Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 Digital Marketing Highlights Infographic

2013 marked the start of brands begging to find new ways to market to their target audiences through different social networks like Facebook, Vine, Twitter and Instagram.  With 2013 coming to an end, it is important for us to reflect on what worked and why.  For me, I think Oreo's Superbowl blackout tweet, and Instagram introducing video, come to mind as successful marketing moments because people are still talking about them months later.

This info graphic from ExactTarget breaks down the best digital marketing moments of 2013.

What was your favorite digital marketing moment of 2013? 

Infographic Credit

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Queen B epitomizes the brilliance that is social media

Picture via US Weekly

Ah, Beyonce has done it again. As many of you probably already know, Beyonce dropped her latest album Thursday night at midnight, breaking virtually every rule known to mankind surrounding the release of an album. In case you are not familiar, most albums are released on a Tuesday, are publicized through various media appearances, involve numerous consumer partnerships and feature at least one single being overplayed on the radio long before the actual album is released. Beyonce, however, refrained from all of these "rules" and in turn, showed the world just how powerful she is.

Unsurprisingly, this new album is not just any album. It is accompanied by 17 videos, 14 outrageous tracks, and was done all in secrecy while Beyonce was on tour and raising a baby. How did she do it? I am confident that many of the world's biggest music stars are probably wondering the same thing. The mere fact that nothing was leaked and no word got out about it is an achievement in itself in this day of technology and social media. There really is only one thing to say and that is, all hail the Queen.

What makes this really interesting from a PR standpoint, however, is the fact that Beyonce relied solely on social media to announce the release of the album. The only form of publicity to occur before all 14 songs and 17 videos appeared for sale on iTunes was a video posted to Instagram accompanied with the caption, "surprise!" 

According to the New York Times, this approach was a success and lead to over 365,000 copies sold in the United States on the first day. It is also being predicted that it will have one of the year's most successful opening sales weeks. Even though it is undeniable that Beyonce is a huge star and would most likely see success no matter how she released her album, this may just be the way of the future for the music business. After all, social media is all about the basis of relationships and by telling her fans exclusively on her personal Instagram, they were able to feel that they truly had a special bond with the artist. 

After the initial Instagram post, the album garnished much publicity. According to Mashable, the release generated 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours and was promoted by stars such as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga almost immediately. Additionally, Beyonce spent no money on marketing, which could perhaps have quite the impact on the industry in the future. All in all, Beyonce's album release was a monumental event for the music industry and a huge advocate for the power of social media. It must be nice to be Queen.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December's issue of esPResso out today!

Be sure to check out the latest issue of esPResso! From the PRSSA National Conference to an investigation of beauty vlogging, you are sure to find something of interest in it. Thanks to all who took part in making this issue of esPResso so amazing!

Click here!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Teens Get Tips with "Think Before You Share"

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about Facebook and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence teaming up to end bullying with the installation of the Bully Prevention Hub.  To expand on these features, Facebook has joined with MediaSmarts, a Canadian nonprofit organization, to create a guide to help Facebook’s younger users to "Think Before You Share."  MediaSmarts and Facebook hopes that these tips will help teens make more conscious decisions about what they share online.  According to MediaBistro, "Facebook said it will run ads on the social network to promote Think Before You Share to both teens and parents."  A statement on the top of the PDF document that can be downloaded, says:
"We always hear that sharing is a good thing. And thanks to technology, we can share our ideas, opinions, pictures and videos with our friends and other people. Most of the time, sharing is good. But if we aren’t thoughtful about how we share, we run the risk of hurting ourselves or someone else. Also, remember that the things you share with your friends can end up being shared with others. That’s why it’s important to think before you share."
A few great tips for teens that the PDF provides are:

  • It’s not a good idea to share things when you’re feeling really emotional – whether you’re angry, sad, or excited. Calm down first and then decide if it’s really a good idea. 
  • Passwords are not social: There’s some things you need to be really careful about sharing. Sometimes friends share passwords with each other when all is good, but unfortunately this can turn into a nightmare later.  Don’t share your password with anyone.
  • If what you received makes that person look bad, would embarrass them, or could hurt them if it got around, don’t pass it on. The person who sent it to you may have meant it as a joke, but jokes can be a lot less funny when something is seen by the wrong person. 
  • If you shared something you shouldn’t have, the first step is to ask the people you sent it to not to pass it on.
The guide was first announced on December 4, 2013 online at Facebook's Safety Page.  Cathy Wing, the Co-Executive Director at MediaSmarts, released a statement saying:
For young people, more than anyone else, digital media is all about sharing: Whether it’s their thoughts, photos, or their latest favorite videos, almost all of the devices and platforms that youths use are designed to make it easy for them to share things with their friends. In MediaSmarts’ research with young people, we have looked carefully at the habits and attitudes youth have toward sharing things online, as well as their worries, bad experiences, and strategies for avoiding problems and fixing things when they go wrong.
One of the most interesting findings in recent research is that with the exception of online gaming, young people almost exclusively socialize online with people that they also know offline. That doesn’t mean that they’re not worried about their privacy: In fact, the youths we spoke to were very concerned about the things they posted online being seen by unintended audiences and acutely aware of the possibility that something meant for one friend might cause trouble if seen by another. They were also very conscious of the need to manage how they were portrayed in social media by other people, such as in revealing or embarrassing photos.
What do you think?  Do you think that Think Before You Share will be a helpful resource for teens?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Beauty in technology

With all of the impressive technology in existence today, there are rarely times when I stop and truly marvel at how beautiful many electronics' capabilities are. Apple has truly revolutionized how people keep in touch and one can only imagine that it will only get more advanced as time goes on. Innovative applications like Snapchat and GroupMe only further allow those that may not normally be able to stay in touch effortlessly remain updated on each other's lives. It has never before been easier to keep in touch with friends and family and we truly have technology to thank for that. This past week, I found a video that only further emphasized my belief that technology truly has the potential to connect people in magical ways.

Although Skype has been around since 2003, it still has a powerful impact in allowing people to stay in touch. When I was abroad, I would Skype with my parents every Sunday. It became a ritual that I loved and absolutely looked forward to in a world with no cell phone plan. Skype is used by those who are separated by distance and can either not speak on a phone or wish to see their loved one's face.

In this video that I recently found, a beautiful friendship is able to develop and remain in tact due to Skype. I wanted to share it because I had never seen it before and think that it is truly remarkable how far technology has come. I really hope that you enjoy it and see the beauty of the relationships technology makes possible.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Facebook and the Fight Against Bullying

This past Wednesday, Facebook launched the Bully Prevention Hub, a place where Facebook users have "Tools, tips and programs that help people stand up for each other."  Facebook joined forces with Marc Brackett Ph.D., Robin Stern Ph.D. and their team at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to give Facebook users of all ages with the tools and to help them address issues with bullying behavior.  Facebook and the team at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence have the goal of empowering users of all ages to create a climate where people feel connected and safe.  This new hub gives tips and resources for teens & friends, parents & guardians, educators & mentors to reach out and ask for help when they or someone they know is being bullied.  This is the first time that an internet company is integrating a bully prevention tool into with its existing product.
Photo Credit: Facebook
The Facebook and Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence define bullying as:
Bul·ly·ing (verb) Aggressive behavior that is repeated over time and involves an imbalance of power. This imbalance can be the social status, age, or even physical size of the perpertrator. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Facebook promoted the new Bully Prevention Hub in a post on their Safety Page :

Today, we are launching the new Bullying Prevention Hub, offering important tools to help people stand up for each other when they see bullying behavior, both online and off.

The new Hub, created by Facebook engineers and our partners at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, is the first time an internet company is integrating bullying prevention tools directly into a product. It’s just the latest step in a longstanding commitment to protecting the safety of our users, especially young people.

Today on Facebook, we encourage anyone who sees harassment or bullying to report it, and we even offer teens the ability to connect with a trusted adult to get help as part of our social reporting tool.

With the new Bullying Prevention Hub, we’ll be arming bullying victims with information on what they can do when they see harassing content, recommendations to adults who want to help, and even guidance to the person accused of bullying on what he or she has done and how he or she can do better.

These scripts and accompanying information are the result of years of groundbreaking research from dozens of community organizations, academics and others on the topic of bullying prevention. Rather than simply focus on awareness of this information, we’re putting it at people’s fingertips at the moment they need it most.

We’re also excited to announce the 4th Compassion Research Day, where we’ll be sharing preliminary data on how people are using the new Hub, and everything else we've learned in the last year about applying the science of how people relate to each other to social technology. Compassion Research Day, scheduled for December 5 at Facebook’s Menlo Park Campus, will feature speakers from Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence, Berkeley’s The Greater Good Science Center and more.
Currently, the hub is featuring three promotional videos titled:
  • Introducing the Bullying Prevention Hub
  • We are All Daniel Cui
  • Social Resolution of Conflicts on Facebook
There are may supporters of the Bully Prevention Hub.  Lee Hirsh, the director of The BULLY Project have partnered up with the hub and released a statement through Facebook saying, "Nothing replaces the power of teens to create a culture where bullying is uncool, and that starts with social and emotional learning. These resources will empower the hundreds of thousands of followers of The Bully Project."

Monday, November 4, 2013

November issue of esPResso out today!

Need to take a break from work? Look no further than our latest issue of the Marist PRSSA Chapter newsletter, esPResso. You'll find 20 articles within the issue covering major current events from the past few months including the government shutdown, the new Marist curriculum and news from your fellow PRSSA members.

If any members are interested in writing for esPResso next semester, contact Director of PR, Marguerite Pinheiro for more information.

Enjoy your shot of PR industry insight with esPResso! Good luck on the rest of finals week!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The major issues of the PR field today via the PRSSANC

This past weekend, I was given the amazing opportunity to attend the PRSSA National Conference. The entire event was extraordinarily beneficial and a huge learning experience for a young, future professional. The lessons learned and the speakers who discussed them will forever remain imbedded in my mind and I wish that I was able to share all of their insights with you. However, that is not possible, and I have instead decided to share two speaker's intuitive perspectives regarding the major issues young PR pros need to be concerned with today.

The session was entitled "Meet the Living Legends of PR" and the speakers were Mary Beth West of Mary Beth West Communications and Keith Burton of Brunswick Group. Here is what they concluded regarding the matter:

  • "Change will always be a part of your life, prepare for it"
    • Have a mindset of lifelong learning
    • Invest in yourself
  • "PR pros need to be business leaders"
    • Understand how the world works
  • "Measurement is at the heart of what we do"
    • Be sure to always provide return and validity
  • "Be aware of the role we play as mentors for older generations"
    • Teach them the best ways to utilize social media
  • "Remember that PR is more of a science than an art"
    • Our work is quantitative, reinforce that
  • "Be wary of the PR PR problem"
    • Advocate for the profession and reflect the highest values of what we do
  • "Do the basics incredibly well"
    • Write well, speak well, and manage projects well
    • Sweat the small stuff
  • "Go back to the things that have not changed and master them"
    • These include communication, relationships, and reputation

All of these points are incredibly important and essential for all of our future careers. Ultimately, this session, along with numerous other ones, was powerful and truly epitomized the extraordinariness that is public relations. I can confidently say that I left the conference with a sense of belonging and a true belief that "if you find something you love, you'll never work a day in your life.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tweeting the 2013 World Series

I am currently sitting in my living room watching Game One of the 2013 World Series and scrolling through my Twitter feed.  I am realizing the people I follow, whether they are at Fenway Park or not, are all tweeting to show support for their team and connect with other fans.

For example, one of the people that I follow tweeted using hashtags as a reaction to the game: 

As I continued to scroll through my feed, I stumbled upon this tweet (below) that was posted during the third inning of the game by MLB Public Relations:

After reading the tweet posted by @MLB_PR, I did some research.  According to IMG's 2013 Catalyst Fan Engagement Study, almost 70% of sports fans who follow teams and brands on social media are willing to take additional action, including purchasing, commenting or sharing brand and team content.

Two important takeaways form the REPUCOM survey where 2,100 avid sports fan ages 16-64 surveyed were:
  • On gameday, Twitter has the most frequent use and Instagram has shown the most growth in post-game use.
  • The most exciting and engaging content for sports team to publish is pre-game excitement, followed by historic photos/videos and then bloopers.
Sysomos has assembled a helpful infographic that I found on Mediabistro.  This infographic located below, shows all the Twitter information fans can use to enhance their World Series experience.  The main highlights are players personal accounts, important reporters and trending hashtags that are related to the game.  Just by following some of these accounts, you can get all the up-to-date live sports action on the World Series! 


Infographic Credit

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pumpkin: A symbol of Halloween or everyone's favorite flavor?

Fall is a time for leaves to change color, the temperature to dip lower, and most importantly in American culture, pumpkin flavored products to take over. Businesses and brands could hardly wait until the first official day of Fall to offer their highly anticipated flavor that has won a spot in so many Americans' heart. I remember being at Starbucks and hearing an angry customer exclaim that Dunkin Donuts had already launched their pumpkin flavored coffee and that Starbucks should be offering it as well. It is a rather new phenomenon, but it is taking the marketing world by storm.

According to USA Today, last year alone the number of pumpkin offerings rose 19% and products' sales brought in over 290 million dollars. It is impossible to avoid these pumpkin offerings, as they come in absolutely every form imaginable. From vodka to candy, if you want pumpkin, you can probably find pumpkin. Many establishments are not even waiting for the first day of Fall to offer their pumpkin products due to sheer demand from their customer base.

What does all of this mean and is it something that can be capitalized on during different times of the year? From a public relations standpoint, I would suggest milking it for all that it is worth and continuing to cleverly promote products via social media. Additionally, I think that PR campaigns should be utilized to find the next big flavor obsession out there and publicize it during times when pumpkin is out of season. Ultimately, this pumpkin craze is a monumental American obsession and can be used as a basis for research for the next big flavor phenomenon.

Here are the weirdest pumpkin flavored things I was able to find. Let me know if you end up trying any!

Pumpkin Pop-Tart
Pumpkin Burger 

Pumpkin Pringles 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Twitter and Facebook: Tips for New Blogs

Blogs and social media create online web traffic for your business and its reputation.  But, if no one is reading your organization's blog posts, what good are they?  This weeks PRSSA blog post will focus on how to promote an organization through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Here are some statistics I found about the importance of blogging in "10 Smart Reasons To Blog" by Susan Nixon:
  • Reason 1: Organizations that blog 15 or more times per month get 5x more traffic than companies that don't blog.
  • Reason 9: Blogging gives your organization a dynamic personality and voice, which attracts more traffic than a static website.
  • Reason 10: Blogs attract repeat visitors who continue to come back to the website for fresh content.
Figure out what direction you want your organization's blog to go in.  Create the profiles on Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms that fit your organization's niche.  Use content on the organization's blog to build a relevant, engaged audience; user experience is extremely important.

  • You may not have a larger follower base the first time you tweet out your blog post but Tweet it again!  On Twitter, it is more than acceptable to tweet your blog posts several times just as long as you space out the tweets and change up the headlines.
  • #Hashtag. Do a little searching and find the hashtags that are right for your topic. Hashtags help get your posts right in front of people
  • Be active on Twitter and use the retweet and respond feature to communicate with other organizations and followers.

  • After setting up a page with all of the important information, (link to your blog and contact information) be sure to use creative pictures, posts and statuses to make people want to click the blog's link.
  • Use phrases like "Click Here" and "Read more about"
  • Facebook is a great place to generate contests and give away prizes for people who like, comment, or share your posts.  Make it easy for your followers to download free content.
More Useful Tips:
  • Shorten the post's URL with websites like Goo.gl to shorten long URLs so they can fit into your 140 character limit 
  • Ask for feedback!  Continue to try out new blog promotion ideas and over time, you will figure out a strategy that works for you. Don’t be afraid to try new blog promotion techniques; keep track of what works and what doesn’t, and then do more of what’s working for your business.
For more Marketing Tips for New Blogs, check out this awesome Infographic I found on Media Bistro ! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Texting zones: The fight against texting and driving

Picture via Mashable 

The publicity surrounding texting and driving is one that is not going to go away any time soon. There have been numerous campaigns surrounding it, the inventions of things like of Bluetooth to avoid it, and pledges signed by celebrities in opposition to it. The latest fight against it is taking place in the state of New York and is the result of Governor Cuomo's invention of "texting zones". 

According to a recent Mashable article, new highway signs will say things like, "It can wait: text stop 5 miles". When I first read this article, I assumed that there would be spots designated just for answering calls and texts off of highways. However, this is not the case and the new spots will be existing rest areas and rest stops. Governor Cuomo is hoping that the new signs will simply act as reminders to drivers that they can safely address their phone calls and text messages in a timely, yet safe manner.

The state will issue about 300 signs to be placed on New York's highways and rest areas. According to Governor Cuomo, the situation has become so dire that creative ways to keep people safe need to be created. Safety needs to be the main concern and it has become evident that technologies like Bluetooth and Siri are simply not enough. 

I am curious as to whether or not this will be successful. Could a simple sign encourage drivers to hold off sending that one text to their friends? Would people really be willing to pull over at a rest stop just to get back on the busy highway 30 seconds later? I really have no idea whether or not this will be successful, but I truly hope it is. Technology will continue to evolve, but that requires people's intelligence to evolve as well. It's a simple problem with a simple solution. Don't text and drive.

To sign the "It Can Wait" pledge, click here. To read the full texting zones article, click here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tips and Tricks - The Best Features of iOS7

Apple has released iOS7 on September 18, the latest update to its mobile operating system that runs the iPhone smartphone as well as the iPad and iPod Touch.  According to Apple, "... our purpose was to create and experience that was simpler, more useful, and more enjoyable- while building on the things people love about iOS.  Ultimately, redesigning the way it works led us to redesign the way it looks.  Because good design is design that's in service of the experience."  Almost a week later, Apple's customers and critics have had time to play with the new features.  I have compiled a few of the best tips and tricks of the new iOS7.

Shutting Down Apps-  With the old iOS, if users wanted to close out apps, they would double tap home button and choose the apps that they wanted to close. In iOS 7, after the double tap, apps now appear as a series of screens users scroll left to right (similar to how mobile Safari might organize multiple pages). To close apps, users simply swipe up.  iOS7 revolves around the art of multitasking and having the ability to run multiple apps at a time while still preserving battery life.  
Photo via Apple

FaceTime -  A really great feature of the updated FaceTime on the phone is the availability to call anyone with an iOS from anywhere in the world with or with out wifi. This saves the hassle from having to use a third party program to  call someone.

Control Center - This new feature lets the user change the most popular settings such as screen brightness or Airplane mode all with the swipe of a finger.  Apple promotes this feature as "Do what you need to do. Quick."  Some of the main features of this simple swipe up is the ability to turn on or off airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Do Not Disturb, and the screens orientation and brightness.  Instead of double tapping the home button to control the music, you can now play, pause or skip a song right on this screen.  Apple put the most used controls on this screen such as flashlight, timer, calculator and camera.
Photo via Apple
New Camera Features - There are more options of the camera right in front of you. High Dynamic Range and Panorama are just a swipe to the right.  My new favorite feature of the camera is the new iOS7 which has a photo filter option with 9 different filters to choose from (displayed below). The best part of this is that it can apply the filters before even taking the picture.  Photos are organized a bit differently, as well. There are the standard albums, but when you tap the Photos icon at the bottom left, you can view images as "collections" sorted by date.
Picture via Funranker.com
iTunes Radio -  This free streaming radio is very similar to Pandora.  The more you listen, the more personal your favorite stations become.  Additionally, iOS7 users can now stream the internet for a musical experience with no ads via iTunes Match.
Photo via Apple

Blocking Numbers - With the new iOS7 update, there's now the option to block unwanted callers.  The feature will block any phone calls, iMessages or FaceTime calls from contacting you.

Being an iPhone and iPad user myself, I have really enjoyed the new software update.  I feel that the new design makes the phone look, feel and run with higher precision and elegance.

If you want to read more about the iOS7 update, check out Apple's Website !

Sunday, September 15, 2013

LinkedIn launches "Bring in your Parents Day"

Picture via PongoResume.com

I'm sure many of you have heard about "Bring your child to work day" and I'm confident that some of you have even participated in it. For those of you who haven't, however, it is simply a fun way for a company to involve their employees' children while allowing children to get an idea of just what their mother or father does for a living. LinkedIn has taken this tradition, along with results from a recent survey, and has created a global event where children bring their parents to their job in hopes of decreasing the generation gap.

The survey took place in the UK and found that nearly half of parents do not understand what their children do for a living and that over one in four workers think that it would benefit them if their parents had a better grasp on their profession. The survey also allowed LinkedIn to compile a list of the top ten most misunderstood jobs and they are the following:

  1. UI Designer (82%)
  2. Data Scientist (63%)
  3. Social Media Manager (59%)
  4. Actuary (59%)
  5. Sociologist (53%)
  6. Sub Editor (51%)
  7. PR Manager (42%)
  8. Investment Banker (41%)
  9. Radio Producer (34%)
  10. Software Developer (34%)
As future PR pros, it is probably not shocking for you guys to see social media manager and PR manager on that list. Almost every time I speak about public relations around people who are not in the industry, I am overwhelmed with questions about what exactly the job entails. As for the social media aspect, many people who are my age or in the PR industry are familiar with the aspects of social media. However, many adults (especially my parents) really have no idea and I feel that they could highly benefit from this LinkedIn initiative to decrease the generation gap.

On November 7, 2013 LinkedIn's "Bring in Your Parents Day" will take place in fourteen different countries. The day hopes to give parents a better understanding of what their child does, which will hopefully lead to more satisfied children and parents. As of right now, 46% of parents do not fully understand their child's job, yet 97% of parents say that they are proud of their children for their career success. 

I absolutely love this idea and feel that many people could benefit from it. As someone who is very close with my parents, I would be delighted to have them come into the office for a day and see what I am passionate about. I feel that if they fully understood, conversations would be more in-depth and relationships would be strengthened. 

If you want to learn more about the survey and the results, click here!