The BLACK paPR Report

Icon

PR from an African American Perspective

Playdates

Last week, I blogged about status updates, posts and tweets showing up in a public timeline in the form of Google and other searches.  Some of those updates can come back to haunt you if they are not carefully censored. 

That’s a bad look.

However, I am a huge proponent of ‘playdates’ with clients or even by myself. Playdates is the intentional use of updates, posts and tweets to initiate a discussion, engage online followers/friends or even to track traffic to a site. Playdates when used intentionally is a great publicity, PR and marketing tool.  Playdates are anything but random though the results can be.

During the presidential campaign process had a lot of fun, sometimes too much, tweeting on Twitter. On some days I posted random updates but during pivotal campaign moments I was intentional for a variety of reasons. The chief reason was to articulate, without directly boasting,  my ability as a practitioner and publicist to predict outcomes. Perhaps, my most impressive playdate were the days leading to Mr. Obama’s selection for vice-president. As my choices narrowed I predicted it would be Joe Biden and many of the people who follow my tweets objected. That wasn’t a big deal. The big deal was when I projected to the minute when the Obama campaign would reveal via text message the selection. I tweeted it would be at 3 a.m. and while many of my followers disagreed,  the playdate presented me with an opportunity to explain in 140 characters why I thought it would be at that time. (Wisdom dictates you send out breaking news at the start of a print and broadcast shift change. It’s a courtesy extended, plus if you want the news to break big, you break it at dawn.) And because my updates were unlocked and unprotected (a part of the public timeline), I acquired a lot of new followers on Twitter. 

I also established myself as an expert in a way that was comfortable for me who doesn’t like to brag or boast. I just like to work and win. Go figure.

Practitioners and publicists can use playdates to post information on projects or just the normal tasks related to our work. And we can also have fun with clients.

I love scheduling in playdates with clients and even potential clients to demonstrate the viral nature of online exchanges. With all due respect to my clients and potential clients, I never worry if these playdates will cost me in income, because that’s the nature of social networking/media – sharing. Plus, it’s not all I know. 

Facebook.com is perhaps the best tool for playdates and intentional exchanges because updates and conversations can be seen on friends’ home pages. I’ve acquired new friends using this practice and even business inquiries. Clients and potential clients have received the same as well as a method of tracking people from Facebook.com to their sites. 

Have fun by posting links, videos, articles and anything you can think of to draw attention to the playdate. 

Best, Robin

robin@thejstandard.com

Filed under: Client Relations, Help for the Practitioner, Social Media, , , , , ,

Shaquille O’Neal on Twitter

To hear me tell it, Twitter is not for the faint at heart or the impatient person. It’s just something you cannot over-analyze, you just have to do it. I’d had a Twitter account (@thejstandard) for months before I took the plunge and decided to tweet or post my updates. Like most things, I took a day and played with Twitter, studying how to follow (add) and be followed (be added); how to engage other tweeters and how to maneuver around the page.     shaq_twitter2

Quick tutorial: Twitter is a micro-blogging system that allows a person (tweeter) to post (tweet) short messages (tweets) up to 140 characters (not to be confused with 140 words). It’s a really great way to tweet random thoughts that can actually be used later in a larger blog, which is how my friend Ty uses Twitter. Or you can use tweets to post links to articles, photos, music and almost anything under the Internet sun. 

You can also use Twitter to communicate with other people. Some of the most irritating tweeters are people and businesses that tweet their sales, product info and other forms of advertising without engaging the people who follow their tweets. Tweeters will let you know when you’ve crossed that precious line. 

There are a few athletes using Twitter but few are actually tweeting for themselves and have interns or personal assistants micro-blogging on their behalves. But there are a few exceptions and the most recent is Shaq. If you are on Twitter or thinking of joining, you can go here to find Mr. O’Neal. His Twitter I.D. is @THE_REAL-_SHAQ and as of this writing Mr. O’Neal has 9,175 people following him though he only follows 159 people. Not a great ratio for engagement but easier for him to navigate. That 159 is an elite group who will be able to communicate back and forth with @THE_REAL_SHAQ on Twitter. If Shaq doesn’t follow you back, he will not be able to see your tweets to him unless your tweets are unlocked and on the public timeline. (That’s how Twitter works, folks.)

Here’s a great story on Mashable.com by Adam Ostrow about a Twitter user, @lord_b who didn’t believe that Shaq was actually on Twitter. He obviously caught @THE_REAL_SHAQ at the right time because his doubtful tweet turned into a telephone call from Mr. O’Neal.

I think a certain doubting Thomas is going to a basketball game now. 

Best, Robin

robin@thejstandard.com

Filed under: African Americans, Public Relations, Social Media, Sports PR, , , , ,

Contagious 2

royaleLast week I introduced everyone to the amazing vlogs I’d discovered on Facebook.com. There are more and this vlog by Royale Watkins somewhat explains the power of these videos on Facebook.com — they engage and connect:

If I had the embedded code I’d share one of the most poignant vlogs recorded by Royale addressing the suicide of Abraham Briggs, the 19 year old Floridian who took a lethal dose of pills on-camera and then laid down on his father’s bed to die as people observed via a camera he’d set up. That camera ran for over 12 hours and someone finally had the courage and sense to contact the company hosting the streaming video to report what happened to Abraham to authorities. 

Comedian Stevie Mack created the FBTV Network to serve as a hub for the vlogging talent pool on the social network. Members of the group are privileged to information regarding intellectual property issues and video hosting.          

Last night I discovered another gem, a real GEM (Good Enough Mother), René Syler, the author of Good-Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting (Simon Spotlight Entertainment). René spent four years as an anchor on CBS’ The Early Show, and is a spokeswoman for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Read about René HERE. René’s vlogs are incredibly smart and witty, they also incredible marketing tools that engage readers of her book and engage a legion of new fans. (PR Tip: Wanna sell a book? Sell the author first.)

Watch here:

Connect and engage. Vlogging as a marketing device or networking device will not work without making an effort to connect with people and then engaging them on a personal level. The beauty of these wonderful vlogs is that people, famous and infamous, are building the field and people are showing up. This is real reality TV. 

Best, Robin

robin@thejstandard.com

Filed under: African Americans, Public Relations, Social Media, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

Contagious

encycloptv_screenshot

Patrice Hale's YouTube page

Social media PR is indeed hot, but it’s proving to be the wave of the future in PR and publicity practices. It’s as simple as connecting the dots between various computer technologies and social networking forums.

However, I won’t oversimplify it in this space, but I will share that I’m incredibly impressed with the way some celebrities and even businesses are using social media to build brand loyalty and followings.

One of the most impressive uses of social media use was during the presidential campaign process by Barack Obama’s campaign. Brilliantly, they engaged (a primary rule of social media) a legion of voters and supporters by sharing (a primary purpose of social media) information on social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. Moreover, they utilized their own Web site in a manner that included live streaming video (Ustream), events pages and blogging space for supporters. And the most talked about use of social media was the 3 a.m. cell phone text message announcing Barack Obama’s choice for vice-president.  

Barack Obama Campaign Twitter Page (note the followers/following)

Barack Obama Campaign Twitter Page (note the followers/following)

 

Celebrities such as CSI: NY’s Hill Harper utilized social media to promote voter literacy and rights, as well as to record video messages urging people to vote.

I had an opportunity to talk to Jason McCall, a special director for the Obama campaign, whose job it was to recruit celebrities to not only support the now president-elect but to also use social media to promote voter registration and voting. Here is a sample of his projects for Vote for Change

Lately, I’ve seen some really interesting projects on Facebook using the virality of social networking while engaging “friends” in a meaningful dialogue. 

tn2_terri_j_vaughn

Terri Vaughn

m4_royale_watkins

Royale Watkins

Actress, producer Terri Vaughn’s use of vlogging or video blogging is absolutely brilliant. Terri is transparent and she actually engages by talking directly to her viewers about life as a black actress in Hollywood, motherhood and about future projects. You can find my favorite vlog by Terri here.  Actor-comedian Royale Watkins produces a vlog, My Life Online, which is also smart and incredibly funny. What I love about Royale’s vlog is that while he’s funny he taps into serious subjects and gives us another side of a comedian’s life.  It’s rare to see a comedian in a multidimensional way, My Life Online is indeed a multidimensional view of Royale. I love smart anything and these vlogs are truly smart in terms of engaging fans/supporters, attracting fans/supporters, and my favorite thing of all – bringing the publicity. Of course, they are also useful for career transitioning and image change. According to the hundreds of comments Terri and Royale receive, their vlogs also help them appear “real” to people. In later editions of my report I will discuss what happens when a vlog goes wrong, really wrong.  

Patrice Hale, a Facebook friend is also attracting a lot of hits to her page as well as friends and supporters. Miss Hale, a screenwriter, who possesses the charisma of a Sherri Shepard and the wit and intelligence of a scholar. Yes, she’s that smart but she’s incredibly funny tackling a serious topic (again one of my favorites) – the lack of black images on broadcast/cable prime-time shows. Here’s Patrice’s infamous and viral vlog:

If there’s anything to learn from these projects it’s imperative that the relationship between the user and the producer of vlogs and other forms of social media is a two-way relationship. The hotness factor in the above was the openness of all to receive and acknowledge feedback, which in turn engages an exchange. It just doesn’t work when you talk at a user. 

Best, Robin

robin@thejstandard.com

 

 

 

Filed under: African Americans, Mass-Mediated Images, New Methods, Social Media, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories