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I've alwasy been of the mindset that every negative comment is an opportunity to show that you (or your company) actually cares. There's no such thing as a perfect track record, but it's the way that customer reps and other individuals respond when confronted with criticism - like Joe did - that can make or break any company in the eyes of review readers.

Kudos to Joe, and thanks for sharing such a valuable lesson!

1 month, 1 week ago on Bad Reviews: A Crisis or a Blessing?

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@dbvickery Good points, Brian! I would say the lion's share of native ads that I've clicked on have also been the C side of B2C. I also feel that decision may be platform specific. For example, I'm much more inclined to click a B2B native ad on a site like LinkedIn than I am on Facebook, but that may be due more to a personal choice to keep Facebook more for friends and family.

And I think you're dead on to still focus the bulk of your time on owned content. That owned content is a great resource that you can easily turn into native ads when the time is right or simply continue to build your own reputation as an industry authority.

9 months ago on Native Advertising is Just Good Advertising

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@Howie Goldfarb @ginidietrich Great points, Howie. I think you and I simply differ on our definition of user generated content vs. native ads. The Instagram campaign that you mention would fall more into my definition of UGC as the company didn't place the ad itself but prompted consumers to do the legwork; whereas you're absolutely right that sponsored stories and tweets are exactly that - sponsored.

In my mind, TV and radio are completely different beasts unto themselves, but you could also argue that those platforms would do well to take hints from the early adopters of native social ads. Spotify, for example, does a great job working with advertisers to make it seem as though their ads are actually songs on the user's playlist. I've been caught by surprise more than once when a catchy lead-in actually turns into a pitch for State Farm or Mr. Clean.


As far as your comment to labeled Instagram or FB ads screaming ad, there are ways to combat that notation. Users are much more likely to ignore that notation if the content is useful or engaging. If advertisers simply resize a print ad and slap it into a social stream they deserve to be ignored because those 'heavy pitch' ads don't work in the social space... at least not when they're competing against topics users genuinely care about like family and friends.


And I would agree with you in that native advertising is simply new vernacular for an old skill - creating good ads. In essence, that's what I was trying to get across in my post; that native advertising is just good advertising put to a new platform. But as mediums change, labeling for traditional practices applied to new spaces is almost a given. 

9 months, 1 week ago on Native Advertising is Just Good Advertising

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@jasonkonopinski Bingo! I'm not sure the value of BuzzFeed lists (aside from shareability) either, but there are always superfluous items that are eventually weeded out as tactics mature. Thanks for reading!

9 months, 1 week ago on Native Advertising is Just Good Advertising

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@LauraPetrolino Admittedly, I do love Grumpy Cat, haha! But you're right, if there isn't some sort of utility or purpose behind your comm. then there's really no point in putting it out there in the first place.

9 months, 1 week ago on Native Advertising is Just Good Advertising

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@cparente You're absolutely right about transparency. I think my lack of mentioning it is rooted in the fact that it's a first thought for me (working in PR and marketing) and, on the whole, most platforms are doing a fairly good job of self-policing. While there aren't giant flashing notices, I think there's been a decent balance struck in marking what content is sponsored or paid and what content isn't. 

Like any new ad platform there will always be dust ups around proper disclaimers as usage increases, but overall I think the industry has done a good job of adjusting when legitimate claims of misleading ads have popped up. However, there's always room for improvement!

9 months, 1 week ago on Native Advertising is Just Good Advertising

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@JRHalloran Thanks for reading, James! And you're dead on in pointing out that the crux of these ads is the content. Without something engaging and built for the platform, native ads are no different that pop-ups or banners.

9 months, 1 week ago on Native Advertising is Just Good Advertising

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@creativeoncall Absolutely! The very thing that makes these types of ads effective are also the point that could potentially mislead viewers. I think most platforms - thus far anyway - have done a decent job of labeling sponsored content as just that, but all it takes is a few apples to ruin the reputation for the rest of us. Thanks for reading!

9 months, 1 week ago on Native Advertising is Just Good Advertising

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LOVE the note about cutting perfect grammar. Not that grammar and spelling aren't important, but writing as you would actually speak absolutely helps to break down the barrier between service and user. Now, some emails - I'm thinking specifically of the financial and healthcare sectors right now - do need to keep that air of propriety a bit more than others, but even those verticals have a great chance to connect with layman's terminology for inherently complex topics. Thanks for sharing, Joe!

10 months ago on Email Marketing is a Conversation

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Interesting timing as just today the Chicago Tribune announced layoffs of around 700 - just in time for the holidays. I think your comments on passion topics hits the nail on the head. Local and regional publications will survive by providing what can't be gotten from the national news sites. Without that niche, in-depth content those local publications will become more white noise again the heavy hitting nationals.

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Newspapers Aren’t Quite Dead Yet

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@rdymond Great points! Glad to hear that you're getting a focus on these types of issues in core classes - something I would've LOVED to see when I was in college myself.

10 months, 2 weeks ago on How to Create a Social Media Policy that Works

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Thanks, Eden! By now there are enough examples of good/poor social responses that there is really no reason to not include examples in policies like this.

10 months, 2 weeks ago on How to Create a Social Media Policy that Works

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@LauraPetrolino Exactly! If it's all for show and isn't actionable then it's not really an effective policy - just CYA paperwork. Thanks for the kind words, Laura!

10 months, 2 weeks ago on How to Create a Social Media Policy that Works

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@Karen_C_Wilson Great to hear, Karen! I wish I would've had a course like yours when I was going through my undergrad.

10 months, 3 weeks ago on How to Create a Social Media Policy that Works

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@ginidietrich Thanks, Gini! I don't think there's anything better than concrete, real-life examples. :)

10 months, 3 weeks ago on How to Create a Social Media Policy that Works

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@yvettepistorio Absolutely - checking with an 'outsider' has become more and more crucial as the industry has developed. We've created our own language! :) Taking a few steps back and making sure that what we're discussing is accessible to everyone is a must. Thanks for reading, Yvette! 

10 months, 3 weeks ago on How to Create a Social Media Policy that Works

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You absolutely MUST match your content to the medium. Users are smart often savvy enough that they can now tell when something is simply copied and pasted from one channel to the next without any thought given to differences in consumption. Granted, there are obvious issues when it comes to the length of the message (blog vs. twitter for example) but even the type of content that's delivered now needs to be tailored to the readership of each platform. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Clay!

10 months, 4 weeks ago on Distribution Methods: Match Your Content With Your Audience

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Great, common sense tips. I especially like the recommendation to stay out of the forums unless it's absolutely imperative for one reason or another. Too many times I've had to explain why we don't just delete the comments or complaints - if you give consumers a place to vent and show that you're working to resolve the issue you'll quickly turn an irate buyer into an advocate. Thanks for sharing, Blake!

11 months, 1 week ago on Online Reputation Management: Use the Internet with Confidence

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Content refreshes like this can save soooo much time and really give a boost to legacy topics. When we're all stretched for bodies and hours it can be a real life saver to essentially give a rebirth to what was already a solid topic. Thanks for sharing, Gini!

11 months, 1 week ago on Keyword Analysis: Refresh Your Old Content

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If you have to boost your app/product with false reviews the problem isn't your PR, it's your product. The same can be said about looking to bury negative reviews or removing criticisms from social media platforms. If your product or project is truly useful and revolutionary - as most press releases claim - then it will speak for itself and generate great reviews. While it may not happen overnight, suffering through that uncomfortable period of "why aren'y people posting reviews" is better than panicking and being made to look the fool in the end.

11 months, 3 weeks ago on Fake Reviews Fined; PR Firms Beware

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Either participate in social fully or don't participate at all. As BA and a number of other companies have shown through the growing pains of social business, if you're aren't willing to at least pay vague attention outside of office hours you might as well not even start the ball rolling.

Is it reasonable to expect companies to respond to EVERY tweet during off hours? No, but it is reasonable to expect companies to pay attention to URGENT tweets and posts regardless of the time of day. I'm with many of the other commenters who are amazed that we still even have to have these types of conversations, but the airline industry in particular doesn't seem to get how social customer service works.

1 year ago on Social Media Crisis Management: Lessons Learned from British Airways

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Having put together a couple of social media policies before, I've found that providing examples of acceptable versus unacceptable commentary works best. Granted, you can't possibly cover all types of posts, but in giving examples of actual tweets/posts with names redacted I think employees get a better idea of what you and the company will tolerate. Sadly, using phrasing related to "use common sense" isn't all that effective as common sense isn't seemingly all that common anymore. :)

1 year ago on Social Media Policy: When Are Your Own Opinions Not Okay?

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Couldn't agree more! I would take more notes on my iPad/iPhone, but given my line of work I'm having to constantly lock/unlock my device throughout meetings. I also love the ability to map things our and show connections on paper moreso than on a digital device. I'm sure there are apps out there that allow it, but I'm still good with my pen and pad.

1 year ago on Why Paper is Still My Favorite Productivity Tool

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Thank you for not simply touting the "long read is dead" banner that seems to be the mantra of many digital marketers! It often takes much more than just a couple hundred words to really show mastery of a subject and simply providing links within a shortened article doesn't cut it for me.

1 year ago on Create In-Depth Articles to Increase Your Google Authority

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I commented on a similar post that popped up on Convince&Convert earlier. This is a great opportunity for some smaller businesses that, in the past, couldn't/wouldn't pony up for a third party contest app. However, this isn't a move that Facebook is bringing in without ulterior motives. More small businesses hosting contests likely means more small businesses now buying ads to boost those contests in news feeds.

Sure, the ultimate cost is much easier to limit with this type of setup, but unless you have extremely high engagement on your page already there will still be some time and money investment required to ensure that any contest runs at maximum efficiency and exposure.

1 year ago on Facebook Makes it Easier to Run Contests and Promotions

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Your experiment simply reaffirms what I've believed personally all along about Klout - it's a great starting point to measure someone's activity in the digital world, but not a true measure of influence. As many others have pointed out in the comments, developing a true voice of authority by providing valuable information in an engaging fashion is the best way to develop TRUE influence, but having a somewhat leveled starting point is always a great place to start. Thanks for sharing, Martin!

1 year, 1 month ago on Influence Scoring: All Klout(ed) Up and Nowhere to Go

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Great post, Jeff! The most common misconception that I see in most influencer campaigns is that these campaigns consist of nothing more the blasting a press release to a groomed list of recipients.

Want the type of campaigns that generate more than a flash-in-the-pan response? Buckle in for the long haul, because those relationships take time to build and usually involve multiple engagements over time. Not to mention a good deal of flexibility on the part of the brand and a willingness to help shape your content to the influencers audience.

True influencer marketing is just as you laid out above - a relationship that has real synergy and mutual benefit; not simply another megaphone through which companies can shout their messaging. 

1 year, 1 month ago on Influencer Marketing: Five Ways to Strengthen Relationships

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I've always been a proponent of quality over quantity and it's nice to see that approach finally trickling into broader user preference as well. Probably the greatest part of earned linking is that it continues to pay dividends long after the initial push. Infographics and videos that are both valuable and evergreen can really help any business - new or established - really ramp up traffic and engagement. Great post!

1 year, 1 month ago on Why You Need to Earn Links Rather than Build Them

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Great points, Laura! I'm often surprised at how businesses won't adapt content to fit different platform requirements, let alone different audiences.

I've also found that staggering releases of info across your different platforms can help generate some longer life out of events as well. Making sure your blog post is out at the same time or slightly before the release hits the wire can also help ensure that your company's take on the event is at the top of search results. 

1 year, 1 month ago on Customized Content for Each Social Media Channel

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I've always had a love/hate relationship with Klout. Sure, it's nice to have some sort of benchmarking tool that allows you to get a vague sense of someone's online reputation, but it's a ranking that's very easily gamed as you pointed out in your post.

Much like others have commented, I'll take the free stuff - but despite there being an ability to account for context, most of the giveaways and freebies seem to be targeted at a raw number, not applicability.

Klout is great as a jumping off point, but it's really more of measure of someone's posting/replying frequency than their true influence. Measurement of that type still takes a fair amount of good ol' fashioned time and elbow grease.

1 year, 1 month ago on My Klout Score: It Loves Me, It Loves Me Not

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Great list of tips, Gini! There's also a lot to be said for letting sleeping dogs lie once the event has died down. I'm thinking back to examples you've cited with Penn State where individuals seem to pick at the scabs by bringing in lawsuits in an attempt to save face - just when the media fervor had somewhat quieted around the major story.

The same could be said about the 'pink slime' incident a few years ago when the manufacturer revived a settled issue by suing the television group that broke the original story. Sure, it's important to protect your brand, but self-inflicted incidents seem to be more common as of late.

After you've worked hard to regain control of an incident it's increasingly important to continue the transparency around an issue almost in perpetuity thanks to the 24/7 news cycle.

1 year, 1 month ago on Issues Management: Get to it Before a Crisis Erupts

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One could also argue that the disconnect between paying/not paying is really rooted in differing levels of compensation. A mention or giveaway in a mid-level blog does not warrant the same compensation structure as a premium content series with an upper-level or premium blogger.

Having run a number of outreach campaigns for small/mid-sized businesses, bloggers need to realize the difference in value from the company's perspective just as companies need to recognize the time investment on the part of the bloggers. 

In all honesty, sometimes the best way to avoid hurt feelings on either end is simply to offer what you believe is fair and then follow it up by letting the blogger know you're open to discussion if the original amount isn't acceptable. If presented with valid reasoning, I've adjusted compensation rates several times - both up AND down in amount.

The key thing to keep in mind is that both parties are working to establish a relationship that's mutually beneficial. By being open about topics like disclosure and payment, companies and bloggers both are generally willing to find a win/win scenario.


1 year, 2 months ago on Blogging for Pay: Should Brands Pay for Mentions?

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A number of email marketers have hit the panic button over this new sorting option and it seems a bit premature to me. Personally, I look at my promotion emails MORE now than I did when they were mixed in with my regular email stream. By filtering everything into a stack that doesn't interfere with the emails I NEED to see it gives me a sense of freedom - not to mention I'm not pinged every 10 minutes by something that isn't the least bit pressing. As long as marketers are continuing to provide something of value in their messages I can't imagine that this new filtering will have a detrimental effect.

1 year, 2 months ago on Gmail Hosted Email: Will the New Inbox Affect Email Marketing?

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Not sure it would qualify as deceptive as anyone could easily do the math to see how many total users were included in the campaign.

 

As far as generating buzz and mentions I think it was pretty effective. Not only did they acknowledge those who are the power/most sought after users, they activated a fair number of those users by, essentially, having them validate the network. Now, will I use the platform more or upgrade to a paid version because of this? Probably not. However, I imagine it probably brought the oft-overlooked LinkedIn back front and center for other users who probably hadn't touched their profile in months or years.

1 year, 7 months ago on LinkedIn goes for the ego stroke. Deceptive or effective?

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Sadly, there are a number of companies that get away with providing sup-par or flat out bad services because there are few alternatives for the consumers they serve. Take cable companies or cell service providers for example - both provide what many would consider spotty or average service at best, continually increasing price tags and both ignore the rather constant complaints of their customer bases. Yet both also rely on marketing and PR to try and spin how their services are really better for customers without providing real value.

That being said, I agree 100% with your statements when it comes to product groupings where consumers have a wide variety from which to choose. Pledge can't come out with a spray that eats through wood finished coffee tables and simply say "tough luck" because there are 43 other wood cleaners out there that don't destroy their consumer's coffee tables. No amount of marketing, PR or spin efforts could save that type of product. I just wish those with captive consumers would take the same approach as those with something to lose :)

2 years, 7 months ago on If your product sucks, PR can’t help you

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Right on, Justin. I use Klout and PeerIndex all the time when researching the reach of individuals and bloggers for our outreach programs, but it's just a portion of the metrics we use to decide whether or not each person is right for our brand. Interaction with readers, frequency/relevance of posts, target audience and numerous other things come into play when deciding how influential someone may be for YOUR brand or company compared to how influential they may be for company X, Y or Z.

3 years, 3 months ago on The influence misconception: Whose fault is it anyway?

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