Tag Archives: pr

10 steps to get the most out of Foursquare for your business

Foursquare check in decal

Foursquare is definitely one of the most underutilized social media platforms. Sure brands such as the History Channel and Starbucks are completely killing it on Foursquare, but the location-based app is fantastic for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses in particular have a great opportunity to gain exposure, reward patrons with deals and earn customer loyalty. Chances are, your business already has a spot on Foursquare. Wouldn’t it make sense to claim your venue so you have control of it?

There are plenty of articles about Foursquare success stories and you can skim through a few case studies on the app’s website. Probably the best reason to get your business on Foursquare is for the check-in specials–those are deals users can unlock after a certain number of check-ins or for becoming the ‘mayor.’ Check-in specials are only the beginning though. The following is a quick how-to on getting the most out of Foursquare–without spending any money.

Setting up a ‘personal’ account:
  1. Create a new account for your business. To make this happen, go to foursquare.com and download the free mobile app.
  2. Fill out profile completely. This includes a good profile photo/logo, location, phone number, Twitter handle, and your company’s bio (160 characters).
  3. Add people you know & people in the area.
  4. Create lists & add tips. This is why setting up a personal business profile is important. Maybe you’re a restaurant owner who also serves pizza by the slice at local sporting events … might as well add a tip to those venues for fans to grab a slice during intermission. As the social media manager at KVSC-FM, I created a list of “KVSC’s Favorite Eateries.” The restaurants on the list are all underwriters for the station and the tips include special discounts for members of KVSC (a public radio station). Being a college radio station, I also created a list of tips for venues around campus such as “If you’re walking through campus or driving around town, tune to KVSC 88.1FM for college radio awesomeness! You can listen on mobile devices too. Just go to http://www.kvsc.org/listen.php” and “Make sure you get to hockey games in time for the pre-game intro. It. Is. AWESOME! Read more.” What’s really great about adding tips and lists is that you can link to websites and you can easily check the stats (e.g. “10 people have done this tip”).
  5. Connect other apps, check privacy settings. Foursquare has a number of apps you can connect such as Foodspotting, Instagram and The Weather Channel. If your business is on Instagram for example, you can sync Foursquare to automatically check-in at a venue when you share a photo (by the way, if your business is on Instagram, go ahead an connect your Tumblr and Twitter accounts too). Since you’re a business and not an actual person, be sure to make your privacy settings as loose as possible–make it easy for customers to get in touch.
Setting up your business page:
  1. Create/claim your venue. Unfortunately, this can be quite a drag–taking up to a week or more. This is good though because Foursquare is doing its best to make sure only real venues get claimed by the rightful manager. To get started, head to foursquare.com and sign in using the business account you just created or your personal account–doesn’t matter which. Search for your business and look for the “Do you manage this business?” and hit the “Click here” button. After that, just follow the steps. You will need to verify using the phone number of the business.
  2. Fill out profile completely: Profile photo/logo, Address, phone number, Twitter handle, website, hours and keyword tags. Restaurants also have the ability to add menus and prices.
  3. Create a special. Now that you’re managing your venue, go ahead and create your first check-in special. Foursquare offers a variety of specials to attract new customers or reward existing customers. Choosing a special for users who check-in to the venue for their first time might be a great way to get started. You can create multiple campaigns and test which ones work best.
  4. Add employees and managers. If you’re a busy manager or owner of your business, it might be a good idea to delegate the responsibilities of general venue upkeep to another employee. Also, you can add employees to your venue so they can’t become the ‘mayor’ and reap the rewards that your actual customers should be getting.
  5. Promote. You should get a window cling from Foursquare when you secure your venue … put it somewhere visible. Create fliers, Tweet it, include it in your eNewsletter, put it on your business card, train your employees to tell customers about it, add links to your website and anything else you can think of. Just be sure to follow the Foursquare brand guidelines.
Further reading:
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Social Media: Personal and Visual, Pt. 2 – The Power of Visuals

Infographics can be a great way to communicate complex statistics.

Infographics can be a great way to communicate complex statistics.

In my previous post, I discussed the importance of knowing your audience as I presented at a recent St. Cloud State University mass communications alumni event. Now is time for part two of that discussion: the importance of visuals in communication.

The idea that people are visually minded is nothing new, but I feel it is important to discuss as the concept directly transfers to the public relations industry. There’s been talk for a number of years about whether or not news releases are effective and if they are on the way out. The short answer is no, they are not on the way out. That’s my opinion maybe, but as long as there are journalists with tight deadlines and news organizations that continue to cut staff, news releases will be an easy go-to source for journalists.

Without getting into the particulars of  journalists expected to push out more content in a shorter amount of time and editors choosing to sensationalize soft stories instead of producing in-depth hard news, I’ll just say news releases are still important. What has changed over the past few years is how the news release is developed and disseminated.

Now in the PR world we’re seeing more interactive news releases. News releases optimized for search engines and the “social media news release” are commonplace. These are news releases rich in content—containing at least one visual element, keywords and links for more information. A media-rich news release is far more effective in reaching a target audience and should resonate with reporters much better.

Visuals are so effective now that many companies are using infographics in place of the news release. Infographics are great because they can take relatively complicated statistics and visualize them into easy-to-understand graphs. A news release with a bunch of stats crammed in the body will never be as effective as a well-designed infographic. They also are easy to share and can make their way around the Internet with little effort.

Further building off the importance of visuals in PR, let’s take a look at what has brought us to this point. Surly, communications specialists have recognized the importance of strong visuals long ago. Marketing and advertising is almost completely based off of visual cues. Even radio commercials contain a visual element—a good radio spot will paint a picture in the mind of the listener, which can be more effective than actually seeing something in print or video.

Social media and, more importantly Web 2.0, have made it much easier to share images and video across a variety of platforms. A few major news items have surfaced over the past few months that have really made this point be heard.

The first is Pinterest. Pinterest is a social networking site that allows users to pin images that link back to the original source onto “boards,” or a scrapbook-style collection of a user’s personality. Pinterest is significant because the website hit 10 million U.S. monthly unique visitors faster than any standalone site ever.

Another interesting phenomenon is Draw Something hitting 20 million active users in just seven weeks. Draw Something is a Pictionary-style mobile gaming application in which users draw something from a set of words and the other user watches the drawing unfold as he/she tries to guess the word.

A final piece of news is that of Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion–which was still a startup at the time with only 9 employees. Each of these news items should aid in understanding the the importance of using visuals in communication.

Lastly, please stop using comic sans and clip art:


Social Media: Personal and Visual, Pt. 1 – Know Your Audience

The importance of knowing your audience.

Is your target audience a crowd of conservative men or does it have a greater variance to allow for more flexibility?

I recently spoke at a St. Cloud State Mass Communications alumni event regarding trends in social media–especially in the Public Relations industry. As an intern at Kohnstamm Communications and only a couple years as a social media manager at KVSC-FM under my belt, I’m hardly an expert on the subject, but I do feel I came out with some good points and generated an interesting discussion. I rarely write out word-for-word what I plan to say at these things, but for some reason that’s what happened. I ended up making an outline of speaking points for a more natural impromptu delivery and my original ‘script’ for my presentation “Social Media: Personal and Visual” is below.

I learned a lot as the Director of PR & Social Media at KVSC and a lot of what I learned along the way is directly transferable to the PR industry—whether the B2B clients I work with at Kohnstamm care about social media or not. I learned two main things while building KVSC’s social media presence: 1.) It is important to know your audience and 2.) People are very visually minded.

For the former, I learned early on that no one really cares about basic station updates that can easily be found at kvsc.org, people want to be entertained and involved in the conversation. In other words, people want to be reached at a personal level. I found that posting opinionated articles relating to the station’s music format or pop culture in general would garner a greater response than simply announcing what was coming up in the programming lineup.

It’s definitely important to know your audience and have a good understanding of what types of posts will get their attention without offending anyone too much. A great example of this is with a new recruitment firm I’ve been working with. At KVSC, it seemed I could get away with just about anything. Making fun of Nickelback, posting popular memes and silly YouTube videos are all commonplace on the KVSC Facebook wall. For example, one of the more popular posts on the KVSC wall consisted of a black and white photo of a little boy smoking a cigarette next to a chicken and the caption “Could someone please explain this picture?” (side note: the little boy happens to be a young István Ládai). With Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting, I posted a picture of an Easter bunny portrait gone slightly wrong and wished everyone a happy Easter. It was all in good nature and was meant to be funny. However, someone didn’t like it and contacted the owner of the business and we took it down.

Lesson learned. Monitor and know your audience before you really test the waters. As with any good PR campaign, knowing your audience will help in crafting a news release, pitching a reporter or otherwise getting a client’s news out. Knowing your audience allows you to create much more targeted and personal messages. Maintaining personal messaging in any communication strategy allows for better conversation, but can only be achieved if you know what your audience is interested in talking about.

Further reading on the subject of knowing your audience:

Image via juicebag.blogspot.com.


Tweet-A-Beer: An app for buying your friends a beer via Twitter

Tweet-A-Beer app for buying a beer via Twitter.If you’ve kept a close eye on my Twitter stream, you may have noticed my occasional update on the world of craft beer. Or, maybe you’re aware of my love for a well-crafted brew because you’ve shared one with me. Either way, I’m announcing here on my blog that I enjoy a good beer (shocking, I know).

As most beer lovers would admit, the only thing better than enjoying a well-balanced frothy cold one is enjoying a well-balanced frothy cold one for free. Equally rewarding is sharing a beer with a friend and picking up the tab yourself. Certainly a nice gesture in any environment. The problem, though, is you can’t always be at the local watering hole with your buddy or maybe you’re both out-and-about, but in different locations. I hate to use a cliché here, but well, there’s an app for that! Online networking app Tweet-A-Beer allows for the payment of other Twitter users’ drinks. Cool, right?

I have yet to give the app a try, but it sounds pretty straightforward. Tweet-A-Beer syncs your Twitter and PayPal accounts so you can safely send beer money in $5 allotments. Tweet-A-Beer appropriately rolls out during South by Southwest in Austin, Tex. this weekend.

The Tweet-A-Beer website describes it quite eloquently:

Tweet-a-Beer was brewed and bottled by tenfour and Waggener Edstrom, longtime drinking buddies in Portland, Oregon. Tweet-a-Beer connects your Twitter and PayPal accounts together to ensure that distance, agoraphobia, and gang rivalries no longer prevent you from sharing a pint.

Please tweet responsibly.

Of course, you’re not actually purchasing a beer, you’re just offering to pay for $5 of their experience. Or as Doug Gross at CNN put it:

Technically, we suppose you could use those five bucks at iTunes or Amazon, for online gambling of dubious legality or, well, most anything. But there must be some bad karma associated with not buying an e-beer when a buddy has taken the time to tweet it your way.

With me, however, you can Tweet-A-Beer with confidence by knowing I will enthusiastically consume a hoppy pint and thank you for the kind gesture. I’ll probably announce to the entire bar what a cool guy/gal you are too. So, tweet me a beer. You’ll make my day. My Twitter handle is @eric_wheeler.

Redeeming a beer seems pretty simple as well. According to the FAQ page on the app’s website you just click the Tweet-a-Beer link mentioned in the tweet and follow the steps. Additionally, you will then be set-up to pay-it-forward and start tweeting beers to others, too.

As a PR guy, I can appreciate knowing the app was developed by Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and tenfour with no profits gained. The recipient’s PayPal account is charged a small fee of 10¢ to cover Chirpify’s fee. Chirpify is a ‘Twitter commerce’ platform used to make sure the transaction is secure. Read about their service here.

Please retweet this post and post your comments below responsibly.


Starting an Internship: What I Learned in a Long Job Hunt

Kohnstamm Communications Welcomes Eric Wheeler.

A fine welcome indeed. I had never seen my name on a sign before!

Tuesday, Feb. 21, marks the first day of my internship at Kohnstamm Communications in St. Paul, Minn. Yes, the long job search is finally over–at least for a few months.

I learned a lot during my 9+ month job search. I did the typical resume blast using job search sites such as CareerBuilder and Monster, I applied to jobs I found on LinkedIn and Twitter and I did my best to promote myself in the online world. In the end though, it came down to who I know.

Though I landed many phone calls and on-site interviews through the strategy mentioned above–even having employers reach out to me because of my blog or online presence–it was a former teacher who got me the initial contact.

It is definitely nice to know a former teacher believes in me and wants to see me succeed. I had Lisa Heinrich as a professor in both Advanced PR and Media Ethics at St. Cloud State University as I was working on my masters degree in PR & Advertising. One of my favorite professors for her ability to weave in her own professional experiences in lively class discussions, Lisa continued to stay in touch with me after graduation. She would occasionally send me job postings she thought might be a good fit.

My opportunity came when she informed me another former student of hers was looking to hire someone with a little social media experience. I sent an email to Katie Heinze at Kohnstamm that same day and a couple months later I was in St. Paul for an interview.

Though I was not particularly looking for an internship in my job search I felt this was an opportunity worth pursuing for a couple reasons. The position being full time and paid was definitely nice, but I also want to work at a PR agency and this should be a nice foot in the door. I currently do not have any public relations experience in an agency setting so this will hopefully open up new opportunities.

I knew as soon as I walked through the door at Kohnstamm that it was the right place for me. After being greeted by Gail at the front desk, my eyes were drawn to the large sign welcoming me to the “2010 Boutique Agency of the Year.” I had never really seen my name featured on a sign before so I snapped a picture and tweeted about it later that night.

It’s been nearly two weeks since I accepted the position. It may be surprising I haven’t been tweeting about it and posting the news on Facebook, but wanted to make sure my family knew about my new adventure and to make sure I found a place to live in St. Paul. I have made the appropriate phone calls and have found a nice house with a couple roommates (thank you CraigsList) in Midway just a 10-minute drive from the downtown office.

Thank you to everyone for the encouragement and for thinking of me when coming across opportunities. Please continue to keep me in your thoughts. My four to six-month internship will be over before I know it and I will continue to be on the lookout for my next opportunity.


Leading up to my First Solo Photography Exhibit

Art show invitation for "Visions of Minnesota," a photography exhibit by Eric D Wheeler.

"Visions of Minnesota" takes place Jan. 27 from 4-8 p.m.

Tomorrow (Jan. 27 from 4-8 p.m.), I will present “Visions of Minnesota” at Iris Vision Care–my first solo photography exhibit. “Visions of Minnesota” will mainly feature black and white photographs from around Minnesota and will also have a few color images. I have also been experimenting with photography on my iPhone (or iPhoneography as some may call it).

For the past 45 days, I have stepped out of my apartment to snap a picture using my iPhone 4 of a road leading down to the Mississippi River here in St. Cloud, Minn. The road was recently put in along with a new park and is enclosed on both sides with tall trees. The project started after going on a photo walk one exceptionally foggy morning and has continued since. Besides the natural beauty of looking downhill on a road engulfed in ominous trees, the project has gained traction as I have pushed both my curiosity and creativity through the use of iPhone photo applications. Each photo is snapped from the same position and, although I use many different iPhone apps to create various effects in post-edit, each image ends up on Instagram and can be viewed by searching the hashtag #wheelers_road.

wheelers_road is an example of iPhoneography.

The first 16 days of my photo-a-day project utilizing multiple iPhone apps to capture a tree covered road.

The bulk of my show, however, takes a largely traditional approach to photography and includes many black and white landscapes and a few landmarks from central Minnesota, the Iron Range and Duluth. I will have a few color photographs on display including images from depicting nature and landscapes. The event is free and open to the public and all pieces are available for purchase.

I should probably fully disclose that this is technically a public relations event for Iris Vision Care. My girlfriend, Dr. Sally Jackula is the owner and I have been doing some light PR, photography and social media marketing for her for the past year or so. The main motive for holding the event at her office is to build awareness, get foot traffic and hopefully help her gain a few new clients. That being said, I am very much excited about showing off my work for the first time without any public backing or organizational support such as being part of an art crawl or photography contest.

The Androy Hotel in Hibbing, Minnesota.

This photo of the Androy Hotel in Hibbing, Minn. will be one of my larger framed photos for sale.

From a public relations perspective this has definitely been a success so far. One of my photos taken at Quarry Park last year is currently featured on the cover of Minnesota Moments magazine, which hit newsstands earlier this month. I ordered 100 postcard-size invitations to hand  out (pictured above). I secured an interview with an arts reporter who ended up writing a story, which ran in the Jan. 19 edition of Up Next. I submitted my event to several area events websites including the sctimes.com, kvsc.org and aroundthecloud.org and even got a live-read community service announcement on KVSC-FM.

Of course, I put forth the standard social media effort as well–creating a Facebook event and cross-promoting on my photography page, personal page and on the Iris Vision Care page. I spread the news using Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn as well. I even changed my cover photo on Facebook. To top it all off, Ryan Ott featured my photography exhibit in his “Five things to do in Minnesota” for this weekend on iammnnice.com. That was a bonus I didn’t even see coming. Thanks, Ryan!

With that, I hope to see you at Iris Vision Care to check out my work as a budding photographer. Please help me spread the word during these final hours leading up to the event by sharing this post. Thanks!


5 quotes from Buddy the Elf and what the social media manager can learn from each

Buddy the Elf quote: The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.When I watched Elf with Will Ferrell for the first time, it was instantly placed in my top five Christmas movies–alongside National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Home Alone and Scrooged. I usually pop in the DVD several times throughout the year and laugh all the way through. Like most good films, Elf has many lessons to be learned. The following list has some of my favorite quotes from Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) throughout the film and what the social media professional can learn from each.

The best way to spread Christmas is cheer singing loud for all to hear.

Buddy the Elf is easily the best brand advocate for Christmas you could possibly come across. He truly believes in every aspect of the holiday and shares his enthusiasm with everyone he meets in a positive manner. If you are managing a brand in the social media space, make sure you really believe in the brand’s culture and values. Dig deep and learn everything you can about the brand. Maintain a human voice and cultivate a following of brand ambassadors who feel as passionate about the brand as you do. If you find it hard to believe in the brand, it might be best to let someone else serve as social media manager.

I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite!

As mentioned above, Buddy the Elf remained positive throughout the entire film and always served as an advocate for Christmas. When the inevitable social media faux pas creeps up on an account you’re managing; remain calm. Never take down a post. Instead, sincerely apologize and keep a ‘smile’ on your brand’s face. Always remain positive even when things aren’t going so well. Just how people can tell when you’re smiling while talking on the phone; it’s easy to tell if person behind the brand is happy when interacting with an audience.

Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?

I believe this quote directly relates to social media monitoring. Monitoring social sites can serve as an integral first step of any social media marketing campaign. Monitoring helps in reaching and relating to your target audience. But simply monitoring is not enough–ask questions to learn more about your audience. Ask your followers anything: What is everyone doing tonight? Elvis or The Beatles? Where is everyone from? Heck, ask them what their favorite color is–you never know, it might help you in product displays or developing new branding materials.

We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.

If there was one word you could use for Buddy the Elf, it might be focused. He was always focused on spreading Christmas cheer, gaining his father’s love and pursuing the companion (er, Zooey Deschanel). Just as monitoring is important to a social media campaign; setting clear goals is also important. Both short-term and long-term goals are important to the success of a social media marketing campaign. A daily content calendar can help you stay on track as you work toward your overall goals. Set clear goals and stick with it.

Deb, you have such a pretty face, you should be on a Christmas card!

I love this quote. You could really see the flattery in Deb’s face when Buddy told her how pretty she was. It truly brightened her day and set the tone for her relationship with Buddy throughout the rest of the film. You should always be an advocate for you brand and truly believe in its values, but be careful not to be too self-serving. Compliment/reward your audience and they will become true brand ambassadors through positivity.

Merry Christmas and remember: Sharing is fun!


Social Media Crisis: The Case of Klout

Klout LogoIt’s been nearly a month since Klout infamously changed its scoring algorithm to “A More Accurate, Transparent Klout Score.” I’ll admit, I was a little disheartened when my score dropped 16 points after months of hard work tweeting my Klout score up to a cool 65. Nearly a month later now and I don’t even know what my score is. I’ve been tweeting less frequently and none of my other social networks ever seemed to matter in Klout’s scoring system anyway so I would imagine my score is somewhere in the low 40s. Fine. I don’t really care anymore. However, I do want to talk about how poorly Klout handled the social media firestorm that came immediately after the change.

For the most part, the dust has settled and users have put the issue to rest. However, the day Klout made the changes, the social media world erupted. When I noticed my score dropped it was already well into the evening. I went to Twitter to see what was going on and, sure enough, it seemed like everyone was complaining about the new changes.

I then went back to klout.com and read the blog post announcing its new scoring algorithm. It seemed comical to read an article titled “A More Accurate, Transparent Klout Score” that really said nothing about the actual breakdown of the new algorithm. At this point, there were already hundreds of comments on the blog post and people were starting to blog about it themselves. So, going back to Twitter, I checked out Klout’s Twitter stream and found this:

Klout changes algorithm

In a social media crisis, it's hard to reply to everyone, but replying with the same non-personal stock answer is not the way to go.

To Klout’s credit, they were trying their best to reply to everyone’s concerns. However, replying to everyone who has negative comments on the subject with the same stock answer will make your brand come off as inhuman and lazy. In my opinion, if a brand is hit with this many negative comments on the same issue, it is best to reply with personalized responses for each case. If there is not a way to respond in a personable, positive manner, then not responding at all might be the next best thing. Managing hundreds if not thousands of negative comments on one social media platform might prove to be a difficult if not impossible task.

Soon after Klout’s scoring algorithm changed, many ‘influencers’ suggested users delete their Klout profile altogether–the most notable being Rohn Jay Miller’s article on socialmediatoday.com. This is where Klout’s bigger crisis communication issue comes in to play–Klout has disabled the option to delete your profile! This is a huge issue regarding the integrity of a company and proves Klout is not concerned so much about actually helping people to understand their social influence as it is about getting a huge IPO. Klout has really dug their own hole on this one. I suggest Klout releases a public apology and once again enable users to easily delete their account.

There have been a number of social media crisis in the past from major brands–the most well known being Nestle’s Greenpeace video censorship, Dominoes viral video of employees violating health codes and the ever-popular United Airlines Breaks Guitars YouTube video (now over 11 million views). A company making a mistake is what keeps them human. How they handle negative sentiment after making a mistake is what keeps them human.

Additional resources:

Short-term Strategy: The Daily #SocialMedia Content Calendar

Social Media Content CalandarWhether looking to increase website traffic, increase sales or build a stronger brand, strategy is what drives the communications vehicle. If you are a PR or marketing communications professional, chances are you have a long-term communications strategy for your brand, business or client. It is important to understand how social media fit into the long-term communications strategy. One area that should never be overlooked is providing fresh content for each of your chosen social media platforms (generally Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and, coming soon, Google+).

As I have mentioned before, providing fresh content can sometimes be a challenge. The smaller the business or brand, the more difficult it may become to think of new and engaging content to post on each respective social network. In particular, Facebook can be a challenge because of the algorithm it uses in its news feed.

Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to keep your news feed from getting out of control. Without getting into great detail, EdgeRank basically has three pillars: 1.) An affinity score (users who interact with you more are more likely to see your posts); 2.) Likes and comments have high importance; and 3.) Timing (newer posts take precedence). You can read more about EdgeRank here.

Knowing that Facebook uses EdgeRank as an automated “gate-keeper,” providing fresh, engaging content at the right time of day is very important. The same concept of posting fresh, engaging content can be applied on other social media platforms as well. On Twitter especially, Tweeting thought-provoking content, enticing (clickable) links and adding a little humor or anything that might encourage re-tweets becomes important. With Twitter though, there is no algorithm to maintain a more manageable news feed, and therefore, sending out more tweets at the right times become important. Again, without getting too detailed, the best times to Tweet are generally noon and 6 p.m. and at a rate of 1-4 tweets per hour. For more on timing, view an infographic from KISSmetrics.

Understanding the importance of frequency and timing of engaging posts on social networking sites, I have a daily content calendar I maintain for KVSC-FM. I have been the Director of PR & Social Media for two years at KVSC-FM and have done a number of social media marketing campaigns in promoting upcoming events/programming and have performed a lot of social media contests along the way. However, even if a long-term social media strategy is set, coming up with 2-4 posts for Facebook per day and 1-4 Tweets per hour can be a bit of a challenge. For this reason, I have developed a daily content calendar to help in generating ideas.

Some of the daily post ideas have become something listeners of the station look forward to each week. For example, Music Monday, where I simply post a music-related article or Trivia Thursday, where I ask a random trivia question (this is also a chance to be sneaky and relate the question to a current promotion). Again, the idea is to generate conversation and, ultimately, build a positive relationship with your followers. Building a daily content calendar is not difficult, you just need to sit down and think of a few ideas you can share on each social networking site each day. For more ideas on providing daily content, read my article “30 Ideas for Providing Fresh Content in #SocialMedia.”

Image: Ray Kowatch’s Blog.


10 Things I Learned as a PR & Advertising Grad Student

What I learned from grad schoolThis list is essentially a follow-up to my previous entry. Towards the end of that post, I mentioned how I really wanted the entry to be about what I learned in graduate school, but it ended up being the story of why I decided to pursue a Masters Degree in the first place. Now that I’ve had a couple weeks to reflect on my two years of post-graduate education at St. Cloud State University, I present a “Top Ten” list of things I learned. Some topics were learned in the classroom, some while writing papers and others came about in other ways as a student. Though I am not going to elaborate on any of the topics, I do challenge you to ask questions or argue some of the statements. A few might even be considered controversial. Here goes:

  1. There is nothing ‘new’ about new media
  2. Learn the basic theories of psychology, and become a better communicator
  3. Even when you think you have produced creative content, you should step away and try again
  4. Always know your audience and do the research to find out more
  5. Differentiate, segment and tailor the message for each medium
  6. Never stop learning; I will never be an ‘expert’ in anything because there is always more to learn
  7. Media convergence is impossible, but web convergence is possible
  8. If you want to be successful in any communications-related industry (journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, etc.), you must live and breathe social media
  9. Huge corporate media conglomerates are the demise of democracy–nearly every media outlet is conservative … even NPR
  10. News outlets can no longer afford to simply push out information … people expect to participate in a two-way conversation about everything
Have you attended graduate school for mass communications? What did you learn?

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