The State of Video in the Social Media World

PRSA Video

Think about how Communicators and PR professionals used video ten years ago…Video News Releases…B-Roll provided to broadcasters, Satellite Media Tours…Those tactics were as effective as possible at the time in telling your brand’s or organization’s story but still hit-and-miss in nature and a demanded huge resources.

Now think about the changes in communications in the past ten years. Not only has new technology forced us to change, but also forced a major shift in how people (not targets!) want to see your story.

We’ve moved from audiences to communities, from broadcasting to engaging, and from telling to sharing.

Video is arguably the most powerful way to share, engage, and be a part of any community. How are you using it to tell your story?

PRSA Chicago is hosting a panel discussion on March 20 with 3 pros who will share their experience as well as tips and tactics to help you make videos the most effective tools on your workbench.

Our panelists include:

 Gregory Lipman, Senior Vice President, Digital Content Director, Edelman Digital

Ed Lamoureaux, Senior Vice President, WestGlen Communications

Clifton O’Neal, Senior Director of Communications, TransUnion


When: Tuesday, March 20, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Where: Maggiano’s Little Italy, 516 North Clark Street, Chicago

Event Registration: Member, $37.00/NonMember, $45.00/Student, $37.00

Sponsored by MSL Chicago

Google Cookies That Are Hard To Swallow

Here’s a guest post from my friend Jack Campisi – Thanks JC!

Riding home from New York on the train yesterday I noticed something interesting. The signs on the train always catch my eye for the first few minutes. They range from scotch ads to airlines and investment firms. But this time it was different. It was four different ads for Google. Google has been hitting the airwaves on TV a lot lately, so I figured this would be along those lines. You know, look at all you can do with the Google suite of sites and platforms. 

But when I took a closer look, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was basically a description of cookies… what they are, why they are used and best of all, how to delete them. The gist was that cookies help a site remember you so you don’t have to start all over each time you visit.

I have to admit, I felt a little weird standing up, walking over and snapping a picture of the sign, but I did not care. I had to do it. And it’s not THAT uncommon these days, I guess.

I had to get a picture because of all the times I have had to explain cookies to people and then how to delete them. Not only did I want to steal some of their wording, but I thought it was a fascinating commentary on the current internet climate.

If you are on YouTube or Google you probably have seen the overt messages about the upcoming privacy policy changes. Or maybe you’ve read one of the countless articles retweeted on Twitter recently that explain and comment on it. If you have not, you should read up. There are going to be a lot more eyes on your information, particularly your Gmail, that you will want to be aware of.

Whether the new Google changes are good or bad, I am not here to comment on. I just thought that it was an amazing case of education, proactive damage control and PR to help deal with the potential backlash that will come when this all goes live.

Cookies are one of those things that many people don’t fully understand and instantly instill an aura of distrust. It’s funny that a word like “cookie”, that had always been such a happy term, has morphed into the poster child of the Big Brother Era.


Financial Social Media: Institutions Must Monitor Ratings and Reviews

Today’s post is by guest blogger Jack Serpa of Engage121 discussing the constantly changing landscape in social media media and online engagement for financial services.

Financial institutions have a new reason to pay serious attention to online rating and review sites, according to a small article with big impact in the Monday, November 7th edition of Wall Street Journal.

According to WSJ:  “The [audit] manual also encourages its auditors to consider complains lodged not only with the [Consumer Financial Protection] Bureau, but with such political actors as state attorney Generals and “on-line consumer complaint boards such as ripoffreport and”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created with regulatory authority that far exceeds current financial industry regulations.  Banks have long endured regulatory audits for possible “unfair” or “deceptive” practices when conducting business with consumers. However, the CFPB has the newly expanded authority, granted by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Law, to look for “abusive” acts.

The first concern for banks is that the definition of “abusive” remains unclear.  The second and larger concern for banks is the CFPB can source online rating and review sites for evidence of possible abusive acts.  The article mentions two review sites as examples: and  Engage121 monitors these two among the top forty consumer rating and review sites.

Evidence of this expanded authority was first published (buried) in mid-October in an 802 page tome called “Supervision and Examination Manual – Version 1.0”.

Last Wednesday, the brawn of CFPB’s expanded authority came to light when the new head of the Bureau, Mr. Raj Date, addressed Congress.  Mr. Date described how the CFPB is empowered to “focus on the consumer” when regulating the nation’s financial institutions.

Engage121 is a social media management application that monitors all the consumer review sites that impact financial institutions, plus twenty social platforms and blog publishing tools, all in one integrated interface.  The Engage121 application allows our financial clients—ranging from large insurance and financial planning companies to regional and community banks—to engage consumers while maintaining compliance with regulatory institutions including FINRA and the SEC.

For more information or guidance on monitoring social media platforms and review sites for financial institutions, please contact Jack Serpa, executive vice president of Engage121, at 203-849-7246,, or @jackserpa.

Google+ Insiders

What are you calling the people in your circles on Google+ ?  They’re not Facebook Friends or Twitter Followers or LinkedIn Connections.

I’m using the term Insiders, as in someone Inside the Circle.  That seems appropriate, simple, and just cheesy enough to work. And once the business edition pages get rolling, I can just hear the tagline “Want to be a ______ Insider?” rolling out of marketing meetings.

What do you think we should call them?

And, if you’re on G+ and want to connect, catch me here.


Social Media: Get In, Get Out, Get On With Your Day

Today’s guest post is from my friend Jack Campisi of Engage121. When working with his clients who range from large franchise systems to small business owners, Jack’s advice is to “Get In, Get Out, Get on with your Day!” – a concept I love! JC reports in here from a conference where he’s leading a discussion on SM basics.

Jack Campisi
Jack Campisi: Get In, Get Out, Get On With Your Day.


Platos Closet Social Media Group

ran two great workshops on the basics of social media today at the Plato’s Closet Convention in Las Vegas, and I tweeted pics of the groups during the sessions. Here’s a shot of one of the groups.


One of the great things about these events is that even though I am teaching a class, I also end up learning a lot. One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses, and franchises like this, is that the level of social media knowledge varies greatly from person to person. And all of these people, no mater their social media savvy, are all busy. So the objective today was to help them understand the social media landscape, rules of the road and the tools at their disposal. No small task.

One of the things I encouraged the group to do, especially the newbies, was to not jump head first into the deep-end of the social media pool. Start slow… get your toes wet. Start to surf the various sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs. See what’s being said and done. Get an idea of how it works. Get the lay of the land. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a better idea of where you want to start in social media. 

The Difference Between Facebook and Twitter That No One Seems to Get

Apples and Oranges

Many people used Facebook for a quite a while before using Twitter. For many, this may have created a misunderstanding that Twitter works the way Facebook works: you post content and people with whom you’re connected will see it in their feed. Sure, it can work like that (and does for those who follow only 100 or so people).  But here’s the little secret that none of your followers will tell you…

How Twitter Really Works:

1. You post content and none of your followers read it.

What?!? They don’t read it!?! At all?!? Hold on, it’s about to make sense.

2. Then, when anyone, follower or not, searches for a name, keyword, topic, or hashtag, they see your content.

So when we all say great content is key, we’re not kidding. High quality, high value, interesting content – with an attractive headline or catchy wording – is much, much more important on Twitter than your number of followers. Remember, all of those followers aren’t really reading everything you write. Sure they say they are, but Tweeps are nice like that.

More to think about: RTs not only matter, but also perhaps are the most important thing besides quality of content. We used to think about RTs as a great way of your content getting shared into new groups of people and communities. But, no one is reading all of your followers’ Tweets either. Or your followers’ followers’ Tweets. But, once again, it’s all about search. If anyone searches about your topic and sees multiple RTs pop up with your content, I’m betting that it will get read and your links will get clicked more often than if it only shows up once.

So, remember these Twitter points:

Interesting content      =   Most Important

Searchable Tweets      =   Very Important

RTs of yours        =   Important

Number of followers =   Not so much…

Gini Dietrich – Social Media for Senior Executives

Here are some video highlights from last month’s PRSA Chicago program. I had the honor of moderating the discussion and Q & A session with Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich and founder of the new SpinSucksPro. Video edited by Jack Newell. Enjoy!

And, if you haven’t already registered for the best networking event of the year for anyone in PR, Communications, Marketing, and Social Media, do yourself a huge favor and reserve your ticket now for the 2011 PRSA Chicago Skyline Awards Gala. Register here!

PRSA Chicago Skylines

Four Things To Do If Social Media Is NOT Increasing Sales

I won’t pretend to have some secret formula for Social Media ROI for franchises or any other types of organizations. I’ll leave that to the software companies who have recently popped up and discovered how huge the franchising industry is and want to build your Facebook page…

What I will tell you is this: you need to measure Social Media activity against your bottom line.

Is there a correlation? Is SM making an impact on sales, leads, customers, or your other most important metrics?

Social Media ROI
Is Social Media Making an Impact on Your Sales?

If Social Media engagement is increasing your numbers, then keep going!

If not, then you need to do one of these four things: 

1. Increase Social Media activity

2. Change Social Media tactics

3. Improve the content

4. Stop using Social Media

I don’t advocate #4, but it may be the right thing for some organizations. Let’s focus on the other three.

1. Increase Social Media Activity

How often are you engaging in conversations with consumers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and all of the others? How often are you updating your blog(s) with something other than marketing materials and ads? 

Too many organizations rely on the Field of Dreams method of social media places: build it and wait for them to come. Sure there are 600 million users of Facebook, but how many actually run to your fan page once a week?

Best Practice: Post engaging content to your pages three times per week to set a cadence. 

2. Change Social Media Tactics
Maybe you’ve been posting to a Facebook Fan Page but getting no conversion of fans to customers. Perhaps your targeted consumers aren’t “living” on Facebook; they may be more apt to engage you on Twitter, a blog, or a LinkedIn group.  You must cover all bases and try all avenues to find your community. 

Best Practice: add a new platform or channel every 60 days for the rest of 2011. And, try setting up individual Fan Pages, profiles, or blog sites for each store, location, or franchisee.

3. Improve the Content

Is there value for others? Or is there value in this content for only you and your organization?

Here’s a good test: Take a quick look right now at the content on your blog(s), Facebook pages, or Twitter account. Is it all press releases, announcements about your company, promotions, and broadcasts about products and how you’re better than the other guys?  Guess who’s going to engage with you over this content? No one (except your co-workers and maybe some current customers who are being kind). 

Best Practice: include marketing content in one out of every ten posts. The other nine will draw consumers into the conversation about the industry, lifestyle, or other information in which they see value.


Social Media Marketing for Franchises – Webinar

I’m pleased to be part of an upcoming free webinar with some smart marketers in the franchise industry. And, this is your invitation to join us for free! On Tuesday, February 8th,
Engage121 is hosting a free online panel discussion called Social Media Marketing for Franchises: Approaches to Making it Work. Panelists include:
AK Stout: Founder, Saying It Social 

Bill James: CEO, We Engage LLC 

Jack Monson: Vice President, Engage121

Tammy Nienaber: Communications Director, Great Clips, Inc.  

Thomas Scott: CEO, Brand Journalists 

Moderated by: Nick Perold, Marketing Manager, Engage121


See below for more details and click register to reserve your spot. This is highly recommended for Franchisors, CMOs, Marketing Directors, PR Execs, and Social Media Managers and will be a terrific lead-in to more marketing conversations at this year’s IFA Conference.

  Register Now


Title: Social Media Marketing for Franchises
Date: Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST
Cost: Free

The franchisor-franchisee relationship is a unique one – combining oversight and support. As a result, when it comes to marketing and promotion, franchisors and franchisees often find themselves asking “whose responsibility is this?” – and the answers are different for every system. Join Engage121 for a webinar on February 8th as we host a panel of franchise industry experts who will present different approaches to making social media marketing work for franchisors and franchisees alike. We’ll spend an hour discussing topics and answering questions from the audience such as: 

–  Should franchisees operate their own Facebook pages? 

–  Is social media marketing covered by the national ad fund? 

–  How do brands protect brand guidelines on the social web? 

–  Can franchisees opt-out of (or into) social media promotions?

Social Geek Radio

Social Geek Radio

Please check out
Social Geek Radio this Thursday night at 9pm ET / 8pm CT. I am thrilled to be the guest on the show’s first episode of 2011!

The show is co-hosted by Deb Evans and brand new co-host AK Stout and focuses on the use of social technologies and connecting with others via various social platforms.

You can join us live or catch the stream afterwards here. Or you may pick it up on iTunes here.


Listen Here!