PR Niblets

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Social Media Grad School: Our Favorite Tools

The following is part of a series about understanding social media

Now that you’ve graduated social media 101 on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, we’d like to share some of our favorite tools to take you from beginner to social media extraordinaire.

Bitly – Let’s start with one of the most simple social media tools available out there. Bitly at its most basic is a link shortening service. This type of service is particularly helpful when sharing content on Twitter as it reduces the number of characters in your link. This means you have more characters to use for your own commentary. Other common link shortening services include and TinyURL. Anyone can use Bitly without signing up for an account. However, a Bitly account allows for better social tracking as you can view how many people clicked through to your link.

Hootsuite – Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management tools available today. Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts across a number of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. Posts can be scheduled with a specific time or in a bulk, automated queue (the latter feature is only available with a paid plan). Hootsuite also has an extensive dashboard to monitor your social accounts. You can set up feeds to watch Twitter mentions, trending topics, Facebook posts… anything your social media heart desires.

Buffer – Buffer is very similar to HootSuite in that it allows you to schedule posts across various social media platforms but in a much simpler format. While Buffer does allow time-specific scheduling for posts, it also allows you to set up a queue of content to be posted throughout the day at pre-selected times. Buffer accounts are available for free or on a paid, premium basis. One downside to a free account: you can only add up to ten posts in your queue.

Topsy – Topsy is a great tool for discovering the social reach of a link. While Bitly analytics show how many people engaged with your link, Topsy shows how many people have shared a link. Perhaps the most helpful element of Topsy is that it searches beyond proprietary sharing. Even if someone copies and pastes the link into their own tweet rather than retweeting yours, Topsy will find it.

What are your favorite social media tools? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter or even pen your own guest blog.

Monday, September 29, 2014

LinkedIn 101: Business Goes Social

The following is part of a series about understanding social media

Now that we have a solid grasp on using Facebook and Twitter, it’s time that we tackle the lesser known platform of LinkedIn. While LinkedIn has become an important tool in terms of individual professional development, it is often underutilized when it comes to brands. What sets LinkedIn apart from giant social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is its emphasis on business. This makes LinkedIn a prime tool for B2B brands. Let’s jump right in.

Employees as Brand Advocates - One of the best benefits of LinkedIn for a company is that you already have a built in audience: your employees. When employees update their profile and list your company as their place of employment, they are automatically connected. This improves the quality of your page immediately by listing the number of active employees on LinkedIn and making your page appear more complete.

In addition to simply appearing on your page, employees can be useful in advocating for your brand. Sharing content that your employees believe in and support increases the likelihood of them engaging with the company page. When employees share updates or information from their company, it demonstrates value in what your brand is saying as well as provides you with further reach.

Thought Leadership – As LinkedIn is typically seen as a more professional social media platform, it provides an opportunity to truly engage with peers in your field. This is where it is most important to refrain from too much self-promotional material and follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of content should be value driven while 20% ties back to your company. This is an easy rule of thumb that helps demonstrate thought leadership in your industry instead of self-serving promotion.

Multimedia – As we learned in Facebook 101, including multimedia-rich content increases chances of engagement. This is just as true with LinkedIn. Including links, images and videos in your page updates significantly drive engagement. In fact, according to LinkedIn, including a link can drive twice the engagement than a post without one, images result in a 98% comment rate than posts without, and links to videos typically see a 75% higher share rate. You can’t argue with those numbers.
Cross-promotion – While Facebook and Twitter may be more consumer-facing than LinkedIn, if you’re creating content of value, it will be applicable to various audiences on different platforms. If you have a following on one or more existing platforms, leverage that to introduce audiences to your LinkedIn page so they can engage with your company in a holistic and all-inclusive way. In the same vein, use your LinkedIn page to promote and drive traffic to existing company pages such as a branded blog.

Have any thoughts, comments or questions? Connect with us!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Week without Connectivity: Ireland Edition

I recently returned from a vacation in Ireland, which is probably one of my first real vacations since entering the professional workforce. Sure, I have been to the beach and taken a few domestic trips here and there to visit friends and family, but this one was different. I was planning it all from start to finish (with the help of a small group of friends, of course) AND it was in a foreign country. We had a game plan: Itineraries, run-of-show packets with tickets for pre-scheduled activities, printed maps/directions for every leg of our trip, etc. The one thing we didn’t anticipate: Internet bandwidth.

The last time I was in Europe, the iPhone didn’t exist and cell phones were a means for calling on-the-go, rarely texting. I knew I wouldn’t be able to text or call my friends like normal, but I had always heard that WiFi was readily available in Ireland for periodic check-ins. This is true EXCEPT when 50,000 college football fans come to town (Yep – that’s right, we went to Ireland to watch American football). 

We all seemed to travel back a decade to “survive” without our mobile devices. That meant:

Making a plan and sticking to it. At any given point in the trip, we had anywhere between five and 12 people that we were coordinating. Rarely did everyone want to do the same thing at the same time… and we had no cell phones to text or call to meet up somewhere later. Instead, we designated specific meeting spots and times to meet. (Time is a difficult concept for many of my friends, but without the distraction of being connected, it was never an issue!)

Our trip mapped out
Having a conversation over meals. I try to do this in my everyday life, but it becomes more and more difficult to not pull up emails or texts during a dull moment of discussion. After spending six days with the same four people, the conversation begins to fade. Many times we found ourselves also striking up a conversation with the friendly table next to us; something that rarely happens these days in NYC. 

Reading a map…and navigating. All of us are pretty reliant on GPS systems these days. But luckily, we had printed maps and were always sure to plot the trip before we hit the road, marking key exits and turning points. As a driver, it’s stressful enough having to drive on the left side of the road from the right side of the vehicle. The last thing you want to think about is where to exit in the next roundabout.

Peace Wall in Belfast, Northern Ireland
After the initial shock of being cut off from the hustle and bustle back home, we quickly embraced the lifestyle of not being connected and enjoyed the endless views and rich culture of Ireland. In just one week, four friends and I road tripped around Ireland and Northern Ireland visiting Dublin, Midleton, Killarney, Dingle, Galway, Belfast and everywhere in between. The endless views were priceless and the memories are surely to last forever.

What would you miss if you were without a smartphone for a week?
Cliffs of Moher

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Facebook 101: It's All About Engagement

The following is part of a series about understanding social media

Now that we’ve learned all about the symbols and acronyms on Twitter, it’s time to handle the other blue beast of social media:  Facebook. While Facebook may seem a little more straightforward than Twitter, due to the longer post availability and easier to understand terminology, there is quite a lot to learn when it comes to running a corporate page. Let’s get started!

Engagement – Engagement is an all-encompassing term that refers to anytime a fan “likes,” shares or comments on your content. This is the most important part of using Facebook for your brand as it increases visibility. When a fan engages with your post, it becomes visible in their timeline to friends that may not already like your page. This is a great way to gain new fans without spending ad dollars.
  •  Like – When a Facebook user likes your page, they are opting-in to become a “fan.” This means that they are more likely to see your content directly from their Facebook homepage; however, it is not a guarantee. Facebook is consistently changing its algorithm so users only see the most up-to–date and what it considers “relevant” content. This means it is important to share relevant content frequently.
  • Comment – When a fan wants to directly interact with your update, they have the ability to comment. One of the easiest ways to encourage fan interaction is to add a question into your update. This encourages fans to respond and share their answers to your inquiry.
  • Share – Sharing is likely the most coveted form of Facebook engagement for brands. When a fan shares your content, they are republishing it on their timeline for all of their friends to see (this is kind of like a RT, explained in Twitter 101.)

Multimedia – Facebook users are highly visual, social media consumers and respond well when posts include some element of multimedia. When an update includes a photo or a video, users are more likely to pay attention and engage with your content. The key here is add compelling multimedia content that supports your brand’s look and feel (e.g. voice) and not just use any random photo or video -- otherwise users may feel like your content is not worth their time and attention. Always ask yourself what this content has to offer your fans before sharing.

A sample graph of Facebook’s week and time insights

Analytics – Facebook’s built-in analytics system, like its algorithm, is continuously changing and improving. This system can be extremely beneficial to brands in learning just how to target their key audiences. One very key piece of data that Facebook provides with its analytics system is what days and times fans are active on Facebook. By pinpointing when your fans are online, you can rearrange your posting times to increase your chances of engagement.

Audience – The most important aspect, aside from the various terms and tactics, necessary to understand how to properly use Facebook is your audience. The target audience for a consumer brand is immensely different from that of a B-to-B company. However, Facebook can be an important tool for companies in either of these categories. According to Pew Research Center, 71% of online adults use Facebook. By neglecting this wide of a segment, you may be missing out on quite a bit of business. The key to maximizing Facebook is to know your audience and provide content relevant to them, whether it is a consumer or another business.

Have any thoughts, comments or questions? Engage with us!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Twitter 101: Decoding the Language

This is part one in a series on understanding and using social media

In these days of social media frenzy, it’s hard to avoid the little blue bird of Twitter, a microblogging site where individuals can post short social updates using up to 140 characters. Everywhere you look is hashtag this, RT that. But with all those symbols and acronyms, it can get a little confusing. We’re here to explain the basics; welcome to Twitter 101.

@ - Let’s start with the most basic element of twitter: the “at” symbol. Twitter users are identified by a username which, when used with the @ symbol, becomes a sort of call sign.

When you include “@username” within a tweet, that user receives a notification. There are two different reasons to include someone else’s username in your tweet: a mention or an @ reply (hang in there; we’ll explain below).

Mention – A mention is when you, well, mention another user in your own tweet. This type of message is shared publicly on your stream.  

Example: “Just read an awesome blog post from @feintuchcomm on how to use twitter”

This is slightly different from…  

@ Reply – An @ reply is used for a more private, direct comment to a user that still appears on your stream. When you include the username at the very beginning of the tweet, your update is not automatically visible to your followers.

Example: “@feintuchcomm Enjoyed yourer101 from @feintuchcomm"from @feintuchcomm!"are sent with the same hashtag, the topic starts to trend post today on using twitter language!” (only shows up to @feintuchcomm)

DM – A DM, or direct message, is essentially a private @ reply. Direct messages come in handy when you want to interact with another twitter user but don’t want it to appear on your stream.  

Example: DM @feintuchcomm “I really enjoyed today’s blog post and would love to discuss this topic further. What is your email?”

RT – A retweet is a direct, verbatim share of someone else’s tweet. There are two ways to do this --  manually or automatically. A manual retweet is when you copy and paste the original tweet and preface it with “RT@username”. This allows you to share the tweet and add your own commentary, characters permitting. An automatic retweet is when you click the twitter icon which allows the original, proprietary tweet to show up in your stream.

Example: “Great! RT @feintuchcomm Check out our latest blog post about twitter lingo and learn what @, DM, RT and others mean”

MT – MT, or modified tweet, is just a retweet with a few minor tweaks. A modified retweet is most often used when you want to share someone’s tweet or add commentary but have too few characters to do so.

Example: “Educational post about twitter terminology MT @feintuchcomm Check out our latest blog post about twitter lingo”

h/t – There are two debated meanings for the abbreviation “h/t” but they both share the same meaning. h/t is shorthand for either “hat tip” or “heard through.” This is a way to give credit to someone for bringing a topic to your attention.

Example: “Finally understand all the twitter terminology like RT and DM. h/t @feintuchcomm”

# - Finally, the hashtag, or as it’s originally known to most non-millenials, the pound sign. Hashtags are sort of like the @ for a topic. When you add a # sign to any word or phrase it becomes an easily searchable term. Hashtags are useful in grouping tweets related to a certain topic and for searching for tweet topics. If a hashtag appears in a large quantity of tweets, that topic begins to trend.  

Example: “Informative post on #twitter101 from @feintuchcomm”

Have any thoughts, comments or questions? Tweet us!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Popular Business Jargon: How it's Used vs. What it Really Means

Just like every geographical region has their own meanings for words, like “Coke” being a catch-all for soda in the south, different working environments also tend to create their own definitions for common phrases. Entering the B2B workforce, my internal dictionary has received more than a few new entries as I learn the alternative meanings for seemingly common terms. Below are four pieces of jargon that forced me to do a linguistic double-take.

1. Out-of-pocket

How it’s used: Unavailable; unreachable
What it really means: From one’s own pocket; to pay from personal expenses
Example: “Make sure you get the materials over to John, he’s going to be out-of-pocket the rest of the week.”

The first time I heard this phrase used in my office setting instilled a bit of financial fear in me. Suddenly, I had visions of endless accounting reports; not what I anticipated in a communications position. Luckily my co-workers assured me my math skills were safe: it was just office jargon.

2. Evergreen
How it’s used: Content that will always be fresh, not particularly time-sensitive
What it really means: A type of plant that maintains growth all year long
Example: “Let’s publish this particular release now. We have a few evergreen ones we can hold onto.”

I certainly do not have a green thumb, so after hearing this expression, I made a mental note to look up Gardening for Dummies. It turns out in this case, evergreen describes the type of content, not necessarily the subject matter.

3. Silo
How it’s used: Separate from other departments or workers
What it really means: A tall structure used to hold grain, typically found on a farm
Example: “We need to break down these silos and get everyone talking.”

I may be from the Midwest, but I’m certainly no farm-girl. You can imagine my confusion at the mention of farm equipment after making my move to the appropriately titled “concrete jungle” of New York. Though initially confusing, I liked this new term once I understood it. Must be the Ohio in me.

4. Blue Ocean
How it’s used: A new business opportunity, an unsaturated market share
What it really means: Literally, blue-hued ocean water
Example: “There’s too much competition in this area, we need to find the blue ocean.”

Well, we can’t see the ocean, but if you look close enough you can see the Hudson from our office. This one had me scratching my head the hardest until I really thought it through. A blue ocean means open and uncongested water, more of a metaphor than jargon.

Though it took some getting used to, I have embraced the new language I learned during my first month in the workforce. If you’re going to walk the walk, may as well talk the talk.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Can't Tuch This

Last week, the Feintuch Communications team competed in PRSA-NY’s annual summer social, “New York Amazing Race.” Competing as a team of five, Feintuch Communications scurried around the streets of Midtown Manhattan decoding media-related clues and performing challenges.

We began the scavenger hunt a little bit behind schedule leaving from Swift Bar & Grill at 5:45 p.m. Armed with our matching shirts, smart phones and unlimited metro cards, we were prepared to take on the 90-minute challenge. The rules were simple enough: complete as many tasks as possible before the clock ran out and take one picture for each task including all team members. Rather than hand the camera off to a stranger, we opted for the more social-media appropriate solution: team selfies.
One tourist was lucky enough to star in our selfie.

A mere five minutes into the challenge, we all felt like we were truly competing in The Amazing Race. We read through each of our potential clues and attempted to put together a strategic plan to receive the most points in the least amount of time. We decided to start with a journalism legend, stopping by the old New York Times building.

Task #8 – “A unique business card.” How’d we do?
Throughout the race, we wound our way all through Midtown Manhattan. Within an hour and a half, we hit Herald Square, Fox News, Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, the Love Statue and more.

As the time started ticking down, we found ourselves five blocks away from check-in with four minutes to spare. We made a mad dash and somehow made it back with seven seconds to spare. (Personally, I think pedestrian dodging should have counted for extra points.)

In the end we ended up with 275; 75 points behind the winners. Though we didn’t win, the race was a great experience. As I continue to get my feet wet in the crazed metropolis that is New York City, it was a perfect opportunity to explore the area while bonding with my co-workers.