Blog Archives

Marketers: Think Twice Before Sending a “Super” Tweet this Sunday

It’s been almost one year since Oreo came up with “The Tweet Heard Round the World.” When it comes to social media marketing, we still hold the Oreo example up as the Gold Standard – the cream filling of the crop if you will. The reason why shouldn’t be surprising. Since last year’s blackout-induced tweet, brands and individuals alike have tried to jump on buzz-worthy topics in an attempt to become part of the conversation in real-time. And, by and large, they have failed. Today’s call to action? To quote former NFL head coach Herm Edwards, “Don’t press send.”

As an industry, can we agree to be more judicious in our use of real-time marketing? Let’s not try to force lightning into the bottle. Examples of #TwitterFails are so common that BuzzFeed could have a section dedicated to them. And it isn’t limited to sporting events or real-time news.

AT&T was forced to apologize for a fairly innocuous tweet in remembrance of September 11. SpaghettiO’s raised the ire of the Twittersphere when it asked followers to “take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor.” While neither brand tweet was offensive, the general feeling was the brands were using national tragedy remembrances as marketing hooks and inserting themselves into conversations where they weren’t a natural fit.

This is a call to action to rethink real-time tweeting and consider your long-term marketing strategy instead. What is my bigger brand message? Does this ladder up to a longer-term strategy? Does it make sense for my auto/soda/beer/dog food company to be tweeting about Peyton Manning shivering in the cold? If the answer to any of those questions is no, don’t press send. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, “better not to post a meme and be thought a fool than to hit send and remove all doubt.”

So to all of the marketers and brand managers and social media teams and anyone else who will be watching the Super Bowl and waiting for this year’s magic moment, take a moment to learn from those that have come before you. That doesn’t mean scrapping your social media strategy altogether, but be aware of the pitfalls of jumping into situations with content that isn’t true to your brand. Everyone wants to be the next “dunk in the dark,” but no one should risk being the next #TwitterFail.

Grab a Hold of the Vine for Your PR

It’s been nearly five months since Vine was introduced as a free iOS app and since then it’s become one of the most downloaded applications in the Apple App Store. Vine, introduced by Twitter in 2012, enables users to create and post six-second video clips that can be shared on social networking channels like Twitter and Facebook. vine-app-hed-2013

The very idea of video creation is all about storytelling, while connecting and engaging viewers. But can you do that in only six seconds? Tribeca Film Festival founder Robert De Niro thinks so. In April, De Niro was asked about the effect of technology on the festival and filmmaking itself. He responded by calling Vine an “interesting thing,” and said:

“Six seconds of beginning, middle and end. I was just trying to time on my iPhone six seconds just to get a sense of what that is. It can actually be a long time.”

  • Vine in the News: News outlets are getting in the Vine action, too. In February, Tulin Saloglu, a columnist for Al-Monitor and a New York Times contributor, successfully used Vine to capture terrorist attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. By posting the videos to her @turkeypulse Twitter feed, Daloglu’s films were one of the first attempts to use Vine for journalism purposes.
  • Vine + RyGos: Given Vine’s short form, its success in the world of memes is no surprise. Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal went viral last week, propelling creator Ryan McHenry’s following on Vine from eight followers to more than 15,000 (McHenry also has nearly 4.000 followers on Twitter now—we’re curious to know what the figure was before #RGWEHC hit) and no doubt sparking ongoing spoon torment for RyGos.
  • Vine in the White House: Vine is also becoming political. On April 22, the White House joined the bandwagon, publishing its first Vine video through its official Twitter account by announcing the annual White House Science Fair.

As the app continues to gain momentum, we at DGC are cognizant of the need to begin leveraging Vine with our clients. When pitching media, Vine can be used to raise awareness of pending news in a fun, viral way—you can develop Vine videos to tease hints of potential news announcements to get media buzzing before a big launch. Since Vine only allows for six seconds of recorded footage, it caters to us PR pros looking to get a message across quickly and succinctly.

Vine can also help with clients’ social media channels like Twitter. For your next social contest, consider asking users to submit a Vine video, allowing you to grow your clients’ following by leveraging new and existing hashtags. You can even think about distributing a social media release with Vine videos embedded to give the campaign wider exposure and drive traffic.

Do you have more ideas on how Vine can be used by the PR industry? Let us know in the comments below!

A Social Media Life – Through the Lens of Vizify

Earlier in the year, we were introduced to Vizify, a content aggregator that visualizes who you are through the content you share on your social networks.

Seems simple enough – with so many social platforms for you to express yourself, and with digital data doubling every two years, this tool lets people easily “see” the highlights.

We were reminded of Vizify through Twitter’s 2012 Year in Review, a comprehensive look back at what made news through the year.  The two tech companies have worked together to create a “Your Year on Twitter” feature, showcasing the words we tweeted the most. Some of the highlights won’t surprise you – mine certainly didn’t – but what was interesting to see was the volume with which things were tweeted within a specific time.

Below is a snapshot of @digennaro’s twitter through 2012.

While most of our words fit within our vertical, notice how all of our 63 #CannesLions tweets were within the month surrounding the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity?

Facebook also rounded up their biggest trends – and yours – in one handy place, with their “2012 Year In Review” while Google showed us what the 10 most Google’d things of 2012 were (cue guilty curiosities about Whitney Houston, Gangnam Style and Kate Middleton).

While we at DGC enjoyed taking this look back at our social chatter (and are upset at the lack of “Call Me Maybe” search queries!), we also used this opportunity to become more familiar with Vizify for our personal presences.

We like Vizify’s capabilities but believe some of the features in terms of images and quotes could use some tweaking before it becomes the “digital version” of yourself.

What do you think? Try it out for yourself and let us know in the comments!

Was this a #Twitterfail?

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Some people refrain from using Twitter because of its potential to get them in trouble. Actually, Twitter is more of a conduit for people to get themselves in trouble–Anthony Weiner, Spike Lee, Alec Baldwin, any Kardashian–the list is long of those who’ve thrown discretion to the wind on the micro-blogging site.

But even Twitter isn’t immune to the backlash of social media, even from its own users. When Twitter suspended the account of a Los Angeles-based reporter for The Independent, a U.K. newspaper, its users unleashed a howl of protest in which the reporter’s name, Guy Adams, became a trending topic with the hashtag #saveguyadams. As a result of the Guy Adams issue, we also saw increased usage of the #nbcfail hashtag, which a web designer from Illionois launched on July 26 for other programming reasons.

Adams’s transgression started in the form of a tweeted complaint about NBC’s delayed broadcasts of the Olympics opening ceremonies. He also tweeted the supposed email address of Gary Zenkel, whose title is listed on www.nbcuni.com as President, NBC Olympics & Executive Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, NBC Sports, NBC Sports Group. (Try saying that five times fast.)

Adams advised other frustrated viewers to email complaints to Zenkel and provided an email address, which we’ve chosen not to repeat here.

Twitter said Adams violated its user policy by publishing private information (in this case an email address) about another user.

First off, it’s not clear that Zenkel’s business email is “public” as some Adams advocates have charged because none of the corporate email addresses of NBCUniversal’s executives are listed on its web page. Because of those omissions, one could argue that these business email addresses are considered “private.” If so, then Adams clearly violated the Twitter user policy.

Additionally, it’s highly unlikely that Zenkel made a unilateral decision about when to air the opening ceremonies in the United States. So why spam his email address? What would it accomplish?

NBCUniversal provides an email address specifically for viewer feedback: nbcuniversalviewerfeedback@nbcuni.com. A concentrated effort to air grievances to that address is much more likely to be taken seriously.

While Twitter’s outright suspension of Adams’s account is questionable, especially in light of the backlash by Twitter users charging censorship, we think Adams was wrong to publish the email address. Twitter also erred in suspending the account without initial explanation. A warning from Twitter to Adams and a request to delete the tweet should have been sufficient.

UPDATE: Twitter has reinstated Guy Adams’s account: http://adage.com/article/digital/twitter-apologizes-suspending-nbc-bashing-journalist/236419/

Tech Talk: The Magical, Mystical, Wonderful World of Cloud

The cloud’s popularity has been gaining momentum as businesses continue to need ways to store, process and access information quickly. And as its reputation grows, we at DGC have wondered what effect the cloud has had—and will continue to have—on the public relations industry as a whole.

It may surprise you to learn that the cloud isn’t exactly a new concept for PR. Since the introduction of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter (both of which are cloud-based platforms—read the text box for more info!), we’ve been using these mediums to help leverage different forms of communication for both clients and consumers, including posts, blogs, tweets and everything in between. These tools allow us to create and disseminate clients’ media exposure quickly, efficiently and in real-time.

Social media sites aren’t the only cloud-based platforms the industry is using. Tools like Google Analytics help to gauge whether a clients’ website has incurred increased traffic during a news or product announcement. Other tools such as bitly—a URL shortening service—enable us to track a particular website’s stats through click-throughs. And as any PR professional will tell you, this kind of information is crucial to evaluating and reevaluating continued public relations efforts. 

The very nature of using cloud-based platforms helps to keep us—and our clients—informed during PR campaigns. In fact, we’re continually made aware of the kind of exposure our initiatives have had in the viral community (the public likes to voice its opinion, you know). And, cloud-based platforms allow us to respond to positive commentary or correct negative backlash.

As the PR industry continues to move forward, one thing’s for sure—identifying and using cloud-based platforms helps to increase clients’ reach and exposure. So, as I like to say: go, run, do…and get on the cloud!

Have you used the cloud in any of your PR initiatives? Let us know in the comments below.

Tech Talk: News Consumption in a Twitter, Facebook World

Where do you get your news? According to the recently released Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s State of the New Media in 2012 report, not Facebook or Twitter. While Facebook has made a concerted effort to expand its relationship with journalists and new organizations through Social Reader and Twitter has always been seen as a mini “newsfeed,” the numbers tell a different story.

The study determined that only 9% of digital news consumers regularly get their news from these social networks while 36% of people go directly to the publication’s website, 32% use search engines to get news and 29% use a news organizer site or app. These numbers rise to 52% when you look at people who “sometimes” get news from Facebook and Twitter – but that’s still drastically lower than the 92% who sometimes go directly to news sites and the 85% that use search.

Digging deeper into Pew’s State of the News Media, we learn that for the users who do get news from social channels, Facebook and Twitter function differently. On Facebook, for example, 70% of the news people read were from family, 13% from news organizations and 10% from non-news organizations that suggested a story to read. On the other hand, people on Twitter get 27% of news from organizations, 18% from non-news organizations and only 36% from family and friends.

While we had a bit of sticker shock at how low these numbers were, there is no denying that Facebook and Twitter should still be a part of your news distribution strategy. You just have to ensure that you’re using the channels to your advantage and sharing the news in a way that your audiences will take notice. As we shared last year, when you’re creating content for your social community you have to play to specific social audiences and should speak with an authentic voice, sharing relevant news and unique visuals to tell your brand’s story. Take the time to study how your audiences react to different posts and types of news. Experiment with continued personalization, visuals and editorializing of content to see how it boosts engagement across specific channels, then give them more of what works.

In time, we predict that there will continue to be an increase in the consumption of news from news sources across social media communities. But it’s clearly not there yet. So in the meantime, remember the power of personal connections. Don’t be afraid to ask for action from friends, family, colleagues and industry connections to spread the news and involve them in your company’s story.

I Am Public Relations (And So Can You!)

I remember a time when I absolutely hated Twitter—the idea of sharing regular meaningless updates seemed excessive and unnecessary. But then I discovered the power Twitter had to share and spread news, and from then on I was hooked. Tools like these continue to affect the way we do our jobs and shift the focus of what we do.

In its annual “State of the Media Report,” cloud-based marketing and PR software company, Vocus, identified seven things that PR professionals need to know about the shifting media landscape. Check out the list below to stay on top of your game.

  1. Serve up more than just text. In an age when pictures and video can be recorded on your phone, take advantage of technology to spice up your pitches.
  2. Traditional pitching rules apply. Just because Twitter condenses your messages to 140 characters, doesn’t mean you always have to do so. Treat reporters with the respect they deserve.
  3. Buy an iPhone and/or iPad. With everyone creating content for iPhones and iPads, it’s important to know and use the technology.
  4. Don’t pitch using social media. 80 percent of reporters prefer to be contacted via email.
  5. Do get to know reporters via social media platforms. Following reporters on Twitter is a great way to interact with them when you’re not pitching. You can also support them by posting their content once it’s published.
  6. Make it easy. Keeping your pitches short and sweet is important, but make sure you aren’t leaving any major holes for reporters to fill in. The easier you make it, the more likely you are to see a story convert.
  7. Pitch TV newsrooms between 8 and 9 a.m. Since this is before the editorial staff’s morning meeting, you are more likely to get your idea in front of them if they have it on hand heading into their discussion.

Are you keeping up with the evolving media scene? Feel free to share additional tips in the comments section below!

When Tweeting, Don’t Be Misleading

Twitter tips DGC DiGennaro CommunicationsBecause our jobs involve helping companies and executives who run them to communicate effectively, clarity is one of our top priorities.

The plethora of outlets for personal expression continues to multiply and with that, so do the occurrences of dispensing erroneous or misleading information, and which is why the following tweets earlier this month caught our attention.

After clicking on the link of this tweet “Groupon collaborates with the ghost of Jeffrey Dahmer to introduce a delightful, totally non-horrific new mascot,” originally posted on Jan. 12 by an ad firm, our astonishment turned to anger at having been duped because, as you can see, the notorious serial killer had nothing to do with the subject at hand.

Then several people and entities tweeted this headline verbatim on Jan. 13: “NYTimes public editor smashes himself with boomerang” reut.rs/x2VLWs. Did you notice that no persons or objects were actually smashed and no boomerangs made an appearance either?

Finally, Claire Cain Miller eased us down from the ledge of despair.

Her Jan. 12 tweet summarizing a long, intricate story from (what else?) The New Yorker about YouTube’s branded channels was about as clear and accurate as 140 characters would allow.

@clairecm Claire Cain Miller:

“The New Yorker looks at what happens to YouTube as it moves from user-generated anarchy to niche professional videos. newyorker.com/reporting/2012…

We just wanted to say thank you, Ms. Cain Miller. Thank you.

Tweet It Like It Is

As we head into 2012, it’s clear that social media shows no signs of slowing down—in fact, it’s more likely that existing social networks will continue to evolve and serve users in new ways. With the Facebook “Timeline” feature rolling out and companies exploring the benefits of rewarding Foursquare followers, 2012 is going to be a year of stalker-ish connectivity…and instant updates.

One platform that is playing an increasingly important role in the media industry is Twitter. Our client was quoted in Ad Age? Tweet it! The CEO’s byline was placed in Business Insider? Tweet it! You heard a great insight at that reporter panel last night? Tweet it! But there’s a catch: not all Tweets are created equal.

This week, we tapped the DGC team to get their thoughts on effective Tweeting, and here’s what they came up with:

  • First, do no harm. This is the #1 thing you must remember when Tweeting. We saw a number of celebrities lose their endorsement deals this year due to distasteful Tweets. Don’t become one of them.
  • Keep it short and sweet. If you keep your Tweets succinct, your followers have enough room to re-Tweet (RT) and provide commentary.
  • Up your Klout. The latest development in the Twitter-sphere is owning an impressive Klout score. Push newsworthy content and start dialogues with other users to become an influential member of the community.
  • Be unique. If your Twitter feed is part of a more comprehensive social media strategy, make an effort to share creative content–not just repurposed information.  This adds value to your Twitter feed and establishes it as a unique source for your followers.
  • Cite your sources. If you’re mentioning a client or event, make sure to include the company’s and/or writer’s handles, as well as relevant #hashtags.

We once thought of Twitter as another invasive tool aiming to take over the world, but it’s hard to deny that it has become an integral part of our industry. So keep these tips in mind when building your Klout—and always remember to triple check your spelling.

Twitter Gains Funds, Plans to Expand…And the Search for Monetization Success Continues

Last week Twitter announced via its blog, that it had indeed received a large investment from a Russian fund, DST Global. It is reported that the actual investment rings close to $800 million, which would bring Twitter’s value up to a whopping $8 billion. Twitter has committed to utilizing the funds for innovation, investments and increasing talent.

Here are the highlights from Twitter’s official blog post, boasting a rapid growth in users and tweets per day over the last year:

“Twitter continues to grow around the globe at a record pace. We’ve come very far in a short time. Now we have an opportunity to expand Twitter’s reach with a significant round of funding led by the venture firm DST Global, with the participation of several of our existing investors. We will use these resources to aggressively innovate, hire more great people and invest in international expansion.”

So now you may be wondering how this will affect you and your daily ritual of tweeting. There is some speculation that this new investment is in direct correlation with Twitter’s announcement made the previous week about its advertising feature.

Twitter positions the ‘experiment’ as being a convenience to its users and promises to hold the same view on advertising as always, that is to keep its users first. Unlike Facebook, Twitter will only allow advertising tweets in your feed from brands you choose to follow. This feature will place the tweets at the top of your feed and will allow them to easily be dismissed with a single click.

If you currently follow JetBlue, Best Western, Dell, Gatorade, Groupon, HBO, LivingSocial, Microsoft Xbox, Red Bull, Sephora, Starbucks, Summit Entertainment’s “50/50”, TNT or Virgin America among others, you can expect marketing tweets in the upcoming weeks.

The question that remains is not only how consumers will respond, but also what type of return on investment brands will see from these opportunities. What are your thoughts on the matter?

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