Archive for Social Media

Today’s guest post was written by star Peppercomm intern, McKenzie Clark.


Today marks the 40th day of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag on Twitter; and still, not one of the 276 girls abducted from their school in the town of Chibok in the Borno State of Nigeria has been rescued. These girls, who are anywhere between 15 to 18 years of age, went to school like any other day, but were met by Boko Haram before they had the chance to return home (I just saw an article post that four girls have escaped, too).

Since the day of this horrific kidnapping on April 15, the news hit the ground running on social media.

On April 23, Nigerian Lawyer Ibrahim Abdullah posted a tweet with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls which spun into an international movement to get these young Nigerian schoolgirls back to their homes without harm. While the movement hashtag trended worldwide (and for good reason) because of Nigeria’s lack of action, celebrities have started chiming in on the issue by posting pictures of themselves, on their social media accounts, holding signs that say either “#BringBackOurGirls” or “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls.” The Cannes Film Festival, which runs May 14th through May 25th, has also proved to be an opportune moment for actors to hold up the famed “slogan” showing their support for rescuing these girls.


But how much do these well-known celebrity actors and actresses know about the situation at hand? Do they even know where Chibok is? Several journalists have speculated “The Expendables 3” cast only held up their freshly copied signs to gain more PR for their movie at Cannes. Does this mean this sign of support may not be as “heartwarming” as the public originally thought? If these celebrities were truly passionate about the cause, I would sure hope they are doing more than just holding signs at their red carpet event. Maybe they are and we just don’t hear about that.

Social media, the hero and potential villain of our generation, is undoubtedly one of the fastest ways to spread news and trends around the globe. But does it actually educate the population about worldwide issues or does it simply encourage users to just follow along blindly? With the transformative power of social media, news of a global tragedy needs to be used as a means of change and not self-promotion. To me, the mission seems to be lost when posters are held by celebrities on the red carpet.

What’s your take? Do you find these displays of online activism sincere or too promotional?

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Gotta preserve the rep

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Heading into a new year, people tend to make resolutions and set goals. And we have an easy one: take a look at your online presence.

While you can’t really get a fresh start, you can start to be more mindful of what you’re putting out there about yourself.

It may seem funny to say how slow it was at work so you ducked out early, or use hashtags such as: #Hungover #StillDrunk? #HowDidIMakeItHome? But do you want your employer or future employer to find these things? Even if it didn’t happen and you’re making a joke or your employer let you go early, it goes back to your overall perception.

One way to decide if and what you post, is to think, “If a potential employer saw these things, would they think twice of me as a recruit?” I almost guarantee that if you even have to ask that question, you probably shouldn’t post it.

A few things to consider:

  1. You’re private. Sure you are. No one can see your profile except your friends. That’s great, but it takes two seconds for one of those friends to copy and paste something you’ve posted and share on their own walls, feeds, etc. The best rule of thumb (and it’s similar to what we tell people in media training): nothing is ‘off the record.’ Treat everything you post online as potentially being seen by EVERYONE, because it can be seen and it is somewhere (the NSA taught us all that).
  2. No one knows it’s me writing this blog. If you’re writing a personal blog, sure it might be hard to find you, but I bet someone will eventually if you’re writing about details of your life. Maybe no one will, but do you really want to take that chance?
  3. Tagging policy. What are your tagging settings on Facebook? Can anyone tag you? Maybe it’s time to click the setting where you need to approve any potential tags. Isn’t it better to be more aware of where your name is linked? Trust us, it is.

The list can certainly continue, but these are a few items to think about as 2014 really gets going.

Are there any tips you suggest for keeping the integrity of your online presence? 

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Tweetin’ for a Reason

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I don’t know about you, but I have been Twitter-obsessed since my senior year of high school, back when Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore were the only Twitter celebrities around and trends were hardly even a thing. I’ve used Twitter probably every day since then, and am so glad that I’m now in a workplace that supports and encourages my tweeting addiction. With that being said, I believe there are five important reasons future PR/communications pros (like myself) should absolutely be active Twitter users.

1-Job Hunting- It doesn’t matter if you’re actively searching for a job or not, Twitter is a great way to see job listings in your industry. By the time I graduated college, I was definitely following @nyadjobs, @nyprjobs, @nymarketingjobs, and every career associated Twitter handle my school brought to my attention. It only takes a second to scan a job listing tweet and it could pay off.

2-Connecting and Interacting with Influencers- Absolutely nothing, in my opinion, is cooler then when a person you respect/idolize/are obsessed with responds to you on Twitter. Sometimes it can be a TV show (see below for an image from the best morning of my entire life) and other times it could be an industry journalist or magazine. Connecting with people you’re interested in is a great way to expand your network AND improve your mood!


3-Catch up On the News in 140 Characters or Less- I think Twitter is a great and fast way to find out about national and local news. I love seeing what’s new at home by following my local Saratoga paper, and also enjoy feeling up to speed on global headlines by following @BBCBreaking and the @WSJ. Something important to remember is that you should try to follow sources that are relevant to your clients, not just sources you’re personally interested in. Being up-to-date on industry news is helpful to your teams, pitching, and overall client relations.

4-Twitter Parties-Twitter parties are becoming more and more relevant for companies and consumers. By following a designated hashtag, users can interact with thought-leaders, brands, and fellow chat participants to gain some great exposure. I recently participated in a @Forbes Twitter party about workplace trends. Not only did I receive a bunch of responses, RTs, and follows, but I learned a lot, too.

5-Giveaways-Every PR Intern should know about the cool and free things Twitter has to offer. Just this past week, I had read on Twitter about a free New Orleans style food truck touring around the city hosted by @TopChefBravo. I followed along with their tweets all day and got an awesome, authentic, and free dinner! And tonight, I’m seeing a movie with buy one get one tickets I found on Twitter, too. There are so many interesting and discounted experiences on Twitter that are perfect for an intern on a budget.

Happy Tweeting! @emily_roy

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I was reminded this past weekend that there are many people who just don’t understand what we do in this industry. Over the course of my career, I have had my job described as:

1)     “She’s in advertising”

2)     “She’s like Samantha Jones”

3)     “She calls reporters all day”

4)     “She annoys reporters all day” (this is for my journalist friends . . . )

5)     “Oh, yes, she’s the middleman between companies and the people who make commercials [ad agencies]” (that’s not a job that I am aware of)

6)      “I have no idea what she does, but from what I understand, companies could do it on their own”

All of the above, and more, make my blood boil, but what do I say as a response? “No, I’m in strategic communications and marketing.” This description literally means nothing to anyone outside of the industry.

I’ve usually said something along the lines of: “I help companies communicate internally and externally a set of messages we decide makes sense for their goals.”

According to some (who shall remain nameless), this sounds like a fake job.

Both are true. The above is an accurate way to describe what I do, but it also sounds like a fake job.

So, how do we as industry professionals fix this problem? First, we have to fix ourselves. If the way someone describes their job makes it sound like it’s fake, then how do we describe it in a way that adds legitimacy to everyone outside of the profession?

It’s not easy to describe what we do. For me, this is because on a day to day basis, I jump from so many different tasks and types of work that it sounds like I have 75 different jobs. I can easily rattle off what I do and how I interact with clients and brands, but there has to be a more efficient way to do that than launching into a 15 minute speech on my work.

I think we all work to help others communicate as effectively and as efficiently as possible through various channels such as marketing, social media, public relations, etc. Perhaps there is no easier way to describe this. In fact, this is one of the ways I think I am best able to describe in layman’s terms what I do.

Hearing peers refer to themselves as public relations professionals or event planners, when I know that is just a small part of what they do, hinders the understanding of non-industry professionals—such as the people I encounter—to have no idea what we do.

We need to be better communicators and be able to communicate what we do, otherwise we may not be as effective as we think we are, right? I’m open to suggestions. Is there a better way to describe what we do?

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So, that fire training exercise that took place yesterday at Logan International Airport in Boston, Mass. . . .

Yes, you read that correctly. An airport in a major US city held a fire training exercise complete with roaring flames and heavy smoke on the anniversary of Sept. 11th. Yikes. Poor timing?

It’s also an interesting choice of timing considering the bombings at the Boston Marathon just a few short months ago.

When the announcement of the exercises was made, followers of the airport on Twitter began to make a bit of noise.

There have been statements and apologies from various Massachusetts officials including my personal favorite from Governor Deval Patrick saying the decision was “just dumb.”

From my perspective, the various parties acted quickly and disseminated those well-phrased statements across various channels—reaching out to the media and making good use of social media. We’ll ignore the one from Salvatore LaMattina, a city councilor, who was quoted in The Boston Globe as saying:

“Sept. 11 happened 12 years ago, and it was a horrific event in America’s history,” he said. “My East Boston neighborhood was shaken. But now we . . . and the airport, must move on. The firefighters, those are our first responders, and so it’s only fitting that they train today.”

No, Councilor LaMattina, it is not fitting for them to train on that day, maybe in another 20 years it could be, but another day would have been more appropriate.

Excluding that comment and outside of not holding the exercise on that day, it seems like officials did what they could in light of the poor decision. Hopefully it will just help for officials to think a little more about actions and implications.

What are your thoughts? Think the reaction from officials was good? Think there was something more they could have done? Whether you’re an intern, entry-level, etc., it’s always important to think about potential responses. Let us know what you think!

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Hi My Name Is . . .

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imagesAdmit it. If you’re in the communications industry, you’re most likely a social media addict. It’s OK, there are plenty of us out there.

Some people obsessively check-in using Foursquare (I’m guilty). Others plan their activities on what will turn out to be the cooler Instagram image. Some even connect all of their social media platforms so everyone knows what they’re doing/how much fun they’re having at all times.

I’m not saying this is good or bad, but I am saying that there are others out there . . . to the point that BuzzFeed has created a list of memes about it. Think they got it right? We sure do. Let us know if they’ve missed any and whether or not YOU’RE a Social Media Addict yourself.

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The Importance of an Online Presence

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Today’s post is by Peppercomm intern and future industry star, David Jolly. 


The Importance of an Online PresenceYou’re only as good as people’s perception of you.


Throughout college, I was always told that it is important to have a clean and organized online presence, professionally and personally. At first, I had no idea what an online presence even meant, but working in the PR industry now, I’ve started taking control of my various social media platforms and really investing time to cultivate my online reputation.For me, that means updating my LinkedIn page regularly, tweeting every day, blogging, updating my portfolio with relevant writing samples and, an important aspect that most people forget about, doing a search engine test using my name.

Your online presence will determine how you are introduced to the world and impact the way the world perceives you. It’s safe to say that a MAJOR advantage to having an established and engaging online presence is that it makes you seem more interesting, and maybe even more credible, to potential employers or clients as an experienced PR professional.

For people looking for ideas on how they can enhance their online presence using the different social media platforms, I’ve included some examples below. A beginner’s tip:  Go through all social media and blog sites and join them using your name. You don’t necessarily have to be active on all of these sites, but it will be good to have your naming rights in case you ever decide to use them in the future.

My Online Presence Includes: 

Personal Website: I have a personal website that houses links to the sites that I want the world to associate with my name and brand/reputation. There are many such sites, but I’ve chosen to use It’s very user-friendly, easy to manage and it gets the job done.

LinkedInI make sure to connect with the appropriate people, join the right groups and share articles related to my industry. Most importantly, I have a completed profile that includes an insightful professional summary.

BlogI update it every day during the week and majority of the my content is about the PR industry, but at times I may digress and share things that give more insight into who I am.

Portfolio/Writing SamplesI have links to my writing samples on a page on my personal blog.

Twitter: While I tweet regularly and make sure that my posts reflect the real me, I’m extra careful with what I say so I don’t send the wrong message. I tweet links to articles, my everyday life, what I’m watching and am into at the moment and comment on other tweets.

  • Tip: Be sure to use #hashtags, but no more than three per tweet.

Search EngineI always check my name in search engines and am currently happy with the results. I suggest you do the same to be sure that you are happy with the results that are associated with your name.

  • Tip: For a more effective search, put your name in quotations when performing a search.


How do you use these platforms to build your online presence?


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We love lists. We love social media. We love infographics.

Check out the article and infographic (also pictured below) from Social Commerce Today that includes everything we love here. Any other Twitter #fails that are missing?


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Today’s guest post is by Caitlin Veator, a junior at Dartmouth College and future PR star.

I remember writing in my (TOP SECRET!) diary that I was sad to see 1999 go.

Dear Diary, It is already 2000, can u believe it? It seems like it is gone very fast. But this new year has a lot of 0’s. That means I can draw smiley faces in them! So it will look like 2 :) :) :) ! Love, Caitlin

I’m part of the Millennial generation, and we’re just starting to enter the workforce. We’ve only just begun to make our mark, yet according to the L.A. Times, Millennials are more stressed out than other age groups. Furthermore, in an earlier blog post, Peppercomm co-founder Steve Cody addressed his experience with Millennials and their tendency to stick to their own age group rather than reach out to more experienced coworkers.

Yikes. We’re not looking so great right off the bat. But don’t worry, I think Millennials have plenty of skills necessary to revitalize business. Without further ado, here are the top five ways that Millennials are shaping today’s business practices:

  1. We’re social, and we know how to connect with exactly the right audiences. PR is becoming increasingly grassroots, and it takes someone that knows how to maneuver social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to get the word out and keep consumers and investors happy. At past internships, I have used Facebook to reach target audiences and generate buzz—social networking is the new frontier of marketing and PR, and Millennials love using it.
  2. We’ll deliver. A long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away, PR used to rely on general perceptions, the “atmosphere” of positive buzz. More recently, new technology has let us use very exact metrics to measure people’s reactions to publicity. As a research assistant, I’ve learned about the ways that describing someone affects your perception of them. Seems like minutia, but even a single word can really affect audience reaction. We Millennials are used to measuring and comparing metrics, so we’ll deliver results.
  3. We think on our feet. There are all sorts of arguments about Twitter and short TV shows decreasing our attention spans, but the flip side is that we’re constantly thinking and adjusting. If you need interns to plan an event, don’t fret if something goes wrong. We’re on our toes, and we’ll fix it lickety-split.
  4. We’re connected. This goes hand-in-hand with our social networking—we’ve been connected via mobile and internet with nearly everyone we know since our preteen years. Need to get in touch with a journalist that specializes in corporate environmentalism? Hold on, I just saw on Facebook that my friend from high school is interning at The Washington Post, and she might know someone!
  5. We’re looking with fresh eyes. When you’ve worked months or even years on an account, it’s hard to look at it like the average member of the public. When I came to one internship, I was tasked with fixing up a current webpage—with one look, I knew that it wasn’t reaching the educators it was supposed to. With fresh eyes, I saw the value propositions as they needed to be seen, and wrote some new copy that I’m confident will drive web traffic. There’s a reason you’re the expert, but we’d love to help you out.

So what do you think? Have Millennials failed to meet your expectations, or are they blowing you away?

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Mind Your Table(t) Manners

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This post originally ran on Peppercomm’s PepperDigital Blog.

My name is Laura and I’m a Foursquare addict.

Yes, I’ll admit it—I love Foursquare. I want to be “The Mayor” of all of my favorite spots (including the Peppercomm office, which is currently under an intense mayorship war). I love all of the different badges you can earn. While I don’t usually get addicted to these types of things, the gamification of how many times I go to the laundromat or the gym is so appealing and makes my boring day-to-day errands much more fun.

I know I’m not alone in my addiction. I see my coworkers and non-industry friends with smart phones doing the exact same thing. Some are also addicted to checking in on Facebook, tweeting exactly what comes in their heads (all the time) or instagramming everything from the chili they just cooked to a dead bird they saw on the side of the street.

But where does one draw the line?

When out with a client, I was at a new restaurant in a state I’ve never visited. I was excited to check-in and see if I would get a new badge. After being seated, I went to whip out my phone, but then remembered one big thing: common courtesy and table manners (OK, those are two big things). I always apologize if I receive a text or phone call when at dinner. So is it really appropriate to check-in all the time? No, it can be perceived as rudeness.

We’re at a point where we’re seemingly always connected via text, email and social media. That doesn’t seem necessary.  In fact, if you’re checking all of these different communication channels, it could indicate to the other person that there is something more interesting in the social spheres than with the person you’re with. I think we can all have dinner or meet with friends/family without checking our phones for an hour or so.

Fight the addiction and don’t be a phone-checking maniac. If all else fails, you can try the phone stack challenge, but really, is it so hard to mind your table manners?

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Intern Podcast

To find out more about life as a Peppercom intern, check out this podcast produced by former Peppercom interns who share their experiences. Click Here