social media

Check yourself [social media] before you wreck yourself

By Amanda Brown, TrizCom PR Intern

During my time in college, I received a lot of advice from professors, advisors and family when it came to applying for jobs. Want to know what their number one piece of advice was?

“Make sure your social media reflects you as a person, because potential employers are looking.”

Believe or not, to this day I still think that is the best piece of advice I received. Now I feel like it is my job to pass it down to others who are on the job hunt. So, here we go…

Social media is bigger than it has ever been before. People of all ages are on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. And when it comes to social media, there is honestly nowhere to hide.

About a year ago, I took a social media course at Texas Tech where we had to conduct a social media audit on ourselves. Basically, the assignment required us to go through all of our social media accounts and look at the content we were posting. Then we were to ask ourselves if what we found was professional and was an image we wanted others to see.

At first I thought this was pointless and that no one other than my friends was looking at what I was posting, but oh man, was I wrong.

Side note: Whether you are a stranger, friend or potential employer, you can tell a lot about who someone is by just ONE picture. And that can make or break you.

Companies have many valid reasons for looking into a potential employee. They want to make sure that whoever they hire, he/she reflects the company in a positive light. It’s as simple as that.

So, if you are currently looking for a job, I have some advice for you:

  1. Do a social media audit on yourself
    • Basically, go through all of your social media accounts, look at what you are posting, and if it does not reflect whom you want to be portrayed as, delete it immediately.
  2. Google your name
    • This sounds pointless, but trust me, it is beneficial. Potential employers sometimes Google applicants’ names to see what pops up. For example, if the employer was to Google my name, Amanda Brown, and an Amanda Brown who was charged with a felony a couple of days ago popped up, they might assume I was that Amanda Brown. So, with that being said, it is important before you apply or interview with a company that you know what is on the internet about you – or at least others with the same name – so you won’t be blindsided.
  3. Create professional accounts
    • I personally have two Twitters. One is my personal and the other my professional account. It is important to have a professional account of some sort where you can voice your professional thoughts and opinions about things – keeping things clean, of course. All of the interaction I have on my professional Twitter is with news outlets or professional influencers. On my personal account, I interact appropriately with friends and family that I follow.
  4. Make it a goal to only post appropriate pictures and content
    • You have no idea who can see what you post. Even if you are private, there are ways people can find your accounts and look at what you post. Trust me, I have seen it firsthand. Also, mental note … once pictures are on search engines like Google, good luck getting it taken down. So, be careful!

With all of that being said, I challenge all of you readers to take a couple minutes out of your day to look over your social media presence.

And just remember, it is important to always "check yourself [social media] before you wreck yourself."  You can never be too cautious when it comes to something like this.

5 Important Things to Expect with Social Media

By Karen Carrera, TrizCom Public Relations

I begin this piece with a disclaimer: I am no social media expert. My specialties are media training and crisis communications. I know just enough about social media to be dangerous.

However, I do coordinate my clients’ social media needs with the experts – and make sure that my communication plans and content integrate with the goals of a robust social media plan. What does that mean? Basically, that the right arm is talking to the left arm. Your social media efforts should augment your PR plan, and your PR plan should align with the content and channels you’re using to execute your social media plan.

Just like on the PR side of the table, it’s important to manage expectations. If a client doesn’t want to post consistently but insists that an important posts gets shared and commented on a lot, that client is in for a big disappointment. Here are 5 important things I’ve learned that help clients know what to expect from their social media efforts (or nonefforts).

1)      Start with goals to guide your activities. Just like you would never send out a random press release or distribute a generic brochure, you don’t want to aimlessly post on social media channels. You can burn a lot of time and worse, lose the interest of the friends and followers you have. A social pro will help map out what you want to accomplish, recommend the best channels to accomplish those goals, and design content with a voice consistent with your brand. This is the chance for your brand’s personality to shine through!

2)      Growing your base takes time. Social media happens organically – it can’t be forced, and while technically you can buy friends and followers, people can sniff out phonies in no time. You want to attract and cultivate people who care about your service or product, and who will engage. Depending on your brand and the goals you’ve set out to meet, your target audience might be 1 million people…or it might be 100.

3)      Feed and nurture your followers and friends. Most of us have been on Facebook at one time or another and know about friends who are either over posters, under posters, or who post annoying content. A social pro will help develop bright, engaging content so people want to follow, comment and share.

4)      Changes are the only constant. As you probably found out the hard way, LinkedIn just did a major overhaul that pleased a couple of users but frustrated everyone else. Like all technology, just when you get used to something it’s likely to change. Social media experts are able to more easily track these “upgrades” and anticipate what’s coming.

5)      Be prepared for negative posts that try to distract or upend your message. I’ve worked with clients who demanded that their social media channels be taken down at the slightest whiff of crisis. To me, that’s like rearranging chairs on the Titanic. Today, many crises play out on social media. And because of that, you have to communicate through those channels as well. Instead of pulling the plug, make sure that dealing with negative responses is anticipated in a social media policy and plan. That goes for dealing with internet trolls as well who post contrary, inflammatory or distracting content. With a plan in place, you’ll be ready when they inevitably appear.

Crisis Social Media – You Need to Have a Plan

By Jo Trizila, President and CEO, TrizCom PR

Every business should have a crisis management plan and a social media crisis plan. The strategy will be similar but different tactics.

It can take a brand years to build its reputation, yet it can be destroyed in seconds.

It is not a matter of if your company/brand will face a crisis but rather when it will face a crisis. Preparation will either make or break your brand reputation. Nowadays, crises seem to happen, or rather break, online first and then spread to traditional media.

It really doesn’t matter, in my opinion, what the crisis scenario is: having a social and traditional plan in place is key. Just as a traditional crisis plan is never final, a social crisis plan is never final.

o    The crisis communication plan approach:

§    Anticipate

§    Prepare

§    Respond

§    Evaluate

 o   Social media crisis plans should include:

§    Identification of the social crisis team

§    Social spokesperson identified

§    Identify social crisis command center (this is key – if something happens to your headquarters, where you will be posting/responding from?)

§    Identify target audiences for various anticipated scenarios

§    Company “media policy” procedures and protocol (include: Social Communication Policy, Company Statement and Social Communications Process)

§    Response plan (who, what, when, where, how and situational assessment)

§    Social media asset inventory (what social channels do you have? where are the passwords kept?) – IMPORTANT: this also includes any prescheduled social posts you may have. (This happened in Texas last year. The Lt. Gov. had a prescheduled tweet “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” This tweet was sent out following the Florida gay nightclub attack. Many people believed that it was an attack against the LGBT community. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick claimed that it was prescheduled and pulled the tweet – though the damage had already been done.)

§    Preapproved company statements and key messages (internal & external) Keep in mind, transparency AND honesty are key. If you have been hacked, if someone made a mistake and/or if the fault is yours, OWN IT and admit it. Your followers recognize that mistakes happen, but when it takes a brand an hour to respond or if they hide/deny, they will come out looking like a brand that does not care.

§    Social media Crisis Communication check list

§    Social media monitoring tools inventory

§    Contacting process (who contacts who to advise on crisis)

§    Testing

§    Social media role playing

§    Sharing the social crisis plan to stakeholders

Educate yourself on what is an issue and what is a full blown crisis. So many crisis situations we work on started off as issues. Issues are much easier to control.

Speed is imperative. Since most crisis situations today break on social, brands have to respond quickly. The slower a brand is to respond to a crisis, the more assumptions are made and the faster it spreads.

Many times in crisis situations, brands either say way too much or say nothing at all. Know your messages/statements inside and out. Practice. Practice. Practice.

In addition to your crisis plan, companies should also develop a social media crisis plan. The message/statement does not change.

National Crisis – turn off Auto-Posts: see example above with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

Tell the truth. As Steve Jobs said, “To me a brand is one simple thing and that is trust.”

You have to practice/test your crisis social communication plan. Think of a fire drill. You have an exit plan that is circulated throughout the office, you practice your evacuation route a couple of times a year, and you revise accordingly. This is how brands should think of their crisis plan. Unfortunately, many businesses pay for a top notch plan and then put it on a shelf and don’t ever look at it until they need it.

At TrizCom PR, we specialize in issues and crisis communication. If you are in need of a plan or a reactive response please contact me, Jo Trizila. I answerer my phone and check email 24/7. jo@trizcom.com o) 972-247-1369 c) 214-232-0078.

 

Happy Giving Tuesday!

By, Katie Mudd, TrizCom PR

You’re running low on leftovers, but nonprofits across the country are preening for a piece of the pie as they prepare for Giving Tuesday today – a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media. Celebrated every year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping events, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

TrizCom is passionate about giving back to our community throughout the year and proudly supports many local nonprofits including Operation Kindness, Heroes for Children and Taylor’s Gift. TrizCom founder and CEO Jo Trizila is a firm believer that “to whom has been given much, much will be demanded,” and with that philosophy she empowers the team at TrizCom to provide our time, treasures and talents to give back.

As we enter the holiday season and the new year, let us help your business develop a charitable giving and sponsorship strategy that is guaranteed to impact the bottom line through increased sales, improved consumer loyalty and employee morale, and enhanced brand awareness. We believe that helping a cause you care about – and one that is also relevant to your business – can reap tangible and intangible benefits for your public image, your shareholders and your community.

How we help:

  • Define the objectives of a giving program or sponsorship – why are you giving back?

  • Identify causes that are consistent with your business values.

  • Strategic alignment with organizations where the reputation, demographics and goals are compatible with your business interests.

  • Integrate charitable donations, corporate sponsorships, employee volunteerism and executive expertise within a well thought out communications plan.

  • Determine how to leverage your charitable donation/sponsorship.

  • Communicate your charitable donation/sponsorship.

To find out how you can help today, visit https://www.givingtuesday.org or give us a call at 972-247-1369 to see how we can help develop a charitable giving and sponsorship strategy for 2017.

 

The Mask of Social Media

By Dana Cobb, Director, Business Development & Senior Account Executive

Oscar Wilde was once quoted as saying, “Man is least himself when he walks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.”

It seems that we have always been more comfortable expressing ourselves from behind a mask. However, with the advent of rampant technological communication, sometimes the masks people wear when they are online, texting or via email actually muddy the tone and create misperception in messaging. This masquerade ball that is social media is absolutely the most dangerous of all.

Facebook has been linked to depression and also has been described as a haven for narcissists. Instagram, and the widespread use of "filtering," has raised concerns about how these digitally altered photos leave many people feeling envious or bad about themselves.

However, the habit of social media has become a way of functioning. We wake up, have coffee, check Facebook, go to work, Instagram at lunch, check email, Snapchat, etc. But what if we were more mindful about what we are posting and why we are posting it? What if we took one small part of impulsivity out of the equation? Create a space between thought and action.  Many people and companies have seen their brand compromised because someone didn’t do just that. The examples are endless.

Personally and in business, here are five questions that you can ask yourself that may shift your decision to share content, pictures or thoughts:

1) Why this?

                What’s the intention behind the post? Take a pause. Internally inquire.

2) Who will see this?

                Is this a company account? Is this appropriate for your intended audience?

3) Can it be misunderstood or bring about unhelpful controversy?

                Tone is tricky. You must be mindful.

4) Is this MY news to share?

Don’t blow a big announcement, especially someone else’s. Embargo until you have permission to share.

5) If commenting on an article, did you read the whole thing?

It becomes fairly obvious when someone doesn’t read an entire article before commenting. Be informed.

One tried and true rule that has stood the test of time needs to be applied no matter what mask you may or may not be wearing on social media – the Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The Art of the Brag

By Dana Cobb, Director, Business Development & Senior Account Executive

From the TrizCom  Instagram  page, celebrating our 3rd year on the Dallas Business Journal's "Largest PR Firms" list.

From the TrizCom Instagram page, celebrating our 3rd year on the Dallas Business Journal's "Largest PR Firms" list.

I have said it more times than I can count: bragging rights are one of the most valuable tools in your marketing and communication toolbox. We refer to it as the “JD Powers” effect. If I stand in front of you and tell you how awesome I am, you would call me a braggart. If I’m included on a JD Powers list of people who are awesome, it’s proof.

That implied third-party endorsement is what we all seek, some maybe personally, but all should be professionally. With the advent of websites like Yelp and the mind-numbing expanse and influence presented by social media, the environment of information keeps getting more and more crowded.

How does one achieve the JD Power-type of attention without looking like or feeling like a tacky self-promoter? First, ask for it. If you’re a business that has satisfied customers, feel free to simply ask for feedback. Many are happy to share their positive experience, and it is by far the cheapest form of advertising.

If you are so inclined, put you and your business “out there” as industry leaders. Follow the Facebook pages and twitter feeds of influencers in your industry and join the conversation. Sometimes this can establish a credibility that helps in brand positioning when you seek it! Watch and listen for media opportunities where your voice can weigh in. There is nothing like being quoted in a news story to solidly establish that “JD Powers“ reaction.

There are also award opportunities for organizations, ranging from corporations to nonprofits – you just need to go in search of them, because they won’t always find you.

Second, amplify it. Put your good news on blast! Activate the social media arsenal you already have in a few keystrokes. The reach you will have when someone, something or some outlet gives you that implied third-party endorsement is wildly powerful. Now that is something to brag about!

At TrizCom PR, our clients are all afforded the benefit of a team of savvy PR professionals who think creatively for ways to achieve and deploy bragging rights on a regular basis. We’ve done it so well, we’ve received awards for it – like the prestigious 2015 PRSA Pegasus Award, the 2015 Clutch Research & Review Top PR Firm award and a consistent top 25 place on the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Dallas Business Journal’s Largest PR Firms list.

See what I just did there? Proof. That’s what I’m talking about.

Set It and Forget It? Three Rules for Pre-Scheduling Posts.

by Jennifer Kuenzer, TrizCom PR

The age of social media has been called “the new wild west” and that’s a pretty accurate description when you consider that reputations, jobs and entire lives have been destroyed with a single tweet.

With a business that regularly engages with the public, it’s crucial that your message be carefully crafted and sensitive to what is happening in “real time,” which can be challenging when social media posts are increasingly pre-scheduled. And while pre-scheduled posts can be invaluable in maintaining engagement, they can be trickier to manage than they appear.

“Pre-scheduled” makes people think “Easy! I can schedule and then go about my business!” But Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s recent screw-up on Twitter after the tragic mass shooting in Orlando is a perfect example of why scheduling and forgetting is, at best, ill-advised. Because after your post goes live, “It was pre-scheduled” is just not good enough. Twitter doesn’t care, and Twitter will hit back – hard. Twitter will make sure the news goes national, and it can take a lot of work to bounce back, if you or your brand can manage to bounce back at all.

Now personally, I like to have a range (minimum one, maximum three) of daily posts for TrizCom on Facebook and LinkedIn, and three or more for Twitter. To make sure I get at least one post per day, I will pre-schedule, but I never “schedule and forget it.” I follow three basic rules when it comes to pre-scheduling posts.

First, a pre-scheduled post should be general yet specific to the client and their brand, and kept light and positive. Nothing you need to be prepared to spend a lot of time engaging in or responding to. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have been pre-scheduling it in the first place.

Second, pre-schedule during hours of the day where you can re-check about 15 minutes before the post goes live, meaning nothing very early in the morning or very late at night. You’ll want to make sure the post is still relevant, and that nothing has happened between the time it was scheduled and the time it posts that makes it insensitive, incorrect or offensive. This includes any hashtags used in the post; make sure that hashtag isn’t trending on Twitter negatively or in response to a tragedy.

Third, if something does go live that coincides with an unexpected event and results in some backlash, have a plan for how you’re going to handle it. Respond quickly and honestly, and be transparent.

The most predictable thing about life is that it’s so unpredictable. So, yes, pre-schedule posts. Just use care and common sense, revisit before it goes live, and when scheduling 7AM Sunday Bible verses, maybe stick to the “glad verses” (as Pollyanna called them), just in case.

And for you TL;DR types: Post wisely, friends.

Jennifer Kuenzer is a Digital Specialist and Archivist for TrizCom Public Relations.