Between You and Me, There's PR

Exploring, learning and using social media, public relations and marketing.

Monopoly’s Lucky Roll April 5, 2014

My family is not allowed to play Monopoly together. With a blended family comes blended family Monopoly rules. A few of my immediate family’s rules include:

  • All money from taxes and fees goes in the middle. If you land on Free Parking, you take it all for yourself.
  • $500 goes in the middle at all times for free parking.
  • You can buy houses instantly; no need to collect all same colored properties before purchasing houses.
  • If you land on go, you collect $250 instead of $200.

If you’ve ever played Monopoly, you know that these rules are totally made up and designed to make the game go more quickly. On March 25, 2014, Monopoly launched a really engaging campaign on Facebook asking fans to post their house rules. According to Monopoly, 68% of Americans do not read the instructions.

The campaign that utilized video and graphic images lasted March 25-April 3. There was no third-party application used and no prize; people simply wanted to tell their story. The engagement for the house rule campaign posts were insanely high in comparison to their previous posts; including those posted as mix-ins during the campaign, like this one that had five shares:

monopoly baseball
Alternatively, when Monopoly posted the new official house rules, it was shared 1,287 times:

monopolyvideo

This is a great example of a well executed campaign and the brain behind it deserves big kudos for the brand engagement it drove. The most amazing part to me is that there was no prize offered. It proves how iconic this game is and how a simple board game can unite or divide a house hold. They sold nothing to consumers, yet the board game rose to the top of consumers’ mind awareness.

In comparison to their stunt last year, in which consumers were asked to vote on what Monopoly piece to retire and add, this most recent campaign allowed more engagement and brand awareness; or, maybe I’m just bitter because I’m not a cat fan.

Overall, I think this was a great campaign for this iconic brand.

 

A lesson in social media: Contests October 8, 2011

For the past month I have been working for a nonprofit organization to build publicity  in preparation of their second annual fundrasing event. As a promotion, we decided to run a Facebook campaign to attract more fans we could then recruit for our fundraiser.

The idea was to have people post the answer to a question related to our mission on our wall. The answer with the most votes would win a prize!

It was exciting because people would like our page to win a prize, engage on our page and share our page with their friends.

Fun fact: Facebook has rules against all of that.

And I would never of known to even check on these rules except a discussion on LinkedIn in the group PRIntern/ EntryPR that appeared in my inbox literally the day after we decided to do this contest.

The biggest concern for our contest was that Facebook prohibits any use of a Facebook tool to contribute to a contest. This includes vote to win, using the wall for anything except promotion and you cannot contact the winner of a contest through Facebook message, chat or wall post.

Uh oh.

I read everything I could about Facebook contests and even attended a fee seminar on law ethics associated with social media. It seemed as though the only way to continue our contest as planned was to use a third party application.

As a nonprofit organization, we could not afford to pay a third party platform to develop our contest as I had in my previous internship over the summer at an international company. I had no idea how easy we had it.

So I researched companies that would do it for free. I narrowed it down to two. Let’s be honest, there were only two out there: Binkd and EasyPromos.

I decided to use EasyPromos because when I emailed Binkd for examples, they had a hard time coming up with one. I also like that EasyPromos had an entire page of tips, FAQs and allowed me to upload a photo.

Everything went smoothly and according to plan. In the first day we had 6 people like our page! I was excited. By the end, we had a 13% increase of fans in just one week. Not bad for a little nonprofit like ourselves! Not bad for my first solo attempt at a contest either.

But this contest is what I like to call a successful failure.

It was successful because we increased our fan base. It failed because only 3 people actually participated in the contest (keep in mind we had about 160 fans!). I think we asked too much of our fans. In trying to keep with our mission, it was decided that we would have the contestants enter the contest by telling us who has made a difference in their life.

The question was probably too deep and the process too involved. However, I think it says a lot for our organization that we had a 13% increase during this promotion and hardly anyone entered the contest. It was a lesson that showed me how supportive our fans are of our cause and mission. They care about what we do, not what we give away.

The important part of the contest results, and any contest that recruits fans, is that you create lifetime fans- of both your page and your organization. We successfully created new fans and spread the word of our organization. It was a great learning expereince and I hope by me admitting my challenges you can have a success story rather than the successful failure type.

If you have questions about how we ran our contest, or how we overcame challenges, let me know! I’m happy to share what I have learned and would love to hear any stories you have as well!

 

QR Codes: Scannable business cards November 13, 2010

A few weeks ago in our Missouri State chapter of PRSSA our executive board was really excited about something called a QR Code and how it can make your networking life a breeze. Lost? I was. Time to rewind and research.

A QR Code looks like a complicated maze  and serves as a unique link to information, a video or website.

According to Mobile-Barcodes, “The acronym QR is derived from the term Quick Response. The company Denso Wave originally spawned the term QR as the creator intended that such barcodes and their contents were to be decoded at high-speed electronically.”

A QR Code is similar to the bar codes you find on products at stores because both barcodes because stored information can be retrieved by scanning/ taking a picture with your phone.

Consider a QR Code like a hyperlink on the Internet, but is a 2D picture that can be put on a tangible item you can hold outside of the online world. For instance, a movie poster QR Code would show a movie trailer when scanned.

Other ways companies and people are using QR Codes is to link to a website, coupon, video or contact information. As a student beginning to network for jobs, I found the vCard especially interesting.

A vCard is a QR Code that stores all of your contact information. To create one using Nokia, it asks for your name, phone number, organization, email, title, address and website. This is an excellent and creative way to create a business card because you can store the image to your computer and print it on a business card to hand out.

I am definitely learning as I write this blog, but as far as I can tell, a QR Code and vCard can be stored as text, immediately as a contact, as the website or as an image depending on the application the person you are sending it to has to read it.

Mobile Barcodes has an excellent comparison list of QR Code readers that you can explore to find the best one for your needs. While some are free, there are others that cost anywhere from $.99-$2.99.

vCards and QR Codes can be printed on stickers, t-shirts, business cards or anything you can imagine. I can definitely see this trend picking up in the next few months as more people begin to use it. If businesses begin engaging their audience with QR Codes it will grow immensely. For now, I am still learning and wishing I had a phone with this capability.

Here is a video example of how this all comes together:

Would you use a QR Code?

Find out more:

Here are a few resources I found useful during my quick research for this blog:

Fun fact: Thanksgiving break begins in one and a half weeks.

 

Politics, religion and sex November 4, 2010

In my personal selling class we have been talking about how to use small talk when networking with people as well as when approaching a prospect customer. Small  talk means you can talk about random topics, but everyone knows to avoid politics and religion.

This is the same for nearly every aspect of conversation at work, online and when meeting someone for the first time.

Christina Khoury, author of the PRBreakfastClub, wrote about trying to find the fine line between being yourself and “word vomit” or as she defines it, “the act of putting one’s foot in thy mouth.” A few ways to avoid this, according to Christina, is by not discussing politics and religion for their tendency to lead to debate and why you hate your job, because the wrong person (boss or client) might see it.

#PRStudChat aired their first podcast on Monday and featured Brandi Boatner (@brandiboatner) from IBM for more great discussion on online transparency.

Brandi’s best tip was to “treat your online relationships like your offline relationships.” She presented the scenario that if you walked into a party where you did not know anyone and yelled ‘I am here’ it would be considered rude and awkward. In a normal situation, you would talk to people and get to know their background a little and earn their trust before getting deep into a conversation. Brandi says the same thing applies online, listen and gradually add to the conversation instead of being the loud obnoxious new person.

Brandi also mentions three key topics to avoid in conversation: politics, religion and sex.

It is all about our online image. We are branding ourselves out there in the gigantic world of online networking and just as people are forming opinions  about our company whether we like it or not, they are being formed about us as individuals as well. As a student looking for a job or even someone currently employed by a company, filtering your online presence is very important to building your credibility.

Hopeful parting words:

Brandi mentions in the podcast that human resource people don’t necessarily have all the time in the world to dig up your history in photos. That is not to say they will not look, therefore, becoming more conscious of how your online presence looks currently is definitely a step in the right direction.

Our guest speaker in class last night, John Scroggins from Noble and Associates, mentions that he understands being in college and utilizing privacy settings. He considers that a judgement call rather than hiding a deep dark secret.

That said, not everyone will be as generous as these two professionals and we should dfinitely still use discretion. If you wouldn”t want mom to see it, don’t post it.

 

Join the Purple People October 19, 2010

I began noticing earlier this week that several of my friends on Facebook were posting about wearing purple. It was all over Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the news. Oct. 20, 2010 has been named Spirit Day as dedication to the recent suicides caused by bullying kids about their sexuality.

A Canadian teen, Brittany McMillan, used Tumblr to create an unofficial remembrance day for the recent suicides caused by sexual bullying. She stated that everyone should wear purple to make the it is OK to be GLBTQ and that the world will support them no matter what.

The Eastern Echo stated, “Tumblr is like the Twitter of the blogging world where users are able to post text, photos, quotes, audio, and video with speed and ease. Using her account, McMillan was able to spread her request with chain-letter like speed.” The beauty of social media.

As of October 19th at 10 p.m. 76,793 Facebook users were “attending” this event and 13,954 were “maybe” going to attend. People have posted it as their status on Twitter, Facebook and reposted the original blog.This is the power of social media. How amazing is it that people from across the world can unite under one cause and create an unofficial holiday?

Not only is this an excellent remembrance for those who took their own lives because of the hateful environment they lived in, but it lets others in the same situation know that there is hope. As the recently common phrase goes, “it gets better.”

Many celebrities have joined this campaign to end bullying through the Trevor Project which specifically fights GLBTQ bullying. “Trevor” was a film in 1994 that portrayed a 13-year-old boy who attempted to take his life because he was being bullied for his sexual orientation. Upon the film’s television debut, it was discovered that there was no helpline to accompany the film incase others were feeling suicidal like the film but there was none. The Trevor Project was the first helpline established in 1998.

A few of many celebrities that have joined The Trevor Project’s mission include Daniel Radcliffe, the cast of Glee, the cast of Modern Family, The Kardashians, Tim Gunn, Kathy Griffin. These videos are posted on YouTube, another example of how social media is helping this cause.

Ironically, the world of social media and specifically social networking was the cause for some of the situational suicides because of videos leaked online, yet the online world has also become a safe haven for conversation and support.

Social media allows every person to have a voice and for every voice to find a niche that supports their voice. Hopefully, with all of this publicity related to Spirit Day and the world uniting against GLBT bullying, the taboo has been lifted on this topic and victims can find help. No one is alone. It gets better, and that goes for everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

Will you wear purple tomorrow? I will. No one should die because of a bully. (#spiritday)

 

Facts and fictions of “The Social Network” October 15, 2010

It is fall break for Missouri State University and midterms are over! After spending hours studying “The Social Media Bible” by Lon Safko for our midterm, it was nice to come back to St. Louis and not think about social media or school.

And then I watched The Social Network and my social media obsession began again.

I thought that “The Social Network” was a good movie but the because it includes both fact and fiction, I was left not knowing what to believe. Determined to find out, I immediately grabbed my computer and started researching.

The movie is based on the book “Accidental Billionaire” written by Ben Mezrich. Without Mark Zuckerberg’s support, Mezrich managed to write a story portraying Zuckerberg’s life by gathering information from The Harvard Crimson newspaper and co-founder, Eduardo Saverin. A review in The New York Times said the book was “nonfictionish” and that “‘The Accidental Billionaires’ is so obviously dramatized, and so clearly unreliable, that there’s no mistaking it for a serious document.”

I then wonder, how a movie that claims to portray person’s life but is actually made up of partial fabrications is allowed to be produced. Obviously Zuckerberg does not need any more money so there is no need to sue, but if I were the creator of Facebook and was portrayed to be an angry and obesseive person in a movie I would be frustrated. Then again, Zuckerberg reported to Mashable that, “We build products that 500 million people see… If 5 million people see a movie, it doesn’t really matter that much.” Clearly he is not concerned about an effect of the lies.

David Kirkpatrick blogged on the Daily Beast and explained which aspects of “The Social Network” were true and false. He claims to be an expert on the subject after studying Zuckerberg for over a year to write his book “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World”.

A few highlights from Kirkpatrick’s blog include:

  • “Zuckerberg may be the least angry person I have ever met.”
  • Zuckerberg is and has been dating someone since before The Facebook first launched.
  • The Winklevoss brothers were real, though did not have as important of a role in Facebook as the movie leads to believe.
  • “Zuckerberg did wear Adidas sandals all the time, even in winter.”
  • “There really was a zip line from the chimney on the house in Palo Alto that enabled the guys to fly into the pool.”

I encourage you to visit this link for the full story because it is three pages long and includes links to other sources disputing “The Social Network” facts as well.

I definitely enjoyed the movie “The Social Network”. Seeing the coding and complicated thought process the Facebook team experienced in the creation of this amazing product was very insightful and something I hadn’t considered.

I definitely recommend “The Social Network” to you, and now you know how to discern the facts from the fiction!

 

Careers in social media October 9, 2010

Did you ever think you could make money by updating Twitter or Facebook accounts? Simply Hired has 6,063 current job listings related to social media and Indeed has 26,624 listings. Something many people use as a social tool or, simply something to pass the time, is introducing a new and very important job opportunity.

Social media’s ability for instant communication and allowance of anyone to post comments about a company or product anywhere on the Internet presents the need for someone to monitor conversations at all times. This allows businesses to not only appreciate and thank consumers for the positive comments, but also to react to negative attention when needed.

This past summer, my best friend had a paid internship that was dedicated to creating and implementing a social media plan. I felt a little jealous that she was getting paid to use Facebook, but there was a lot more research and intention to what she posted than I imagined. After my own internship supervisor left me in charge of our Facebook and Twitter accounts while she was on vacation, I began to realize how much work and consideration actually went into a career in social media and understood why this job deserves to be a paid.

This 2009 podcast from the Ottawa news, “Social Media Jobs on CBC News,” aired during the pioneering stages of social media jobs. Now, in 2010, these jobs are everywhere.

As students, the idea that we could be making money for our knowledge in something we use everyday is pretty exciting. Though it is used differently than when I update my friends that I am going to the movies, the concepts are still familiar. Here are a few tips taken from a Mashable article for people looking for internships or future careers in social media.

The article states that:

  • The top four qualities employers look for are good communication, writing and social skills as well as enthusiasm.
  • Recruiters claim that utilizing social networking websites on their own is an important skill for their intern or employee to acquire because it shows they know how to use them as well as determines their own personality and brand.
  • Interns should be creative, flexible, a team player and willing to learn. They also would like to see their applicant show their social media work rather than simply talking about it.

For more tips and job postings, please read the full article: “What Companies Want in a Social Media Intern,” by Amy Mae Elliot.

So what are you waiting for? Get paid to be social! Did you notice the video from 2009 said social media jobs pay $50,000? That could be you!

 

 
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