Monthly Archives: April 2010

Lighten up PR!

I’ll take my PR with a side of hilarity and bacon please.

Here’s a little excerpt from Humor Can Create Engagements by Aaron Perult at Forbes.com

Mistakenly, most PR execs are convinced the world lives and dies on the pages of media such as The Wall Street Journal, and lean toward using speakisms such as “strategic,” “results-oriented,” and “synergies,” words that have little meaning to actual human beings.

As a result, the companies and brands represented by these boredom ambassadors become further detached from consumers. They lose opportunities to endear themselves to audiences new and old, and instead reaffirm the stigma that they are managed by out-of-touch corporate drones just looking to turn a buck.

Consumers are, in fact, willing to engage with companies and brands in today’s online social forums. The trick is that people are looking for authentic, self-deprecating voices willing to not take themselves too seriously. Consider whether the PR staff for Hormel’s bacon brands could better spend their time creating an online, regional and national event vehicle like the World Bacon Games–where they hand out medals made of delicious bacon–as opposed to pleading with food reporters to write glowing reviews about their products. Since there are hundreds of bacon enthusiast websites and blogs online, and statistics such as between June 2008 and June 2009 there were more Web searches for “bacon” than “Barack Obama,” that would be a good bet, yes.

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Avoiding the Facebook Monster

Wednesday marked the third somewhat annual meeting of Facebook developers in California called the F8 (pronounced “fate”) conference.  Amid rumors of Internet domination and privacy obliteration, Mark Zuckerberg calmly announced , among other, slightly less press-worthy items, that Facebook would be launching the universal “like” button (a.k.a the Facebook Monster) so that users could thumbs up individual web pages and publish that to Facebook for their friends to see.  The button/monster is designed to embed Facebook functionality outside of Facebook and allow web page publishers to tailor content to a user based on his/her like history.  Users will also be able to tell which of their friends have liked the same web page or news story or whatever.

Now I can understand why people are getting all up in arms about privacy.  Facebook has the potential to collect the motherload of data about user preferences, interests an buying habits and channel this information to advertisers or the CIA.  However, during the F8 conference, Facebook did not make any official ad announcement, only that they didn’t have plans to change their current policy which allows developers to apply user data to target ads on their own site.

Phillip Rhoades wrote a great post earlier this week explaining why he thought these changes were “just some new toys, not the death of privacy,” and I agree. People are worried about Facebook becoming Big Brother and when the media uses phrases like “Facebook extended its tentacles across the internet today” and “its claws for pulling in outside content are now razor-sharp,” the privacy nervousness gets a little more acute.  But users should remember that if they agree to make something public by clicking a like button – it’s public.  And as Christina Warren says over at Mashable, “public no longer means ‘public on Facebook,’ public means ‘public in the Facebook ecosystem.’”

Just learn how to properly use Facebook’s privacy settings and educate yourself about how the personalized feeds work, and you’ll avoid the slimy tentacles and razor-sharp claws of the Facebook monster. And maybe, just maybe you’ll start to like the personalized playlist Pandora has put together for you based on what bands you have liked elsewhere on the web.  I think that might be pretty cool.

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Filed under Social Media

Not so Daily Social

I’ve just realized that I named my blog “Daily Social” with the full intent to post interesting and informative social media-ish content every day. Well loyal readers, you’ll notice that that really hasn’t been the case – and I’m okay with that. While fresh content is suppose to help attract and maintain readers, my goal for this blog was never to reach the masses (although the masses continue to come to my blog because of the Farmville pic).

I was recently asked in an interview (top secret – no word on the outcome yet) why I started my blog. Although I had not rehearsed this answer like I did for 50 other Frequently Asked Interview Questions (just go ahead and ask me what my biggest weakness is), it was easy for me to find the right words. I started this blog with the intention of learning 1) how to post a blog, 2) about social media. You learn best by teaching, and I hope I’ve taught at least some of you a thing or two about Facebook, or Twitter or going on safari.

I’m working on a post right now for Marketing Conversation about this whole Facebook “like” button/taking over the Internet phenomenon and because when I learn, you learn, here is a bit of light reading for you:

What you should know about Facebook’s changes – CNN
What Facebook’s Latest Means for the Web – CNET
Facebook Open Graph: What it Means For Privacy – Mashable

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Filed under Life, Social Media

Ellie Brown: Professional Networker

That’s right.  Professional networker.  I even have the cards to prove it now.

Many thanks to the brilliant Shelli Silverstein for the design.  I’ll be breaking these babies out as soon as we print them later this week (I hope!).  So now that I’m professional, please offer me a job. okaythanksbye.

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Filed under Life, Public Relations, Social Media

Blogger’s Block and Safari Videos

The creative juices just aren’t flowing these days.  Perhaps it is three unfinished papers, the stress of graduation and impending unemployment that is sucking all the life out of me.  Well, here’s to hoping I get some inspiration back.

In an effort to do so, I’m posting a video from the good ole days when I was “working” in Kenya, aka going on safari.  Hope you enjoy this substitute for my usually witty and informative blog content.  If you want, I’ll even relate it to social media.  The lionesses represent the influential people in a social network, while the cubs are members of the community.  The warthog represents a business that isn’t properly interacting within these networks.  As you can see, first the influentials eat you, then call their cubs over to finish the job.

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Filed under Africa, Life, Social Media

Hello captain obvious: Facebook is good for business

Chris Abraham, the big boss at Abraham Harrison where I am interning this semester, sent me this article to blog about on Marketing Conversation.  Enjoy!

Alright maybe not THAT obvious to executives still marveling at the technology of the fax machine. But it’s hard for me as a student of the Abraham Harrison school of social media to understand that some businesses still have not embraced the potential of a solid social media strategy – including an interactive Facebook page. Fact is, Abraham Harrison has understood for a while now that individuals trust the recommendations of people in their social networks when it comes to spending their pay checks, and Facebook makes it very easy to publicize one’s brand affinity and share these positive opinions with others.  Retailers who are actively involved in marketing their products and services using Facebook may have a distinct advantage over competitors in terms of product recommendations.

According to a report released by market research company Morpace, 68% of consumers say that a positive referral from a Facebook friend makes them more likely to buy a certain product or visit a certain retailer.  Take out the word “Facebook” from that sentence and we’ve got old news; of course positive referrals make a difference in purchasing behavior. But what is noteworthy about Facebook’s role in all of this is how individuals are now using their public affiliation with certain corporate brands via their profiles to build up their own personal brands (while still touting the benefits of Product X).  The Morpace report  states that the primary reason individuals join a Fan Page is to “let my friends know what products I support.”  Additionally, a study of over 1500 consumers by market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that 60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend certain brands since becoming a fan or follower.

Individuals are now co-producers of brands’ messages in terms of their recommendations and given the evidence from these studies, if your business is not on Facebook you’re missing out on the opportunity for some earned word-of-mouth marketing and you risk being considered irrelevant in today’s marketplace.

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