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).

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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!



A plan for the rainy days

Yesterday, @PRNews asked followers, “What’s been the biggest PR crisis so far in 2015?”


Some responses were humorous . . .




Some were serious. Among the legitimate answers were the Germanwings crash, Indiana governor’s recent comments on religious freedom and the Hilary Clinton email situation.

Crises demand reaction. Although the Germanwings incident was no doubt one of the worst situations imaginable, responsibility and action was taken swiftly.

There’s no PERFECT, END-ALL social media crisis plan – but it is becoming necessary for all companies.

This Social Media Explorer article strives to articulate the role social media plays in a crisis plan. Integral points, COMIN AT YA:

Plan for things to go wrong
For a worrier like me, this is my part-time job. Instead of just fretting an unfortunate situation for your company, plan for it. It’s not IF – it’s WHEN. If your company is somehow separated or immediate action needs to be taken, who posts to social media? The intern? NO. Find out who takes over during a crisis situation.

Give ongoing updates
Germanwings is actually rocking this. Make your website and social media easy access to YOUR updates. Your company should be the first place people hear news from – or at least be consistent with released information. A few weeks after the crash, people outside the immediate town, friends and family still want to know if they should fly Germanwings any time soon.

On the other hand, #DeflateGate was handled kind of poorly by the Patriots . . . but SOMEHOW it all just went away after the Super Bowl.

Sensitivity, sensitivity, sensitivity (and awareness)
Bad things happen. Prepare to change your social media plan to crisis mode in an instant. Cancel scheduled posts, address the situation – whether it’s your company’s situation or a sensitive situation to your state, city or nation. If Germanwings posted about new complimentary snacks or flight tips for families with babies, people might be outraged (now, or the hour after the crash).


Your brand is your baby. Be gentle, have a plan and protect it.


PR people aka little spies

So you want to travel to Italy. You probably won’t search for airplane tickets on Facebook. You won’t check your availability on your watch.

Similarly, as PR people, we won’t find the answers to social media engagement at the bottom of an apple juice box.

We can’t look for information in the wrong places. Without proper monitoring, our client’s social media efforts can find its way to the landfill.

If you’re not monitoring, you’re missing the point. Let a Mashable article tell us why we need some major eyes on our consumers (and fellow companies):

Crisis Management
Thanks to Adam Horn, we all know how stressful a crisis can be. How does an airline handle a crash? How does a school district handle a school shooting? A sex scandal? These are the extremes, but even the “smallest” should be considered a big deal and be given the same attention. Social media monitoring allows a company to analyze consumer thoughts before, during and after any crisis. Do people agree with what the media may be telling them? Do people still want to engage with your company? Finding and addressing opinions on social media ensures a quick response – control the crisis.

Influencer Identification
We have to know what platform is most relevant and helpful in certain situations. This goes back to the landfill thing – our efforts are trash unless administered correctly. Look where people engage most heavily

Building Relationships with Media and Customers
A response from a brand speaks volumes. Monitoring the conversation surrounding your company demands response.

As for reporters, the relationship is key. Engaging in real life with some lets others feel more comfortable reaching out for a story.

If you’re not willing to make friends, get out of your job (but what do I know?)

Creative Feedback and Ad Targeting
After online shopping (browsing) for clothes I can’t and shouldn’t buy, the store’s ads are EVERYWHERE. AND! it is featuring the beautiful dress I was just looking at!

It’s sort of weird. I can’t deny that it hasn’t pulled me back in either. They’re using tools such as Hootsuite, Social Mention or PinAlerts to follow our every click . . .

Give the people what they want! But don’t be creepy . . .


? & A

Why do I care that you wear Tom Ford? I wear Hanes pocket t-shirts…should I write a song about it?

Will you pay for my college tuition?

Weren’t you supposed to be in jail?

Will you marry me?

Most people will only get asked one or two of these questions in their life time. Jay-Z, though, was asked all during his question and answer session on Twitter. Read more about that on this Digital Trends article.

According to this Mashable article, “around 3 million questions are asked on Twitter each month.”

Twitter as a Q & A tool is not only convenient, but like celebrity Q & A’s, users can ask a more direct source (aka a person/expert), or #hashtag a certain word and hope for a response.

Here’s an infographic. Read it, look it over & stay off Ask.com. What does it know?!




Brandon Stanton created Humans of New York in the summer of 2010. I admire his goal of photographing 10,000 New Yorkers; however, I am absolutely amazed at what his project, which I’m sure he thought he would just share with a smaller group than the world, has turned into. Countless people have been photographed and inspired the world with what they had to say.

Is HONY the next, big thing in marketing? Possibly. I don’t think Target will approach Brandon Stanton anytime soon to launch a campaign.


The image paired with a paragraph or quote from the subject of the photo proves powerful (check out this CNN story). 45 minutes post campaign launch, $100,000 was raised for Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a middle school in a New York neighborhood.


But LOOK at the final result:


Yes, that’s 1,419 percent funded.

This Social Media Examiner article helps us understand and articulate the success of HONY, exemplified in its following and the Mott Hall Bridges campaign. Here’s a few tips I think HONY is working (as in, WERKING or doing really, really well):

Build a story around your product

This seems to be the core of HONY. Why do people care about what people in New York look like? Yeah, it might be fascinating for a short amount of time, but HONY is more than just the image alone. The person in the image always has a quote or story to share. Because we relate to one another so easily by shared experiences or stories, each story told on HONY is sure to relate to a lot of people. People in New York are the same as people in Arizona or people in England. They experience love, pain and joy. We want to know we aren’t alone, and we love people who we can relate to.

Give your photos legs by making them shareable

HONY does this well by making images easily shareable on their website and on Facebook. The more shares, the more views, the more people reached. This was likely a vital factor in the success of the Motts Hall Bridges campaign. The CNN article said donations came from 105 countries and all 50 states. The picture got around to say the least.

Engage prospects, customers and the public in your efforts

Brandon reached out to HONY’s following for the campaign. HONY took things to another level – instead of simply posting photos and having the public share them, he provided a photo, a situation and a call to action.

Through the campaign, Humans of New York unique and solid influence on social media followers has proven to be effective in marketing and fundraising efforts. How do you think they will use their platform in the near future?


Buzzfeed: eating e-books and white papers for breakfast

Buzzfeed is totally rocking the article thing – more so than any newspaper or e-book. They’re the King of the article marketing world and they need a crown.

We all have some wisdom to glean from Buzzfeed, well-illustrated in this article. Main points coming at ya:

  1. Use numbered lists to keep things concise and easy to read

So far I’m winning at rule number one. Buzzfeed ALWAYS (most of the time) uses lists in their articles. They arrange their content in an easy, clear format which appeals to short attention spans (audience: everyone).

  1. Target a specific demographic

Of course there are the articles titled, “21 Little Satisfying Things Every ‘90s Kid Did,” which are obviously purposed to relate and tug at the ‘90s kids heart strings. More genius, perhaps, are the sponsored articles like this one. The thought is that people who love their bed or have trouble sleeping would read the article only to get to the bottom and see an advertisement by Casper mattresses. Buzzfeed is heavily sprinkled with these kinds of sponsored articles.

  1. Create Interesting, Tweetable Headlines

20 Reasons To Hop On A Plane To Argentina Right Now? We Know Why You’re Single? How can you NOT read/tweet those?

  1. Evoke An Emotional Response

Tell stories! Buzzfeed makes people laugh a lot with articles like, “11 Cats Poised For World Domination,” cry for, “Chapel Hill Shooting Victims: A Tale of Love, Marriage And Tragedy,” and say “AW!” with an article like, “11 Truths About Love You Should Never Forget.” Make people feel something.

  1. Keep Producing Content

I follow many blogs and sites like Buzzfeed. It is forever and always a safe bet that Buzzfeed has produced a new article since my last visit; therefore, it stays on my go-to list. It doesn’t fade away because I have to wait so long for new content. After all – with content THAT well marketed and written, you basically have to exist forever and give the people what they want.

Will Buzzfeed run out of things to write about? Will people stop reading Buzzfeed articles? Will there ever be enough cat articles? Not likely.

Buzzfeed on, friends.


Social Media Rules

(ie. is cool + there are actual rules)

Let’s start with a problem.

What is the difference between these two people?

  • John wears clothes while walking to his favorite lunch spot.
  • George wears no clothes during his daily jog.

They have different names – but also different clothing choices. That’s the one worth noticing.

Like brushing your teeth, driving on the right side of the road and paying taxes, wearing clothes ranks high in the list of rules (and laws) we have made for ourselves. They’re normal and expected.

Social media is no different – the rules are just a bit different.

This article compiles various social media engagement rules from PR blogs and pros. I’ve also found examples from organizations or people in communities I follow that exemplify those rules.

Be Transparent

image(1)People know phonies. Being honest and open on social media will not only draw people to you or your organization, but it helps keep conflict at a distance. Jami Nato is a well-known blogger in the Kansas City area. She mostly writes about her family and Jesus. She is one of the most transparent, honest writers I’ve come across so far. I especially appreciate her because Christian writers can sometimes be big cheeseballs that only write about the pretty and neat parts of Christianity.

Stay Relevant

image(2)This one doesn’t take a ton of extra work or effort. International Justice Mission does it simply by recognizing big days such as MLK Day. Make a post about something relevant going on in your world or community.

If someone goes out of their way for you on social media, make sure you reciprocate the gesture.

image(6)I can only say from personal experience how true this is – it actually makes a difference. I posted a picture on Instagram with a scarf I bought from Raygun, a store in Kansas City. They reposted the picture and thanked me for the picture. It isn’t a huge deal and I’m not their newest product model, but it meant a lot that they would take a few minutes to thank me for helping them with some permission marketing. 

Always, without hesitation, say thank you.

image(3)When you have millions of followers like Charity Water, one ‘thank you’ post is heard and felt by at least some of them – especially those who have donated or supported the organization in any way. If a woman donates a million dollars, say thank you. If a child asks for donations to your organization instead of presents, say thank you. Both matter.

 Embody the attributes you wish to portray and instill.

image(5)Again, Charity Water does it well. If you believe in clean water for everyone, show it! Show that you aren’t just sending volunteers to international land and leaving all the dirty work up to them. If your leaders embody the values you are looking for in donors and volunteers, make sure you have them first.

How do these rules apply to your organization or community?