By: Victoria Morris, Summer 2018 Intern
What does it mean to be influential & how do you become influential?
If you are affecting people’s decisions, you are an influencer. This power is usually created by authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. Typically, after becoming active with a particular niche, the influence becomes stronger and more credible.
What are social media influencers?
In 2017 81% of the United States population had a social media profile. Social media influencers use social media through the credibility they have established in a specific industry. Influencers use their social media platforms to create content based off of a particular niche that they have built knowledge or expertise in. In other words, social media influencers are recognized as credible sources. For this reason, they generate a large following on their social network.
Who are social media influencers?
Social media influencers fall into three main categories: celebrities, industry experts, and bloggers.
Celebrities are obviously social media influencers due to their popularity. Being well known automatically generates a large number of followers.
Industry experts and thought leaders have gained respect because of their qualifications, position, or experience. A lot of their influence comes from the reputation of their workplace.
Journalists are popular industry expert influencers.
Bloggers develop followers from a particular niche that they share a similar interest in. They create their power of influence through authentic and active relationships. Bloggers are typically more of your everyday people. This relatability generates respect and trust from their audience(s).
Note: To be an influencer, an individual doesn’t always need to reach a large audience, sometimes reaching a small niche audience can be just as valuable.
Why should brands use social media influencers?
Brands are always looking for ways to influence their consumers. According to The Telegraphthe average American spends almost two hours scanning carious social media platforms. So, why would brands not grab hold of this opportunity? By using social media influencers, a brand creates a quick and cost effective approach to reaching a wide audience. The use of social media influencers also builds trust between consumers and the brand, eliminates ad blockers, and often is the only way to reach particular demographics such as: millennials and Generation Z.
How can brands use social media influencers?
Once brands realize social media influencers are the way to go, they can start taking steps towards growing their online audience. Two strong directions would be: quest posting and sponsored posts.
Guest posting is writing or publishing work on someone else’s social media platform. This strategy helps build relationships, can function as a search engine, and it introduces new people to your brand.
Another way brands can utilize influencers is with sponsored posts. Brands can utilize advertising dollars to sponsor a post featuring an influencer. By using an influencer’s clout, a brand can maximize reach, increase effectiveness, and lend credibility to their products.
Get on board!
Social media has taken over. Brands have no choice but to reach audiences through iPhone and computer screens. All it takes is for Selena Gomez to post a picture on Instagram wearing your shoes, compliment them, tag the company, and BAM sales rise. Social media is how the world keeps up with its surroundings: places to go, foods to eat, clothes to wear. It has a unique way of triggering our memories. So, when we go to purchase your next meal, we think about our best friend’s cousin’s food post from last Tuesday. In other words, social media platforms do the work FOR us! Grab a social media influencer, sit back, and watch your audience grow.
By: Bethany Pappas, Summer 2018 Intern
The popularity of social media has had a huge impact on the marketing and PR world. Since its origin, social media has quickly become one of the most popular PR techniques for businesses across the board. Maintaining a positive image on social media is not only critical for success, but it can also be a fun way to showcase brand creativity. One of the greatest marketing aspects of social media is that it is constantly updating and evolving. Here are some PR and Social Media things we are loving this week! First let’s begin with my personal favorite, Instagram.
1. You can now add hashtags and profile links to your Instagram profile
This is one of Instagram’s newest and most overdue features. Clickable links were already available in Instagram bios, but as of late March, users can also include live links to other Instagram profiles in their bios. Adding an @ sign in your bio allows your followers to get to other profiles you associate with quickly and easily. When you mention another account in your profile, they receive a notification and can choose to remove or accept the link from your profile to theirs. In addition, users can also add functioning hashtags in their bios. Including a hashtag in your Instagram bio allows users to be connected to a hashtag page which contains other posts that include that same hashtag. Branded hashtags are a big PR tool over social media, and Instagram just created a way to expand on this!
2. Instagram is reportedly developing a Data Portability Tool
The Data Portability tool that Instagram is reportedly developing will allow users to download the content they have previously uploaded onto Instagram. This content includes pictures, videos, and possibly direct messages. The reported development of a Data Portability Tool is more or less related to staying compliant with the upcoming European GDPR privacy law, which requires data portability. Data portability allows users to download their content and potentially upload it on another form of social media. This is a great addition to Instagram because unlike Facebook, Instagram users were unable to save or download images off of any profiles—including their own. This addition is sure to help even the playing field and give Instagram users more control over their content.
3. You can broadcast live with a guest on Instagram
Instagram took their live broadcast feature up a notch by allowing users and brands the ability to broadcast live with a guest. Using a split screen format, this can be a fun feature for friends or a strategic branding technique for businesses. This is a great feature for brands because they can invite business partners or even social media influencers to co-host a live broadcast session. Incorporating other brands or influencers can help generate a large amount of attention. In addition, if a broadcast achieves a significant following, it can show up on Instagram’s Explore tab and receive more press. In a world of increasing video content, Instagram created the perfect touch!
4. Instagram voting poll update
At first, Instagram’s addition of stories got some mixed emotions for “copying snapchat,” but let’s be honest—now we’re obsessed. Although Instagram wasn’t the first to come up with a story, they were the first to feature voting polls on their stories. Poll voting through Instagram stories is a game changer because it allows companies to interact with their followers and get direct feedback from them. Just recently, Instagram updated this feature even further and released the emoji slider poll. This new feature lets users answer questions by sliding an emoji based on their agreement or disagreement with your statement. The addition of an emoji allows users to add more detail to the tone of the question, and the option to slide the emoji to an individual desired length allows for a wider and more personalized range of responses.
5. Facebook Watch
Facebook might be older than Instagram, but that doesn’t mean it can’t keep up.Creating a video strategy is an important part of maintaining relevance in the social media world. Video content in any form has become tremendously popular over the last few years. For example, YouTube has become one of the most popular forms of social media for the younger generation due to the new trend of vlogging, AKA video blogging. Facebook recognized the growing trend of video content, and in response created Facebook Watch. Watch is a platform for watching TV-like shows via Facebook. Users will see shows based on their interests and what their friends are watching, thanks to highlights like “Most Talked About.” Watch is a great addition to Facebook because it gives users the content they are most interested in, and it allows brands to target and therefore increase viewers based on their interests.
By: Elizabeth Summers, Summer 2018 Summer Intern
Interviewing is a cornerstone of the job search process— from interview etiquette to researching the company beforehand, interviews have the power to make or break your potential job offer. Although an interview opportunity indicates an employer’s interest, it is not a time for you to let your guard down— it is an imperative moment to prove your worth.
Statistics suggest 33 percent of employers know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether or not they are going to hire you. Let’s review some common interview mistakes to help you impress the hiring manager and nail your interview.
1. Neglecting to research the company
It is essential to research a company before interviewing for a position with them. Being aware of a company’s culture, values, mission and business allows you to more genuinely express how your skills will serve as an asset to them. You are most likely competing against a group of candidates, so be knowledgeable on the company’s recent news and activities to generate an interactive conversation to help you stand out from the rest of the candidates. To promote authentic conversation, you need to be able to competently discuss the company’s business. Plus, research will help you feel prepared for your interview, thus will calm your pre-interview nerves.
2. Failing to prepare an elevator pitch
Every interview you have will be unique, but all guaranteed similar in one way—the inevitable elevator pitch delivery. This question, also known as the “tell me about yourself” question, can be a make-or-break component of your interview. This is a chance, and possibly your only chance, to point the conversation in any direction you want. A common misconception is that you will be able to wing an elevator pitch. In reality, your elevator pitch should be crafted and rehearsed beforehand. An elevator pitch should address who you are, what you do, why you do it and why you are the best at it. Keep this short and to the point, but do not sell yourself short—use this opportunity to catch the employers attention. Most importantly, your elevator pitch should continually develop and transform. Tailor your pitch to fit the culture, values and necessary skills of the job you are pursuing.
3. Exhibiting poor body language
Body language makes up 55 percent of communication. Poor body language suggests a lack of interest. It is crucial to be aware of your body language, ensuring you are sitting up straight and maintaining eye contact throughout your interview. Always offer a firm handshake. It is expected to be nervous during an interview but try not to channel your nerves into body language by fidgeting and crossing your arms. Smile often and remain engaged in the conversation.
4. Speaking poorly of past employers
Prospective employers want to hire positive people who work well with others, regardless of hardships. Employers look for potential employees that persevere through difficult situations. Speaking poorly of previous employers or coworkers automatically reveals a bad attitude and a lack of respect. Prepare for tough and predictable questions such as “tell me about a time that you struggled with a coworker.” Do not resort to speaking poorly of previous colleagues. Instead, focus on how you handled the situation, how you could have changed and what you learned from the experience.
5. Not having any legitimate questions
Interviews are a two-way street. In order to have a successful interview, both the employer and interviewee should encourage conversation. When you are offered a chance to ask questions, do not turn this opportunity down. Naturally, people participate in conversations that interest them. An employer may feel you are not interested if you reject an opportunity to ask questions. Choose your questions wisely because questions can reveal your true intentions. For example, do not use this time to inquire about your salary or vacation days. Ask questions that imply your desire to be successful and work hard. For example, inquire about the company culture. This suggests your interest in the company and will help you assess if the company would be a strong fit for you.
Like most skills, your interview skills will continually progress and develop. As you interview more, you will discover what works and your nerves will settle (hopefully). Practice makes perfect. Best of luck!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
By: Taylor Glow, Spring 2018 Intern
As a college student, I would often find myself wondering, “Does it really matter if I have an internship?” Not that I didn’t mind working or being a part of extracurricular activities, but the idea of finding an internship seemed like a daunting task. It’s kind of intimidating when you are surfing LinkedIn sifting through internships in your area, and you feel under-qualified for every single one of them. I had to make myself realize that the point of an internship is to help assist you to become qualified for the job you apply for after graduation and to gain experience in your field. Internships are an incredible tool for you to learn the ropes, make mistakes and be taught under qualified people who have been in your shoes.The foundation that has been set from my past couple of internships over the years has created a launching pad for my future careers. Here is some advice on how to get a great internship and be well prepared for your job after graduation.
Establish your name.
We are in PR for goodness sake! In a saturated market, we have to make ourselves stand out among the rest. You can start by making a cohesive brand for yourself by building a professional resume and portfolio. Be sure to become well versed in using LinkedIn and have a page that reflects what is said on your resume. On LinkedIn, you can start to network with locals in your area that can eventually help provide you with an internship or a job. Not only should you be active finding connections on LinkedIn, but also start meeting professionals in your area at local events or on your college campus. Get your name out there!
This can sometimes feel awkward. I get it… you don’t want to be “braggy”. Maybe don’t do this at a dinner party, because that’s when it becomes annoying, but in this scenario it is totally fine to sell yourself and showcase your skills and talents. Like I said before, the public relations world is a saturated market, so you have to be sure to stand out among the rest. When applying to an internship or a job, make sure to look over the job qualifications. If you are qualified for that position, then list specifically what you have been able to do that makes you a great candidate. What can YOU add specifically to that position and why does this company need YOU? Sell it. Own it.
Of course, you want internships that have something to do with what you are interested in. It’s obvious that the point of an internship is to better prepare you for your future careers. However, I do think there is value in having well-rounded experiences. What I mean by this is that another important reason to have an internship is to gain experience. If you are able to have a couple of them throughout college, then make sure you aren’t doing the same thing every time. You are going to be much more marketable to an employer later down the road if you have been able to do several different types of jobs. Be open to new experiences because you never know what you could gain from them!
Hope that’s a little boost of encouragement. You might not enjoy every internship you end up having but that’s okay. That is why you do them, to figure out what you like and dislike. The experiences you can gain and the people you get to meet are all worth every second of your time. Okay, go apply now!
BY: Liz Rodell, Public Relations / Communication Specialist
It feels like in today’s world, people are constantly bombarded with messages and advertisements throughout their day. According to research, the average person can see or hear up to 5,000 ads a day. Media outlets and advertisers continue to innovate and dive deeper in their tactics. For many businesses, it can seem daunting and overwhelming to get their message through as they build their brand.
When you build your strategic plan for your business, I encourage you to bring it back to basics and include relationship building. While there are many different approaches to do so, building a relationship with your target audience will benefit and further your business.
Word of mouth is your best advocate.
As we said previously, we are bombarded with messages constantly. Whether we are looking at a InstaStory or driving home from work, we see messages from brands but rarely absorb them. What do you remember? Your friend telling you about the moisturizer she recommends, or the laundry detergent your mom told you to use. The words that we hear from our trusted network of friends and family carry weight. Therefore, as you build relationships in your business and focus on connection, it will create a ripple effect through that individual’s community.
It builds a true connection, resulting in loyalty and a sense of enrollment.
When you build relationships with your target audience, it results in a true two-way connection. As these people learn about your brand, they feel like they are a part of it. They advocate for you amongst their friends, they show up to your events, and they feel like they are part of telling your story. If the day ever comes where your business makes a mistake, they are loyal to your brand and are able to see past an isolated incident.
It creates the space for communication.
Once the relationship is formed, it allows for valuable communication to take place. As you generate innovative ideas for your business, you now have a group of people to talk it through with. Some of the best results come from collaboration and listening to the customers’ needs. They also trust you and value your business enough to share their feedback with you. You will find them sharing ideas or opportunities that you may have otherwise never known about.
While these benefits of relationship building all sound great – how does one go about implementing this with their business?
Conduct a SWOT Analysis – What are the strengths and weaknesses of your business? Are there any external opportunities or threats?
Brainstorm unique ways to build relationships – This may look like hosting events, creating an influencer program or even shifting how you interact with your target audience to allow for a relationship to form.
Don’t take on more than you can handle – the goal of relationship building to create intentional relationships. It does not have to be an elaborate plan. Create a vision that you know will work with the other facets of your business.
While they take time to grow and flourish, the relationships that you build for your business will reap beneficial results. Seek to build genuine connections and create a community the supports your organization’s growth through feedback and enrollment.
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.