A Little Birdy Told Me…Week of 10/24/11


Happy Friday! Lots of folks in the Philly region woke up to a chilly morning and are freaking out over the predicted 1-2 inches of snow this weekend. I doubt it will ruin Halloween this Monday, but it makes me remember a real blizzard that hit my town in Southwestern Minnesota on Halloween—it snowed so much that school was canceled the next day! And it warranted its own page on Wikipedia!! So, whether you are shoveling your sidewalks this weekend or not, here are a few articles of interest to peruse—enjoy :)

More Social Media & Alumni Relations Tips (by @OC2AZgirl via @alumnifutures):

As I posted Part 1 last week, I thought it appropriate to share Part 2 of a great series that provides insights into using social media to connect with alumni communities.

In this edition, Ms. Katie Mayer from Thunderbird Global School of Business breaks down their top tips for using LinkedIn and Twitter effectively to create a strong online alumni community. What’s more interesting is that Ms. Mayer also shares a few ideas that didn’t go over well and what they learned as a result. It all goes to show that not everything is perfect on social media, but that’s no excuse for not trying it if it is a part of your communication or alumni relations strategy.

Social Media is Not All About You (by @shelholtz via @ginidietrich):

When companies use social media, they may often think of the following popular phrase: It’s all about you. Shel Holtz, who knows a thing or two about this social media stuff, points to that phrase as the reason why companies often shoot down social media as a communications component.

Those companies mistakenly make the assumption that the social media communications are all about them/their company/their products. Mr. Holtz counters that it’s about more than just the company– it’s about the what people/customers/audience are using and getting out of that company’s presence on social media. The simplicity of this revelation that should guide a company’s social media strategy and help inform their communications as a result.

Zombies and Marketing (by @Marijean via @kmueller62):

Talk about being on the same wavelength! I was thrilled to see a familiar blogger make a similar observation as I had with regard to zombies—they’re the new popular seasonal theme for marketers.

All in good taste, of course, but it’s difficult to deny their popularity and pervasiveness. So, if your business or product can have a seasonal zombie tie-in, why not? Ms. Marijean offers a few marketing ideas to get the ball rolling, but her point is that with so much going on during the Halloween season, it’s worthwhile to see what the dominant trends are (ie. zombies) and how you might be able to capitalize on their popularity. Plus, it makes for fun blog topics!

Developing SMART Social Media Goals (by @neicolec):

Here are some practical, straightforward tips for setting social media goals. It’s easy to get caught up in those lofty thoughts of “engaging stakeholders” and “maximizing current communications,” but it helps to put some serious thought to how you can measure and achieve more tangible goals. Ms. Crepeau never disappoints with her blog content, and I plan to go over my social media strategy goals with her SMART tips in mind.  In the end, we’re always held accountable for reaching or not reaching our goals, so why not start them off on the right foot?

Hope you enjoyed these articles– feel free to share any articles you found interesting this week too!

October 28, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Alumni Relations, marketing, social media. 1 comment.

A Little Birdy Told Me…Week of 5/30/11

It’s finally Friday–at least for many of us, it was a short work week thanks to the holiday weekend. Getting back into the daily grind was a little difficult, but there’s always the next long weekend to look forward to, right? So, while some of us recover from sunburns and too much macaroni salad, here are this week’s articles and posts to share–enjoy!

Dealing with Negative Blog Comments (by @journalistics):

For as long as I’ve been reading Journalistics, I’ve never known the primary blogger Jeremy Porter to be a sloppy writer. In fact, it’s the quality content that makes me come back to read his blog and share it with others.

Chaulk it up to my speedy online reading, but I completely overlooked a grammatical error on one of his posts a few weeks back, but someone else did and took it upon themselves to send him a snippy personal email. Every blogger will have to deal with negative blog comments eventually, and it’s important to own up to our mistakes and roll with the punches sometimes. It’s a learning process of sorts. Mr. Porter demonstrates how this experience luckily has not deterred him from continuing to write and refine his craft.

Are Blogs the New Establishment of Media? (by @JasonFalls via @arikhanson):

Here’s an original thought-with so many blogs becoming credible news sources (ie. Huffington Post, Mashable, and TechCrunch), perhaps they are becoming the new media establishment. Jason Falls makes an interesting point with this post about the growing credibility of blogs as media sources. While I wouldn’t go so far as to count myself in this camp, I do believe there is validity to bloggers applying journalistic practice and standards to their content. Now, if that makes them journalists per se is another argument…

Implications of PR Filling the News Gap (by @mstory123 via @Shonali):

A study by the Columbia Journalism Review which examined how PR practitioners are “filling the gap” in news coverage due to the shrinking newsroom has spurred several articles and numerous tweets.

When I read this article, I recall sensing an underhanded swipe at PR in general from this article, and apparently, so did Mark Story who wrote this reaction piece to the article. While the facts can’t be ignored-that PR jobs are on the rise while journalism jobs are on the down slope-I agree with Mark’s sentiment that it doesn’t mean PR is creasing its palms in the darkness, ready to pounce with propaganda and spin to the public’s dismay.

Articles like this do the PR profession no favor by simply rehashing the stereotype that all PR is spin and that there can’t be a professional working relationship between the PR pro and the journalist.

Understanding Silver Bullets and Sales (by @tpop81):

It’s important for PR folks to understand what their marketing and sales colleagues are going through-we’re all communicators and often fighting for the same budget. I appreciate blogs like Thomas Takeaways, mostly because of how Thomas conveys marketing and business concepts in an easy-to-understand manner and for his great analogies. This week’s post described the ongoing discussion between the marketing and sales departments about products and pipelines. It’s a great insight into what these departments are prioritizing and their perspectives on what drives a company’s success.

Hope you find these as interesting as I did. Do you have any articles or posts to share as well?

June 3, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . journalism, marketing. 2 comments.

A Little Birdy Told Me…Week of 5/23/11

Happy Friday, all. It’s the official kick off to the summer–Memorial Day weekend. Another sign of summertime that makes me happy, at least in Philly, is the start of Hoagiefest at Wawa. Hope you all enjoy the long weekend filled with grilling, BBQ, cold beverages, and good times. Here are this week’s links and articles of interest to share–enjoy!

Are Healthcare Marketers Killing Twitter? (by @philbaumann via @joshdbrett):

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the latest marketing craze, buy into buzzwords, and forget what social media is really about or why you’re even involved in it in the first place. Phil Baumann has been active in social media and healthcare for years, so I value his observations and analyses.

This post makes a good point in healthcare marketing, but it also has applications for non-healthcare marketers who use Twitter. Basically, no one wants to be broadcasted at–in healthcare social media, we want a community. With social media marketing reaching the saturation point, we may lose out on the value it brings to online communities. Phil’s post serves as a sober reminder to take into consideration when using Twitter as a marketing tool.

Failing in Order to Learn (by @ginidietrich on @spinsucks):

Reading a simple reflectional post is nice every now and then. It gives us pause for thought and takes us out of the professional equation for a minute. Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks had a honest-to-goodness post earlier this week admitting that which we all fear-failure. I appreciated her honesty and candor on the topic by sharing a personal story with her regular readers. But the story isn’t all doom and gloom. In the end, it’s how failure is only the beginning. If we learn from our “failures” (if you want to use such a strong term) you can actually have more success in the future.

Facebook and Journalists – Friend or Foe? (by @FortuneMagazine):

Having followed Vadim Lavrusik for a few months on Twitter, I learned about the relatively new resource called Journalists on Facebook (link). This article draws attention to how developing a good relationship with reporters on Facebook could elevate the site to a trusted source of news for its members.

I hadn’t given much through to this notion because I don’t use my Facebook page that much aside from personal and familial connections. But others use it daily, even hourly, so the thought it could be a home page that one checks every morning and before the end of the night doesn’t seem that far off. It will be interesting to see the outcomes of Facebook’s resource for journalists and if it translates into some sort of revenue for the company or potential trusted news source for its readers.

Five Reasons the Reporter Didn’t Quote You (by @MrMediaTraining):

Mr. Media Training, or Brad Phillips, has a great site with numerous helpful posts on dealing with media interviews and cultivating good media relationships. A post this week deals with a situation that’s likely happened to everyone–your client/spokesperson is interviewed but is not quoted in the story.

Rather than pull our hair out, Mr. Phillips offers a few reasons why this may have occurred which can help in better media interviews in the future.  And judging by some of the comments from former journos, he’s not far off from his reasons.

May 27, 2011. Tags: , , , . journalism, marketing, media relations. Leave a comment.

A Little Birdy Told Me…Week of 1/17/11

This week started off with the commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. and ended with the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s presidential inauguration. Both men were powerful speakers who not only represented the ideals of equality and integrity, but also embodied the optimism that change was possible. Quite the emotional and poignant week indeed.

With that, here are this week’s posts to share with you all. Enjoy!

A Grassroots Approach to Blogger Relations (by @dbreakenridge)

I like reading Ms. Breakenridge’s posts because not only is she a PR practitioner and one of my female PR heroines, she’s also a regular blogger and practices what she preaches. With online media becoming more pervasive, traditional media relations has given way to blogger relations. But just how does one build these relationships with bloggers?

Ms. Breakenridge recommends a grassroots approach that has worked in her practice. It starts with connecting to your personal network of bloggers or online media folks first. Then, explore connections to other bloggers your friends may recommend to you. This method circumvents the spam route and may actually produce better results for your initiative or client, as it did for Ms. Breakenridge, because it builds relationships based on trust.

Scope of Social Media Influence (by @Frank_Strong)

I admire Frank for always offering intelligent and practical PR information on his blog, The Sword and the Script. In many instances, I learn something new each time I read it.

This week, one of Frank’s posts took to issue the idea of social media influence. There’s been a lot of talk lately about “influence.” Does a Klout score or the number of Twitter followers constitutes adequate influence? Frank synthesizes several striking statistics (unintended alteration!) about social media influence which demonstrate how it actually translates into action. This valuable information made me stop and realize how social media affords many of us the medium to not only share opinions but also to vicariously influence others. It’s good information that may be helpful to anyone building a social media strategy or counseling a colleague/client on the significance of social media influence.

Social Media and Social Change (by Guest Post from @ConwayW via @Shonali)

Last week, the biggest international news event was the change of power in the Tunisian government, which many attributed to Wikileaks documents that reinforced suspicions of corruption with the ruling party. Conway Wigg provided a succinct post on the relationship between social media and political change, with the Tunisian events as a backdrop, on Shonali Burke’s Waxing Unlyrical blog.

While there’s no doubt that social media, and Twitter in particular, played a role in the turn of events, Mr. Wigg points out that it is important to remember that social media is a channel not a cause for change. He reinforces this by recalling other world social movements that happened years ago without the aid of social media. The Tunisian revolution’s relevance to marketers and communicators is that people and content still make for important components to motivating others and thus enacting influence.

[Please Don’t] Bomb the Surburbs! (via @MediaPost by Andrew Speyer)

I remember reading Bomb the Suburbs by William Upski and wanting to rebel against what I saw as traditional suburban ideals (All to the tune of “Suburban Home” by The Descendants, of course). But a few years of work in the real world and a home of my own (in an urban, not suburban setting) made me forget those radical days.

Oh, how the suburbs have changed since then. Andrew Speyer brings to light the fact that suburban life is diversifying and now one-third of new suburbanites are Hispanic – one of the largest growing ethic demographics according to recent Census stats. This certainly makes for a new image of what is considered “suburban” and how marketers and communicators need to tailor what the “suburban dream” is for their new audiences as they evolve to reflect the country’s changing population. As it stands, nobody can be stereotyped or classified in the ‘burbs anymore.

January 21, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . marketing, media, news media, public relations, social media. Leave a comment.

Cats, Dogs, Pharma, and Social Media

It’s amazing what you can learn from observing animals. Their similarities to humans are sometimes surprising and reassuring as we search for answers in our own lives.

No, that’s not just some existential crap I picked up from watching “The Dog Whisperer.”

Take for example the dynamic I’ve noticed between our newly adopted 6-month-old mutt named Wes and our cat, Lupe.

Wes is a sweetheart, and, despite his large size, he is quite mellow and a loyal companion to my husband and me.

“Baby” Wes

Our cat of six years–the hitherto Queen of the Castle–has been avoiding all contact with him, choosing to carefully observe him from afar despite the fact he poses no threat to her.

Their behavior reminds me of the relationship between social media and pharmaceutical companies.

I posted previously about my schoolgirl crush on social media as an extension of PR. One of my colleagues, Josh Brett, who authors On Message, reminded me of the conundrum those in healthcare communications face with social media–the desire to engage vs. the fear of regulatory backlash.

In this sense, the animals’ actions reflect the current relationship between social media (embodied by Wes) and pharma or healthcare companies (Lupe).

For instance, there are plenty of pharma companies engaged in some form of social media (either on Twitter, corporate blogs, or Facebook). Yet there exists a general hesitance in the industry to participate and engage with stakeholders via social media.

Lupe is not amused

Pharma companies–like Lupe–have quietly observed social media and tip-toed around the idea of entering the realm. They aren’t sure if they can trust social media, much like Lupe isn’t sure if she can trust Wes.

Social media, on the other hand, is doing fine on its own. Regular Joes and Janes, small businesses, and large consumer companies are active everyday on social media, but there is always the question of when or whether pharma will join in.

It’s similar to how Wes treats Lupe. He is very patient with her, and often doesn’t stir if she passes by. But there are times when he wags his tail when he sees her, signaling she is welcome to approach him.

Alas, Lupe is still not allowing Wes to get close to her. But, at the same time, she is not discouraging his presence. She is merely taking it all in and figuring out her comfortable with him.

It may take some time for our two beloved animals to coexist, much like I suspect it will take time for pharma to figure out the right balance between regulation and promotion in order to jump on board with social media.

The FDA is expected to release part of its social media guidance this December. Maybe then, pharma will be more comfortable with social media and learn how to coexist with it as part of their marketing and communications efforts.

Anyone else have animal or wildlife observations to share with the professional world? Or do you have cute pet pictures to share? (I’ll try to make this my only post where I tout my pets)

November 4, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . marketing, pharmaceutical/healthcare, social media. 3 comments.

The Zombie Apocalypse and Social Media

I’ve had zombies on my brain lately (no pun intended) because I’m psyched for the premiere of “The Walking Dead” on AMC this Halloween.

Recently, zombies have become the horror-du-jour: Apple has an iPhone app to help you survive the zombie apocalypse, George Romero released a new chapter in his “Night of the Living Dead” franchise, the literary mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is signed for a film adaptation, and now, zombies are coming to basic cable.

Board up your windows and stock up on ammo!

In the spirit of Halloween, this got me thinking about how social media and zombies are similar. Bear with me on this…it’s a stretch, I know.

But let’s see how these two uncontrollable hoards share some common characteristics:

Power in Numbers

A single staggering zombie is much easier to fend off (or eliminate) than a hundred hungry, flesh-feasting undead. Just ask Capt. Rhodes from “The Day of the Dead,” who evaded the lone zombie Bub, before being served up as a gut-churning dinner to a gaggle of the living dead.

This is similar in social media, where a lone voice may not have as much power or clout as a larger, more unified group. Take for example, the Facebook phenomena that got Betty White an SNL stint. Or even the Motrin Moms on Twitter, who shut down an entire ad campaign in less than 48 hours. Let us not forget The Gap’s new logo debacle of recent.

While less gruesome than their zombie counterparts, groups in social media converge, unify, and in some instances, enact change when working together.


One may argue whether or not brains or human flesh propel a zombie’s appetite. Brains are the keeper of our human intelligence and what drives us to create and communicate with one another.

It seems relevant that brains, or rather the content from brains, is at the core of social media. As the old saying goes, “content is king.” This is not to say one needs a “good” brain or be highly intelligent to create good content.

The idea is that our brains propel social media content just as they also propel the undead’s appetite.

Strike When Victims Are Vulnerable

A zombie is likely to pop up when victims are vulnerable: in the shower, making out in the backseat of a car, catching your breath near a glass window, or turning on the light in the dark room (behind you!)

Social media also opens up people–and companies–to vulnerability with regard to private or proprietary information and even brand identity.

While BP was busy cleaning up the oil spill in the gulf coast, Josh Simpson was hijacking the BP brand on Twitter for the wildly successful BPGlobalPR parody. Facebook became the lightning rod to criticism over how it protects (or doesn’t protect) its user’s personal information.

Individuals and companies must take note of social media vulnerabilities, not only for personal identity protection, but to also avoid potential PR and brand disasters.

I could elaborate more, but I don’t know if anyone else would enjoy more ghoulish comparisons of reality to the undead.

If you’re also a  fan of the zombie genre, share your thoughts on how the living dead are like social media or any other communication practice.

Give it up for Bub the zombie

October 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . marketing, media, social media. 6 comments.

Do You Have a Crush on Social Media?

You remember how that grade school rhyme goes–we used to sing it to the boy and girl caught holding hands at recess.

I’ve noticed a courtship between public relations and social media, as the latter has become an increasingly useful tactic in the communications practice. There has been considerable discussion about the usefulness of so-called traditional PR tactics, like the press release. In fact, Chris Iafolla of SHIFT Communications has a great post on the idea of “traditional PR” and if we should do away with that terminology.

With all these conversations going on, I think it’s time to serenade the crush PR has on social media:

Sittin’ in a tree…

PR and social media are no strangers to one another.

Ever since the online news and blog explosion, PR folks have been listening to the online chatter in addition to the ink in print. Social media affords companies the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of their customers’ opinions on their products or services.

This is where the traditional meets the new–the idea that companies and PR professionals need to pay attention to online discussions and recognize their relevancy to brand reputation and product promotion.


Thanks to the ease of Twitter, WordPress, and various other blogging sites, PR professionals are actively participating in social media along with bloggers who were there since the beginning. We’re all in the same boat now, sharing ideas and content with one another.

Traditional media relations has expanded to include blogger relations, recognizing the value blogger’s content brings to the table.

PR clients and companies are taking notice of this groundswell of social media popularity. Everyone wants to know how their brands, products, or businesses can benefit from social media engagement.

First comes love, then comes marriage…

Social media has become an expectation rather than an option in strategic communications plans.

However, each client or company must first assess if social media is relevant to their business model or if it is an effective tactic to reach their key audiences. The next step is to determine how to participate in social media, usually in addition to other PR and advertising tactics. 

To be clear, social media is not a one-size-fits all approach. Just because Old Spice had a successful social media campaign doesn’t mean the same campaign will work for your company or client. Rather, social media is a component integrated with public relations and marketing. 

Then comes baby in the baby carriage?…

While the conversations exist about integrating social media and public relations, this is still a relatively new world for communicators. And not all industries are embracing social media. Regulated industries, such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare, are careful to tread into the social media waters for fear of backlash and lack of industry policies.

Still, it’s easy to see why PR and social media are holding hands at recess–the two can go hand-in-hand when done right.

What’s your opinion? Am I just gushing like a schoolgirl or does anyone else also share this crush on social media?

October 21, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . marketing, media, public relations, social media. 3 comments.


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