The communications landscape has changed drastically over the past 10-15 years. Highlighted are social media and the ever-changing pace it places on the public relations profession. Nowhere can you disseminate information faster, more concisely and deliver an immediate impact better than with social media.
But with this power comes the burden of a hyper-quick attention span amongst audiences and the unpredictability of an open environment. That’s why professionally managing the conversation is so important.
Content Creation: Social channels allow you to offer your content directly to audiences, whether they are industry segmented or public. Creating engaging content that will offer unique viewpoints or an interesting development from your company/brand is key.
Listen to Conversations: While using social media is effective in getting your message out, it’s also an opportunity to listen to what’s being said about your brand. Not only does it allow you to receive immediate feedback, it can be used for new dialogue for future PR and marketing opportunities. The opportunities to listen to feedback and create positive outcomes are a key attribute to brands that convert negative feedback/content.
Crisis Communications: Social media can play an immediate role in how and when situations are handled. The ability to answer the call for a crisis is readily available through social channels. Be prepared and offer opportunities to deliver answers when needed.
Monitor Outreach: Not only are your peers and consumers reviewing your social outreach, but so are media outlets. And reporters are keenly attuned to social media channels. Keep your content “top of mind” and use the opportunities to engage with the media, while keeping your messaging on point. The benefits are there to stay sharp and concise while continuing to affect attitudes towards your brand.
it’s important to use social media to gather data, increase brand credibility and listen to conversations – http://t.co/5xRokDKqcz
— Mike Bohne (@Mike_Bohne) July 1, 2014
That’s why it’s essential to keep atop of the conversation and let a PR professional take the lead in controlling your vested interest in social media.
Telling a story the right way is like taking your audience on a journey. It might be filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, but in the end, proper planning makes sure your trip is filled with smooth sailing.
My journey started like this: Gramercy Communications, a firm I had long admired and respected, decided to make an addition to their team. Always one to utilize social media to reach a wide audience, they posted this announcement on Twitter. A journalist for the past five years, I was accustomed to constantly scouring Twitter for breaking news, and this was major breaking news.
That seemed like a perfect match, and less than 24 hours later and with bated breath, I submitted my resume. On April 21st, my career launched in a new, uncharted direction as I officially became the Public Relations Manager for Gramercy Communications.
Being a former journalist – fresh to navigating the high seas of public relations - I’ve quickly learned that knowing where to steer the ship once it sets sail is vital, but knowing who makes up the ship’s crew is even more important.
As a Public Relations Manager, it is my job to understand that I am doing much more than just disseminating information. I’m responsible for finding a way to ensure that my information floats to the top and grabs attention, and doesn’t get snagged in the net of mass communication overload. The best way to do that? Tell a story.
When organizing a media event, it is important to remember one thing: you need a character, the anchor that keeps your message from setting adrift.
Examine the second word in my title – relations. Find someone associated with your event that people can RELATE to; someone who adds an engaging, compelling and humanizing component. Now, tell your story through your character’s eyes and in a way that will emotionally connect your audience to your message. That’s when people will listen and that’s how you can ensure your story makes waves.
As many of you saw Sunday, the Times Union and Siena Research Institute released the first in a series of polls sponsored by Gramercy Communications. This initial installment of the poll, “How We Live: The Fabric of Upstate Life,” focused on New York State education issues, and more than 800 upstate New Yorkers shared their thoughts and opinions.
The data from the poll produced a range of thoughtful coverage. From television news stations and newspapers across upstate and downstate to nationwide news services, the poll generated coverage all across the Empire State and beyond. News of the poll reached outlets in San Francisco, and all points in between.
We are encouraged by the vast interest in the poll, and look forward to exploring other topics upstate New Yorkers care about. Please click the links below to view a sample of the coverage.
Gramercy Communications is proud to announce the release of a new poll: The Times Union/Siena College Upstate Education Poll. Sponsored exclusively by Gramercy Communications, this is the first in a new series called “How We Live: The Fabric of Upstate Life.” The poll, released in today’s Times Union newspaper, takes an in-depth look at the attitudes and opinions of upstate New Yorkers on public education. More than 800 upstate residents discussed their thoughts on public education issues, including the Common Core, standardized testing, teacher evaluations, the quality and cost of education and problems facing the education system today.
A poll that focuses exclusively on upstate is a groundbreaking effort, and our firm is honored to be a part of this worthy endeavor.
In addition, WMHT is producing a program discussing the findings from the education poll. Stay tuned for details about the production, including how to participate as an audience member.
“The Gramercy team takes great pride in living and doing business in upstate New York,” said Tom Nardacci, President and Founder of Gramercy Communications. “As a strategic communications firm, we want to have an acute understanding of what issues are important to the residents of the Capital Region and beyond. We are proud to sponsor this poll, which provides valuable insight on Upstate New York-centric topics, many of which are being wholly explored in detail for the first time.”
“While not every Upstater we spoke with works in education nor even has a child in school today, everyone seems to have strong opinions about public education,” according to Dr. Don Levy, SRI’s Director. “Less than half grade the overall quality of education as good or excellent, and fewer than a third think that the education children are receiving in New York today is better than they received as a child.”
To some folks, Klout is shrouded in a mystery similar to Google’s algorithms that sort the order of search results.
Klout uses an algorithm to determine if you’ve got “Klout,” and gives you a numerical value on a scale of zero to 100 that is supposed to indicate just how influential you are across the social media landscape. It was originally designed as a tool to help social media users become more effective with engagement, but since its inception, the tool has morphed and now has evolved into a content creation and sharing platform.
Like any ranking system, users have become focused on how to raise their Klout score. Most Klout users check in at least a few times a week to see if their ranking has risen. Once you get started, raising one’s Klout can become a consuming goal. The next thing you know, you’re posting pictures of your cat just because you know people will like it or comment on Facebook.
Overall though, what does a Klout score mean, and is it an effective measure of your reach? You’ll have to try it out for yourself.
On Klout http://t.co/mtb6RBLwQe score is on the rise.
— Mike Bohne (@Mike_Bohne) May 21, 2014
How Klout Works
Klout works by taking and scoring all of your social accounts, from Twitter and Facebook to Google+, Foursquare and LinkedIn. It then grades you and your engagement with others and calculates a score for you.
What’s new with Klout is its “Create” function, which has put the service into the news feed arena. It lists the themes you could be influential in and wants you to share content to others in your Klout network and beyond with the thought that sharing these items will help raise your Klout score as well.
However, it’s really about engagement if you want to master it. Just broadcasting out your Facebook or LinkedIn updates or re-tweeting industry articles is not going to help increase your score. Klout determines your score by how well you engage with others, and it’s not about how many followers you have; it’s the likes, comments and re-tweets that really matter.
To be successful and achieve a high Klout score, you need to really invest some time into the platform. Make sure you have connected the right networks. Building influence is about trust, so you want to present yourself as trustworthy as well as bring relevant and unique information and content to the table. Don’t forget to engage — this means comment, like, and create a conversation. When influencers and thought leaders start re-tweeting you and referencing you in their posts, that’s when your score really starts to rise.
Recent changes to Twitter’s new in-browser layout include larger images, reformatted navigation and an interface experience that mirrors the Facebook newsfeed design. The revamp is requiring everyone step up their visual game, brands in particular. What are the biggest changes that come with the new Twitter design? Here’s what you need to know for marketing your brand.
1. Larger Photos
The top of your profile page is now dedicated to a large cover photo (the dimensions are 1500 pixels by 500 pixels, to be exact) in addition to your smaller profile photo. All tweeted photos now appear larger in the newsfeed automatically, too. The background themes and photo options are no longer available with the new design, which leaves only you only two photo opportunities to brand your page. Make them count by using images that are both engaging and emblematic of your brand!
2. Larger Tweets Capture What’s Trending
All of the tweets in the feed are larger at a size 13 font, but the most popular tweets (those with more retweets or favorites) are oversized at a size 22.5 font. Any tweet without any form of engagement is shown significantly smaller, making content quality even more important.
3. Sort Tweets By Type
Users can now sort out content by type Tweets, Photos/Videos (including Vines), Following, Followers and Favorites.
4. We’re Pinning Up Tweets Now
When you have a great tweet that you want to have more exposure (like this awesome blog post) the tweet can be “pinned” to remain at the top of your page. The action is similar to Facebook’s “Pin to Top” option, which keeps a post at the top of the page for a week.
As a marketer for your brand, keep these four key points top of mind when using the new interface, and especially remember that visuals are playing a much larger role on Twitter. With these changes, quality of content becomes even more critical when it comes to capturing the attention of your audience.
Utilizing Twitter's New Layout for Marketing: http://t.co/ngkOntS20k
— Mike Bohne (@Mike_Bohne) May 8, 2014
It’s a dispiriting scene these days for what many in the media business hoped would be the savior of the news industry: hyperlocal digital journalism.
AOL’s ambitious Patch.com project has been in freefall for some time, and the general consensus is it will either be shuttered or rebranded into a kittens and “news of the weird” video service soon.
More recently, Digital First media announced it would shutter its “Thunderdome” newsroom that was aimed at freeing up journalists in the company’s more than 100 newsrooms to chase local content.
People want local news. They want to consume it digitally. So where are these efforts failing?
Part of the story is economics and the size of the markets fueling these endeavors. A late-2013 report by Borrell Associates found small business owners planned to spend just 12 percent of their digital advertising budgets on banner advertising, sponsorships and classifieds, which are significant revenue streams for local-targeted media.
Even worse for these media, the study found these business owners planned to spend more than half of their entire marketing budgets on owned channels (their own websites, email marketing and social media). The fact many of these can be geo-targeted, long a major advantage of local publications, does not help matters.
At the same time, there has been success. Among them are The Daily Voice, an online conglomeration of reporters reporting on news in Connecticut and downstate New York. The Curbed DC network of sites did much the same in the nation’s capital (and was acquired by Vox Media for $20 to $30 million as a result).
These facts lead to a clear conclusion: hyperlocal digital is viable, but it’s yet to be shown it is scalable.
The success stories are small, nimble and most importantly, embedded in their communities. Conversely, the Patch model aims to be an all-encompassing umbrella, directing its model to where AOL feels the market will support it.
This market is made for the nimble startup, not the nationwide gorillas. Patch’s predicament isn’t a knock on hyperlocal journalism. It’s an indicator that a national square peg can’t fit into a local round hole. Don’t count this movement as dead just yet.
You might have noticed this “selfie” thing is catching on out there; millions upon millions of these were taken and uploaded to social media using smartphones in 2013, and I don’t think it’s stopping anytime soon. The Oxford Dictionaries even named “selfie” the 2013 word of the year. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half (55%) of millennials have posted at least one on social media. In total, more than a quarter of the American population as a whole has shared a selfie at some point in time.
Selfies are embedded in popular culture right now. Celebrities are using them as a form of self-promotion, but now corporate brands are beginning to ask themselves how they can capitalize on the trend. For example, Turkish Airlines is a brand that leveraged selfies as part of an integrated social media campaign. Selfies are commonly utilized on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, however the airline took the trend to another level, creating this YouTube skit here.
Then you have Dunkin’ Donuts, which used the phenomena for showcasing its products. Each of its social media “Fan of the Week” submissions has its cup glaringly featured. If you’re loyal to the brand and you love it, why not take your picture with it? Dunkin’ Donuts utilizes Facebook as part of each selfie campaign, but then takes it to the next level on Twitter with its #mydunkin hashtag.
Selfies have risen in popularity, and right now is the time to strike if you do plan on capitalizing on the trend. Brands big and small can reap some of the benefits, it just takes some creativity and the appropriate social media channels. I don’t plan on taking one anytime soon, but as a brand, selfies are worth exploring as part of your next campaign or social media strategy.
The last two springs, I have been fortunate enough to coach a little league baseball team with some of my closest friends. The experience has been nothing short of amazing. Teaching these future baseball stars a game I love and seeing their excitement as they learn the game is truly incredible.
I’ve quickly found out, however, that the kids aren’t the only ones learning something throughout this experience.
As a communications professional, I pride myself on the ability to effectively get my key messages across no matter the situation. I thought this skill would be easily transferable to the diamond and that I would have no trouble communicating lessons to my players.
I soon saw how very wrong this thinking was. The first few times out on the field, I found myself over-explaining the drills and getting so bogged down in the details of each that by the end of my explanation, the poor kids had no idea what I was talking about (or what they were supposed to do).
I realized that I needed to simplify what I wanted to say into a very clear and concise directive if I expected the kids to understand and act on what I was trying to teach them.
Off of the field, this realization got me thinking about my professional interactions. Was I overcomplicating my intended messages? Shouldn’t my level of communication always be clear and concise, no matter the age of the audience?
Most effective messages can, and should, be conveyed in no more than 10 seconds. You have to take advantage of short attention spans if you want individuals to remember what you’re trying to say. If you find yourself taking longer than 10 seconds, then you’re using too many words. It is also possible you don’t have a clear enough picture of what you were trying to say in the first place.
So the next time you’re preparing for an interview or a presentation, try and keep in mind this lesson I learned from a bunch of little league baseball players. You’ll be glad you did.
Yesterday, I was pleased to join U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer in Troy as he talked about his efforts to secure critical FEMA funding to repair Downtown Troy’s 90+ year-old seawall, an issue the City has been aggressively pursuing. Our company, Gramercy Communications is particularly interested and invested in waterfront development.
We moved our headquarters to Troy two years ago so that we could be directly on the riverfront, and we have sought out clients who are committed to the water and development along our rivers. Last summer, I volunteered my time to help jumpstart the Troy Marina & Docks that had sat idle since Hurricane Irene in 2011. This experience gave me a close-up view of how important it is to invest in waterfront infrastructure right now.
Our region will always be judged by how awesome or inadequate our waterfront is. When we go to other cities or regions on the water, we size up how great they are in a few minutes by looking at how they treat the water. The Hudson River and Mohawk River present incredible opportunities to boost the vitality of our downtowns, and in turn, the region as whole. We are lucky to have many talented individuals committed to bringing a mix of uses to our historic rivers, and our company is glad to play a role in stimulating, participating in or promoting these works and successes.
If you share the passion and want to talk to us about ideas you may have for our region’s waterways, drop me a note or give me a call.