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 networking’ Category
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Jayne Seward | Tuesday, December 30, 2014 No Comments »
Hi. My name is Jayne, and I’m a Foursquareaholic.
@jayneseward: I just unlocked the “Ten Hundred” badge on @foursquare!
As a self-proclaimed “social media addict”, it comes as no surprise that my addiction spans across the entire social media landscape, including foursquare, the location-based social network that is taking the world by storm.
Being the avid foursquare user and lover that I am, I personally believe that there is nothing like the feeling of excitement and delight that comes with receiving a new badge. Those outside of the social media world may not understand how something so insignificant can make someone like me feel so accomplished; but for those of us who view social media as an essential part of our existence, receiving a new badge on foursquare is a means of proving our worthiness within this social media-driven world.
Just last month, foursquare announced a major milestone for the location-based social network: a whopping 10 million users! And just a week after this newsbreak, my Twitter feed announced an even bigger milestone: @jayneseward just unlocked the “Ten Hundred” badge on @foursquare! Finally, after a year+ of checking in at almost every place I go to, I have officially checked-in to over 1,000 venues. Put that in your crack pipe and smoke it!
Foursquare has been such a big part of my social media world and everyday life over the last year in so many ways. Without it, I would’ve never been able to bar hop thru NYC without even making a dent in my wallet. I wouldn’t have known where to park for free when I showed up for my interview at the @KelAndPartners office a few months back. I would’ve never been crowned the “official” Mayor of Skellig, Bentley University’s go-to bar on Thursday nights. But most importantly, I would have never been able to show my friends and family just how fun and useful social media can be.
With 3 million check-ins occurring each day, about 400,000 businesses using foursquare as a marketing tool, and 358 million check-ins now occurring outside the United States, all I have to say is this: If foursquare is wrong, I don’t want to be right!
For all my fellow social media addicts out there- what’s the most exciting foursquare badge you’ve ever received?Read more
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kandpeeps | Thursday, August 21, 2014 18 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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Anna McCarter | Wednesday, July 16, 2014 28 Comments
Pursuing a Career in PR? Some Tips for Recent Grads
Another school year has officially wrapped, and millions of diploma-clutching grads are joining the rat race to find a job. The lucky few who have opted to seek out a position in the public relations field most likely have gained experience and knowledge through internships and related coursework. But in order to stand out from your peers, a true PR star will need to go above and beyond the norm.
Below are my top 5 tips for recent graduates pursuing a career in public relations.
- Don’t just “clean up” your social accounts, enhance them - Sure, you’ve heard that your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram should be employer-friendly and void of keg stand photos. But beyond just cleaning up your accounts, you should show off your social media skills by staying up on industry news, actively engaging in trending stories, and interacting with corporate accounts. Use your social platforms to show future employers what you could be doing for their clients.
- Start a blog – Blogging can look great to a potential employer because it not only shows that you can write, but also shows that you are ambitious. Blog about anything that interests you, even if it’s not industry related. Include your personal blog on your LinkedIn and resume to make sure employers can access it. Also be sure to post at least weekly, otherwise you’ll seem inconsistent or even lazy.
- Go on informational interviews – Even if you’re not landing actual interviews, you can email agencies that interest you and ask to speak with someone casually in an informational interview. Oftentimes, these lead to other networking opportunities that could become a job. If anything, you can learn more about what types of agencies are out there. You may decide you like the boutique atmosphere rather than the large corporate scene or vice versa.
- Attend PR-related networking events – Organizations like PRSA, and student-led PRSSA are always hosting networking events in major cities. Look online to see what your local chapter has scheduled for this summer. Come prepared with copies of your resume or personal business cards to exchange information as you network. Show initiative by following up with contacts to let them know you enjoyed meeting them and would be interested in any open positions in the future.
- Take that unpaid internship – We know there is nothing glamorous about working for no pay, but these days the job market is very competitive and the unpaid internship is almost like a rite of passage. Most companies greatly value their interns and will attest that they are a key component of a successful agency. So while you won’t be getting a paycheck, you’ll be gaining valuable experience that will boost your resume and could very well lead to a paid position.
As a recent graduate anxious to launch your PR career, the summer after you graduate can be an important three months. Make the most out of them with these tips, and you’ll be on the road to becoming the next PR pro!Read more
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Kendyll Messina | Monday, June 2, 2014 16 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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Jenna Finn | Wednesday, February 26, 2014 14 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 16 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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Ginny Pitcher | Friday, January 3, 2014 13 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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Jennifer Brogan | Friday, November 22, 2013 10 Comments
A Cool, Crowdfunded Disruptor
As an agency that represents low-to-no awareness, consumer-facing brands, the Kel & Partners PR team works with a number of startups who are taking on CPG industry giants and internet behemoths in order to change the status quo in their respective industries with products that are more affordable for consumers, more convenient for us, or perhaps healthier for us. They’re attempting to shake up old school industries that are ripe for change. They are “Davids” going up against “Goliaths” – the latter obviously with much deeper pockets.
As a result, in my personal/non-work life, I like to support these types of brands – casting a vote for change with my dollar. One company that I spotted recently is a startup by the name of Soma. They’re taking BRITA head-on with a water filter pitcher with a sleek glass design and a convenient subscription model that delivers filters to your door every 60 days.
Keeping the planet in mind, Soma filters are made from Malaysian coconut shells and are 100% compostable. And, they’ve effectively eliminated all the things that drive me crazy about BRITA – those little black carbon particles, the cheap plastic design with a detachable lid that often results in epic spills – and remembering to schlep to the drugstore to buy filters on time.
The coolest part? Soma did it with a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter – raising over $100,000 in just 10 days. Public backers enabled the founders to bring this idea to market, pledging from just $5 to over $5,000. Pretty amazing that we live in a world where someone with a smart idea for change can go head-to-head with a 40+year-old global company (BRITA) with a revenue approaching half a billion dollars. We’re no longer subject to stagnancy with the products we consume. For just 5 bucks, we can actually be agents for change and can help plant the seed to create better-for-us products with potential to transform industries.
In fact, TIME’s “25 Best Inventions of the Year 2013” published just last week featured three inventions that were crowdfunded on Kickstarter – including a pen that actually writes in 3D. The company was hoping for $30,000 on the platform. They’ve raised over $2 million. Pretty incredible.
Have you spotted any cool, crowdfunded disruptors in your shopping travels lately?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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kandpeeps | Friday, June 1, 2012 13 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 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?Read more