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Friday Five: How Well Do You Really Know Social Media?

Social media is the primary form of communication for most people these days. Yet with the rapid changes made to various social media platforms, sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether or not you are using social media properly or with the right purpose in mind. Some social media tools (like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) have been around for years, yet casual users and professionals alike are still learning how to optimize their social media experience for better brand awareness, stronger engagement strategies and smarter ways to demonstrate ROI.

In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary — we look at the how various social media channels are evolving to offer brands more opportunities to better showcase their goods while improving engagement strategies to reach larger audiences.

How brands (and PR pros) can take advantage of Storify (PR Daily)

Storify is a platform that helps users, including brands, tell stories by curating social media (tweets, photos, links and other blog posts.) This week PRDaily’s Becky Gaylord presents two case studies that highlight how brands could benefit from the potential powerhouse promotion that comes as a result of using Storify. Powerhouse brand promotion refers to a brands ability to accelerate and spread their conversation and engagement with customers. Case Study No. 1 focuses on how a brand can curate content to create more awareness of a not-so-well-known product that (despite poor promotion) has a decent size fan base. Case Study No. 2 focuses on a brand that is already great at engaging customers, but with the help of Storify, could potentially reach a wider audience. Gaylord curated some great content to further prove how useful a tool Storify could be for brands and public relations professionals.

LinkedIn: 3 Ways to Use It Much More Efficiently (CBS MoneyWatch)

So you’ve created a LinkedIn profile and now you want to know the best way to promote your personal brand online. MoneyWatch’s Amy Levin-Epstein connected with Krista Canfield, senior manager, corporate communications at LinkedIn and Nicole Williams, connection director for the company, asking them “for their best suggestions for most efficiently using the site.” Here is the inside scoop from your personal LinkedIn gurus:

  • Stop by regularly. While some might be tempted to only log on when they have a profile update cued up, LinkedIn offers Canfield and Williams call a “one-stop shop,” from top industry headlines to a search for new clients, which requires users to become regulars on the platform.
  • Follow company pages.  There are numerous companies with LinkedIn profiles providing timely updates. This allows professionals to stay in the know on topics that affect their work, their industry and their competitors…and it’s almost effortless to do.
  • Use LinkedIn Answers. Asking other professionals in your industry questions of is a way to get the answers you need from experts that could add great value to your network.

5 New Ways to Improve Your Facebook EdgeRank (Mashable)

Brands have learned that the success of a Facebook page can be measured by two statistics: the total number of fans and the number of fans that actually view posts. Facebook has a newsfeed algorithm called EdgeRank that measures the visibility of posts.  Mashable contributor Brian Carter offers five ways for brands to get better results. Here are a few:

  • Post photos. Research shows that a Facebook page get more fan engagement from photos than other post types, including links, status updates or videos.
  • Create photo albums. “Photo albums show one photo and several smaller ones.” This offers a different look on the brand page attracting more fans and even more click throughs as fans view each photo.
  • Write more text. Offering more text content in a post results in the “see more” option that Facebook offers. The “see more” option teases the fan base enough for them to click, contributing to the consumption rate measured by Facebook.

How Not to Pitch Your Business in Social Media (The New York Times)

There really is no how-to guide on using social media correctly. However, there are some social media values that remain important for every platform. Building relationships is a big one, and while there are always new ways to engage and create those relationships, maintaining them and establishing good rapport remains constant across all platforms. The New York Times Melinda F. Emerson highlights HARO (Help A Reporter Out) this week as a perfect example of a platform designed to make the exchange of information quite effortless while providing opportunity to establish long standing professional relationships through proper social exchange.  The problem that Emerson points out is that there are still a number of professionals that haven’t mastered proper social exchange. Pitching your business content to a reporter who would never cover that particular topic is a classic mistake made in HARO social exchanges. Emerson offers suggestions on how to initiate the right social exchange and get the professional relationship to stick.

Better Social Media Strategy: Show, Don’t Tell (Inc.)

As Pinterest and Instagram continue to rise in popularity, business and brand leaders are feeling the pressure to expand their social media content by adding photos, graphic images, and videos. Inc.’s Marla Tabaka caught up with David Lee King, author of “face2face: Using Facebook, Twitter and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections,” who offers tips that could help get businesses and brands started in creating great visual-based content.

  • Show off your stuff. Small or large businesses (product-based or not) should take photos of anything that represents the work you do, what your company values are, or any icon that defines business as usual for your company.
  • Show off your staff. Customers most often connect with a brand or company that they can relate to. Give them an inside look at the office culture and allow customer to connect with your staff.
  • Get close. Up close images of your company, staff or various icons that represent your business are more attractive to the naked eye than an image of something that customers can hardly make out what it is.


Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.

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