Archive for Social Media

Sep
22

Got skills?

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Today’s post is by former Peppercomm intern and future industry star, Jess Schram, who interned during this past summer session. 

Resume talk: Social Media

social-media-resume-360Eighty-nine percent of 18- to 29-year-old internet users are now active on social media, yet far too many of those millennials seem to think that adding “Facebook” and “Twitter” to their resumes will set them apart from other candidates and land them a high-paying job.

Too often people neglect to consider the important aspects of social media like listening and engaging, and consider themselves social gurus the moment they tweet about Brazil’s embarrassing soccer skills or Instagram a picture of their lunchtime ‘froyo’ and receive a few stars and hearts in their news feeds.

Newsflash: it’s 2014! Social media is nothing new—even my Nana has an Instagram to flaunt her Boca life in filtered glory.

Now, I’m not saying social media should be totally swiped from your resume. Being able to use social media is important skill in the communications world, but should only be added to your list of talents if you know how to use it effectively.

If you want to position yourself as an intern who knows the ropes on social, use these tips to help you stand out:

1. Know your audience

Think about your audience’s demographic and psychographic.  What do they care about? How can your social posts evoke emotion (humor, excitement, fear, happiness, motivation, etc.) in your readers? Everything you post on social media should be helpful, useful and relevant to your audience. If you can’t answer the question, “Why should they care?” trash it.

 2. Use correct and relevant hashtags

Because hashtags are how people can easily search for topics on social media, they can help get your posts into threads of relevant conversations, and therefore seen by the masses. Using hashtags correctly can increase buzz around your client’s brand and help you target current fans and future stakeholders.

It’s also necessary to start and continue with relevant hashtags to track and improve your social strategy. The number one reason hashtags fail is the lack of consistency between them. Why use #ConferenceX2013 and #ConferenceX2014 when you can track the success of #ConferenceX year after year and compare analytics for ROI? #Duh

3. Play more

Be human!  If your brand allows, don’t be afraid to be funny on social media or create a voice that will set you apart from your competitors. Virgin Mobile’s Twitter  is one of my favorite accounts to follow, and has done a great job of creating a unique voice for itself through playful, humorous tweets.

4. Actively listen and engage

Pushing out content isn’t enough, even if it’s relevant and interesting. If you want to be an all-star social media intern, you need to jump into conversations happening in your client’s industry and actively participate in them. Listen to influencers, engage with fans, answer skeptics’ questions, and reach out to users in your target demographic to build relationships and improve customer loyalty. Listening and engaging should be proactive not reactive practices.

 5. Repeat!

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re still an intern, so you have some time to practice. That said, it’s important to expand your social media use past your personal accounts and get experience writing on behalf of a client or brand. If you don’t already, just ask! No experience? Tell your supervisor you’ve been reading up on social media, but have yet to get your feet wet. This blog’s a good start, don’t you think? Humor me. Even now, after managing more than six accounts throughout my intern years, including my most recent venture to make my cat famous, I still look for ways to improve and practice.

My final advice to you is this: Just because you’re a millennial doesn’t mean you’re an expert on social media, but it also doesn’t mean you can’t be. Know your audience, use hashtags correctly, create a voice for your brand, and most importantly: Listen. Engage. Repeat. (Peppercomm’s mantra.)

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Sep
22

A Sweet Tweet For Ice Cream

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When ice cream is on the line you must tweet until your fingers are numb. At least that’s how we felt here in the San Francisco office. The Ben & Jerry’s ice cream truck was touring the west coast and was making stops along the way. Only catch, your tweet had to capture its attention to get it to visit your job.

Tweet1

Through the power of several witty (only slightly begging) tweets, we were successful in getting the Ben & Jerry’s truck to visit the Peppercomm office. They supplied us with free samples and pints of its new core ice cream flavors.

Ben2

Social media can be used for other things besides getting free ice cream:

  • Engaging in career related chats
  • Staying updated on the news
  • Potential job leads
  • Preparing you for a career that uses social media

Have fun on social media, but remember that it can be used to advance your career as well.

Ben1

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

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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.

BringBackOurGirls

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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Jan
13

Gotta preserve the rep

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reputation

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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Oct
10

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!

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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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Jul
31

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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Jul
26

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 Flavors.me. 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?

Brand_Fails_Twitter_Lrg

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Categories : Social Media
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Intern Video

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