feel like these questions have not been answered, don’t count on a response.

  1. Templates are overrated.

via Pixabay.

Using a template as guidance is not a bad thing, especially when you are first starting out. But if you follow it to a T, it will probably have the same effect as copying and pasting emails. You want your pitch to stand out, not get lost among the sea of emails that publications receive on a daily basis. Besides, standard templates that come with software are not meant to be used, they are simply guides.

  1. Get to the point – quickly and effectively.

If you do not mention why they should pay attention to your pitch in the first few sentences, chances are they will delete it and move on. Showing that you value their time when writing short and concise pitches is appreciated. Being upfront and honest will get you instant respect. They know you are writing them because you want exposure, so why sugar coat it?

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Can a Corn Puff be Racist?

Kellogg’s is in hot water after a Twitter user noticed a small but upsetting detail on the back of his son’s cereal box.

Saladin Ahmed noticed that among the many yellow corn puff characters on the box, there was a singular brown puff character. Not only that, but while the other corn puffs were playing around the mall, the brown corn puff was depicted as a janitor.

“This is teaching kids racism.” Ahmed said in a tweet.

Many Twitter users felt the same way, tweeting that the image was upsetting and gross misrepresentation of people of color. Many considered the tweet to be “blind.”

Kellogg’s quickly responded to Ahmed’s tweet, stating that the company is “committed to diversity & inclusion.” The company also stated that it is updating the artwork.

“We take feedback very seriously, and it was never our intention to offend anyone.We apologize sincerely.” Kris Charles, a spokesman for Kellogg’s, told USA Today.

However, not everyone thought that the cereal box was racist or even intentional. One Twitter user thought the box could have been a coloration mistake, while another called for the “oversensitive narrative” to stop.

Others called out Ahmed for being racist and assuming that the janitor position is a lesser or unimportant role.  “Don’t diminish entrepeneurship.” A dissenting user said in a tweet.

Others didn’t take the matter seriously at all, tweeting “We are living in a time where people are accusing cereal of being racist.” Another user noted how there are more important topics to debate other than the color of corn puffs on a cereal box.

Do you think the matter is worthy of debate? Do you think it was racist, a mistake or nothing at all? Let us know in the comments below!

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Brand Missing Egg-posure

When a brand is mentioned along side a pop culture icon, it’s a marketing dream come true. Global exposure without having to spend a dime? Jackpot. But what a brand says next can make or break its capitalization campaign.

In 2016, Eggo saw a massive boost in interest thanks to the viral success of the Netflix original, Stranger Things. The show features actress Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, a girl with psychokinetic abilities and a strong appetite for the breakfast classics.

Her pink dress, bloody nose and armful of Eggos was the go-to costume at Halloween. Netflix even included the ‘8’s classic “L’eggo My Eggos” ad in its Super Bowl commercial teasing Season Two of Stranger Things.

All goldmine opportunities the breakfast brand has fallen short in promoting. Many have compared Eggo’s dull marketing attempts to Red Lobster’s “Formation” fail.

Beyonce mentioned the restaurant chain in her highly anticipated single and Red Lobster’s 10-hour late reply was deemed unoriginal and unrelated and “flat out lame.”

In comparison Eggo has Stranger Things-themed recipes, DIY projects you can make from Eggo boxes and, now, a Google Chrome extension that promises to block any Season Two spoilers coming from Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or Google News. However, these ideas have seen little engagement from fans across social media.

What is the take away for brands? Be original and stay informed.

Authentic communication in advertising and public relations is crucial for brands trying to create a deep, meaningful connection with their audiences. With Season Two of Stranger Things on Oct 27, Eggo’s timely and witty responses will make or break its brand exposure.

What do you think Eggo could do better in its social media approach? Is it a brand’s duty to develop a capitalization strategy or simply comment on the conversation? Any other missed marketing opportunities by brands?

Let us know in the comments!

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Capitalizing on Conspiracy: Decoding Mr. Robot

Since its inception in 2015, USA Network’s Mr. Robot has grown to fill more than its weekly hour time slot, at least in the lives of its biggest fans. By breaking the mold of traditional TV show promotion, Mr. Robot has become definitive of a culture of curious skeptics willing to embrace conspiracies and dig for answers.

The show itself, which tells the story of Elliot Alderson, an anti-social hacker with severe personality disorders who wages cyber warfare against the world’s largest conglomerate, parallels existing conspiracies about an unseen world order and massive corporate greed. Whether the show attracts viewers who already subscribe to such conspiracies or whether its eerily plausible plot turns viewers on to them, Mr. Robot’s team of marketers aims to capitalize on its fandom’s inquisitive and even obsessive tendencies.

Mr. Robot’s most notable experiential marketing endeavors include constructing alternate realities based on a post-fsociety dystopia and welcoming fans to the Bank of E before an advanced screening of the Season Three premiere, complete with an fsociety invasion and protesters waiting outside the doors.

Fans wait outside the Bank of E before an advanced screening of the Season 3 premier.

While these special events provide an experience for a select number of super fans, the team of marketers has taken steps to make the world of Mr. Robot a staple in the lives of every fan, every day.

The launch of the E-Coin website offers average fans, conspiracy buffs and coding whizzes the perfect platform to nerd-out over the show. With flash giveaways and exclusive sneak peaks all housed on a meticulously branded landing page powered by E Corp, the site keeps fans engaged around the clock, anxiously awaiting what Mr. Robot will drop on the site next. For those fans with the technological prowess to take it a step further, the code of the site itself has hidden in it clues and access to an even larger world of exclusive content.

Landing page of the Ecoin website.

The website is a superb example of an outreach strategy that deeply understands the psychology of its fans. The team behind Mr. Robot embraces conversations about the show taking place in nearly every corner of the Internet, encouraging fans to ask questions and come up with creative theories. In an article for Movie Pilot, Ricky Derisz goes deep into the comparison between how fan theories and conspiracy theories are developed. He ultimately concludes that the two are conjured in strikingly similar ways, which is what makes Mr. Robot and its embedded marketing strategies so effective with the fan base.

Mr. Robot is a unique show that has the advantage of being almost unsettlingly culturally relevant and timely, but what can other TV marketers or marketers from any field learn from these strategies? Should marketing across the board strive to feed into its audience’s obsession? Are there potential downfalls to strategies such as these that create alternate realities for people to dive into? Is this type of marketing only made more effective due to a generational distrust in the government and the so-called world authorities?

The questions raised by Mr. Robot‘s marketing practices do not have simple answers.

One thing is certain, if you’re not watching Mr. Robot, you can’t know what you’re missing.

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Voice Devices Channel PR/Marketing Messages

via techradar.com

As the digital marketing and public relations space becomes more and more saturated, communication specialists are looking for innovative tactics to reach customers in an impactful way. This has been true from the invention of radio to the dawn of the Internet boom. Communication with customers and stakeholders will always continue to evolve side-by-side with technology. In the current tech boom, we are seeing more and more ways that marketers and public relations specialists are able to reach their target audiences in the most efficient and effective ways possible.

In the past few years, there has been a rise in the range of in-home voice devices on the market. Two of the most popular brands are Amazon with the Alexa Echo and Google with the Google Home. While there are many versions of these devices on the market, these are some of the most advanced with the largest market share.

For the release of Netflix’s Stranger Things Season Two premiere, Google released a Stranger Things interactive game for their devices. With this partnership between Google and Netflix, a voice-activated game became available on both the Google Home and Google Home Mini that allows viewers to communicate with Dustin from Stranger Things via walkie-talkie. The game is simply activated on the voice device by saying “Hey Google Home, talk to Dustin from Stranger Things.” Over the course of the show, players are asked questions about the new season that helps players progress through the game. Once players complete the game, they are inducted into the show’s “Hawkins AV Club.”

Another in-home voice device game is powered through Amazon’s Alexa devices. In a partnership between E!’s Keeping up with the Kardashians and Amazon, the two created a quote quiz in honor of the 10th anniversary season to test fans’ knowledge on the show. The game is a quote quiz in which Alexa plays various popular quotes from some of the people on the show that are found throughout past seasons. To activate the game, players can say “Alexa, play Kardashian Quote Game.”

These types of branding strategies are not only effective for TV shows and other consumer goods, but beneficial for the in-home voice device brands as well. With these shows boasting multi-million person viewerships each season, having viewers know about the extra interaction that these devices present could have a impact on future sales.

About 24.5 million in-home devices were expected to ship in 2017 and experts estimate that in-home voice devices will reach 55 percent of households by 2022. This data show us that the in-home voice device market might be only starting to pickup now but the future of the devices and their marketing capabilities may expand rapidly. Depending on the market as it continues to expand, it would not be surprising to see more and different types of publicity methods communicated through these types of devices.

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Nashville PR Firm Forced to Face the Music

In the midst of several sexual harassment and assault allegations in Hollywood, a notable Nashville-based public relations firm has fallen from grace.

Webster PR, known for its impressive roster of country music stars, lost several accounts after CEO and president Kirk Webster was publicly charged with sexual harassment.  The client list includes legends Dolly Parton, Hank Williams Jr. and Kenny Rogers. However, the roster has been trimmed from 71 to 37, most leaving within 24 hours of the charges. Many of the stars have taken to social media to address the situation or written letters of resignation which have expressed contempt for Webster’s behavior.

Former employees of Webster PR have emerged to support evidence of the charges, saying they had often felt uncomfortable with Webster’s behavior. Variety reported, “More than a dozen other former employees of Webster PR have been speaking with the press, albeit mostly not for attribution, telling their own stories of emotionally abusive or suggestive remarks, unwanted touching, and viewings of pornography in the office.” The story stated the firm was forced to continuously hire new talent, as employees left the firm after a short stay.

As the doors closed, many clients were unsure what all this means for their PR team. Many clients went to former Webster PR exec, Jeremy Westby, who decided to start fresh with his own firm, Westby PR. Westby has 19 clients listed, all formerly part of Webster PR.

With all of the negative press, do you think Westby can really get away from his association with Webster? I think the similar-sounding Westby PR is a temporary solution to a complicated situation.

Website Home page after charges were announced

Also, how should Webster PR react? They have caused confusion with their website, one day saying the firm is closed and the next having the site up like nothing had happened.

What do you think the firm could have done to address the problem with making clients panic? Should all the clients have left before the charges were even brought to court? Unfortunately, I think in today’s climate, the minute a story like that hits a brand, all other brands associated have to jump ship. The allegations may not be true and the company may be able to salvage some of their reputation. But for now, they need to face the music on their own.

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P&G Champions ‘Love Over Bias’

Olympics sponsor, Proctor and Gamble, expanded its successful campaign: “Thank you, Mom”  to “Love Over Bias.” Here is the short film developed for for the 2018 Winter Olympics:

Even though the Winter Olympics is still a few months away, this campaign has already earned coverage since its release:

Forbes contributor, Lee Igel, discussed in an article how the campaign not only develops a strong message, but “it does at least as good a job in conveying a lesson about business management—namely, in the area of corporate social responsibility.”

Blogger Mariah Moon, from “The Simple Parent”, wrote a collaborative article with P&G in which she discusses how she is worried about a “body image bias” having an impact on her children who are “much bigger than other kids their age.” She also created a social media post for the campaign:

In another blog post from Brian Pacheco via GLADD, he discussed how this new campaign champions LGBTQ acceptance and included Olympic Silver Medalist, Gus Kenworthy’s, story about his coming out to his mother. In the article, Kensworthy stated his mother had “unconditional love and support,” which helped him pursue his dreams. Here is the video that Pacheco included in his article:

The “Love Over Bias” campaign has not only been featured on blog websites, but it has also gained popularity on social media. According to KeyHole, #LoveOverBias has a reach of 2,293,865 and 2,542,581 impressions. Here are some of the top tweets for #LoveOverBias from a variety of influencers, including Olympic Gold Medalist Nastia Liukin via Keyhole:

Since influential individuals are promoting this campaign, it is proof that it has already been successful by its significant reach– even before the start of the Games. It will be interesting to see just how this campaign flourishes in the time before, during and after the 2018 Winter Olympics.

When developing campaigns, it is important to see the potential for evolution and growth. It was a successful move on behalf of P&G to expand its award-winning “Thank you, Mom” campaign. Since that campaign has been so outstanding, it makes sense to build on it.

Do you think the latest installment of the “Thank you, Mom”  (“Love Over Bias”) was a good move for P&G? Would you have launched this campaign so far away from the start of the actual Olympic Games? Do you think this campaign will attract even more coverage during the Winter Olympics?If P&G asked you to be in charge of developing the next installment of “Thank you, Mom”, what cause would you champion?

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Top PR Disasters of 2017 … So Far

 

2017 has been a year filled with controversy, corporate gaffes, and tone-deaf advertisements. Let’s take a look at the top three public relations disasters of 2017…so far.

3. Pepsi Superbowl Ad with Kendall Jenner

Easily one of the most high-profile and widely seen PR gaffes of 2017, Pepsi’s Super Bowl ad featuring Kendall Jenner is worth mentioning. The ad features footage of Jenner, musicians, and social activists enjoying an ice cold Pepsi Cola. A problem emerges when Jenner offers a Pepsi to the riot police, suggesting that all of the civil unrest that has been mounting across the country can be solved with a simple soda. Critics suggest that the ad trivializes the Black Lives Matter movement and makes fun of a serious situation.

After the ad garnered considerable backlash, Pepsi pulled the “Live For Now Moments” commercial from all channels and Jenner distanced herself from the brand.

2. United Airlines Passenger Removal Scandal 

In March 2017, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz was named PR Week’s “Communicator of the Year.”  Just one month later, United Airlines was embroiled in its biggest PR disaster to date.

A viral video shows a seated passenger of a United Airlines flight pulled off the flight by airport authorities. The man is in clear distress – he’s bloodied, screaming, and dragged down the aisle.

The passenger was forcibly removed after the flight had been overbooked and the airline needed to make room for other passengers. Typically, incentives are offered for passengers willing to give up their seats. However, this PR disaster shows airport police forcibly dragging a paying passenger from his seat and off the plane.

The real controversy occurred when United Airlines took more than a day to respond and take responsibility for the incident. Munoz did not offer an apology in the first statement — a move that outraged social media users.

Eventually, Munoz and United Airlines apologized and promised to make changes to ensure that such an incident never happens again. However, by that point, much of the damage had been done and the company’s stock dropped in value over $1.4 billion — virtually overnight.

  1. Harvey Weinstein Sexual Misconduct Allegations

In perhaps one of the biggest falls from grace in Hollywood history, Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Co. fell from the cosmos in an epic crash after allegations of sexual misconduct were leveled against the famed executive.

The story first broke in The New York Times, and since then, dozens more women have come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein. Prominent Hollywood actresses like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have come forward with their own allegations, as well as many other actresses and professionals in the movie industry. However, these allegations have been a part of an “open Hollywood secret” for years.

Since the allegations first surfaced, the Weinstein Co. as separated from its namesake, removing him from all company operations and even plans to change the name of the company.

The allegations against Weinstein have spurred many others to action – allegations of sexual misconduct have flooded the Hollywood and political spheres. Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and Republican candidate Roy Moore are among the accused. Many women — and men — now feel safe to come forward with their accusations against powerful people.

As the story unfolds, more and more are coming forward with their stories. Not only did this scandal tank Harvey Weinstein’s career as well as his company, but also the careers of many other famous individuals.

So, what do you think has been the biggest PR disaster of 2017? Let us know in the comments below.

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