Social Media Trends to Watch in 2016

2016 is almost here! At Yearick-Millea we’re starting to map out next year’s social media strategy for our clients and taking a look at some things we believe will be important come 2016. Here are some of the things we’ll be keeping an eye on in the upcoming year:

  •  The continued rise of advertising – The importance of advertising on social media will continue to grow throughout 2016, as social media will become more “pay to play” than before. The good news is that ad targeting will keep getting more drilled down, resulting in more effective ad campaigns.
  • Periscope – The live broadcasting app owned by Twitter will be a huge part of social media in 2016. It has been used in the obvious ways – news and sporting events – but in 2016 it will replace video in some cases to create an exclusive feeling for content.
  • User-generated content – We will continue to see a rise in the use of user-generated content for social media, especially for retail brands. Customers trust the word of other consumers far more than the brand, so creating a trust based on how other customers feel and interact with your brand will be vital.
  • Quality over quantity – Create quality posts with thought and strategy behind them instead of large quantities of simple posts that don’t provide quality information or contribute to your overall brand strategy.
  • A move away from clickbait-type headlines – The backlash from “You’ll never believe what happened next…” type headlines will grow on Twitter and Facebook. In 2016, we’ll see a shift from headlines written for clicks back to informative headlines that rely on the piece’s quality.
  • Expanding integration of e-commerce – Everywhere you look on social media you can find one-click buying and donation buttons. This proliferation of e-commerce on social media channels will continue to expand throughout 2016. The real question to determine their success will be if people trust the security behind these easy shopping shortcuts or not.

What do you predict will be the social media trends during 2016? Let us know in the comments.

PR Trends to Look Out for in 2016

As 2015 comes to a close, we’re taking a look at recent trends and new technologies that we can incorporate into our clients’ public relations plans for 2016. The industry has certainly gone through quite a transformation in recent years due to the growth of social media, and that plays a strong role in the strategies being used in the PR world as well. What developments should be most prominent in the coming year? Here are a few that we believe will support PR efforts throughout 2016.

Mobile Content

  • Where do most people receive information these days? Whether checking email or social media sites, our digital devices – cell phones, tablets, etc. – are the center of our lives for communication and they’ve become instrumental in spreading news. This past spring, Google began using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal that ultimately means that those sites not optimized for mobile would be ranked lower and lower. The push from Google will force companies to develop mobile-friendly content, so responsive design and embedded videos will become standard and expected. Use this technology as a way to connect with your audience and the billions of mobile-device users anywhere and at any time.

Visual Content

  • Visual elements tell a story and add emotion, prompting your audience to drive the visibility of your message. Educational and instructional videos are great tools to provide to a customer, perhaps based on a new product or service being offered. In fact, the videos that are gaining popularity are actually user-generated videos, not necessarily those that are finely produced and staged. We all have access to quality cameras through our phones now, which create more meaningful videos and photos.

 

If sending a press release, make sure that a photo, logo, infographic, or video is included as well. Those types of visuals engage reporters and increase the likelihood of landing placements in print, but especially online. Since PR and social media efforts typically tend to support one another, visuals are also great tools to carry over onto social sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Take the time to evaluate what tools worked for you in 2015, and don’t be afraid to take some risks in 2016! Whether your business is B2B or B2C, working in fresh, new strategies will help make your business relevant.

How Brands Are Embracing Emojis to Communicate

Words are the foundation on which public relations and marketing professionals base the majority of their communication for the brands and organizations they represent. While visuals are often used as enhancers to the written word, some brands are relying on emojis—icons or emoticons—to connect with their audience and tell their story in place of words.

The impact emojis have had on today’s generation has not gone unnoticed. Earlier this week, Oxford Dictionaries named the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji as its “Word of the Year.” Though it’s not technically a word, Oxford Dictionaries stated that emojis have been embraced as a nuanced form of expression, and that the chosen icon “best reflected the ethos, mood and preoccupations” of the year.

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Brands have certainly been experimenting with the use of emojis as a language in their public relations and marketing campaigns this year in an attempt to connect with millenials. Here are a few examples of how emojis are transforming digital communications:

  • Chevrolet issued a press release written entirely in emojis and waited several days before decoding it for the audience. The move had people talking about the message, and made headlines for days—when it was released and when the message was revealed.
  • Domino’s Pizza debuted a “tweet to order” campaign, which directed customers to order pizza by simply tweeting or texting a pizza emoji after they create a pizza profile.
  • The World Wildlife Fund launched its #EndangeredEmoji campaign on Twitter, aimed at helping to save animals from extinction. The charity highlighted 17 emojis representing endangered species and encouraged users to donate each time they’ve used one.

What do you think about using emojis in professional forms of communication?

3 Reasons to Intern at a Small Agency

Six months ago when I graduated from college I felt what (I assume) every recent college graduate feels: excitement, fear, nostalgia, enthusiasm, along with every other emotion under the sun. I had finally gotten the piece of paper that I spent the past four years striving for and stressing over. I moved the tassel to the left and drove away from campus for the last time as a student, and of course then came the big question. Now what? I immediately started to search for the first position I would hold as a college graduate and soon after I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to intern at Yearick-Millea. I could not have asked for a better experience over the past few months. I have learned more during the duration of my internship than I ever would have thought possible and while other types of organizations have there benefits as well, I believe that interns get the most valuable experiences out of working for small agencies. There are many reasons why interning at a small agency is better than interning at a large corporation but listed below are the top 3 reasons.

  1. Flexibility

Working for a small agency also really allows for flexibility and for new ideas to always be brought to the table, which of course, is vitally important for an industry that is constantly evolving. It also really allows interns to gain the experience that would otherwise not be given to them. This flexibility allows for interns to be given more responsibility and they are able to see what a real work environment feels like.

2.  Learn More

When interning at a small agency, you are going to learn a lot more than at a large corporation. Not only will you get the chance to fulfill the duties that fall under your intern title, but you also get the opportunity to branch out and complete other assignments that will be something new and exciting. As an intern, learning as much as you can during the time of your internship is very important. Your internships are supposed to allow you to gain experience so that when you enter the job market you have a vast knowledge of what is going on around you with minimal additional training.

3.  Well Rounded

In a small agency, it is very difficult for one person to just wear their assigned hat. Each person does some things that reach above and beyond their given responsibilities. By being able to perform any task that is given to your company, you become a better-rounded individual, then once your internship is over you have a vast variety of skills that make you a better candidate for any position.

 

What other reasons can you think of to intern at a small agency? Let us know in the comments!

5 Tips to Proofread More Effectively

Let’s face it, proofreading is a skill that some people have a knack for and others dread. While everyone has their own approach, here are five tricks that may help you become a better proofreader.

Take a Nap

Well maybe not a nap, but take a break after you are done writing. By giving your mind some rest, you’ll be able to come back and proof your work with fresh eyes.

Print it Out

Looking at a computer screen for an extended period of time can strain your eyes. Print your work and you may—like I usually do—find some typos.

Speak your Words

Maybe you didn’t see any missing words or commas, but hearing what you wrote may uncover unseen errors.

Read Backwards

No, don’t read each word backwards, read the sentences in reverse order, starting with the last line of your document. This trick helps because your brain knows what it meant to write, but maybe that’s not what was written.

Call on a Friend

Or a coworker. After you are satisfied with your work, it’s always a good idea to have someone else take a look at it. New eyes may spot things that you missed.

 

Are there other grammar questions that you’d like us to explore further? Let us know in the comments!

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How to Keep Up With Changes in Social Media

The world of social media is constantly changing—with new platforms starting and big changes happening to existing networks. For example, Twitter might be changing its 140 character limit or the much-maligned, maybe hoax app, Peeple, has been making headlines. So how is one supposed to keep up with all of these developments? Here are a few tools we use to stay on top of things at Yearick-Millea:

  • Industry Websites – Websites like Social Media Today, Mashable and Social Media Examiner are all helpful sources to peruse a few times a week to see if there is any pertinent industry news. Setting up RSS feeds for the websites you find most useful can make finding helpful articles even easier.
  • Google Alerts – Set up Google alerts for terms about social media networks to get relevant news delivered to your inbox every day. Just make sure the terms you select are specific enough or you will get buried in emails.
  • Twitter Lists – Curate a list of social media reporters and influencers in a Twitter list to easily browse for the latest breaking news. You can go so far as creating multiple lists for different social networks to keep tabs on them individually.
  • LinkedIn Groups – Join LinkedIn groups for social media and digital marketing to stay up-to-date on the latest industry news and trends, and participate in discussions about them.
  • Social Media – Twitter is one of our favorite sources for breaking news of all kinds, so it will often be the first place to check for news about social media.

What are some of your favorite ways to keep up with social media changes? Let us know in the comments!

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

 

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is one of Pittsburgh’s most beautiful locations. Located in Oakland’s Schenley Park, Phipps offers many environments for visitors to explore—alone or with a tour guide.

Here are some things you can enjoy:

  • Visit one of the facility’s many gardens and plant exhibits, including an orchid collection, palms and desert plants. Statues, glass art, paintings and a variety of other artwork are also displayed throughout the gardens.
  • Attend one of the many events and shows hosted at Phipps throughout the year. The Summer Flower Show exhibit runs through Monday, Oct. 5. This year’s Fall Flower Show, which will showcase chrysanthemums and their importance in Japanese culture, will begin Oct. 17 and run through Nov. 8.
  • Take a class! Phipps offers a variety of programs on gardening, arts and crafts, healthy living, and sustainability for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Grab a bite to eat at the café, which offers organic, local food.

 

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Have you ever been to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens? What is your favorite thing to do there?

6 Reasons Why All Feedback is Important

No matter where you are or what you are doing, you will most likely receive some feedback. Whether it’s direct, nonverbal, positive or negative, feedback is a good thing! Here are 6 reasons why any and all feedback is important:

  1. The best way to measure overall satisfaction

If there was no way for others to provide their input, you would never know if they were satisfied with your performance. Companies always want their clients to be satisfied with their performance so that they continue to come back for other projects. If the client was unsatisfied and had no way to communicate that, you wouldn’t have a chance to resolve issues and/or redeem yourself.

  1. Provides insight on what can be changed

No matter how well done, every project or presentation can be improved upon. Feedback allows you to see what can be changed so that your performance can be taken to the next level.

  1. Boosts motivation and confidence

Feedback does not always have to point out what could be better. It can also provide insight into things that are working perfectly. Positive feedback often shows what you are excelling at and when it is pointed out to you, it motivates you to continue with what you are doing and makes you feel like you can accomplish other projects with the same confidence.

  1. Shows strengths and weaknesses

Your strengths and weaknesses are something that you should always be aware of. When you know what you do well and what you can improve upon, then you can be more cognizant of your ability. When you’re starting a new project, taking your strengths and weaknesses into account should help you stay focused. It can also help you determine whether you need to bring someone new on board who can fill certain voids.

  1. Shows that you value other people’s opinions

When you ask for feedback, it shows that you value the opinion of others. It shows that you are trying to improve your skills to become better. People generally respond well to being asked to give feedback because they feel like their opinion matters.

  1. Improves your overall skills

By accepting feedback and not dismissing it, you open yourself to improvement. When people provide feedback, use it as an opportunity to listen and grow.

Can you think of other reasons why feedback is important? Tell us in the comments below!

What Makes a Brand Influential

We come across thousands of brands every day. Our daily lives have become so saturated with them that it is impossible for individual brands to get noticed. Every brand wants to stand out and be influential among consumers, but only a few have ever been able to achieve this. So what does it take to make a brand influential?

  • Trust: Your audience has to be able to trust you. If your brand breaks promises or lies to consumers, no one will be willing to come back for more. Eventually, everyone will stop listening to what you have to say.
  • Engagement: You must actively engage with your consumers and allow them to actively participate. Make a name for yourself by getting your audience to participate in something they wouldn’t normally do.
  • Storytelling: Tell a story that catches people’s attention. Show that you have something different to say and they will be more willing to listen. Coca-Cola, for example, has always shared stories about spreading happiness along with promoting togetherness, which has made people want to listen. With so many brands spreading negativity by putting down their competition, Coca-Cola’s positive storytelling approach causes their audience to pay attention to what they have to say.
  • Leading the Pack: Make the people see that you are ahead of your time and give them something to watch. You can’t do what every other brand does and expect different results. Think outside the box and look toward the future.
  • Relevance: Don’t find something that works for you and continue to just do that. People will get bored and stop listening. You need to stay up to date and continue to change so people will wonder what you’ll do next.
  • Presence: Consumers will never know who you are unless you create a strong presence for yourself. You can’t be heard if you aren’t seen. Be present across all different platforms so your brand becomes easily recognizable.
  • Interaction: Create contests, get opinions and answer questions for your followers. Make them feel as if they are a part of your team and they will listen to what you have to say.

Do you have any other ideas on what makes a brand influential? Tell us in the comments below!

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Lawrenceville

Less than three miles away from downtown, Lawrenceville has quickly become one of the most popular areas of Pittsburgh. With its always-changing atmosphere and its vibrant energy, it is no wonder people have begun to flock its streets.

There is something to do for everyone, with a wide variety of shops and restaurants, like Mid-Atlantic Mercantile or Industry Public House.

You can feel the creative atmosphere of Lawrenceville with art galleries lining the streets and view local artists’ work. There is an event in April called Art All Night where local artists create works all night long while you watch. If you don’t want to just watch the action and want to try your hand at creating something, stop into Paint Monkey or Pinot’s Pallete and make your own masterpiece!

If you are interested in music, the Thunderbird Café always has local or touring musicians stopping in to play a set.  There is also an annual outdoor/indoor walking concert event called R.A.N.T. (Rock All Night Tour) where bands play at different venues in Lawrenceville for 14 hours.

Or, maybe you just want to relax and take in a great cinematic classic at the Row House Cinema where they show a different selection of classic movies every week, chosen around a singular theme.

What are your favorite things to do in Lawrenceville? Let us know in the comments below!

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