Thursday, May 30, 2013

What to do when someone else is telling your story

By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Many of you know that creating quality content is a key element to successfully engage your audience using social media. However, it’s easy to forget that once your audience is engaged with your brand, the type of content on your page will change. Instead of being one-sided, where the brand is putting out all of the content, a truly engaged community will start contributing through comments, links or original posts. Your page evolves and now content has become a mix of what your company creates and posts and what others create and post about your company.

Great! This is what you have wanted all along, right? To have people engage with your brand; to start a conversation. For the most part, this experience is positive. But what happens when your company is involved in something not so positive – from an unhappy customer to a true crisis situation? Before you know it, your online community is reacting (and they aren’t holding back), people are commenting on other people’s posts, and your company name is getting a pretty good beating. And this is all happening on your own page. So how do you respond when you aren’t in the content driver’s seat? Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:
  • Put a plan in place to stream line approval processes. If you are with a large company, you don’t want to have to go through four people to get an approval on a response. With social media, you need to be able to appropriately respond and act fast. 
  •  Designate someone who can speak and engage for your brand that’s trusted to be your voice. A crisis is not the time to look around the room to see who is available to deal with the situation. Have someone ready to go. 
  •  Always have a clear focus on your vision and mission. This will help drive level-headed communications about your brand and your story. It will also help from letting things get personal.

Having these three things in your back pocket will go a long way when a negative situation arises and will help bring things to a conclusion sooner. 

What about anyone else? Do you have any good tips to share about dealing with the not-so-good side of community engagement? Please share!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Google Glass….Cool or Creepy?

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

I haven’t seen anyone wearing Google Glass yet but, since it’s in beta testing in what they call the “real world” (i.e. the West Coast), I’m sure it won’t be long before someone in the Midwest shows up with a pair. In case you’re not familiar with Google Glass, it’s eyewear, but not just any ol’ pair of branded eyewear.  This comes with an operating system and a miniature screen. You can take a photo or video via voice activation. You can see incoming email and notifications, etc.; just like your computer…only wrapped around your head. At the mind-numbing price of $1,500.

If it sounds like I’m anti-Google Glass, I’m not. But I’m not sure I’m a fan either. There is definitely the cool factor. Big geek on the block cool factor. Space-age cool. If it means I can quit toting around a laptop or IPad, that could be an advantage. On the flip side, all of us already spend way too much time tethered to our “devices;” constantly checking social media accounts, texting, etc. and failing to look people right in the eye and have a conversation. Of course, with Google Glass, now you can appear to look someone in the eye while actually reading your email. Maybe it does solve a problem….or creates a new one as multi-tasking reaches a whole new level of competition.

So, what’s your take? Cool or creepy? My verdict is still out…..but I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind testing a pair a long as I didn’t have to pony up $1,500 to do it.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Can we really expect privacy anymore? How far is going too far?

By: Cole Buergi, VP of Business Development, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

There is photographic art exhibit on display at the Julie Saul Gallery in Chelsea, New York drawing significant criticism and generating renewed interest in the question of when is our privacy just that, private.

Arne Svenson: Neighbors #5
The display highlights people in everyday life going about their business. Where the exhibit becomes controversial is that the photographer, Arne Svenson, took the photos from his own apartment using a telephoto lens to capture images of others through the windows of their apartments without their knowledge.

According to the artist, the images didn’t show anyone’s face so it is not an invasion of privacy. 

I’ve decided to write on this topic because I’m wondering how others feel – is this an invasion of privacy?

I ask the question because technology, in particular, social media, seems to be chipping away at our “traditional” boundaries of privacy.

Nowadays, it seems that anything that can be captured via video or camera is fair game on the Internet.

Not only are others able to encroach on our privacy, but many of us, myself included, frequently open the door to this invasion without thinking twice about it. We do so by freely sharing much of our private lives with others using Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and an array of other social media platforms. It may not seem like it because we are in control of it but, when you think about it, you’re showing a private side of yourself to people that would otherwise never get to see it. Some may argue this sharing is removing a layer of privacy you once had.

Do you agree or disagree? What are your thoughts on the artist with an eye for his neighbors?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Stay current in your field

By: Angela Raleigh, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

In the day to day hustle and bustle it can be difficult to find the time to stay up-to-date in the PR field. Things are constantly changing! Although keeping up with the industry may seem to be just another thing to add to your to-do list, there are several benefits to staying current.

First, by being informed, you can make better decisions and identify opportunities and challenges earlier in the process. Secondly, staying current will help you build expertise in the industry. This is an invaluable asset that will help you earn trust and respect from people around you. Lastly, knowing what’s going on in your industry will allow you to recognize a change, allowing you to determine how you can best use it to your advantage.

It’s not possible to know everything, but it is possible to develop an expertise. That’s what we as PR pros must do – develop a focus area and consistently learn more about it.

So what are some traditional and social sources you can utilize?


  • Mentors are a great resource. Not only can they help you develop in your career, but they open the door to a wealth of knowledge and insight in the industry.
  • Join an industry organization. Being a member of an organization provides an opportunity to network with people in your field.
  • Take the opportunity to network. Talking face-to-face with people in your industry is a great way to stay on top of industry news and discuss trends.
  • Utilize Twitter to find and connect with people in your industry who are in the know. By following industry leaders and organizations, you can stay on top of relevant news and trends.
  • LinkedIn is another way to connect with colleagues, trade organizations and industry leaders. Consider joining a group and participate in discussions.
  • Blogs are a great source for honest opinions and if you take the time to research your industry blogs, you may come across some that provide valuable information that is timely and relevant to your job.
  • Set up Google Alerts as an easy way to have industry news delivered directly to your inbox.

Once you know the sources you want to utilize, schedule time in your day or your week to devote to staying current in your industry. Making it part of your routine will help you manage the constant changes that bring about new trends and tools to help us do even more for our clients.

How do you stay informed and learn new things in your field?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mistakes were made, but we won’t change our ways

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

About a quarter of Americans received information about the Boston Marathon bombings from social media in the minutes and hours following the explosion. That according to the Pew Research Center which says the percentage jumps to about 56 percent in the younger age demographic of 18-to-29.

That’s not a real surprise. Michael Dimock, director of Pew’s public opinion and polling project told USA Today, “those sites offer a convenient way to get news, especially since many users are constantly on them.”

Count me, and several of my co-workers, among those who were monitoring social media sites, looking for the latest updates on the explosions in Boston while keeping an eye on TV and cable sources as well.

What was troubling, however, was the amount of inaccurate information. There were reports of suspects in custody, one outlet had the death count at a dozen and a missing college student was wrongly reported to be one of the bombing suspects.

There’s no doubt that social media have had a dramatic impact on the way news is now disseminated. The rush to be the first to report an arrest or other updated information is greater than ever. The problem is that leads to more mistakes and more of us wondering whether what we see is accurate.

While the inaccurate information that streamed out of Boston on Patriots Day is troubling, many are also talking about the positives of social media during that tragedy. Social media played a role in helping to reunite loved ones separated as a result of the bombings. It also allowed race participants and spectators to communicate with family and friends to let them know they were safe. Social media were also used during the investigation phase. Finally, it was also a way for millions to express their sorrow to the people of Boston and those participating in this iconic event.

Maybe the inaccurate information that was spread through the social media, and traditional media, will lead to some serious discussion about changes that need to be made. I’m not real confident that will happen. One thing is sure, the next time there’s another tragedy like this there’s no doubt that social media will play a significant role in how people learn about it.

How do you feel about the role of social media in the Boston Marathon bombings? Were you looking for updates on Twitter or Facebook?