GOING VIRAL: MAKING IT IN THE MASSES

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By: Taylor Lewis, Public Relations Coordinator

The Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign, the “Straight Outta” meme, and how could we forget the black and blue vs. gold and white dress debate of 2015. Each one of these viral sensations captivated the masses of the social media realm, but you have to wonder why and how they gained so much popularity? Was it the content, the visuals, a lot of luck, or a combination of everything?

Having a social media campaign go viral is dream come true for a social media content creator, but there are rarely any prior indications of what will go viral and when. So, one could argue that there is really no way to predict that something will reach such a level of popularity. However, there are several elements that are not mutually exclusive and proven to increase the chances of your content going viral when use in the right ways.

Audience over everything.

Have you ever heard the saying “quality over quantity”? Well, when it comes to going viral, those words have never been truer. Just because you put amazing content in front of tons of people, doesn’t mean they will care or engage with it. You can get to know what your audience likes through gathering insights on their demographics, what content they like the most, or just asking them questions through an Instagram story. However you gather this information, It is important to know your audience and develop content that they will be drawn to, thus increasing the likelihood that they will interact with it enough to go viral. 

Let others do the work for you.

Going viral is definitely a blessing and a curse. It increases engagement, followers, website views, but it is also a lot of work on the social media manager’s part. When developing something to go viral, you should aim for your audience to do some of the work for you. Encouraging people to “share” or create user-generated content is a great way to ensure that your reaching a larger audience and people are engaging with your content. Influencers can be extremely influential as well. So, find some key influencers among your audience and encourage them to engage as well.

Timeliness is the name of the game. 

Although there is no perfect time for something to go viral, it helps to follow a few simple tips. 

-      Stay up to date on the latest events and trending topics. 

-      Know when your audience engages the most.

-      Use trending hashtags when possible.

Timeliness is all about knowing the perfect time to interact with your audience. Finding the right time will make a huge difference on the amount of momentum the content will acquire and propel it to go viral. 

Keep up the momentum.

Your content goes viral, great! But now what? It is vital that the social media manager continues to engage with their audience through reposts, liking comments, replying to comments, etc. Keeping up this interaction will keep your content “alive” in the social media world, which will only serve to further benefit your social media pages. 

Utilizing these tips will be extremely beneficial in the quest to go viral, but a little luck won’t hurt either. So, good luck!

 

PERSONAL BRANDING TIPS

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By: Brailyn Hardy, PR + Digital Brand Manager

Your online footprint is the first impression you'll give most employers.

So, what is personal branding? Personal branding is the process of developing a "mark" that is created around your name or your selected career path. You use this "mark" to express and communicate your skills, personality, and values. 

Have you ever Google’d yourself? 69% of employees are using online search engines like Google to research candidates and see if the job seeker is presented professionally.For example, when I Google myself my personal website, company I work for, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all immediately populate the search results. Hiring managers wouldn’t have to look very hard to determine that I live in Birmingham and I’m the PR + Digital Brand Manager for KC Projects PR. 

Tips for Building your Personal Brand: 

1.     Manage Your Online Presence. 

Before submitting your application, making small changes like setting your social media accounts to private, switching out the Spring Break profile image for something a little more professional and updating your LinkedIn profile can go a long way. 

2.    Printed Resume vs. Online Resume

How did you find the job your applying for? More than likely online so why wouldn’t you have an online version of your resume? Even if you are not tech savvy enough to create your website, maximize the benefits of LinkedIn. Since LinkedIn does not have space limitations it’s a great source to go a bit deeper into your professional history than you do on your traditional resume. 

3.     Promote what you are passionate about. 

Spend your summer in Australia working with a penguin conservation group? Taking initiative and solving problems is a good quality to have. Employers want to hire people who are smart, can carry a conversation and have a point of view about life. 

4.     Have a high-quality headshot. 

You will use this headshot more than you think. I’ve used mine for my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, website, award nominations and everything in-between. No, that poor quality photo you cropped of you in a dress from your cousins’ wedding is NOT a headshot. 

5.     Become involved in the community. 

Being an active member of your community is great content to add to a resume. Getting involved in your community serves the dual purpose of professional networking, while demonstrating your leadership and passion for serving others. 

 

SOCIAL RECRUITING

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By: Brailyn Hardy, PR + Digital Brand Manager

Social recruiting is now a "thing" when it comes to hiring job candidates. In 2017,70%of employers snooped potential candidates’ social media profiles according to CareerBuilder.com. That’s not to say employers are searching social media for ALL bad reasons, some are searching for the right reasons too. 

For example, if you are applying for a position in PR and social media, shouldn’t we be checking to see if the candidate is an active user? Here are the top reasons employers are “social recruiting” from CareerBuilder.com: 

  • Information that supports their qualifications for the job (61%)

  • If the candidate has a professional online persona at all (50%)

  • What other people are posting about the candidates (37%)

  • For any reason at all not to hire a candidate (24%)

Aside from social media, 69%are using online search engines like Google to research candidates and see if the job seeker presents himself or herself professionally. 

Here are the top reasons why employers chose not to hire a candidate based on social media:

  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or videos information

  • Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs

  • Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion

  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee

  • Candidate lied about qualifications

  • Candidate had poor communication skills

  • Candidate was linked to criminal behavior

  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers

  • Candidate's screen name was unprofessional

  • Candidate lied about an absence

  • Candidate posted too frequently

Scrolling through your photos from this past weekend and laughing at the debauchery of your charades? Pause before you post because it could prevent you from scoring your dream job. 

 

MEET THE INTERNS: SUMMER 2018

Can we get a Roll Tide?! Three talented, innovative and eager University of Alabama students joined the KC Projects team as interns in May. Help us welcome Victoria Morris, Elizabeth Summers, and Bethany Pappas. Keep reading to learn more about our KC Projects Summer Interns!

“A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

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Victoria Morris

Hometown: Spanish Fort, AL

What is your favorite social media channel? Pinterest; it’s a creative lifesaver with no drama

What are three things you can’t live without? Cell phone, chocolate, sports

Where do you see yourself in three years? Living in the South with a PR job

You may have to look twice if you see Victoria out and about. She’s been known to don a Princess Elsa costume for children’s birthday parties!

 

 

 

Elizabeth Summers

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

What is your favorite social media channel? Instagram; I love the Insta-story features

What are three things you can’t live without? Dogs, coffee, Eberjey pjs

Where do you see yourself in three years? Working in a PR firm

Elizabeth spends her free time walking dogs, being active with friends and going on coffee runs! This girl is always on the go!

 

 

 

Bethany Pappas

Hometown: Cullman, AL

What is your favorite social media channel? Twitter; it makes me laugh every day

What are three things you can’t live without? My sisters, candy, Netflix

Where do you see yourself in three years?Living in Birmingham or Nashville

When Bethany isn’t PRing at KC Projects, you may find her scrubbing floors — she’s a self-proclaimed clean freak!

 

THINK YOUR BUSINESS DOESN'T NEED SOCIAL MEDIA?

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By: Michael Tyner, Spring 2018 Intern

A good social media presence is not just helpful, it is essential for any business to find success when marketing themselves and their brand. If your business does not have a powerful social media presence it is not too late! You can build your brand by learning why using social media as a marketing tool is so important.  

1.    Social media isn’t going anywhere; showcase your brand

Social media platforms continue to expand and reposition themselves. If these platforms have proven anything over the years, it is that the internet is a place where evolving and changing with your audience is a necessity. This furthermore proves that the future impact of social media on your client base is only going to grow exponentially. The majority of individuals with active social media accounts get information concerning brands through said accounts. Many of those users are more likely to recommend an account to others if they experience good social media service. The time is now for you to take advantage of this growth and find your target audience using social media. Use this opportunity to showcase your brand, tell your story, and make yourself stand out from the rest of the world. 

2.    Creating engaging content expands your audience

Creating content that is engaging and interesting pertaining to your brand gives individuals a reason to build a connection with your business. This is the first major step to forming that key following that your brand has been missing. In order to find this audience, your content should focus on the user. Make an effort to find out what they find interesting and engaging. Social media gives you the opportunity to create content that is accurate and provoking while still being actionable. This also gives you the opportunity to network. This means that you have the ability to exchange ideas with like-minded individuals who can help improve the way that you do business. Always remember that your target is constantly changing, that is why it is so important to begin building content today.

3.    You can interact with your audience

It is always great to receive compliments from your customers and clients. Some would argue that is is even better to receive criticism from them. The most beneficial part of having a strong social media following is that you are able to listen to your audience. The ability to hear your audience’s opinion can be favorable, constructive, and agonizing. Whether the are good or bad, these opinions benefit you and your business by saving time. You now know what works, what doesn’t work, what your customer likes and dislikes. This is one of the many assets that your business gains by building a social media presence. 

4.    Social media generates and saves you money

The most obvious opportunity that comes with creating a social media presence is generating revenue. You now have the ability to market and advertise your services or products through your specific platforms. Larger businesses typically use a direct sales approach using social media. This means that they advertise a specific product or service to their audience and then direct them to where they can purchase it. Smaller businesses typical use indirect advertising and marketing promotions. This means that instead of advertising for a specific product to their customers, these smaller businesses give their audience another reason to look at the products and services that they provide. Almost as if you are pushing them towards your entire business rather than giving them one specific product or service. While there are many more approaches to advertising and marketing, these two are the most evident as it applies to social media. Both have the potential to raise sales and revenue exponentially without having to spend money purchasing social media ad space. 

5.    Success is visible

Implementing social media to your business plan is not only easy, but it is necessary. The majority of businesses say that social media positively influences revenue, sales, and brand awareness. Users believe that seeing a business or organization through a social media platform builds a sense of trust and credibility which eventually leads to brand loyalty. A strong social media presence displays that your business or organization is strong, current, and active. This is necessary when attempting to build your brand and expand your business beyond your basic target audience. It is not an easy feat to achieve, but having a strong social media presence across numerous platforms makes it much more accessible to create and maintain a successful business and image. Whether you are attempting to increase revenue, locate your target audience or just expand your brand, having a social media account across numerous platforms is the first place to start. All social media accounts can be compared to a plant. When left unattended, it simply withers away and causes your business to slowly do the same. However; when it is constantly active and updated, you can watch your business grow and thrive before your own eyes. 

 

3 COMMON SOCIAL MEDIA MYTHS

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By: Kat Best, Spring 2018 Intern

Social media can be a powerful tool for reaching consumers; however, there are still a lot of misinformation about how businesses should use social media. There are 3 common misconceptions surrounding social media that you need to understand for a successful social media campaign:

Social media is strictly a one directional communication channel.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. People tend to think of social media in a news conference sort of format, where you tell people about your company and that’s it. However, not only is social media a way for you to disseminate information to the public, but it’s also a way for them to talk back to you. Social media is about creating relationships with people and giving them a chance to connect with your brand. Good business social media pages keep their followers immersed and involved. It’s important that you understand who you’re trying to reach so that you can create content that would be engaging to your target audience. 

Social media will eliminate face-to-face networking.

Social media may be able to help you connect with people, however, face-to-face networking is still extremely valuable. People, whether they’re customers, vendors, etc., still need and want in-person interaction. Personability is key when forming business relationships. Social media is meant to complement your brand’s existing public relations and marketing strategies. 

Social media is only for young people.

People tend to underestimate the value and importance of social media for a brand and laugh it off as a something that only the younger generation does. While it is true that the younger generation tends to be more heavily involved with social media, you’d be surprised at the age range of social media users. It also pays off if you know where to look for your target demographic. For example, if you were trying to reach older clientele, you would have more success with Facebook than you would Instagram. The effectiveness of your digital campaigns will rely on you knowing who your target audience is and where to find them. 

PROPERLY RESPOND TO NEGATIVE SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTS

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By: Brailyn Hardy, PR + Digital Brand Manager

The number one reason businesses steer clear of social media is due to the fear of having someone speak negatively towards their brand. Jumping in and joining the social conversations gives businesses the opportunity to promote the positive words and neutralize the negative by following these three easy steps.

Step 1: Thank the user for the feedback. 

This part may be difficult, especially when someone is talking bad about your brand. Just remember that the rest of your audience is watching to see how you handle hard situations. At the end of the day the customer cared enough to let you know about a poor experience so thank them for taking their time to provide you with honest feedback.

Example: “We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to let us know about your poor experience with our brand.”

Step 2: Tell them what you are going to do.

After thanking the user, it is important to also publicly include how you plan on making the situation right when you respond. Let them know how important a positive experience from your brand is and that what they encountered is out of the norm. Do your best to do something to make it up to the customer or prevent the situation from occurring again.

Example: “We take great pride in our product or service and we are so sorry to have fallen short of your expectations. We would like to more details about your poor experience.”

Step 3: Deflect the conversation to another channel. 

The last thing you want to do is continue the conversation on your page. At the end of your response to the negative comment include your direct contact information so that you discuss the matter further. Be ready to hear from the disgruntled customer and try to remain as calm and rational as possible. It also helps to have a preapproved protocol in place from your client / brand such as providing a full refund for product purchased.  

Keep in mind online audiences like to feel like they are communicating with humans. A copy and paste message is likely to cause more harm than help to the situation. Big brands like Delta and Chipotle even allow their social media support teams to tag their names in the comments to make their apologies sound more sincere.

Example: “We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to let us know about your poor experience with our brand. We take great pride in our product or service and we are so sorry to have fallen short of your expectations. We would like to hear more details about your poor experience. Please contact us directly at Brailyn@kcprojects.net so we can learn more.

- Brailyn, Brand Support Team" 

4 STEPS TO SECURING YOURSELF A NETWORK

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By Brailyn Hardy

In a world where we are constantly connecting via social media, face-to-face networking can sometimes fall to the wayside. It’s easy to put off and even easier to do when hiding behind a computer screen but there are so many benefits to breaking out of your shell and attending that networking opportunity you have been dreading. Face-to-face networking showcases that sparkling personality you have, builds more meaningful relationships and allows you to cover more ground in a shorter period of time without a chain of email threads. 

Step 1. Have a go-to: Before you enter any potential networking environment take a few minutes and come up with a conversation starter or question. I try to read up on current events before heading into the danger zone so I am prepared to participate in a conversation if someone brings up a trending topic. 

A few of my other favorite questions depending on the situation are: 

  • How long have you been in Birmingham and what brought you here?
  • What do you do?
  • What brought you to this event tonight?

Step 2. Break out of your comfort zone: Regardless if  you know 1 or 100 people in the room, I try to treat every networking situation the same. Always greet previous connections first to maintain that relationship you worked so hard to establish then try to build on it by having them introduce you to people they know. In a situation where you don’t know a soul? Take a deep breath and smile. This friendly expression says your approachable and interested in meeting new people then approach a group and use the skills you learned in step one. 

Step 3. Actually listen: Sometimes I get so caught up in focusing on what to talk about next I forget to ACTUALLY listen to what someone is saying about themselves. Asking questions and nodding here and there helps you stay alert and shows you are actively interested in what they are saying. Try to avoid those repetitive nervous gestures like fixing your hair, jewelry or clothing and a huge no to my worst habit - picking at my nails. It makes me (or you) seem uninterested in the current conversation.

Step 4. Following up: Because I know you asked your new connection for a business card, follow up with them relatively quickly. I tend to make the first move simply by following them on social media or connecting with them on LinkedIn. If you do go as far as emailing them, make sure you mention where you met and mention the topic of your conversation. Remember it’s not an either-or when choosing networking online or face-to-face. It is both. 

REACH VS. IMPRESSIONS

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By Brittani Harris, Digital PR Lead

1.86 billion.

That’s how many active Facebook users there are to date.

So what does this mean for marketers? In case you had any doubts about marketing your business on Facebook, you shouldn’t. It is the largest social network by far and has been the default choice for advertisers. Any why not?! Social media has proven to be more effective than traditional media. One defining metric that defines the better option between traditional media and social media is cost per thousand impressions (CPM). The goal of any advertiser should be to reach as many relevant people as possible at the lowest cost and Facebook is the only form of media that can expose you to over 1,000 people for less than $5.

While it is the more cost effective, it isn’t always easy to navigate or read the analytics. If you have spent any time working on a social media campaign, reach and impression are two terms you are no stranger to hearing. While it is very easy to group them together, they do have their own definitions and if you want to measure the results of your social media campaigns correctly, it is important to know the difference between the two.

Reach. Simply put, REACH is the number of people who see your content. On Facebook, reach measures how your content is spread across the platform. If you work in social media, you have high hopes that every single one of your followers sees your published content or ads, but unfortunately they don’t. Reach is a measurement of your effective audience, those unique people who see your content.

Impression. In the world of social media IMPRESSION means that content was delivered to someone’s feed. The viewer doesn’t have to engage with the post in order for it to count as an impression. So, when designing your ad be sure to think of what type of “impression” your ad will make. Your first impression makes a difference and could be a determining factor in whether or not the viewer clicks on your post.

While it is natural to get excited when you see you’ve received a lot of impressions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that many people saw your ad. One person can have multiple impressions on the same piece of content.  For example, if you have 200 followers and your ad reached 200 people with 200 impressions, that means your 200 followers saw your ad. Now, say you have 200 followers and your ad reached 200 people with 400 impressions, that means every single one of your followers has seen your post twice.

If it is still confusing, think of it like this, reach is the number of people who have seen your content while impressions are the total number of times the people you’ve reached have seen your content.