Tag Archives: Twitter

Why You’ll Fall In Love with Tech PR – And why it’ll love you back.

You’ve probably heard that from people who get into Tech PR with reluctance kind of end up loving it. You’ve probably been surprised to hear it. Well, you’re as surprised as I was. To address that skeptical look on your face, let’s liken it to, say, having your first geek post-high school crush. (editors note: Please continue to read after the below image. Unfortunately he is not the main point of this post.)

Sometimes technology is pretty attractive.

He’s witty and quirky and not at all like the high school soccer jock you always imagined yourself with back when prom was the big event in your life. When you’re first getting into PR, you think it’s going to be like Samantha on SATC or Lauren and Whitney on the Hills, taking orders from Kelly Cutrone while you sit at your desk with your iMac and perfect weave surrounded by hip couture as you, you know, do PR. And at first, that sounds pretty cool. OK, it will always sound cool, but after a few months in the industry it also sounds fictional. Oh, sure, there are those Oscar De La Renta PR girls out there, but there are so many other opportunities to do real PR. Without cat-fights.

When it comes to tech, at first it’s confusing and a little (a lot) over your head. But then it’s intriguing. You start to understand the ins and outs of the industry, your competition, why it really is competition (it’s a race for innovation!). How technology is changing and maturing faster than it ever has and how you, yes YOU, get to see it with your own eyes — all the behind the scenes stuff and you get to influence it. Wow, that’s kind of exciting. Think I’m developing a tiny crush, but I mean, I’m not going to be his girlfriend or anything. This is just harmless flirting…

You resist, and also don’t. He’s funny and sweet, and loves your attention because, well, he’s a nerd. And suddenly, you’re interested in the things that he finds interesting, and you now find that you want to support him in his endeavors. It’s OK, let yourself get excited about things like public APIs and SXSW INTERACTIVE. These are valuable things that matter and are the building blocks to the important and critical technology that will eventually be infused throughout business, lifestyle, culture – and the rest of The New York Time’s sections.

You bring something unique to the table, something the tech industry needs badly. An “everyman (woman)” perspective. How will this be received and by who? Where should we have an online presence? How do we explain this in simple language so that people will understand the story? How do we get past jargon and tell the story to anyone? They need you because you are good with people. You make them feel comfortable and can move easily in and out of social situations.

He teaches you things. Every day you’re launching stuff that eventually brands across every industry will want to be a part of. And you can help them get there. You learn the “next thing” and see trends before they break – Tech PR people were the first to see the branding potential in Twitter, Facebook and now Foursquare.

In Tech PR, your clients are often services or platforms being used for PR initiatives. Knowing the space around these companies gives you a good leg-up on how to leverage them.

He introduces you to his friends: Being able to find, access and leverage online communities is vital these days. Clients will want to know who is talking about their brand, what they’re saying and how to reach them. By working in tech PR, you’re already managing that, if not working to garner those communities and which platforms they’re on. Everyone is a publisher these days and knowing how to tell your story to all of those channels is hugely important.

He’s everything you never knew you were looking for. Tech PR gives you an incredible opportunity to practice traditional PR (press releases, media tours, press kits), while staying sharp as the media changes and the PR industry changes. So much of PR is about web content and content creation – blogging for clients, doing client videos, creating media properties (like external, loosely branded sites) – to engage with the community, and knowing these trends is half the battle. Tech PR will do that for you.
Almost every major (and successful) branding campaign has some kind of online component and social web presence – be it sports, fashion, food, travel, eCommerce, politics, non-profit, etc. You need to know how to lead the charge.

On that note, LaunchSquad is hiring at all levels in SF, NYC and Boston. Interested? http://launchsquad.com/about/join-the-team.php

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Web Savvy: Trend-spotting and the Network of Cool

facebook

Maybe you Tweet it, maybe you put it on Facebook. Maybe you stick it in your Tumblr and tag it. These are our outlets for further publicizing cool websites, trends and, really, your own Web savvy. Did you know Twitter would blow up before Ashton joined? Have you casually mentioned the growing market around online video advertising in a recent conversation with a friend? Are you 18-24 years old?

LaunchSquad is looking the tuned-in, tech-savvy who can spot and speak to emerging Web trends. As the early-adopting generation, we’re more than equipped to not just to participate in the latest web offerings and also predict what’s huge, what’s next and mostly – what’s really COOL. If this interests you more than you think it should, you’re not alone – join the Network of Cool and get your voice and savvy heard: http://networkofcool.com/join/

See this post for more details – it’s by a web-savvy guy, much like yourselves, who is working with LaunchSquad to form this group of advisers to lend your expertise on what’s cool – plus you can win things.

CEO 2.0

courtesty of directnews.co.uk

courtesty of directnews.co.uk

On one of my accounts, the CEO has become pretty obsessed with Twitter as of late. I’m  happy that he was into it because I’m all about engagement and transparency and other great perks of swimming in the Web 2.0 ocean, and I’m not yet very good at convincing clients that a 140-character blurb every now and then is worth their time, so I’m glad that not a lot of prodding was needed on my part. Also, it was nice because, while I manage and maintain the Twitter activity for the company feed, when people have issues with a product, I often don’t know enough about the technology behind it or the industry itself to answer these properly – the CEO, though, can do it very well. It’s an awesome combo – CEO personal Twitter used in conjunction with the company’s…

I was asked, however, to create a little guide for his Twitter activity and realized — People, this is the age of CEO 2.0. What have we progressed to when the CEO is no longer a suit behind closed mahogany doors and on executive planes and golf courses? When they actually interact with the users, no matter how influencial, to trouble-shoot, discuss the product and the industry, or respond personally to reporters. It’s a beautiful thing.

That said, I wanted to pass along this outline for your CEO to start his very own feed. Below are some tools and examples of a Twitter feed done WELL (some of these are review from an earlier post -@JetBlue, @MightyLeaf)

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Tools

Desktop app: Twhirl

  • Gives you the updates on the feeds you follow, and functions like the Web page.
  • You can follow, send messages, @replies.
  • The nice thing about Twhirl, though, unlike the traditional service which only lists the @replies that are in the beginning of posts, Twhirl, lists all @replies that are called, no matter where they are in the post.

Search: search.twitter.com
Scheduled Posts: Future Tweets let’s you schedule Tweets ahead of time.
Regional Interest
: http://www.twitterlocal.net
Conversation/Thread tracking: Tweader.com
Trends on Twitter: http://www.twitscoop.com/


Successful Business Twitter models:

Jet Blue: https://twitter.com/JetBlue

  • Their 7,500 followers are resulting from updates about their flight schedules, flying/travel tips and steady responses to customers and other Twitterers.
  • A steady flow of updates keeps you on the feeds of those following you.

Mighty Leaf Tea: https://twitter.com/mightyleaf

  • They’re not tech, but they come up with useful ways to discuss their products over Twitter and currently have nearly 1000 followers.
  • They post “relevant” issues and articles and are engaged in their industry beyond just their product, engaging in current events and eventually bringing it back to them.

Comcast: http://twitter.com/comcastcares

  • This feed is devoted solely to addressing customer concerns and directing them to new services and solutions.
  • They’ve got 18,000+ updates which illustrates that this is their new customer care model.
  • “Can I help?” is a common @reply to some customer’s venting their concerns.

Evernote: http://twitter.com/evernote

  • Evernote is a great example of how a small company can leverage Twitter, though their model is more centered around updates and announcements rather than industry news and they don’t engage with with @replies. They probably Direct Message everyone who starts following them. Another great way to engage without crowding your feed with @replies.
  • They have over 6,000 followers because they incorporate need-to-know information in their updates so that users can maximize their use.

PLEASE NOTE: Comcast is an extreme model, but it’s the truest when it comes to customer engagement. JetBlue and Mighty Leaf engage with customers, but they also focus on industry news as well. JetBlue even features a “Tech-travel Tuesday” weekly tweet devoted to how technology is having an impact in travel.

Executives On Twitter

Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com: http://twitter.com/zappos

  • This is more of a daily log of activities, interactions with other journalists, and daily goings on at Zappos. But it does a great deal to humanize the company and they have nearly 20,000 followers because of it.

David Sifry, Chairman of Technorati: http://twitter.com/technorati

  • He recently did an interview on his Twitter engagement: I subscribe to lots of people who say interesting things, and I listen [and] read a lot. I find that these people become a sounding board for ideas, and I learn a lot from them.”
  • Many CEOs are finding this a good window into current events and insights into their industry.

It’d like to reiterate that, it does help if you garner some of the nuances of Twitter, blogging and other Web 2.0 engagement tools for your personal use – SEO, Web presence, visibility before you attempt to do the same for your client.

Have at it.


“Bring out your dead!” But print’s not dead yet!

For all you “demise of print” soothesayers, I’ve got a little story for you. Last week, the election of Barack Obama as our nations 44th president brought HOPE to both our country and to the print industry. While watching the speech on November 4th, my roommate and I decided to do our best to get newspapers of the election results on November 5th This is an historically significant event. I wanted proof that I’d seen it. I was inspired by my AP US History teacher, Mr. Litchfield who displays the front page articles of various historical events in his classroom – the US moon landing, Roosevelts’ fourth term election…

Apparently people around the country were equally moved to buy a copy…

Line outside of the NYT Building

From the Gothamist: This is the line outside of the New York Times building in NYC. Once I got into the city on Wednesday morning, I checked the closest news stands, Starbucks, Borders, Walgreens – All had sold out of that day’s NYT.

So I did what anyone with a sister at the New York Times would do – I called my sister and had her save me a copy.

picture-6She, being the lovely sister that she is, obliged me right away and sent me a copy. She also, gave my name and search story to a reporter – one Richard Perez-Pena.

picture-8Got a call later that day from Richard asking about my quest for a paper, why it was important for me to have a copy and where I’d gone to get one — and YES. Lots of people go to Starbucks and Borders as a surefire place to get the “Times”. OK?

The next day, all of my coworkers were asking me how the hell I’d gotten to be in the New York Times because here is the article. And here’s my quote from the November 6th article:

picture-71

Feel free to laugh. I did.

Alright, alright – so the more important point is (as Perez-Pena points out at the bottom of the above screen shot) that this gave the print facet of the news industry a ray of Obama-branded HOPE.

Suddenly newsPAPERS were a commodity. Something tangible to represent participation in this event. I voted. I saw it happen.

The frenzy continued and madness ensued on Craigslist and Ebay…picture-3picture-41The people who run NYT Social Media activity (Is that you @Converseon?) brilliantly came up with a Facebook gift of the November 5th NYT front page. I got one from my friend, colleague and fellow LaunchSquadder, Miko Mercer.

picture-2The point is, as long as historical events keep happening, I think we’re going to see a continued demand for tangible evidence. The demand for this particular copy translates into a demand for physical engagement. People felt like they were a part of this election and this process by purchasing a copy. Or at least I did.

Just so you know – the paper was much easier to find on November 6th when I bought a hardcopy of my quote. For my mom.

Wired wants me to kill this thing: Can we just talk this through?

In a recent article in Wired, Paul Boutin of Valleywag writes “Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.”

Not sure why I decided to discuss this over a BLOG. However this might be my only outlet with which to discuss it. I do not write for a big-name blog or contribute to an established magazine, Paul.

In the article he brings up a good point: the personality and intimacy that once drew now-famous bloggers to the activity is now gone. At least from well-read sites. He references a typical day on Technorati where the top blogging activity doesn’t highlight the personal prose of the individual, but rather sites that boast many well-known, uber-Tweeting contributers and thus mass readership and exposure. They no longer capture the discourse of an individual, but, more often, as is the case with the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, a releasing and rehashing of recent news. A professional outlet, rather than personal.

This is a problem, for sure, for PR professionals who are now including “Company Blog” as a tactic in their PR plan strategy for clients. Will it get read? Will it be taken seriously? Is it still a resource? These are the stakes in Boutin’s assertion.

I guess what I’m wondering is where this is stemming from? Why should blogs be a stagnant model for logging daily (semi-monthly, in my case) activities and thoughts and not evolve and transcend into a mass consumption outlet like ALL OTHER MEDIA?

Yes, there exist some big names that tend to monopolize the attention of he masses, but there exist many blogs that are personal and not professional. This one, for example.

Others:

The Unbride blog – A wedding blog that gets tons of readers, but is just one girl’s log of how she’s planning her wedding. Yet many people see it as a resource for their own planning.

The Cool Cat Teacher blog – Vicki Davis’ personal thoughts on education and technology. Widely read and an incredible force in the Edu-blogosphere.

Howsed – A home improvement blog written by a guy in Colorado. Gets tons of comments because he offers his personal “two-cents” on Do-It-Yourself projects.

These blogs continue to uphold the essence of the activity – a conversation, a discourse while still retaining the original charm of one person disclosing their ideas on a topic.

This whole situation reminds me of when a friend said, “You know Facebook is over when your mom joins it.” I disagree. I think that means it has become a commodity. Just because more people are starting to understand it and see its potential doesn’t degrade its value to those who originally and successfully invested in it.

I think what it comes down to is that I like my blog. I like being able to write and publish my thoughts without having to condense to Twitter all the time. Essentially, I want be able to keep blogging and not feel stupid for doing it.

Is there any hope for me?

* Image courtesy of http://www.asa.org.uk

Fresh Meat Advice: Contribute what you know – in my case, Twitter.

On a tip from Kelli Matthew’s PRos in Training blog, to which I still subscribe, I read the post by Julia Roy called “Getting More Twitter Followers and Twittering for Business.” In the post she talks about gaining more Twitter traction – a whopping 4,000 followers – and how she decides to follow people back.

STUDENT TWEETS: Everyone has to start somewhere.

I started Twittering in February with no idea what I was doing. How did I become acclimated? I was online three or four times a day looking up tech news, reading Mashable and TechCrunch, NYT Tech columns, PRWeek, Business Week, poring over Google Trends, getting GMail alerts for news and blog posts on PR and Social Media, virtually all of the blogs in my Google Reader were tech and PR blogs. I needed to be able to engage with the people who were on Twitter about things that were important to them.

When LaunchSquad, found me on Twitter, though, it was because I’d “tweeted” about one of their clients – Vivaty.

TWITTER ON THE JOB?

JetBlue was one of the first business Twitter feeds that I followed and actually tweeted back at. They are one of the best Twitter business models I’ve seen.

When I started here, one of the first things I was asked to do on each of my accounts was either establish or revamp their Twitter activity. I wrote a Twitter strategy based on a case-study on JetBlue’s Twitter activity.

WHY I PAY ATTENTION: Their 4,800 followers are resulting from updates about their flight schedules, flying/travel tips and steady responses to customers and other Twitterers.

WHAT I TAKE AWAY: To be savvy with customers and Twitter, you need to pay attention to what they’re saying. People often express frustrations with software and companies on Twitter.

Another great example is Mighty Leaf Tea. They’re hardly tech, but they’re in the East Bay and so here in San Francisco – and silicon valley, we’re big fans. They’ve got great, unique flavors which makes for great “Tweets”. 

WHY I PAY ATTENTION: They’re not tech. At all. They sell tea, for god’s sake. But they come up with useful ways to discuss their products over Twitter and currently have 500+ followers in their pocket.

WHAT I TAKE AWAY: They post “relevant” issues and articles and are engaged in their industry beyond just their product – like the above post: List an interesting article and bring it back to the product. Very nice.

THE SKINNY

I suggest before taking on a client’s Twitter campaign, work on beefing up your own feed in addition to the rest of your online presence. Social media savvy applied to personal uses can only help when you’re asked to do it for a client.

A friend of mine and former intern here at LaunchSquad, Ben Kessler, has a great blog as well as a juggernaut Twitter following (currently at 579) and has managed 6,200+ updates so far – In September he averaged 24 updates a day. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

In my own case, I eventually found an even balance for my Twitter feed: my initial rabid tech/PR discourse combined with a cultural commentary (articles, music, film, events) and have – to reinforce Julia Roy’s point – seen a steady increase of 5-10 new follower’s a week.

Once you’ve honed this aspect of social media – and not to imply, by any means, that I have – you’ve become a valuable asset to any company, client and agency as they all are trying to figure out what Twitter means and could do for their business.

The Twit-Pire Strikes Back: Mad Men on Twitter

The Cast of Mad Men

The Cast of Mad Men

The frustration that often comes when I try to explain to my friends and family the usefulness of Twitter stops here. Actually, probably not, but please take a moment to contemplate just how powerful the more than 1,200 8,7000 followers of @Don_Draper can be. To recap, Early last week, feeds from certain characters from the AMC show Mad Men began to show up on Twitter and interact with other users – and of course, their numbers of follower’s sky-rocketed.

The updates on each feed are genius: perfectly tailored to each character in language and content and often talk about plot related activity. They give their followers a feeling that each plot twist is actually happening between each episode.

For example, last Friday @Don_Draper, all of whose updates are as ambiguous and guarded as his character is, put out an update saying “@Joan_Holloway is going to tell me who my new secretary will be” when we were looking forward to last Sunday’s new episode The New Girl, in Which Don gets an attractive new secretary.

For a list of characters on Twitter, check out Ben Kessler’s initial blog post here.

Monday Morning: Finally up-to-speed with the second second season (though waiting to watch my Tivo-ed recent episode until that night), I was pleasantly surprised to recieve a notification that @Betty_Draper was following me. We proceeded tweet about housewives and mothers embracing technology and asked if she’d checked out Blogher – a tech-savvy group of like-minded women, I promised her.

Later that day, I briefly reflected, with my co-worker @greerkarlis, how “nerdy” it was that we were so obsessively following these characters even though we knew (or believed at the time) that they weren’t the real actors themselves but rather someone hired by AMC.

That’s where we were wrong.

That night, Ben Kessler informed me that the feeds of Don Draper, Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway were suspended by Twitter. The mystery was on. Within a half hour, MG Siegler of Venture Beat had written a post about it and had contacted Twitter who responded within an hour that the Mad Men character feeds were, in fact, NOT written by people affiliated with the show or AMC and the network didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of someone not affiliated with the show, posing as these characters.

But as Siegler pointed out in his post, everyone who’s been following these characters KNOWS it’s not the actual actors updating them. We don’t follow because we’re starstruck. We follow because they spice up our feeds and more importantly, tide us over until Sunday night when there’s a new episode. In other words, it couldn’t be better for AMC. Not only is the individual or team behind the Mad Men Twitter activity putting out relevant content, they’re doing it in a space that so filled with facts, this bit of fiction was sure to attract a strong following.

Perhaps that’s why, after 24 hours of uproar from Twitterers, AMC allowed the Mad Men updates to continue. One of the smartest moves their marketing department could have made and, as the Reuter’s article says-, Don Draper would approve.

UPDATE 1: If you’re a visual learner, this post might be good for you.

UPDATE 2: Here’s a new site by the creators of the Mad Men feeds addressing the situation.

*Image courtesy of Vanity Fair.