Andrew at MobileX Cincy

Yesterday I got the opportunity to attend MobileX Cincy. It was freakin’ awesome. Tons of great people, panels and lucky for me a pad (I won a free iPad!).

I wanted to share as much info as possible from the day. So in the post below I have taken screen grabs from my Tumblr account and posted them here in reverse order so you can pick up some nuggets of info like I did from start to finish. In the next day or so I’ll also be following up with a full recap so be on the lookout for that.

Without further ado… MobileX Cincy:

If you want to view my actual Tumblr blog you can give a click here: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/andrewatmobilex or for more tweets and comments check through my Twitter stream from yesterday here: @Andrew_ShipPR

What was your biggest takeaway? Leave it in the comments, would be great to hear from you.

Breaking News: Follow My Tumblr Live From Mobile X

So I got really good news tonight… I get to go to Mobile X Cincinnati 2012! Thanks to a good friend I’ll be learning (and sharing) all things mobile tomorrow. If you’re interested in learning some of the latest trends and tips about mobile marketing follow my Tumblr blog where I’ll be sharing updates throughout the day: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/andrewatmobilex

Essentially MobileX is a one-day conference that is all things mobile. Obviously mobile is a pretty huge topic, so there are different “tracks”. I’m taking the marketing and social media track. Check out all the speakers I get to hear.

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Hope you get a chance to follow along with me tomorrow. To learn more about the conference take a minute and check out all the info: http://mobilexconference.com/cincinnati2012/

Let Your Motto Be Resistance

I had the opportunity to attend the sneak preview of a new exhibit opening at The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits.” The event runs through June 19.

The exhibit includes 68 portraits of inspirational African Americans who truly made a difference. The exhibit has a very simple, but powerful layout. The entire exhibit is in one room large room. The 68 portraits hang on white walls that take you on a journey through history you’ll not soon forget.

Powerful Simple Display

In addition to the 68 portraits there are several, never seen before items on display.

Signed Muhammed Ali Gloves

A Signed BB King Guitar

You may be asking, why are you writing about this? Where’s the social media… Where’s the PR…? Well here we go. The Freedom Center does a great job of integrating digital strategy due in part to their Web and Marketing Communications Manager Jamie Glavic (@NURFCJamie). They have recently started an iPod tour and it sounds like more innovative and exciting digital integration will soon be available at the museum.

An important component of Let Your Motto Be Resistance, expressed by the curator Dina Bailey, is continuing the conversation. The exhibit has two “reflection areas” where attendees are encouraged to answer two questions.

If you get a chance to attend the event, I would highly recommend writing your thoughts down. In addition to writing your thoughts, why not add in a social media component. The NURFC is encouraging users to share their thoughts and comments during the exhibit using the #FantheFlame.

When you #FantheFlame remember…

They were activists… MLK and Malcolm X

They were athletes… Ali and Jesse Owens

They were singers… B.B. King and Sammy Davis Jr.

They were educators… George Washington Carver and W.E.B. Dubois

They were difference makers. #FanTheFlame

Building Relationships with Charlene Li

I recently had the opportunity to take part in a Skype presentation (courtesy of Cincinnati PRSA) featuring renowned author, Charlene Li. She is the founder of the Altimeter Group, co-author of Groundswell, and author of Open Leadership. She also really knows her stuff!

Charlene shared her insights on building relationships with social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, etc. She emphasized that while these tools help facilitate relationships, they aren’t the foundation.

That foundation comes from a mutual understanding of the informality of the platform.  Think about your personal relationships. They are safe, trusting and friendly, right? Now, envision social media relationships exactly the same way.  Here are two important things to remember:

Relationships take time to grow.

A strong social media community will not be built overnight. Yeah, Charlie Sheen may have been the fastest to 1 million followers, but is that really a community or simply a popularity contest?  Healthy social media growth is built on a strong strategy of consistent and valuable content that helps everyone succeed.

Relationships are not immune to problems.

In all relationships, mistakes are made and apologies are needed. Inappropriate tweets and status updates will inevitably happen. When they do, take ownership, apologize, and begin the process of rebuilding the relationship. That old adage about what you put into a relationship is what you get out of it.

Yeah, it applies to social media…

Weddings, Funerals and Social Media

Today I had the unfortunate experience of attending a funeral. It was not unexpected, and thankfully she went peacefully.

As I sat in the ceremony and the later at the wake, I noticed many people were on their phones, text messaging, tweeting, facebooking and surfing the web like at any other social gathering.

It got me thinking…

How long before people begin to add (and in my opinion harness) social media for good at such gatherings? As the mouse jumped on the wheel and got my social media brain going I thought how could social media be integrated into social gatherings like funerals and weddings.

Here are my thoughts.

Funerals

Twitter Fountain ~ Claim a hashtag, as an example #CelebrateAnne, Encourage guests to tweet during the reception and share memorable stories, favorite quotes, fond memories, and pictures. This would also allow people who couldn’t attend the reception to interact and engage with their loved ones.

**Social Good Tie-In** The family could donate money so for each Tweet to the church where the service was held**

Create a Ning commuity ~ It would allow loved ones to share longer stories with relatives and loved ones. This might especially be valuable for a terminal patient, or a way to grief in the case of a sudden death.

Weddings

Photo courtesy of funny-wedding-ideas.com

Create a Facebook Event – Invite all wedding guests to the event. Ask guests to share their favorite memories and pictures of the couple. These comments and pictures could easily be turned into a slideshow during the reception.

Claim a Hashtag and Use a TwitterFountain – (Ex. #ShippWedding) Encourage guests to Tweet pictures and share fun moments from the reception. Depending on the social media savvyness of your guests, you could leverage a reduced price on the venue by encouraging guests to check-in using Foursquare, Yelp (write positive review), Facebook Places, etc…

**Social Good Tie-In** Take something traditional away (I’m not sure exactly what to take away, but I’m sure there’s something with all excess associated with weddings theses days) and assign a monetary value for each Tweet ~ Then make a donation on behalf of the entire wedding to a cause or organization.

As our use of social media continues to evolve, it will be very interesting to see how and where it finds its way into such important parts of our culture like funerals and weddings.

What do you think?

-Andrew

Utilizing #Hashtags to #Engage

As I continue to grow as a communicator I enjoy trying new and innovative ways to engage in the social space. My employer, Busam Automotive, has been great about giving me some freedom to experiment with new tactics.

A few weeks back we had a pet adoption day at our Subaru store, Love a Pet at Busam Subaru. We invited 4 local animal rescues to attend and bring their adoptable cats and dogs. I also reserved a pet name tag engraving to have at the event.

To promote the event I used traditional strategies like pitching to local media and bloggers, making a Facebook event, and so on. ~ But I wanted to do something a little more innovative ~ In comes the hashtag.

The first thing I did was claim a hashtag, #LoveaPet. Claiming a hashtag is fairly simple and doesn’t take a lot of time. To claim a hashtag check out What’s the Hashtag ~ You can also claim it on What’s the Trend. Claiming a hashtag is beneficial on several levels.

  • Gives you an opportunity to give a quick “elevator pitch” about the event
  • Allows you to add other links and relevant pages ~ i.e. press release, Facebook event page, relevant blog posts, etc…
  • SEO (link building)

After the hashtag is set up you have to get the word out and encourage involvement. To engage followers I tweeted saying I would make anyone a pet name tag if they tweeted back their pet’s name, a picture of their pet and used #loveapet.

After the responses I selected one and made a short video ~

In addition to the short video, I made tags for followers who interacted. I took a picture of each tag and tweeted the pictures at them with #loveapet. I also incorporated the hashtag on the actual tag ~ (I later mailed the tags)

I was glad to provide the tags, but didn’t expect much beyond a RT or a thank you ~ I was wrong!

The video was made for Kelly Rodamer ~ It turns out she has a dog blog and did a post on the event!

After I mailed Dino’s tag to Amy Storer-Scalia she took a picture of it and tweeted it using #loveapet.

There is one problem with using a hashtag for an event ~ How do you use the hashtag when the event is over? I have a few suggestions ~

  • The Love a Pet Event was the kickoff the Pet Adoption Month at the dealership. We are donating $100 for each Subaru sold in the month of November. I use the #loveapet when tweeting about our donation totals. It’s a great way to showcase social good using the hashtag.
  • Before the event I visited each animal rescue and featured the organization in a blog post. I use #loveapet when tweeting about those posts.
  • I follow local and national animal agencies. I RT and interact with them and add #loveapet whenever relevant.

Incorporating #loveapet into our overall PR strategy proved to be a valuable tool. Have you used hashtags for an event or cause? Would like to hear what else you have to add!

Until next time, whether it’s B2B or B2C it’s all Business to Person

Virtual or Physical – A Commentary on The Social Network

I was fortunate enough to get sneak peak passes to Facebook’s unofficial story, The Social Network. I want to preface I will do my best not to spoil the movie; but then again even if you read this a lot of people went and saw Titanic, and thoroughly enjoyed it.


The movie is good, I would definitely recommend it. The movie has a healthy dose of the depositions of the two legal battles Zuckerberg battled in the early years of Facebook. They portray Zuckerberg, as a young arrogant jerk, who doesn’t care much about anyone else. (I don’t think this is an accurate portrayal, but it does allow for some hilarious one-liners.)

When not in depositions the movie shows how Facebook was created at Harvard, the beginning of the formal company on the east coast, and their eventual move out west to Palo Alto. Through everything there was a very consistent theme ~ Hold onto your ideas

I went into the movie, not knowing what to think. As a PR professional I praise Facebook for allowing companies to interact with interested publics, however as an everyday person I have had an underlying feeling since the rise of Facebook and other social networking sites, many people get comfortable and stagnant in the virtual world.

Whether this is 100% true or not, I feel Zuckerberg created Facebook in reaction to being shunned from Harvard (mainstream) society. Essentially, he created a virtual world that allows a high level of connectivity, without the hassle of the awkwardness that can accompany human communication.

This frightens me. Is Facebook an incredible way for people to make connections and sustain relationships ~ OR ~ Is Facebook a tool people use to guard themselves from rejection? Human connection can be awkward, weird, and even boring, but it can also be all those amazing things that make life incredible.

So I pose this question to you ~ Do you feel more comfortable connecting to people virtually or physically?

Look forward to interacting (Virtually AND Physically)

Until next time, whether it’s B2B or B2C it’s all Business to Person

What I’ve Learned in 6 Months

Value the Importance of Meeting New People

The best, absolute best, part about PR and Communications is meeting new people. Always go into meetings with an open mind and a willing attitude. In only 6 months as professional I have met so many awesome people.

Listen, Listen, and Listen Some More

Not only in person, but this is an especially important component of social media.

Ask Questions

People really enjoy talking about themselves, so let them. I promise you’ll learn quite a bit. Of course you’ll have to deal some conversations you’d rather not now and again, but overall this is a great way to get to know your clients.

What should be added? Would love to hear some great input!

Until next time, remember ~ Whether is B2B or B2C it’s all Business to Person

I’ll Admit it, I’ve Been Slacking

Alright, no post since March? What’s up with that? Well, there’s no way to sugarcoat it… I’ve been slacking.

However (Pause – Pause) however… I’m excited to announce… NO MORE SLACKING! I am officially rededicating myself to writing a weekly post. I have been a full-time communications professional for almost 6 months, and I’m beginning to really get my feet under me… Remind me again why I picked a profession that has no idea what 9-5 is? Because it’s awesomely addictive – that’s why.

I am glad to be at an early stage in my career because it is a great time to be a communications professional in Cincinnati. In the short-term, there are two exciting events coming up that everyone should check out: The Digital Non-Conference and Cincinnati PRSA’s Media Day.

For the long-term Cincinnati has been named an “Innovation Hub”, urban renewal is in full-effect, and there are tons of movers and shakers doing their part to showcase everything Cincinnati has to offer.

So, here we go – I’m ready to advantage of what this awesome city has to offer a young communications pro.

Until next time, remember ~ Whether is B2B or B2C it’s all Business to Person

Information in Addicting

Addiction is a word that commonly drums up a negative connotation. It is associated with such words as: alcohol, gambling, drugs and other generally unhealthy behavior. However, in this “Web 2.0” age there is a new addiction: The Addiction to Information. Companies that combine their PR and social media efforts to feed this addiction will create large dividends.

Most companies are beginning to realize how to utilize social media; in that they now understand it’s about being PART of the conversation, not CONTROLLING the conversation. Unfortunately, companies are putting the wrong personnel at the forefront of these highly important touchpoints. It is true younger PR professionals have more experience with social media, but they can also get into a lot more trouble. Matt Singley explains this really well in his blog post “6 Things You Need to Know about Running a Social Media Program: The Channels”.

“Twitter is often the most immediate and intimate touch point with your current and future customers; make sure you put your best and brightest people behind this channel…and pay them well! They can make or break your reputation in just a few key strokes.” —Matt Singley

How true (not to mention scary) is that. Where companies can begin to capitalize on social media is combining veteran PR professionals with younger Gen Y professionals. Companies need to be willing to commit more personnel hours and talent to their social media efforts. One person can no longer handle one company’s social media efforts. There is simply too much information, and people still want more.

Due to this addiction of information, companies have to be ready and willing to get as much information out there as possible. Do not misunderstand me, I don’t hink a company can get by with flooding the market with tons of information. A company has to get high quality content to their publics.

Companies need to use that content and traditional PR efforts to get articles published, segments on radio, and TV spots; but to get the most bang for their buck social media teams need to push traditional media efforts to drive traffic to their social media touchpoints.

As we become a culture more and more addicted to information, companies are going to have to understand the importance of producing high quality content. Always remember content is (and always will be) KING!

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