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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kandpeeps | Thursday, August 21, 2014 20 Comments
#tbt: A Nostalgic Throwback to Social Media Over the Last Decade
As a world, we are more connected than ever. Whether tweeting, liking an Instagramming or G-chatting your friends, it’s almost impossible to avoid talking to someone at all times. But what’s your first memory of social media?
If you can remember way back when, you used to unplug from social media with a “brb, mom needs comp” AIM away message. Over time, this grew harder and harder. With the developments of Live Journal, then Friendster and My Space, then Skype and finally Facebook, social media has taken a front-and-center presence. It now allows us to connect with the world around us with just a click of a button, in so many different ways and forms, and all in just seconds. We are tweeting our real time thoughts and Instagramming our real time food choices—but remember when we couldn’t?
Many people think of the history of social media in terms of how far we’ve come from the first email in 1971. But what about the insane progress it’s made in just the past decade? Here’s a look at how much has really changed since just 2004:
So crazy, right?!Read more
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Kendyll Messina | Monday, June 2, 2014 18 Comments
Get in the Social Know: Emerging Hashtag Definitions
Hashtags. We see them all day across the social media landscape, not just on Twitter and Instagram. Most are simply combinations of phrases or abbreviations of words we are already familiar with, but then there are the other Hashtags, the ones that leave us thinking… “WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?!” I dedicate this article to those of you that struggle with these less-than-obvious hashtags. Don’t remain dazed and confused in the land of social media, check out the definitions of the latest and greatest in Hashtag lingo below, and let’s get in the social media know together…shall we?
#mcm = Man Crush Monday
- Definition: That one guy that as hard as you try, you simply cannot stop thinking about (whether he is attainable or not is beside the point). For example – Leo, Bradley, George, Justin, Adam, David… you get the picture
#TT = Transformation Tuesday
- Definition: Most of the time this will come in the form of a before and after photo. The “transformation” can be interpreted many different ways, whether it’s a photo of someone who has reached a fitness goal, or has finally cleaned up their extremely messy desk.
#wcw = Woman Crush Wednesday
- Definition: Similar to man crush Monday, this is when it’s most appropriate to post about a woman you find attractive or admire.
#tbt = Throwback Thursday
- Definition: Features a photo from the past, whether it’s an embarrassing photo from childhood or from just a few nights ago at the bar, which may still be embarrassing – but most importantly memorable.
#FBF = Flashback Friday
- Definition: Because you just didn’t get enough on Throwback Thursday…
#FF = Follow Friday
- Definition: Mainly on Twitter, this is when a person recommends that you follow someone they follow. This can be anything from a friend or celebrity, to a particular brand of clothing or restaurant.
- Definition: When people take selfies on a Sunday. If you don’t know what a selfie is, you may just be a lost cause at this point…
#ootd = Outfit of the Day
- Definition: When someone shows off or shows approval of an outfit, which they or someone else is wearing.
- Definition: Something you simply cannot handle, so you just “can’t”.
- Definition: Referring to an incredibly attractive food item of the healthy or not so healthy variety.
- Definition: A way in which one says that they are “sorry”, but don’t really mean it… like at all.
I’m personally a fan of using Hashtags as long as it’s clear to me – and my potential reading audience – what they mean.
How about you? Have you seen any other Hashtags recently that have your head spinning, wondering what the original poster was trying to convey? Feel free to share yours in the comments below!Read more
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Diane Coffey | Thursday, May 22, 2014 20 Comments
Will Is Dead? A Cautionary Tale About Going Offline in the Connected World Age
If you’re not a fan of CBS’ The Good Wife, you probably won’t care about this post, but if you are a fan, you’re probably still in shock, as am I, that they killed Will. Let’s mourn together. I know I’m a little late to the party, but I found out a week later than the rest of the world. You see, I was on a blissful vacation in sunny Mexico, totally off the grid for a week – which is pretty much unheard of if you’re a PR exec – when all hell broke loose on The Good Wife. Shame on me for sipping on Pina Coladas, listening to a great mariachi band, laughing it up and having fun with my husband when the unthinkable was happening—they killed Will. Why, oh, why, wasn’t I checking my Facebook page or Twitter feed while I was away? How did I not see it coming? I’m part of the connected world. Before I went on vacation, I was “connected” right?
When I returned from vacation and found out what happened to Will, I scoured the Internet looking for answers. I wondered how, in today’s world of social media, when news is shared so swiftly and secrets are hard to keep, this news had not been leaked. There were countless stories, right there online—even one from the producers, explaining why Will had to die—and yet, I had not seen any of them. Not even one. I was having too much fun being blissfully offline. Maybe I should have checked my social channels after all.
I know some of you reading this will think I’m a bit shallow for being so affected by Will’s death—after all, it’s just a silly TV show, right? But, in my mind, Alicia and Will were eventually going to end up together. He was the true love of her life, not her cheating husband, who had publicly humiliated her and made her look like a fool. She and Will had unmistakable chemistry—they were H-O-T together—one of the main reasons to watch every week. How could the producers not see that this would cause a firestorm reaction?
The lesson I learned here is never to go on vacation and disconnect so completely ever again. Who knows what I’ll miss then.Read more
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Jenna Finn | Wednesday, February 26, 2014 16 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 19 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 16 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 16 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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kandpeeps | Monday, December 30, 2013 25 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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kandpeeps | Friday, December 27, 2013 12 Comments
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 15 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