PR Crisis Comms in Action: Top 7 Social Media Fires of 2017 (So Far)

In a year where an average Joe has the gall to mansplain the Bible to the Pope on Twitter or a presidential spelling error (covfefe) can go viral, PR pros need to be more vigilant than ever about their brand’s social media presence. If pre-2016 media monitoring was a convenient tool in your martech stack, it’s now your right-hand man. (And if you aren’t listening to social on your smartphone, you need to start that, stat. For Meltwater customers, here are links to our iOS and Android apps.)

PR Crisis Comms Recap

Yes, it’s only June, but these PR brand fails are too good to wait until December to assess and learn from. Some of these missteps have caused companies to re-evaluate their business practices and put jobs on the chopping block, while others were minor snafus that the brands involved would surely like to forget. Thankfully, most recovered through quick-acting PR crisis comms. Those still in recovery mode usually faltered in their initial response, which sometimes led to additional crises while the brand was under a magnifying glass.

Without further ado, let’s count them down:

7. Shea Moisture

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Checking Shea Moisture’s sentiment score with the Meltwater media intelligence platform from the beginning of the year, we see that Shea Moisture consistently skews positive with a few blips. The biggest dip being these series of commercials in late April. Once the apology was offered, sentiment score began climbing and is now safely positive.

Shea Moisture, a brand offering hair care products, thought they were expanding their reach by including different hair types in a series of television commercials. They didn’t consider that despite this push for inclusivity, they included mostly white women with very few women of color (WOC)/black women represented. Seeing as WOC have been their core audience from the start, the backlash was furious. The WOC who had supported Shea Moisture felt like they were left behind as the company grew. In a candid mea culpa on IG, Shea Moisture copped to their error, explained how they made the mistake and vowed to do better in the future.

6. Adidas

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Adidas’ sentiment score is usually neutral, but sending this email sent it into a negative sentiment score. A month after the crisis, they experienced some volatility, but as of publication, Adidas is back to a neutral sentiment score.

Adidas congratulates Boston Marathon “survivors.” There is such a thing as really bad timing, Adidas learned this the hard way when they sent an email congratulating Boston Marathon participants. In the tone-deaf email, the subject line was: “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” Social media was quick to admonish and remind them that the 2013 tragedy wasn’t far enough in the rearview mirror.

Adidas immediately issued an apology, acknowledging brand #fail, and the crisis didn’t balloon. In responses and retweets, you’ll see their audience debating and even defending them. Because of the quick response by their comms team, they were able to show genuine remorse in their apology, and their message was welcomed by their community.

5. Juicero

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Despite the bad press that Juicero received from the Bloomberg video, that news wasn’t the worse sentiment score for the wifi-enabled juicer this year, that goes to the announcement that one of its founding team members was jumping ship in late January. And while the uselessness of the juicer caused a general negative sentiment score since April as of publication of this post, the sentiment is now skewing positive.

Juicero is a company that makes wifi-enabled devices for juicing fruits and veggies. When a Bloomberg video revealed that the $400 (previously, $700) Juicero Press wasn’t actually needed to squeeze the company’s single-serving packets of chopped fruits and vegetables, the mockery on social media was brutal. Turns out that using your hands and a little pressure was almost as effective. Amidst the criticism, Juicero became a poster child for VC excess. The new CEO, even when faced with the reality of the video, was unwilling to back down on the product’s value proposition, so Juicero remains a running jokeRefunds for the pricey juicer didn’t seem to halt the negative articles. Given the huge overhead in manufacturing consumer goods, Juicero’s prospects for survival are still in question.

4. Fyre Festival

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Sentiment score can be tricky when schadenfreude takes over and the audience expresses joy over a brand’s crisis. Since those actually affected by the failure of the festival is a small portion of the social media audience discussing Fyre. (Which is to say, it’s hard to parse sarcasm in social media language.)

Organizing a music festival is a lot to take on. But despite the effort required, each year, a few new ones are produced (some make it, some don’t). Adding a new twist, Billy McFarland and musician Ja Rule decided that they’d launch a luxury version with headliners Blink-182, Migos, and Major Lazer. The destination was a private island in the Bahamas, and tickets ran from $2.5k to $250k for deluxe packages.

Presale tickets promised amenities like villa-style housing, gourmet catering, beach yoga, bikini-clad models, and yachts to lounge on. Instead, the well-off people who arrived on the island found a “disaster tent city” with no villas, no bands, and no models. Turns out the organizers were much more adept at influencer PR than PR crisis comms (not to mention event planning). Instagram photos document bread and cheese sandwiches in place of gourmet meals, leaving those who couldn’t afford the ticket rubbing their hands in glee. Schadenfreude is an addictive brew for those who had anticipated feeling FOMO.

3. Pepsi

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A big brand like Pepsi is bound to inspire wide ranges of sentiment and we see this using the Meltwater media intelligence platform. The Kendall Jenner “Live for Now Moments Anthem” commercial is a low point on the graph, April 4th, but notice how March 19th is a lower point? It’s the 20th anniversary of the Spice Girl’s Pepsi advertisement. This week, at least, Pepsi is firmly in positive sentiment score territory.

It’s hard to believe that the Pepsi “Live for Now Moments Anthem” commercial starring Kendall Jenner was conceived and green-lit without anyone along the process saying, “Let’s reconsider this…” The set-up is a multiculti cast engaged in street protest. While Pepsi never commits to a particular cause, Black Lives Matter and immigration both come to mind. The ad spot follows Jenner as a model who becomes politicized by a protest happening near her photo shoot, so she joins the march. At a pivotal moment when there is a stand-off with cops, she offers a young officer a Pepsi, diffusing tensions, and everyone erupts in cheers. Within no time, this attempt to position Pepsi as both a protest drink and a balm to heal tensions was lampooned in a Saturday Night Live sketch. The in-house-produced campaign was pulled within a day and Pepsi apologized. Ironically many of the signs being held up by the commercial’s protesters read “Join the Conversation,” but when Pepsi’s real-life audience did just that, on social media and in the press, the iconic beverage brand was at a loss. While this gaffe is unlikely to hurt their bottom line, it serves to highlight the importance of anticipating engagement and making sure that a brand’s position can be backed up.

2. United Airlines

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Using Meltwater’s media intelligence platform to look at United Airlines’ sentiment score for 2017, it’s been rocky as they hit minor crises and then course correct. Of course, airlines are experts at crisis comms and as we move into the summer, United’s sentiment score is skewing positive.

United Airlines‘ troubles this year began with #leggingsgate, but the drag and drop incident with Dr. David Dao was the pinnacle of their PR comms crises. Being an airline, you’d think they’d be well-versed in diffusing tensions, but their delayed responses and the tone-deaf communications around both incidents underlined the need for modern digital comms training (it’s always watching and always on), and the interconnection between customer service and community-building.

1. Uber

Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 11.47.34 AM.pngWith the Meltwater media intelligence platform, we see that Uber was trending positive in sentiment score from June through December 2016, but the brand began to see a decline on January 8. Since they have been hit with multiple crises this year, they’ve been unable to get a positive sentiment score on social media.

Rounding out our list, Uber is the personification of what not to do when hit with wave after wave of crises. Their troubles may have started with a seat on Trump’s advisory council, tales of a misogynistic work culture, the perception of trying to break a taxi strike in NYC, or other shady shenanigans. But given that they have been unable to stem the tide of seemingly unrelated crises, it has been proposed that misguided management and a toxic culture are to blame. The company is still reeling and have recently fired 20 employees in connection to these crises, including Emil Michael, their SVP of Business.

Even if Uber handled their multiple crises appropriately at every step, with so many different crises coming out, it’s apparent that there are deeper organizational issues. Issues that are beyond the scope of a well-prepared PR department, or even an outside crisis PR firm. Indeed their contracting of well-regarded, former Attorney General Eric Holder and his 13-page report of recommendations at Uber was a good start to addressing the misogyny in the organization but felt like too little too late. And as accusations of corporate espionage still loom as well as allegations of greyball tactics their CEO, Travis Kalanick, is out as board members try to stem the tide of bad press that could endanger the bottom line.

As the PR and corporate world await the announcement of a new CEO, this move hopefully signals a new direction for the company. After Uber implements all of Holder’s recommendations, and when the affect of those changes reverberate throughout the organization, it’ll be the tough work of the PR and comms team to broadcast those changes to the public. It remains to be seen if this housecleaning will be enough to turn the organization around, but the PR industry is likely rooting for a happy ending to this unicorn’s tale.

Main PR Takeaway:

Each of these social media fires could have been, if not prevented, at the least mitigated, by listening to your community’s chatter and putting “just in case” crisis comms into place.

Additional PR Takeaways:

  • Know your brand’s value proposition and lead with that.
  • When a brand misstep occurs, genuinely apologize and share what you’ll do to mitigate making similar mistakes in the future.
  • Don’t fake community. Actually, don’t fake anything.
  • When in doubt, talk to your community; they’re the people who already support you. They know your brand values, even if you’ve momentarily forgotten them.
  • Treat your community with respect and listen to what they have to say, they will welcome you. If you’re only interested in the bottom line, it will show.

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Attention Business Leaders: 5 Reasons Why You Need to Master Social

So you’re a C-Suite executive. A top business leader. Some call you the big cheese, the head honcho, the holder of the pocket book. Your business is your life. So why aren’t you paying more attention to social?

Data shows that when leaders and senior management are on active on social, their businesses experience an increase in positive sentiment and better brand perception. Data also shows an increase in employee engagement when a company’s leader is active on social media. With a relatable and accessible CEO and a company’s encouragement of employee social advocacy, studies show less turnover and higher attraction for talent.

With those benefits, what have you got to lose?

So, here are quick tips on how to engage, utilize, and master social media:

1. Cultivate Your Voice

As a company leader, you need to also “create” a personal brand. One that ties into your company’s brand but has a personal twist. When your community connects with you, they don’t want to hear you reiterate what your brand channels are already publishing.

They want the inside scoop from the person at the top. If you’ve launched a new feature, the social media accounts of the brand can describe how the feature works. But your community will look to your personal social accounts to explain why the feature makes sense given the direction of the product or how this feature ties into upcoming initiatives that are in the works for the organization. 

2. Understand the Work of Social Media and Comms

Don’t be that CEO that makes spelling mistakes or bad comments because you’re rushed. Little mistakes can turn into larger PR nightmares. Right now you’re busy. But once you start diving into having an active social presence, you’ll learn how much work it takes.

That’s why it pays to get a team of experts to train you in the DOs and DON’Ts of social media. Have them create a posting calendar for you, one that you can review and double check before content makes its way out into the social sphere. Create a cadence with your posts, and look for a mix of broadcasting brand messages, sharing personal tidbits, retweeting and engaging colleagues. Like most habits, it takes practice, but setting up a calendar and system for posting will help the task feel like second nature.

3. Be Prepared for Crises

Related, if you surround yourself with a team of social experts, you’ll hopefully be prepared with appropriate content if (when) a crisis hits. Read up on some of our best crisis comms blog posts and have the team prepare your action plan.

Remember, as with reason #1, use your personal voice. When preparing a statement or mea culpa, don’t sound like a dry press release. Don’t use corporate speak, that’s already out there. People will want to hear a leader speak with true understanding of the crisis that took place, offer a genuine apology (if it is warranted), and what actionable next steps will be put into place.

4. Be a Part of the Conversation

In order to be a part of the conversation, you first have to listen. You’re in luck since Meltwater’s Executive Alerts does all the heavy lifting for you. Input a location or keywords and keep track of the conversations that mean the most to you.

By knowing what’s happening in the online social world, what folks are saying about your brand and yourself,  you will be in a powerful position, prepared to have meaningful conversations. You can RT/share positive customer testimonials, reply to customers that may be experiencing something difficult with your brand, and of course, engage with other leaders in your industry.

5. Some of the Best Are on Social

More of a visual learner? Join well-known CEOs who are experts at social and learn a thing or two from them:

Now you know the reasons why you should start tweeting and ‘grammming, what are you waiting for?

 

PR Tips: Taking Control of the Conversation in a Digital World

Public relations is about communications: the message, the medium, and the content. However, the channels are changing and so is the technology. Today, communication is messy, splintered, and in real time. It’s amplified by the social web and has made everyone a publisher and a virtual reporter. Nonetheless, the message still needs to touch hearts and minds.

If you think it was hard to get your message out before the social web showed up, you were right. But now the challenge is even harder.

So how do companies, PR agencies and communications professionals transition from a world of the 7 o’clock news cycle and column inches to a noisy and distracted 24/7 digital world that never sleeps?

#1: Get Smarter with Your Press Release

You need to be more creative with your communications. Let’s imagine a PR firm that specializes in beauty and personal care sends out multiple press releases for the same product over time. A media intelligence platform provides the tools needed to compare the performance of each release and benchmarking their impact on reach, share of voice, keyword themes associated with the brand. The company can now track impact and ROI by asking and answering questions like:

  • How did various releases compare in reaching our target audience?
  • Which releases succeeded in changing the conversation in the way we wanted?
  • Were the media lists different?
  • Was the language different?
  • Did timing play a role?

#2: Work with Influencers and Advocates

The online influencer is now a credible and mainstream PR tactic, so when choosing an influencer or spokesperson to represent your brand, make sure to benchmark potential candidates by reach and media exposure. Media intelligence dashboards provide the tools to set up a separate search for each individual and then create a dashboard that aggregates and compares them all. The data doesn’t lie. It will show a clear frontrunner in terms of reach and exposure. Or maybe one top candidate has greater reach, while another one has more exposure. You can now figure out why… and make an informed decision.

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Four influencers are benchmarked for their share of voice (SOV) on Twitter and in the traditional news media to help assess which ones have the strongest audience pull.

#3: Monitor News Media and Social Coverage

The social web has democratized communications. Comparing news coverage vs. social chatter on a specific topic can be especially useful for understanding the connection (or disconnect) between news and public opinion.

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This company maps and compares brand sentiment on social channels and national news. They may want to look at their October coverage to see what caused an across the board dip.

#4: Use Data to Measure Product Performance

Social proof for brands is now about data and metrics. Imagine that an athletic shoe company is branching out to athletic wear. They have several lines of clothing they just launched (men’s, women’s, and various sports). Benchmarking for exposure, reach, and share of voice against the comparable lines by competitors wouldn’t make sense as those brands are already well-established. So the company poses a question: which of their new products is doing best? And they benchmark the different lines of clothing against each other. The data produces insights that are worth gold!

Because the company understands that a new line of business can take timeto make money, they will use this benchmarking (as opposed to simply sales figures) to help guide product decisions.

Adapting to new communication channels and media is critical. So is keeping on top of the revolution that is happening right in front of us in what is now a global village. The democratization of publishing and marketing is switching the power from the gatekeepers to the creators. The proverbial stoop where our newspapers used to be delivered to now takes many forms (smartphones, tablets, desktops, smart devices), and we must optimize the messages we deliver throughout.

Are you adapting, innovating, and embracing the change or are you hiding and avoiding it? Your attitude to change is maybe the biggest challenge you have. Over to you.

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This post was originally published on our site on July 19, 2016, we republish posts for our readers that may have missed them the first time around.

How Social Media Can Extinguish (or Ignite) Your PR Crisis

Whether your company is killing it on social or getting by with a minimal presence, having a pre-baked crisis communication plan should be part of your comms DNA.

However, the reality is that a PR News/Nasdaq survey says nearly half of all companies are operating without a crisis communications plan. With the combination of mobile devices, the social saturation of markets, and our always-on 24/7 culture, even the smallest organizations are vulnerable to a trial by public scrutiny.

Unless you’re sitting on a United Airlines flight sipping a Pepsi, you can’t say you weren’t warned.

Big News Debuts on Social

Too often organizations ignore the potential impact of their social media team and their tools until it’s too late. But as we all know, social media is where the latest news is being broadcast. If you lead a company, it’s time you took a proactive approach to partnering with your social media team. Sooner or later you will be working together, and collaborating is always more fruitful when your hair isn’t on fire.

No better time than the present to take advantage of their knowledge, their listening tools, social data, customer insights, and the boots-on-the-ground interaction that they enjoy with your customers. Making friends with the social media team now will help you later if (when) a crisis starts to flicker (or catches fire) since they own the fire extinguisher.

Proactive Planning is Strategic

Few of us do our best work when stakes are high. When you’re under enormous pressure to make things right is the time when communications break down and can even make matters worse. Teams are more likely to do good work when they have some history of collaboration.

Before any crisis hits, get clear on your communication strategy and operational priorities. Naming the individuals who will be actively engaged (and don’t forget to name alternates) team members, both for messaging and approval, as well as defining the what and how of your escalation plan should be top tasks.

Outlining and updating a communication strategy is much easier than writing in the trenches. By making it a habit of syncing with the team on a regular basis, you’ll have a better chance of being at the top of your game.

Don’t Put Your Holding Statement On Hold

Once you’ve named the team and defined your approach to escalation, it’s crucial to build a messaging framework.

The first order of business will be a holding statement that is in line with your company values statement. Just like an emergency kit that you keep during tornadoes, hurricanes, floods or fires, your best bet is having a virtual “bag” (file) that is at-the-ready with what you’ll need most.

When you’re faced with a crisis, ensuring that key stakeholders are ready to deliver key messages is vital. As is aligning your PR, C-Suite, and social teams with pre-approved messaging, so they can face journalists, your community, and the public. Having your holding statement(s) ready will assist with damage control and give you a foothold on owning the narrative.

If you are consulting with your social team throughout, they will be able to speak to what will resonate or get rejected by your audience. By doing the work ahead of time, and having a boilerplate copy and sample holding statements ready, you can buy time at a crucial moment. And you’ll keep on point, consistently aligned with your brand values.

Know Your Team

It should be apparent that crisis comms are a process that requires teamwork. Stakeholders can make or break a crisis response. Getting buy-in from throughout the organization will help you to manage your bottom line. Sync with the C-Suite early by coming prepared. If they need convincing, you’re better off knowing in advance where they stand with social media and high stakes.

Approach crisis communications as a collaboration while you have the luxury of low stakes teamwork. Don’t wait until it’s too late when your claim to fame will be getting the brand dragged on Twitter.

To keep the C-Suite on top of brand mentions, trending topics, and geo-located trends, get a demo of Meltwater’s Executive Alerts. The best decisions during a crisis are those made before a crisis hits, but the second best decisions are those based on real-time data from your community.

 

7 Ways to Get out from Under the Instagram Shadowban

More and more companies are noticing a drop in Instagram engagement, despite the fact that the platform’s growth is accelerating. As soon as brands starting noticing the drop-off and eventually comparing notes with each other, theories emerged as to why certain posts were seemingly being suppressed, and the phenomenon was labeled a shadowban. In fact, the Instagram shadowban started being mentioned on social media in November 2016. By June 2017 it became a much-speculated-about trending topic. Here we look at the what top brands and influencers on Instagram have been able to piece together and the best practices that have emerged to help PR and social media pros keeping building engagement on the platform.

Instagram shadowban

Instagram shadowban doesn’t appear on social media until mid-November 2016, but since late March 2017 has been gaining steam. (Graph from Meltwater Media Intelligence platform.)

It’s important to note that Instagram has never acknowledged an official policy that leads to posts or specific hashtags being “banned.” However, brands and influencers report that their engagement on the platform has decreased over the last six months. As Amanda Rose from ldn rose recently reported, “I noticed that I was getting close to no new followers a day. Previously I would get around 5-8 new followers a day (albeit I would also lose at least 3 a day ha!). The lack of new followers wasn’t too concerning. But, the drop in likes and comments was frustrating.” Taken together, anecdotal evidence points to something going on.

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First, Some Background Info

In previous posts, we’ve covered hashtag use as a way to extend engagement to audiences that might not be following you. But with the shadowban, it seems like the use of hashtags has led to some posts being suppressed. Hashtags are a search feature and by associating your branded hashtag with a related hashtag (preferably one that’s trending), you’re increasing the chances of your content being found. For instance, someone might type in the associated hashtag into Instagram’s search field. Or they might simply click on the hashtag in a post they’ve come across in the stream. But what if the hashtag you’ve associated yourself to leads to the opposite, and your post fails to show up in search results or public hashtag streams?

So, What’s the Instagram Shadowban?

It isn’t an official term but is being widely bandied about. As Maggie Marton from BlogPaws speculates, “….shadowban waters are pretty muddy. We reached out to Facebook (they own IG) for additional information. One thing we learned is that “shadowban” isn’t an official term at Facebook. It appears to be the pop culture term—along with ghost ban, stealth ban, or shadow ban.”

The shadowban has been associated with the use (or misuse) of hashtags, discovered when users started conducting some experiments. As Moonlit Creatures explains, “I’ve gone through ALL my hashtags and discovered that the #boho hashtag is broken. Using even one broken hashtag will render ALL your other tags useless! I don’t know if just this one thing will fix all my insta problems, but I’m staying optimistic.” In other words, a post with an “offending” hashtag will not show up in searches for any of the other hashtags listed in the post.

As a result of being shadowbanned, only your current followers will see your hashtagged posts as they show up in their stream (and if your followers were to re-gram your images, these images would be subject to the same shadowban). Not only does this limit your engagement with the greater IG community, but it can also lead to a stagnant or even negative growth rate. Obviously, the exact opposite of what we want.

Understanding the shadowban has become an even bigger priority since Instagram now allows stories to be hashtagged to receive additional platform exposure based on these hashtags. It has been speculated that Instagram’s hashtag scrutiny is motivated by their attempt to use hashtags for ad planning, and stop users from getting attention when they use irrelevant hashtags or overload posts with hashtags, thereby making the hashtag taxonomy less effective.

While brands still think of the shadowban as a problem, Instagram has avoided addressing related issues as bugs that need fixing. Instead, the platform has tried to provide guidance on the level of content: “We understand users have experienced issues with our hashtag search that caused posts to not be surfaced. We are continuously working on improvements to our system with the resources available. When developing content, we recommend focusing on your business objective or goal rather than hashtags.”

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If You’re Caught in the Net of the Instagram Shadowban, What Should You Do?

Go here to check the posts you think may be affected. Be warned that this is an educated guess as to how the algorithm is identifying posts to shadowban. Another way to check is to log out of your account, search for the hashtags you’ve used in a specific post, and see if that post comes up in the search results. If your images aren’t showing up, posts with this hashtag might be flagged.

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Then, Grab Strategies for Success from Top Instagram Influencers

  1. Make sure you aren’t using any of IG’s banned hashtags that have been overtaken with spammy posts.
  2. Form an Instagram Pod or Engagement group: A pod is an informal group of like-minded accounts that visit each other’s photos and feed the algorithm by engaging via original comments and likes.
  3. Even if Instagram allows 60 hashtags per post, should you really use that many? Use hashtags sparingly in conjunction with your branded hashtag(s). The Instagram limit per post is 60, but you may want to be more targeted and not come off as spammy with your hashtags.
  4. Don’t buy followers.
  5. Don’t use third-party apps to post photos, especially with hashtags. Revoke account access to any third-party apps you’ve enabled. Instagram isn’t a fan of third-party apps that like, post comments, or post hashtags on your behalf.
  6. Be authentic when you comment on Instagram photos (and do it manually). If you reply on behalf of your brand in a generic or formulaic way, you may be flagged as a bot or deemed to generate irrelevant content.
  7. Change from a business account to a personal account, be advised you’ll lose business capabilities, like insights and a Contact button. Know that Instagram may give you leeway to fly under the radar if you are not seen as being on the platform to generate revenue. Along these lines, unlink your Facebook fan page from your Instagram account.

It’s possible that Instagram will assess the impact on their channel as a whole and decide for themselves whether they will lighten the restriction or worse, increase them. If all this lowered engagement, excuses about resources, and lack of acknowledgment of a ban seems a little too convenient, there is always the option of taking out an ad. As Alexander from the Preview App remarks, “Instagram rolled out its Business Profile features. It wants you to pay THEM to get more engagement.”

To further protect your engagement and monitor the health of your keywords, see a demo of how you can keep track of what matters to you on Instagram.

But I Have Nothing To Share: The Clueless Marketer’s Guide to Repurposing Content

Is there any simpler pleasure than finding a forgotten $20 bill in the pocket of last winter’s coat? Although occasionally it may seem like there’s nothing to post, sometimes the perfect piece of social media content (like that cute sweater you packed away) is already in your collection.

Repurposing content

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Taking a look at your content with fresh eyes and dusting off previously produced content can help you reach new audiences while making the most of your efforts. So say, “As if!” to writer’s block and start dressing up previously produced content using these Clueless-inspired tips.

Tell an old story in a new medium.

Just as students have learning styles, different platforms and users gravitate towards different mediums. Try transforming a written story into an infographic or audio story (and vice versa) until the possibilities are exhausted. Have a great how-to video? Write the instructions out and make that into an infographic, list, or deck. Have a fantastic SlideShare about a product? Use the language as a script for a Facebook Live video. Remember that great webinar you hosted? Even if registration was off the charts and the turnout successful, not all interested people will be able to attend or watch the replay. Write a quick recap that can double as a blog post. Repurpose content until it’s been optimized for every possible medium; refining language and tone as necessary.

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Share, share, and share again.

Think you should only post a story or blog post once on a social media? Think again. Why put so much time and energy into something you’ll only use once? Different times of day and different audiences open the door to totally different audiences. If you originally posted a story on Facebook in the morning, share it on Twitter in the evening, or LinkedIn at lunch. Be sure to distribute each post 2-3 times within the week of original publication (depending on the subject matter) to extend the lifespan of the piece. You can even use this to cross-promote your social channels by redirecting followers to the other posts (“Love our latest blog post? Head over to our Facebook page to check out the live video.”) To get it right, make sure that posts make sense and are appropriately targeting, so as to avoid alienating your audience.

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Make statistics your content superstars.

Make statistics your content superstars. Did you know that more that 80% of marketers wish they could better evergreen their content? No, this is not a verified number, but it goes to show that nothing grabs a reader’s attention like a compelling statistic. Use media intelligence and social media analytics to conduct research, then comb through your results to find the most interesting numbers. Round up findings into an infographic and then break up data tidbits into individual social media posts, such as Twitter cards, Facebook images, a Pinterest board, or Instagram posts. Use the statistics as a jumping off-point or supporting data for a case study, whitepaper, or LinkedIn post.

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Dive deep.

Sometimes stories are hidden in plain sight. What is it that makes your company tick? Does your organization have a great origin story? What is your brand mission or philosophy? Are there interesting characters or even office dogs that contribute to the overall culture of your team? Take a look at the people you see every day but through a storytelling lens. Create an online archive by interviewing seasoned employees in a podcast, video, or blog post. Encourage coworkers to share photos of past events or current key moments and leverage that user-generated content for social media.

repurposing content

Rollin’ with the homies (and trending topics).

Always be on the lookout for topical opportunities to share content. Is it #NationalBossDay? Share that old profile of your CEO. Do you have a great infographic about how to select a Halloween costume? Be sure to schedule it around the last week of October. Although social media holidays may seem silly, they are an easy way to jog your memory and reshare content relevant to a trending conversation. Capitalize on opportunities to trendjack by monitoring hashtags and conversations important to your industry. Save yourself time by So next time you think you have nothing to wear (or share), don’t pull a Cher Horwitz. Try mixing, matching, and repurposing content to outfit your communications with winning posts appropriate for every—and any–occasion.

This post was originally published on this site on October 9, 2016. On Saturdays we republish articles, in case readers missed them the first time around.

The C-Suite’s Next Mandate: Social Media Literacy

As a veteran speaker, I am used to speaking on marketing and its various facets, but lately a new topic has been in hot demand…and it’s coming straight from the top: Social Media for the C-Suite, because one thing is becoming very clear, both customers and shareholders are holding executives to a higher standard – a digital one.

In 2015, a Harvard Business Review article reported that 80% of the CEOs of the world’s biggest 50 companies were engaged online and on social media. This is a considerable leap from 2010, when only 36% of CEOs were “social.” In today’s brave new world, however, a strong leader must learn not just how to follow the currents of the social landscape but how to differentiate and thrive. In addition to mastering the basics of management and getting “on board” with social, executives now have to ask themselves if they have the skills required to be social media literate.

But, what exactly is social media literacy, and what are its key components?

Social media literacy is a new breed of literacy altogether. It expands beyond understanding social platforms to making the digital landscape an inherent part of your professional repertoire. As a skill set, social media literacy can be divided into two areas — personal and organizational.

In the personal sense, social media literacy translates to being a content creator, curator, and connector. These three C’s are the pillars of a digital personality.

Content creation is critical because it contributes volume and substance to the many incredible digital platforms we have the privilege of accessing. It stimulates dialogue, debate, and creative exchange. To establish any level of thought leadership, content is crucial. The medium, however, is up to the creator. For example, there may be a CEO who finds blogging tedious and difficult and turns her attention, instead, to fully leveraging Twitter and maintaining a stream of short-form commentary, or creating a visual diary of career milestones via Instagram, or using LinkedIn to network with other professionals in her industry.

Regardless of the medium, the content should be an extension of the executive’s brand values. Whether it’s activism or leadership, technology or finance, social media is the perfect place to become known for a particular passion or expertise. An executive can even have an assistant transcribe their recorded thoughts, but the bottom line is: they must produce meaningful intellectual property.

Curation is critical because without curation, content becomes overwhelming. Today’s leader is by default a curator . Internal teams and the external audience alike are bombarded with information, which means the content that’s delivered needs to be intentionally chosen and properly contextualized. What collection of thoughts, images, and ideas is most relevant for a particular audience and set of goals? How can information be intelligently filtered to maximize interest and impact?

One curation strategy for an executive is bringing together content from its’ brand’s champions and employees. By encouraging a shared brand ethos while showcasing diversity, executives can project a vibrant and attractive image of their brand, one top talent wants to work for and everyone wants to buy from. Hashtags are a simple and ingenious way to coordinate curation, and L’Oréal and its hashtags #LifeAtLoreal and #LorealCommunity are great examples of this. By asking employees to share peaks into company events and socializing, L’Oréal was able to leverage the connections that were already present in its community of employees to share a more personable side of the brand with a wider audience.

This brings us to connection. Connection is critical because what’s being said and how are always secondary to who is speaking and to whom. By definition, an executive who is social media literate is a connector. They connect people to other people and resources. The good news is it is easier than ever before to be a good networker and set the stage for strategic serendipity.

One of the strategies that enables Elon Musk to gain so much traction on Twitter is that he often releases news of major developments through his Twitter feed and responds to fellow Tweeters’ questions, regardless of how many followers they have. This unusually egalitarian approach can ironically be a boon to executives, who can now solidify their expertise in their field by broadcasting exclusive insights to a large number of people.

In addition to mastering the three Cs on a personal level, executives must ensure that their entire organization is social media literate. Although there may be one individual — a CMO or VP — leading these efforts, it’s important to know what capacities an organization, as a dynamic whole, needs to possess to thrive in the digital age. To make it simple,we can break down social media literacy on an organizational level into three traits: agility/adaptability, aggregation, and authenticity. These three A’s set the stage for a company to establish itself as up-to-date and innovative.

Agility/adaptability is essential because the speed of technology is often faster than the speed of convention, the legal system, and our own sense-making combined. Those who can make out the coming wave can be prepared to ride it. In a fast-paced world, you have to move quickly. And, this depends on how quickly you CAN move. Does your organization allow you to be agile in your decisions, or are legal regulations and too much red tape holding you back from pivoting quickly? The deft, skillful way Dippin’ Dots handled Sean Spicer’s Twitter criticisms in the wake of a polarizing election is a great example of agility. If the company had been tangled up in red tape and approvals, the invaluable PR opportunity would have been missed.

Aggregation is essential because for successful application, it’s important to know how different perspectives intersect. Today’s leaders must realize that their success is intertwined with that of others. They have to be able to aggregate knowledge from multiple sectors (board members, clients, press, internal team) and then analyze that information to make the best decisions possible. Social media literate leaders also realize that from a communications standpoint, there is nothing linear. Marketing, branding, how information flows, are all multi-touch and multi-point, and we have to measure and respond accordingly.

Finally, authenticity is essential because every corporation represents a body of people, and that’s the basis of its other relationships. Transparency isn’t a buzzword on the web. It is the hallmark of an open network as well as a major trust-builder. Besides, nothing stays hidden forever. Smart executives understand this and embrace it.

They are authentic in voice (How do they communicate with people online? What’s the tone), policy (Legal looks it over, but they speak in a way people understand.), culture (Everyone is a champion or a critic — and that begins from the inside.), and actions (Do they walk the talk?).

If the above were to be used as a checklist, how would you, or fellow members of your company’s C-suite score? In the coming years, social media literacy will move from being an added bonus to an absolute necessity for any executive to master in order to climb the corporate ladder.

To begin demystifying the social media conversations around events and brand, Executive Alerts can help.

This article was written by Shama Hyder from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

FLOTUS as the Original Influencer

As Melania Trump steps into the spotlight as the incumbent FLOTUS, we await with impatience for her to impress the global community and impact us in the US. From a trend analysis and PR perspective, she makes the POTUS brand look—at least superficially—pretty good. Her poise and well-groomed public persona are a positive distraction from the oft-clumsy one of President Trump. Unable to control the White House brand over the last six months, the comms team has had to roll with the proverbial punches and pick up the pieces as they fall. They (and we as Americans) hope that Melania’s presence may prove to be an essential piece of the PR puzzle that elevates the respect of our incumbent.

It bears asking: How important has the role of FLOTUS played in shaping history?

While many feminists may guffaw, there is validity in the stereotype of a man having a good woman by his side. The role of FLOTUS has transitioned from that of White House hostess to one where her voice and opinions impact politics and society. Since the mid-60’s, when Lady Bird Johnson spearheaded reforms to protect the nation’s natural beauty, first ladies have led causes to improve national welfare. In the interest of national unity, causes are often bipartisan, universal in appeal, and widely supported. Betty Ford was an advocate for dance and encouraged the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, and Rosalyn Carter promoted mental heath. Though unsuccessful and controversial, Nancy Reagan ran the “Just Say No” (to drugs) campaign, and Laura Bush chose the cause of literacy to fit in perfectly with her professional career as a librarian.

It is notable that first ladies often have impressive educational resumes. For instance, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama are both Ivy League law school graduates, Yale and Harvard respectively. As they entered the White House at their husband’s side, they also began their first lady roles with a cadre of professional respect. Hillary Clinton notably took on health care reform as her cause, and, as we know, recently became the first female presidential candidate nominated by a major party.

With a moderate online search, it’s easy to uncover the real women behind their FLOTUS public persona, their outfit color stories, and their causes du jour. Not only is it inspiring, but it’s also relevant to current cultural interests.

Florence Harding: FLOTUS from 1921-1923

In a time where women’s voices were more stifled than heard, Florence Harding possessed feminist and independent qualities. She never dropped her maiden name; called out for equal rights, and set out to use the power of the Presidency to give voice to her beliefs.

Eleanor Roosevelt: FLOTUS from 1933-1945

FLOTUS as the original influencer

Eleanor Roosevelt is responsible for the transformation of the role of FLOTUS from hostess extraordinaire to one where opinions make an impact. Mrs. Roosevelt championed women’s rights, civil rights, and worker rights for the poor and the young. One of her greatest achievements was to oversee the passage of the Universal Human Declaration of Rights, a document that still serves as a model for how people and nations should treat each other.

Betty Ford: FLOTUS from 1974-1977

Betty Ford personified social stigmas with sympathy: she was divorced, dealt with alcoholism, and survived breast cancer. As a modern dance enthusiast, she elevated the art form as a notable patron. Her openness in dealing with very human issues, as well as her ability to use the first lady role to affect change, gained her mass accolades as FLOTUS. And later in life, she was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton.

Michelle Obama: FLOTUS from 2009-2017

FLOTUS as the original influencer

Stating the obvious, Michelle Obama was the first black FLOTUS. Beyond the responsibilities inherent in having more eyes than usual upon her, she also spearheaded causes for fitness, heath, and