Ohio University ImPRessions

Ohio University ImPRessions

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Keeping Your Personal Brand Safe Over Spring Break

February 27, 2015

By: Sophia Ciancone, @sophiaciancone

SpringBreak

Spring break is finally here. Ping has been packed and the salad bar line long. Students are ready to set off and enjoy a week of carefree relaxation and fun. It’s important, however, that students keep in mind a lecture we’ve heard time and time again: brand yourself. From professors to professionals, everyone in the field promises that if we just create our brand, we are set. Sometimes, adventurous trips like spring break can put our brand at jeopardy. In order to make sure that does’t happen, here are some tips to keep things clean while you’re soaking up the sun and having a blast with your friends.

  1. Put the phone down. Sun, sand and water make a dangerous combination when it comes to smartphones. Despite the fact that you want to capture memories of your trip, it may just be best for your phone and your brand if you keep the phone in a safe, secure location. Don’t bring out your professional self, if there is a chance someone could ruin your professional image. Bring it out only for small periods of time.
  2. Steer clear of social media. This could be a good week just to take a short break from social media all together. Log out of your Twitter and Instagram, or maybe only check it a few times a day. Once something is posted, it can never come down.
  3. Take fun, clean pictures. When you step away from the party for a bit snap some fun, beach pictures with your friends that are social media friendly. These are the pictures you can share with your followers that will keep your brand clean and pristine.

Keep these simple tips in mind while you’re soaking up the sun, and when you return back to reality, your brand will be exactly the way you left it.

How to Up Your PR game Over Spring Break

February 26, 2015

By: Elise Mills, @itsELISElove

Are you going on an amazing trip for spring break? Yeah, me neither, but don’t worry! For those of us who don’t have trips planned, there is still plenty for us to do. With the spare time, here are some simple things to do to up your PR game.

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1. Update your LinkedIn.

Yes, most of us have one by this point, and we can all admit it could look better. Spend some time making sure your biography really reflects your personality or spend some time actually writing about your volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, instead of only having the standard name and date.

Goal: Try to reach ‘Expert’ or even ‘All-Star’ on your profile bar.

2. Remember that you have a blog.

Oh yeah, that thing you created when you bored. It’s time to hash out some new ideas. A blog is only as effective as you allow it to be, and if you only post once every couple months, it’s not truly showing your creativity or dedication to the craft.

Goal: Post once at the beginning of break and once at the end, it’ll help get those creative juices flowing and remind you why you started blogging in the first place.

3. Check out PR Daily (prdaily.com).

They are chalked-full of articles from crisis communications, to social media, to writing and editing. The latest post I read? “6 ‘House of Cards’ quotes that apply to PR.”

Goal: Read a couple of articles throughout the week. Not only are they fun, but informational.

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4. Look up internships.

If you are trying to get an internship then this is not new to you, but for those who have yet to start looking, this is the best time. Take an hour or two and look up some of the places you could see yourself applying to in the next few years and look at what it takes to be an intern there. Not only does it give you a sample of what you’ll be doing soon, but also it shows you areas to improve or what you could be doing now.

Goal: Look up a couple internships and ask yourself, am I on the right track? If not, what could I do to get there?

How to use your PR Skills outside of the office

January 29, 2015

By: Elise Mills, @itsELISElove

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The clock reads five, so you grab your coat, say goodbye to a couple of colleagues, and head out for the day. You were on fire today, everything you touched seemed to turn into Social Media gold. You knew you were good at what you do, you just never thought you would be this good. You wonder: If I’m this good inside the office, I wonder how good I can be outside…

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Your friend is complaining that no one ever likes her photo, and she asks for your help. Using your PR skills, you post her next photo at the best time to catch the most amount of traffic without being lost among the stacks of new posts to get more attention on the photo. You also include basic hashtags so that the ghost followers and those attentive to certain things will see, and like, the photo. This will easily double the amount of double-taps, without even blinking.

Break-ups 

Your best friend calls, they were just dumped by their significant other, and they need some cheering up. When you walk through their doors all you see is a pile of used tissues and junk food wrappers. The stench of defeat and self-loathing is strong. You quickly put on your game face and go on the offense to change their perspective before it’s too late. With your quick thinking, you start altering their mindset to make the break-up seem more their idea.

Family

Holiday season is here, which means its time to play everyone’s favorite game.

Do you have a boyfriend? Despite showing up fresh-faced and all smiles, everybody in the family from little Susie, to Great Aunt Catherine, are  asking about your love life. Instead of reaching for the wine bottle, you smile and start in on your all but pre-planned love life press release.  “ I am not dating anyone except my schoolwork. I plan on graduating college with job offers, and I am very happy. At this time we are not accepting questions. Who wants something to drink?”

Despite your job only being (mostly) nine to five, your skills are an asset to you anywhere and at anytime.

Citizen Journalism

January 28, 2015

By: Kelsey Miller, @kelseymiller300

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The quote, “With great power comes great responsibility,” isn’t just helpful for super heroes, but a quote journalists should stand by in their career. Are citizens, however, as aware as professional journalists about what great responsibility comes with having a smartphone?

Citizen journalism is the idea that someone breaks the news that isn’t a journalist. You wouldn’t have heard this term ten years ago, but with the sophistication of smartphone users in the past few years, it’s in our vernacular.

The questions is, should it be considered a form of journalism? In the Stuebenville, OH rape case and the Eric Garner video, it was. Or was it? Is it possible that there was more to these situations than we, as viewers, know about? I am not discounting the authenticity of what happened in these videos, but how long before a person twists a major news story and leads the world astray? Think about it: do you really trust Wikipedia all the time?

False information is put on social media regularly. What distinguishes a false claim from a true claim? It is a lot to expect from people to behave ethically when it comes to what they post on social media or their blog. This means that all forms of citizen journalism must be taken with a grain of salt.

With that being said, without it, cases like Stuebenville or the Eric Garner video wouldn’t have been brought to the surface. Citizen journalism is responsible for exposing the seriousness of rape culture and racism in this nation, something a lot of people like to sweep under the rug. This is only the beginning. What will citizen journalism tell us about our country next?

People are pickier than ever about where and how they obtain news. The Third Annual Social Media News Survey findings, as told in the article, Is Citizen Journalism Good for News Media, put it: “[The survey], conducted by TEKGROUP International in 2012 found that almost 90 percent of the respondents name Facebook and 70 percent name Twitter as their primary source of news and information.”

In addition, 28 percent of respondents get all of their news from social media alone. With staggering numbers like these, it is impossible to ignore the impact of citizen journalism. People trust their peers more often than they trust a journalist these days.

In a world where nothing is fast enough, it would be stupid to not take advantage of the convenience of citizen journalism. Professional journalists are unable to break every story; they aren’t the same super heroes they used to be. The question now is where will journalism be in another 10 years?

5 Social Media Tips to Begin 2015

January 6, 2015

By: Austin Ambrose, @tex_ambrose7

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Starting a new year allows for the chance to start fresh, and there is no reason this shouldn’t apply to your social media life too. Now is a perfect time to rethink your media strategy, and make some changes for the year ahead. With a little time and effort, you can have a completely revamped and improved plan for 2015.

Evan Lepage, a blogger for Hootsuite, discussed five tips for social media renovations. Taking from Lepage’s discussion, I’ll add some personal experiences of my own to bring the discussion closer to home.

1. Declutter and Drop the Weight

  • There are times when you scroll through your news feed on the accounts you manage, or maybe your own, and realize that you have no idea why you follow some r accounts. Drop that weight. Stop cluttering your feed with people who aren’t aligning with your goals, or who aren’t supplying the information you are looking for. Get rid of them, and move on. Also, cancel those accounts that you never use. If you aren’t updating that Google+ you made when you signed up for Gmail, end it. People shouldn’t find that and follow it, if you are never going to update anything on it.

2. Set Realistic Goals

  • Be smart about what you plan to achieve this year with your social media accounts. Don’t get your hopes up, saying you are going to gain 100 organic new followers on Instagram in a month. Chances are this probably won’t happen. I know that I have created goals for one of my accounts to post every other day on a Facebook page, and have 5 new likes in two months. Since education reform is a narrower interest group, I knew not to expect a lot, but hopefully gain some new followers.

3. Build a Follow List

  • While you are setting your goals, it might be a good idea to think about what information you hope to receive from your accounts. Once you know what you are looking for from your account, find new accounts that will provide you with that information. Don’t follow the people that retweet the information, follow the people who are first to send it out. Make a list of these people, and know who to look for to increase your effectiveness.

4. Update Profiles

  • Not having an updated profile is a real buzz kill. People are looking to learn more about you, but if you never update that Linkedin, then it becomes difficult. And yes, people still check Facebook, so make sure that is updated as well. Even if you don’t use it, have it up-to-date, or get rid of it.

5. Learn, Learn, Learn

  • Social media could be described as the fastest changing medium. New platforms are created all the time. It’s important to know what the hottest new app is and how the old ones have evolved. Stay current and do your homework. Make an effort to learn as much as you can about the sites you use and how they are changing. Also, make it a point to be on the look out for what is up and coming. You don’t want to be the last one to the rodeo.

Another Reason to Admire Chipotle

December 29, 2014 1 Comment

 

By: Morgan Borer, @MorganBorer

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It’s 5 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon in Athens, Ohio. Court Street is chilly and barren. Some late-night partiers are are sulking in bed, while others have half-heartedly forced themselves up to finish homework at the library. In the midst of studying, they scroll through their Twitter feeds, extending the routine Sunday procrastination.

“Did you miss us? We’ve got burritos today.” The tweet flashes across the screen from @ChipotleTweets. Ah, yes. Mouths watering in anticipation, the students leave the library and head over to Chipotle for dinner. Unsurprisingly, they are forced to wait in a long line, but are willing to do so with the promise of a cheesy, beefy, bundle of goodness.

What makes the Mexican food chain (aside from its guacamole) so brilliant? There are many aspects from a public relations perspective. When the first restaurant opened in Denver in 1993, there was no training department or marketing team.

Now, the company is on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and has its own website and blog. It also produces videos for advertisement, such as the popular short film “The Scarecrow,” in September 2013, which was a companion for its app-based game. “The Scarecrow” received a whopping 13 million views on YouTube.

Chipotle’s official Twitter account (@ChipotleTweets) has 607k followers, and Instagram (@chipotlemexicangrill) has 132k. On Twitter, the company often re-tweets their fans. For example, on December 6, they re-tweeted a picture from two customers on a blind date with the hashtag #WeLoveChipotle.

They often post humorous content and links, such as “The trick to burrito eating,” found on their blog, blog.chipotle.com. They also make a point to reply to customers who have tweeted at them (both positive and negative anecdotes). This proves that the company is highly interactive and values customer feedback and opinion.

On Halloween, the company hosted a social media contest called “Borrito Costume Contest.” Participants were instructed to take a photo of themselves in costume at Chipotle and upload it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ChipotleBurritoContest. Winners in each of the three categories—Most Creative, Best Group, and Scariest—were awarded a $2,500 grand prize. And everyone knows about their signature Halloween special, customers who come into the restaurant dressed in costume on Halloween get a burrito for $3!

The brand has also partnered with major retailers to gain exposure, including Target. This September, Chipotle announced “The Great Dorm Giveaway,” where students could text DORM3 to a number for a chance to win a Chipotle catering party for 100 and a $1000 Target gift card.

What really separates Chipotle’s marketing strategies from other restaurants and competitors, however, is its guarantee to provide “food with integrity.” According to the company’s website, “Food with integrity is our commitment to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment and the farmers.” The company inserts the terms “natural,” sustainable,” “organic,” and “locally produced” into much of its literature.

While there is some debate over the company’s agricultural methods, shown in this New Yorker article, http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/what-does-the-scarecrow-tell-us-about-chipotle, consumers tend to associate natural, safe and high-quality ingredients with Chipotle. They feel like they are doing some good for the environment when they choose to eat at Chipotle, rather than McDonalds, where a single hamburger contains over 60 different ingredients.

Finally, the company’s website is extremely transparent. The website provides a wealth of information about the treatment of their animals, specifically the pork, beef, dairy cattle and chicken. They also offer an explanation of what the words “organic” and “local” mean to them.

There is even an easy-to-use Nutrition Calculator, where users can select the exact ingredients of their meal and calculate the calories, fat, sodium, etc. Think twice before you add chips and salsa to that bowl—it’s an extra 590 calories.

Four Easy Tricks to Up Your Insta-Game

December 24, 2014

By: Alicia Collins, @aliciacollins_

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In today’s society, the amount of Instagram followers a person has relates directly to the value of that person. This may be an exaggeration. In the public relations field, the number of Instagram followers your account holds will not hinder your success. That’s because the average Instagram user spends upwards of 275 minutes a month consuming the popular social media site’s content.

If you’re like me, however, you could spend 275 minutes scrolling through your feed in just mere days. For us ‘insta-addicts’ and wannabe publicists, increasing our follower count can be a daunting and timely task, especially when you’re not a Kardashian, (or Jenner), with millions of followers. To assist those looking to increase their following, here are a few tips and tricks compiled from expert Instagrammers and a recent study.

1. Expert Instagrammers agree, aesthetics matter.

Amy Stone (@amy_stone), global community manager of Gap clothing stores, with over 116K followers, told Marie Claire Online that color palette, subject matter, and mood all contribute to making your feed appear more cohesive. She is attracted to cooler hues in her posts, making her individual photos stick out while also making her feed as a whole encouraging you to press follow.

2. Contrary to popular belief, the time of day you post a photo does not matter.

According to a study released by Piquora, a social media analytics tracking company, the time of day does not necessarily impact the amount of likes or comments one receives on a photo, however, the day of the week does. The study found Thursday as the most popular day to post and Sunday as the most effective. Interactions on photos were found to be the great on Sunday.

3. Use hashtags.

Some may presume the usage of multiple hashtags on one photo to be a bit much, but researchers disagree, finding surprising results. According to Piquora’s study, larger Instagram accounts, with over 1,000 followers, receive an average of 21.21 interactions per photo. On the other hand, Instagrammers with less than 1,000 followers that post a photo with eleven hashtags received an average of 77.66 interactions.

4. When choosing a filter, choose Mayfair.

The most popular Instagram hashtag and filter is undoubtedly “#nofilter.” Research showed that going without a filter may not be the best choice. Filters are not only my personal favorite attribute of one of the most popular social media apps, but they are what make Instagram unique. On average photos using the Mayfair filter receive 23.044 interactions, while photos without a filter only receive roughly 18 interactions.

I’m in PR, and I approve this message

November 28, 2014

By: Devon Pine @LuckyNumbrDevon

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Driving down the street or watching a favorite TV show September through November fourth, political ads are almost impossible to avoid.

We’re all fans of promotion, advertisements and public relations here right? So why have most people, even us marketing lovers, come to hate these political ads? While there are many similarities between campaigning and the typical brand marketing we’ve come to love, it’s the differences that drive the less-than-pleasant feeling we have towards them.

Research is a good place to start when putting together a good public relations or ad campaign. Political campaigns are no different. Field directors and their teams start off the campaign process early off in the year bye contacting and surveying registered voters in their district. A typical phone conversation early on in my summer as a campaign intern: (it’s May 3rd) “Hi yes, I’m calling to take a survey about upcoming election.” Voter, “What upcoming election?” Exactly. Brand promoters keep monitoring their success throughout the campaign – political campaigns continue to actively reach out to survey voters all the way up to the election. This is to see which candidate is winning the race.

While brands utilize social media, not only to monitor their ad’s success, but also promote the campaign. However, political campaigns are not utilizing social media in the way that brands are. The 2008 election had the first notable use of the Internet and social media, and (obviously) that strategy paid off for President Obama. Today, political campaigns and the candidates themselves are becoming more and more active on social media, especially the Democratic Party which typically targets a younger demographic.

Social media is slowly growing in politics, and utilized more and more these past few years in its grassroots marketing efforts and aggressive ad tactics. It’s illegal to post political signs on private property, but yet yard signs seem to pop up everywhere around election time. This is because field teams made this happen with grassroots marketing – they are calling and knocking doors, hoping supporters will want to put a “So-and-so for Congress 2014” sign on their property.

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Now, I’m a big supporter of Hidden Valley Ranch, but they have never contacted me to put a sign in my yard in order to advertise. Equally true, Hidden Valley doesn’t dig up horrible secrets and use them against Kraft ranch dressing in their ads. I’d think it’s safe to say that this is the main reason people tend to not like political ads. Trackers, people whose job it is to find dirt on a candidate, are often times the ones who dig up the information we see in political ads that slams the opposition. Yes, the drama of the ads is typically overdone, but one publicized scandal can dictate the results of the election.

Yes, many of us are sighing in relief that election season is over and the frequent ads are done until the next election, but in reality, these political ads aren’t as different as those of our favorite brands. See you in 2016 voters.

 

The Taco Bell Blackout

October 30, 2014

By: Kelly Hayes @kmshayes

If you haven’t heard already, Taco Bell is on a blackout. Yes, a blackout. If you try to check any of their social media pages you’ll get this:

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Now I’m sure you’re wondering why Taco Bell, one of the best brands on social, would purge their followers. The answer: a genius ploy to promote their new app.

Is it genius?

Taco Bell has always been one of the funniest brands to follow on social media, especially Twitter and Snapchat. While they may have just purged all of their following this past week, people are still going back to follow. The reason: it’s Taco Bell.

Now many are excited because now you can order Taco Bell from your phone! Instead of going through the drive through and waiting, you can order anything on the menu from your phone. Saving you time, and getting you to your tacos faster. While purging all of these followers is just a marketing trick to get you to download the app, because it’s #OnlyInTheApp, it’s working.

Looking at this from a PR standpoint, this could be considered a genius ploy to get people to download their app and ‘create buzz’. Because let’s face it, apps are starting to become annoying space hogs on our phone – especially if you have an iPhone and need to download an update. However, Taco Bell might have just figured out their way around it by making it so they aren’t available on social media anymore. Just look at their Tumblr page:

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While this may be making headlines for the brand there are some downsides to the blackout.

Blackout = no engagement

Taco Bell is one of those brands on Twitter that is constantly engaging with their customers, but with this blackout that engagement is no more. While many brands would kill to have an engagement level like Taco Bell’s, they just threw it away for an app. Because again, everything is #OnlyInTheApp.

However, is this app really worth it? Is this actual genius or did they just lose a big fan base all for an app? The answer: I’m not sure. If you look at this in the long run, Taco Bell will eventually have to go back online and try to gain all of their followers back. It could take them a pretty long time to regain their 1.4 million Twitter followers, but maybe the brand will bring their social media back with a story line. Who knows? It’s #OnlyInTheApp.

Instagram: To be Professional or Not to Be

May 22, 2014 2 Comments

By: Morgan Peterson @mopeeeezy

instagramWith summer in full swing, I know everyone is happy to get a little loose, and with this comes a surge of Instagram photos to document the fun times. Just like the average college kid, I have a lot of trouble trying to distinguish what is appropriate to post on my Instagram and what is not. To me many of these lines are blurred, making it hard to separate the two especially working within Public Relations. The battle with being authentic is where many people get into trouble. Even though social media is for you to express yourself, sometimes every moment isn’t “shareable” on the Internet. Here are a few tips on how to manage your instagram personally and professionally.

Define Your Personal Brand

Your personal brand is what people are going to know you by when they see you on the Internet, so be cautious but yourself. Everyone’s personal brand is different, so once you know what yours is, it’ll be easier to know what’s appropriate for Instagram. Instagram pictures help make and enhance your personal brand. Remember, just because someone else posts something that you don’t agree with doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong, that might simply be how he or she wants to be portrayed.

If you don’t want your Mom to see it, don’t post it

I think this is a really good rule of thumb. Essentially you want to post things that you want to be known for. So if you don’t want to be known as a party girl, don’t post pictures of you always at a bar. I know sometimes that can hard considering a lot of Ohio University social life is centered around Court Street and fest season. You want to post a picture of you having a good time, but it’s not always the right thing to do. If you feel like you could be hindering yourself from getting a job or internship then don’t take the risk. Another option is to just make your Instagram private.

Show your work

Instagram is a great tool to show others what you’re working on! Lifestyle pictures are great but also try using Instagram as a marketing tool to show people your talents. For example, one of my friends is an artist and all they use instagram for is to promote their artwork. This shows companies that you’re serious about what you do, and you made it easy for them to view it.

Be yourself!

Be mindful of things that you post on the Internet, but at the end of the day the right job or internship will find you. If you feel like you can’t be professional and personal on Instagram, then that might not be the right platform for you to use. If you feel like you’re too scared or restricted on Instagram, then try and find a platform that fits you where you feel like you can be yourself while being professional.

Hope some of these tips help! Happy posting!

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