Category Archives: Facebook

Is Facebook The New TV?

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Last summer a friend who was about to launch a big venture asked me to give her a quick assessment of major social media channels.

I made this analogy: Twitter is like AM radio. Instagram is like FM radio. Facebook is like TV.

The news, views, noise and chatter that fill my Twitter timeline are similar to what I hear on AM radio. News, political talk, sports talk, intelligent commentary and idiotic commentary. It’s all there on the AM band and on Twitter.

On FM, most stations play music. There’s less talk, generally speaking. While AM has more information, FM has more entertainment. Instagram is a pleasant alternative to Twitter with its focus on the visual. Food, babies, dogs, cats, landscapes and other lighter fare rule. Yes, politics and commentary do appear on Instagram, but more of the posts in my feed are non-controversial.

Facebook is the big dog because so many people go there on a daily basis and because it is, for many, a better advertising venue than Twitter and Instagram. Facebook delivers the noise and chatter we find on Twitter and the AM radio band but also features

Additionally, Facebook has been more successful with its Facebook Live streaming video than Twitter has been with Periscope. The video aspect provides Facebook with TV’s key element.

Much of the news and other info delivered by traditional broadcast media (whether via over-the-air, cable, streaming or satellite) has been verified to some degree, whereas info shared on social may be rumor or hearsay. This fact explains why Twitter is often the best source for immediate news, though not necessarily for accuracy in those early tweets.

Whether these analogies are valid or are just the result of goofy thinking on my part, my main message to my friend was each social channel has its own characteristics. Content that has value on one may not necessarily work as well on another.

The best way to learn about social media channels is to use them.

 

 

 

 

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PR Quiz: Social Media Edition

The correct answers to these 9 PR/social media questions may be obvious. But not always.

 

A team member schedules posts around the clock on your client’s Twitter feed. The content is good. One night a breaking news item is dominating TV and the web, especially Twitter. What do you do?

  1. Let the scheduled tweets be sent, figuring that more people than usual are checking their feeds and will see this meaningful content.
  2. Hijack one of the hashtags being used in breaking news tweets to get client tweets before more eyeballs.
  3. Cancel the tweets for fear of being perceived as out of touch with what’s happening and/or insensitive to the situation.

 

Your new client who hired you to do social for her business continues to tweet in the first person singular on the organization’s account, even though in strategy sessions all parties agreed the Twitter voice should be first person plural. What do you do?

  1. Delete all her tweets that begin with “I”.
  2. Help her get more than 62 followers on her personal account (so she’ll be more likely to share her thoughts there).
  3. Don’t worry about it until the business account hits 2,000 followers.

 

A customer has posted an unfavorable comment about your client’s business on the organization’s Facebook page you manage. While the post is written in a calm, measured tone, it points out a problem that needs to be looked at by ownership. What do you do?

  1. Delete the post.
  2. Reply to the post with an apology and word that the issue will be addressed.
  3. Copy and send the comment to owners/managers in an email and ask them to respond.
  4. Do nothing.

 

A savvy manager for your client’s business has a great eye for compelling visual content and posts wonderful pics to the company’s Instagram account. However his descriptions are too long and always get cut off when are copied to the 140-character Twitter feed. What do you do?

  1. Insist that Instagram posts DO NOT get copied to Twitter.
  2. Teach him to write shorter.
  3. Don’t worry about it; lots of folks do it this way.

 

The owner of the restaurant you consult posts photos to the Facebook page but her photos are not good and the food items she posts are unappetizing. What do you do?

  1. Tell her to take the pics near a window to get better light.
  2. Ask her to get a phone with a better camera and stop using the flash.
  3. Ask her to hire a professional photog and stop taking food pics herself.
  4. Monitor the feed and delete those images that are off-putting.

 

A post you made on a client’s Facebook page gets a large number of likes, shares and comments. While you personally thought the post’s content was not extraordinary, you are aware it resonated with your target. What do you do?

  1. Try to create more posts just like that one
  2. Share it on your own personal page.
  3. Have the client cough up some bucks and promote the post to others in the chosen demo/area.

 

A client has a daughter who is obsessed with Pinterest. The client repeatedly insists that you begin sharing content for his business via Pinterest (a move you feel to be of minimal value for his particular business). What do you do?

  1. Do the Pinterest thing as requested, warning that it may turn out to be time and effort wasted. (After all, he is the client!)
  2. Continue to brush off the client’s wrongheaded guidance as long as you can, so you can focus on social platforms that have delivered results.
  3. Resign the account.

 

Your client emails you a blog post he saw suggesting that all Facebook posts ask a question to generate comments. You have found that questions asked on his company’s Facebook feed generally get very few comments, whereas other content gets good response. What do you do?

  1. Say thanks but ignore the blog recommendation.
  2. Ask questions on his Facebook feed on topics that are polarizing, though not controversial, to generate comments. (Even if questions do not directly relate to client’s business.)
  3. Point out to your client that the “ask a question” strategy works better for some than others.

 

A team member makes a Hootsuite mistake on a Friday night and accidentally retweets a friend’s party pic to your client’s Twitter feed. It receives no mentions from client’s 3,000+ followers, but is clearly inappropriate for his feed. It stays there all weekend until you delete it Monday morning. What do you do?

  1. Apologize via the feed to all the account’s followers.
  2. Chastise the team member for using Hootsuite while drinking.
  3. Let the client know what happened and mention steps being taken to prevent it happening again.
  4. Say nothing.

 

Here’s my hope that you do the right thing when faced with similar situations. Right for you. Right for you clients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Not About Me, It’s About My Clients

Think about the best TV spot you’ve ever seen. Can you name the agency that did it? Probably not.

Think about the best print ad you’ve ever seen. Any idea which agency it came from? Not likely.

When you read a profile of a successful individual in print or online, does the PR person who arranged the piece get mentioned? In almost all cases, no.

But when a social media firm posts content with links onto a client’s Facebook or Twitter feeds, is it okay for the URL shortener to include the name of the agency?

To me, it appears that the agency is promoting itself along with the client. It also seems less authentic, less organic. It may even distract from the message if, before clicking the link, a person wonders, “what is this agencyname.com?”

I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time. Do followers really care whether a link begins with bit.ly, ow.ly, goo.gl or agencyname.com?

In my social media work for clients, I try to remain transparent. If I post on a client’s Facebook or Twitter channels, followers should have no awareness of my involvement. It’s not about me, it’s about my clients.

Yes, I’ve posted links to media coverage obtained for clients on my own social accounts. But my involvement should not matter to viewers, listeners and readers.

Bud Light, K-Mart and others have had successful edgy commercials that never aired on broadcast or cable, but were shared online. If you saw them, you likely accessed them via Youtube, not through the websites of the agencies that created these viral videos.

Those agencies know that content for consumers is not about them, it’s about their clients.

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Dead Media? Maybe Not!

In recent months I have been told:

Newspapers are dead. No one reads the newspaper anymore. But I saw tons of posts and shares of that full-page ad by the Red Sox in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Even if most people saw it on Facebook instead of on newsprint, it was considered important enough to generate enormous social love.

Radio is dead. No one listens to radio anymore, only Sirius and Pandora. But it was interesting to note the volume of outrage when Texas governor Rick Perry recently ran ads on St. Louis radio stations inviting businesses to move to Texas.

Television is dead. Everybody gets their video entertainment from Netflix and Youtube. Yep, let’s skip the HD telecast of the Super Bowl on the 52-inch screen and watch the live stream of the game on our iPhones.

The press release is dead. Nobody responds to a press release anymore. Apparently traditional and online media outlets are now learning about events via ESP.

Facebook is dead; all the cool kids are now on Instagram. Also, Twitter is dead; everybody’s on Facebook.

Magazines are dead. Please mention that to the clerk at 7-11 when he puts the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue on sale in a couple of months.

Phone calls are dead. Everybody would rather email or text. If you ever need to summon an ambulance in a hurry, will you text 9-1-1?

Before you exaggerate the rumors of a medium’s or network’s demise, remember that the channels of communication are constantly changing. Ebb and flow happen. Hotness fades. Comebacks occur.

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Hold That Snarky Vent!

Before you tweet that smart-alecky tweet, before you post that snarky Facebook post, hang on a second.

Is there a chance that what you are planning to share can be taken the wrong way? Will it cause anger or resentment? Will it come back to bite you in the butt? Will you have regrets shortly after you post it? (Of course, you can delete posts but sometimes that correction comes too late.)

Do you KNOW that your followers will get your subtle attempt at a jest? Might your sarcasm (which may easily be detected in your spoken delivery) be taken as totally serious when seen in print? If it gets retweeted or shared, will your new wider network think you’re funny or clever? Or will they judge you as dumb?

Lately I’ve noticed more personal-type tweeting on organizational Twitter accounts. Not a good idea. A local St. Louis media outlet has posted several tweets in recent weeks that have raised eyebrows. It’s one thing when an individual on Twitter criticizes, say, a ballplayer for a misplay. But when a media outlet’s online voice is snarky and mean-spirited, followers may find the posts inappropriate.

Humor is subjective. What you find hilarious may offend others. I recall showing the infamous Bud Light Swear Jar spot to a coworker about five years ago. I was surprised when she recoiled and said, “That’s horrible!”

I find the spot hilarious and laugh every time I see it. (You may be offended, so be warned before you click HERE to watch it. Though the spot has only been available online, it won an Emmy award in 2008.)

Regarding personal venting, it can sometimes feel good—for a moment—to slam a cellphone provider, an airline, a restaurant, a media outlet, etc. that has caused you grief. But often, those complaints come off as petty. Sometimes the incident that upset you was simple human error. And we should consider that not all large organizations are as uncaring as you might believe. Think twice or maybe thrice before you vent.

An important consideration: Think about your audience. Do they care?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Appearance of Bias

Another St. Louis media figure bites the dust over a social media posting. In late 2011, a local radio host who didn’t understand how Twitter works, was suspended for obscene replies to listener tweets.

Now, in 2013, a veteran TV newsman has been fired for doing what he apparently believed was the right thing to do. According to stltoday.com, Larry Conners had been “encouraged to write ‘personal observations of news events’ and decided to write a Facebook post about his IRS problems.”

Because of recent stories of IRS actions against political conservatives, and because Conners had conducted a tough interview of the president, Conners commented on Facebook about his personal dealings with the IRS. KMOV and its owners deemed that posting improper and chose to terminate his employment.

The station’s general manager claimed that Conners’ Facebook comment creates an appearance of bias. This is the same station whose new 10:00 p.m. male co-anchor is the radio play-by-play voice of the St. Louis Rams, a team that has been engaged in recent confrontations with local taxpayer funded agencies over stadium issues.

I would not be the first person to point out that there could be an appearance of bias in any KMOV reporting on the Rams (on the field and off).

My suggestion for managers and owners of media outlets is to explain clearly to your employees where the line is in social media. If you want your reporters and on-air personnel to engage with readers, viewers and listeners, give detailed guidance.

My suggestion for employees in any job, anywhere, is to be careful what you post on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. Especially if you are an older, highly compensated employee in a high profile position.

In this instance, there is an appearance of bias by KMOV management against employees whose termination might positively affect the bottom line. I’m not saying that’s a true fact, but it’s my perception. And you know what media folks say about perception.

 

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Does The Social You Match the IRL You?

I worked several years ago with a young radio personality whose on-air persona was that of a smart-ass punk. Unfortunately, listeners weren’t accustomed to hearing a smart-ass punk on our station, so his was a polarizing tenure. On the other hand, listeners who met him in person found him charming. In real life encounters, he was warm and friendly. My daughter, then 5, thought he was the coolest thing going.

In the social media era, is your social media persona close to what you’re like in real life? It is sometimes surprising for me to meet a social media friend/contact IRL and find that she or he is a bit different from what I expected. More (or less) serious. More (or less) friendly. More (or less) engaging. Younger (or older).

Do you converse freely with others on Twitter when, in reality, you’re more of an introvert? Do you mainly just share thoughts about your business/profession on Facebook when, in fact, you’re a person with many interests? Do you brag about your accomplishments on LinkedIn when most people know you as a generally humble person? Are you a person who spends hours honing a simple business presentation but launches spontaneous social media rants with much less forethought?

Are your social media photos from years ago or are they of recent vintage? I’ll admit that my Twitter avatar was from late ’07 until I updated it last fall. My LinkedIn pic is from that ’07 session and due for an update—that’s on my long “to do” list for spring.

I hope I’m the same person when I’m posting on social media that I am when I’m chatting with you over coffee. Social media gives us an opportunity for self re-invention (which is not necessarily devious). It gives us an opportunity to put our best foot forward. But the social you (and I) should be not far removed from our real life selves.