Category Archives: Online Advertising & PR

The Relationship between Social Media and Employee Engagement

Social media has connected people both personally and professionally. In terms of internal communication, employees are more expecting of the fast-paced atmosphere of the online web and being able to voice their opinion or connect with members of their organization (Cipr, 2012, p.196). Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” (Masters, 2013). Utilizing the employees within an organization to spread that specific brand can be beneficial, provided there are proper guidelines in place (Masters, 2013).

Cipr discusses 5 ways social media can enhance employee engagement:

  1. Opening up new feedback channels
  2. Encouraging collaboration across silos
  3. Horizontal networking by breaking down hierarchies
  4. Being all encompassing and interactive
  5. Their approach-ability, as employees pick and choose what and who to engage with

Although these tips exist, there are organizations out there that wish for more focus on employee engagement but do not take the steps to do so (Zets, 2013).

It is important to properly train and expose your employees to top social media practices. Once they are comfortable, employers must give them opportunities to test their skills while also exposing different aspects of the organization. To increase employee participation, include rewards and recognition. Provide the content that employees can easily share or post about. Lastly, keep track and measure employee engagement on social media. See what impact they are having on your brand (Masters, 2013).

After reading about employee engagement and internal communication, I think social media is a medium that has the ability to launch a brands name in a matter of days. Utilizing and training every employee is smart because social media is a tool that everyone should know how to use. Given the proper steps and guidelines, employees could help leverage any brand. 

References:

Cipr. (2012). Share this: The social media handbook for pr professionals. West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Masters, K.G. (2013, Oct. 9). 5 steps to success: Encouraging employee social media engagement. Retrieved from http://blogs.cisco.com/socialmedia/5-steps-to-success-encouraging-employee-social-media-engagement/

Zets, A. (2013, July 31). Enterprise social networking answers true employee engagement. Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/antzets/1625016/enterprise-social-networking-and-answer-true-employee-engagement

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Social Media Crisis Management for Colleges

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Social media crisis management is on the rise for colleges today. Students and social media can very easily create a crisis management situation. According to an article in PR Daily, 85% of schools have crisis communication policies, 59% address the use of social media in a crisis, and 66% reported that potential reputation-damaging events were discussed in social media channels (Allen, 2013). Michelle Maresh-Fuehrer, author and professor at Texas A&M University discusses the importance of making a plan before you need it (Winston, 2013).

The relationship between social media and crisis management has become important for institutions today. Social media has become a powerful tool for the average person, allowing for one tweet or post to gain national attention. Organizations are now being held more accountable for their social media accounts and are being watched more closely (Winston, 2013). Statistics show that within the last 12 months, 42% of colleges have enacted their crisis communication policies 1-3 times, and 7% have enacted them 4-6 times (Allen, 2013).

One article from Melissa Agnes Crisis Management blog discusses how a California school district took action to prevent crisis in social media by hiring a monitoring firm to monitor 14,000 student’s social media posts (Agnes, 2013). This step is recommended for every school to help plan, prevent, and monitor. Agnes recommends that schools monitor for the right reasons, have policies place, and analyze all possible risks (Agnes, 2013). You can plan for any situation by having a crisis management plan and being open and honest about the program (Agnes, 2013).

I think social media crisis management for colleges is a step that every school should consider. With the obsession of social media by students, schools should be on edge about any posts, tweets, or photos. I think hiring an outside firm is necessary to help develop a crisis management plan and to bring expertise to a subject that is still fairly new to colleges. Kevin Allen recommends 5 best practices for social media crisis communication:

  1. Make sure to respond to comments, tweets, and other mentions in a timely manner
  2. Find ways to make negative situations into good situations
  3. Develop a crisis management plan and have responses ready
  4. Train your social media team in case of emergencies
  5. Ask customers to contact you privately for more detailed conversations

References:

Agnes, M. (2013, Sept. 24). Monitoring students’ social media activity: Guidelines for schools. Retrieved from http://www.melissaagnescrisismanagement.com/monitoring-students-social-media-activity-guidelines-for-schools/

Allen, K. (2013, Nov. 1). A primer for managing social media crises. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/crisiscommunications/Articles/15486.aspx

Winston, H. (2013, Sept. 13). Crisis management on campuses in the age of social media. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/crisis-management-on-campuses-in-the-age-of-social-media/46567

 

 

10 Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for College Athletes

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As a college athlete, I have seen other athletes misuse social media and post things that can ruin their eligibility. This year social media has been stressed more than previous years, which does not surprise me due to what I see on different sites every day!
I have compiled a list of 10 Do’s and Don’ts, from personal and observational situations, that college athletes should take into consideration. I am writing this from a PR perspective, hoping to make athletes aware of the image they can create and the relationships they build with fans and the community through social media.
1. DON’T use profanity, racial slurs, or any other foul language.
This is one of the most common mistakes I see by college athletes and students in general. When you are an athlete, you represent your institution, your team, and your own brand. Profanity will negatively influence the way people view you and can potentially hurt your relationship with the community and fans that follow you. Sports will not turn into a professional career for most college athletes. With that being said, profanity use on your social media accounts can bite you in the butt when it comes time to looking for a job in the professional world.
2. DON’T post pictures of alcohol, drugs, or inappropriate behaviors.
With popular picture/video-based sites like Vine and Instagram, it is common to see inappropriate pictures surface. Do not post “selfies” holding a bottle of liquor or team pictures of everyone falling over each other with beers spread out in the room. This will only lead to a whole line of problems. There are people out there just waiting for you, as an athlete, to mess up. If you are tagged in a post, ask to be removed or remove yourself. Better yet, know the pictures you are taking and who is taking them!
3. DON’T talk negatively about your teammates or coaching staff.
Venting on social media is not recommended. You never know who is watching and who will tell on you! Talking bad about your teammates will cause drama, ruin team chemistry, and make YOU look bad. Posting negatively about the coaching staff can get you kicked off the team, have them loose respect for you, and potentially lose any help they can give you when you need something, like a letter of recommendation.
4. DON’T bash your opponents on social media.
Social media is not the place to bash your opponent and try and get into their head before a game. If severe enough, you can get into serious trouble and negatively affect your team. Consider posting motivational words and expressing your excitement, or eagerness, to face your opponent in an appropriate manner.
5. DON’T forget that you are a college STUDENT as well…
Be aware of spelling errors and grammar! You are a college student first and an athlete second. Make sure your posts are legible, especially within the world of short abbreviations and online language.
6. DO take advantage of the privacy settings.
The only way to completely protect yourself from crazy fans, users stealing your pictures, or even having inappropriate posts show up on your wall is to have a private account. FB has developed complex privacy settings that allow for users to pick what information they want seen by each person. It is so easy for one post or mistake to reach a global audience in minutes.
7. DO build a respectful brand.
Social media is a great place for college athletes to build a positive brand image. There is the opportunity to connect with the school community and the community that the school is a part of. Many athletes do not realize the influence they have on their fans, especially young followers. Use this platform to connect with athletes or organizations that have influenced you!
8. DO stay up to date with your accounts.
As a college athlete, it will be important to answer all questions that are posted on your wall and to interact with people that support you. Frequently updating content and your page will keep fans coming back and interested in what you have accomplished on and off the field, court, etc. Engage your followers!
9. DO clean up your existing profiles.
It is never too late to change your ways on social media. Go through each picture, post, tweet, upload and make sure they reflect you in a positive manner. As an athlete, you have to understand the responsibility you take on when you sign to be a part of a college athletic team or sport.

10. DO keep your future in mind.

Anything you post on the internet will remain on the internet forever. As college athletes, you are in the public spotlight. Make sure that you are constantly monitoring your accounts and being smart about your content!

Social media has been skyrocketing over the past couple of years. It is a great platform to connect with others and build your brand, but it can also destroy you in a matter of minutes. Hopefully these tips will help young athletes clean up their accounts and care more about what they are posting!

How Mobile Apps can Help Build your Brand

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This week I found some interesting articles on how mobile apps can help build your brand. Researchers have found that mobile apps can positively affect your business and the consumers purchase intent (Parker, 2011). There has been tremendous growth with mobile apps because brands have been able to build relationships and loyalty with consumers (Dimmock, 2013). I have also read that mobile apps are becoming a common tool for businesses. According to Dimmock (2013), “In June this year, Apple celebrated 50 billion iOS App Store downloads.” Despite the fact that apps are a regular thing now, I enjoy when businesses have them but am disappointed when they do not. Research has proven that mobile apps increase consumer’s feelings towards a brand and raise the likelihood that they will purchase a product (Parker, 2011).

Because mobile apps are so popular, PR pros need to think outside of the box when introducing a company’s mobile app (PRWeek, 2013). The mobile app industry is very competitive. Apple and Google alone hold billions of downloads and users (Dimmock, 2013). Businesses have to be creative and generate excitement for their apps to last (PRWeek, 2013). Jason Mandell, cofounder of Launchsquad said:

“When planning a mobile campaign, PR pros need to think bigger than before. Is there an interesting angle behind the launch beyond the news itself? Can we create an entertaining or inspiring video or generate content to accompany the launch? Is there an intriguing story we can tell about why the company is expanding its mobile strategy? The tone has to change from ‘there’s an app for that’ to ‘here’s a company making an app that will change your life’” (2013).

Brands that have had successful apps have “customer-centricity”, consistently caring about people. This can be done by building relationships and a memorable experience (Dimmock, 2013). Apps have also been successful when they are information-based with reviews, tips, and more to engage readers (Parker, 2011).

As a PR person, do you think mobile apps are necessary for a business today? I think that apps are a great tool to have for your business because it expands the number of people you can meet and it allows for customization to fit the needs of your business. During the summer, I loved looking for new swim wear from Victoria’s Secret because all I had to do was click on the app and search for swimwear. I think it is more time efficient to use for consumers and it allows you to open up a different means of communication.

References:
Dimmock, D. (2013, Sept. 3). How apps can best build brands. Retrieved from http://www.identityworks.com/forum/brand-management/how-apps-can-best-build-brands/

Mandell, J. (2013, Oct. 1). How can mobile apps evolve to remain an effective tool for brand building? Retrieved from http://www.prweekus.com/how-can-mobile-apps-evolve-to-remain-an-effective-tool-for-brand-building/article/312494/

Parker, P. (2011, Dec. 13). Study: Mobile apps can help build your brand. Retrieved from http://marketingland.com/building-your-brand-theres-an-app-for-that-1304

Mobile Apps: An effective feature for your business

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Mobile apps are one of the latest trends for small and large scale businesses. Creating the app gives your business an advantage over others who do not utilize mobile marketing. Mobile apps allow businesses to connect their social media, reach online and app platform audiences, and increase advertising effects. This new trend is only effective if the advertising exposes the app and makes it stand out above the thousands of others.

Mobile apps generally have a connection to social media. This allows for users to stay engaged and connect on different levels with the business or organization (Ali, 2013). I think having the connection of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more is very important for a mobile app. For example, the Victoria’s Secret app I have allows you to connect your App with Facebook and Twitter in order to share with your friends.

Mobile apps allow for business to reach both online and app audience demographics. In an article about ABC, writer James Dohnert writes about the need audience members have for digital video on their mobile app. Viewers want to be able to view content from any location on their smartphone or tablet (Dohnert, 2013). I think mobile apps have the potential to reach new people because smartphones, tablets, and IPods are top technology products to have. Within the apps, having videos, articles, products to buy, music, photos, and more, will keep consumers engaged and provide them with a different look into a company.

Mobile apps can increase advertising for businesses. When they are initially developed, they need to have successful launches to stand out from the thousands of apps that already exist. According to David Murphy, “The most successful apps are built by small teams who create highly interactive applications, but need major marketing and PR muscle to get recognized” (Murphy, 2009). I think utilizing marketing and PR to launch your app is important only if done right. The amount of apps that already exist is astonishing. For large businesses that have already made a name for themselves, launching an app will not be as difficult.

References:
Ali, S.N. (2013, Oct. 13). 6 important mobile app features for your business. Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/syed-noman-ali/1822036/6-important-mobile-app-features-your-business
Dohnert, J. (2013, May 16). ABC joins Nielsen trial to measure effectiveness of mobile apps in ad campaigns. Retrieved from http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/2268713/abc-joins-nielsen-trial-to-measure-effectiveness-of-mobile-apps-in-ad-campaigns
Murphy, D. (2009). PR firm launches mobile apps division. Retrieved from http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/pr-firm-launches-mobile-apps-division

LinkedIn: The site NOT to link your social media accounts to

The professional social media platform to boost your career.
The professional social media platform to boost your career.

 

LinkedIn is one of the only professional social media sites that allows for users to build, maintain and expose their professional career. It allows you to connect with others in your field and engage in multiple networks based on your personal interests (Cipr, 2012, p.81). LinkedIn allows users to expose their personal achievements and build a follower base by utilizing the updated tools available on the site (Cipr, 2012, p.82). There are several suggestions in place to keep users from jeopardizing their professional reputation.

As a fairly new LinkedIn user, I find the site difficult to use compared to the other popular social networking sites. As a strictly professional site, everything that is posted needs to be monitored. The topic I chose to write about this evening has to do with linking your social media accounts. As mentioned by Cipr in, “Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals”, automatically linking your social media accounts is not advisable (Cipr, 2012, p.83). If done so, heavy monitoring needs to occur and your other sites must also remain professional. Shiva Kumar of Edelman Sydney recommends that PR professionals link their Twitter to their LinkedIn accounts. The use of #in will connect all of your tweets to your LinkedIn network (Kumar, 2011).

LinkedIn posts should be written with the same professionalism as an email or phone call to an employer (Elad, 2011). People have gotten hired and reviewed potential hires through LinkedIn (Elad, 2011). I think it is important to network and utilize the different social media sites available. Never before have there been so many opportunities to connect with an almost unlimited amount of people on social media. It is very easy for a potential employer to scratch your application if they see an Instagram photo or a tweet from a weekend out at the club show up connected to your LinkedIn account. I refuse to link my accounts because I use each of my sites differently.

I want to hear your thoughts! Do you think it is appropriate to connect all of your social networking sites? What are the benefits? What are the disadvantages? Could one wrong post destroy your credibility and your career? I believe in social media’s ability to help or hurt someone. I also believe in the importance of monitoring what you post and having guidelines in order to remain professional.

References:

Cipr. (2012). Share this: The social media handbook for pr professionals. West Sussex,   United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Elad, J. (2011, Feb.). LinkedIn for dummies (2nd ed.). Retrieved from http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/ten-linkedin-dos-and-donts.html

Kumar, S. (2011, May 12). 10 ways pr professionals can leverage LinkedIn. Retrieved from

http://www.edelmandigital.com/2011/05/12/10-ways-pr-professionals-can-leverage-linkedin/

 

Facebook: The Reputation Booster or Destroyer

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                 PR and social media expert, Robin Wilson makes some great points in the book “Share This:  The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals.” In chapter 7, “Facebook: A Way to Engage with your Audiences”, Wilson discusses how Facebook can be a positive and negative tool for brands (Cipr, 2012, p.67). Just yesterday I responded to a class-wide blog post about the anti-gay remarks Barilla’s CEO recently made. After reading the companies Facebook page, it was clear that their brand was damaged by the CEO’s remarks. As PR professionals, do you think a Facebook page is positive or negative for a company’s image? I think Facebook is a great tool for reaching out to consumers and advertising on a budget. Companies have to be prepared though for what consumers may post, especially if something negative happened with the brand.

                Fan pages are popularly used by companies where people can like a page and become a fan. This way, fans can receive updates that will show up on their wall (Network Solutions). In times of struggle, an organization can turn to Facebook and attempt to take control of the situation with its audience. I think fans automatically turn to social media when they hear of a negative incident with one of their favorite brands. In the Barilla example I discussed earlier, they posted one apology comment that sparked hundreds of comments by consumers. Is it smart to post just one apology? Or should companies post CEO remarks, apology statements, social media responses and more?

                Facebook can boost the reputation of a brand if it is done correctly. That means companies must stay up to date with the constant changes occurring on the site. Content must be fresh and time needs to be put into reviewing different comments posted by consumers. It is also important to monitor what is posted on the page. Having a strategy and a game plan can help draw in new consumers and maintain existing ones (Network Solutions). I think that Facebook is only a good tool if it is used correctly by companies. As discussed last week, social media guidelines can prevent any problems with brand pages. They keep everyone on the same page and clearly state what is appropriate for the company’s page.

                There are several ways Facebook can hurt, or destroy a brand. Not maintaining and up keeping a page can bore consumers. Frequent updates and engaging content are important for the brand image! As mentioned earlier, monitoring the content on a page will help maintain the brand understanding that a company wants. Failing to engage with customers and posting junk and spam will only cause disaster for a company in the social media world. The author discusses the strength of using Facebook with other media, like a product website (Muller, 2010). I think it is important to engage with consumers and create an online atmosphere that is unique and welcoming. Having different promotions and giveaways is a great way to keep people coming back to the page. What do you think?

References:

Anonymous. (2013). How can Facebook help my business? Retrieved from http://www.networksolutions.com/education/how-can-facebook-help-my-business/

Cipr. (2012). Share this: The social media handbook for pr professionals. West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Muller, K. (2010, Oct. 7). How facebook hurts businesses. Retrieved from http://inklingmedia.net/2010/10/07/how-facebook-hurts-businesses/