The benefits of social media and an online presence.

Archive for September, 2013

Going Viral: The Wallops Island Frog Photobomb

VIRAL: vi·ralˈvīrəl: adjective
  1. relating to or involving an image, video, piece of information, etc., that is circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another.

The beauty of something going viral is it cannot be anticipated or explained. But it does need to be capitalized on and Wallops Island is about to learn just how.

If you live on the Delmarva peninsula or are at all interested in space, you’ve probably heard of Wallops Island. It’s home to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. From what I’ve seen over the past years, the facility has struggled trying to spread national awareness of its frequent rocket launches. With so much going on, I would love to see the public more involved in the facilities’ discoveries. However, press mentions post-launch are few and far between. That is until you introduce an  unexpected star: the photobombing frog.

On Friday, I went into Delmarva Public Radio and heard laughing about the Wallops Island rocket launch of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE). After trying to understand the story my coworkers were describing, I eventually went straight to my favorite search engine. Come on guys, Google! Did you not pay attention to my last post?

Well, here’s what I found:

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Photo credit to National Geographic.

Do you see him?!

That floating black shadow sailing through the air is the frog that has put Wallops Island on the map. Here’s a lesson in going viral: Google “Wallops Island frog” and you’ll get 76,400 hits. Not to mention articles featuring the frog on the websites of National Geographic, Time, Slate, and Fox.

Though unexpected, this popularity is something Wallops Island has to capitalize on quickly. There are plenty of creative ways to ride this free publicity to the end. How about a Twitter account for the frog that tweets cute and clever quips about the launch and future launches? Or even unofficially labeling the frog a mascot of the Wallops Island launches and incorporating him into public awareness events? Take advantage of going viral while you can because the internet moves so fast it may not remember you tomorrow.

Do you think Wallops Island can keep the buzz going? I hope so!

I’ll Never Google Bing.

If the internet was the world, search engines would be the roads. And the traffic signs. And the maps. And the city hall full of records. And the tour guides. And well, you get the picture. Let’s just say search engines are extremely important when marketing an event, business, or idea online.

Everyone has a preference to their favorite search engine but mine would have to be Google. The aesthetics of the page comfort me because in my mind Google is what a search engine should look like, being that it was the first I ever saw. Though the Bing commercials are hilarious, they don’t do much to market the actual search engine to me.

Visually, Bing is much more colorful and has a lot happening on the home page while Google’s white space makes me think it’s more simple and capable. Bing apparently markets itself as a simpler “decision engine” because it separates results into categories and breaks down results based on what it believes you are looking for. The stubborn part of me doesn’t want this in a search engine. Not having to filter through unrelated content would be nice, but the greedy part of me wants to see everything that’s out there. I want to know that I’m not missing a single possible webpage, lead, or piece of research when I type my key words into the search bar. Would you rather your results be filtered for you or have them all at your fingertips?

To be honest, I have hardly ever used Bing. When Salisbury University computers have a quick search in the corner of Internet Explorer and it’s sponsored by Bing, I type the word Google into it, click the first link, and then type my actual search into Google’s search bar. Not once have I ever been accidentally routed to Google and typed in Bing. I recognize that this has a lot to do with me not wanting to change. But hey, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

A Public Radio Overhaul: Press Release Chaos

First thing’s first. I recognize that I’m going to be spilling my experience with Delmarva Public Radio all over this blog. You may get tired of hearing about it, but I’m not saying “look at me and my fancy radio position.” Every job is cool and exciting in a different way and I’m just ready to share the inside knowledge of what I get to witness and be a part of as the Membership Assistant.

Moving on! Today was a huge day for Delmarva Public Radio!

After the appointment of a new General Manager this summer, Dana E. Whitehair, Delmarva Public Radio is doing a much needed overhaul of the station. Salisbury University has invested a lot of time and money into sustaining public radio and DPR is doing its part to generate and keep listeners by making changes.

Today, I arrived at the office in a purple plaid shirt and jeans believing it to be a normal data-input/money processing type of day. Boy, was I wrong. My director Angela Byrd receives a telephone call while I’m in her office and she looks at me, smiles, tells the person on the phone that I am there as well as what I am wearing, gives a thumbs up and then hangs up. I had just become the student fill-in for a press release photo op.

After the Public Relations director for the college arrived and I borrowed my boss’s shirt for the photo, we rushed to gather information about the new programming that Delmarva Public Radio will begin airing on Monday. This press release is the first time anyone outside of the station will know that DPR is changing its format. DPR listeners are loyal and eternally supportive, but they are also the majority funding behind the station. The press release had to assure the community that the programming changes will catch the attention of a broader spectrum of listeners and ultimately lead to a stronger station. And it did!

In between photo ops and press release emails, we ran to the publications office to submit work orders for a new logo, bumper stickers, and an updated media kit. Publicity and promotion are no joke! And the public relations world moves faster than you realize.

In the end, Delmarva Public Radio officially announced its new programming schedule. And I finally realized that the real world is just as chaotic as the world of homework and college classes.

Sometimes you just have to wing it!

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Delmarva Public Radio Conquers the Social Media Trinity

The Social Media Trinity is composed of blogs, microblogging, and social networks. This is according to Lon Safko who wrote The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools & Strategies for Business Success. And if the title has the word Bible in it, he must know what he’s talking about right?

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At Delmarva Public Radio, we’ve been able to build at least a small following on each of these social media platforms. Kara Dahl Russell, our classical radio host, who has the softest sweetest voice you could imagine, has been able to manage and maintain a classical music blog for the station. Listeners can interact and ask questions if they would like, but she also shares the newest cds that she receives each week so listeners can know what to look forward to and what period the music hails from. Personally, I am not a huge fan of classical music so I understand it is easy to be dismissive of a blog such as this, but those who are classical listeners take full advantage. Kara spread Delmarva Public Radio’s and WSCL’s name thorough out the digital world with the creation of an easy to use blog.

Delmarva Public Radio also has a Twitter which is used quite often! I am lucky enough to be one of a few staff members who are able to post and retweet information to followers. At the moment, DPR’s Twitter is used primarily to tweet about which musical selections are coming up on WSCL and at what time, as well as links to new articles posted on www.delmarvapublicradio.net. Letting listeners know what to look forward to allows them to tune in to their favorites and journalism posts keep DPR active as a reliable source for news. What we really need to work on is our interaction with followers. I began thanking Twitter users if they followed us hoping to inspire conversations and I tried to start participating in trending topics but it is rare that they apply. Hopefully, we can create our own hash tag for the membership drive this fall and spread awareness through that!

Finally, DPR is best when it comes to social networking. Our listeners are not as active online so it is rare for conversations to begin on our Facebook page, but they are active in viewing and liking posts. On the rare occasion that they do comment or inspire thought, we are at a disadvantage because of the public relations aspect of monitoring the page. We want to encourage thought, but these comments are often made on articles related to political and social issues and we must remain partisan. Over the summer, I created a Pinterest page for the radio station. I have boards such as DPR Events and DPR News to spread awareness of what the station is doing. However, I also have boards for cool tips and tricks and creative ideas. These boards allow Pinterest users who may not even know who we are to find us and repin our content. This social network has been a way to connect with potential listeners through shared interests.

Delmarva Public Radio has come a long way with the social media trinity but there are still improvements to be made. I look forward to making them!

 

 

Why No One Responds to Your E-mails

Let’s face it. No one responds to your e-mails.

If you have any marketing or sales experience, you know this for a fact. But in the public relations field, e-mail is one of the fastest ways to communicate a message, make an impression, or promote an event or organization. So what are we doing wrong?

First: If you haven’t already, you need to create an e-mail signature. Go into the basic settings of your email account and there should be an html box that will allow you to insert a signature. If you can’t find this setting, try searching the word “signature” in the help section. Once you find it, do not just type in your name. You should include all necessary information about your company and position, education if necessary, and contact information. For example:

Michelle Malinger
D
elmarva Public Radio

Membership Assistant

Salisbury University 2013
Communication Arts Major 

410-555-5555
mmalinger1@gulls.salisbury.edu
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mmalinger

This establishes you as a professional and gives information to those you may want to contact you in the future.

Next: Throw your mind back to primary school. When you wrote your first Valentine, what did it say?

Dear Ryan,
I like those new shoelaces your mom got you. Be my boyfriend.
Love,
Michelle

You had a salutation and a closing. Don’t be afraid to write them again! A “Greetings” or “Good morning” shows your personality and a “Sincerely” or “Regards” politely brings your e-mail to a close. These simple steps make you sound a thousand times more professional and are actually aesthetically pleasing when you look at your finished product.

Also: Don’t neglect your subject line! How often have you trashed an e-mail before even opening it? All the time, right? The key to a successful e-mail is making the recipient want to open it. Make them curious. Show them how they will benefit from your connection. For example, if you’re inviting them to a fundraising event for Salisbury University’s soccer team, tell them “Your classmates need your help.” Or something that will invoke a sense of obligation to their school community.

Finally: Make it short and sweet. In a fast paced world, we scan articles and e-mails when we actually care what they are saying, not to mention something we may disregard as unimportant to us. The recipient will ask “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM?) and you should answer immediately. Even if it’s an emotional benefit or recognition from peers. Be honest and to the point. Tell the necessary dates if it is an event and provide contact information even it is provided in your signature.

If you can successfully master the art of e-mailing, your response rates will improve greatly and fewer e-mails will need to be sent. Work smarter, not harder! Good luck!

How to Successfully Fundraise Using Twitter

Microblogging has taken social media by storm in recent years. If you’re up to date, this means your business, organization, or even athletic club probably has a Twitter to send immediate updates to customers, supporters, or participants. But why stop there?

Twitter can also be used to promote a successful online or in-person event by using easy public relations tips. Using previous blogs on the subject and my own personal knowledge of Twitter, I’ve gathered a list of the top tips for fundraising successfully on the site.

 

1.) Build a strong following.

Your message will only go as far as the people who hear it so make sure they’re listening. Garner followers by tweeting and retweeting relevant information to your cause so that like-minded individuals can find you. Don’t forget to include hash tags such as the name of your town, i.e. #Salisbury, #SalisburyAthletics, or your organizations area of interest, i.e. #nonprofit, #publicradio, #fundraising. Hash tags will allow people to find you but staying active on Twitter and posting thoughtful information will make them click the follow button.

2.) Make a clear call to action.

As with any public relations effort, be clear and concise with the message you are trying to send. Highlight the “why” and “how” of what you are trying to accomplish. For example if you are planning a fundraiser to benefit the local animal shelter, let supporters and donors know exactly where the profits will go, i.e. “All proceeds will go directly to purchasing supplies to feed and house locally abandoned animals.” Don’t forget to let them know why they should care about the cause or event! What is in it for them?

3.) Promotion.

Have you ever planned an event and then realized last-minute that the advertising flyers were never put up? Now imagine those flyers could have been available instantly on the internet or sent directly to everyone’s smart phones. That’s Twitter. It’s one of the best and free ways to promote your fundraising event and encourage support. The news feed moves so quickly that several times a day during your drive or before your event you could post updates on why they should support it and when it is taking place.

4.) Recognize volunteers and donors and keep supporters up to date.

Making supporters feel involved is the key to great public relations. Everyone wants to feel as if they are included or directly a part of the cause. Publicly thanking specific groups or individuals for their efforts will show others that you truly appreciate the help while making those individuals feel important. Tweeting pictures of volunteers working or participants setting up and preparing for your event will include followers in the process and gather their interest.

5.) Be personable!

Social media is about giving a face to your cause or showing followers that you have spunk and personality. You’re speaking to a new audience and generation, don’t be afraid to make jokes or respond playfully. The more likable you are as a Twitter user, the more followers will be willing to interact and successfully support your cause.

6.) Don’t lose your followers.

The event may be over but don’t hang up your Twitter towel just yet. Keep your followers engaged and stay active on the site. Maybe not as active as you were when building hype for your event but remain consistent. There is nothing worse than a family member who only shows up when they need money. If you’re going to be a part of the Twitter family, remain a part of the family and enjoy!

 

Twitter is for more than just meal updates and song lyrics. Twitter can successfully be used to plan a future event or fundraiser for you and I hope these tips help!

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