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Spectacles, Sales Talk, and Statistics

September 26, 2016 - Posted by

Snap, Inc.’s SpectaclesSnap Spectacles
It’s been a busy week in social media. For starters, Snapchat is launching a new wearable, a pair of connected glasses that “make memories from your perspective.” Can these glasses, called Spectacles, work where Google Glass didn’t?  Maybe. The $130 price tag is much more accessible than Google Glass, and they’re being positioned as something fun (and maybe even frivolous) instead of a smart device. They certainly draw from a different design aesthetic.

A new name also signals that the company wants to be serious business. The app itself is still Snapchat, but the company will henceforth be known as Snap, Inc. It’s also rolling out new targeting options for advertisers, although how that plays against its reputation for privacy has yet to be seen.

Twitter Sale Rumors
People have been speculating (often on Twitter) that Twitter is looking for a buyer. Right now, the two main contenders seem to be Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and customer relationship management giant Salesforce.  Verizon is mentioned from time to time as well.

Considering the PR beating Twitter took this summer, the fact that it’s finally dealing with harassment could be the company’s equivalent of investing in new paint to get a house ready to sell.

Statistics (Ok, Metrics)
Technically, this a metrics story, but I really enjoyed the alliterative headline. In either case, Facebook recently ‘fessed up that it had made a serious miscalculation in its metrics for video ads. For two years.

Predictably, Facebook is assuring everyone that it didn’t impact billing or other video metrics. TechCrunch found some companies willing to say that the whole thing is NBD, you guys, since we totally don’t use that metric anyway.

Once again, it shows how much power Facebook has with marketers. If marketers want to reach their audiences where they are, it means playing ball with Facebook and relying on Facebook’s data to understand what worked. That also means relying on the company to tell them if the data is incorrect.

Little scary, isn’t it?

 

About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

Facebook’s fake news

September 20, 2016 - Posted by

From bloggers to elected officials, everyone was talking about Facebook’s trending topics section last spring. People were particularly worried about allegations of censorship, which Facebook flatly denied.

This August, Facebook officially went all-in on its algorithm, firing the human editors and counting on the AI. The move wasn’t unexpected; in fact, the only thing surprising was that they didn’t promote it more, since they had always planned to have the algorithm take over.

Or maybe that was good planning on Facebook’s part, considering it only took a few hours for a hoax article about Megyn Kelly and reports of people behaving badly with a McChicken (nswf, and it’s really not worth the search) to dominate the stream.

Oops, indeed.Cher Clueless

Professional journalists are simultaneously breathing a sigh of relief that the algorithm couldn’t hack it and worrying about the future implications for the industry. Let’s face it: Facebook is a dominant social network, if not the dominant one, and Americans increasingly get their news from social media. In fact, the average user is spending 50 minutes per day on Facebook and/or Instagram.

So for anyone, journalist or advertiser, who wants to reach users where they already are, Facebook is a pretty good bet. The thing is Facebook is in the business of making money for Facebook. That isn’t a bad thing by any means, but the implications of algorithms can be huge.

The good news: Facebook, along with Twitter, YouTube and Buzzfeed, just joined First Draft, an organization that helps newsrooms and publishers verify stories. First Draft also has some helpful tips for sharing information in ways that don’t help hoaxers build backlinks.

And remember – if you’re not sure if a story’s real, there’s always Snopes.

 

About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

Twitter is ready for some football

September 20, 2016 - Posted by

More specifically, a Jets/Bills game it streamed live on Thursday night.  According to the NFL, the livestream averaged some 243,000 viewers. (The NFL also touted 2.3 people watching at least 3 seconds of the pre-game or game, but that sounds more like a load-testing statistic than actual viewership.)Twitter Thursday Night Football

And the response was… mostly good. Re/Code, which has a full write up of the experience, admits, It was fine.Engadget went so far as to say it “mostly worked.”  Techcrunch went so far as to say “Two million people streamed the NFL on Twitter last night and loved it,” but that’s just more unbridled enthusiasm than we can handle. The biggest complaint was a delay between the live broadcast and the stream.

It’s not just the video, though. Along with the game, viewers saw a stream of curated tweets from “players, refs, reporters, self-hating Jets fans.” And you can watch the stream anywhere that you access Twitter, including their new apps for Amazon Fire, Xbox One and Apple TV. Basically, it’s the experience we all wish we had for the Olympics (dang millennials!).

This is really good press for Twitter, who could use some good press about now.  It’s also right in line with CEO-for-now Jack’s Dorsey’s persistent argument that Twitter is a way to connect people to world events real-time, not “just” a social network.  It’s also another in a series of incremental moves that Twitter has been making, including a revenue-sharing model for video creators, read receipts for direct messages, a quality filter, and disappearing live notification buttons.

So did you try the Twitter stream? Plan to check it out this Thursday? We’d love to hear about it—just tweet us, of course!

 

About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

Hello, Lifestage. Goodbye, Privacy?

August 29, 2016 - Posted by

For a while now, I’ve been wondering what hot new app will draw in teens now that the olds are braving Snapchat. Facebook is ready to win them back over with its new Lifestage app.

The app itself is pretty simple- lots of video, Snapchat-style overlays. Were it gets interesting are the settings. It’s directly targeted at high school students, and when 20 or more students from the same school activate the app, they’re automatically connected, no friending required. No one over 21 is allowed.How do you do, fellow kids?

That last part is where things get…dicey. Lifestage has no privacy settings. Anything posted is visible to everyone in the network. While the site is only visible to users, there’s no verification that the user is actually a student.

Generally, tech reporters see Lifestage as a Snapchat competitor. People who remember Facebook’s early years are having waves of nostalgia for the good old days. And there’s a fair amount of pearl-clutching around the legitimate privacy concerns.

Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center released a study on Americans’ attitudes toward privacy and data sharing. One interesting discovery was that people under 50 were considerably more comfortable sharing information on a social platform than those over 50.

Makes you wonder if teens will be more comfortable with Lifestage than adults.

 

About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

How do you face a crisis?

August 17, 2016 - Posted by

In preparation for the upcoming September 9 breakfast Crisis Communications in a Social Era, the Morningstar team provided us with a preview of what's to come:Crisis Communications Breakfast

We can all agree a company’s brand and reputation are essential for its continued success. If your business is like most, you’ve spent years building a position of respect. In a moment, a crisis can put that all in jeopardy.

In a 24-hour news cycle, a crisis does not allow for any timeouts, and it rarely is a question of if, but when these situations will arise. In recent years we’ve seen Aramark handle challenges with food quality at The K, Southwest Airlines experience a massive technology failure, and Chipolte face E. Coli contaminations.

As communicators, we can all learn from these incidents and the best practices developed over the years. Planning is key, and a commitment to transparency and accuracy is essential. Join my colleague, Brian Van Note, and I on Sept. 9 as we discuss crisis communications in a social era. You’ll head back to the office with the following takeaways:

  • Steps for creating your crisis communications plan
  • Tips for communicating effectively in a crisis
  • How to use social media to your advantage before and during a crisis situation
  • Three immediate actions steps that will help position your company for crisis communications success

We all hope we never have to face a crisis. But if we do, we’d rather be prepared than scrambling. We look forward to seeing you at Grand Street Café next month. Register today at the SMCKC eventbrite page.

 

About the Author:
Tricia McKim is vice president at Morningstar Communications. For more than 10 years, she’s helped companies refine their message and communication strategy to create content that drives results.

Twitter needs a moment

August 15, 2016 - Posted by

In official coverage, Twitter announceYour Twitter Mentionsd that it’s expanding its Moments feature to “influencers, partners, brands… and in the coming months, everyone.

Examples shared in the blog post range from the newsworthy (Gymnast Simone Biles at #Rio2016) to activist (deray mckesson’s archive of Ferguson 2014) to the blatantly promotional (this Bud’s for you).

So kind of like Instagram’s new stories, but with fewer captions written on the pictures and more of a focus on unfolding events. To be fair, Moments have been around since 2015,  but Instagram wasn’t interested in stories till people liked them on Snapchat.

Too little, too late?

Coverage of Twitter isn’t focused on its ability to cover then news -- it’s been focused on Twitter’s reputation as one of the least friendly places online (links mostly sfw, but the topics gets…icky). Abuse has been a long-standing problem for Twitter, and it has an impact. People routinely use nicknames for a certain Presidential candidate to avoid drawing the attention of his followers, both human and bot. Microsoft had to pull an AI chatbot off the platform within 24 hours because it was learning abusive things.

Recently, Twitter did take action. Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently suspended for his role in encouraging abuse against actress Leslie Jones. Still, Twitter made sure to point out that the ban was because Yiannopoulos didn’t follow the terms of service, not due to anything he said.

Still, Yiannopoulos is gone, and Jones is doing some glorious live tweeting the Olympics.

Where to go from here?

Twitter has a mess on its hands. There’s high turnover with company leaders, a shrinking user base,  and the nasty reputation. Still, people don’t seem ready to give up on its potential. Charlie Warzel of Buzzfeed and Nausicaa Renner at the Colombia Journal Review both offer up insightful long reads about how Twitter found itself here and what it can do to turn things around.

The question is will things be turned around, or will the Fail Whale land forever?

 

About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

The Smart Approach to Influencer Marketing

August 8, 2016 - Posted by

From the videos we watch to the recipes we try, information and entertainment has gone social. As these new tastemakers and experts emerge, we scope their style on Instagram, laugh at their YouTube videos, and attempt their DIY blog suggestions.

People who make great content can build a loyal audience, and companies have found partnering with these influencers is an effective way to reach their fans.

Justin Goldsborough and Allie Wilmes from FleishmanHillard offered some tips for launching an influencer marketing campaign:

  • Do your homework – Automated tools like Tapfluence can help you get started, but don’t underestimate the Influencerimportance of getting familiar with an influencer before you start working together. Don’t expect a blogger known for vegetarian recipes to suddenly start cooking steaks, and a YouTube star known for off-color humor may not be a good fit for a conservative company.
  • Get a good contract – Allie and Justin couldn’t stress this one enough. Spell out your expectations for your content requirements and compensation. If you don’t want an influencer to work with your competition for 90 days, now is the time to discuss it. You may be able to negotiate reuse rights for content that the influencer creates.
  • Let the influencer be creative – Giving up creative control can be terrifying for many companies, but when it comes to working with influencers, it can make the difference between a successful campaign and a failure. Influencers know what will resonate with their audiences. Too much “sales speak” is likely to backfire.
  • Tie the campaign to KPIs or key performance indicators – Well-done influencer campaigns can do much more than generate clicks.  Something as simple as an exclusive coupon code can help you track the impact.
  • Keep it legal – As influencer marketing gets increasingly popular, the FTC has established guidelines for endorsement.  Kim Kardashian, Lord & Taylor and Cole Haan have all found themselves in trouble.  Don’t add your brand to the list.

Want to learn more? Check out the presentation for more great tips and case studies.

 

About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

Excited about that event in South America?

August 1, 2016 - Posted by

You know, that event that happens every four years, where teams come from around the world to take part in athletic activities? Rule 40The one happening in a famous beach city in Brazil?

Most of us know them as the 2016 Summer Olympics. But according to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Rule 40, we have to be careful what we call it.

Rule 40 is a part of the Olympic Charter that controls how an athlete’s likeness is used for promotions during the event. According to Sports Illustrated, “Rule 40 was established to ‘to preserve the unique nature of the Olympic games by preventing over-commercialization’ and to protect Olympic sponsors, who spend millions of dollars for exclusive marketing rights during the Olympics.”

It prevents what the IOC defines as ambush marketing, or attempts by non-sponsoring companies to use the games to promote itself using certain key terms, like 16 Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Medal, Challenge, Games or Victory.

It puts brands such as Under Armor, New Balance and Oiselle on notice. All three have long-standing sponsorship relationships with well-known athletes competing in the games. The guidelines have loosened in recent years, but it still leaves athletes watching their language online.

Companies are watching their language, too. The United States Olympic Committee has warned non-sponsors to avoid using trademarked terms in hashtags. That means no #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA.

You can learn more about Athlete Marketing Guidelines for Team USA on their website. Or you can join in the protests with a generic running shirt of your own.

Just be careful what you tweet.

 

About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.

Are you ready for some #ChiefsCamp?

July 19, 2016 - Posted by

Have you signed up to go to one of our VIP #ChiefsCamp dates during Kansas City Chiefs training camp? You might be wondering what this event is going to be like. It's something we've never tried before, and we're already very excited about it. We've been working with James Royer and his Chiefs social media team, and from what they have planned - this is something you're not going to want to miss.

Here are a few updates on what you can expect:Official #ChiefsCamp Shirt

  • Breakfast! The Chiefs team is providing an amazing spread.
  • When you buy a ticket to this event, ALL of the proceeds will go to a Chiefs' player charity. This time the beneficiary for the event will be Noyes Home For Children in St. Joseph, Mo., an organization that provides and care for children by caring for them and giving parents the time and support they need to solve life’s challenges.
  • There will be a special SnapChat filter for camp as well as SnapChat Face Swap stations built around the area. Fans will be able to swap faces with some of the Kansas City Chiefs players.
  • There will be an official LIMITED EDITION social t-shirt available to attendees.
  • Have you ever tried a Gif’n Station? This is a device that takes three pictures in succession to create an animated gif, and then allows you to share that gif on your social media pages. (This will be on the Sunday date only.)
  • Do you like Chiefs merchandise? The fantastic Chiefs social media team will also be giving away a signed Chiefs jersey to one lucky attendee, and have some additional items to give to the entire crowd throughout the day(s).
  • We aren't sure who yet, but there WILL be a player visit to the tent after practice available for autographs and pictures.
  • There is also one final surprise that includes a special exclusive SMCKC group merchandise discount. We don't have all the details, but we will unveil this at the event.

Have we piqued your interest? This city loves the Chiefs and they definitely know how to go big. We are excited for these two dates and hope to see you there. If you haven't gotten tickets for one of the dates yet, it's not too late (although tickets are going fast). Head to our eventbrite page to sign up today.

How to kill a Jigglypuff

July 18, 2016 - Posted by

Bet that got your attention, didn't it?jigglypuff

Last week our team lead came in and asked, “How would you like to do something I’m almost positive you’ve never, ever done before?” I’ve found that anytime someone asks me that question I’m going to answer “I’m in” 90 percent of the time. Then, he unveiled this:

“You know the atrium area? We’ve got a Pokémon GO character in the center of it. People are coming through the chained area after hours and it’s setting off alarms. I need you to get rid of it.”

With the recent release of Pokemon GO, Nintendo has literally hit pay dirt with something that appeals to a wide range of individuals. “On July 8, only 2 days after the app’s release, it was already installed on 5.16 percent of all Android devices in the US,” writes Joseph Swartz in Digital Vision. “Over 60 percent of those who have downloaded the app in the US are using it daily, meaning around 3 percent of the entire US Android population are users of the app.”

But what do you do if one of these popular characters finds its way into a place it shouldn’t?

He explained that there is a webpage you can go to essentially let Pokémon GO know and have it removed. Turns out, we’re not alone. “Pokestops” as they’re called, are showing up in inappropriate spots all around the United States.

Rolling Stone reports, “As people roam the landscape on the prowl for Pikachu and other Pokémon, there’s been quite a few stories about odd Pokestop locations, including graveyards, hospital delivery rooms and Holocaust memorials.”

On the page, you can submit a request to have the Pokémon removed and then Nintendo’ Pokémon team goes to work to make it happen. Are you in a similar situation? Here’s how to go about giving the ax to an unwanted character:

  1. Go to the Pokémon support page.
  2. Select “Report an issue with a Gym or Pokestop” the “Submit a Request”How to get rid of a Pokemon
  3. On this page it will ask you for information about the location of Pokémon including the latitude and longitude. You can find this by using Google's map help
  4. In addition, it could be helpful to include a screenshot from Google maps or Pokémon GO (with the Pokémon in question) to help them see the actual place.
  5. Click “Submit”

Afterward you’ll get a web confirmation that says the team has received the request and is working on it. You’ll also get an automated email that says they’re no longer accepting suggestions for Pokemon Gyms or Pokestops. That part threw me, but I’m hopeful that Nintendo has things under control.

I’ll keep you posted on how things progress, but in the meantime I would love to know if you’ve experienced anything like this either personally or professionally.

 

About the author:
Marc Vasquez is the Communications Co-Chair for the Social Media Club of Kansas City. He possesses more than 16 years of both agency and corporate public relations and social media experience. Marc is also a past president of the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America chapter. He holds the Accreditation in Public Relations credential which has been established as a way to recognize public relations practitioners who have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications. By night is the sidekick Robin to his superhero 8-year-old son who believes himself to be Batman. You can generally find Marc via @vasquez007.