Tag 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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Learn How Much You Don’t Know

Knowledge

In 2009, I participated in the St. Louis Public Relations Society chapter’s training program for PR certification. I attended sessions all over town and gathered knowledge and wisdom from a number of PR pros. I picked up and studied the suggested textbook. Yes, I learned a lot. I was unaware of the full scope of public relations. I realized I didn’t know as much as I thought I knew.

Last month I took a course in Web Analytics at University of Missouri/St. Louis (UMSL). As a result, I am now certified in Google Analytics. I learned how analytics can reveal a wealth of information about traffic to websites. In addition to exercises on the Google dashboard, I had the chance to use Adobe’s Omniture analytics setup.

I may not be ready to be a lead analyst, but I now know enough to be a contributing team member. After completing the course, though, I realize there is much more about web analytics that I still do not know.

Even More To Learn!

This month I took a Social Media Strategies course at UMSL. I am now a Hootsuite Certified Professional.

I’ve been a Facebook admin and have used Hootsuite Pro for several years. Although I knew a lot about social media going in, the course revealed many areas I had not ventured into. I learned new ways that Hootsuite can help me and my clients. I gained insight about best practices for Facebook and Instagram. Again, I learned how much I did not know and how much more there is to be learned.

It feels good when you receive significant enlightenment or have an “aha” moment. My younger kids, both digital natives, have given me useful computer tips, generally without condescension. But every time they share, I am also made aware of how much I don’t know. Always and forever, there is so much to learn.

 

 

 

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Keep It Simple

Simple

In our busy, complex personal and professional lives, filled with information coming from every imaginable source, simple things are appreciated. We all have a finite amount of time and attention to give each day.

Here’s how you can help…

  1. Write shorter paragraphs, using shorter sentences.
  2. Edit your email signature and dump all that legalese at the bottom (which no one ever reads anyway).
  3. If you own a restaurant, eliminate half of your menu items. You’ll make life easier for your diners, your staff and yourself.
  4. Include just one sales message in your marketing emails. (You don’t have to tell me everything about your organization.)
  5. Make sure images in your emails and on your website are as recognizable on a tiny phone screen as they are on your big desktop screen.
  6. Facebook and Instagram allow for long posts. Don’t do it! Most of us will just scroll on past the long ones. (Thanks, Twitter, for maintaining a maximum post length.)
  7. Place a time limit on videos you share. How long? Determine what your audience is comfortable with. (Consider that some of us may hesitate to watch a 7-minute video but will gladly watch 7 one-minute videos.)
  8. Be merciless when editing content. Three good paragraphs beats twelve mediocre paragraphs every time.
  9. Unless it’s your doctoral dissertation, don’t be afraid to use sentence fragments, when appropriate.

For a perfect example of the beauty and effectiveness of a simple approach, compare the layouts of Google.com with Bing.com and Yahoo.com. (Google has a 67.68% market share for searches; Bing, 13.27%; Yahoo, 8.14%.)

An almost infinite number of choices in many aspects of our life is wonderful. Unless we want the regular version, in the standard size, and it’s not in stock. Have you ever gone grocery shopping and found a dozen or more variations on the product you want, but not the particular version you want?

The great singer/songwriter Merle Haggard who died last week was once quoted as saying, “The most important thing in a song is simplicity.” Keep it simple.

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Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

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I ‘m looking forward to attending a couple of daylong conferences this spring.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend tons of conferences during my life, going back to the International Radio and Television Society gathering in New York City when I was a callow, wide-eyed sophomore at the University of Alabama. Several Country Radio Seminars in Nashville during my radio days provided good information and insights, along with many memorable musical performances.

More recently, I have attended numerous PR/marketing/digital/social media conferences in St. Louis arranged by a variety of organizations over the last eight years. At this point, let me offer thanks to all who worked to set up these events. And thanks to all who have presented. (This includes me. I presented at CSPRC’s Spectrum event in 2009 about media pitching and in 2013 about Facebook best practices.)

Here’s what I want from these events:

  1. Information and ideas I can use today in my career and my business.
  2. New ideas/concepts that should be on my radar for future consideration.
  3. Different, creative ways to approach issues I deal with on a frequent basis.
  4. Disruptive input, which may or may not be valid, but provides good fodder for discussion and consideration.
  5. Solid A/V work.
  6. Connectivity.
  7. Decent coffee.

Things I don’t want from these events:

  1. Presentations that are really just infomercials for an individual and his/her organization.
  2. Big picture concepts that are too vague. Give me precise details.
  3. Panels discussions dominated by one panelist, when all panelists have good input to share.
  4. Declarations I’ve heard at these events for years, such as: Mobile is big! Video keeps growing! LinkedIn is good! (Etc.) I know that!
  5. PowerPoints, Keynotes or Prezis with text and images so small the content on the screen can’t be discerned beyond the first row.
  6. Bad planning that puts a high-demand session in a smaller meeting room.
  7. Stick-on name tags that don’t adhere well to clothing.

If you see me at a conference this spring, say hello. Let’s hope we’re able to get several actionable takeaways when we attend these events!

(photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/92987904@N00/4297743712, via http://photopin.com, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0)

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16 Things To Know For ’16

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  1. It’s great to have lots of Twitter followers, Facebook friends and LinkedIn endorsers. But a good credit rating beats all three.
  2. Despite Southwest Airlines’ longtime claim that “your miles never expire,” mine expired last year.
  3. Never ever drive through (or even around) Atlanta if you can avoid it. Ever.
  4. Best media advice I’ve heard lately came from radio meetings in Nashville: “Infuse everything you do with FOMO.” (Fear Of Missing Out.)
  5. An organization that delivers hilariously entertaining TV spots may engage in sleazy business practices. (Sorry for being necessarily vague on this one.)
  6. My number one news source is Twitter.
  7. Using the term “startup” in reference to your business generally gets you attention, even if your business is selling life insurance.
  8. Some people think it’s okay to end a 7-year business relationship via text message.
  9. The adverb is not your friend. (Writing tip from Stephen King.)
  10. A Discover Card ad offering double rewards for new cardholders contained the line “no limits and no catches” but the tag at the end of the spot said, “limitations apply.” So… which is it?
  11. “Inspired by true events” does not make a movie better than one that’s total fiction.
  12. A St. Louis area business that advertised regularly in local print media for three decades ran NO print ads in 2015… and their revenues increased.
  13. A black and white photo often has stronger impact than a color pic.
  14. Whole Foods does not take checks.
  15. Sometimes I’d prefer to READ your story in an online article instead of watching a video about it.
  16. Your strict adherence to political correctness may cause you to shake your head at times, but it beats having to apologize for a communications boner. Um, mistake.

 

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New Media Versus Old Media: Both Claim Wins

 

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Old radio set

In July 2013 I posted an article titled Why New Media Are Better Than Old Media. The next week I listed reasons Why Old Media Are Better Than New Media. My point in these back-to-back posts is that both have their strong points.

(Also, I use the word “media” as a plural of “medium,” though I acknowledge that many people refer to “media” as a single entity.)

Here are those lists:

Why New Media Are Better Than Old Media

  1. The internet is open to everyone. No FCC license or printing press necessary.
  2. Net content is available throughout (most of) the world.
  3. Content can be archived on computer drives or accessed via the cloud.
  4. It’s easier to make corrections to web content than to material that’s already been published or transmitted.
  5. Advertising is not as pervasive or obnoxious. Yet.
  6. Content can be more easily targeted to specific groups.
  7. It’s easier to email a file than to send via USPS or FedEx.
  8. It’s quicker to send a text message than to make a call.
  9. Downloading books, movies and music is more convenient and more eco-friendly than purchasing at stores.
  10. Wikipedia and Google provide info that’s more up to date than those volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica and Webster’s dictionary.
  11. Twitter and Facebook serve as community town hall forums for instant sharing of ideas and thoughts on news and events.
  12. Interactivity allows all to participate.
  13. Apps on mobile devices provide immense amounts of entertainment and information.
  14. New media bring continual innovation while old media struggle to keep up.

 

Why Old Media Are Better Than New Media

  1. A framed newspaper article on the wall of your business looks better than a framed printout of the online version.
  2. The Super Bowl looks better on a 50-inch TV screen than it does on a smartphone.
  3. Spill your oatmeal on your morning paper, not a big deal. Spill oatmeal on your iPhone/iPad/MacBook, panic time.
  4. Listening to traffic reports on radio while driving is not as distracting as looking at traffic apps on a smartphone at 60 mph.
  5. Internet connectivity is not so hot on country back roads when compared to the signal strength of a Class C FM station.
  6. A century-old newspaper has more credibility than a ten-year-old news aggregator.
  7. Movie theaters offer an experience that cannot be duplicated at home. And the popcorn is better.
  8. Online death rumors are often hoaxes. Old media are more likely to seek verification.
  9. A segment on local TV morning news is likely to be seen by more eyes than a feature on a popular local blog.
  10. Wikipedia information can be revised and updated by literally anyone. Traditional reference material is vetted by scores of editors.
  11. Neighborhood weekly newspapers provide useful information not easily found elsewhere.
  12. Despite fragmentation, advertisers still reach enormous audiences via TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.
  13. A telephone call allows for speedier dialogues than does a series of text messages or emails.
  14. Even in the era of consolidation, no single entity rules old media like Google dominates new media.

(During Summer 2015 I am revisiting several of my posts from previous years.)

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Sales: The One Metric That Really Matters

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You are hired to create a social media campaign for a company. You do great work. You grow the audience. Facebook fans and Twitter followers click on links in droves to get coupons. Your Instagram contest generates hundreds of entries. But, for reasons unrelated to your efforts, sales are down 18% for the first quarter of your campaign and down 22% for the next quarter. Cuts have to be made. Will they come via staff reductions, advertising budget cuts or a trim for the social campaign? Or all three? Sales is the one metric that really matters.

Your PR client stages an event. You line up TV interviews, radio interviews and newspaper and online items. Awareness is good. A nice crowd shows up. While your client is happy that media coverage helped produce a decent turnout, his most important question is, “How much food and drink did we sell?” Sales is the one metric that really matters.

During my radio career I did many Saturday appearances at car dealers. At most such events, we had good listener turnout. But, occasionally, the number of people who came to grab a free hotdog and say hello would be disappointing. On Monday, we might say to the account executive who had the dealer’s account, “I thought we’d have more people show up Saturday. I hope the client’s not upset.” And, quite often, the account exec would say something like, “Oh, no! They sold 32 cars! It was their best Saturday in a year!” Sales is the one metric that really matters.

If you are charged with telling a client’s story, whether it be via social media, PR efforts or paid advertising, it’s in your best interest to help drive sales any way you can. Support your clever tweets, your genius PR campaign, your beautifully written radio/TV spot or print/online ad with suggestions to friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, church members, community organization members and personal social media contacts that they visit your client and buy something! Because sales is the one metric that really matters.

(This article was originally posted in June 2013.)

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