Responding to Golden (State) opportunities

I was recScreen Shot 2016-07-20 at 2.16.36 PMently reminded that publicity is perhaps one of the most important tools for a non-profit organization. Athletes C.A.R.E., a student athlete organization focused on ending homelessness and hunger, received an unexpected shout out from Nick Young of the L.A. Lakers on a recent episode of Cupcake Wars: Celebrities.

This was an unplanned windfall for Athletes C.A.R.E., but absent a plan to respond and capitalize on the event, it would have ended as a one-time happening missed by many.

Fortunately, Athletes C.A.R.E. took advantage of its active social media presence. For non-profits, leveraging social media can mean a huge boost in messaging attention, and even fundraising.

The first step is to post about the event. Take to every platform where you have an active presence and let followers know your organization has been publicly recognized. In those posts, be sure to tag the relevant names and organizations. For Athletes C.A.R.E., this meant tagging Nick Young, the L.A Lakers, The Food Network and Cupcake Wars. By tagging the appropriate parties (and their social media accounts) you widen the reach of your post and expose your organization to broader audiences. Now not only will your followers see the post, but the followers of anyone you tag will see the post as well.

Additionally, you can reach out to your local newspaper and other local media outlets to alert them of events such as having Nick Young reference your non-profit on national television. Something at that level might warrant a local news story.

Finally, you can follow-up two or three more times via social media over the course of the following week, pointing out different aspects of the initial event to extend the message and the reach. However posting more than that will likely be unwelcome. And any additional social posts about the event should be broken up by other content on social media.

With limited budgets and personnel, publicity and social media are two of the strongest tools in a non-profit’s arsenal. The ability to capitalize on and expand your organization through opportunities such as the situation with Athletes C.A.R.E. will strengthen your organization and help spread your message.

This post is courtesy of Cassidy Taylor, Lafayette College class of 2017, Kimball’s summer 2016 intern.

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4 things to look for before you post to social media

Social media tools are designed to be easy to use—but they’re not always easy to use well. Between typos, hasty responses and toggling multiple accounts in one dashboard, posting to social media can be perilous. What’s a social media manager to do?

Being careful doesn’t need to take a lot of time. Check out this checklist before the next time you hit “post.”

KPR-Before you post-Infograph

 

You can run, but you can’t hide #TwitterFails

Twitter Fail!

Photo credit: Transferwise.com

Social media is to branding a successful business as cheese is to mozzarella sticks. We’ve known for quite some time that marketers need to look alive every second of the day (or even just six hours per week), on the Twitterverse. But when opportunity arises or crisis strikes, it’s all about tactical PR. A strong media presence requires time commitment, creativity, and responsiveness; dedicated and experienced PR support is the best way to meet these demands. Without a practiced PR team or agency, your company may fall victim to the #nightmares detailed below.

#Wheresthecheese

Speaking of mozzarella sticks, McDonald’s launched them as a new item on their menu recently. Customers quickly took to social media to vent their frustrations with their cheesy purchase turned “lactose-free.“ McDonald’s came out with their explanation/ apology via The Chicago Tribune, but not before some smart competitors took to social media to boast the cheesy goodness they offer.

PR Takeaways:

1) Keep a close eye on social media callouts, so you can respond to the problem before the hashtag becomes the new problem.

2) Seize the opportunity, or dare we say, “cheese the opportunity.” Use humor and offer incentives to keep the situation friendly. Your audience will get a good laugh and hopefully drop in for a bite to eat. Just be sure to put your money where your mouth is if you’re going to play this card.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s has discontinued this product in response to negative feedback.

“Fire your agency. Then fire everyone who hired them”

Twitter users across the country did not appreciate the response Red Lobster gave to their Super Bowl Sunday shout out from none other than Queen Bey herself in her newly released single, “Formation”. The somewhat controversial lyric referencing Red Lobster turned all eyes on the seafood chain restaurant. While clearly trying to maintain their family-friendly rep, Red Lobster landed themselves in hot water with the masses on Twitter who waited hours for a clever response.

PR Takeaways:

  • Always be ready. You only get one shot to impress a lot of people.
  • You need to impress all of those people while sticking true to your brand, so tread lightly, but not too lightly.

#RIPTwitter

The social media site fell victim to the power of its creation when rumors spread that they may change their news stream from reverse-chronological order to an algorithm based feed, similar to Facebook’s. Even a few celebrities got on board with #RIPTwitter to express their discontent, to which CEO Jack Dorsey had to step in and quell the chaos.

PR Takeaways:

  • It never hurts to have employees at all levels involved with social, even the CEO—his word over all when it comes to shutting down rumors.
  • Don’t stick to just one outlet. With Twitter’s user growth slowing, it’s important to maintain messaging across multiple media outlets, social, news or otherwise.

Whether you work for a fast food giant or an insurance company, it’s important to control your own message. A small business may not generate viral hashtags the way Red Lobster would, but you can never be too sure what will happen in the realm of social media. Stay alert, stay focused, and stay out there.

How can hotels use social media during a crisis response?


Photo credit: Mark Emery Photography via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

The majority of hotels recognize the critical need for crisis response planning. But have they factored in social media? Over at Hotel Executive, Gary explains eight ways hotels can be effectively using social media during a crisis response.

 

7 ways to get the most out of social media at conferences

Summer is conference season, and we all know preparing for a conference is an important part of the experience. Social media has become a powerful tool for connecting with people at conferences, driving traffic to your booth and letting your audiences at home know what you’re learning. Below are some simple tips for being social media-ready at a conference or event.


Scott Beale / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Plan ahead. Ensure you have a designated tweeter while you’re attending. If several employees from your company are attending, don’t duplicate efforts and post the same content. Be sure you know the basics before attending: booth number, hashtag, speakers info., etc.

Consider bringing a portable charger for your phone. Outlets can be scarce at conferences and posting on social media all day will suck your battery dry. Most importantly, post ahead of the conference. Let others know you’ll be there.

Use the appropriate hashtag. Be sure to use the correct hashtag while tweeting. We’ve seen companies use two or three different hashtags while attending a conference. This can be very confusing and you may lose credibility.

Post photos and videos. I cannot stress enough how important it is to post visual content while you’re there. People want to see what’s happening. Photos also appear more prominently on the feed and you may have a better chance of being retweeted. What should you take photos of? Include photos of employees, your booth, speakers, etc. Keep it professional. If you’re heading to a bar after, it’s probably best not to include that shot (literally!).

Engage. Retweet interesting posts, mention speakers Twitter handles in your tweets, etc.
Include names. Mention who is at your booth and include name(s) and title(s). Double check to make sure the spelling is correct.

Drive traffic to your booth. Give attendees a reason to stop by your booth. Offer prizes (gift cards, iPads, etc.) or promote a new product.

Don’t disappear when it’s over. Just because it is over doesn’t mean you need to vanish. Discuss your favorite session or speaker, what you’re looking forward to next year, etc.

Before your next conference, you’ll be fully prepared. Enjoy conference season and happy tweeting!

Photo credit: Scott Beale / Source / CC BY-NC-ND

Six steps to launching a new social media account

You’ve decided it’s time to create a new social media account for your company, but you’re not exactly sure where you should start. Whether you’re thinking about creating a LinkedIn Company Page, Twitter account, Instagram account or Facebook Page, you need to think about several factors before you dive in. Here are a few things to consider before you create a new social media account and push out your first message.

Identify your audience. Identify your target audience and determine who you want to reach. Most importantly, is your target audience on the platform you’re considering creating?

Spy on your competition. See if your competition is on the particular platform you’re interested in creating. If they are on a given platform, see who your competition is connecting with on that particular platform. Look at the different types of content they’re sharing. See what’s working well for your competition and what is not working as well. What types of content have the highest engagement?


Foter / CC BY-SA

Identify the content you’ll share. Ask yourself why people would want to follow you. What do you have to offer?  Give them a reason to follow you by positioning yourself as the expert in your given industry. If you’re in the insurance industry, consider sharing tips, industry news, original visual content (such as infographics and photos from conferences), etc.

Frequency. Ask yourself if you and your team are able to devote enough time to another platform. How much time do you have to tweet/post on the new platform? Don’t set expectations too high, meaning, don’t plan to tweet three times a day, if you only have time to tweet a few times a week.

Ensure voice/tone is consistent. Be sure there’s a designated person tweeting and not several. This will ensure your tone is consistent throughout. Make sure your tone is appropriate for the industry you’re reaching out to.

Determine your end-goal and be realistic. Are you looking to increase traffic to your website? Consider sharing company news, blogs and other pages on your domain. Maybe you’re looking to create overall awareness for your company. Share company news while sprinkling in relevant industry news that will pertain to your audience.

Don’t try to tackle too many goals at once. Stick to a few until you’ve perfected your approach and go from there.

Those are just a few things to consider before you jump into creating a new social media account. Have anything to add? Comment below.

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA

How to integrate social media in crisis communications


ePublicist / Foter / CC BY-ND

A crisis is a time of uncertainty that requires the careful management of information. If you don’t move quickly to present the facts and explain your position, then others will do it for you – and that puts the accuracy of the words and images they use beyond your control.

The words and images you use can either spell success and strengthen your future or damage your company’s reputation for years to come. The impact of social media on the crisis communications process has been significant.

Today information flows faster is more complex and independent. It is spread through multiple channels, and as a result, is often less reliable and more difficult to control. You often have just a few hours or minutes to communicate.

Social media must be fully integrated in your crisis communications plan. That means, your social networks are of equal import as other audiences and your community manager should be an effective communicator, as well as a media-savvy professional with appropriate technical skills.

Messaging must be also consistent with other channels, but appropriate for social networks. Candor is expected and an authentic voice is critical.  And, as crisis communications is a two-way process, listening through your social networks can inform your communications with many different audiences.

Above all, you need to consider and plan for all contingencies. Each type of crisis should be considered. Social media will play a critical role in communicating during and after natural disasters, terrorist attacks, cyber breaches and, of course, crises created by social media. But also consider its role in financial crises, human resources issues and (in the insurance world) claims and service issues.

Join me on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 at 11 a.m. EST for the IMCA webcast, “Integrating Social Media in Crisis Communications,” where I’ll explore these issues in more detail.