Category Archives: Social Media

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.

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?

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!

How to Take Your LinkedIn Profile from Beginner to All-Star in 7 Steps

LinkedIn is the largest professional networking service on the Internet. It can help users explore job opportunities, be seen by potential employers and network in their field, but it takes more than just signing up for a profile to get results. Here are seven tips to help you take your profile from beginner to all-star to make the most out of your profile.

  1. Have a professional picture. It is important to remember that LinkedIn is a professional platform, not a social one like Facebook where your picture can be casual.  Your picture should portray you in a professional light and make future employers take you seriously – no selfies or beach pictures please! Also make sure that you are the only person in your profile picture so there isn’t confusion about which person you are.
  2. Make an in-depth header. Fill in every field in the header with specific and accurate information so your profile stands out to the right people. Include your industry and location, as well as current position—highlight other previous positions if you’ve been in the industry for a while. If you’re new to the working world, include your education and/or internship experience.
  3. Create an interesting summary. The summary is one of the most important parts of your profile. Its job is to interest the reader enough that they want to learn more about you. Spend time determining what you want your connections to know about you and what you think your strongest characteristics are.
  4. Sell yourself. It is important that everyone looking at your profile knows your skill sets and accomplishments. When creating your skills and experience section, add all of the programs you have worked with and all of the characteristics you have. You should have at least three skills listed, but once you get started you will see how much more you can do.
  5. Make connections. The entire website is dedicated to making professional connections. If you don’t make a network for yourself, no one is going to see your profile. If there aren’t many people you know to connect with, try joining groups and participating in discussion boards. Get your name out there and you will have more connections in no time.
  6. Include attachments and visuals of your past work. When listing past job or internship experiences, add a project you are specifically proud of. If you want to include an uploaded version of your resume and references, then go ahead! These are the kinds of things that will set your profile apart from the others.
  7. Publish posts that interest you and that are relevant to your field. When you publish posts, it is another way to get your name out there and get people to see what you are an expert in.

Even if you make an all-star profile, you’ll need to be active to remain relevant, so make sure to frequently update, connect and post to get the most out of your account. Can you think of any other ways to improve your LinkedIn profile? Let us know in the comments below!

Choosing a Profile or Cover Photo for Your Brand on Social Media

Your profile and cover photo represent your company or brand on social media so it’s important to pick out the best possible one to attract fans and followers. Here are a few tips to pick out the best photos:

  • Size – Size requirements vary for each social media platform. Tailor your profile picture to fit these size requirements for the highest quality and best looking photo. Keep in mind that your profile picture will appear smaller in news feeds and when you comment, but it can also be viewed as a large image, so it’s important to account for recognition and photo quality.
  • Text – Keep profile pictures and cover photos as visual as possible. Too much text can be confusing and distracting for users. As mentioned in the previous tip, text can also be hard to decipher in the small scale of a profile picture in a news feed.
  • Up-to-Date – Make sure your profile picture represents your company as it is currently known. Update your profile and cover photos for important campaigns, product releases or news. Just don’t change them too often or you risk confusing people.
  • Consistency – Keep your profile and cover photos consistent across all social media platforms to help people know they are looking at the right brand. Consistent images will also help build brand recognition on social media, which is hugely important to building an audience on social.
  • Complementary – While there’s no need to go as far as making your cover and profile photo appear to be one photo—even though it looks great—they should complement each other; meaning similar color schemes, font and feel.
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Corona’s Facebook profile shows an example where a profile photo and a cover photo appear to be one.

Do you have any additional advice for brands picking out profile or cover photos? Let us know in the comments!

Contact Yearick-Millea to learn more about how we can help with your social media strategy. 

How to Advertise on Twitter

We covered advertising on Facebook in an earlier blog post, but today we’ll be discussing the basics of advertising on Twitter.

There are three basic types of Twitter advertising:

  • Promoted accounts that show up in the “who to follow” section
  • Promoted tweets that show up in a user’s timeline
  • Promoted trends that are listed in the “trends” section

The most commonly used type of ad is a promoted tweet. These ads can target Twitter users based on a multitude of factors depending on what you’re looking for, including keyword targeting, interest targeting, location targeting and gender targeting.

Pricing for Twitter advertising is based on accomplishing your chosen “objectives.” Objectives can include followers, web clicks and conversions, engagement, app installs, and engagement and leads. Under the current “objectives” structure, you’re only charged for your ad when your objective has been met. For example, if your goal is to get followers, you’ll be charged for each follower you gain from your ad. You can still use the old structure that is not based on objectives; however, using the objective-based advertising method is generally the best way to get optimal results for your campaign.

Twitter objectives

Similar to Facebook ads, promoted tweets should use clear, concise ad copy and intriguing creative. Twitter’s advertising platform will help guide you through creating your ad based on your chosen objective. Twitter ads have both the advantage and disadvantage of blending in better with a user’s timeline than an ad on a Facebook newsfeed. This can be advantageous because users may not realize it’s an ad, therefore, they will be more likely to interact with it. On the other hand, it can be a disadvantage because it is more likely to be scrolled over, as lots of tweets are.

To achieve success with a Twitter promoted tweet ad campaign, we recommend running a different mix of copy and creative to determine what works best for you and attracts customers.

Contact Yearick-Millea to learn more about how we can help with your social media strategy. 

How to Advertise on Facebook

Advertising on Facebook is now an essential part of a brand’s strategy to get their message out on the social media platform, due to the way Facebook’s algorithm has impacted organic reach (the number of people who see unpaid brand content). If you aren’t already using Facebook advertising for your brand or business, you may be wondering where to get started.

Here at Yearick-Millea, we have a few recommendations for brands that we help to effectively advertise on Facebook:

• We generally recommend using two types of ads—a page likes ad and web traffic ad—but that essentially depends on what your business goals are. For example, if you are an e-commerce site, your goals could be tied to pushing a specific product instead of general website traffic.

• Use eye-catching creative and interesting, informative copy to encourage people to click on the ad – your ad only has a brief period of time to grab the attention of your targeted audience.

• Monitor ads and make necessary changes to images, copy or target audience if the ad is not performing well enough. However, let ads run for at least a month before making hasty changes. Also, keep in mind that your ad performance will depend on your ad budget – Don’t expect to double your audience size with a small budget.

Facebook ads are a relatively cheap way for companies to advertise online compared to other services such as Google Adwords. A budget of $200-$300 a month for a smaller business can provide a decent return for the chosen business goals.

Contact Yearick-Millea to learn more about how we can help with your social media strategy. 

Four Ways Public Relations & Social Media Should Work Together

It’s no secret that public relations and social media are (or should be) a crucial part of a company or brand’s strategy for success. Though both areas are different, they share the common goal of positively communicating on behalf of a company or brand, and both are becoming more and more intertwined.

Here are a couple of ways that they can work hand in hand:

  • Public relations professionals work hard to pitch ideas and content to media outlets on behalf of their clients. If pitches are successful and clients/products are featured in a news article, magazine, TV spot or blog post, share those successes on social media. Not only do you maximize exposure to that content, but it’s a way to make a connection with the media outlet that published it.
  • If your client has an online newsroom, share links to distributed press releases on their social media profiles. If you want to take it a bit further, repurpose the content in the press release. For example, if you distribute photo caption sheets, take some of those stellar images and post them on Pinterest while linking back to the release.
  • If your client is hosting an event, chances are that you’re distributing press releases, fliers and calendar postings to alert the masses. Consider creating an event on Facebook and inviting fans. You can gauge how many people are interested based on the RSVPs, and it’ll give your client, as the host, an opportunity to engage with the audience and answer any questions people might have. If your client is gearing up to attend an important industry event—like a trade show or expo— your press release might announce their attendance, but this is a great opportunity to make the announcement on LinkedIn or encourage them to join an existing event/thread on social media to make connections before they even get there.
  • Great engagement on social media profiles can lead to amazing public relations opportunities. Having a real conversation with someone and creating a relationship is what public relations is all about. These days, reporters and other media outlets can generate an entire story based on the conversations and communication they see on social media sites. Don’t be afraid to issue statements on your profile, and don’t be surprised if a media outlet highlights it in an article.

How else do you use public relations and social media together? Feel free to share in the comments section!

Social Media Trends to Explore in 2015

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 2015! Here at Yearick-Millea, we’re starting to think about trends we should be exploring for our clients in the new year. The following are a few trends we think will be important on social media in the upcoming year:

  • Instagram – If you have clients in retail, beauty or other visual industries, it’s time to make sure they’re on Instagram! Instagram continues to grow—it just surpassed Twitter in users—and it is the most popular visual social media network. Also important to remember is that unlike Pinterest, Instagram’s user base is more diverse.
  • Facebook – Unfortunately, being successful as a brand on Facebook in 2015 will mean paying more for ads and even post views. With post views continuing to drop as result of Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, brands will need to be creative with their ad spend. Good content will remain a must, but it’s looking more and more like paying to play is, too.
  • Ello – Keep an eye on Ello in 2015 – the newest social network is still in beta, but it continues to grow each day. However, before you consider it for your brand, remember that Ello is meant to be the “ad-free” social network to counter Facebook. A careful strategy with a focus on conversation and engagement, not selling, will be vital to any brands trying to use Ello.
  • Customer service – Social media has been the go-to option for customers for some time now, but in 2015 expect customers to want faster response times and more personalized responses. It’s important to map out your response procedures and determine who is responsible for customer service to be prepared for this. As you know, a negative customer service experience gets more press than a positive one.
  • Analytics – Social media analytics will continue to grow and delve deeper into customer behaviors online, allowing brands to better target new customers and retain old ones.
  • E-commerce – With the development of “buy” buttons on Facebook and Twitter, social buying is something retail brands should monitor as they become available. It’s not yet known if these buttons will be popular and seen as an even easier way to purchase items or as an invasion of privacy that people will be uncomfortable with.

What are your predictions for trends in social media during 2015? Let us know in the comments!

2015

Ethical Practices On Social Media

As we mentioned last week, September has been named Ethics Awareness Month by the Public Relations Society of America.  As public relations professionals, we must consider ethical practices at all times—especially on social media because of its emerging importance, high visibility and influence on its users.  Content on social media easily reaches people all over the world, and brands use it to build relationships with their audience. That being said, it’s a good idea to have a plan in case you run into some tricky situations. Here are a few things to consider regarding ethics on social media:

  • Best Practices: Take the time to write a social media code of ethics or best practices to avoid getting caught in an ethical dilemma. Think about potential problems that might arise and draft some guidelines for your firm. No two situations are the same, but if you encounter gray areas, having written rules and regulations can help steer you in the right direction.
  • Authenticity, Accuracy and Accountability: Distribute accurate information and avoid making false and/or misleading statements on social media, just as you would in a press release and other marketing materials. Authenticity of voice is especially important when you’re posting or tweeting on behalf of a client. Use real customer/user commentary and testimony versus making it up to make your client look good or relevant. Last week, a publicist came under fire after releasing a fake tape of Joan Rivers promoting “My Son the Waiter, a Jewish Tragedy,” an off-Broadway show. Rivers had been scheduled to record the ad before she died. If you do make a mistake, own up to it and issue an appropriate apology. Some brands have claimed that their social media pages were hacked after publishing content that was not well-received or that was inappropriate. While that is certainly the case sometimes, it shouldn’t be used in an attempt to cover up a social media flub.
  • Keep It Real: On the topic of authenticity, don’t buy Facebook “likes” and Twitter followers to make your page look more successful. Practices such as these are an attempt to cheat the system, and in the long run, they will only hurt your client because you will see little or no return. Sure, your client’s social media pages will have a lot of followers, but your audience will essentially be fraudulent, and it won’t deliver the engagement the page needs.
  • Transparency: Social media pages are meant to be a form of communication between your clients and their audiences. While most brands hope for positive feedback, there are times when they receive negative feedback on their social media pages. It isn’t pleasant, but resist the urge to delete the not-so-nice comments. Unless the comments violate terms of use or cross offensive boundaries, the right thing to do is to leave them and respond in a way that follows your company’s best practices (click here for some tips). Similarly, don’t leave negative feedback (anonymously or not) on competing social media pages. It’s unprofessional and makes your company look bad.

What other ethical issues can arise on social media? Share your ideas and tips with us in the comments.