Tag Archives: social media

The Future of Media Relations: Changing Audience Behavior

martinet quoteSocial media has created the unprecedented ability to form direct brand-to-consumer relationships and share news in real-time. Its influence is so powerful that just last month, Yahoo! announced a groundbreaking new partnership with Twitter that would integrate the site’s social media feed as a news source. This rapid shift in relevance from print to online content puts the future of media relations into question. Stacy Martinet (@stacymartinet) Chief Marketing Officer at Mashable.com, joined Business Development Institute and PR Newswire in a roundtable discussion to share her insight on the latest trends in content marketing and the future of media relations.

According to Martinet, most of todays’ content marketing is concentrated online. With a new emphasis on storytelling, PR and marketing are no longer disjointed industries. In fact, Martinet predicts that PR specialists will soon be held more accountable for metrics. However, the number of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ on social media is simply not enough to accurately measure ROI or KPI.

“In media relations, ROI is more about asking, ‘have you changed the behavior of the customer?’ ” says Martinet.

Producing customized content is one of the ways to change customer attitudes. mr blurbMashable.com works with brands on building a “custom mission” or goal that embodies the brand’s culture. It is crucial to manage a product content portfolio to sustain a positive brand image with customers.

“Corporate websites are more important than ever,” Martinet says. “Images, info graphics and other rich media are a must.” More importantly, the sites must provide an immediacy of information in order to build trust. Martinet suggests that content be delivered via stream. It should be clear what the stream is about and updated on a regular basis.

Traditional journalism still matters

With the current emphasis of online content marketing, what does this mean for the future of journalism? Now that news is breaking faster on Twitter than other sources, the future of “exclusives” appears to be grim. Although they can offer behind-the-scenes opportunities, “To me, exclusives are the end of an era. [They] tend to only matter to journalists or news outlets” Martinet admits. She also emphasizes that fact-checking is still more important than breaking the news first.

Martinet says that although technology is changing, “Remember, the mainstream media still matters so that’s still a huge get!” Using social media tools in conjunction with mainstream media can provide insight on branding, audience development and purchasing.  Sites like Twitter can also identify consumer influencers who may not be journalists, such as users with a massive number of followers.

Updating your media outreach tactics

Martinet offers a few tips for media outreach today:

  • Even though Facebook is among the most popular social networking sites, journalists rely on Twitter for sourcing.
  • Email is still an effective way to communicate with journalists.
  • Be sure to get straight to the point, offer exclusive content and provide visuals and screen shots when possible.
  • Remember that anything you write can be posted; it is important to explicitly state if none of the information should be shared on social networks.

Martinet believes that mobile technology will lead the new wave of media relations. She says, “In many countries mobile consumption bypasses desktop usage, but the products and platforms currently available are lagging in a changing business model.” Therefore, investing in advanced mobile technology and content streaming is vital to prepare for the future of content marketing and media relations.

Despite the shifts in media relations from print to online technologies, the core approach remains unchanged. As Martinet says, “We still must develop and create a compelling message as always. We just have several tools now to use.”  Conveying meaning through powerful words and images should always be the main focus of a PR or marketing campaign. Strategically pairing a captivating message with technological elements will resonate with audiences and be the driving force for a successful media relations campaign.

Co-authored by PR Newswire’s  Shannon Ramlochan, marketing, and Brett Simon, media relations & audience development. 

Content We Love: Feeding America’s #MealGap

“Content We Love” is a weekly feature written by a team of our content specialists. We’re showcasing some of the great content distributed through our channels, and our content specialists are up for the task: they spend a lot of time with the press releases and other content our customers create, proof reading and formatting it, suggesting targeted distribution strategy and offering content optimization advice. In Content We Love, we’re going to shine the spotlight on the press releases and other messages that stood out to us, and we’ll tell you why. We hope you find the releases enjoyable and the insights gained from discussing them enlightening.

There is something magical about a great meal. Meal-time is romanticized with family, dates, TV shows, foodie-friends and more.  Most can agree that food is just… good!

So when I read Feeding America’s release about how many Americans are insecure about where their next meal is coming from, my heart broke. Yet almost instantly, I couldn’t help but feel the sheer power from the Multimedia News Release because of the social media. For telling the story, it was just… good!

Social Media takes the conversation from paper to public forum. The tool social media provides is not simply a teenager sharing their lunch– this social platform has influenced countries, movements, disaster relief, and how companies share news. Therefore, how imperative it is to include social media withIN your release!

  • Twitter: The subheadline has a TWEET button because not only is the message worth sharing, but because the power of social media! Much align Click-To-Tweet, this places a custom tweet in the hands of the audience to share the message. Feeding America’s twitter feed also appears on the Multimedia Release and effectively showcases how it is connecting– even using the #hashtag created for this story!


  • Pinterest: Over images and infographics lies a Pin It button. Pinterest, the image paradise for consumers, not only links backs to the original content (aka: your story), it showcases your messages on a massive platform of individuals who are literally just looking for images. You have the powerful images already? Make those on social channels stop in their scrolling to view your message!
  • Facebook: Further your story by connecting with the audience! Even if this is including a link and/or symbol to simply “like.” This puts the news into the feeds of everyone who “likes” the page.

Conversations are action. Social means conversations. Social = action. Take action (and start the conversation) with social media!

Big thanks to Feeding America for a fantastic release feast — and more seriously, for the good work they do.


Author Emily Nelson is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her adventures on www.bellesandawhistle.wordpress.com or on twitter www.twitter.com/emilyannnelson.

Dealing With Negative Comments on a Company’s Social Media Accounts

The Q&A Team answers questions from ProfNet readers with advice from our large network of experts. Has there been a question burning in your mind lately, something you’ve been wondering that none of your colleagues can answer? Please send it to polina.opelbaum@prnewswire.com

Dear Q&A Team,

A couple of weeks ago I was assigned to manage my company’s social media accounts. I started noticing negative comments being left on our different accounts, and I am not sure if I should delete/block or respond to these comments. What is the best and most professional way from me to deal with these attacks?

Lost in SM World


Dear Lost in SM World,

Congrats on your challenging but exciting new role! Here are seven ProfNet experts who provide their insight on managing negative commentary on a company’s social media accounts:

Define the Attack

“First, define who is attacking you, because it might not be worth your time to pursue,” says Penny Sansevieri, president/CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.  “It’s important to know the difference between an online attack and a difference of opinion. We’ve worked with authors who have gotten bad reviews and wanted them pulled. A bad review is not an online attack — it’s someone’s opinion of your product or book. They didn’t like it and it’s their right to voice that.”

Therefore, “if the negative comments are constructive and have merit, it’s critical to respond in a respectful, conversational and non-defensive way. Explain in a fact-based manner the brand’s position,” says Lisa Gerber, president of Big Leap Creative.

In addition, there can be times where the comment may be a customer service issue rather than a blatant negative comment that is delivered via social media and seems aggressive in nature.

“How you respond, and who should respond, should be known in advance throughout the organization,” explains Chris Dessi, CEO and founder of Silverback Social. For example, he says, “Is there a customer service email you can refer people to? A customer service phone number?”

Responding to a Negative Attack

Wikipedia defines a troll as “someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional responseor otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

Now that we know the “official” name of the individuals who attack, how do you deal with the attacks?

Peter LaMotte, senior vice president of LEVICK, says, “Your message needs to be clear and firm, and must communicate the company’s pre-determined position. If a firm is clear with their communication and stance, there is little more to add unless the conversation takes a new direction. A clear statement can also avoid time-consuming back-and-forth arguments.”

“The company should always be honest about how they are dealing with the issue,” added LaMotte. “If they legally can address the issue, they should never be anything less than transparent. Transparency shows that you have nothing to hide, so anything less than full transparency will exacerbate the issue. Finally, use your platforms to focus on the positive aspects of the issue. If steps are being taken to address the issue, use your blog to tell the story and then share that content across all of your social media platforms.”

Sansevieri  agrees: “Communicate on your blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Don’t stop talking. That’s the first thing many big companies want to do: go silent. Silence is not golden. Be communicative.”

Some issues should be handled outside of social media, says Bill Corbett, president of Corbett PR. “Major concerns should be taken offline for discussions and communications with customers with issues.”

Sansevieri says, emailing the person and having a dialogue may be the last thing you want to do, but “step back and realize that going directly to the source could fix this much faster.”

As far as how quickly you should respond to the attack, Dessi recommends responding “as quickly as humanly possible. Really. No matter what, you must respond quickly. The faster you respond (even if you don’t have a solution for someone), the better. We like to at least say to people: ‘We hear you. Thank you for posting. We’re working on getting you an answer.’”

When to Delete/Ignore an Attack

Complaints that are not respectful or not understandable may be subject to no answer or deletion; blocking of the individual; or other actions, says Corbett.

Specifically, “if there is any inclusion of personal attacks or personal information of employees or stakeholders, the company has the right to delete the comment,” says LaMotte.

Sansevieri shared a case where an individual had to be blocked from Twitter. “A few years ago, one of my Twitter followers asked me to market him for free (no kidding). When I didn’t, he started attacking me on Twitter. We reported him to Twitter and he was shut down, but that’s the extent of what we did. Now he continues to start up new Twitter accounts and tries to follow us, but he is always blocked.”

However, if a comment is deleted, you need to have something to fall back on and explain the reason for deletion, says Gerber. “This is where a social media policy is very important. In your policy you can state that comments that are disrespectful or contain profanity will be deleted. This policy should be posted online somewhere and available to all community members,” he explains.

*See Huffington Post’s comment policy: www.huffingtonpost.com/faq/#moderationprovided by Tim McDonald, community manager of HuffPost Live. You can also read his insight on dealing with trolls here: bit.ly/XTKmEF

A Positive Side to the Attack

“Sometimes, ‘negative’ comments are a good thing, and can be an opportunity for your brand’s customer service to shine and to solve a problem in front of your social media fans,” says Dessi. “I’ve done this for large retailers and it’s always a huge hit.”

In addition, if you’re doing your job well, your brand advocates will also come to your rescue, says Gerber.

Dessi agrees, saying “it’s always better when the community polices this type of activity. The best way to encourage this behavior is to give back to your community, engage with your community, and generate genuine interest and affection for your brand/personality. When there is affection there will be defenders in your corner, always.”

As far as getting involved in the conversation while the community comes to your rescue, Gerber believes that “as a brand, you’ve said your piece. Now your brand advocates are participating. Your job is done.” If you would like to thank your brand advocates for the supportive behavior, “you can message them privately thanking them.”

Managing Across Different Social Media Accounts

Handling negative comments for difference social networks requires different responses, says Dessi. “I like to say that they are the same language, but different dialects. Also, certain social platforms allow for different types of responses to complaints from the community. Recently, there was a long Facebook post response from the president of Carnival Cruise Lines speaking about a ship that has been stranded at sea. He couldn’t offer that depth on Twitter, nor would it be appropriate.”

“Twitter responses should be more immediate,” adds Corbett. “Facebook responses should be well thought-out and provide more information or ask questions.” He adds that tweets have a shorter life span than Facebook and other posts. “In many instances, a response alone is enough to solve and issue.”

Yet, the fundamentals of communications remain the same, said Gerber. “Don’t get defensive, never be angry, and end the conversation if you are going to agree to disagree. The tools simply dictate a change in tactics, but not in strategy.”

Do’s and Don’ts

Dan Grody, partner of Tellem Grody PR, provides some helpful do’s and don’ts for managing negative comments.


  • Remember that everything will be ok.
  • Respond to negative comments.
  • Take screenshot threads that demonstrate resolution and keep them on file. You will always be able to show your social media team examples of handling negative comments.
  • Direct conversations offline to address matters privately, if situation is not      easily resolved.


  • Don’t delete the comments (unless offensive, derogatory, etc.).
  • Don’t stress.
  • Don’t get defensive.

LaMotte adds to the list with a few more do’s:

  • Engage in the conversation where the conversation is already taking place, don’t try and create your own soapbox.
  • Use a single voice of the firm. Don’t allow any employee to engage on your behalf on their own accord.
  • Be a human being; don’t come across like a robot or party-line recording.
  • Be honest about mistakes or missteps. Don’t forget to address your next steps or solutions.

I hope this provides you with the information you need to effectively and successfully manage the trolls and different negative comments you receive on your company’s social media accounts. Good luck!

- The Q&A Team

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  The Q&A Team is published biweekly on ProfNet Connect, a free social networking site for communicators. To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

image via Flickr user cambodia4kidsorg

Social Curation for Writers

Twice a month, ProfNet hosts #ConnectChat, a Twitter-based interview that covers topics of interest to media and communications professionals. The latest chat featured writer Linda Bernstein, who discussed social curation for writers.

With all of the information and data available online, it’s more important than ever for writers to filter through the noise. In this chat, Bernstein discussed why writers should use social curation, including some of the available tools that help work manage the social clutter.

ImageBernstein teaches social media in the continuing education program at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. She has more than 35 years of experience in all corners of journalism and publishing, including as editor of Sesame Street Parents, Scholastic Parent and Child and Modern Bride Connection magazines. She is currently a contributor to PBS’ Next Avenue. In addition, she is a speaker, social media consultant and conference organizer. Her own blog, GenerationBSquared, is an active voice for the baby boomer generation.

Following is a recap of the chat:

Linda, thanks so much for joining us. Let’s get right to it. What is social curation?

Social curation is selecting and organizing material you pick up on social media. With curation, we make sure our audience has best possible information.

What’s the difference between curation and aggregation?

Aggregation is simply bringing together a bunch of stuff in a “pile,” so to speak. Curation involves thought, judgment, and selection.

So aggregation is getting all the info, and curation is sorting through it?

Yes, aggregation is collecting; curating is choosing and selecting and making sense. Journalists need to focus on information and filter away all the noise of social.

What is good definition of noise, and how do you avoid it?

Noise, I would say, is all the information that floats about on social that may be inaccurate or not useful. We avoid noise by becoming good curators — which is what we’re talking about!

In what ways are people already curating on social media?

We are all already using Twitter lists, and “friend” settings on Facebook. We also have been, in our heads at least, selecting trusted sources. We also curate the experts we get from ProfNet. If someone is great, we follow her and use again.

Why is curation important for journalists/writers? Why do they need to be doing it?

There is so much happening on social that, without it, we would go nuts — or not see the story. Curating also means we have better, accurate sources we trust. Curation isn’t something that happens overnight. You work on it over time.

Can you give an example of how a writer would use curation for, say, breaking news?

For Twitter, you would search hashtags. You can use http://search.twitter.com or Twitterfall.com. Also, don’t forget to look at trending topics. You might find the most used hashtags there. Also, see who is tweeting in the hashtag. Use search! Hashtags are so rich with possibility. Find journalists and experts you trust and follow them. It helps to do your homework way beforehand. Choose major cities; find news sources there you trust.

How do you make sure you’re not plagiarizing when you’re curating?

Be smart. Give credit. Follow fair use laws. Find out what is copyrighted and cannot be shared. Here’s a link to U.S. fair use/copyright laws: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html 

Do you have a favorite tool for curating?

My favorite tool: my brain. Also:

  • For curating people, I love oneQube. While following my home stream, I can click on buttons to find out about people. Here is my oneQube for today’s chat report: http://qub.me/EfPIbo.
  • HootSuite enables you to filter tweets so you get rid of noise: Get Started with Twitter and HootSuite.
  • For putting together a story, nothing beats Storify. It pulls in videos and tweets from the Web. Here are some great directions for putting together a Storify: Tips for Using Storify in Your Reporting and Digital Storytelling.
  • Archive.ly, a people research platform in now in closed beta. Their CEO, Perri Blake Gorman, is on Twitter: @bethebutterfly.
  • OverBlog, a blogging platform that enables you to highlight your curated social, including Facebook and Google +.
  • SeeSaw is amazing. You type in a hashtag, and it shows you tiles. Pictures from links are displayed. With SeeSaw, you can take the tiles you see and like and save them to a board.
  • Rebel Mouse: collects your social stream – you can embed it into your site. Widely used by news orgs.
  • Prismatic lets you connect to a newsfeed based on your interests.
  • With Scoop.it, you decide on a topic, name the stream, and handpick sources. Also offers some suggested content.
  • For journalists, Storyful verifies information. It’s not a free tool, but most news organizations subscribe.
  • Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is my favorite way to save things to read later. You can organize what you save with tags.

Pocket sounds really interesting, especially for those of us with terrible memories.

I have a button on my browser. It makes life easy! In fact, most of these tools have browser buttons. Here is a list, though some of the tools aren’t around anymore: The Best Content Curation Tools for Journalists.

With so many tools, how do we decide which one to use?

I always say: Be an early tester. Be a thoughtful adopter. Try them all. Use what you like. There are so many wonderful tools, but, ultimately, they will impede us unless we settle on a few helpful ones. You should curate your tools as well as all the information.

ProfNet, a service of PR Newswire, connects PR professionals with journalists and writers in need of subject-matter experts.  Each month, ProfNet users are quoted in hundreds of media outlets, ranging from major newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times to trade magazines like Risk Management and QSR magazine.  Users receive queries about potential story opportunities daily, and can manage the type and volume of queries received.  Want to know more? Get a quote or request a free trial at: http://www.prnewswire.com/profnet/profnet-experts/

Twitter’s Two Factor Authentication May Not Help Those Who Need it Most

There are a multitude of vulnerabilities for brands in social media and none so famous perhaps as the recent hack of the Associated Press Twitter account, which had a lot of people in the media pointing fingers at Twitter for not having a more secure platform.

Many called for two factor authentication, like Facebook offers. Adding this feature to your account will require you to enter a code that is texted to your cellphone when you attempt to log in.

This week Twitter announced that it has now added that very feature.

Per Twitter’s instructions, you can enable the new security feature in three simple steps:

1)      Visit your account settings page.

2)      Select “Require a verification code when I sign in.”

3)      Click on the link to “add a phone” and follow the prompts.

However, if you share management of a brand Twitter account, this new verification process may not work for you. Ask yourself, whose cell phone number is going to be attached to the account and how certain are you that person and ‘their cell phone’ will be available each time the code is needed?

Jim O’Leary on Twitter’s product security team states on Twitter’s blog, “With login verification enabled, your existing applications will continue to work without disruption. If you need to sign in to your Twitter account on other devices or apps, visit your applications page to generate a temporary password to log in and authorize that application.”

That sounds good. Most brands use a third party application like Hootsuite to manage Twitter. But sometimes authorization fails. Sometimes you need to delete an erroneous tweet quickly. Sometimes you get a new laptop and what if the person with the cell phone attached to the account is traveling. I can think of too many reasons why I don’t want one of our brand accounts attached to a single person’s cell phone. Not the least of which is if an account is hacked the person able to act quickly on your team to log in and change the password may not be the person with the cell phone needed for the security code.

Twitter’s security solution is a start, but it’s not a solution that will work for all, and certainly not in all situations.

In truth, the bigger problem to be addressed may be internally. Educating  employees on not clicking questionable links in emails may be in order. The Onion, which was recently hacked, kindly shared exactly how the attackers got in. It all started with an employee clicking on a link in an email that should have been questioned. The AP admitted that it was hacked similarly, because an employee clicked on a link that came in an email.

What should we be doing until all social networks are secure from hacking and the threat of spam emails has been eradicated? As marketing and PR professionals managing brand social media accounts, we should all be having serious and hopefully productive conversations with our information security officers, as well as keeping ourselves educated on what the current threats are.

Information and awareness are essential.

Victoria HarresVictoria Harres is VP, Audience Development & Social Media at PR Newswire, the main voice behind @PRNewswire, social media lead for @Business4Better and a frequent speaker and writer on social media for business. 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Content We Love: Social Media Makes this Release Pop

“Content We Love” is a weekly feature written by a team of our content specialists. We’re showcasing some of the great content distributed through our channels, and our content specialists are up for the task: they spend a lot of time with the press releases and other content our customers create, proof reading and formatting it, suggesting targeted distribution strategy and offering SEO advice. In Content We Love, we’re going to shine the spotlight on the press releases and other messages that stood out to us, and we’ll tell you why. We hope you find the releases enjoyable and the insights gained from discussing them enlightening.

Kellogg's Pop-Tarts 'Gone Nutty!' Toaster Pastries, Now Available in Two Peanut Butter Flavor Varieties.  (PRNewsFoto/Kellogg Company)

Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts ‘Gone Nutty!’ Toaster Pastries, Now Available in Two Peanut Butter Flavor Varieties. (PRNewsFoto/Kellogg Company)

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but when it comes to a modern press release, social media is reigning champion.

My eyes popped upon seeing Kellogg’s recent release announcing the new Pop-Tarts® lineup. The release jumped from a “traditional release” (just text) to a supercharged social media delight!

Social media can be daunting but is important when it comes to releasing news. Why, you ask? Search engines are showing social content higher and higher (as of May 16th,Yahoo! is showing tweets in the news feed itself), a whole untapped audience is awaiting on these social channels (more and more are joining daily), AND it expands the life of a release.

Imagine dropping colored dye into a glass of water. The moment the dye hits the water, the entire glass changes color. Impact. If you can drop more dye into more glasses of water, the dye goes even further and affects even more.

Sharing your story on social media is adding glasses of water!

Kellogg accomplished this by way of Click-To-Tweet.

Click to Tweet: Pop-Tarts have Gone Nutty! @poptarts411 brings fans the most requested flavor #CrazyGoodPB! Check it out http://on.fb.me/kdgHx

A) Clicktotweet.com is a website for custom tweet creation. Want others to tweet something specific? Create a click-to-tweet!  The release is so much more shareable because quite literally, it is a push of a button.

B) The tweet is solid – the handle (@poptarts411 is called a ‘handle’ as it is how to find the company/person/group on twitter) is within the tweet instead of at the beginning. This is important because tweets that start with a handle look like replies or a conversation in progress. While the hope is for replies and conversations, many simply skip over tweets that start with a handle. Optimum visibility is not starting with the @.

C) #Hashtags are the way to search via social media. It shares a thought/trend/news that connects others. The #Discover feature at the top of twitter finds the news you’re looking for. Whether it is a #workout or sharing your Pop-Tarts® #CrazyGoodPB experience, you can find conversations around the #.

The press release did not just stop there. Also included a link enabling readers to connect on Facebook, providing seamless connections on multiple platforms.

Having social-media friendly releases are not difficult to have but imperative in our social-savvy world. Start the conversations by putting your content on social media platforms. Share your news and let your story be heard everywhere it can.

Big thanks to the Kellogg Company for the release we’re nuts over!


Author Emily Nelson is a Customer Content Specialist for PR Newswire. Follow her adventures on www.bellesandawhistle.wordpress.com or on twitter www.twitter.com/emilyannnelson.

4 Best Practices Brands Should Implement, Now That Twitter is a Yahoo News Source

Last month a single 61 character tweet (12 words as a matter of fact) caused the S&P 500 to drop $136 Billion in mere minutes.

It boggles the mind and makes one try to find some sense in it. What does it mean?

Well, it certainly proved the tremendous reliance we all have on the content that comes from Twitter. Some would say investors rely too much on automated trades based on tweets.

It also proved the great value our society places on Twitter as a provider of content and information.

Tweets will now be featured in Yahoo’s news feed.

Yesterday Yahoo announced that it was taking Twitter very seriously indeed.

In her blog, Merissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo stated, “Tweets have become an important information source for many of our users, so we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Twitter to bring Tweets directly into the Yahoo! newsfeed.”

She went on to say that over the next few days users would begin to see Tweets “personalized to their interests and preferences” appear in their content stream, delivering on earlier promises that the search and new aggregation giant would move toward more personalization of content for its users.

[An interesting side note is that the title of Mayer’s blog post “@Yahoo delivers #bestoftheweb” is really not very tweetable. Oops. To start a tweet with a Twitter name is a mistake unless you are talking ‘at’ that person/account. It will not appear as normal tweet.]

Yahoo’s big search competitor, Google wasn’t able to keep its former relationship with the microblogging giant. Twitter results disappeared from Google some time back, making this an quite a win for Yahoo.

But what does this move mean for communicators?

While few details have been revealed, it’s probably safe to assume that Yahoo will feature tweets that are popular, influential and of course meet certain criteria for authenticity and newsworthiness.

As communicators we should be prepared and simply take this as a reminder of some best practices for content creation:

1)  Create share-worthy content with tweetable headlines and by highlighting crunchy, interesting facts in bold font or in bulleted lists.
2)  Cultivate social networks. Build credibility for your content and your brand.
3)  Build relationships with influencers.
4)  Calibrate your team for rapid response to current events.

Perhaps your content will make it to the Yahoo news page along with relevant content from trusted news sources which Yahoo customizes based on user interest.

One thing a fast-moving PR team needs is information. Stay on top of issues and opportunities as news breaks by incorporating MediaVantage into your communications strategy. Learn more about our real-time media monitoring suite.

Victoria HarresVictoria Harres is VP, Audience Development & Social Media at PR Newswire, the main voice behind @PRNewswire, social media lead for @Business4Better and a frequent speaker and writer on social media for business. 

How Facebook Home Will Impact Marketers

Every other week, The Q&A Team answers questions from ProfNet readers with advice from our large network of experts. Has there been a question burning in your mind lately, something you’ve been wondering that none of your colleagues can answer? Please send it to polina.opelbaum@prnewswire.com

Dear Q&A Team,

Now that Facebook Home has been released, I want to understand how it will impact my work as a marketer. Is it worth taking a closer look at? What should I be aware of? I want to make sure I don’t frustrate and annoy our fans with ads. Any advice?

“Home” Run or Loss


Dear “Home” Run or Loss,

Here are three ProfNet experts who can address your questions about the impact of Facebook Home on marketers:

What is Facebook Home?

The Google Play store app provides the following description of Facebook Home:

“Facebook Home puts your friends at the heart of your phone. Replace your standard home screen with a steady stream of friends’ posts and photos. Get to apps with one swipe — just drag your profile picture up to open the app launcher. And when you download Facebook Messenger, you can keep chatting with friends when you’re using other apps.”

The app is available for download on various Android devices — including the Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II, HTC One X and HTC One X+.

Pros to Using Home

Lorrie Thomas Ross, CEO of Web Marketing Therapy, simply says, “Businesses have to respond to Facebook Home — it’s here. The impact on the Facebook pages of organizations hasn’t been discussed enough. It is a big point for professionals to ponder.”

RJ Bardsley, senior vice president of Racepoint Group, says, “If Home takes off, Facebook marketing campaigns (paid and earned) become a lot more impactful. Home has the potential to turn Facebook from a primarily PC-based experience to a primarily mobile experience. This is important, seeing as PC sales continue to drop (14 percent this quarter according to IDC). If marketers invested in Facebook ads or another type of Facebook presence, they’re in for a treat as these move front and center on people’s mobile devices.”

Ross is also excited with the future potential of Home and says, “In theory, the new mobile app could create more inventory and advertising options, which can help address more monetization of the user base. This can also create more ad options.”

Cons to Using Home

Jacob Chapman, vice president of corporate strategy at Sazze, Inc., thinks Facebook Home will not prove to be an attractive option for most marketers of online businesses. Chapman has found that controlling where his message appears is just as important (if not more important) than controlling the content of the message itself.

“Controlling the ‘where’ provides us with insight into and control over our viewers’ moods and intentions,” he says.

Chapman explains that with most mobile advertising, the advertisement is placed within a certain app or collection of apps: “As the marketer, I know certain things about a viewer and their frame of mind if they open the Words With Friends app, or even if they open the Facebook app. Contrast that with Facebook Home, where all I know is that a person has turned on their mobile phone. This type of passive ad impression is phantom advertising and it is not going to be anywhere near as valuable as an ad that is served to someone who is primed for engagement.”

However, Chapman thinks this issue can be resolved if Home can serve up relevant location-aware advertising, which is advertising that is served to a user based on their proximity to the advertiser’s real-world location.

There are dozens of mobile companies trying to make this model work, but no one has been able to get the formula quite right (e.g., Groupon Now!, MobSav, Scoutmob, etc.), said Chapman. “If Facebook Home goes down this road, they will certainly have the brainpower, scale and financial resources to do it successfully where others have failed.”

How to Prepare for Home

Ross recommends that businesses interested in Facebook Home do the following three things: 1) monitor traffic from Facebook to see if there is more traffic driven to their site from mobile devices; 2) anticipate more ad costs to account for the additional inventory that could develop with the new real estate; 3) develop a strategy for the app experience — management, communications and measurement.

The more the marketplace adopts Facebook Home, the more businesses need to be prepared to monitor it and be present on it, advises Ross.

Bardlsey reiterates the importance of being present. He thinks that for good marketers, it should be all about improving the brand’s visibility by providing more value. “Now that marketers know their audiences will be more mobile, we need to think about how we engage and what value we bring to people on the go.”

Nonetheless, Ross thinks one concern for businesses is how Facebook pages will work on Home: “Will they have new features above and beyond the browser experience, or will experience be compromised with the smaller app screen? That will likely evolve in time.”

How Users Will Respond to Home

There is always initial frustration with ads, but consumers seem to get over the initial frustration fairly quickly, says Chapman.

“I definitely think Facebook will need to be very careful about how many ads they insert into Facebook Home, who they allow to advertise and what format those ads take. Tasteful and relevant sponsored posts can probably be worked in without horrendous backlash, but ads for diet pills would drive people to uninstall Facebook Home in short order,” he explains.

Bardsley agrees with Chapman, saying, “Too much of anything can be bad — and this is especially true in marketing.” He strongly suggests that any marketer focusing a campaign or part of a campaign on Home become familiar with the MMA. It has a great set of guidelines/best practices for mobile marketing.

As far as users staying away from the app due to security/privacy risks, Chapman says, “It isn’t as benign as a native operating system like iOS or Android, but there is nothing inherent in the app that makes it more dangerous than the standard Facebook app.”

However, he still urges users to be particularly aware of their privacy settings, because they will be engaging with the Facebook Home app constantly and passively. “Users may be okay sharing certain data, like their location, when they have to launch an app and take an action to share the data — but it is a different story if Facebook Home is always sharing that data whenever they turn on their phone.”

Even though the Facebook Home app may still be evolving, remember this advice from Ross: Slow is the same as stop in the social Web world. Being aware and engaged will only help your social media marketing efforts.

Good luck!

-The Q&A Team

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  The Q&A Team is published biweekly on ProfNet Connect, a free social networking site for communicators. To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

A New Way to Crowdsource a Campaign

The Social Media Club of New York City (SMCNYC) hosted an event last month  showcasing Ford Motor Co. on the floor of the New York International Auto show to reveal Ford’s fun, new marketing campaign for its fuel-efficient vehicle C-MAX.

Team Detroit, Ford’s agency, came up with print, TV and digital banners using the Italian “La Linea” character, but they needed social too. This is when the social group at Team Detroit stepped in to create a concept.

C-MAX Live Social Campaign

The group describes C-MAX Live by saying: “Imagine yourself in a live crowdsourced Instagram animation.” The concept they came up with integrates traditional, media, and social media in a way that hasn’t been done before by creating a live, crowdsourced animation, which is done through Instagram.

The Process Behind the Concept

Team Detroit needed to bring the “La Linea” character to life, so they decided to literally bring people into this character’s world. The group wanted to create an animation that would incorporate real people interacting with the character, but first they needed to create a story.

Team Detroit started storyboarding it out and seeing how many frames it would take to have people interacting and doing certain scenarios with the “La Linea” character. Shilo studios joined the project by doing the math that was necessary to figure out frame rates and make sure everything worked in size and scale. They had the line drawing put together into a storyboard. From that storyboard they pulled 68 individual frames that had people interacting with them. Those 68 frames were then used for traditional out-of-home buys, such as postings in malls, movie theaters, and events all over the country in their top C-MAX markets.

How People Can Interact With the C-MAX Live Boards

What they are asking people to do is to literally line their bodies up with the dotted line on the boards (see images below). Once you line yourself up with the “La Linea” character in the background, you take your picture through Instagram and apply the hashtag “C-MAX,” and through object recognition they are able to pull that animation and stitch it back together in real-time live.

You then go to a landing page and you opt-in through Instagram, and you can see yourself in the animation with people from all over the country in real-time. The animation is always dynamic and changing, so you will always see yourself but everyone else will change because it is pulling in those people from all over the country who are interacting with the boards. In addition, if you have an Instagram friend participating in a different city and at a completely different board, then you will see them in your animation.

This campaign launches on May 1 in various cities. Here is a list of the cities, along with a link to the animation: social.ford.com/cmaxlive

Whether you’re a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email — all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

Social Media Club NYC Recap: Social Media Measurement

Last Thursday, Social Media Club NYC met to discuss the topic of social media measurement.  Doh Young Jung, data scientist at Brandwatch, was one of the speakers at the event. The second speaker was Martin Murtland, vice president of platform management at PR Newswire. The moderator for the evening was Howard Greenstein, president and organizer of SMCNYC.

Q: What is your role in your company?

Murtland: I am responsible for developing the roadmap for a lot of the products. Some interesting research is that 56 percent of brands and agencies are equating the value of their social media activities to their business outcomes. So we need to know how to show businesses the value of what they are doing with their social media activities. I am a firm believer that the key to this is for practitioners to talk the language of business, which isn’t necessarily talking about all the metrics you can have but more about trying to understand how you can link to those metrics with what you are trying to achieve from a business perspective.

Jung: I am part of the analytics team. We do a lot of consulting services with clients, and we try to help them understand social media as well as how to use our tools better. In addition, I do a great deal of reporting for clients when they have specific social media questions.

Q: What are we talking about when we say social media measurement?

Murtland: It goes back to what you are trying to achieve from a business perspective. You can look at it like a marketing funnel which you flip over, and then you have to push your leads through the different areas. And you have to work very hard to get them through. Try to think about what you are doing with your campaigns; what metrics are appropriate in each of those general areas, as well as what you are trying to do inside the marketing funnel. For me, it is important to look at where the industry is going and what companies are doing to create these tools to enable users.

Jung: Our goal is to always deliver relevant content in a timely manner. When we talk about relevance it is about understanding our client’s objectives in terms of the data that they want and knowing when they need that data. We always want to make sure that our tool is easy for the practitioner to use and the reporting is easy to understand. Many of our clients come from PR and marketing agencies, and then we also support their clients. In addition, we have some larger financial clients that use social media monitoring for their product offerings.

Q: Why is social media measurement more difficult than just turning on these tools that you offer and letting them do the work?

Murtland: The software providers know part of the puzzle but it also takes work on behalf of the user to understand what issue they are trying to solve. It is important to know what you want to achieve consistently over time. One of the key things from a measurement perspective is to benchmark yourself. Don’t worry so much about what metric you use in the beginning, but try to benchmark what are you doing — otherwise you will not know what’s having an impact and improving. If you are able to do it well then include in your benchmark some of your competitors. You want to try to create reference points to see how well you are doing. From there you can think about what kind of metrics you can cover and what metrics you should be covering from a business perspective. Then look for an overlap between these two groups of metrics, and that should be the metrics you use.

Q: You (Jung) are a data scientist, so what is the science of what you are doing?

Jung: We deal a lot with numbers. We do want to show the different trends going on with social media data. As companies start to collect this type of data and look into it, the more accurate of a vision they can have of relating it back to their business purposes, such as the their marketing or financial results.

Q: Do you consult with companies about the purpose of the stats they are collecting?

Murtland: We do have a team for that. The first question to ask is: What are you trying to achieve from a business perspective? No metric or tool will resolve your business problem, you have to start by identifying the problem and then let everything else drive it.

Jung: Our starting point for every discussion is helping clients ask the right question. For example, if there is a case where a company is starting with zero awareness about whatever they are releasing then we have to do competitive research. So if they are releasing something on the market that already has competitors, we go into competitive data sets and see how they are doing in the market and then we tell the client what the competitor is doing successfully or wrong. This gives them some type of strategy.

Q: Now that we have established a baseline and know what business goal we are trying to achieve with our social, what’s next?

Murtland: The next step is to understand some kind of cause and effect. It is important to log and record the type of activities you have been doing. You want to show that what you are doing is actually driving the change.

Q: Can you have a tool where you are can both send out your social and measure it?

Murtland: We have a product that is an engagement console where you are able to track some of your activities. Likewise we have different tools for more earned media. You are able to log your activities in there.

Jung: We started out as a monitoring tool, so that is our core focus. We have seen more requests for engagement, and this is an area we want to venture into.

Q: Not all the networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc.) make their metrics available, so how do you bring all this stuff together into one global picture that you can start to understand as a marketer?

Murtland: Work out what metrics you can measure and what metrics you should be measuring. The other thing to try to validate is where that data is coming from and what it means. I think there is a lot of jargon and ways to express different things, so try to understand it.

Q: How do you view a single metric vs. combo metrics, because the combo metrics seem more accessible?

Jung: It depends on your business goals. Also different types of clients have different things they are more interested in, so there is no one easy formula. PR agencies are more interested in influencer identification, which is trying to identify whether a tweet from a personal account is different than a tweet from a more influential account. They want to find those Twitter handles that have more influence and impact on social media.

Q: How do you determine what is influential for that particular brand?

Murtland:  What is important to me is the contextual influence, so what is the person’s domain and whether they are influencers around that. You can also check if they are an influencer by seeing if their followers are active; look for retweets.

Jung: Our tool can collect historical data as far back as two-and-a-half years. We begin by identifying Twitter handles or any sort of users that mention a relevant brand or marketing campaign topic. We then delve into what they are posting about and look for the topic in their conversation.

Q: How much semantic or sentiment analysis are you doing, and how do you decide if it makes any sense?

Jung: We do have built-in universal sentiment engines and they are based on things like swear words. We are able to customize syntax and understand the language better of certain conversations that have been surrounding positive or negative topics. We can manually change the rules, tweak it, and make sentiment more reliable.

Murtland: There are a couple things you want from a sentiment tool. They are: 1) automated sentiment, looking and analyzing large volumes of content and identifying trends inside it; 2) manually being able to override the scores.

Q: What do we need to do next to tie what we are doing (getting inquiries, selling products, etc.) to some sort of a business metric?

Murtland: You need to start by looking at the peaks and troughs, and try to see if there is a correlation between them. You can try to see the causes and effects that are happening and the correlations, then you can begin understanding and seeing what’s working and not working. Do more of what’s working and less of what’s not working. Repeat and then see the effect.

Jung: As a company becomes increasingly savvy about social data, one thing they can do is set a target to reach. For a lot of PR agencies, the target is often key message penetration. They want to see that a message they crafted is actually being delivered through social media to the audience that they want to reach. An increase in key message penetration has resulted in positive/negative business performance.

Q: How do you keep out confounding data? An example of this was when the “Old Spice Guy” first came out and there was a huge spike in sales, but then someone noted that P&G had a major couponing campaign going on.

Jung:  Our entire app is based on Boolean, so if we see a peak we are able to delve into it. We can cut it out and see what the marketing volume was about as well as the coupon conversation. Then we look at the relationship there, and if we see both things increasing then that can mean both have worked.

You can watch a video of the event here:

(If you’re unable to view the video on this page, please go to: youtu.be/TXGg6rXLMcs)

Whether you’re a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email — all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.