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Inside the Algorithm: What Facebook’s Changes Mean for Your Content

Facebook’s latest update

Since its launch in September 2006, the Facebook News Feed has been in a state of flux. From the introduction of Like buttons to the prioritization of popular posts to the crackdown on clickbait and fake news, Zuckerberg and company have continually updated the News Feed to optimize the user experience. Since a 2015 report in the Journal of Experimental Psychology that mindlessly scrolling Facebook could be detrimental to mental health, the platform has concentrated its efforts on driving active participation on the platform.

With the latest algorithm update in January 2018, Facebook overhauled their ranking process to focus on engaging content from family and friends over content from brands and publishers. Vice president of News Feed Adam Mosseri shared in a Newsroom post that the updates would prioritize “posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”

How does Facebook determine what is meaningful?

The platform is using reactions, comments and shares to adjudicate how compelling a post actually is. While it may seem that engagement spend is the easy answer to this, friend-to-friend interactions will take precedence. Companies will have to think less about what the brand wants to push, and more about what their target audience wants to see.

What does this mean for content creation?

Creators should put themselves into the shoes of their social customer and ask, “What kind of content would I want my best friend to see?” Thought leadership and philanthropic efforts are more likely to organically take root within an organic community than flash-in-the-pan sponsored posts. Similarly, this type of content is more likely to generate long-term benefits than its ephemeral meme-like counterparts.

Additionally, because we can anticipate that users will be spending less time on the platform, there should be a stronger focus on snappy, succinct content that contributes positively to a viewer’s Facebook experience. Gone are the days of sharing a meandering ten-minute YouTube tutorial on your Facebook page; concise, meaningful content is in.

What does this mean for marketers?

Marketers will need to think outside of the box of engagement baiting to create content that is genuinely engaging, rather than artificially popular. Clickbait-style promotions, including giveaways that use “Comment below!” or “Like this post to enter!” will have higher CPM rates, higher cost-per-click and lower organic reach overall than they have in the past.

It will take months for these updates to roll out across all of Facebook’s products. As we learn more about what these changes mean for brand reach and how to best spend in the new digital climate, one thing is true now more than ever: it’s all about your audience.

Instagram’s Algorithm Receives No Love from Content Creators

Remember that friend you had growing up? You were inseparable. That is, until he became famous. Cue, Instagram. Instagram, do you know who your friends were? Small businesses! Small businesses have to be smart and witty about their content since they typically don’t have the same budgets as big companies. They pushed content creation to the next level by bringing creative ideas, with zero or low cost budgets, to the table.

Instagram recently changed its platform from posting in chronological order to one that is based on an algorithm similar to Facebook. And for a solid reason; the average user misses 70% of the posts and only sees 30% of content shared by the accounts he or she follows. Now, Instagram wants to make the 30% viewed content he most relevant 30%. Of course, advertising on the platform will stay the same, and profiles that have some extra dollars lying around will be able to make it into the 30%. Guess where that leaves small businesses? In the bottom 70%.

Facebook’s algorithm didn’t receive any love from businesses and bloggers when it was first introduced. Those same people still aren’t happy about it, which contributed to the rise of other social media platforms like Instagram. One of my favorite quotes comes from the German politician, Otto von Bismarck who said, “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” What does that make Instagram since they are potentially repeating the same mistake as Facebook?

Twitter seems to be the only platform getting it right with its “while you were away…” feature. Instagram can easily duplicate that with their new timeline and chronicle images in a grid for the user to review once he or she reopens the application. He or she can decide what to explore further. If Instagram were to utilize this feature it would make the user’s experience better since the user is being served the content they want to see according to the algorithm. The small businesses, who are trying to break into social media are still capable of gaining the organic reach they depend on for survival, and the big companies can use advertising to be a part of the 12 images. This way, everyone can be a winner and Instagram can have more advertising opportunities for businesses with different budgets.

If you agree, share this article with #KeepInstagramChronological. Instagram is open to experimenting with their new model throughout this month and will be listening closely to the users and businesses.

instagram ads

 

Letter to Future Public Relations Practitioners

So you want to work in Public Relations? Great, but do you really know what that entails? As someone who has a few years under his belt, let me tell you.

Public Relations practitioners are tasked with much more than media relations or writing a speech for an executive. Clients hire PR practitioners not only to garner their company valuable media coverage but to also be a trusted advisor to their company.  That means at all days and hours you must be ready to help guide your client through any situation, good or bad.  All it takes is one bad news story, tweet, Instagram post, Facebook post, etc. to set off a chain of events that can ruin a company or person’s reputation.

A major key to success in the industry is that you have to know what your clients’ goals are. Without that, you cannot be successful.

Clients come from all over the world and that is one of the most exciting and challenging parts of the job. In this industry, I’ve interacted with people from every continent in the world (besides Antarctica), and each client has different goals for their company. For example, one client may be focused on broadcast coverage and featuring one company spokesperson whereas another may be a family run business that is more interested in being featured in business publications highlighting them as a family.

Knowing what media outlets can move the needle for your clients, what their sales goals are and what messaging they want conveyed to the public are all examples of goals that both the client and PR practitioner need to align on.

In today’s data driven age, having a free flowing information channel with your client can help to refine your PR program to yield better results. Sharing statistics and analytics with your client helps track sales and other trends. For example, I worked with a client that makes a fitness product. They found out from their sales and social media analytics that the majority of consumers purchasing the product were female. That information is crucial as a practitioner. You can use that to pivot your marketing strategy and target more of a female demographic.

Being a PR practitioner can be challenging and stressful because you have to expect the unexpected. If it was easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Now I hope I didn’t scare you away. Anything can happen at any time but that is also part of the fun! In first couple of years in the industry, I’ve been able to do some amazing things.

Here are a few of the highlights for me:

  • CES 2016-This January, I worked at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas or as I’d prefer to call it, “The Super Bowl of Tech.” Spending a week out there with a variety of clients was an extremely beneficial experience. The show had almost 200,000 in attendance and was even more massive in person. I was able to learn a lot and have fun (it is Las Vegas after all!)
  • Media Training Athletes-During my time at Florida State University as an intern with a sports-focused agency, I had the privilege of helping media train NCAA athletes from multiple Division 1 schools. Like I said before in today’s digital and social age, this is HUGE for any university.
  • New York Media Tour-I’m getting ready to go to New York to do a media tour on behalf of multiple different clients of the agency. I’ll be meeting with influential journalists from publications including The Wall Street Journal, CNET, Sports Illustrated, SELF and Golf Digest and talking about their editorial calendars and how I can be of help.

Public Relations is an evolving landscape and an integral part of any successful business. To be a successful PR practitioner, it takes a good personality, motivation, passion, patience and skill. If this sounds like something you are up for, go for it with all you’ve got because anything’s possible!

Air-Popped Productivity

We’re potluck fanatics and go crazy over a good productivity tip, so these “5 Wacky Things You Can Eat to Boost Productivity” piece from Inc.com is right up our alley.

Article below and here. Credit: Inc.com

5 Wacky Things You Can Eat to Boost Productivity
Think yogurt, eggs, bananas, spinach, and walnuts are top notch? They sure are, but add these 5 ingredients to your daily menu and you might boost productivity even more!
BY JANINE POPICK
CMO, Dasheroo; founder, VerticalResponse

GreenRoom Agency Productivity
IMAGE: Getty Images

As an entrepreneur, you know that there’s no time for a break. It’s go-go-go all the time. Those who achieve the greatest success know what it takes to remain productive.

There are are a ton of ways to boost productivity, from a morning workout to a diet change. It’s hard for some to believe, but what you eat will have a positive or negative affect on your productivity.

With a direct impact on cognitive performance, the food choices you make at breakfast or lunch will either propel you to great heights or hold you back for the rest of the day.

You may be familiar with “common” foods that boost productivity, such as eggs, yogurt, bananas, spinach, and walnuts. But did you know there are some things you can eat you might not associate with being super productive? Here are some ideas:

1. Air-popped Popcorn
It may not be wacky in the sense that you have never heard of it, but most people don’t associate popcorn with productivity.

When compared to chips, popcorn is a better pick thanks to its energy boosting capabilities and health benefits (fewer calories). As long as you avoid loads of butter and salt, this makes for a great pick-me-up snack. Put some sriracha on it to spice it up. Added health benefit? Sriracha is made from chili peppers, they boost endorphins which helps make you happier. Bonus #2, chili peppers also spike serotonin, a mood and memory enhancer.

Plus it just makes your environment smell yummy!

2. Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is defined as “a species of the goosefoot genus, a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds.”

What the heck does that mean? If you don’t know anything about quinoa, here is your opportunity to learn more. With a solid eight grams of protein per cup, this is a top snack for those times when you need more energy. Here are some quinoa recipes to experiment with.

Grab a quinoa salad for lunch and see how the rest of the day works for you.

3. Sweet Potato Smoothie
Say what? Stick with me for a second.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of collagen which is essential to helping us cope with stress. They taste sweet but they have natural sugars that help give a balanced and regular source of energy.

And although it might not sound as appealing when compared to a sweet berry alternative, this type of smoothie could be just what you need.

Throw a medium baked sweet potato into a blender, along with banana and a teaspoon (or two) of cocoa powder. Add a few ice cubes to cool it down and start your blender. Within seconds, you will have a smoothie that keeps you running at max efficiency all day. Best yet, it tastes good too!

4. Dry-Roasted Edamame
A healthy snack considered wacky by many, dry-roasted edamame contains plenty of fiber, protein, and antioxidants.

The nice thing about this snack is that it can be popped into your mouth on the go. A piece of chocolate or chips may sound more appealing, but that’s only because you have yet to try a handful of dry-roasted edamame.

5. Pepitas
There is more to these green pumpkin seed kernels than a cool name.

Known as one of the world’s healthiest foods, pepitas are packed full of protein, iron, and magnesium. When you combine the health benefits with the delicious taste, you have a snack that will call your name all day long.

By adding these five wacky foods to your diet, you can boost productivity while lessening the likelihood ofmissing valuable time due to an illness, or snacking on unhealthy foods. A true win-win!

PUBLISHED ON: MAR 3, 2016

Facebook: An Emotional Wreck

93% of our daily communication is nonverbal, leaving only 7% for words. So how can social media be a reliable communication channel when it only conveys 7% of our message?

Lets take a step back and divide the 93% of nonverbal communication into specific elements, 38% of nonverbal communication is sound (tonality, attitude, pitch, volume) and 55% is body language (gestures, hand movements, facial expressions).

On social media, email or even texting, vocal elements have been substituted with hashtags and case changes. For example, if you’re trying to be sarcastic, simply end your post with #sarcasm. Throwing some shade? Add #JKNotReally. And if you think you’re not being heard scream your thoughts out LOUD by using capital cases and add as many exclamation marks as YOU CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gestures? That’s what emoticons are for. Not enough? Well, you have over 150 sets of stickers to choose from, including our personal favorite, the Power Rangers set. To make your life easier, you can filter them through the different emotions you’d like to express.
Facebook Stickers Facebook, Communication, Digital Media, Public Relations, Strategy

Conversations are being limited to 140 characters; you can technically have a full conversation using emoticons and hashtags, try it. You can even tweet your pizza order to Domino’s with a pizza emoticon.
Dominos Pizza Meme

Not all conversations have diminished, we still write comments when the like button is not enough… oh wait, Facebook, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? Facebook just rolled out ‘reactions’ so you don’t even have to type.
Facebook Emotions

So what does this mean for brands who use social media as an engagement tool? Social media is one of the leading consumer research tools and brands that listen to their customers and adapt their products and businesses through their customers’ feedback have seen great success. Can brands adapt their strategies to follow the nonverbal movement? Only future software updates can tell us that.

Tap That App: 5 Must Haves for PR Pros

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Working in public relations means you need to actively monitor the media landscape, and stay abreast of the latest and greatest – which usually requires us to be constantly plugged in. However, when used correctly, our smartphones can become one our greatest assets when it comes to productivity.

 

Here are our top five must-have smartphone apps for PR pros:

 

  1. Pocket: Probably our favorite of the bunch. As PR professionals it’s important that we’re up to speed with the news cycle. However, sometimes we simply don’t have time to read every article the web has to offer. Pocket allows you to scan and save articles for easy offline reading.

 

  1. Twitter: Keeping tabs on social media conversations is an integral part of the job. Thankfully, the Twitter app makes it easy to keep track of what’s trending, and what consumers are saying about the brands we represent – as well as their competitors.

 

  1. Flipboard: Visually appealing, Flipboard is a news aggregator that makes that feels like flipping through a magazine. Flipboard curates content based on your selected interests allowing you to browse handpicked articles, but also build your own personal magazines. You can even add your own social network feeds including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

  1. Dropbox: A great app to have in your arsenal. Makes it easy to access, share and edit files from wherever you are. Also syncs to all your devices.

 

  1. Umano: A new find, Unamo picks the best stories the web has to offer and hires professional voice actors to read them to you. It’s a great way to catch the latest news on your morning commute.

 

What apps are you favorite and make you most productive on and off the clock?

Patrick’s “Workspiration” Corner: 10 Minutes to Success

snowflake

In this business, you’re constantly conducting outreach to journalists, fielding incoming requests, offering clients counsel, drafting press materials and planning for upcoming launches and initiatives. All of those things can happen before lunch, and that’s just on the PR side of the house. Social media is a constant flurry of content creation, engagement, community management and in some cases, fielding customer service inquiries.

While most PR and social media practitioners could easily double in a Ringling production thanks to our juggling prowess, it’s always good to switch up the routine and try something new.

Many of us have been employing the 10-minute method, and finding great success! The principles are pretty simple. Break up any task into 10 minute increments to maximize your productivity. Anything that takes longer should be broken up into smaller tasks.

While not a completely foolproof solution in this industry, it’s a great hack that will make you more productive throughout the day!

 

To Infinity & Beyond: The Evolving World of PR

Infinity and Beyond- The Evolving World

As an industry, public relations has had to adapt to a variety of changes. From the way in which the media landscape has evolved to how audiences receive information, the industry has had to learn new ways to engage the public.

The following are three ways we’ve seen the industry evolve to address this new landscape:

1.)    Targeting New Influencers and Outlets – With the term “media outlets” becoming more loose with the rise of sites like Buzzfeed, this allows brands to attract new audiences.  PR pros now need to treat all outlets with equal importance and think outside the box when it comes to working with different platforms and journalists.

2.)    Drafting Content for Audiences on New Platforms – Turning on the radio, picking up a newspaper or watching TV all face stiff competition from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat. Photos, videos, GIFs and shareable content have allowed users new ways to receive their news and information. Content creation goes beyond a standard pitch and follow up but to how creative and compelling is the brand message to the audience.

3.)    A Block of Text Almost Guarantees It Will Not Be Read or Shred – Any information needs to be able to be clearly communicated in 140 characters. Brands need to be able to clearly communicate to ensure their message is appropriate for a targeted platform.

 

There will always be a need for strong, competitive communicators willing to go the extra mile for their clients. As long as new and exciting opportunities develop for brands to share their message, the public relations industry will continue to adapt.

It’s Handled: How to “Olivia Pope” Your Customer Service Inquiries on Social Media

its-handled-liv

On Scandal, there isn’t a situation that fixer Olivia Pope can’t handle. From international relations crisis to handling her love life, she does it all with cool confidence.  So when it came to trying to break down the nuances of handling customer service, she immediately came to mind.

Following her no-nonsense attitude and skill for execution working with a variety of stakeholders are all core competencies that can be employed with customer service inquiries on social media. It is often the quickest and most efficient route to a resolution while building long-term followers. Now more than ever it is imperative for brands to have an integrated strategy to manage customer service via their social media channels.

According to the Customers 2020 report, the customer experience will be more important than any other factor to consumers by the year 2020. Having a good customer experience is already critical to a company’s success, and will only become more so. To further that point,  Accenture’s Global Consumer Pulse Survey showed that 66% of consumers around the world stopped doing business with a company in 2013 due to poorly handled customer service. To succeed in managing your customer service inquiries on social, follow these simple tips:

Always Have a Plan:

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It is important to think of your social media platforms as an integrated extension of your customer support team, and always keep your social media team informed with a plan that aligns with your internal customer support team’s best practices. Both teams should have a set of FAQ’s and best practices in place to handle all incoming issues. Having these in place will streamline processes and keep key brand messaging congruent.

Take it Offline:

shut this down

Remember to always address all public questions, complaints and concerns and then take them offline by directing a consumer to a private message or to the support team’s channels for further assistance.

Complaining vs. Trolling:

look-at-me

Assessing the type of complaint is just as important as handling it. Researching where a complaint is coming from and evaluating its validity can save time and resources. If the complaint or inquiry is a legitimate concern from a consumer then answer their inquiry and continue to follow-up until the matter is resolved. Most fans who are legitimately complaining just want to feel heard. If you assess the complaint and find that it may be a person trolling your page, address the issue head on. If they continue to spam your account you may have to take extreme measures such as blocking said user. It is important to provide a place for your fans to engage with your brand rather than a breeding ground for complaints.

The Customer is Always Right…Even When They Are Wrong:

We're in this together

The old adage of the “customer is always right” is still a good reference to stick to within limits. Many times, it’s not the actual problem, but how it’s handled that leaves a lasting impression and can convert an angry customer into a lifelong brand evangelist. When you make it clear to a concerned customer that you are doing everything in your power to assist them, you will find that they are more appreciative after their issue is solved. It can often lead to them taking their gratitude back on social media to sing your brand’s praises.

Earn Their Trust:

If you want me earn me

Being able to quickly turn around an issue is another reason why consumers are turning to social media rather than the traditional customer support channels. Allowing the consumer to feel heard and offering a quick solution has become commonplace on social media. An industry standard is acknowledging the issues within 24 hours, though many brands do so sooner. This does not mean that the problem will be solved in this time frame but they will at least know that a resolution is in the process.

 

Sorry is the Hardest Word

SORRY (1)

In recent weeks, celebrities like Giuliana Rancic and Benedict Cumberbatch have found themselves in the wrong kind of spotlight for remarks that the public found to be in poor taste. While the history of the public mea culpa has long been documented, it is not solely reserved for celebrities and public figures.  At times, brands will find themselves in situations where a public apology is all but required. Whether it is the result of a customer service blunder, a product launch delay, an error in product manufacturing or simply a misguided tweet, there are moments when brands are faced with the decision of having and how to apologize to customers.

Should one find themselves in the situation where an apology is required, there are a few tactics that should always be kept top of mind. The apology must be authentically remorseful. Take responsibility for what you have done and provide acknowledgment that a mistake has been made. Transparency is a word often tossed around in the PR world, but in this scenario it is truly important for brands to be honest with consumers about the situation – what really happened, how do you plan to fix the problem and how do you plan to make sure the same problem doesn’t happen again.  An effective apology ensures that the same mistake won’t be repeated.

At the end of the day, every brand will have to consider their own unique circumstances to determine the best course of action. Not every situation calls for a public apology. However, with every mistake, there is always an opportunity for brands to learn and grow. They can and should use these opportunities to reconnect with consumers and show them why they became loyal to the brand in the first place.