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Category Archives: Social Media

Tag Archives: Social Media

Does Twitter need a strategy refresh?

Tweeting Birds with Yellow and Blue Speech Bubbles

Last week, Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur and early Twitter investor, spoke at the Guardian Changing Media Summit in London and boldly stated that, “Twitter will die if it doesn’t fix its ‘noise’ problem.”

This noise is the stream of unsolicited information that is flooding users’ feeds with sponsored tweets from users that they do not already follow. So how can Twitter fix its noise problem and prevent itself from joining the ranks of social media “has beens” like Friendster and Myspace?

1. Dismiss irrelevant content: Allow users to identify suggested content that they are uninterested in. The current “dismiss” feature just removes that particular tweet from the user’s timeline, however, there should be an option to never see any recommended content from a particular Twitter feed in the future unless you decide to follow that user.

2. Tighter monitoring: No one appreciates troll accounts following them, favoriting content, or direct messaging them. Even worse, there are troll accounts set up to mimic companies’ pages, with a letter or two off in the spelling so that some users may not even realize at first glance that it is not the real company. Twitter should purge spam accounts more frequently and more thoroughly in order to maintain credibility.

3. Add new features: Keep the site fresh by frequently adding new features, and phase out those features that don’t take off or deter users. This is tricky because while you cannot please everyone, you can work to make the most active users happy. One way would be to invite users into the innovation process. The company could create a poll for users to regularly weigh in on the features that would be most useful to them, perhaps on a quarterly basis. The key will be to communicate what the results were and to make a splash when the new features chosen by users are up-and-running. This will in turn create buzz and make users feel like they are part of a greater Twitter community.

Ultimately, I think that Twitter is here to stay. There is already a strong user base of 288 million users including media outlets, businesses and even celebrities, on top of the “average Joe” users like me who have come to rely on the valuable content that we find on there each day. The key is to engage with users and not be afraid to change up the strategy often in order to keep the site relevant.

Read more from Christine Comey Lewis
snapchat discover

Three things you need to know about Snapchat Discover

snapchat discover

Snapchat is no longer only for millennials and the ugly selfie you hope the receiver is too slow to screen capture before it “disappears” into cyberspace. While I admittedly get joy from watching my Snapchat score rise with each embarrassing Snap, the marketer in me always questioned when Snapchat would take it to the next level for branded, editorial content. Eventually, brands would move in to reach these consumers. How would brands use Snapchat to advertise? How would they reach the more than 200 million Snapchat users? What would be their goal or message?

Last month, Snapchat launched Snapchat Discover. In a blog post announcing arguably the biggest upgrade Snapchat has ever made, the Snapchat team said, “Snapchat Discover is a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams. It’s the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first. This is not social media.”

Here are three things you need to know about Snapchat Discover:

1)      It’s about storytelling: What struck me about Discover is Snapchat’s emphasis that “this is not social media.” The team says Discover is built for creatives and is dependent on editors and artists. There are currently 12 “editions” across various topics including: CNN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN, Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice, Yahoo News and Warner Music Group. Snapchat announced in June 2014 that Stories – a compilation of Snaps that last only 24 hours – was its most popular feature. In fact, Stories drew more than 1 billion views daily. Therefore, what was the most obvious way to integrate brands onto the platform? Through the use of storytelling. I would argue that “storytelling” rather than plain old “content” now reigns as king. There needs to be a beginning, middle and end. What is your message and how can you connect to your audience? Discover is based on stories.

2)      It’s timely: Just like Stories, the content on each Discover edition is replaced daily – after 24 hours. News is now old after one day. And since these editions on Discover happen to be from media outlets, they want to share the most timely up to date content. Snapchat enlisted publishers in this ad supported revenue-sharing partnership to emphasize storytelling.

snapchat tip

3)      It’s not just for photos: Discover allows for customizable content. From photos, to videos, to articles and long form content, Discover is a collage of the publisher’s news for the day. Click on the icon to open the publisher’s stories of the day. Usually an image or video will play with an intriguing headline, guiding you to swipe up to read the full article or the helpful tip, watch the full video or learn the latest breaking news. When you want to go to the next story, swipe left. When you want to move onto the next publisher, swipe down to head back to the Discover home screen. Food Network has the “Tip of the Day.” Today happened to be, “Superfood Breakfast Toast.” With a single swipe up, I have instructions on how to make a coconut butter spread with cocoa powder, almonds and honey. ESPN had a series of videos titled, “NBA Top Players Who Beat Lebron for No. 1.” Must admit, that headline pulled me right in to see who could have possibly beaten “King James.”

While some report Discover looks like an online magazine, and others say it is a new medium parallel to Twitter and Facebook, there’s no denying this is big. We’ve come a long way from my embarrassing selfie of #iwokeuplikethis. Now, in PR, will we start pitching reporters articles for Snapchat? We just might.

Read more from Danielle Laurion
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What’s on our PR Wish List this Holiday?

As December 25 looms and the holiday hustle and bustle dies down, we have been collectively thinking about what is, or what should be, on our “PR Wish List” this season. Much has happened in 2014 with Boston business journalism, on Twitter and even in the AP Stylebook. And let’s face it: we are in an industry that is constantly changing. So here’s our list for Santa of what PR folks really want for Christmas this year.

1.       Controversial, newsworthy ideas  

Touting a unique point-of-view is important but what’s even more of interest to reporters are stories and perspectives that “challenge conventional wisdom,” says Sam Whitmore of SWMS. This was reflected in a recent conversation between our West Coast General Manager Jason Morris and VentureBeat’s executive editor Dylan Tweney, which discussed the relevance of storytelling in an age of speed. In the coming year, the publication will be even more committed to in-depth reporting, with the goal of telling more complete (and often nuanced) stories.

2.       More breakfast meetings

Thanks to Digiday’s “What’s in and what’s out for 2015,” it turns out that breakfast meetings are back. Who doesn’t like breakfast? But more importantly, we know reporters are busy so the breakfast meeting could be an efficient but personable way to nurture relationships. Managed well, these kinds of meetings result in interesting dialog, inspire  outside-the-box thinking and can set the stage for great opportunities for media, speaking or content.

3.       A comeback of editorial calendars

Understanding how publications plan out their media calendar for the year ahead used to be mainstay but in the past few years, as reporting has become more real-time and with the arrival of native advertising, the traditional editorial calendar seems to have disappeared, except for trade publications. But don’t count the “ed cal” out for good: a mid-November article in TechCrunch told us that the publication will be experimenting with an editorial guide for thematic guest columns topics in 2015. In January, parts of TechCrunch will be dedicated solely to consumer technology (to coincide with the Consumer Electronics Show) and in March, focused on tech and politics.

4.       Retire old words and find better ones

Samantha McGarry’s annual Words to Retire post highlighted the shallow or overused words and expressions from 2014. We’re ready to say goodbye to bae, basic and blessed – among others like literally and leverage. In 2015, using more eloquent and meaningful words will make the difference between marketing speak and a powerful pitch.

5.       Capitalize on “what’s working” to reach audiences

What we really want this holiday is to continue to reach the right audiences and to explore new channels. We’ve covered a lot of what happened in this space this year on the blog, including lessons from Reddit, Tumblr, Storify, Instagram, Ello and data behind the stories on Medium. With the variety of channels and tools available, it’s important to study what’s working and tailor your approach accordingly.

The pace of change in PR and media is expected to accelerate in 2015, and driving awareness for our clients through their unique point-of-view has become even more important. Do you have other wishes for PR this year? Share with us in the comments.

Read more from Rachel Nelson
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Let’s Chat: Social Marketing in 2015

Are you planning on being social in 2015? Chances are the answer is yes, and I’ve got the stats to prove it. According to a survey conducted by eMarketer, 89 percent of us plan to utilize social media as a marketing tool in the next year. Additionally, we plan to allocate 13 percent of our 2015 marketing budgets to social campaigns. As social media becomes a staple in the everyday lives of consumers and businesses, it is imperative as communicators that we seamlessly incorporate social media into our marketing initiatives.

I sat in on an eMarketer webinar recently that discussed social marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2015. Here are my top four takeaways from the presentation. Keep these in mind as you commence your marketing plans for 2015.

1. Ad spends will increase

As organizations prioritize and position social media to be the “quarterback” of all marketing campaigns, more attention will be paid to advertising on social platforms. eMarketer expects that 9.4 percent of 2015’s marketing budgets will be allocated to social advertising. In fact, as of September 2014, Facebook’s share of digital ad spending is outpacing adults’ time spent on the social platform in the United States.

2. Less is more when it comes to content

Content marketing has been a successful marketing strategy in past years and most organizations promote their content on social media, but the key in 2015 will be standing out amidst the constant push of information. Interaction rates for brand posts on social sites are small (less than 1 percent on Facebook and Twitter) according to recent study published by Forrester. Marketers will need to be more strategic in regards to content and cater to audiences that they know will engage socially. Fewer, more thoughtful posts tailored to the target consumer will succeed on social media in 2015.

3. Mobile will be a priority

Statistics show that most social activity occurs on mobile devices. According to Facebook, 30 percent of their worldwide users are mobile-only. Not convinced? comScore media reports that as of June 2014, 71 percent of social media activity in the United States takes place on a mobile device and eMarketer claims that 8 out of 10 social media users will use a phone to access social networks in 2015. Gone are the days of scaling initiatives down for mobile, it’s time to make it a priority. Organizations will need to design campaigns that can be viewed in passing and on smaller screens. Make it easy for the consumer to learn about you, and keep it short and sweet.

4. Tailored social measurement

Measuring social media success has always been difficult to define. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to measuring ROI on social media campaigns, and a study conducted by eConsultancy found that 40 percent of marketers worldwide considered their social media measurement capabilities “poor.” As social media becomes a staple within the marketing silo, proper measurement tools become imperative. Social analytics platforms such as Brandwatch can help organizations identify where social conversations lie and which initiatives garnered the most success. Brandwatch recently published a blog post on proving the value of social media efforts if you are interested in learning more.

Trends and predictions aside, socially successful organizations will need to be nimble in the next year to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of social media. What are your social media predictions for 2015?

Read more from Marissa Toselli
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The Six Most Attention Grabbing Hashtags of 2014

Hashtags. You see them in almost every form of communication these days. Your friend from high school tweets that it was #legday at the gym and your cousin posts about their #blessed weekend. Jimmy Fallon even has an ongoing skit where he and the guest on his show that night talk exclusively in hashtags. In fact, you can barely watch a TV show without being shown its hashtag encouraging viewers to join the conversation (thank you #PeterPanLive). If you’re trying to be cute about not really apologizing, #sorrynotsorry is a good one, but it’s not all snark like at Thanksgiving, when we are all #thankful.

So what were the most attention grabbing hashtags of 2014? These are my picks:

  1. #ALSIceBucketChallenge – This summer the #ALSIceBucketChallenge was inspired by Pete Frates, former baseball captain at Boston College. Pete Frates was diagnosed with ALS. The challenge consisted of individuals dumping ice water over their heads to support ALS and then challenging other friends to do the same or donate (or do both!). First it was just everyone’s friends and family taking part in the challenge and then quickly got the attention of Hollywood: Ben AffleckJennifer Aniston, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Neil Patrick Harris to name a few (those are really just a few, so many celebrities took the challenge!). To date, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge has raised more than $100 million for ALC research. In fact, Cathy Corwin recently included the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in her #breaktheinternet post.
  2. #Sochi – The Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russia this year and seemed as if the conversation around the games started before the games actually started. There was controversy around the 51 billion dollar price tag and concern that the city would even be ready for the games. Then, the stories of the poor accommodations of journalists came pouring in and another hashtag was created – #SochiProblems. That hashtag took off so fast that an account for @SochiProblems was quickly set up. Once the games started, people couldn’t stop talking about Bob Costas’ pink eye and the dangerous courses plaguing the athletes. All in all, the games went smoothly but social media sure had fun following the drama.
  3. #BringBackOurGirls – At a UNESCO event on April 23 Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, the vice president of the World Bank for Africa, gave a speech for the opening ceremony honoring the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt as the 2014 World Book Capital City. In her speech, she mentioned the recent kidnapping of over 200 school-age girls, issuing the call to “bring back our daughters.” A Nigerian lawyer named Ibrahim M Abdullahi was watching the streamed speech in Abuja (the nation’s capital), and phrased Dr. Ezekwesili’s emotive words on Twitter using the hashtags #BringBackOurDaughters and #BringBackOurGirls. He unknowingly sparked an online social activism campaign that was top news story across the world. Soon, the likes of Michelle Obama, Mary J. Blige, Amy Poehler, and Hillary Clinton were joining the conversation but voicing their support. The social movement was called a lesson in Twitter activism.
  4. #RIPRobinWilliams – Towards the end of the summer, beloved actor Robin Williams passed away at the age of 63. As soon as the news was announced via social media, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were flooded with quotes and images from his great films (Mrs. Doubtfire anyone?). Disney posted a tribute to their Facebook page and it took off like wildfire. They also scheduled viewings of Aladdin on their channel with the tribute at the end. There was also much social conversation around the matter of his death but we’d rather keep this mention a positive one.
  5. #MH370 – In March, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 departing from Kuala Lumpur and scheduled to arrive in Beijing disappeared into mid-air. Literally. Air traffic control received the aircraft’s last message when it was over the South China Sea, less than an hour after takeoff and hasn’t been heard from since. Social media took off with theories of what could have happened (my personal favorite was one that connected the disappearance to LOST, the classic ABC drama). Even Courtney Love was making her theories heard, offering herself up as an expert. To date, the plane is still missing.
  6. #Ferguson – In August, an unarmed teen named Michael Brown was shot by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MI. It soon sparked a fire on traditional and especially social media. As Brown was an unarmed, black teenager and Office Darren Wilson (whose name wasn’t released to the public for quite some time) was white, a race war was ignited. Protesters and people who just wanted to get the story were following and engaging with the #Ferguson hashtag. Many of the speculations around what really happened, who saw what, played out via social media as it usually does with this type of news. On the evening of November 24, it was announced that Officer Wilson would not be indicted for the murder of Michael Brown which only ignited the fire more both on the streets of Ferguson (and other large U.S. cities) and on social media.

So there you have it, 2014 as told by a handful of the year’s most attention grabbing hashtags (for more about the top hashtags and happenings of 2014, check out this blog from Twitter). I for one am looking forward to see what conversations gain traction in 2015. #SeeYouLater2014

Read more from Kristen Zemeitus
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Is Tumblr the next big thing? 3 reasons to join the fastest-growing social platform

In less than a year, Tumblr has gone from being “Yahoo!’s next problem” to the fastest-growing social platform. The Yahoo-owned platform is considered an easy blogging tool for users and companies looking to engage with a younger and increasingly mobile audience. TechCrunch recently dug into research from the Global Web Index to shed some light on the changing social landscape, which shows that Tumblr’s active user base grew by 120 percent in the last six months, while Facebook’s only grew by 2 percent.

That kind of growth is nothing to sneeze at, as Marissa Mayer and her team knew when Yahoo! purchased the platform in May of 2013. Yahoo! pointed to growth as a huge driver in this acquisition, and noted that brands are hungry to engage with users of the platform.

The latest results from the Global Web Index are good news for brands looking to use Tumblr. Here are a few reasons why:

Tumblr has an active, engaged user base.

PR practitioners will know that you want to post content where people will engage with it. Tumblr’s huge growth in active users means that the site represents a pool of users looking to interact with content – re-blogging and sharing your posts with their followers. Tumblr users also reportedly spend more total time on the site than on bigger networks like Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest. Companies like Adidas use Tumblr to engage with customers through good interactive design and the humor behind the Denny’s brand comes through on their Tumblr blog.

The platform is rich in multimedia content.

Multimedia and visually engaging content is a huge draw to Tumblr users, who spend more time creating shareable content and connecting with other users via the platform’s built-in social network. At InkHouse we’ve learned that visually engaging content is a great way to connect with readers. Tumblr makes this easy. For example, users frequently engage with posts by General Electric, one company consistently sharing stunning visuals and multimedia graphics on Tumblr, proving that many short, informal posts are fantastic for driving engagement.

Tumblr users are flocking to mobile devices.

Tumblr has invested in making the mobile experience user-friendly and beautifully designed, and it’s paying off. A huge number of Tumblr users are accessing the site from a mobile device – 65 percent of active users, up from 50 percent in January – which is not surprising since “mobile is the social platform of choice for more than 50 percent of users ages 16-34,” according to the Global Web Index. This same age group makes up more than 70 percent of users on Tumblr and Instagram (the youngest audiences out of all social networks). With mobile rising to become a first-choice device for many social network users, brands should consider getting in front of a growing population of young, engaged consumers.

As if you need another reason to open an account, Tumblr is SEO friendly as well. Web marketing expert Lorrie Thomas Ross points out on PR Newswire that “Tumblr was architected to be search-friendly and help search visibility.”

So what are you waiting for? By creating a Tumblr blog for your company or brand you will join an active, engaged community and have the opportunity to reach more mobile users with multimedia content than ever. As we say at InkHouse, now is the time to jump right in and “publish, publish, publish.”

Read more from Molly Kalan
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#ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat – another win for Small Business Saturday – and for social media

Black Friday is played out – these days, it’s all about Small Business Saturday. Started in 2010 as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses in their community and invest in the local economy. Even those fatigued with the hyper-consumerism often associated with the holiday season can get behind supporting the local businesses in their community.

However, it can tough for small businesses to compete with national corporations with substantial advertising budgets and wide reach online and off, especially around the holidays. That’s where social media has proven to be particularly impactful in recent years. For smaller enterprises, social channels provide an accessible, affordable and engaging platform through which to spread the word about promotions and interact with members of the surrounding community. The official social media presence of Small Business Saturday – aptly named Shop Small – has served to elevate the event and to showcase participating businesses to its 37,000 Twitter followers and 7,000 Instagram subscribers.

This year, smaller businesses and shoppers alike took to Instagram, Facebook and of course, Twitter in droves. Based on analytics from Brandwatch, the two official hashtags, #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat were the most popular: #ShopSmall was included in more than 62,000 tweets and retweets, garnering more than 320 million impressions, while #SmallBizSat was included more than 29,000 tweets and retweets garnering more than 334 million impressions. Furthermore, American Express and National Federation of Independent Businesses credited social media with increasing awareness of Small Business Saturday, reporting that more than 126,000 tweets were sent about the day on Saturday alone, up 10 percent from 2013.

The social promotion seems to have paid off. Some 88 million people shopped at small businesses, up nearly 15 percent from last year, and spent approximately $14.3 billion, according to a survey released today by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business.

The Small Business Association reports that there are 23 million small businesses in the country, and the number of small businesses has increased by 49% since 1982. At a time when more people than ever before are striking out as independent business owners, it’s a good thing when social media is leveraged to rally communities in support of local commerce.

Read more from Emily Barge
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Seven tips to creating a social media listening strategy

There are two sides to a brand’s social media strategy. One side is your social media content creation – which most people and brands are aware of. After all, phrases like “Content is king” has been engrained in most marketers’ brains. But that is just the beginning of a complete social media strategy. The other side to your strategy is social media listening.

Here are seven key steps to developing an effective, complete social media strategy with an emphasis on listening.

1)      Conduct a content audit. A content audit is an audit of all the content you have on your site. Conducting a content audit helps you organize and categorize all your assets. Categorize your content as:  promotional, thought leadership specific, industry news, etc. Take note of all your content. If too much of your content is promotional, you’ll want to adjust your content creation strategy to include more industry news and thought leadership content.

2)      Analyze how and where you are sharing your content. Decide where you need to adjust. Based on the content you are sharing on social media take a look at the analytics to see how well that content is performing. Look at Twitter analytics, Facebook analytics and LinkedIn analytics to see what kind of content garners the most engagement. Do you notice any patterns on which posts do the best? Do you have a greater audience on Twitter rather than Facebook? Decide how your content posting strategy needs to adjust based on your observations.

3)      Determine your target audience and make sure you listen to them and pay attention to what they’re doing, too. Once you have established what content you should be posting and where, it’s time to listen to what others are saying. Just like life in general, no one likes someone who only talks about themselves on social media. You want to take the time to determine your target audience and listen to what they’re saying. Engage with your audience and reply to what they’resaying.

4)      Monitor for conversations around your brand and industry with online tools and TweetDeck.  One free and easy way to monitor for what people are saying about your brand is to set up columns on your TweetDeck or Hootsuite. Set up columns monitoring for mentions and interactions with your brand’s handle and your brand’s name without the handle. Set up columns for key industry terms and also for your competitors’ handles and names. Keep an eye on what people are saying about your competitors. The four key things you want to monitor for on social media – especially Twitter are:

                 1)      Complaints: Forty-two percent of people who complain on Twitter expect a response within 60 minutes. People are active on Twitter with 325,000 tweets sent per minute, and they expect a timely response. Make sure you’re listening to them and addressing their concerns. Have canned responses in place for different complaints. Escalate as need be but make sure you acknowledge them and then take it offline. Try to resolve the issue via email of phone.

                 2)      Praise: Thank people who are complimenting or congratulating you. Acknowledge and thank them with direct responses or retweets of their praise.

                 3)      Inquiries: Answer people’s questions – don’t leave them hanging.

                 4)      Recommendations/referrals: Make sure you acknowledge peoples’ recommendations and let them know you’re listening to their feedback.

5)      Pay attention to breaking news and leverage your own content appropriately. According to an InkHouse study, 41 percent of news shared is breaking news. Whenever news breaks, there’s a potential opportunity that you can leverage this news for your brand. And old news is no longer “second day news” with social media and everything breaking in real time, you run the risk of “second hour news.” After a couple hours, you’re already late to the party. Pay attention to the news every day, and reply as appropriate. Maybe there’s breaking news about a malware attack and you’re an IT security company. How quickly can you tweet out a blog post or another piece of content that offers tips on how to protect against malware or other helpful security initiatives.

However, make sure you take the time to research the breaking news. In some cases, the news is not appropriate and it is better to say nothing. Take for example, DiGiorno Pizza who one night noticed the trending hashtag, #WhyIStayed. This hashtag had a very serious meaning and significance because it was used by domestic abuse victims who were sharing their personal experiences in abusive relationships. This hashtag and conversation was a result of the Ray Rice and Janay Rice abuse video that surfaced. DiGiorno thought the hashtag was for anyone to share their own personal, quirky responses.

This was not the case and their tweet “#WhyIStayed You had pizza” became the victim of several angry people who lashed out saying how inconsiderate and inappropriate their tweet was. DiGiorno immediately deleted the tweet and issued an apology tweet four minutes later. There are a few lessons here. First, always take the time to research and double check the meaning of a trending hashtag. See if it is even appropriate for you to leverage. Second, if you make a mistake, own up to it and publicly apologize.

6)      Join and monitor forums where people are talking about your brand. Respond when appropriate. Make sure you join and monitor relevant LinkedIn Groups in your industry. In LinkedIn Groups, brands cannot post – it is the individual who is displayed. This allows you to take on the human face of your brand and share your industry expertise. Share your brand’s products and services while taking the time to listen to others’ expertise in your respective industries. Also, check out Quora. Search for topics and keywords relevant to your brand and industry. Answer peoples’ questions and link back to a blog post or other form of content to provide additional value. Post your own topic as well – maybe it is an infographic you want to show off or a new blog post about an industry topic.

7)      Don’t be a robot. Listen to your target audience and those who are similar to your brand. Engage with them. Last but not least, don’t be a robot. Listen to other people rather than only pushing out your own content. Acknowledge breaking news and leverage when appropriate. If you have content scheduled and a tragedy is breaking, it is no longer appropriate for brands to push out promotional content – make sure you cancel whatever you have in the scheduled queue. Remember, sometimes it is most strategic to not say anything but if you can add value, don’t fall victim to “second hour news.”

To learn more about social media listening, check out this PR News webinar I presented: Developing an Effective Social Listening Strategy for Your Brand.

Read more from Danielle Laurion
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Storify Upgrades its Platform to Embrace Collaboration

 

If you’re reading this blog, you probably don’t need a lesson in the power of social media to bring your message to the masses. However, with a relentless timeline of real-time tweets and Facebook posts, it can be challenging to extract stories and themes.

This is where Storify comes in handy. In case you’re not familiar with it, Storify is a Web platform that allows you to curate and publish social information from around the Web into one central location. Its beauty is it allows you to aggregate a collection of social elements from many voices and then publish them as a singular story. If you’re in need of an example of this platform (and a laugh), enjoy the best case of viral marketing I’ve seen in a while: The Storify of a guy live tweeting a couple’s breakup on the roof of his apartment building. We’ve used Storify several times here on the InkHouse blog and reporters often use it as reporting tool, assembling differing points of view on a topic, like this one by Matthew Ingram – or for gathering a selection of social posts from a news event, like this one from Andy Carvin.

As the next stage of its evolution (and likely as a move to bring some additional revenue in for their owner, Livefyre), Storify announced an enterprise version this week which included a redesigned homepage, an updated story editor and a host of new features. Targeted at its big name publishing customers like BBC, Yahoo! and HBO, these new features offer a premium option to those seeking to optimize their online storytelling.

Most notably, Storify has taken a page from Google’s notebook, offering more opportunity for real-time collaboration. Much like with Google documents, with Storify Enterprise you can now have multiple people editing, adding to and fact-checking stories all at the same time. The new platform also features integration with Google Analytics, SEO compatibility and premium-only support technicians. By using analytics to determine the successes of your stories, you can inform your future strategies, honing your ability to create engaging content.

Finally, as a light-hearted bonus, the folks at Storify have hidden a few Easter eggs around their website – including, strangely, an image of Matt Damon somewhere on their homepage. We’ll go ahead and leave that one to you to find on your own.

Storify is an obvious tool for consumer-facing brands, but it can also inject personality into b2b technology companies and non-profits that are seeking to break down the walls that separate them from customers. Ultimately, no matter what vertical you’re in, if your business values social media as a core part of your engagement strategy, Storify provides a tool that can bring it to life.

Read more from Alex Ingram
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Brands: Avoid Social Media Regret with These Five Tips

Everyone has that person in their social media feed, the one who is constantly posting about how much he/she hates her boss or how awful the company in general is. As a PR professional, I cringe every time I see this because I know that brands can and do “listen” to these conversations on social media and these posts should be against their company social media policies (if they have one). In fact, a recent study by FindLaw.com found that 29 percent of adults ranging from 18-34 are fearful that something that they post on social media could compromise their current or future job prospects.

But what happens when it’s not the employees who are behaving inappropriately on social media but the actual brands themselves? When brands create cringe-worthy moments on social media, users can quickly activate like-minded people against these brands. The more absurd or ironic the blunder, the better. Here are five tips to help brands avoid feeling social media regret:

  1. Have a social media escalation plan in place to help protect your brand’s reputation should a crisis occur. Social media can be a powerful tool when a crisis arises to help manage the issue and control the message, or it can be a brand’s worst enemy when the company behaves in a way that repels customers by being defensive, lacking transparency, or even being just plain cold. Having a clear plan in place with guidelines and best practices can help to avoid turning off users on social media. For guidelines on how brands should behave when tragedy strikes, check out Tina Cassidy’s blog post.
  2. Read and understand a trending hashtag before jumping into the conversation. DiGiorno recently used #WhyIStayed, a conversation centered on why people stay with abusive partners, in a light-hearted tweet about pizza. Needless to say, users were appalled, causing DiGiorno to not only delete the tweet, but to also issue an explanation stating that they did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.
  3. Use separate apps for your personal and work accounts to avoid accidental personal posts on corporate pages.  Who can forget the whoops moment the American Red Cross experienced a few years ago when a post about #gettingslizzerd was accidentally pushed out? Don’t let this be you.
  4. Publicly acknowledge all customer complaints. It may be tempting to ignore criticisms that come your brand’s way on social media in hopes that the issue will fade but this is never a smart approach. Social media is fast-paced and customers who are voicing issues on these platforms expect an immediate response (and will complain louder when issues are not acknowledged). It’s true that some customers will be unsatisfied no matter how much you offer to alleviate the situation, but putting your best effort forward to remedy the issue will always reflect better on your company than not acknowledging them at all. And furthermore, make sure not to push out automated, template responses. Users will notice this and they will call you out on it. Show that the company is run by humans, not robots.
  5. Establish a corporate social media policy that is re-evaluated every six months and communicate it clearly with employees. Not only is it crucial to have a company’s top executives representing the company professionally and appropriately on social media, but all employees should know what the rules of engagement are for discussing corporate and industry issues on social media.

Have you experienced problems in the past with employees using social media? Consider following in the footsteps of the New York Police Department (NYPD). After a series of gaffes, it was announced this week that it will be sending its officers to Twitter school. What are some additional tips that you have to help brands avoid social media regret?

 

 

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