Now What ?

As we all know we are living in a world where social media is constantly changing. There will always be something new or better that will catch peoples attention. A few years from now, Facebook could be in the past and a new social media outlet will be the top dog. Although this can very well happen, it may take a while to see what social media outlet will become the next top dog. However, this article explains the 9 social media trends to be on the look out for in 2015.

1.) Something smarter and more personalized : Brands will be spending less time and money to create and develop new platforms and content, instead they will be spending their time looking at what contents are working and which ones are not.

2.) More metrics : Using metrics is in efforts to personalize social media. It is tracking performances of users.

3.) More money will be flowing into social media : Social media companies will be making more money in 2015. Many brands know that more and more people are spending their time on social media and that is where they will need to target. Brands will pay millions of dollars in order to have their products promoted on multiple social media sites.

4.) Social media companies will become more than just networks : A simple example for this is Facebook. Facebook is a created website that is a social network and they also have apps connected to it. However, now Facebook is allowing advertisers to use their social graph which is a profile database that will reach other people in other places.

5.) Continued converged media : There have been plenty of social advertising on social network sites and there will be plenty more. Platforms like Snapchat are coming with their own ad products.

6.) More mistakes : There will be more mistakes that will be made. People may begin to overthink things and make problems that do not exist.

7.) Mobile First : Mobile has been looked at as the second screen, right after computers. However, in 2015 mobile may take the first place position with mobile-only.

8.) Visual Brand language : Apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, and amore have the visual element in social media. Instagram had a 4.2% engagement rate compared to Facebook’s 0.07% and Twitter’s 0.03%. Easily put, post with images do better than post without.

9.) Breakouts : It may be that some of the top social media platforms will be the ones that revolve around images, messaging and video.

No one knows what exactly will come of social media in the future, but from the looks of it, it will still come strong.

Alyx

PR Trends And The Future

Public relations has changed so much over the years. It’s hard to believe, but PR did exist before social media was huge; it existed before the Internet was even a thing! Ivy Lee, also known as the founder of modern day public relations, surely couldn’t have predicted that public relations would be as it is now. Starting out as merely some crisis communication and advocation, PR is so much more now. This article talks about some of the latest trends in social media PR.

Infographics haven’t been around for that long, but I think they’re pretty dang cool. What better way to share information about your brand than in a creative and colorful graphic? Infographics are great because they’re easy to read and easy to share. Reading things online is a lot easier when things are in chunks or separated into sections, and this is exactly what infographics do. I see infographics sticking around for a long, long time. Maybe they’ll combine infographics with gifs eventually!

Brand advocation is something that is pretty big but isn’t always as obvious as sharing an infographic. Whenever people have positive things to say about your brand on Twitter or Facebook, it’s like free public relations! So many people use social media to talk about the things they like (and dislike), and this is certainly something that’s only been around as long as social media has. More and more companies are gaining a big social media presence, and it’s a great way to get your audience involved.

Instagram was pointed out in the article as one of the newest forms of social media, and I have to agree that it is becoming quite trendy. The thing about Instagram is that it’s always evolving and changing, even if it hasn’t been around as long as Facebook has. Instagram has only had video sharing for maybe less than a year, and that alone is a huge change! They recently updated to add hashtag-able emojis, which I think is pretty cool. Instagram does a really good job at listening to what people want and updating frequently to meet these needs. I can see Instagram easily surpassing Facebook and maybe even Twitter as the most popular social media site in the future.

There are so many cool things with social media that have barely been around for a year. If you think back to when you first started using some of these social media sites, things were way different. Social media is constantly evolving into something bigger and better. I can only imagine what our favorite social media sites will look like in 5 years!

-Marisa

What’s Next?

The future terrifies me. My fear is that 50 or so years from now I will be living out Fahrenheit 451 in a concrete jungle that has no trees or wild animals. Maybe that’s far fetched, but at the rate social media is growing, the future is coming faster than we realize.

Social media is no longer in its infancy. The early 2000’s were when social media was this novel, exciting thing, but today it is ingrained into most (if not all) aspects of our lives.  As this article says, “Even the term social media itself is beginning to feel dated; the communications it refers to have become so ingrained into our everyday existences that the phrase seems redundant, like ‘color TV’ or ‘cordless phone.'”

So what’s my prediction? I think that social media will become even more integrated into daily life. As much as I hate it, it’s almost impossible to function in society without a smartphone. I think technology and social media will become almost as important to us as oxygen or food. With the invention of Google Glass, it appears that one day we will see the world through a literal lens of  technology.

As professionals, this means we need to stay ahead of the game and constantly be in the know on how to better reach our audience. If people are beginning to get their information through a smart watch, then we need to figure out how to reach them that way.  If Facebook is no longer the leader in social sharing, we need to know what is. This list of blogs can keep you in the know about the latest trends and how to create better content.

And now I will open the floor to suggestions for renaming “social media.”

Olivia

#

We’ve all seen them. The picture of a couple adventuring, the (embarrassing) picture our old high school friends post on every social site possible or the picture of a celebrity at 2 years old. #Hashtags give us an excuse to post certain kinds of pictures every week.

Yep, some are:

#ThrowbackThursday – #ManCrushMonday – #TransformationTuesday – #SelfieSunday

You name the day, it probably has multiple associated hashtags.

Like PR people so often do, these “normal people” uses for social media are transformed into another tool used to reach audiences on social media. Being relevant as a company on social media is effective and irreplaceable.

This PR Daily article lists some of the common hashtags business’ use for their advantage. May PR pros forever be the hippest (start with making up words).

#MondayBlues
I don’t think Monday’s will ever lose their rep for being lame. While hating Monday’s probably isn’t the best way to spend 52 days of a year, a lot of people relate to a “case of the Monday’s.

#TransformationTuesday
Tuesday is the perfect day to show off any recent changes in your company – an office renovation, a new design, brand or product – people love seeing the process.

#WellnessWednesday
Posting about health and wellness continues to rise in popularity. Whether it’s a gym selfie or a picture of the latest kale-based meal someone made, Instagram is becoming a place for health nuts to congregate. Show Insta how your company is implementing wellness into the office.

#ThrowbackThursday
Cue baby pictures. Maybe it’s your CEO’s first birthday or your first client meeting – bring back the memories with this hashtag.

#FollowFriday or #FF
This is an opportunity for you to boast about your industry partners. Encourage YOUR followers to follow a supporting business or important person. Maybe the favor will be returned?

#Caturday
For some reason (and I think we all really know why: cats are the cutest) cats are the most popular animal on social media. Don’t only post pictures of your CEO’s cat – have a “bring your cat to work” day! And then hire me.

#SelfieSunday
Now is your time to shine. Be creative with this one. Use it to highlight a volunteer, client, or donor of the month.

______________________________________________

Hashtag away!

Jamie

Educate your Children!

ag ed

We know educating young children about certain things is especially important. Often times we teach them how to react to threats, what planets there are, and who the presidents were. But do we educate young children where their food comes from? Do they know what their jeans are made out of? What about the milk they drink? Too often I hear people talking about other parents and the way they educate their children. Not too long ago I heard a young kid say that their eggs come out of a carton at the store. That child didn’t know that eggs actually come from a chicken.

eggchic

Why not educate young children about agriculture? Not a lot of kids get the opportunity to grow up on a farm or ranch, where a lot of times families raise their own chickens for meat and eggs, and cows for meat and milk. It is essential for children to know where their food comes from.

Children from all over this country, whether they live in suburban or rural areas, aren’t always well educated about agriculture. In the U.S., FFA is a program only available to high school kids. FFA provides teenagers with lots of valuable lessons through agricultural activities, including raising their own beef cow and showing it, planting and raising their own garden, or things like sewing and scrapbooking. 4-H is available to young children but isn’t offered in schools. I believe that all K-8 schools should have some type of agriculture education class.

ffa

Providing children with information about basic agricultural practices can prepare them for a more valuable future. Children should know where their lunch meat, milk and eggs come from. Also, children should be educated about how their clothing is made and where the materials come from. Adults often are undereducated as well. Thanks to food marketing we aren’t always quite sure what’s right or wrong, unless you dedicate a good amount of time of research. Some may not even be aware of the materials used to produce their clothing. If parents aren’t informed or educated, children have a lower chance of knowing too.

The only way children will ever be more aware of this matter is by teaching them. We as adults can step up to the plate and educate ourselves so when children ask or don’t know we can answer. Research and be aware where your food comes from. How does it get there? Do you know where your local grocery mart gets their products? Are you eating organic? Do your research. Buy books and read them with your children. There are many farms in your area that will give tours and have educational tours for children. Maybe you can even go as far as suggesting farm tours to K-8 teachers. Be the informed parent, grandmother, aunt, even friend. Talk to your children about where food comes from – from beginning to end. Take pride in the extensive agriculture system the U.S. has to offer. Not every country is this blessed.

Happy educating,

Jennifer

Personal Branding; Why it Matters and How to Get Started

As someone who grew up with social media and watched it evolve, it is interesting to see how its role in our lives has changed. It used to be that I could post something and only a few people in my small social circle would see it. My influence was small, and my responsibility for what I posted was minimal. It was almost like the Internet was a second reality that “didn’t really count.” Since then, social media has grown to a point that posts are easier to find (thanks to hashtags) and they are a direct reflection of who you are as a person. Depending on what you put online, this can be a scary thought.

Now that we are older and about to jump into the work force, it is crucial that we pay attention to how we brand ourselves on social media. A simple Google search of your name can determine whether or not you get a job. Think about that next time you post that questionable picture from spring break.

For me, I could sit and do social media for a company or brand all day, but for some reason it is so much harder to create a unified social media presence when it’s for yourself.  Since this is something I am genuinely interested in, I scoured the internet and found several good tips on how to begin personal branding. Let’s begin.

Define yourself- We’ll start with this quote from a really good article about personal branding. Seriously, you might want to read it.

So what is a personal brand?  A personal brand is the total experience of someone having a relationship with who you are and what you represent as an individual; as a leader. Think about what that means to you. Let it simmer. Ask yourself and then ask a close friend – what is the total experience of having a relationship with you like?    Write down the top 5 things you would expect others to experience and have your close friend do the same. Are the answers the same or similar in meaning?  If they are, good for you!  If not, you have some work to do.

Defining your personal brand first takes a lot of introspection. Think about who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are. As the above article says, personal branding is not about selling yourself, it’s about defining yourself and what you can bring to the table. This introspection may or may not lead to a quarter life crisis.

Audit what you already have– Social media will be one of the first ways a lot of employers get to know you. Social media is not your personal brand, but it is a tool to display who you are. Even if you know what  changes you need to make to your social media accounts, you have to take a look at what you already have. Take a look at your posts, pictures and even who you follow. That tweet about your crazy ex? Probably needs to go. Same with the photo album that is entirely bathroom mirror selfies.

Make better content- Be intentional about what you post. Don’t tweet while you are angry or emotional. Whatever you share should contribute to who you are as a person. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or make jokes on social media, but it does mean that you need to be responsible. Take a moment and think whether you should retweet that questionable joke, and in general just be respectful.

Those are just a few tips on how to get started, but there are entire books written on this subject. I would recommend taking a look at this article and this other article that give some more in-depth ideas. This might be something you want to consider for yourself sooner rather than later.The reality is that social media has become an extension of ourselves and we have to take responsibility for it.  Have fun!

Olivia

Where do We Fit In?

Crisis communication planning is something that almost every organization has in mind, or at least SHOULD have in mind. Most organizations have it all written down as to what they will do if a crisis does come into play. They should have all the basis covered down to a tee. However, now that times are changing, have these organizations adapted? Since social media has come into play, have these organizations included it their crisis communication plan? Do they even know how to utilize their social media during a crisis? This article discusses where social media actually fits in.
There have been a few findings that were reported in a 2014 survey :

-Increases in social media usage overall
-Decreases in the number of organizations using social media to communicate with employees
-More than half of the respondents feel the benefits of using social media as a crisis communications tool outweigh the risk
-Yet 60% of organizations have no strategy or plan in place for using social media during a crisis
-Nearly 62% of respondents plan to use social media monitoring during a crisis
-Only 17% report having a centralized team in place to analyze and disseminate relevant information
-58% of the respondents rate mobile technologies as absolutely as absolutely vital in executing crisis communications plans
-90% of respondents feel that YouTube is not useful or only somewhat useful in communications during a crisis.

These reports show that there has been a increase in the value of social media, but it also highlights that there are concerns with using social media during crisis. If there is a lack of planning, everything could go down the drain.

Currently, the way social media is being look at is a monitoring tool. Brands can use social media to monitor what people are saying about their brands and what things need to be addressed the most. It is not about gathering as much data as you possibly can, it is about understanding what your data is trying to tell you.

Alyx