PR & Social Media Summit 2014

Tag: Social Media

PR & Social Media Summit 2014

Recently, four members of the CB&A team, Kristina Rozenbergs, Olivia Hoff, Lauren West and Aaron Krish, traveled to Milwaukee to participate in the annual PR & Social Media Summit at Marquette University. Communication leaders from across the country gathered to discuss the current social media landscape, strategy, messaging and building a brand online. The team will share what they learned from presentations by experts at Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn and Edelman who spoke about the current state of the social media world. Enjoy the Storify we put together from the event highlighting some interesting points and takeaways.


A Look Back on ISTE 2014

The CB&A team has been working hard the past few months in preparation for ISTE 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. From Media Central to show floor appointments and press conferences, the team learned about the latest in EdTech while soaking up the hot sun (and rain). The week went by in a blur, but not before people took to their social media accounts to tweet, post a new status or film a video, immortalizing some of the most memorable moments from all of the different events. Take a look at how the CB&A team and some of our client family experienced this year's convention.

The CB&A team has been working hard the past few months in preparation for ISTE 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. From Media Central, show floor appointments, and press conferences the team was able to learn about the latest in ed tech while soaking up the hot sun.

World’s Largest Webinar: Social Media Secrets For Your Business

WLW14-Worlds-Largest-WebinarWhether it’s algorithms, appearance or something else, social media is always changing. This makes cracking their codes difficult, especially for startups or businesses looking to increase followers.

Dedicated to success on social media, CB&A recently gathered to attend the World’s Largest Webinar (#WLW14) hosted by HubSpot to procure social media secrets from the experts themselves. Featuring speakers from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, the webinar provided key takeaways, some of which I've summarized in this post.

What do you include when setting up a profile?

Twitter: When creating a Twitter profile it is important to have a simple, descriptive biography that includes a URL, making it easy for customers to find you. Since 75 percent of users access Twitter through a mobile device, relevant and eye-catching pictures are vital to draw people to the profile.

Facebook: Although historically difficult for businesses to promote through Facebook, it is important to build a presence within the platform. As with other channels, a complete and accurate profile is critical. Keywords related to the business and captive pictures can also lead to increased views.

LinkedIn: Create a company page that is informative and engaging. A compelling description and keywords also help.

How do you increase engagement?

Twitter: Give your audience what they want. Use the 80/20 rule when tweeting; 80 percent of tweets should be about helping your community of followers and 20 percent should be about promoting the product. Use hashtags correctly. Join conversations around events and build momentum around hashtags you create.

Facebook: Images, images, images. The most engagement happens through images on Facebook. Keep the conversation relevant and on topic to the core of your followers.

LinkedIn: Here it is important to think about professional mind frame customers have when visiting the site. Best practices include posting about industry trends, company updates, and having strong attachments.

Final takeaways…

It is difficult to over tweet but you can over Facebook. Facebook posts last much longer on a newsfeed than tweets; therefore if you post on Facebook constantly, followers can become bothered.

The biggest mistake that businesses make on social media is not being human enough. Individuals respond to posts that read as if you said it in person. Make it personal by showing the faces behind the name and you will see results.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to experiment!

What is your company’s biggest hurdle or biggest accomplishment in social media? Share in the comments below!

Driving Social Media Engagement With A Central Story – Case Study

The Situation:
Our client, an honor society for middle and high school students, sought to enhance visibility and increase membership among its target audience through a strong and engaging public relations effort. The client wanted a well-defined social media plan that would increase its Twitter and Facebook followings, using the its national event as a central focus to drive engagement.

The Results:
C. Blohm & Associates (CB&A) developed a comprehensive, multi-faceted campaign that focused on enhancing social media engagement among the organization and its members before, during and after the national tournament. This effective strategy added more than 1,200 Twitter followers and drew approximately 600 Facebook likes over the six-week campaign period.

Determining Social Media Needs

CB&A’s first step was to develop a timeline outlined social media content to rollout over the six-week campaign. The social media campaign detailed specific tactics to implement across all social media outlets, as well as content tailored specifically for Facebook and Twitter. For example: Highlight local attractions where the event was held.

Creating Content

Within the strong mix of suggested Twitter and Facebook posts, CB&A drafted content so the client could increase frequency and consistency of posts, gain Facebook likes and Twitter followers, boost engagement with followers and encourage social sharing.

CB&A provided recommendations to increase engagement with the target audience. This included posting to Facebook and Twitter on a consistent basis, sharing content that encouraged replies and comments, as well as previewing what students could expect from the tournament, fostering anticipation. The campaign included suggestions for recommended suggested hashtags, tweets and posts to be deployed during the event that encouraged engagement. For example attendees were asked to submit photos of the activities they were participating in at the event. A wide range of content led to a campaign that succeeded in attracting new followers and producing deeper interaction with them.

Twitter Results

  • Followers before campaign: 1999
  • Followers gained over the national tournament week: nearly 800
  • Followers after entire campaign: 3,270
  • Added 1,271 followers

Facebook Results

  • Facebook likes before conference: 15,075
  • Facebook likes gained over the national tournament week: nearly 400
  • Facebook likes after entire campaign: 15,629
  • Added 554 likes

This was a highly successful campaign.  Over six weeks, the increase of Twitter followers and Facebook likes surpassed both CB&A’s and the client’s expectations and goals. By creating a social media identity and increasing the members of the client’s online community, CB&A helped the event gain visibility, and enhanced the organization’s relationship with its members.

PRSMS: Unlocking LinkedIn’s Corporate Marketing Potential

256px-Linkedin_icon.svgOf all the social media channels out there, LinkedIn might be the most difficult to use on a daily basis. You can post statuses to Facebook, send out tweets, and pin items on Pinterest, but how should you—or your company—be using LinkedIn?

During the PR & Social Media Summit at Marqutte University, I sat in on a session presented by Wayne Breitbarth, CEO of Power Formula, LLC. Breitbarth is the former president of an office furniture company, turned LinkedIn expert. He has written a book, “The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search," that details best practices for businesses when it comes to using LinkedIn.

Employee Pages

Surprisingly, Breitbarth did not start his presentation by talking about company pages. Instead, he revealed that one of the first steps to promoting a company through LinkedIn is aligning the keywords employees use in their profiles. Most people use LinkedIn as a search engine. They look for people and companies with the skills and services to help them or their company succeed. If your company specializes in public relations, you want to make sure that those words, and the keywords related to that field, are present in the skills field of each of your employees.

The summary section of each employee’s profile also should include a company description. This too can be loaded with keywords to help people find your company.

Breitbarth also advises that employees include a professional gallery. LinkedIn allows user to post videos, slides and links to showcase their company's latest case studies, presentations and other projects.

Company Pages

Having aligned the messaging for company’s employees, how do you beef up your company page?  A company's Linkedin page usually shows up on the first page of a Google search. Again, keywords are critical. Using keywords to describe what your company does will make it easier for the “right” people to find you.

One of the most important areas for these keywords on a company page is the “Products and Services” tab. This section should list anywhere from 5–15 items. Banner images should link to your website to drive traffic. It should also feature links to free resources, like case studies, so prospects can see whether or not your company is what they are looking for.

And while it may seem obvious, post content that is relevant to the audience you are trying to reach. Also post from a variety of sources to demonstrate you are in touch with the publications that cover your industry.

Following Breitbarth’s simple steps will gain more visibility for your company and hopefully, in turn, more followers.

What A Cow Can Teach You About Social Media

What would Farmer Brown need to tweet about? That was my first reaction when signing up for the most recent Social Media Breakfast. The topic, “City Slickers, Cows, and Social Media,” might not be the most obvious place to find social media tips, but Amy Thorndsen from DCC Waterbeds (the premier waterbed for cows) and dairy farmer/blogger Carrie Mess (a.k.a. Dairy Carrie) came prepared with ideas that any company can use in its outreach.

Dairy_cowThe Anti-pitch

CB&A is no stranger to Help A Reporter Out (HARO), and neither was Thordsen. While her initial topic was how to turn a costly mistake into a big company win, she also hit on a point of interest a little closer to home. A HARO request was looking for stories about small businesses who successfully revamped their websites. But Thordsen saw an opportunity to pitch a story on the opposite end of the spectrum, having recently tried to update her company’s website, only to have her developer fall through. She pitched her story and was mentioned in the New York Times small business blog. This led to an article in the Huffington Post, which eventually led to a feature story about DCC Waterbeds on a local TV news program in Indiana.

So what? you ask. I don't need to sell cow waterbeds to farmers in Indiana.

True, but Thordsen’s point is that a small media win in a big outlet can have a ripple effect. Most farmers aren't likely to be reading the small business blog from the New York Times, but without that piece, her company never would have gotten the local coverage that spoke directly to its target audience.

Why Farmers Are Flocking To Social Media

Carrie Mess is a prominent and passionate dairy blogger, who explained why farmers are moving towards social media. Not surprisingly, it’s the same reason many companies are embracing Twitter and Facebook. Farmers want to tell their stories directly to their customers. By having a presence on social media, they are able to respond to questions and give first-hand accounts of how they run their farms.

It also enables them to be advocates for their industry. Using social media, they are able to comment on issues that affect them. They can grow relationships with the people buying their food, and the people who are putting it on their tables each night.  They also learn to be better farmers by understanding the needs of their customers.

Understanding How Your Message Affects Those Outside Your Target Audience

Mess closed her talk by sharing a story about an ad campaign run by Panera that offended certain farmers. The point of the ad was to promote Panera’s new chicken offerings made with meat raised without antibiotics. However, some felt the ad implied that farmers who did use antibiotics were lazy, causing a stir in the farming community.

Mess raised the strong point that while the message was meant to appeal to Panera’s target audience, it was offending a group outside that focus. It’s important to keep in mind that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can save big headaches down the road.

While it might be hard to imagine Farmer Brown out in the field twiddling away on his smartphone, that is increasingly the case as farmers discover the benefits of social media.

Meeting at Marquette: PR & Social Media Summit 2013

Recently, three members of the CB&A team, Chris Swietlik, Andria Casey and Lauren Keisow, traveled to Milwaukee to partake in the PR & Social Media Summit at Marquette University. The day long event brought together leaders from the area and across the country to discuss strategy, messaging and execution to use social media to its fullest potential. Over the coming weeks, Chris, Andria and Lauren will be blogging about the specific sessions they attended and the lessons they learned from some of the brightest minds in their fields. For now, enjoy the Storify we put together from the event highlighting some interesting statistics and easy to implement takeaways.

Social Media Campaign Promotes Effective Conference Communications – Case Study

The Situation: Our client, a professional association for school district technology leaders, sought to implement a strong social media campaign and communicate a consistent message across all social media channels prior to and during their annual conference. The client wanted to have a well-defined social media strategy in place to facilitate an even more successful conference experience by increasing visibility and engaging current and prospective members.

The Results: C. Blohm & Associates (CB&A) developed a comprehensive social media plan, which focused on increasing the number of Facebook posts and tweets, creating conference-specific content, pre-scheduling posts and interacting with users. This effective strategy more than doubled Facebook page views, unique visitors and total impressions, and boosted the client’s Twitter followers and retweets.

Determining the Social Media Needs

CB&A’s first step was to develop a timeline with the client in order to capitalize on the social media content in the days before and during the conference. The campaign was split into two focused segments, and a detailed schedule created for each. The segments included a developed list of over-arching, basic necessities for all social media platforms and an outline of expectations for each specific social media site (Facebook and Twitter).

Creating the Content

Prior to the conference, CB&A drafted a strong mix of suggested Twitter and Facebook content so the client could join and engage in conference-specific conversations, share their proprietary information, and offer “teasers” to pique fans’ interest. We suggested live-tweeting during the conference and issuing session status updates to provide instantaneous coverage for individuals unable to attend. This lent an authentic, real-time feeling to the social media interactions.

To burnish a busy posting schedule, CB&A designed a diverse blend of social media activity. This included sharing pictures and videos, polling fans, engaging in real-time conversations, offering promotions and sharing related articles. A wide breadth of content was created to attract and retain engagement, and to promote “viral” sharing among followers.

The Results

During the week surrounding the conference, the client posted 207 tweets on Twitter and 55 posts on Facebook. Activity summaries for Twitter and Facebook, the main social media sites targeted, compare totals from before, during and after the conference.

  • Tweets week of conference: 207
  • Retweets week of conference: 246
  • Followers Before Conference: 4,954
  • Added 62 followers
  • Normal Average: 25-30 posts per week
  • Week of Conference: Doubled to 55 posts
  • Shared posts: 84
Page Views
  • Normal Average: 5-10 per day
  • Tuesday of Conference: 23 page views, 10 unique visitors
  • Wednesday of Conference: 11 page views, 6 unique visitors
  • Day After Conference: 11 page views, 6 unique visitors
  • Normal Average: 250-500 persons per week
  • Week of Event: 858, more than double the weekly average
Daily Total Impressions
  • Normal Average: Typically varies, but peaks around 500 impressions
  • Week of Events: More than doubled to 1,396 impressions

It was a successful campaign – engagement, interaction and number of followers surpassed the goals and expectations set by CB&A and the client. Building a solid social media foundation based on the client’s priority list allowed CB&A to formulate a winning strategy and execute it with aplomb.

Scoring with Social Media: A Glimpse Into UW Athletics Social Media Strategies

With the Badger football season right around the corner, the CB&A team was thrilled to attend this month's Social Media Breakfast Madison, which featured Brian Lucas, UW director of Athletic Communications. Brian shared how UW Athletics uses social media to inform and engage with Badger fans. The presentation got the team in the spirit of the college football season, and inspired us to start practicing our "jump around" in preparation for the Badgers season opener on Aug. 31 against University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass). Go Badgers!

Social Media in the Classroom

A hot topic these days, social media in the classroom perks the ears of many. Educators, administrators, parents and manufacturers are looking for avenues to incorporate social media for students...but safely and responsibly.

I had the opportunity to participate in the Hack Education Unconference prior to the start of ISTE in San Antonio a few weeks ago, and social media in the classroom was one of the most debated topics I heard. The one thing everyone can agree on is the importance of teaching and implementing social responsibility and digital citizenship. It's simply not enough to provide an avenue to incorporate social media activities. Everyone involved in a child's education needs to work together to demonstrate the importance of using social media responsibly, because guess's not going anywhere.

Check out this very informative infographic created by ASCD for some startling statistics about social media usage.



An exercise on creating an appropriate social profile, for example, is a great place to start. The importance of representing yourself, your likes, experiences and abilities in a public setting is a skill today's youth need to be taught. And, that's simply because social media is part of the real world now. Pretending it doesn't exist, putting filters on usage and denying access only sends the message that schools don't truly understand what happens outside of the classroom. More important than preventing student and teacher use, is teaching students how to use it properly and effectively. To think before you post. That nothing is ever really "gone" from the Internet. And, that being human means making mistakes and learning from them.

Another valid point includes the value of responsible use policies within schools and districts. Much like today's corporate environment, administrators should consider instilling social media policies across the board for educators and students to follow. Not only would this highlight the importance of social as a communications avenue for the future (college, friendships, networking, professional development, career path, etc.), but it would incorporate a proactive social media outlook for students to emulate, value and take ownership of.

The great news is that there are more and more social networking platforms that have been created specifically for students and educators. Using these platforms to teach the proper use of social media is a good way to let kids express themselves in a more controlled environment - showing them the good and the bad, the proper way to comment on other posts and how to conduct themselves within this type of environment. Some of the most mentioned include Edmodo, Moodle and Ning.

I could go on and on about the various uses for social media for teachers and students, but those topics are best saved for another blog post! I greatly enjoyed hearing from @kevinhoneycutt during this session, especially when he said, "even good kids do stupid things when no one is watching...bring the real world into classrooms and teach them what digital citizenship means."

What do you think? How do you see social media working or not working in the classroom setting?