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 ‘social media’ Category
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Jenna Finn | Wednesday, February 26, 2014 2 Comments
The Past, the Present, and the Future Walked Into a Bar. It Was Tense
Welcome to 2014 – the year of the Horse, Radiant Orchid, and constant communication. Although we are talking to others all the time, they way we are communicating has drastically changed. Why write letters when you can send an email, a tweet, or a text? Why take the time to write words out when you can abbreviate them as LOL, BRB, or WTF? Will grammar and punctuation stay relevant or will commas be replaced by hashtags and emojis?
In public relations, grammar and punctuation are more important than ever. In the PR field, our job is to communicate effectively and efficiently – and that’s hard to do with spelling errors, misplaced punctuation, and incorrect grammar. A pitch filled with glaring mistakes is also a fast way to land your e-mail right into a reporter’s trash folder. In 2014, let’s all channel our inner “grammar nerd” and remember some very important rules that every PR practitioner should know:
- There, they’re, and there are not interchangeable. Not now, not ever.
- An apostrophe does not make something plural. Rather, it makes something possessive.
- There are set rules for comma usage. For 13 rules for using commas without looking like an idiot, check out this great Business Insider article – and remember, commas save lives…
If you’re ever in need of a quick grammar check, here are some great resources I often use as a guide:
I’ll confess, I’m a big grammar nerd. Are you? Feel free to share your grammar pet peeves, your favorite grammar rules, and your go-to grammar resources here.
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Alexis Eliopoulos | Friday, February 21, 2014 No Comments »
Beyoncé Changing The Way of Music?
Each morning I stroll through my emails and check social media for any overnight excitement. One particular Friday morning while strolling through Instagram, I saw Beyoncé’s name in pink with the caption, “Surprise” and proceeded to watch the video announcing her latest album including 14 songs and 17 videos. I’m sorry – is this real?
It was real, and Queen B decided to launch her album on social media without any advance warning. According to Mashable, the surprise album generated 5,300 tweets per minute and spiked more than 1,300% mentions on Facebook. As a PR professional, my immediate thought was, “Beyonce just took traditional PR and Social promotion to the next level…and killed it. Typically before an album release, artists drop their single on the radio and begin media tours for at least 2-3 months prior to the release. They hit the national TV circuit, appear on magazine covers, and try to maximize publicity for their upcoming album with tactics including highly-visible PR stunts. For example, Miley Cyrus gave a memorable VMA performance in preparation for her “Bangerz” album release. However, Beyoncé wanted to do something different.
In the only press release issued after the album went on sale, Beyoncé said the following, “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it, I am bored with that.” Beyoncé – and her genius team – took control of the power of social media and made a direct connection with her audience. The album sold 80,000 copies in the first three hours and continues to dominate sales. While the initial shock of this “surprise” release has subsided, it has earned its spot in history. It will not be soon forgotten, and should serve to inspire others brands to “kick it up” when it comes to how they approach product promotions and leverage social media as much as possible.
Do you think social media will change the entertainment industry?Read more
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Alyssa Taliaferro | Friday, February 14, 2014 No Comments »
Who Are You On Valentine’s Day?
So today is Valentine’s Day, or as some people out there like to call it, just a regular, good old Friday. This holiday has turned into a commercial overkill of a day that can largely be attributed to marketing, and most recently, the art of social media. With mixed messages streaming through your Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds from the Valentine’s Day lovers, haters, and those in between, let’s all take a moment and be honest with ourselves. The most successful and mutual relationship we’ve ever held onto long enough (though not always beneficial for us) has been between us and that jar of Nutella.
So are you a Valentine’s Day hater – or a lover? Well, let’s see here.
Will you be channeling your inner Jessica Biel tonight with a group of friends for an I Hate Valentine’s Day extravaganza? Or maybe you’ll join in the fun on Twitter while you include #LonelyHeartsClub to the end of each Tweet you send from now until whenever you feel less bitter about your current situation. If so, here is a list of the top anti-Valentine’s day hashtags through the years (pulled from both Twitter and Instagram):
- #Selfie #Me #I #Love #Myself #NoFilter #WithFilter
…Or just maybe, you need some full-on Tweets to inspire you:
- “This candy will probably last longer than any love you’ll share.”
- “Are you into divorced lobbyists?”
- “February: It’s the only month you can compensate for your bitter Valentine’s Day disappointment by binging on pancakes.”
…Or you could turn to one of these celebrities who have been named the “Most Retweeted Celebs” on this holiday alone.
- Justin Bieber (feel free to skip this one)
- Emma Watson (I’m sure guys and girls alike will opt for this one)
- 50Cent (Oh?)
- Harry Styles (no explanation necessary)
If all this talk of the anti-Valentine is getting you down, you can choose to be one of those overly happy people in love and use a most-mentioned hashtag to back it up:
If both of these options don’t seem to sit quite right with you, you could be like this woman who, on Valentine’s Day last year in Brooklyn, gave out hundreds of Hello Kitty Valentine’s to people she saw on her commute to work. This woman’s name is Erika Anderson, and she is a freelancer based in Brooklyn, NY. When asked why she started the project, her response was rather inspiring.
“I think it can be such a terrible day, whether you’re single or with someone.”
So what will it be? Will you be wallowing in self-pity while sitting at a table for one with a cake for 50, surrounded by pink and white balloons and a heart-shaped piñata with a kazoo hanging from your mouth in the Indian restaurant around the corner? Will you be spending it with a loved one? (This doesn’t just mean a significant other, you know!) Or will you see the grander picture and do something for others whose suffering might go just a bit deeper than having no Valentine today?
No matter what your feelings are towards today or your hashtag preferences, reclaim Valentine’s Day as your own, and decide what you are going to do – or are not going to do, for that matter – to enjoy this day to celebrate you, and the love you have for yourself.Read more
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Ginny Pitcher | Friday, January 3, 2014 4 Comments
Social Media’s Next Generation: Disappearing
Allowing Trey, my 11-year-old son, to create a Facebook profile at the age of nine seemed like a smart, savvy move. As someone who preaches the benefits of a connected, socially enabled world, I had no fears about prematurely turning over the keys to the largest social network on the planet. I figured that I would be able to monitor what he posted, gain insight into his relationships, and truly see – through his interactions – what type of man he was becoming.
Yeah, well, that was a short-lived experiment. The only one who posts to Trey’s Facebook page is me. Every picture, sappy testament on how proud I am as a mother (completely self serving), or forced-family-fun event where Trey is tagged, litters his Newsfeed. There are no girls popping on asking if he likes them. There’s no picture, where he tags all his bros and waxes poetic about their friendship. Good luck finding a statement about his beautiful, supporting and funny mother. It just ain’t happening.
@TroubleBrown isn’t interested in chronicling his life through Facebook or even shooting out snippets through Twitter (oh yeah, I already pushed that on him when he was eight, http://ampersandblog.com/2011/03/28/is-tweeting-at-8-years-old-too-young-one-mothers-confession/). Trey and his comrades have chosen to become the disappearing generation – where content isn’t captured for a lifetime in a newsfeed or content stream. Trey and his friends skew toward platforms like Snapchat (snapchat.com), where content fades once viewed, and ask.fm (www.ask.fm), where users hurl anonymous questions at one another.
Scrounging through his profiles on both platforms, here is the fun stuff I can tell you:
- Sixth graders are obsessed with dating
- Words like “swag,” “idk,” and “baller” are used a lot
- Even though Trey couldn’t articulate what an adjective is, he can describe most kids with five
- Every so often someone from another country will post a question and they are always thoughtful, like: “what historical figure do you most despise?” or “what would you grow in your imaginary garden?” (Trey’s honest answer: money trees)
- Trey likes a lot of girls and uses the adjective “funny” as one of his top favorite traits in liking a girl
And here is the not-so-fun stuff I can tell you:
- Anonymity gives people balls and let’s them say unkind things
- Photos that disappear means that sometimes you do stupid things and don’t worry about the repercussions
- There’s just the slightest veil of secrecy with all of the anonymous, disappearing content that makes me uneasy, a little scared
- For the most part, I have no idea what Trey communicates or says about his friends, his life, me
So, where does this leave me? While I probably thought I was being progressive by letting Trey establish his social profile early on, I’m find myself at the same crossroads as every parent (even those more conservative than me…shutter). Just because you turn over the keys to the social kingdom, there is no guarantee that your kid will take the same path. New technology, sometimes driven by the faults of old technology, will be developed, adopted and appropriated by different generations. And sometimes, that means that you just won’t be part of it. Ultimately, if I did my job right, Trey will respect the boundaries of what is good and suitable content. It will mean that if he were to save every photo he shared, every comment he posted, every interaction he had, his story would be that of a kind, fun and loving boy. So, I’m not holding my breath on this one…but I’m pretty sure I got most of it right.Read more
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Andy Clinkman | Monday, December 30, 2013 No Comments »
PR & Social Should Be Friends
Relationships often start with less than 140 characters. A cleverly timed Twitter mention or a sly retweet has the potential to sprout a bond – not just personally, but professionally as well. From a PR perspective, finding ways to interact with reporters on a more personal level can be a secret to success – and Twitter can be a great way to do just that.
Working in the rapidly changing field of PR requires media relations specialists to readily pivot their approach to communicating with reporters and adapt to new styles. The following are reasons why PR professionals should stop neglecting their Twitter account – and start using it as an important tool to interact with the media.
They’re Already Active Users
In a world where Facebook feels too personal and LinkedIn feels too formal, Twitter can be the perfect medium to strike up a conversation with a journalist. And according to MediaBistro, 59% of journalists worldwide actively use Twitter.
It’s Their Pulse-Checker
Twitter allows journalists the opportunity to reach out directly to sources that would otherwise be unreachable. Most importantly, it is through Twitter that journalists can feel the pulse of their target audience and stay on the cutting edge of their industry – and breaking news.
Kind Words Go a Long Way
The Internet has unfortunately enabled disgruntled readers an easier (and often anonymous) forum to vent their frustration. Comment trolls are lurking in the depths of online articles waiting for a journalist’s single misspelling, misstated fact, or opinion that doesn’t align with their belief system. On the flip side, you can offer thoughtful responses and insightful commentary to spark conversation through Twitter or via the web. Include the reporter’s Twitter handle to give credit and to make their work feel appreciated.
Create a Lasting Relationship
Journalists are barraged by hundreds of pitches a day filling their e-mail inboxes. Standing out from the crowd requires not only highly targeted and creative pitches, but building a trustworthy relationship with the writer so that they actually open the email you send. Does that mean you should pitch them on Twitter? Probably not – unless there is a breaking news story where you can provide an immediate source. What it does mean is that you should develop an affiliation where he or she associates you with positive feedback or helpful insight – instead of just another pitch.
Low Barrier to Entry
Finally, unless the reporter has a private account or blocks your Twitter handle, the recipient will see all @ mentions from your Twitter account. This means that all well-informed responses have the potential of being seen by the reporter – no more spam blocker.
Building a mutually beneficial relationship with members of the media is the goal of all PR professionals. Fortunately, in 140 characters or less, Twitter has made it much easier to build a rapport. It’s right at your fingertips, so give it a try – instead of always just sending an e-mail.Read more
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Emily MacDougall | Friday, December 27, 2013 1 Comment
Social Media’s Effect on the Holiday Season
We all know just how heavily brands use advertising throughout the holiday season, but in the ever-evolving media world, have you ever taken the time to think about how much your Facebook and Twitter are influencing your spending as well? Shoppers are increasingly turning to social media to hunt down the best deals and gifts from both businesses and friends alike.
I was recently surprised by an infographic I came across on Yahoo! Small Business Advisor highlighting social media’s impact on holiday shopping. It claimed that 65% of shoppers used social media to find gifts – and even more, 67% of these shoppers purchased a gift they saw on social media. My immediate reaction was that this was hyperbolized; dramatically skewed in some way and that no one really looks at the advertisements scrolling their Facebook pages.
Then I got to thinking: it clearly wasn’t the direct advertisements that were social media’s marketing gold mines, it was the word of mouth. 60% of women use Pinterest to research the gifts they plan to buy. Why? Because someone they followed and trusted pinned it first. Their positive opinion on the gift makes others more likely to have the same positive opinions.
Then I started noticing my own habits. I was one of the 67% of shoppers that used digital coupons I had seen on Facebook while at the mall. I was one of the 59% that found out about J.Crew’s Cyber Monday deal from a Twitter follower. I was even one of the 63% to click a link to a holiday giveaway (fingers crossed!). Social media had consumed my holiday shopping behavior and the more I thought about it, the happier I was— sales, sales, sales!
What about you? Do you think your holiday shopping is affected by your social presence?Read more
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Julia McGovern | Wednesday, October 30, 2013 No 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?Read more
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Julia McGovern | Wednesday, October 16, 2013 No Comments »
The FYI on Twitter’s New DM Settings
Extra, extra, Tweet all about it! Listen up! Twitter is rolling out a new option and you’d be a liar if you said you didn’t like options. Historically, you could only send direct messages to someone who was following you, and you were in turn following back. Now, Twitter allows users to choose whether they want to be able to receive direct messages from any follower. With the click of this box, you open the door to all sorts of visitors, both welcome and unwelcome:
What does this mean for you as an average Twitter user?
It does NOT mean that you’ll automatically be receiving boatloads of spam. You have to remember it is an opt-in feature. In fact, I don’t think this will have much impact on you, Mr. Average Joe Twitter User.
What does this mean for you as a manager of a brand handle?
Marketing blogger, Jim Connolly, sums it up better than I can: “People complain all the time about bad customer service experiences over Twitter. Now, those grievances can be dealt with privately from the business end.”
Only community managers will know this pain…that of a 140-character-or-less complaint coming in about your client. The pain of then having to inconvenience your displeased customer by asking him/her to take an extra step to DM contact information so you can take it offline, knowingly putting the fact that there is an issue on blast. All we, as a community managers, want to do at this point is do something for this guy, not ask them to do something for us.
After this Twitter update, as long as the displeased customer is following you, you can remedy the situation in immediate privacy right off the bat, without the gaze of your followers, and without inconveniencing the user. It opens the doors for immediate customer service and instant private management of whatever situation.
Will you open up your Twitter account to allow direct messages from any follower?Read more
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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?Read more
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Julia McGovern | Monday, June 17, 2013 No 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?
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.
You know this one. #The #one #who #hashtags #every #word.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you have to type it out, then Tweet it. Instagram is about the experience of photographs, not text-packed status updates.
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!
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!