Social Media and PR

Haley J. Higgs

Survival Tips April 19, 2010

Filed under: Reading Notes — hhiggs87 @ 9:34 pm

Social media tools are the topic for today’s survival tip. Social media tools are discussed in detail in A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization by Deltina Hay. In this chapter, the author looks at social media tools from a new user perspective. She explains the concepts and terminology and then goes into some detail about how to use these tools to enhance your website. The two main ideas I pulled from this chapter are Wikis and social calendars.

  • Wikis: these are websites that are created through a collaborative effort. Anyone can add content to the website and all you have to do is monitor it.
  • Social Calendars: a convenient way for you or your business to post upcoming events or news.

In the next chapter, the author talks about pulling everything together. If you are going to put the effort into creating all of this, you need to capitalize on it. Make it user friendly. Make the websites interactive. Use images, videos and audio to engage your audience. There are millions of websites out there vying for the attention of your audience and you have to be able to compete. Above all else, have a plan. All you have created up to this point is no good if you don’t have a plan of action.


Guest Blogger April 18, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 8:03 pm

Once again, in my Social Media and PR class, we were asked to have a guest writer featured on our blog. So, the following blog post was written by James Kicklighter. I hope you enjoy!

Unpaid Internships and Ethics

Written by: James Kicklighter

PROpenMic posted an interesting blog on the emerging controversy regarding unpaid internships, gracing The New York Times and TIME Magazine. Of course, anyone who is a college student knows that there are many internships that are not paid, and finding one that is proves to be quite difficult.

According to The New York Times article:

“The Labor Department says it is cracking down on firms that fail to pay interns properly and expanding efforts to educate companies, colleges and students on the law regarding internships.

“If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law,” said Nancy J. Leppink, the acting director of the department’s wage and hour division.

Ms. Leppink said many employers failed to pay even though their internships did not comply with the six federal legal criteria that must be satisfied for internships to be unpaid.”

These criteria are:

  1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school;
  2. The training is for the benefit of the trainees or students;
  3. The trainees or students do not displace regular employees, but work under close supervision;
  4. The employer that provides the training receives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees or students and, on occasion, his operations may even be impeded;
  5. The trainees or students are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period; and
  6. The employer and the trainees or students understand that the trainees or students are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

Just reading those regulations, I can think of many friends who have worked tirelessly for organizations who do not follow these guidelines.

Now, I can understand the challenges of hiring in a bad economy, but this doesn’t mean that individuals, companies, or organizations should take advantage of gullible, young college students looking to build their resume or portfolio.

They have bills to pay too, and it’s about time that we start looking into this matter.

Certainly, this could be a difficult Public Relations challenge for any organization who has unpaid interns. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t change their operations. Cutting available internship positions to pay interns might be a viable solution. Sure, it doesn’t present as much opportunity, but it also makes students work harder to get the spot.

I’ve always found a little competition makes people work harder; at least, that motivates me.

All of that said, what do you think?


Survival Tips

Filed under: Reading Notes — hhiggs87 @ 7:46 pm

Want a lot of media coverage for yourself or your business? Well, a social media newsroom (SMNR) is the place to be, according to A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization by Deltina Hay. Here is some more information that the author focuses on:

  • Social media newsrooms are great for businesses that put out a large number on press releases.
  • Social media newsrooms can serve as a central location of all information pertaining to you or your business.
  • Social media newsrooms can be created using WordPress.

I bet you’re wondering what you can do and put in a social media newsroom. You can include:

  • Press releases
  • Hyper Links
  • Videos (viral or not)
  • Podcasts
  • Reviews
  • Company/Employee Biographies
  • Up Coming Events
  • Recap of Past Events
  • And anything else you want to include…

A social media newsroom is a business’ way of getting their name out there. It is a way to gain media attention and publicity for yourself or your business. By putting the information out there, people (including the media) will be more apt to pick it up and run with it. A social media newsroom acts as a way to keep the public informed as you keep your name in the public’s mind.


Survival Tips

Filed under: Reading Notes — hhiggs87 @ 7:15 pm

This survival tip is one I have been putting off. Terrible, I know! Like all of the other survival tips, this one comes from A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization by Deltina Hay. The reason I have put this one off is because I thought I knew it by heart. You see, this survival tip is all about building a blog on WordPress. How much is left for me to figure out? I mean, this is a WordPress blog. Boy was I wrong…

After reading this chapter, I have learned two main things. Both are things I have never known about WordPress and I have been using the site for a few years. The first is the appearance section. Did you know you could add widgets to your blog? I didn’t! Now I have my twitter account tied into my blog. I never knew how to do that before. Sure, I had seen it on other people’s blogs but I never could figure out how they tied them together. But now I know.

The other wakeup call came in the part of the chapter that talked about the settings. Have you ever fooled around with the settings buttons on WordPress? If you haven’t…don’t. If you have…I know the pain you feel. Settings are always a tricky thing but usually they go back to normal if you mess up. Not WordPress. If you change them then they stay changed. Reading this chapter gave me a better understanding of what the settings do. From security to privacy to discussion boards, I learned what buttons to play and which ones to leave alone.


Guest Blogger April 16, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 3:39 pm

This week in my Social Media and PR class, we were asked to have a guest writer featured on our blog. So, the following blog post was written by Allie Schulmper. Allie is my classmate and fellow PRSSA Executive Board Member. The post I am featuring was originally written in January of this year but it was a blog post that really caught my attention. I hope you enjoy!

TOW #3 – Social Media Monitoring

Written by: Allie Schulmper

Is social media monitoring ethical? Provide commentary and discussion on both sides of the issue, and offer your personal viewpoint.

For my topic of the week for week #3 in Barbara Nixon’s Social Media and PR course, we were asked if social media monitoring is ethical or not. This is a difficult question because there so many view points about this topic.

In my opinion, it depends on how you are monitoring a company or brand and what your purposes are for monitoring them. For this course, we have to monitor a Fortune 500 company to see what is being said about them through various social media sites. I believe that if people are monitoring social media to benefit a company or brand or to better their products, than there is nothing ethically wrong with this. Domino’s has recently come out with a new campaign that shows how they have improved many of their products because of all the criticism that they have received about their company and their items. Below is a video showing what they have done:

Domino’s used what people were saying and writing on social media sites about their company to better their pizza and to hopefully better their company’s image.

Those are a few examples of how social media monitoring may be used positively and effectively. On the other hand, I believe that there are things that are unethical when monitoring social media. People have to realize that although everyone has a right to their own opinion, it is in my opinion, unethical to write derogatory or rude things about a company that are not true or factual. Danielle La Marca wrote a post, “Social Media Code of Ethics,” that I found to be true and interesting. It is important to always be respectful, honest, credible, and objective when monitoring various social media sites.


Will focus groups fade away due to social media? April 15, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections — hhiggs87 @ 9:44 pm

In the world of PR, focus groups are a must…or are they? All through college, I have been taught how to conduct focus groups and why they should be conducted. I have spent countless hours transcribing tapes filled with ummmms and hummms just to read back over them and write and analysis. So, what have I learned through all of this? Focus groups take time; lots and lots of time.

I recently conducted and moderated a focus group. My group members and I had six people confirmed to participate, one showed up. Well, as you are probably saying to yourself, that’s not a focus group. And you’re completely right, so, we continued on and called it an interview.

So, why am I saying all of this? What exactly is my point? My point is this, through social media, we have the perfect focus group, so, why are we still trying to get four to six people in a room for and hour just to have to go home and transcribe a tape?

“Twitter is an instant focus group, on-call 24/7, and comprised of some of the most brilliant and thoughtful people you’d ever want to meet.” That statement was made by Todd Defren and you know he is absolutely right. So, what if some people cancel? Twitter has millions of users; find another.

Another thing you can do is check out the blogosphere.

Wikipedia says that “the blogosphere is made up of all blogs and their interconnections. The term implies that blogs exist together as a connected community (or as a collection of connected communities) or as a social network in which everyday authors can publish their opinions.” The blogosphere is a way for you to find the information you need from the sources you want. The blogosphere can be accessed through websites such as: Technorati, BlogPulse, Tailrank and BlogScope. All of these sites track blog activity and shows connections between blogs.

Like in the video, focus can prove to be a wash. I realize the video takes the idea to a new extreme but keep in mind that was their purpose. I know the focus group isn’t going anywhere. I enjoy conducting them and I have nothing against them. In fact, I have two scheduled for next week. But I did want to present an alternative. We are living in an age ruled by social media. Could focus groups be sucked into that world, too?


Viral Videos April 14, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 10:27 pm

What is a viral video? The easiest way to answer this question is by showing an example. The following video is called “David after Dentist.” Take a look and then we can start answering some questions.

So, why is this a viral video? Well, Wikipedia defines a viral video as a video “that becomes popular through the process of internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites and email.” These videos are usually funny and appeal to a vast audience. Viral videos are typically spread via the internet. If one person sees the video and finds it funny/relatable, then typically they will forward it on to a friend; thus, a viral video.

The video above is a viral video because of the humor and the ability to relate to it. Everyone has been to the dentist and everyone loves a cute kid. If you put those two things together, it is the perfect recipe for a viral video.

This video is another example of a viral video. The cuteness factor plays a major role in why this video became a viral video. (The video is appropriately named “All My Single Babies.”) A baby in only a diaper, dancing to Beyonce has the humor and cuteness that people love. They watch it and enjoy it, and then they send it on to another person.

The last example of a viral video (above) is a different type of viral video. This started out as a commercial that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl. Not long after that, this commercial quickly found its way to YouTube and from there, into every e-mail in-box and Facebook page and Twitter post.  This commercial is a viral video. The way it spread is nothing short of viral. Nowadays, it would probably be difficult to find someone who hasn’t seen this video or at least heard of the “Betty White commercial.” To me, this is the best example of a viral video. It is funny, it is relatable and it is something people don’t get tired of watching.