Tips for a Great Social Media Presence

By: Meredith Erikson

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Photo via Sprout Social

In public relations today, social media has become such a large tactic for many different reasons. It allows for a more personal engagement with your public, it spreads key messages faster, and broadens the extent of your organization. Social media is a platform for your brand or organization’s originality to be displayed to the public. However, social media isn’t as easy as it sounds-there are tactics involved that help create an outstanding social media presence.

To better understand an organization that you are interested in or may have just been hired for, one of the best ways to do so is to analyze their social media presence. How is their engagement with their followers? How do they handle concerns and complaints? You can tell a lot about an organization based on whether or not they have positive and strategic engagement. Engagement is considered to be one of the most important social media metrics, especially for Twitter and Facebook. Impressions will wow your boss. Be careful not to confuse interaction with “likes” though. Having a lot of likes on a post is not nearly as important as the conversations and interactions you’re having with your followers. “Again, numbers like shares, likes, favorites, etc. are great to brag about – and they are informative to an extent,” says TheNextWeb.

Which network is engagement the most important? Trick question, they are all equally important. While Facebook or Twitter may be your biggest audience, don’t ignore your followers on your other networks too. There is the misconception that your brand needs to be on every social media platform. Use what will work best for your brand because not every platform will cater to the audience you are trying to reach.

Social media metrics matter. They add value to what your organization is trying to do. According to Dominique Jackson on SproutSocial, “analyzing your social media performance metrics and statistics is important for every business. These reports can help you determine where to focus your energy when it comes to specific social media networks. More than tracking followers and engagement, they will show you which networks ultimately help your bottom line.” It is important to act on your metrics, otherwise you cannot see growth or change in your organization.

 

Jackson, D. (2016, October 24). All of The Social Media Metrics that Matter | Sprout Social. Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-metrics-that-matter/

Chitwood, L. (2013, October 29). 5 Social Media Metrics that your Business Should Track. Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2013/10/29/5-social-media-metrics-business-tracking/

Social Media’s Influence on the 2016 Election

By: Meredith Erikson

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Photo via Fordham Political Review

The election results of 2016 caused a chaos of emotions from all different viewpoints. Media has played a large part in the showcasing and spreading of the reactions of not only Americans, but the whole world. Some argue that social media played a role in making this one of the most controversial elections in history. NPR’s host Renee Montagne argues, “social media, by this point, is not new. But in this election season, it’s played a bigger role in our politics than ever before.” In what ways has it become so relevant to this election? In regards to Twitter and Facebook, platforms that are meant for written communication, open discussion of this election has played a part in the reiteration of strongly conflicting views from both sides. Through tactics of reposting, retweeting and click-bait journalism, viewpoints about this election have been partly socially constructed. Not to mention that Trump’s outlandish comments were something unique to this election, that the media pounced on to utilize as content. Bots also exaggerated things as Douglas Guilbeault says, “they reinforce this sense of polarization in the atmosphere because bots don’t tend to be mild mannered. They are programmed to align themselves with an agenda.” Even executives at Facebook have contemplated their influence in the outcome of this race. “Facebook has been in the eye of a postelection storm for the last few days, embroiled in accusations that it helped spread misinformation and fake news stories that influenced how the American electorate voted,” according to New York Times writer Mike Isaac. There is the issue of sharing misinformation that has negatively associated Facebook, whether it is actually associated with it or not. Some of their employees claim that is an unbiased site that is for everyone to have their voice heard. Despite the intensified disagreement in our country resulting from social media, it has also created some good, especially during post-election time. Social media users, both common people and public figures, have used their platforms to encourage unity and to promote activism. It’s not a question of whether social media played a role in this election but rather if it increased a polarization of views or not. Social media is a powerful tool that is crucial to our communication in this modern world, but must be used with caution.

Isaac, M. (2016, November 12). Facebook, in Cross Hairs After Election, Is Said to Question Its Influence. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/technology/facebook-is-said-to-question-its-influence-in-election.html

Sanders, S. (2016, November 7). Social Media’s Increasing Role In The 2016 Presidential Election. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.npr.org/2016/11/07/500977344/social-media-s-role-increases-in-2016-presidential-election

Softbank May Be Buying Twitter

By: Meredith Erikson

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Photo via globalme.net

Since my trip, I am automatically inclined to read any article about Japan. I can’t help it. While being there, I had to use Softbank, a big telecommunications and Internet corporation, as my phone provider. I compared its strength to AT&T when I saw that it owned Fukuoka’s baseball team (the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks). Forbes announced recently that Softbank may buy Twitter. I found the reasons to this especially interesting. First of all, it’s important to be aware that Twitter’s stock and active users are declining. That is why Twitter is in search of a buyer. The article by Forbes claims that big corporations such as Disney, Google and Microsoft have declined to buy them. So, Softbank has a good chance of buying them considering some cultural and economic reasons.

My favorite reason is that Japan loves Twitter. The Japanese can say a lot more than 140 characters. They can use the characters of their alphabet Kanji, where one character can represent an entire word. It makes Twitter even more of a mini blog. Wanting to know why else, I found that according to GlobalMe , Japanese Twitter users increased by 33% after the 2011 earthquake. Twitter is largely utilized during times of disaster, especially when phones and other media sources aren’t providing information. Earthquakes are a common occurrence in Japan so Twitter is essential.

In addition, Softbank has apparently been making great ties with other global corporations. This gives reasons for them being able to possibly buy Twitter. I personally think this would be a good move for Softbank. They could offer means of improvement because with their home’s users being able to write more on Twitter, user behavior can be more understood which could be used to Softbank’s advantage. The partnership between Twitter and Softbank would benefit each other as well. Twitter has already found interest in Japan because of its business intelligence strategies, while Softbank finds interest in the United States so things look promising. It would be smart for Softbank to get involved in social media and I plan to follow up on what happens.

Prosser, M. (2016, October 17). Why Japanese Telecom Giant SoftBank Could Buy Twitter. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/prossermarc/2016/10/17/why-japanese-telecom-giant-softbank-could-buy-twitter/#7d1774a14f7b

Golota, H. (2015). Twitter: Why so Popular in Japan? Retrieved October 18, 2016, from https://www.globalme.net/blog/twitter-why-so-popular-in-japan

New Social Media Policy for the NFL

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Photo via pulseheadlines.com

The NFL currently has developed a new social media policy. Beginning this Wednesday, teams can be fined a tremendous amount for violating any part of this policy. According to ABC News and ESPN, the rules state that “teams no longer can shoot video inside the stadium during the game and post it on social media, nor can they use Facebook Live, Periscope or any other app to stream anything live within the stadium.” Another part of these rules are that teams cannot alter any of the highlights of the game on their social media feed or in videos and GIFs. Players are allowed to post up to a certain amount of content on nongame days, however they can only post promotional, game-related things. All of these rules are to ensure that the league, not individual players, are in control of what is distributed in the media.

This new policy shows how big of a role social media plays today. Without the usage of social media and digital media, a lot of issues within major organizations, especially the NFL, would have never been brought to light. Players should have the freedom to post what they please to their accounts and it seems as though the NFL is using this policy to avoid any negative media to their name, as they have had a lot of negative attention in the past. Regardless of the reason, social media is a critical part in the growth of an organization, especially within the sports world. Although players can re-post content created by the NFL, it’s not the same as personalized content that fans and critics want to see. Social media platforms are how teams can engage and connect with their followers. The NFL released a press statement on their website about the new rules saying they can be changed at any time. I wouldn’t be surprised if any other leagues such as the NBA will begin to follow these rules as well. Social media is a tactic that organizations need so I find it interesting to see how it has had an influence in the structure of institutions today.

 

ESPN, D. R. (2016, October 09). NFL teams can be fined for posting video under new social media policy. Retrieved October 09, 2016, from http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/nfl-teams-fined-posting-video-social-media-policy/story?id=42679322

Policy, A. N. (2016, October 09). NFL teams may now get fined for their social media posts. Retrieved October 09, 2016, from http://money.cnn.com/2016/10/09/news/companies/nfl-social-media-fines/

 

 

 

My PR Experience in College

By: Meredith Erikson

Student photo shoot
Photo via southeast.hccs.edu

In an interesting blog on “PR News” by Seth Arenstein called “Report Card from the academics: next wave of PR Pros Lacks Sharp Writing, Presentation Skills” he discusses how public relations is taught at universities. I wanted to discuss my college experience learning public relations and compare it to what the PR professionals say us college students need to know.

The PR professionals mentioned that we must have advanced writing skills. They aren’t talking about the skills that will get you through a 1000-word essay, but writing for communications; which involves being persuasive and succinct. According to College Magazine, “since writing is the most important skill to have as a PR practitioner, get ready to spend the next four years with your hands glued to your keyboard.”  I’ve had the privilege of having great professors at UNT who have taught me how to write for various types of public relations documents. Word choice is crucial in creating these documents and audience awareness is something that must be kept in mind. Press releases, web content and crisis responses all have different audiences yet should be concise and effectively get the message across.

Another mentioned skill that PR professionals think we should have are oral and presentation skills. Every class, I’ve had the experience of speaking in front of an audience. From 12 to 100 people, I’ve presented in front of a range of audiences. I find it necessary that professors give the opportunity for students to practice presenting because as much as I despise speaking in front of an audience, I have gained more confidence in speaking the more times I’ve done it. Having to speak in front of real-life professionals has helped me prepare even more, especially when I had to present my communications plan. One-on-one communication practice is just as valuable. I’ve had the practice of doing a mock interview for a crisis communications situation where I had to think critically to give the best responses that would protect my “company’s” reputation. This training is beneficial for me if and when I have to communicate with clients and the media. Lastly, knowing how to conduct research is acrucial in all areas of PR. In my classes we are trained in ethics and PR law. We’ve learned to perform in-depth research, how to conduct surveys and the importance of ethical decision making.

UNT has provided me with valuable skills that I hope will one day be up to these professional’s standards.

 

Arenstein, B. (2016, September 19). Report Card From the Academics: Next Wave of PR Pros Lacks Sharp Writing, Presentation Skills. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from http://www.prnewsonline.com/freed-up-premium-content/2016/09/12/report-card-academics-next-wave-pr-pros-lacks-sharp-writing-presentation-skills/

Augero, A. (2014, December 2). Everything you need to know about a PR degree. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from http://www.collegemagazine.com/everything-need-know-pr-degree/

 

Myths about Social Media

By: Meredith Erikson

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Photo via rivaliq.com

Social media is an important component of public relations tactics. It’s a crucial tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. However, there are some misconceptions about these platforms. In an article I found on PR Daily’s Twitter account called “10 social media myths to squash” by Melissa Meyer, I found a few myths that were worth noting.

The idea that your organization must be on every social media platform doesn’t always hold true. In my previous PR communications class, we did a communications audit for a company and evaluated their social media presence. What we found was that this company did not need a Pinterest and not so much an Instagram account either. The accounts weren’t beneficial and weren’t for the organization’s needs nor audiences. We suggested to them that they focus more attention to the other platforms that were more suitable.

“Social media is only a promotional tool” is a big myth as well. Yes, social media is the one of the best ways to promote your brand, but there can’t be only one-way communication on your accounts. It’s important to engage and interact with your followers. Even when there’s negative comments, it’s important to respond in a timely and professional manner.

Content is not needed constantly. Quality over quantity. Post up to a few times a day but make sure posts are of positivity, helpfulness and usefulness. You don’t want your accounts to look like they are spamming people or are posting irrelevant material. Create a social media calendar to schedule and plan for quality social media content.

Social media analytics are in fact useful. Tools such as Twitter analytics help you track all of your interactions and give a basis for how your company can improve its engagement and reach. Meyer notes that “analytics are essential to demonstrating your business value.” Analytics can help you determine when the best time to post is, which posts have the best outcomes and how your followers have grown.

Professional social media usage takes practice but with the right tools and practices you can be effective and productive.

 

Meyer, M. (2016, March 11). 10 social media myths to quash. Retrieved September 11, 2016, from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/20326.aspx