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Old Glory waves at our Tennessee home

Old Glory waves at our Tennessee home

What could be more All-American than ice cream, apple pie and changing trends? Yes a fickle public is probably as common in the U.S. as watermelon on the 4th of July.

Recently WFHG Supertalk Radio Host Steve Hawkins called to ask me to discuss the latest trends in both social media and interpersonal communications. Just click on the top link next to Steve’s face and crank up your speakers a bit to hear the podcast of our interview since it took place from my mobile phone.

Steve and I cover the gamut,from what to post and what not to post online, what to watch in youth trends and what to wear on camera! Now that we’re officially at the half way point in the year let’s take a moment to reflect on our successes and enjoy. Have a wonderful 4th of July week friends!

 

 

 

 

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The following is a guest blog post from MarketingMel associate Sarah Kinsler. This is a follow up to our joint blog post about Vine created several weeks ago.

Sarah Kinsler using the new Instagram video feature.

Sarah Kinsler using the new Instagram video feature.

Just a few days ago, Facebook announced the release of Instagram’s new video feature. The new addition allows users to record videos up to 15 seconds (twice as long as Vine) and gives the option of editing the video with a filter.

During the first day of the new feature, over 5 million videos were created then uploaded using Instagram. Now, users across the world are shooting, editing, and sharing not only their pictures, but also their instant movies.

Here is my first attempt at an “Instagram Video Post”

Nothing worse than a rainy Monday.

(I’m complaining about a rainy Monday.)

While the upgrade seem like a great new way to share videos, some users argue that the new features are a negative for Instagram. The addition of the videos in the news feed slows the app down.  Many people say they “don’t care” about the videos and would rather see photos without having to rummage through the videos to find them.

What do you think? Is Instagram keeping up with the times by adding the video feature? Or should Instagram stick to its initial purpose of sharing cool and unique photos and leave the videos to other social media apps?

MarketingMel Associate Sarah Kinsler

MarketingMel Associate Sarah Kinsler

 

Sarah Kinsler is a member of the MarketingMel team. She creates marketing, public relations and social media strategies for Mel’s diverse group of business clients. 

 

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Kristen, Mel and Sarah

MarketingMel (center) with current intern Kristen Pierce and past intern Sarah Rowan who is now employed by the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce.

MarketingMel was honored to be featured in a recent issue of Ragan.com’s PR Daily for the post “How to Find a Job in Public Relations.”

Here is the link to that post in case you missed it and I have re-printed it below. It was my most popular blog post ever and I refreshed it when PR Daily asked if they could publish it.

It seems like every week I field a call from a desperate college student seeking advice on how to break into public relations. I’ve answered their questions so often that I thought I would jot down a few tips I’ve learned during my more than 25-year career.

1. Think strategically. What is your goal, and how can you accomplish it? Have a plan. Write it down as you would a business plan, and then work it.

2. Seek internships. Be sure to have one; they often lead to jobs. Furthermore, internships help you understand if this business is really for you. (It can be stressful!)

Treat an internship as if it’s a job. Be ready with a professional resume and photo. Be prepared with questions and skill sets you to have offer.

3. Set yourself up for success. Have an outlet after your internship. Look for opportunities, volunteer and play up your accomplishments. For example, my recent intern Sarah Rowan, was the top PR student at her community college. That impressed me.

4. Communicate with communicators. Communicate on their terms through their channels, and be sure to identify yourself. Since I founded my firm, there was only one time a college student reached out to me in such an engaging way that I asked to meet with him. If you want to see what the pros are doing, listen to Twitter chats like #soloPR and #journchat, and say hello.

5. Study the thought leaders. Look who’s leading the way in your chosen field, your community and the world. I treasure my virtual friendships with my international friends.

6. Innovate. Use the latest tools and learn about new ones. The communications field changes daily. Be sure you keep up with it. (My assistant and I recently used Vine to create a video message, and have fun, too.)

Are your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles up to date? Ninety-five percent of all headhunters are on LinkedIn, so you need to be there. Use YouTube to present yourself on video to a future employer. Skype is another handy tool.

7. Learn something new. Do you know a foreign language? Spend time abroad. Be open to opportunities elsewhere. There will never be a better time in your life to move somewhere and do something different. It will expose you to a new way of thinking.

8. Show kindness. Put the phone away in class and have some real face time with your teachers and friends. This goes for online behavior as well. Others can tell when you genuinely care about them.

9. Follow journalists. Media relations is part of public relations. Follow your favorite journalists and engage with them. I often chat on Twitter with my local news anchor, Josh Smith. We are both early risers, and our friendship has deepened with our regular Twitter banter.

10. Know your strengths and weaknesses, but focus on your strengths. Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Buckingham and Clifton is a book worth reading. It includes an easy-to-take online quiz that will help you determine your strengths.

11. Create your personal brand. Put some thought into this one. Again, there are some great books available (see Tom Peters’ article, The Brand Called You). Remember, your personal brand will follow you from job to job for the rest of your life.

What suggestions would you add to this list?

Mary Ellen Miller, “MarketingMel,” mentors a rising, young PR pro each year as part of her firm’s mission. Connect with her @MarketingMel. A version of this article originally appeared on MarketingMel.com.

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(Editor’s note: This article is co-authored by Mary Ellen Miller and Sarah Kinsler, a recent ETSU Public Relations graduate and assistant to MarketingMel.)

Sarah Kinsler,MarketingMel assistant and intern Kristen Pierce.

Sarah Kinsler,MarketingMel assistant and Mel’s intern Kristen Pierce, leaders in the next gen social networkers.

The once great love affair between America’s youth and Facebook  is over.  The social network, once the “craze” for teens a few years back, has slowly turned into a ghost town when it comes to high school aged kids.

 

Why you ask? It’s simple. Now that Facebook has become the chosen network for the middle aged and even seniors, teens are feeling a little “crowded.”  Now they aren’t sharing info, updates, jokes with just their friends, but with Grandma too! Another reason of course is teens are all about chasing new trends and being involved in the newest networks. So adios Facebook and Hello Snapchat, vine and Tumblr.

 

Snapchat, a mobile app sharing service, lets users take short video and photos, then allows users to send as a message.The unique thing about this app however is that once the message is seen, for a very short amount of time, it self destructs (or so teens believe). This is huge right now because teens find it fun that they can live in the moment and not worry about the consequences of a photo/video being taken for a permanent record.

 

Another popular app right now (number one on iTunes actually)  is called Vine. The is app was created by Twitter to take short video clips and mash it into one looping six second short video.  (Sarah and Mary Ellen created this video on Vine while waiting to be interviewed about recent youth trends at WJCW radio last week.)

 

Tumblr is also very big right now. This app is for photo blogging and creating fun profiles that represent the user. It provides teens with a since of creativity without the extended family watching their every move.

To listen to more of our discussion on youth and social media trends please listen to our podcast.  Prior to the podcast Mary Ellen posted on both her Facebook business and personal pages about youth leaving Facebook and got a resounding “yes” from parents who agreed. What trends are you seeing in social networking and youth communications these days?

 

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Editor’s note: The following is a guest blog post by attorney, friend (and former colleague from my law firm marketing days) Laura Steel Woods. She wrote this article in response to several well publicized social media identity theft cases.

Anyone remember prank phone calls?

Remember these?

Many years ago, before phones were used to update your Facebook status and check-in on Foursquare, they were used to call people. Sometimes, those calls included prank calls, which were intended to be a joke, for the most part. The thought that it might be “stealing” someone’s identity probably never crossed a prank caller’s mind. Now, with ready-made access to accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, or creation of a Facebook fan page, the implications of what used to amount to prank calling have ramped up significantly.

Think about it—most phone calls are directed to one person/location, where you consciously select a contact from your electronic phone book or pull the number from your head and individually enter the digits. Deliberate. Calculated. Intentional. Controlled.

Social media is different. The reach is intended to be broad. Control is relinquished, while not always thoughtful at least knowingly, once you post your status update. As with so many other parts of our lives, social media has certainly changed the landscape, or at least raised the stakes, of identity theft. Consider the mass in which we communicate. The “victims” in the SM setting, just like a prank call, go beyond the person whose identity was compromised and can include those who relied upon the prank information. The breadth of victims in the SM setting is vastly different. Whose identity is stolen does, in part, determine whether there are legal consequences, just like IRL (example: impersonating a police officer versus impersonating me. One will get you jail time, the other will get you a lot of student loan debt.).

The legal system faces a huge challenge as it attempts to keep up with a medium that can’t even keep up with itself. How do you handcuff wireless communications, the internet, the Web or avatars? The remarkable resiliency of the justice system will probably find a solution, just like it has in all other advances along the timeline of history. Another interesting watch will be how much push-back the legal system receives given how protective the public is over the “right” to do anything and everything it wants with social media.

What I’m pretty confident won’t change is the need for us to be ever-conscious of our social media presence. It may seem like a small inconvenience or, at worst, momentary embarrassment if your identity is pranked on social media. The speed at which information travels, though, can cause the fallout to balloon beyond your world before you know it.

Laura Steel Woods

Laura Steel Woods

 

Laura Woods is Vice President of Legal Affairs for a local consulting company. In a previous life, she was a labor/employment partner with a regional law firm where she started the firm’s social media program with a Twitter account and a blog. You can find her on Twitter as @LauraSWoods.

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Editor’s note: This week’s post is Part 2 of 2 from guest blogger Aundrea Y. Wilcox, a professional business consultant and author of the bookStartup Savvy: Strategies for Optimizing Small Business Survival and Success. After sharing the story of a pizza business that apparently overlooked its neighboring small business in a promotion, this week she provides tips to help rather than hurt business neighbors.

Bibleversecropped

“Loving thy neighbor” is not a new concept but some people still don’t get it.

  1.  Get to know them.  If you don’t know who your neighbors are, go visit them and introduce yourself.  Creating a bond will make all the difference in the world.  You should know who they are and what they do and they should be as familiar with you.  There is nothing worse than waiting until you actually have a problem and need their help, before you get to know your neighbors.  It may surprise you to discover that they’re not as bad as you might think, and they may actually want to see you be successful.  Ask if they need help with anything, and be willing to roll up your sleeves if they do. 
  2. Co-host an event together.  If possible, include logos of both businesses on the invitation or announcement.  You can also co-market the event on the web.  For example, if you both have a Facebook Business Page, cross-reference each other in your status update posts.  Before the event takes place, develop talking points to present to attendees and guests about your unique business relationship.
  3. Share best practices.  A best practice is a way of doing something that has worked for someone else to generate positive results, and has the potential to work similarly for others who choose to adapt it.  Sharing best practices is a great way to improve performance and overall quality of service.  Best practices keep us from having to “reinvent the wheel”—saving time and money that would be spent learning by trial and error.  So much more can be accomplished if businesses identify and share best practices that work for them.
  4. Respect them whether they join you or not.  Of course, you have to take time to evaluate whether a partnership with your neighbor fits your business goals.  Regardless of whether you work together or not, each of you still needs your own comprehensive marketing plan—just be open to your neighbor’s suggestions and ways you can mutually benefit from partnership.  If worst comes to worst and you can’t see eye to eye or you don’t have anything nice to say, take mom’s advice and bite your lip—don’t say anything at all—and don’t do anything that could come back on you.

Try these suggestions and you’ll see the difference you can make in whether your neighbor succeeds or not.  If nothing else, you’ll see how much easier it can be to be neighborly, supportive and happy coexisting together.  This is why “love thy neighbor” is so important if we ever hope to improve the statistics of small business survival and success.

Aundrea Wilcox Beating the Odds Other PromoAundrea Y. Wilcox is a professional business consultant and the author of the bookStartup Savvy: Strategies for Optimizing Small Business Survival and Success.  To connect with Aundrea, follow her on Twitter @StartupSavvy, and “Like” her Facebook Author Page, StartupSavvy.  Visit startupsavvy.biz for more insights and tips about small business ownership and management.

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Happy New Year 2013Happy New Year! A New Year is a chance to wipe the slate clean and start all over; or is it? In today’s society everything we do online is “out there” and will follow us for the rest of our lives and sometimes into the afterlife. (I know of two men who are widowed whose wives’ Facebook pages are still up. Legacy management will become a bigger part of personal brand management in the future.)

If you’re reading this blog post you may be wondering: Why do I need a personal brand? Let’s listen to personal brand guru Gary Vaynerchuk as he talks about the power of personal brand. I love his comments on “selling” and on the need to Google yourself. This video is well worth the four minutes it takes to listen.

If you’re an independent P.R. or Marketing Pro, be sure to join Amanda Littlejohn and me as we talk about the Power of Personal Branding at Solo PR Summit in Atlanta February 20th.
photo credit: —petpave— via photopin cc

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MarketingMel Discussing Personal Branding with REALTORS

MarketingMel Discussing Personal Branding with REALTORS

What are your New Year’s resolutions? When I conducted some video “man-on-the-street” interviews people fell into a couple of categories:

1- People who do not like to talk about resolutions. Most likely it’s because they remind them of broken promises but I’m going to share with you some tips you can act on right away and feel good about yourself in the New Year!

2- People don’t want to talk on camera. Some people obsess about their clothes, hair, make-up, etc. (This goes for men as well as women.) I created an award-winning video on “Ten Tips to Feel Comfortable on Camera” that can help you feel better on camera in the New Year.

No matter how you feel about resolutions, this is a great time of year to assess our personal brand. What we can do to better ourselves in 2013? Here are some tips to help you. I’ll be sharing more on personal branding as a speaker at the SoloPR Summit in Atlanta in February 2013. Hope you can join us!

  1. Google yourself– What do you find? Is it fresh? Is it negative? Does it need a PR boost?
  2. Does your image transfer to mobile? With more cell phones than toothbrushes in the world people will be on their phones more than ever in 2013. I recently optimized this site for mobile. You can check out your sites mobile likability by running it through http://www.mobilegrader.com/
  3. Who is your target audience? What communications channels are they using? Do you have your elevator speech planned for the next time you bump into Future Big Client X?
  4. How do you plan to promote your brand in 2013? Through guest media appearances? Your blog? Podcasts? Social media? Your e-mail signature? Video?
  5. Do you have an editorial calendar planned for 2013? Remember, you are a publisher. Now is the time to think seasonal and timely in your future writing and publishing. I posted a few social media calendar examples on the MarketingMel P.R. Facebook business page.

All the best of luck to you in 2013 and remember, your personal brand is always with you!

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