Tag Archives: Facebook

What’s Trending is this Year’s Political Race?

Obama Poster during political PR seasonIt’s political season yet again, and this year’s presidential election won’t disappoint. Since David Axelrod, senior advisor for President Obama’s 2008 election campaign, and his team ripped the metaphorical fabric of social media use in a political campaign in half, everyone’s been trying to follow suite.

Political contenders across the country have been heavily using social media networks for awareness, message framing and fundraising purposes. This quote by Axelrod in a USA Today online article from 2011 certainly reveals how important social media is and will be to the 2012 campaign:

“Part of our mission is to really understand where all of this is going and to make sure that we’re reaching people where they are… that’s even more important for us, perhaps, than for others, because so much of our support came from younger, more wired people.”

Obama’s camp used every facet of social media to reach his constituencies, including: FacebookMySpaceYouTubeFlickrand Twitter. He also connected to various ethnic and LGBT groups through niche social outlets like BlackPlanetMiGente, and Glee, among others. These “wired” people became the backbone of his campaign, providing millions of dollars in micro-donations, viral support of his message and a groundswell of word-of-mouth – all while developing messages that correlated to his target audience.

The State of Social Media In the 2012 Election
We’re fast approaching Election Day and President Obama’s camp is already leading the social media race over Governor Romney. The Obama campaign is posting four times as much content on its website and social media properties than Romney according to the Pew Research Center.

Romney, however, has been focusing more on talking about Obama via his social networks than the opposition according to Political Hotsheet on CBS News website. This is probably due to the fact that campaigns have increasingly become finger-pointing competitions. But in the social world, using your opponent’s name/s will only bolster their SEO scores and help their campaign get indexed and more easily found.

The State of Your Social Media Campaign
This macro-level view of how social media can profoundly impact the vote reinforces the need for all of us to understand how these tools can be used in synchronicity to achieve our key objectives and goals.

Whether you’re a political candidate, staffer, corporate entity, nonprofit organization or municipality, social media is a game changer that needs to be carefully thought out when developing your strategic plan. You also need to keep in mind how social media affects many other aspects of the marketing mix, including: SEO scores and rankings, SEM campaign success and a variety of other digital PR and interactive disciplines.


Foursquare… annoying, yet addictive

Many people don’t know that Foursquare originated from a social media network called Dodgeball created in 2003 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. The duo formed Dodgeball to connect people so they can share their experiences at places like restaurants and stores. As Dodgeball began to grow, it was bought up by mega-giant Google in 2005. They tried to grow the site’s user base during the next year, anticipating success.

Well… guess what? It didn’t work. Due to the slow inner workings of Google and a lack of technology at the time to support geo-location based sites, it fizzled. So Crowly and Selvadurai went back to the drawing board rather disgusted at what transpired. During the next few years, they worked day and night on a spin-off of the first venture. They waited in the wings until Google’s non-compete passed, and in January 2009, they launched Foursquare.

Now, this new concept was launched at the South by Southwest interactive festival – the mecca of technology, video, film and music innovations. It was hailed the “Breakout App” by Mashable and other social media blogs. According to an article in Wired Magazine,

Having heard the news that Foursquare might be the next big thing, early adopters around the globe began clamoring for it to come to their city. Foursquare was quickly becoming the darling of the new media community.

The Difference
What really set apart the launch of Foursquare versus Dodgeball was the fact that iPhones, Blackberries and Droids now used GPS. This allowed for an app that could more effectively be used cross-platform to automatically find where you are and list the people and places around you. The user can then check-in to places, battle to become the “mayor” of a location, like Starbucks or even an airport terminal, gaining discounts and rewards by some participating establishments. Users can also be awarded “badges” that are like pieces of flair (remember Office Space the movie?) to show what they have accomplished.

My Foursquare profile page

Hey, I have a bender badge, unlocked a Marc Jacobs free gift badge in Chicago and a super-user badge! I feel very important… at least to myself.

I don’t know what it is, but this app is addictive. I find myself compelled to check-in everywhere, especially when I’m traveling and bored. Hmm, when I’m bored I use the app the most. Is it a way to pass the time like a game? Or is it something that actually connects with people and places to help me build my network and learn about cool restaurants and bars?

Some say this app, much like Twitter and Facebook, play on a person’s vanity and ego, providing them with a gateway to express their own self-worth and imagined persona. Maybe so to a degree, but I think if it’s used to encourage personal connection and business opportunities, it may be of value. I have to admit, I am torn as to why I spend a second messing with this app, but I still do (going on about five months now).

My Foursquare Future
Will I stop using it or slow down like I have with this blog? Maybe, but I hope I remain engaged in both to keep in contact with my network and learn new things – some random and worthless and some extremely beneficial to me personally and professionally. If anyone is still listening out there and reading this blog, let me know what you think and post some comments on your experiences with Foursquare and other geo-location apps like Cause World, etc.

Your comment may just boost my self-worth and imagined persona!


Is 12 seconds enough?

12seconds.tv logoDuring my “blogcation,” I read a blurb in PRWeek about this new social media tool called 12seconds.tv. It’s a Twitter-like platform that allows users to upload and share 12-second video snippets. I was intrigued by the tool and went to check it out. I thought to myself that this is probably another one of those fly-by-night social media tools that fizzles in a few months after the novelty has wears off. But the more I research this tool and how it’s being used, the more I think it may be of value.

Starbucks… social media junkies
It never ceases to amaze me how Starbucks continues to be on the forefront of nearly every social media tool out there. 12seconds.tv is a brand new tool, still in Beta, yet Starbucks has mastered it.

Starbucks Channel on 12seconds.tv

With a meek 62 followers, the behemoth coffee, latte and troubadour of tasty treats company is somehow evoking sweet 12-second messages from its fan base. They’re talking about everything from possible new brew ideas to how Satrbucks can make its menu healthier – and everything in between.

The one issue I have is that I could not find a link to the Starbucks Channel on its Web site. They have a link to their corporate site on the channel, but from what I can see, not one back to the social media platform.

Overall, I think the fact that they’re trying to utilize new and innovative platforms to communicate with their audiences is critically important. Starbucks should definitely be a model for how other corporations should approach creating conversations and interactions among their customers and stakeholders.

And they’ve also received three badges! What are badges? Well, they’re rights of 12seconds.tv passage. You can receive up to 24 different badges as you develop your channel. Although I haven’t completely figured them out, the site states that each badge, once received, unlocks cool features of the platform.

iPhone integration… no surprise
Even in Beta, the company has integrated with the iPhone by creating a 12Mail Video Messenger application. The app let’s users take video and upload it to the site on the fly, with the ability to add text and comments much like Facebook or Flickr. It even allows for you to draw from your contact base on Twitter and Facebook to show status updates, as well as push notifications to them, and yourself, by linking the accounts.

Future of 12seconds.tv… we’ll see
This new platform meshes Twitter and Facebook together quite well, but it’s future may be up in the air. It has all of the aspects of a great social media tool. It allows for interaction via streaming video, commenting, easy-to-find topical threads and its integration with Facebook and Twitter. It also has already created a nifty iPhone app that allows the user to easily become part of the conversation.

I’m sure we’ll see the typical useless, and sometimes unsavory posts, we’re all used to seeing on so many other social media platforms – but that’s expected. The question is, will 12seconds.tv be comprised of lame, boring posts? Or will it rise to the occasion, offering businesses, organizations and personal brands a place to communicate and flourish?

Only time will tell…


A story of crowdsourcing on Flickr

The Flickr platform – part of the Yahoo company – has exploded in the last year, with the addition of social bookmarking and RSS feeds. The ability to integrate into Facebook with the widget MyFlickr and photo editing functions has also expanded its reach. But how are others using Flickr to engage in business conversations?

A “soft” case study
Interestingly enough, I read a recent blog post by prominent blogger Jay Baer, from Convince and Convert fame, on how one photographer has been using Flickr to “soft” crowdsource.

Jay interviewed Tyson Crosbie, a photographer out of Phoenix, Ariz., about how he used Flickr to crowdsource his photos among his audience. He decided to use the platform to allow users to vote for their favorite photograph for his clients – providing the client with another valuable source of feedback (example).

According to a quote from the Convince and Convert blog post by Jay, Crosbie said:

“I initially began the soft edit crowd sourcing process as a way to better educate myself and my clients about photography,” says Tyson. “Sometimes clients select photos that they probably would not have, but the positive feedback from the community can be influential.”

An online community
Crosbie was able to build his brand and develop a powerful online community because he engaged in a fun and interactive conversation. Not to mention that beyond the fact that users were discussing what they liked, the photography was getting more exposure, hence more business for Crosbie. It helps that he adds his logo and name to the bottom, right-hand corner of his photos for further brand recognition.

It all comes back full circle when done right and Crosbie, in fact, did it right. He said:

There are dozens of people who comment on the photos. Some are professional photographers, but most aren’t…If they know the subject of the photo, they are more likely to comment, and some people just love the process and participate regularly.

How does this help me?
There are so many social media platforms out there, and they all serve a valuable purpose, but utilizing the right one based on your objectives and strategies is imperative. Flickr can be a great tool when you want to share content, specifically photos, with your friends, consumers, co-workers and so on. It also allows you to tap into a whole new audience by letting people speak their mind about the topics presented to them, as well as generating potential revenue from the increased brand reputation.

People could crowdsource my picture by commenting

As an example, Crosbie actually builds the “soft” crowdsourcing fee for his photography into each project. This is a way for him to create extra value to the customer and provide another unique selling proposition (remember that term?) to his audience. He has even built a reputation around shooting avatars for Twitter users. Now that’s a niche to be in!

Jay mentions about Crosbie that:

Business portraits for use in social media and elsewhere make up a large portion of his commercial photography work, and he charges $500 for that service – including the soft edit crowd sourcing process.

This can be of help to you by keeping one thing in mind; that with the right strategy and creative mindset, you can use Flickr to build your personal or business brand in new and innovative ways.


ad:tech ruffles PR’s ethical feathers

Last month was PR Ethics Month, when we remind ourselves about the host of ethical dilemmas we, as PR practitioners, face. It’s also a time to reflect on our commitment to a stringent code of ethics placed at the highest point of our personal and professional standards. Each year, the world’s largest professional association for public relations practitioners, PRSA, makes it a point to highlight new changes to its ethical code, as well as promote various issues facing PR ethics and how to approach them.

Industry publications like PRSA Tactics, PRWeek and others regard ethics to reside at the core of public relations practice. Recently, leadership at ad:tech, an annual gathering of online marketers, offered free or discounted access to the conference for endorsed tweets, Facebook and blog posts from prominent bloggers. We in PR call this Pay-for-Play or Pay-to-Play. The definition was recently updated by the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) with PSA-9.

The request for coverage from ad:tech was exposed by bloggers and PR people within the industry. In a blog post by Jason Chupick from PRNewser on Oct. 17 detailed the news of what ad:tech had done, including the full letter of apology. Chupick said:

My co-editor confirmed by phone yesterday that the person who sent the emails neither works internally at ad:tech, or at their PR firm Edelman.

What the organization did
With the negative responses and comments swirling and growing stronger, Event Director, Mike Flynn, from ad:tech immediately posted a full apology for its inappropriate actions. This was the right move, and helped mitigate any further negative brand perception, but may have done some damage.

Regardless of who sent the emails to the bloggers and journalists, ad:tech management should have made sure they knew what was going on. Their PR firm – the world’s largest independently owned agency, Edelman – should have been a part of this since they were the agency of record and PR counsel to the organization. My question is, who sent out the emails then? And how are they being dealt with? This person/s should be held accountable in some way and exposed for what they did.

How ethical are PR people?
We keep saying we follow an ethical guiding light that points us in the right direction, but we hear too many stories similar to this one. That prompts me to wonder if we just think we’re ethical or if we truly understand ethical standards but turn a blind eye when we feel we can personally gain. Interestingly enough, a survey was done by Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., and Judith Rogala, for their book “Trust Inc,” revealing that less than 10 percent of PR practitioners ever received any training on how to make ethical decisions.

Ann Subervi, president and CEO of Utopia Communications, Inc. in Red Bank, N.J., made some comments that are a fitting end to this post and ones that we should try to employ.

Most of us struggle with what action to take when faced with an ethical dilemma. While awareness of ethics is great, the ability to act ethically is even better. Ethics cannot be a once-a-year focus. Rather, it needs to be an ongoing focus.


Are PR pros keeping up with the times?

In the past, PR professionals were slow to adopt new techniques – from new ways to pitch journalists to press release styles. We were, and still are to an extent, resistant to change. We’d better be ready to not only float, but sail forward as communications leaders, especially with the immense changes in technology occurring.

Although we once distanced ourselves from new trends and techniques, we made sure to not make that mistake with the advent and development of Social Media. I can recall at the 2007 PRSA International Conference in Salt Lake City a fervent effort to take on the challenges and opportunities Social Media could provide PR pros. Continue reading


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