Welcome to the Ampersand Blog

The peeps at Kel & Partners have a lot to say. After all we are public relations and social media zealots who thrive on sharing interesting news and great stories with the public. The Ampersand Blog is really the voice of our Peeps – the kick-ass team of people that work at K&P. Whether it’s a story about the way PR works NOW, the social media universe, our families, beloved pets or quirky travel experiences, you’ll find it all right here. You may laugh, you may cry, but the best part is you’ll leave feeling “wicked smaht” as we like to say here in Boston.

Archive for the ‘Apps and Tools’ Category

  • Facebook

    Maria Kennedy | Thursday, August 28, 2014 No Comments »

    Ways To Keep Control of Your Inbox

    Inbox Management. Sounds like a futile and tedious activity, but as someone who gets a very large influx of emails daily, it is easy to lose control and feel overwhelmed when trying to stay on task. At Kel & Partners we are encouraged to either have an inbox of zero or to only have actionable items remain unfiled — emails that still require a response or attention. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Facebook

    Julia McGovern | Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12 Comments

    Twitter Feed Now Includes Photos, More Fun

    Twitter update includes photos and videos in feed

    Remember the days of texting your tweet to 4040 from your flip phone under the desk in third period English? That tweet was only text. And only 140 characters of text.

    Since then, Twitter has turned into a virtual laundry list of links that lead you off channel into the wild, wild West of the World Wide Web. Are you clicking on a link that will lead you to a photo? To a video? To a news article? To porn? You’ll just have to click the link to find out.

    Well yesterday, Twitter announced that users will now see images and videos directly in their timeline. The experience is similar to the likes of Facebook, Instagram, or Vine.

    https://vine.co/v/hDntvwpnenh (via Twitter’s Vine)

    Moreover, Favorite, Reply, and Retweet buttons are more readily displayed between all tweets. No more are the days of needing to click on a tweet to engage with it.

    The barriers have been lowered for interacting with tweets. This is huge for brands who seek retweets of their content in the hopes of virality. On a channel where sharing was already as easy as one, two, three (scroll, click, retweet), we now have sharing as easy as one and two – just scroll and retweet. Imagine the speed at which visual content will be shared! It might have just given me chills.

    Quick recap: Twitter took the most sharable content on the internet, visual content, and made it even more shareable.

    Visual is now vital in content curation. Facebook, Instagram, Vine. The once text-focused channel of Twitter is a whole new playing field for brands.

    Happy scrolling to all users who no longer have to click through to their content! What does Twitter’s update mean for you?

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  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Wednesday, August 28, 2013 No Comments »

    Heyo! Facebook announces major changes to how contests can run on YOUR Facebook page

    Our social media Peeps could barely sleep last night. We know you’re asking “why?” In the “new changes announced every minute” world of social media, it takes a lot to get us THIS excited. But this is pretty huge!

    Late last night, Heyo broke some EPIC news: Facebook announced a loosing of restrictions on how contests can be administered on the site.  We’d like to take a moment to give solid props to Heyo on this one. When  we received the late-night email blast, we checked our fav in-the-know media sites (Mashable, TechCrunch, Business Insider) and couldn’t find the news anywhere else.  But a quick check of Facebook’s Page Guidelines confirms the news, and our world will never be the same.

    So, what’s changed, and what’s the big deal?

    Historically, in order to host a contest on Facebook, page managers were required to utilize a third-party platform. With a bevvy of affordable and easy-to-use tools out there, this one wasn’t hard to manage (unless you weren’t familiar with the rules and were penalized for hosting a contest without this important step – yikes!). By opening up this restriction, Facebook is enabling the less “socially savvy” business owners to engage with their fans in a new and exciting way on Facebook, and eliminating the need for well-designed tabs to host a cool giveaway.

    The biggest change is that no longer are page managers’ hands tied in using “Facebook functionality” as a method of contest entry. Want people to “like” a post to enter to win? Now you can! Want people to comment with feedback in order to enter your giveaway? Do it to it! And want to announce your winner on Facebook so all of your fans can see that you do in fact choose winners? THE FACEBOOK WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER!

    While you cannot use “timeline activities” for contest entry (such as  ”share this post to enter”), Facebook has given page admins a great new tool in providing meaningful, engaging content to your fans.

    We’ve already got our wheels turning on how we’ll roll out contests for clients with these new changes in place. What do the changes mean to you?

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  • Facebook

    Julia McGovern | Monday, June 17, 2013 9 Comments

    What Type of Instagrammer are You?

    You can tell a lot about a person by scrolling through their Instagram feed. Take a look at my recent Instagram photos:

    Do you think I like cats? Well you’re wrong because I love cats. I have accepted that I’ve pigeonholed my Instagram presence as a Catstagrammer for life. It is what it is. Do any of these other classic Instagrammers sound familiar?

    Feetstagrammer

    When I think of the most skin-crawling part of the human body, it’s a solid tie between ass cracks and feet. Belly buttons are a close second. I’m happy to say I’ve never seen an Instagram of an ass crack or of a belly button. So what’s with all these feet close ups? Why, people? I do not want to see pictures of your crooked toes and bunions.

    Hashtag Wh*re

    You know this one. #The #one #who #hashtags #every #word.

    InstaMama

    Isn’t there an ABBA song that goes “Mama Mia, here we go again?” That’s what I mutter to myself when my friends with babies Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, I think your baby is really cute in his footie pajamas. And I thought he was really cute in that last picture you uploaded of him. And the last one. And the last one.

    Selfie Fanatic

    I’m guilty of this so I feel entitled to mocking this genre of Instagrammers. If you’re going to #selfie at least get creative. Put away your duck faces and reverse peace signs. I pride myself in my selfie creativity. I’ve taken selfies in the reflection of Christmas ornaments, watches, and liquor store security cameras.

    InstaNoah

    This is the user who rapid-fire-uploads back-to-back photos every 5 seconds for the span of 10 minutes. Consider your feed flooded.

    Food Porn Addict

    Unless Gordon Ramsay himself prepared your dish, you should be eating it, not taking a picture of it. The dish is going to go cold by the time you pick your filter, type out #foodporn, perfect your caption, and post. Also pictures of soup are only cool if you’re Warhol.

    #TBT-a-holic

    This is Instagram after all. The whole point is that we are seeing and sharing what is happening in our world instantly. Some Instagrammers only use their account to recycle FB photos from the glory days of college or their innocent toddler years. #TBT is the proper place for these photos, but you shouldn’t only be posting on Thursdays. I’ve already stalked you on FB and seen these photos of you. No need to bring them to Instagram.

    Tweetgrammers

    If you have to type it out, then Tweet it. Instagram is about the experience of photographs, not text-packed status updates.

    InstaGroupie

    Listen, I love to see my photos receive likes. But your like means nothing to me if you like every single one of my photos, and every other photo on your feed for that matter. Is nothing sacred? Get out of here with your distribution of a false sense of approval!

    Catstagrammer

    Don’t know what a Catstagrammer is? Follow me at @therealjuliamcgovern for more info.

    What type of IGer grinds your gears? What type of IGer are you – c’mon be honest!

     

     

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  • Facebook

    kandpeeps | Friday, June 1, 2012 10 Comments

    Can you imagine a world without Facebook?

    My eyes were glued to the TV as I watched Mark Zuckerberg ring the NASDAQ opening bell and expose his company to further public scrutiny. For many looking to make a quick buck off of the IPO, Facebook has thus far looked like a dud. With stocks plummeting, critics of Facebook are proclaiming “I told you so” and quickly writing off this American success story. I can’t wait to tell the speculators “I told you so.”

    See, I’m a child of the social generation. I’m not a financial advisor, nor am I an expert on everything tech. However, when Google went public in 2004, I could have told you it would be a great investment. When Apple was on the brink of collapse, I could have mentioned that they had the capability of really kicking butt. And with Facebook going public now, I’m telling you that Facebook will be around for the next 50 years.

    The Criticism

    The main critique of Facebook is that it’s just a social networking platform that won’t be able to deliver real value. It’s an understandable stance. After GM ended its agreement with Facebook for paid ads, the very prospect of Facebook ads being worthwhile for businesses came into question. If a large company can’t profit off of its advertisements, how can a small business?

    With 85% of Facebook’s revenues coming from advertisements, weakness in the system is undoubtedly a bit scary.  The roughly 1 billion unique users inhabiting the Facebook-world are still hard to monetize.

    With news of Facebook’s overvaluation, investors are reasonably skeptical towards Facebook’s exact worth. But should they bet against the 800-pound gorilla?

    The Future (my fearless forecast)

    If we take a moment to remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” then we appreciate that Facebook is still gaining its legs. Facebook has already shifted the world.

    After all, it was Facebook that piqued my interest in Public Relations and later Social Media. It was Facebook that filled my college days with event invitations to parties. It was Facebook that started revolutions and unified people against tyrannical governments. When a government completely forbids their populace from using a social networking site, there is definitely something special.

    It is Facebook that is working to determine presidential elections. It is Facebook that connects family members worldwide. It is Facebook that allows users to actively participate in conversations around the World Wide Web. It is Facebook that will continue to change the social landscape for years to come. And it is Facebook that does not yet know its own potential.

    And how will Facebook do it?

    The potential of f-commerce (Facebook Commerce) to track data and optimize it for individual users is mind-blowing. Businesses will be able to reach ~1B users and sell merchandise directly through Facebook. Slowly, users are accepting that Facebook caters advertisements to interest and search history. Once Facebook finds a way to remove the taboo of being a social media site and harnesses its mobile potential, it will explode financially.

    With all the comparisons to Myspace’s gigantic fall from grace, there is one big reason that Facebook won’t fail. It has time.

    Facebook has what all businesses seek: a user base that is incredibly loyal. As much as people dislike the changes that Facebook makes to its platform, they always stay. The prospect of a gigantic user-base and technological advancements prepare Facebook for future progress.

    This preparation for the future will work well as Facebook emerges as much more than a website. Think once again of the two tech companies that come to mind first, Apple and Google. Apple is now much more than a computer company (iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac) and Google is much more than a search engine (Android operating system, Google+, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Glasses).

    Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, told investors that ‘the one company closest to being like Apple is Facebook. And just today, Apple announced a partnership to build Facebook into their iOS 6 software.

    So why are we betting against Facebook?

    If you are a business owner, you probably would love the ability to do these things at a fraction of the cost

    • Cater ads by interest and location
    • Sell items to interested parties
    • Create promotions
    • Find new customers
    • Interact with happy and disgruntled users
    • Send messages to followers

    However, Facebook does not just help businesses; it also educates the user on new products and allows for feedback that traditional media do not allow. After all, we trust our peers much more than we trust advertisements.

    In the end

    I’m putting my eggs in the Facebook basket. I’m no financial advisor, but I do see the potential of Facebook to continue to drastically change the worldwide business environment. Does this mean that Facebook will transfer into immediate justification of the $38.00 per share? Absolutely not, but I’ll leave it at this: I’m not betting against the social giant.

    It may be a hunch, but can you see a world without Facebook?

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  • Facebook

    Jayne Seward | Tuesday, December 27, 2011 19 Comments

    Pinteresting…..

    pin·ter·est (n.):

    A fun reminder of the clothes I ill never afford/fit into, the home décor I will never afford/fit into our small home, the recipes and crafts I am too lazy to ever make, the saying I wasn’t clever enough to think of on my own, the photos I wish I had taken but didn’t.

    If you haven’t yet heard of Pinterest, the virtual bulletin board phenomenon taking the Internet by storm, you soon will.  The food… the party planning… the crafts… Pinterest is slowly taking over my life (but I love it). And I’m not alone in my obsession.

    The site, which launched in March 2010, is still invite-only and yet has managed to rack up over 4 million active users according to its Facebook page. If that’s not proof of an emerging social network, I don’t know what is.

    For those of you who have yet to discover the addictive power of Pinterest, here’s the 411:

    • Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows you to organize and share all the inspriational things you find on the web.
    • You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
    • People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.
    • A pin is an image added to Pinterest.
    • A pin can be added from a website using the Pin It button, or you can upload images from your computer.
    • Each pin added using the Pin It button links back to the site it came from.
    • A board is a set of pins.
    • A board can be created on any topic, such as My Style, Recipes For Dinner, or Wishlist.
    • You can add as many pins to a board as you want.

    My personal Pinterest repertoire ranges from places/countries I want to visit, sassy manicure designs, and even a board of inspiration for my future tattoo (if I’m ever ballsy enough to get one).

    So whether you want to create a board on crafty DIY projects you find online, or you want to plan your imaginary wedding, I highly recommend checking out Pinterest and requesting an invite ASAP…. Or ask me for an invite! I’m more than happy to help out a future pin-oholic!

     

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  • Facebook

    Kendyll Messina | Thursday, December 15, 2011 No Comments »

    Santa Has Elves, You Have Social Media

    With the holiday season upon us, it is crunch time for most when it comes to holiday shopping. When you consider the amount of time you spend on Facebook, Twitter, and foursquare why not use your favorite social media sites to help cross everyone off your holiday shopping list?

    It can be as easy as following the brand names you know your best friend likes on Twitter to see what is hot and new for the holiday season, to get some “giftspiration”, or getting a gift card to the bar your brother is the mayor of on foursquare. A lot of stores are also giving great coupons and discounts once you “like”,” follow”, or “check in” at a particular spot!

    It’s super easy to “like” a page on Facebook, but did you know that a lot of pages give exclusive savings and giveaways to their Facebook fans? Check the home pages of your favorite stores /brands and look for a link to their Facebook page. “Like” them, and you could get your brand name gifts for less!

    Not sure how to find the best deals on Twitter? A quick search on popular hashtags such as #deals and #coupons will show you what discounts other people are sharing and talking about. For more, just follow the professional deal seekers! A few of my favorites are @CouponTweet, @retailmenot, and @FabulousSavings.

    When it comes to foursquare, all you have to do is look up the specials near your location, check in, and reap the rewards! You will find anything from a discount off your purchase to freebies!

    By using these social media sites you can save time and money (which we all know is the goal throughout the holiday season!). With the help of social media there is no need to get involved with the masses of people doing their last minute holiday shopping, you can get everything done right from home ( you are more than likely going to be on these sites throughout the day anyway, right? )

    When it is time to open gifts you can sit back and relax while everyone receives exactly what they wanted! Santa may have elves, but you have social media ☺

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  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Monday, December 12, 2011 6 Comments

    Klout, schmout

    In the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of negative backlash directed at Klout, based on an algorithm change that caused a lot of people’s scores to plummet. As for me, I’ve been a skeptic since I got my first Klout score. Now, I’m no Ashton Kutcher (gratefully) but I’ve been on Twitter for nearly 4 years and consider myself something of a Twitterholic. Imagine my surprise when I got my Klout score -– a meager 30- – and learned that I’m considered “influential” about…real estate?

    Real estate? A happy renter that’s never even been to an open-house, I can’t imagine in what universe I’d be considered knowledgeable on the subject, let alone influential. (Editorial side note – a recent check of my Klout score now has me influential about PR, family and Massachusetts…perhaps thanks to those recent algorithm changes? More info in this article from Adweek: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/klout-faces-foes-136721)

    As our collective consciousness has evolved past the “my follower/friend count defines my SM self worth” stage of evolution (see posts from Ginny Pitcher and Chris Brogan for more on that), I think we all look for some metrics that will define our status as “rock star.” (I’ve always been a fan of HubSpot’s continuously evolving Twitter Grader –- perhaps because it gives me an A+?) Tools like Klout can either be validation, or useful for those starting out to figure out if they’re “doing it right.” I’m not so sure that Klout is an effective tool for either of those situations.

    A recent post by Hollis Tibbetts on SocialMediaToday has a nice little case study on “gaming” Klout that I think is a pretty clear illustration of what (IMO) is wrong with the service: http://socialmediatoday.com/softwarehollis/385964/exposed-klout-scores-still-garbage-after-all-these-days.

    Maybe my 30 isn’t so bad? Some interesting insights in this piece: “Why I deleted my Klout profile,” (check out the insights under #6), http://socialmediatoday.com/pammoore/389381/why-i-deleted-my-klout-profile

    With the advent of +Ks, I think there’s a chance that Klout’s “influencer” metrics may be improved by some user-generated control. While the site is still technically in beta, I’ll look to see continued improvement that makes what they’re measuring more meaningful. I wonder if by the time they get there, though, anyone will consider it so.

    What’s your Klout score? Are you a fan of the service?

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  • Facebook

    Alexis Eliopoulos | Thursday, September 29, 2011 14 Comments

    From PR tools to celebrity obsessions: here are my top 5 accounts to follow!

    As of today, my following count on Twitter is exactly 437 people.  Some people have said to me, “you enjoy hitting the ‘follow’ button a little too much”. However, I like following different people, brands, celebrities, and news outlets.  It allows me to get different information from all ends of the spectrum. At times, Twitter can get overwhelming, especially when you leave it open for five minutes and there are over 85 new Tweets! Since our culture is impacted by information overload, I wanted to break down my top five accounts to follow. Check it out:

    @boston – For fellow Bostonians, this is a must. @boston has constant updates about news, traffic, and weather. For me, it is especially helpful for morning and evening commutes – I’m updated at all times!

    @mediapost – MediaPost covers a wide variety of topics such as daily, media, online, and marketing news.  The best part of following MediaPost is the constant news updates and the different blogs.

    @nycprgirls – They have become my PR bible! These 20-something PR girls in NYC hit every point whether it is PR, fashion, even TV show reviews. They were my go-to guide during post-grad interviews and had some helpful tips while prepping for interviews.

    @thoughtcatalog – There is a “follow must” for every age: Thought Catalog nails every real life situation. For example, “Lies Felicity Told Me About College,” 10 Life lessons Learned From Playing Minesweeper,” or my personal favorite,  “Things I Want To Say To The People on The Subway.” If you’re looking for a mid-afternoon giggle, please follow them! Major props to my fellow colleague, @missjrf for pointing them out!

    @kimkardashian – It’s okay, you can judge me but I don’t care. I have a Kardashian obsession. Let’s face it, she branded herself pretty well, even if it did come after a sex tape. She just hit 10 million followers, which puts her in fifth place on Twitter.

    Who are some of your favorite accounts to follow?

     

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  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Thursday, September 1, 2011 24 Comments

    Facebook announcing music streaming through facebook.com at F8

    Madonna said it best – music makes the people come together.

    I’m something of an early adopter of “online music”. Sean Fanning went to my High School (sure, he was a freshman when I graduated and is now a millionaire…sigh…) and my addiction to LimeWire crashed my family’s computer at least a dozen times. I was the type that updated the song on my MySpace profile with great frequency, even. All told, the rise of music streaming marks one of the most significant impacts the internet has had on my life.

    A few years ago, Pandora was my jam. For the uninitiated, Pandora lets you create “stations” based on a specific artist/song. It will then serve up “similar” songs based on that selection. What a fantastic tool for discovering new music! (I owe my awareness of/love for the Black Keys to Pandora). It applied intelligence to these selections by enabling you to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” the songs it played. I managed that ish like Joe Jackson – I was on it, and if any of my stations served up something I didn’t like, those songs were dealt with in the harshest way possible (that’s right, thumbs down to YOU Pussycat Dolls!) The problem is, when I gave a thumbs up to an artist, say, I don’t know, Justin Timberlake, those songs began to permeate my other channels. When you’re in the mood for Slipknot, JT mixing in just does not work.

    Craving more control, I jumped on the GrooveShark bandwagon. Now, let me say this plainly – Grooveshark has changed my life. You have access to the music collections of the estimated 35,000,000 users!! I’ve yet to search for a song/artist and not get something back – even my beloved Josh Homme’s Dessert Sessions are on there, and you should hear the Chieftans/Dropkick/assorted bagpipe/12 versions of “toura loura” mix I made for Saint Patrick’s Day.  You choose your songs, add them to a list, and that list lives forever.  The only problem – no mobile app?! (Give that a big ol’ #WTF. Come on, Grooveshark.) Of course, this left me stranded at a party a few weekends ago that needed DJ RedHeadMeag’s touch.

    Enter Spotify. Like the rest of the Twitterverse, I used Klout to gain access to this much buzzed about service. But I got there and….meh. Where was the selection? That’s a bandwagon with a personal best high bounce rate – 2 tries, and I was out.  Did I walk away too quickly? (comments and thoughts are welcome!)

    Now, I’m reading that Facebook is going to announce at F8 later this month that they’re partnering with Spotify (and others) to stream music through FB.com. Check out the Mashable story: http://mashable.com/2011/08/31/facebook-music-platform/

    Adding reco’s based on what my friends like? Hmmm. I’m friends with a pretty musically diverse group of individuals – I’m not sure that this is really going to do it for me.  Also – I like free.

    Are you excited about this launch? What is your favorite music service?

     

     

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