Using Social Media as a Newswire

We recently participated in a survey by TekGroup who were interested in finding out how social media users are following, sharing, posting and monitoring news on various social media outlets. In their ‘2015 Social Media News Survey Report’ -survey respondents indicated they are using social media tools habitually with more than 90% saying they use Twitter, Facebook, and blogs on a daily basis to follow and monitor news and information. We thought we would share some tidbits we found interesting.

Image of news release with soical media icons Where do social media users go?

73% use press releases when following, sharing, or posting news info. Your news releases must be available on your online newsroom when you use social media for distribution. Links from Twitter and Facebook should go directly to your online newsroom and your branded press release.

Controlling your own story on social media

84% of survey takers believe news gathered via social media sources are more timely than traditional media. It is imperative that you update your corporate social media sites regularly so that you are in control of your own story. Being able to publish your news content on your online newsroom and then making it immediately available on social channels will increase your chances of reaching your audience in a more timely fashion.

Gaining visibility

88% believe social media tools are important for following/monitoring news and information. A lot of people are alerted to breaking news using social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter. By including your own corporate news on these channels, you give your organization more visibility in the social media universe.

Just how important is social media to news content

With 95% of users finding social media an important vehicle for sharing and recommending news and information, it is essential that you have social sharing icons readily available on all of your news content, not just press releases, but also photos, videos and other news assets.

The key take-away?

More and more bloggers and journalists are writing about companies every day – both positive and negative stories. Comments on Facebook and message boards also are becoming more commonplace as areas to discuss products, services and companies. Make sure that you are involved and engaged with posting and writing content on a regular basis. You can download the full report here: http://www.tekgroup.com/social-media-news-survey/

Are you fully taking advantage of social media to share your story? We can help! Contact storylinePR and tell us your story.

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About the Author Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Get more activity to your Facebook page through Twitter.

I’ve seen a lot of chatter online from social media consultants and marketers advising that you should never auto link your Facebook page to your Twitter account. I disagree. Here are the various arguments I’ve heard against syncing the two platforms and my thoughts on how it can’t hurt and only help gain activity on Facebook.

It looks unnatural when you feed content from one platform to another

If you were posting Twitter updates to Facebook, I would tend to agree. The @ symbol does not lend itself well when represented in  Facebook (nor are they clickable). Nobody wants to see every single twitter message you send to followers with their twitter handle. When you sync your accounts, make sure you’re syncing your Facebook business page to Twitter – and not the other way around.

They are different audiences that deserve different messaging.

I would say they are different channels and that if you built your following on your Twitter business account strategically, your audience should be fairly similar. Having the same message appear on both platforms helps with organic reach. Although,  I do need to preface by saying that you also need to log onto Twitter and send unique content in addition to tweets that engage your audience. Think of your Facebook updates you feed to  Twitter as a supplement, not a staple of your content management strategy.

It creates an ugly Facebook link that lets your audience know you’re sending them to Facebook.

Yes, the ‘fb.me/’ link is a dead giveaway you’ve cross posted, but personally, I want to let my Twitter followers know I have other social channels and want to drive them my Facebook page. For a couple of reasons…

  1. Let’s face it. It’s a lot easier to get Twitter followers than it is Facebook fans and by cross promoting, you may convert followers to fans. With Facebook’s feed sorting algorithm, known as EdgeRank, the pay for play model for business pages makes it increasingly harder to get organic eyeballs on your Facebook updates. By sending your Facebook updates to Twitter, you’re gaining more reach and possible post clicks – you can even increase traffic to your blog. Why wouldn’t you want that? I would even argue this reason alone is enough to get you to consider syncing your accounts.
  2. Facebook lends itself to visually appealing pics in conjunction with content beyond the 140 character limit, allowing you to expand on the topic. I like to think of it as ‘mini’ blog post. If you take anything away from this post- it’s this: Ensure that your salient points are in the first 140 characters of your Facebook update with enough room for the ‘fb.me/’ link. You don’t want your message cut off mid-sentence when it appears on Twitter. That’s not helpful or coherent for your brand. Make sure you create content in those first 140 characters click-worthy, as you would when sharing any other content.

Here are a few examples of how a Facebook update will appear on Twitter with the ‘fb.me/’ link when full Facebook messaging is carefully thought through within the 140 character post limit on twitter.

image of facebook and twitter posts example one

image of facebook and twitter post example twoWhat do you have to lose?

So what do you think you have to lose by linking your Facebook page to your Twitter account? Perhaps a few new followers from Twitter gained as fans to  your Facebook business page? Increased traffic to your blog and possibly some new business? Just sayin🙂 Connecting your Facebook page to Twitter is just plain smart for business. IMHO. In case you are wondering how to do that – here’s the link -> https://www.facebook.com/twitter

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About the Author Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

How many twitter accounts do you manage?

Image of multiple twitter iconesI used to have two twitter accounts. One for my business dedicated to PR tweets and a personal account where I tweeted daily quips and shared content derived from followers with similar interests.  I learned very quickly that the two  were not mutually exclusive.

I deleted my personal account with thousands of followers and invited  them to follow me @storylinePR.  I wanted my customers and online friends to get to know me on both a professional and personal level. Why? Because building personal relationships for business is a good thing.

My advice? Stop.
If you find yourself a switching between personal and business accounts to tweet, Stop. Stop trying to appeal to different audiences. Stop trying to play Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – I mean really, who has the time?

Ditch your stuffy business persona on Twitter and let your personality shine through with one account. You’ll end up cultivating an engaged  audience you can really connect with and that’s what social media is all about.

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About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Gaining more visitors is like cramming for a final exam

Image of A+ gradeUsing good old fashion studying skills from your college/university days and twitter, you can gain more readership for your online content. Remember when you were in school and you had to absorb the key points made in textbooks in order to pass the final exam?  Applying the same technique will get you an A+ in gaining more visitors to your site. Here’s how:

1. Go to your online content that you want to increase visitors, be it a great blog post you’ve written or content on a page in your website you’ve worked so hard to create. Now read through it and find the salient points.  Find the important text that drives your message home just like you used to do re-reading your textbook when cramming for that final exam. On an average website page or blog post, you should be able to find a minimum of 4-5 short bursts of text or key messages that talk about your topic, what we like to call “tweet-bites”.

2. Now that you have found these key messages, we recommend creating them in a word doc. or in an Outlook draft. Try to shorten them down for Twitter consumption. You will want to keep it less than 114 characters so you have room for your link and creation of additional content by users who re-tweet it.  To make sure it’s short enough, go to the “review” tab in your word doc. or in Outlook and highlight the tweet-bite and the click “word count” button.  This will tell you  how many “characters with spaces” you have, indicating if your text exceeds the recommended  max of 114 character so that you can adjust accordingly.

Here are our tweet-bites from this blog post, for example:

  • Use tweet-bites to gain more traction with your online content
  • Gaining more visitors to your site is like cramming for your college exam
  • How to increase traffic to your site with studying skills you learned in school and Twitter
  • Don’t be on autopilot. Engage your Twitter followers with fresh content. Here’s how
  • Attract more blog readers who are interested in what you have to say

Less is more here, but be sure to make the tweet-bites compelling enough to be clickable.

3. Once all your 114 character (or less) content ready, go to your website page and highlight the blog post or website page you want to attract readership. Open up TinyURL.com or another link shortener service and grab your short URL. Copy this URL to the end of all your tweet-bite messages and you’re ready to schedule them on Twitter. We recommend scheduling on twitter every other day (at different times), engaging, sharing and inspiring your followers in between.

The Result?

In just a little over a month, we have doubled our visitors and more than tripled the views to our blog using this method. Even our views per visitor has increased. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Here is what our visitors to our blog looked like both before and after:

Image of chart with blog stats

Not only are we attracting more eyeballs to our blog content, but we’re gaining more Twitter and Facebook followers who are interested in what we have to say and who are re-tweeting and sharing our tweet-bites!

Why does this method work?

For a couple of reasons. One, Twitter is like an information highway. People get on and off at different times of the day. The second reason is people gravitate towards certain messages. What may not have enticed them to click with your first tweet-bite message may change the second time around by rewording it slightly, allowing your tweet-bite to resonate more closely with them.

We all want more people to see our content without sounding we are on auto-pilot, pushing the same message over and over again.  Give the tweet-bite method a try with your next few blog posts or pages on your website. We think you might be pleasantly surprised at the result.

About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

How to connect to reporters through social media

Journalists are leveraging social media to distribute news content and engage their communities. They are also looking for news stories.

Media outlets have made it very easy for you to connect with reporters by listing the bios of their journalists as well as links to their social media accounts and email addresses.  Here are a few examples:

CTV News Ottawa
CTV News Ottawa provides a list reporters with links the outlet’s Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts. If you click on an individual reporter, you’ll have access to their bio, Twitter account and email address.

Image of CTV Ottawa(click to enlarge)

The Ottawa Citizen
Many outlets maintain Twitter lists of their current reporters. The Ottawa Citizen is one  of them.  Nine times out of ten, reporters will outline what they cover along with contact details in their profile. This is a great way to quickly find the reporter who covers topics that will be relevant for your business.

Image of Ottawa Citizen(click to enlarge)

The Globe and Mail
Every Globe and Mail reporter, columnist and contributor has a page on the Globe and Mail site that feature bios, contact information, RSS feeds and Twitter feeds.  What we like about this outlets’ page is that after linking to a journalist, it provides a  list of their ‘latest stories’ so that you can get a sense of their writing style and what they cover to better target your pitch.

Image of Globe and Mail(click to enlarge)

We recommend building a relationship first before pitching to journalists directly through Twitter or Facebook. It’s a great way to find the right media contacts and craft the right story to pitch through traditional channels.

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About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Benefits of custom timelines for business

Tweetdeck recently launched custom timelines that makes it easier to collect and share tweets. Similar to lists, custom timelines on Twitter pull content from feeds, but instead of getting a mishmash of content based Twitter users in a list, you can add specific topics to hone content into a custom timeline to share with others.

What’s the Benefit?

We asked ourselves that question too, so we recently started experimenting with twitter timelines. Here is how we put it to practical use.

In the example of Image of @storylinePR custom timeline for TwitterConcierge Home Services ‘12 Days of Christmas‘ sweepstakes, we started adding their tweets to this custom timeline announcing the 12 prizes as they were being announced in real-time.  We were then able to share our twitter timeline with our following. As much as we would love to think our following is hanging to our every tweet, this is a succinct way to communicate the prize line-up in one place.

In the case if another client, we are rewarding followers with re-tweets of our video. By adding each users re-tweets with their twitter handle to our twitter timeline and sharing it, others can see how easy it is to participate and it creates awareness of the program, further promoting the viral-ability of the video.

Custom Timelines for Business

So how can custom timelines be used in ways beyond contests and sweepstakes for your business? We can think of many:

  • If you regularly promote sales and special offers for your business through tweets, move them to a twitter timeline so your customers can see them in one place and in real-time.
  • If you are tweeting about new products you feature, create a twitter timeline and share it with your following.
  • If you have samples of work  you are proud of and have tweeted about it, move those tweets into your timeline to share with others.
  • If you have tweets from customers raving about your product or service. It’s a great way to gather all your testimonial tweets in one place for customers and prospects on Twitter to see.
  • If you run tweet chats, you can move followers to a live Q&A session in your timeline for followers to view content in real-time or after the fact. No more transcripts.
  • If you want to educate your followers on a specific cause or event that you sponsor or are running yourself, Twitter timelines are a great way to raise awareness. Move tweets from others about your cause, hashtag or event to your timeline and share.

How to Create a Custom Timeline

Using custom timelines for your business is limited to your imagination. A neat feature we love is that you can embed your timeline to your website with one line of code. Here is a quick instructional video we found on YouTube that demonstrates quite simply how to create and share your timeline in Tweetdeck on Twitter and your website.

Twitter timelines that are customized are all about sharing specific content – so if you have a re-occurring theme that you want your customers to know about, why not create and share through custom Twitter timelines? If the content in your custom timeline is valuable, others will start to follow along in real-time as you add more tweets. Share your timeline often. Like any other tweet – it can easily get lost in the twitter-verse.

Have you started using the custom timeline for your business yet? We invite you to share your experience and a link to your timeline below.

Hashtag lessons from #Ottawa

We’re often asked why should one use hashtags and the best way to use them. Put simply, you want to use hashtags to drive conversations about your business. At the end of the day, you want to be able to measure how many people posted tweets about your product, brand or service and how many people you reached. There are some fundamental guidelines to creating and measuring the use of hashtags.

twitter-new-hashtag-pages-are-for-events-not-brands-c8320d8342

Creating your hashtag.

  • Make it unique. Before tweeting your chosen hashtag, search ensure it’s not already being used. You want your hashtag to be relevant and exclusive to you.
  • Make sure its meaningful. You want to create a hashtag that means something to users and one that people can easily understand. i.e. “#SLPRBS” means nothing to users, however “#StorylineBigSavings” will have a better impact.
  • Make it simple. Using a myriad of hashtags in a tweet in order to be picked up by search dilutes your promotion or event message.  For example – “#PR #smallbiz #entrepreneur in one tweet will result in being lumped in with other tweets using the same hashtags and your message will get lost.
  • Make it short. Try to include your business name. If your business name is too long, use an acronym. For example – instead of “#StorylinePublicRelationsTips”, shorten it to something like this: “#storylinePRtips”

Monitoring your engagement.

  • Manage Expectations. In order to trend on twitter, you have to tweet a lot in a short time and generally geared around a promotion or event. Our case study in this post provides a good example of an trending event.
  • Use Tools. Monitor. Using third-party apps such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, you can set up permanent columns using your hashtag to keep track of who is actively engaging with you.
  • Engage. Engage in conversations using your hashtag – don’t just stand by the sidelines and watch it happen. You’ll have a better chance of going viral, as demonstrated in this case study:

Case study

If you’re from Ottawa, you’ve likely heard of the inaugural #NatureNocturne event at The Museum of Nature — the after-hours “grown-up playground” this past January. It’s a great example of local hashtag inspiration. The communications and PR staff did a tremendous job of communicating a fabulous event that in our humble opinion, was much overdue for Ottawa. They managed their social media channels extremely well, engaging fans and followers – live tweeting and communicated often. Literally hundreds of #NatureNocturne guests were engaged in conversation and talking about the event – tweeting & blogging about their experience, posting photos of drinking wine beside hissing cockroaches & kissing dinosaurs.

Was their hashtag unique and meaningful? Absolutely. You can bet no one else was using it. The unfortunate result of having a rather long hashtag, (or one with terms not easy to replicate), is that it can get inadvertently changed in the process – as in the case with #NatureNocturne. Cold finger tips trying to navigate smart phones while standing in line outside in the cold likely had something to do with it. Somehow – the “N” got dropped transforming their hashtag to “#naturenocture” and this is the one the media picked up their headline.

The use of their hashtag, (retweeted correctly or misspelled) got them noticed. The event was a huge success from an engagement perspective – both pre and post launch. Check it out yourself by going to twitter and search #NatureNocturne. You’ll see what we mean. They also managed to get their hashtag trending on TrendsMap Ottawa.

How to create an effective Twitter contest – quick case study

Image of twitter contest promotionWe’ve seen a lot of twitter contests as of late and stumbled across this one that gets our ‘two thumbs up’. Scotiabank has teamed up with Amex to create a social media campaign called
The Tweet Escape. Intriguing, right?

They are asking their followers to tweet this messages (with their own preferences in the parenthesis) between October 15th and October 26th.

“With $10K, I’d go to [destination] with @[Twitter friend]. #ScotiaAmex @scotiabank”

Why We Like This One
First of all – they’re giving away money, who doesn’t want some of that? Not everyone has $10,000 to throw into the pot for a promotion, but you don’t need to in order to run an effective twitter campaign. Here’s what makes this one great.

It’s Simple
People have short attention spans and even less time. You have only seconds to get your message across – especially on social media.

Twitter contests that need more than a few short lines to explain how to enter can seem convoluted to most and won’t grab the attention deserved. This messaging is succinct and effective with tweetable content (less than 140 characters) to promote it.  In 44 characters, they managed to explain the what and how with…  “Tweet your way to a trip for two worth $10,000”.

It has a Short Window
The contest time period is less than two weeks, an appropriate time to run a campaign like this. Anything longer would lose its appeal and momentum.

They Made it Fun
Who doesn’t dream of packing a suitcase and just taking off. It’s fun to dream of faraway destinations and what you would do with found money.

It’s Well Thought Out.
Scotiabank has integrated this contest ‘front and centre’ on all their online properties including their website and Facebook.

They used their own twitter handle AND a hashtag in the re-tweetable message. Smart. Not only a great way to track campaign success, but their own twitter account is re-tweeted every time – greater brand awareness. We’ve seen too many contests on twitter where the host forgets to add their own twitter handle in the message – a missed opportunity.

The intended message to tweet is under 50 characters, leaving more than enough room for followers to enter their content and still have plenty of room for even more.

It has Instant Viral Potential
Here’s the best part. One of the variables they are asking their followers to do is to complete the message with the handle of the twitter friend they would most likely take with them. Instant viral potential. This message will spread twice as fast.

According to the contest rules, you have to be following to win plus agree to video and other multi-media promotion as the winner-another smart move. Sounds like the PR mileage they will get from the follow-up will be well executed too.

The only thing that we can think of that could make this campaign better, is if they ran it in the February – March time frame, when everyone has the ‘winter blahs’ and is really thinking about getting away from it all.  Perhaps the viral potential would be increased just that little bit more.  (But that didn’t stop us from entering :))

bloggers are big money for brands

In a recent article in the Globe and Mail, Mommy bloggers are gaining clout – and retailers are taking notice.  When mommy blogging began, the idea was that young mothers could create a virtual network with each other and exchange ideas. That’s before retailers realized that there was big money to be made using mommy bloggers in their marketing strategy. WalMart got it right a few years back when they launched Walmart Moms – Real mom bloggers who share real experiences, offering advice and conversation on topics from babies to frugal living.

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transition from tradition

Every year when I was a kid, I remember lovingly wrapping a bottle of Old Spice aftershave for my dad to open under the tree on Christmas morning.  And every single year, my dad would act surprised and manage to muster a genuine look of  appreciation on his face. It was only years later that I found out he wasn’t so fond of the stuff. I look back now and find it quite comical.

Originally marketed as a women’s fragrance in 1937, Old Spice for men followed in 1938 in its classic buoy-shaped bottle,  known as Early American Old Spice. Like mine,  Old Spice after shave and cologne became a staple product in homes through traditional radio, television and print ads.

By the time Procter & Gamble purchased Old Spice from its original founders in 1990, it was tired and in need of a new lease on life. P&G has made a number of changes over the last 20 years including the branding, packaging and product lines.  But the most impressive changes were attributed to its marketing, transitioning from traditional paid media to social media  – and in the process, re-invented the brand. After all, for years it was known for being loved on your dad – not your man.

In February 2010, Old Spice introduced their new sex symbol pitchman, Isaiah Mustafa, referred to by its audiences as ‘Old Spice Guy’. They launched “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” television spot, and it was a huge success.

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