Borshoff

Insights about “social media”

9 / 25 / 2014

Go All-In

all in-blogIn my lifetime, I’ve lived in six different states: Wisconsin, Idaho, Colorado, Virginia, Texas and Indiana. But, I’ve lived in Indiana the longest, and since I settled down in Indianapolis after graduating from Butler in 2008, I have called Indiana home. I have a lot of pride in my state and am excited to raise my family here.

To keep things interesting, I’m always looking for fun and new ways to experience the Hoosier State as well as connect with the world in a broader sense. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I heard about ALL-IN, a digital competition designed by Indiana Humanities that challenges Hoosiers to think, read, talk and do. Launched in March, ALL-IN inspires us to learn more about Indiana, connect with each other and make our state even better.

And it’s not too late for you to get involved! Here’s how it works:

  1. Complete a challenge at http://www.indianahumanities.org/ALL-IN/ and share your results via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (it’s that easy).
  2. Enter your zip code to connect with your community (if you want).
  3. Brag about your scorecard and encourage others to go ALL-IN.
  4. Explore how other Hoosiers are going ALL-IN by searching social media hashtags.
  5. Most important: Have fun!

Check it out here, and go ALL-IN. Perhaps you’ll try an ethnic restaurant, find a new Indiana hidden gem, perform a random act of kindness or learn about when your family first came to Indiana. And if you love it, this could be a great challenge to take on as a company or organization – email [email protected] if you’re interested in signing up as a group.

11 / 06 / 2013

Bullying and the workplace: A call for leaders

bullying1Much has been written about bullying in recent years. The effect it can have on one’s mental health and physical behaviors is troubling to say the least. To make matters more complicated, bullying doesn’t just occur between children in the classroom or on the neighborhood playground. It’s all around us on social media, in our workplaces and, most recently, in an NFL locker room.

My colleague, Andy Pollen, wrote a piece last month about thinking twice before hitting send and living by the Golden Rule. The pictures you post and the comments you make online last forever, and being rude behind a faceless avatar is no way to live.

But what happens when you witness bullying in person? Do you look the other way or let the parties involved hash it out? Or do you do something to help?

I’m the husband of a first grade teacher and bullying is a frequent topic of conversation at the dinner table. I’m also a former athlete and believe that bullying (or hazing) has no place in sports, our schools or our places of work.

The most recent high-profile example of bullying came late last week when news broke that bullying on the Miami Dolphins football team caused a teammate to voluntarily leave the team. While many NFL analysts, executives and former players are calling the actions of those involved inappropriate and appalling (and rightly so), some are upset the situation wasn’t handled privately in the locker room.

When faced with bullying, leaders need to lead. When faced with bullying in their organization, leaders must assess the situation and solve it as quickly as possible. Every organization is different, and running an NFL franchise certainly presents a unique set of challenges. However, bullying is not an individual problem. It’s a cultural problem. If it’s present in your workplace or school, it speaks to many things—but one is a lack of leadership.

As a public relations practitioner for an agency I greatly respect, I witness the power of leadership and collaboration every day as a way to solve crises and bring groups of people together. I’m lucky to see such leadership in action every day.

The best part? Anyone can be a leader. All it takes is the courage to stand for what’s right and a voice to be heard.

If you see bullying in your organization, don’t be afraid to speak up or offer a hand to those in need. Be a leader. You might have a greater impact than you realize.

10 / 18 / 2013

#WhereDidAllTheNicePeopleGo?

As children we’re encouraged to live by the golden rule. Whether it’s sharing toys or minding your P’s and Q’s, we spend the early years of our life and education learning to be a team player and respecting others.

But lately it seems we are rewarding bad behavior.

Grumpy Cat just signed an endorsement deal with Friskies’s, Simon Cowell made $95 million last year, and Oscar the Grouch has held the same job for 44 years despite his personality.

Why the sudden uptick? I blame social media.

Browse Facebook, Twitter or a news outlet message board and you’ll likely see a flurry of narcissistic, bullying comments directed at any number of public or private figures. It’s hard to tell if people are interested in exercising their First Amendment right, or hoping the right person will see the comment, send it viral and bring them one step closer to the new American dream — 15-minutes of fame.

This isn’t a new phenomenon (the first case of cyber bullying was tried in 2000[1]), but it’s certainly growing at pace with the acceptance and variety of social media channels for all age groups and backgrounds.

It’s also seeping more and more into the mainstream. Now that everyone has a platform for sharing their personal thoughts, bad behavior isn’t just accepted, it’s rewarded. You too could have a snarky comment broadcast over an episode of The Bachelor!

It’s a thin line between a minor dustup and teary-eyed Today Show  mea  culpa, so as a public relations professional, it’s good for business. I’m just surprised that in an age when a reputation can be destroyed with 140 characters that more people don’t treat social media like radon.

My parents always taught me not to say anything if I couldn’t say something nice, and I try to follow that mantra in the digital world. For the most part I keep to neutral topics — light on politics, heavy on cat pictures — but even I’ve been roped into a social media maelstrom (i.e. the great Chick-fil-A debate of August 2012).

I realize that harnessing social media would be like lassoing a unicorn, so I’m proposing that we, as consumers of digital media and conversation, take more personal responsibility and follow this matrix before using a social media service:

ShouldIPostIt_2

This is a crucial time in the lifespan of this medium. It’s time to adapt, evolve and lay the groundwork for future advancement. It may feel like it at times, but social media isn’t – nor should be – an area where civility is relegated to the backseat.

Our digital footprint is, for the most part, permanent. That offhanded Tweet from two years ago is actually the proverbial cockroach. It’s not going away and it’s going to show up when you least expect it.

All I’m asking for is ownership and responsibility. I’m not saying the use of this matrix will prevent future social media reputation suicides, but it’s a good place to start.

 


[1] Donegan, Richard. “Bullying and Cyberbullying: History, Statistics, Law, Prevention and Analysis.” Available at:  https://www.elon.edu/docs/e-web/academics/communications/research/vol3no1/04DoneganEJSpring12.pdf.

9 / 24 / 2013

Social Media Gives Back—What are you getting out of it?

sociallearningIf you ask me, social media is pretty old news now. We get it. From Pinterest to Google+ to Instagram to Twitter, each platform has significantly changed the way our society functions. But besides the entertainment, news and engagement, have you given thought to how you personally could use social media to enhance your own day-to-day agenda?

In the past couple of months, I’ve taken a second look at some of my favorite platforms to see how they can help me. How can I capitalize on these free tools? Let me show you what I’ve discovered.

Twitter: Your Platform for Customer Service

JK blog 1Recently, I spoke to a friend about a customer service issue I was having. Since I was not getting much help over the phone, she suggested I reach out to the company via Twitter. “Really? You think that would work?” She told me her story…

Holly sent one tweet out about how much she liked the new home energy report from IPL Power. Shortly after, she received a goody bag and handwritten note from IPL thanking her for the kind words. Talk about superior customer engagement – she spoke and they listened!

As a result, she is now a loyal IPL customer and I’m going to utilize Twitter to inform the brands I use when I have a customer complaint or kudos. Not because I want a goody bag, but because I know companies want to hear from their constituents—the good, the bad and the ugly. Wouldn’t you want to know? I encourage you to do the same.

YouTube: Your Platform for How-Tos

JK blog 2Confession. I’m one of those millions of viewers who watch cat videos and other entertaining videos on YouTube for a good laugh. However, recently I’ve been digging through YouTube for other types of videos: hair and beauty tips. That’s right, I’m not really talented in the hair and makeup department—but other people are—and I thank them for posting their “how-to” videos.

Thanks to a YouTube video, I’ve finally mastered the “sock bun” and have shared the video link with several coworkers who wanted to learn, too. If you’re struggling with a “how-to” project, I encourage you to type it in the search bar in YouTube. No doubt, a step-by-step video will appear that will help you master it!

Instagram: Your Platform for Photo-sharing

JK blog 3I love Instagram. It’s turned into my favorite social media platform, taking a front-row seat to Facebook. Scrolling through the images of friends, family and celebrities (I know…I know) gives me a chance to see something through someone else’s eyes.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve found hashtags to be quite useful on Instagram, just as they are helpful on Twitter and Facebook. Being able to search keywords for content that includes the same hashtag takes photo-sharing to a whole new level.

This year, I’ve been planning for my wedding in January and decided to create a unique wedding hashtag that will be shared with guests. The guests can then post their pictures on Instagram with the hashtag for all to see. I’ll look forward to going back to the hashtag to enjoy the memories captured.

If you have a special event coming up, consider creating your own hashtag and spreading the word so you can photo-share as well.

Do you have a unique way you use a social media platform? Do share! I’d love to hear about it.

8 / 19 / 2013

Every second counts, literally

DigitalBlog_240x240“Do you have a second?” I’m asked this question a lot throughout the day. Granted, the person asking never really needs a “second” because what can really be accomplished in that amount of time? Not much, right? But in doing some research recently, my theory was proven wrong.

In our digital world, a lot of information is being shared fast, really fast. In fact, here are some statistics that show just how much is happening every second:

  • 100,000 Tweets
  • 684,478 items shared on Facebook
  • 2 million Google search queries
  • 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube
  • 47,000 apps downloaded from the App Store
  • 3,600 Instagram photos shared
  • 571 websites created
  • $272,000 spent online

Every second! These numbers are daunting to me, as I try to understand the digital revolution. But then I think about my own habits, what I do digitally every day (every second of the day), and it all starts to make a little more sense. Whether I’m discussing a rich media ad campaign with coworkers or uploading my son’s first day of school photos to Facebook, I’m now asking the question, “What am I doing today that isn’t digital?”

When you send your next Tweet or post a photo to Instagram, keep these stats in mind, realizing you too are part of this communications revolution.

2013 digital statistics from MistMedia, Dublin, Ireland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Slb5x5fixk4

3 / 14 / 2013

Want to have a contest on Facebook? Better read the fine print…

facebookcontestsThe use of social media – Facebook, in particular – is a great tactic to cultivate and engage certain target audiences. Often, to gain traction and increase visitors to social media sites, organizations turn to contests or giveaways. What’s better than the possibility of winning an iPad or concert tickets to pull people to your social media sites?

But, before you post that contest and start the promotion, you would be wise to read the fine print – specifically the legal restrictions provided by Facebook. When looking for information on contests, refer to the “Promotions” section of the Facebook usage terms. Although all terms should be read thoroughly, of greatest interest are the following:

  • Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or Page App.
  • Promotions on Facebook must include:
    • A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
    • Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
    • Disclosure that the participant is providing information to your organization, and not to Facebook.
  • You can’t enter someone in your contest solely for using any Facebook features or other functionality other than liking a page, checking into a place or commenting on your app. (This means you can’t enter someone to win if he or she likes a Wall post, or comments on or uploads a photo.)
  • You can’t use Facebook features or functionality as the way to enter a contest. Rather, you can require that someone like your Page as a requirement for receiving access to a contest’s application or entry form. (This means you can’t automatically register someone for your contest if they like a Page or check into a Place.)
  • You can’t use the Like button as a voting mechanism if the vote is part of entry to a contest.
  • You can’t notify winners of your contest using Facebook – through Facebook messages, chat or posts on profiles or Pages.

Of additional interest is the Offers section, which maintains that an organization cannot run an offer if the product or service was not directly manufactured by the company or if the company is not a merchant for the product.

Remember, all promotions or contests are also subject to applicable local, state and federal laws.

Bottom line: Facebook is a great way to promote a contest or giveaway, but try to keep the functionality of the actual promotion away from social media unless you have a good grasp on the guidelines. That way, you avoid potential pitfalls and drive traffic to your website.

1 / 16 / 2013

Thoughts on Facebook’s Graph Search

Yesterday, Facebook announced a new feature called Graph Search. It takes advantage of Facebook’s existing social graph and allows users to sift through data collected from their friends. Facebook provided examples of the feature including searches for “dentists my friends like,” “music my friends listen to,” and “friends who work in my company and like to ski.”

As with previous major changes to the site, there will be excitement and concern, functionality and friction. Here are a few positive and negative takeaways from the announcement:

Positive

  • If you’ve ever wanted to sort your friends by something they like, this makes that incredibly simple. Want to know which friends would like to attend that Sufjan Stevens concert? Now it’s a simple search. While it’s not difficult to visit a page and find which of your friends like it, Graph Search simplifies the process. (This data is already provided under the “likes” section within a page).
  • From a business perspective, your Facebook followers can now provide a Yelp-like review system without many of the major drawbacks like troll reviews and personal vendettas. Potential customers are only searching for what their friends like, not what they don’t. I like to think that having only seven friends that “Like” the Yankees doesn’t mean that the remaining 293 hate them.

Negative

  • As with every change Facebook strings out, there are privacy concerns going forward. Can I search for “people who…” and get the result of all users in Social Graph? And if so, how does it identify me? Will it give my information to unauthorized users? As the privacy settings stand this isn’t a concern now, but with a forthcoming redesign, it’s always a bit unnerving.
  • The internet is chock-full of largely useless information that relies on people actively and accurately reporting their likes and information to be helpful. This is one of the biggest challenges facing any form of search, and Facebook will not be immune. Your friends may have listed their hometown as something like “planet Earth,” “The middle of nowhere” or “Lameville.” Unfortunately, none of those is particularly helpful to search. Likewise, many users take advantage of deals that require “Liking” a brand, even if they aren’t particularly fond of it.

1 / 10 / 2013

PRSA luncheon dishes out digital data for 2013

Hey, it’s a new year! You know what that means: new resolutions, new goals, new plans and of course new digital trends!

A group of Borshoffers joined the PRSA Hoosier crowd at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on yesterday to learn the latest digital trend “scoop” from ExactTarget Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Research, Kyle Lacy.

While his presentation was chock-full of statistics and data about digital trends, the key takeaway is content remains king. If you’re not listening to your customer and providing content they want, and better yet, customized for them, you will quickly lose ground in today’s social, multi-channel purchase environment.

Here are a few interesting statistics that can help shape your marketing, social media and PR plans for 2013:

  • 84 percent of Twitter users use the platform only to read information that other people post; 23 percent actually use it for posting tweets;
  • 40 percent of people who “Like” a Facebook page simply do so to receive discounts and promotions; 31 percent of Twitter users “follow” companies for the same reason;
  • 70 percent of Pinterest users are female in the U.S.; Pinterest users spend more money, more often on more products than any other social media site;
  • 9.1 billion mobile connections are anticipated by 2015.

What all of this data means is that digital tools are going to continue to play a significant role in how we shape the way we reach our key audiences. Most notably, for companies that haven’t made the jump to making their site easily accessible via mobile device – don’t wait! Mobile audiences are growing in significant numbers, and if your content isn’t available on their smartphones or tablets, they’ll go elsewhere.

Let us know if you have other digital trends to watch for in 2013. You can check out Kyle’s full presentation at bit.ly/PRSSATrends.

12 / 05 / 2012

What’s to like about Reddit?

The other day, my 17-year-old was talking about something he saw on Reddit. Yes, I was vaguely aware of the social news website (www.reddit.com), but didn’t give it much thought until now.  Honestly, I couldn’t get past what appeared to be a jumbled webpage of text. However, digging in a little further, I discovered it had been around since 2005, on the social media timeline somewhere between the founding of the more widely popular Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006). And earlier this year, the company hired its first CEO.

So, why go to Reddit when I have enough news coming at me all day? Because I can shape the experience on the site.  Users submit links to online content or post their own content (a “self” post), which users may vote up or down. As a result, its ranking determines the submission’s position on Reddit’s pages and front page. And I can participate in communities, called subreddits, which form around a common interest.  Because I’m a news and information junkie who likes to see democracy in action, Reddit intrigues me.

It most recently claimed to have 47 million unique visitors and nearly 4 billion pages viewed.  And President Obama, an early adopter of social media in political campaigns, participated in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) chat on Reddit in August, further pushing the site into the mainstream.  Its creators describe Reddit as the “front page of the Internet,” where people go before they go anywhere else. And it’s picking up steam, as people become aware of its ability to build community.

Next year, we might read about a whole new social media experience, and it’s likely you will find out about it on Reddit.

3 / 19 / 2012

Still on the social media sidelines? Five tips to make a case for it

More and more organizations are engaged in social media, but some are still on the sidelines.

While employing social media can be tricky for legal and healthcare professions and other regulated industries, it can be done. Here are five tips to make a case for it:

  1. Do your homework. Using free social media monitoring tools such as Twazzup.com or Kurrently.com or even Google Alerts can uncover how your organization is being portrayed online. Do you like what you see? Do you want to see more, or engage with those who might be saying inaccurate or harmful things about your organization?
  2. Know your audience. Who do you need to reach with your messages? Current customers or clients? Potential hires? Policy makers? Media? Can you identify which social media tool – a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or other – will best reach your audience?
  3. What’s your plan? How does social media build on your existing communications plan? (You do have an existing plan, right?)  It should complement the ways you are already reaching your key audiences.
  4. Show the value. Executives like to see results for their investments. How many people will it take to roll out a social media initiative? At what cost? How many people are you likely to reach, and what is the value of attracting new customers, building goodwill, etc.?
  5. Know how to measure success. Set specific, measurable goals and then measure results. What will success look like for your organization?

Once you’ve gone through the process of evaluating the online conversations about your organization and the value of engaging, you’ll be in a better position to make a decision.

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