Tag Archives: social media

Cocktail PaRty

Cocktail-Party-ReceptionLast week, “Public Relations Nation” featured helpful advice from Edelman’s Steve Rubel at the Fair Media Council’s annual Summer Social Media Boot Camp in Bethpage, N.Y. on July 10. Rubel’s main message was that everything we pitch to media and create online should have multiple uses and impressions. He suggested communicators must look for synergy and synchronicity by finding ways to attach social media to everything we do and put order to the content so it’s truly effective.

The event featured best social media practices, tips and advice for businesses and nonprofit organizations. Other PR and social media pros joined Rubel with words of wisdom and advice about online content, many worth repeating. Here’s a sampling:

“Social media is essentially a cocktail party. The person you want to be with is engaging and interacting. Your social media content should be the attractive person at the party.”

“You only have about two seconds to get someone’s attention. So it’s about how you find ways to reach the media consumer when most are just skimming online.”

“Text is less and less effective. Images and visuals get attention and stand out.”

“Using employee or customer experiences as a way to tell your brand’s story is personal and relatable. Give your internal and external publics the tools to represent the organization on social media.”

“When you’re writing anything for the Internet, keep cutting until there’s nothing left but meat.”

One of my favorite observations that day was about the kind of content subjects people share most. The top four are:

1) animals
2) religious
3) children
4) other people

Given this list, maybe the best way to draw a crowd to your social media is by posting a photo or video of cute children playing with puppies while with their praying parents. And be sure that it’s all compelling enough to grab their attention immediately–you only have two seconds.

Clearly, how we use the Internet and social media is constantly evolving. It’s up to PR practitioners to reach our audiences by effectively and creatively using the amazing tools we have, and the advice we get. Your thoughts?


On PeRsonalization of content

Steve Rubel

Steve Rubel

Steve Rubel is an interesting guy with an interesting job. As chief content strategist for Edelman, the world’s largest privately owned public relations company, Rubel spends his days (and nights) studying how, why and when people use the Internet. His role is to watch and anticipate trends in social media and online applications, and see how humans interact with all their available technology.

Rubel, a Hofstra graduate, spoke at Fair Media Council’s annual Summer Social Media Boot Camp on July 10 which featured best practices, tips and advice for businesses and nonprofit organizations. Some of the statistics he quoted were mind-blowing. For example, 60 percent of all media consumption is now taking place on smart phones. One billion–billion!–photos are uploaded every day. People rarely go directly to web sites; they mostly use intermediaries, platforms, links, apps, and aggregate sites to get there.

Rubel’s presentation gave the audience a lot to consider. “Algorithms are the new intermediaries,” he told the group. As most of us know, algorithms are essential to the way computers process data. Each time we use our computers and smart phones, we’re shaping algorithms for the next time we use them. The result is increased personalization of the content that winds up on our screens. Rubel believes we’ll see more and more personalized information, and it’s up to professional communicators to create content to achieve this. He also suggested:

  • Communicators need to pay more attention to what happens to content after it’s posted.
  • We must look for synergy and synchronicity by finding ways to attach social media to everything we do and put order to the content so it’s truly effective. “Social media is like air now,” Rubel said. “It’s everywhere in our lives.”
  • Everything we pitch to media and create online should have multiple uses and impressions. Earned and social media must generate other opportunities.

Rubel concluded by asking us to think of the web and social media like individual stars in a dark sky. If sites, platforms and applications are stars, we need to turn them into constellations by connecting them. Your thoughts?





CorPoRate communications

One of the highlights of my participation in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)’s annual conference in Montreal this week was seeing Michael Krempasky of Edelman Public Relations.  Krempasky presented “Digital Public Affairs: From the campaign trail and corporate communications” to 100 PR and communications educators.

Edelman's Michael Krempasky

Edelman’s Michael Krempasky

Krempasky, general manager of Edelman’s Digital Public Affairs team and adjunct professor at Georgetown, talked about the changes in corporate communications over the last couple of decades.  He noted what was known as “brand advocacy,” when companies focused on creating awareness to sell products and services, has evolved into “public advocacy,” where firms look to build trust, relationships, collaboration, and action.  He said that corporate communications is less about the competition and more about meeting stakeholders’ expectations.  Traditional advertising and marketing approaches have morphed into business relations, government relations, philanthropy, and public relations.

An active Republican, Krempasky pointed to how the Obama campaigns wisely viewed social media and traditional media as one in the same, never treating them as separate plans but instead completely integrating the two.  He discussed the importance of hiring people with diverse skills, and letting them problem-solve without edicts from detached higher-ups.  He said, “math wins,” suggesting that PR practitioners always pay close attention to measurable approaches and results.  He also suggested we “build things,” meaning we shouldn’t accept only what’s available to us, but rather create new infrastructures and platforms to help reach our goals.

Krempasky concluded by talking about the three basic components that make a successful campaign: time, talent and treasure.  He asked us which of the three were most important; most said, “talent.” Some thought “treasure” or big budgets were the key to successful campaigns.  But Krempasky said that it’s “time”which matters more, especially when there’s a final date attached to a campaign (i.e., Election Day).  He suggested that above all other things, we use our time wisely and strategically when conducting our public relations campaigns.  He’s right–it’s not just about meeting deadlines; it’s about using every PR tool you have efficiently and effectively.  Your thoughts?

PeRsonal deception?

Facebook likeEveryone has an opinion about Facebook.  Love it, “like” it or hate it, Facebook has a billion and a quarter users, and roughly half of them use it daily.  For public relations practitioners, Facebook is an extremely useful tool for creating relationships with targeted audiences.  In fact, Facebook and other social media platforms have forever changed the practice of public relations in countless ways.

I recently heard a sociologist say that people are using Facebook to prove to their friends and themselves that they have a wonderful life.  He said users rarely share personal tragedy or misery; it’s a center for self-promotion and even Pollyanna-like personal deception.  He believes that people use Facebook to tell others (and I’m paraphrasing), “follow me, look at me, be jealous of me.”

I put this question to my Facebook friends, sharing this theory and asking for reactions. The feedback was interesting.  Here’s a sampling; I’m using first names only:

Wendy: “That perspective has been pondered as long as FB has existed. There is a growing body of research that supports social media perceptions of relationships, and depression in young people.”

Lisa: “Not always true. Our generation connects to old friends, relatives and people with whom we have lost contact. We share our lives, including sad and happy stories.”

Mindy: “I do believe that people tend to amplify their ‘great’ lives on FB and minimize their trials and tribulations. On the flip side, there are those who share every hangnail and belch.”

Alicia: “I love to share and to see how my friends are doing in this hectic selfish and dangerous world we now live in…I will take as much good news as I can get.”

Ellen: “I think Facebook is the place where you can share, catch up and keep in touch. Only silly people think it’s something other than that!”

Flo: “All I know is, my life is better than your life.”

LOL, Flo!

For PR people, using Facebook effectively often yields positive outcomes for their clients.  Are we, in fact, using the same techniques for our own personal PR?  Your thoughts?


Community PRojects

Professor Aashish Kumar, Project Leader

Professor Aashish Kumar, Project Leader

This past Friday I was honored to be a part of a day-long workshop at Hofstra involving about a dozen nonprofit organizations who came to the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication to learn.  They were there to find out how they could be helped to promote their services more effectively through the use of audio/video digital media, public relations tools and social media platforms, and ultimately to build capacities to sustain these activities within their organizations.  I presented the PR/social media session while my colleagues, Professors Aashish Kumar and Mario Murillo, showed the 30 participants ways in which grassroots organizations all over the world are using innovative techniques and technologies to advocate for their causes.

The workshop, “Electronic/Social Media for Community Advocacy” led to the announcement of a new longer-term partnership with Hofstra faculty and students for select organizations who wish to build self-sustaining capacities so they can better communicate. Those attending were invited to submit proposals and several will be selected to receive training and guidance over the next few months.

What the event reinforced was this: time and time again we see nonprofit organizations struggling to get their messages out there. Some need basic instruction on how to use social media; for example, most in the group didn’t know that Twitter and Facebook posts could be written and scheduled in advance using their existing platforms or through software like Hootsuite.  Some organizations want to add video to online and offline advocacy efforts but lack the expertise to use what is relatively simple technology like iMovie and MovieMaker. What they lack are resources, budgets and trained staff.  This project, supported from a grant by the Long Island Community Foundation, will help us to help them.

These are ideal projects for graduate students looking for summer internships or capstone projects, or even undergraduates who seek real-world experience with their own internships.  I’m hoping to recruit students to help these organizations.  The good work they’re doing is worth our time and support.  Your thoughts?

The New First ImPRession

NOTE FROM JEFF MOROSOFF:  Each semester, my public relations students in Hofstra University’s Honors College are required to contribute posts to my blog.  The following guest post was written by sophomore Nyala Stagger:

Nyala Stagger

Nyala Stagger

Personal public relations is the basis behind a lot of our daily actions and interactions. For the average college student, your publics are your classmates, your professors, faculty, and residential staff, among many others. How you present – or pitch – yourself to them becomes great practice for going into the workforce. However, the Internet has made the process of establishing a great first impression all the more frightening.

In this day and age, as many college students have been warned, social media profiles can be used as weapons against or for someone’s personal PR. Many times when we hear an unfamiliar name, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter are great resources to get an idea of who that person is. A decade or two ago, people had to wait until they physically met someone to learn the bare minimum about them. Now, we can learn about people’s whole lives with 20 minutes of good scouring and scrolling through a social media profile. I’ve heard frightening tales of students whose professors found their Facebook profiles and were more than displeased with what they encountered.

A trend that I’ve noticed among my peers is a censoring of social media profile content to control the kind of impression others get from them. By censorship, I don’t mean removing the typical college house party or bar night pictures, since those obviously don’t belong there, but students are now not posting personal thoughts and opinions that could be considered as “controversial” or deleting social media profiles all together to remain “under the radar.”

I think that by trying to stay under the radar, they do exactly that. By heavily censoring their profile, one can remain virtually unseen by potential employers and acquaintances by leaving their PERSONALITY out of their personal PR. What’s needed is a healthy balance between showcasing individuality, while still maintaining a level of professionalism.

What are your opinions? Do you agree with heavy profile censorship or do you like it more when a profile really showcases the person behind the “@” symbol?

HaPpy New YeaR to us!

PR-TrendsHere’s some excellent new year news for public relations students and professionals: An article, “Seven Top Careers in 2014” published in Yahoo! Education last week named public relations as “Hot Career #1.”  While the ranking was the creation of its author, Terrance Loose, who based his article on interviews with “experts” and numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the content is spot-on.

“If Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter hasn’t driven home the fact that marketing and public relations is going to be supremely important in the future, maybe you need a smarter smart phone,” wrote Loose. “And one career that will be key for companies in the future is PR specialist.”  The article went on to quote Phil Dunn, president of Synapse Services Co, a web technologies and marketing company. “In the fast-paced, all-access world of social media, the difference between a record quarter and a bad one for a company can come down to good or bad public relations,” he said, “so they will be in high demand.”

Now, before we go around bragging about how our profession is so hot now, we should note that there are scores of lists on the Internet that attempt to rank the “best jobs,” “fastest growing careers” and “top, recession-proof college majors.”  Public relations doesn’t even show up on some of these lists.  But one significant statistic backs up the Yahoo! article, and it’s from the aforementioned Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The agency reports that employment of PR specialists is expected to grow 21 percent in this decade, faster than the average for all occupations.  Employment of public relations managers is expected to grow by 16 percent by 2020.  Qualified PR people will be sought after in government, education, nonprofit, corporate, agency, and health institutions.

With this job growth is the need for an ever-increasing set of skills.  Today’s PR practitioners must possess a combination of capabilities that make them effective communicators in marketing, management, social media, desktop production, and traditional media.  It’s an exciting time for public relations, and 2014 looks to be another big year.  Hooray and Happy New Year to us!  Your thoughts?

On PRess kits and revolution

back-to-schoolAs the spring semester begins and my focus shifts to my public relations classes, I’ve been thinking about what “tweaks” may be needed to update my syllabi.  As the industry shifts and emphasizes new technology, new platforms and new approaches to social media, so does the classwork.  But how much of the “old” PR techniques still hold, and how much is truly “new?”

For example, the final project in my PR Fundamentals class is the production of a press kit for an imagined client.  Each student must create original material in standard industry formats for press releases, backgrounders, bios, media advisories, and other supporting documents.  But this raises a question: Is this the kind of work our students will be doing after they graduate in a couple of years?  Or is the practice of putting together a press kit, housed in a two-pocket folder, made obsolete by electronic and social media?  Some professionals have suggested that the press release itself is dead, let alone an entire paper press kit.  Should this no longer be taught?

The newest required course in Hofstra’s public relations program is PR Tools.  Here we review the skills PR practitioners need to do their jobs; we survey social media platforms, learn how to create blogs, practice photography and video production, do some desktop publishing, and  assemble online portfolios.  I’m wondering if the amount of time we spend in each area is quite enough, given how much of these skills are now being used in real world PR.  Should web-based platforms and desktop skills become the primary focus of the public relations major?

So to my new students: welcome to the spring semester.  You’re part of an amazing evolution–maybe even a revolution–within the field you have chosen to study.  Take it all in, make suggestions, add to the debate, and do your research.  You, too, will be contributing to the fast-paced changes we PR veterans are witnessing.  Ultimately, you are the future of our industry.  Your thoughts?

The death of PeRsonal interaction?

Edison phonograph, circa 1899

When Thomas Edison and others began inventing and producing machines that could record and replay sound, there were loud protests. Musicians and concert halls took ads in newspapers and lobbied politicians to ban the devices, fearing for their jobs. They believed that if a person could buy a device and listen to it at home, there would be no reason to see a live performance.

Similarly, there are many who view social media as the death of face-to-face communication. The Internet, some believe, is rapidly turning us into a world of disconnected connections. There are fears that people’s ability to relate to one another verbally is being rapidly depleted.

In one of my classes this week, I told my students of an incidental–but maybe important– change I’ve witnessed as a teacher. I used to walk into a room to find students talking and laughing, and I’d have to quiet them down so I could start.  Now when I walk into a classroom, it’s almost dead quiet. Every student is on a cellphone. They’re not interacting with each other.

So is social media causing the slow death of personal interaction? There is much evidence to the contrary. My students pointed to dating sites, where connections are made that would never have been made otherwise. We noted the dozens of “meet-up” sites where like-minded people arrange to meet in groups to discuss their mutual interests. Store traffic, event attendance, political action, and even revolutions are being driven through social media sites.

The premature predictions of the death of personal contact was illustrated at a September gathering of the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island (PRPLI) when the group met with members of the media. Editors and reporters told us that they still prefer PR people to make their pitches on the phone or in person, and not through tweeting. And while this is changing in some PR-to-media relationships, I believe that face-to-face communication is enhanced by social media and not being killed off by it. Your thoughts?

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