Archive for category Public Relations

Correcting Misinformation in the Media: How We Can Help the Refugees

Posted by on Sunday, 25 August, 2013

Photo Credit: The Age

Recently Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, made an upsetting announcement. He declared that all refugees arriving by boat will be transported to Papua New Guinea and not settled in Australia.

Not only has the country decided to illegally shirk its responsibilities and agreements with the UN, many Australians agree that it’s the right move.

How did this happen?

For years, both major political parties and the media have been telling people that anyone arriving by boat is “an illegal immigrant”. It’s far from the truth, but the label has stuck and with so many people believing it, Rudd may win the upcoming election.

Many businesses and organizations find themselves in a similar situation. So what can you do about it?

Start Early
– Set the stage. Before there are any issues talk about what you do. People are more likely to believe whomever was first.

Talk Often
– Interviews, FAQ page on your site, social media – do it all. Then when a curious citizen Googles to find out more, there’s a great chance your side of the story will rank higher.

Monitor and Myth Bust
– You should already be watching what people are saying online. Jump into conversations and correct information. Just remember to play nice and build conversation not enemies.

Build Relationships
– The Australia situation proves that the media is not independent, as much as we like to think the Fourth Estate still exists. Getting to know the key reporters will ensure they’ll call for your comments before they publish.

Recruit Influential Spokespeople
– Are any celebrities, sports people or media faces sympathetic to your issue? Ask if they can be interviewed endorsing you. If not an interview, a tweet or YouTube video from their account may open their fans’ eyes.

Don’t get nasty
– This is a hard one. You’re passionate about the issue and want everyone to share your passion. Telling people they’re wrong or they are stupid won’t win their respect. Take an educational approach. Don’t be afraid to ask their viewpoint, so then you know what facts to share. Also, there are some people you just won’t be able to get through to. Accept this and politely focus your attention on those you can sway. If you don’t believe me, check out this list of people presented with facts and still deny the truth.

Are you show-rooming? A local bookstore fights back with class.

Posted by on Friday, 7 June, 2013

This afternoon I visited the Elliott Bay Book Company to grab a new baby gift for a friend. Upstairs I found this stapled on a shelf:


Yes, it piqued my attention. I took a photo, then scanned the code. I was curious. We know Amazon and online sales (with the accompanying show-rooming) are hurting bookstores. I wanted to see how this store was fighting back.

It linked me here:

Seattle Times on Show-Rooming

A recent Seattle Times article on the impact of show-rooming.

I love how this was done. No whining that online is killing them, or berating the show-roomers. Just a subtle guilt-trip and some education.

My little guilt-trip addition to this (yes, personal rant here), when you’re buying from an independent bookstore, you’re not just buying the book. You’re buying personal recommendations from the staff, book clubs, reading events for adults and kids, and book signings.

Rant over; back to reviewing this communication, congratulations to the Elliott Bay Book Company on a job well done.

The Impossible Post – Trying to categorize social media platforms

Posted by on Monday, 3 June, 2013

Social Media Audiences Research TableThis post could just as easily been called, “A blog post that takes three minutes to read takes three hours to write.”

This is about yesterday’s post. In summary, it tells how you can’t match social media platforms directly to audiences. If you haven’t read it, check it out.

I started researching and writing that post in March and spent lots of hours on it before posting. It changed focus three times and most of the research was discarded.

I tried matching each platform with a typical user profile. Something like, 30-40 year old mother, college educated, middle income = Pinterest. That one is reasonably accurate, but can’t be done for the other platforms. The platforms are all too general, and different people use them for different purposes.

Lots of stats were collated in the process and it would be a shame not to share. So here’s the base table.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Instagram Google+ LinkedIn
Active Members / Total Members > 1 billion / not disclosed 140 million / 500 million Unknown 108 million blogs Unknown / 80 million+ Unknown / 400 million Unknown / 200 million
Age 18-24 (33%) 25-34 (23%) 23-34 (30%) Under 25 Unknown Unknown 35-44 (26%)
Gender Female (57%) Female (55%) Female (80%) Unknown Unknown Male (68%) – 2011 data Male (65%)
Life Stage Unknown Has kids (55%) Settled, family (50% have kids), buying house late teens/ young adult Unknown Single (42% versus 27% married); Student (20%) Unknown
Education Unknown No college (49%) Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown College (50%)

Lots of the gaps come from generalized data not being released by the companies (ahem, facebook), or the data available being out-of-date or inconclusive. The Pew Research Center does some great work polling users to see their usage. Their research is limited by how they conduct the polls (via telephone), the rules governing polling minors (they decided not to, which skews away from Tumblr), and the size of their sample. For an international study, I don’t feel it can be statistically significant.

Other stats may be out there, but after several fruitless hours I gave up.

References used include:
Wikipedia: Tumblr
The Huffington Post: 100 Fascinating Social Media Statistics and Figures from 2012
facebook: Media Room – Key Facts
Linked In Facts and Figures (Infographic)
Pinteresting Enough: Who Uses Pinterest (Infographic)

Thank you to Matt Forsyth, Nicole Gary and Neil Parekh  for your help choosing which platforms and how to position the research.

PS, sorry for the silly-looking table. The site redesign is close and will make it look better.

The impossible question: Which social media platforms should I use?

Posted by on Monday, 3 June, 2013

Social Media apps

When you’re a kid, the big question is, “When’s Christmas?”. As a teen it’s “how can I get <insert name here> to like me?”. As a digital marketer it’s “which social media platforms should I be using?”

The only one with an easy answer is “when’s Christmas?”. But, as a five year old; I know I wasn’t happy with the answer: “in 20 sleeps”.

Choosing which social media platforms isn’t a straight forward process. Sorry. However, it can be done.

Start by looking at your target audience. Who are they? What do they do? Where do they play: facebook, Twitter, instagram, Tumblr? Standard segmenting questions. Ask them directly, if you want. They’ll appreciate the attention and you’ll be getting direct data.

Then play on those platforms. Yes, it’s really that simple.

The days of sell sheets with user base profiles are over. Social media gives us the ultimate personalization. One platform can reach many different demographic and psychographic groups. Each user will make it their own.

Does that mean you need to have a presence on all platforms? No. Find the critical mass for your target and play there. Make it cost and time effective. Remember, you’ll be researching their behavior, crafting content, curating third-party content and conversing directly with your audience. That takes time. It’s not worth all the work customizing all this to different platforms if not enough of your audience play there. That said, test things out. Just be prepared to drop it if it fails. It will and you’ll learn from it.

That’s enough from me. Go profile your audience and get playing. Now!

Want to reach a teenage stoner? Try out-of-door PSAs.

Posted by on Thursday, 4 April, 2013

Marijuana 101Here’s the second brilliant public service announcement communications that I’ve seen recently. If you missed the first post, here it is.

Teen drug use is a problem everywhere, but how do you reach this tricky audience. If audience is even the right word.

The City of Mercer Island has taken a creative approach. I don’t have results, but this would have hit the mark when I was 16.

These laminated signs are taped to picnic tables in a local park. I’m assuming that if I walked down there at night I’d find kids puffing away. Here’s hoping the FAQs convince the kids (play on their paranoia?) to stop and go home. At the least, the message is at least being put in front of the target. Not an easy feat with a tech-savvy, rebellious group.

Well done to the comms team for the City of Mercer Island.