Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Social Media Scheduling: Yea or Nay?

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


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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What does your (brand) voice sound like?

 By: Noelle Cutler, Leonard & Finco Public Relations


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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Authenticity: more than just another social media buzzword

By: Jim McShea, Leonard & Finco Public Relations


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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

3 Tips for Reaching Your Audience on Social Media

By: Alycia King, Intern, Leonard & Finco Public Relations


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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Engaging Stakeholders – More Important Than Ever

By: Scott Stein, Leonard & Finco Public Relations 

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

How do we spark creativity?

By: Allison Barnes, Leonard & Finco Public Relations 


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Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Three W's

By: Cole Buergi, Leonard & Finco Public Relations 


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Thursday, August 24, 2017

5 tips to learn new programs faster

By: Noelle Cutler, Social Media Specialist
Leonard & Finco Public Relations


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Thursday, August 17, 2017

How to avoid 'fails' when using social media

By: Jim McShea, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Dog Days of Summer

By Susan Finco, President Leonard & Finco Public Relations


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Thursday, August 3, 2017

How do you find your news?

By: Scott Stein, Leonard & Finco Public Relations


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Friday, July 28, 2017

3 reasons why college students should get an internship

By: Alycia King, Intern, Leonard & Finco Public Relations


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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Staying Safe on Social Media

By: Allison Barnes, Leonard & Finco Public Relations 

Being an active social media user and working with it day-to-day, we see and hear about updates to platforms all the time. New features appear fancy and fun, getting users excited to try them out. One downside, however, is not knowing how that update impacts our account.  

For example, this June brought an update to Snapchat that pinpoints to friends where you are located on a map. But here’s the scary part. The update shares your exact location and depending on your settings, will also share your location with the public. Looking at the map, users can zoom in on your location, which includes street names and an aerial view of where you are.

This update was meant to show Snapchat users where large amounts of activity are going on, but the controversy of sharing the user’s location detracted from Snapchat’s goal.

Staying safe on social media is essential. You also need to be smart and always be aware of changes to settings. Follow these steps to being safe:

  • Check your privacy and account settings regularly, and think about who you want to see your posts or profile. Social media platforms provide options on who can see your profile and what you want them to see. These options range from completely private, to only your friends, to open for everyone to see. 
  • Be smart about what you are sharing with followers. Are you comfortable with sharing your location or what you are doing? Will a photo or post embarrass a family member, friend or employer? Being cautious of what you are posting is another way of staying safe.
  • Keep your personal information personal. Hide information like your email address, phone number and home address from your profile and don’t publicly share this information. If someone you know requests this information from you over social media, private message or email your information to them.

So how can you keep your location private from the latest Snapchat update? Open the app and pinch your fingers together like you would to zoom out. The map screen will open, with a pinpoint on your current location. In the upper right-hand corner, click on “Settings.” Three options will be provided under “who can see my location,” Ghost Mode, My Friends, and Select Friends. Ghost Mode will hide your location from anyone, including your friends on Snapchat. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Do you make common grammar mistakes? Your not alone!

By: Cole Buergi, Leonard & Finco Public Relations 


Of course, “your” is spelled incorrectly for its use in the sentence above. It should be, “you’re.” This word is one of my Achilles heals in writing. I know the difference between your and you’re but, for some reason, my brain doesn’t always translate that to my fingers when typing. 

Fortunately, a recent story in Inc. Magazine makes me feel a bit better about it. The story titled, “43 Embarrassing Grammar Mistakes even Smart People Make,” highlights common spelling or speaking errors.

The top five include:

1. First-come, first-serve
It should actually be "served." Without the d, the phrase above suggests that the first individual who arrives will be the one who serves everyone, which is not the idiom's intent.

2. I could care less
Think about this one for a minute. The way it's written above suggests you possess care which still could be allocated to the situation in question. "I couldn't care less" is correct because it communicates that "I have no more care to give."

3. Irregardless
This is not a word. It's simply "regardless," as in "Regardless of what you think about grammar, you'll look silly if you use it incorrectly."

4. "I" as the last word in a sentence.
This mistake is remarkably common, yet a correct example would be "Karlee talked with Brandon and me." The trick to getting this one straight is to take the other person's name out of the sentence and see if your personal pronoun choice still sounds right. "Karlee talked with I" is awkward and incorrect.

5. "Me" as the first word in a sentence.
I hear people saying things such as "Me and Brandon met at Starbucks this morning" all the time, even though it's always wrong. "Brandon and I met at Starbucks this morning" is correct.

You can check out the full list on Inc. Magazine’s website. Are there any on the list that you’ve written or said incorrectly?

Unfortunately for me, your and you’re didn’t make the list, however I’m pretty confident it would have been number 44 had the list been expanded. Thanks Inc. for making me feel a bit better.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

If your business is on social media, you need a social media report

By: Noelle Cutler, Social Media Specialist, Leonard & Finco Public Relations


Let’s say your business uses social media, and you put in the time and effort to create content calendars, engaging posts and compelling graphics. But you’re missing one vital piece: a social media report. Skipping a social media report is like studying for a test, taking a test but then not bothering to have your test graded. If you’re not analyzing your social media success, what’s the point of trying to create successful posts? Here are three reasons why you need to conduct regular social media reports:

  1. To determine the best content. If you have a good content calendar, then you know what kind of content you post each week; for instance, a Throwback Thursday or an employee spotlight each week. After a month or two of posting these, you should analyze how they’re performing. Are people sharing, liking and commenting on those posts? If the answer is yes, continue to post that kind of content. It’s pretty simple! 
  2. To determine the best times/days. Here’s something you should be testing. If you’re posting similar content on Thursday at 8 a.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m., which post is reaching the most people and getting the most engagement? The answer can give you insight into when your audience is most likely to see your content. Facebook Insights actually shows you what days and times your followers are online. Compare this to the success of those two similar posts on different days and it should give you some additional insight. 
  3. To determine what ISN’T working. If you have a great idea for a post, you should try it! Social media is a lot of trial and error to determine what your audience responds to. Don’t be scared to deviate from the normal routine, but don’t forget to look at the results of that new idea. With Facebook Insights, you can look at an individual post to see if you had anybody “hide” that post or unlike your page. That gives you some pretty good insight into what posts your followers don’t care to see.

A social media report doesn’t have to be extensive and super-detailed. You don’t need to see the results of every single thing you post. I recommend looking at the following on a monthly or quarterly basis: number of posts, likes and reach; time/date/content of top-performing posts; and follower demographics. After analyzing these areas, you can create posts for next month that are even better!  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Becoming a better public speaker


By: Jim McShea, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
 
To most people who know me, I’m a good communicator. I can be well spoken, witty, sometimes even erudite. However, if you put me in front of a room full of people to recite a speech or presentation, communicating becomes difficult. I get the jitters, my mouth gets dry, and I start to stutter.

Until recently this wasn’t a problem. In my previous line of work, behind the scenes of a local TV news station, I rarely had to speak in front of a large number of people. Now that I’ve moved into public relations, public speaking is a part of the job, whether it’s a staff meeting, conducting an on-camera interview, or making a public presentation at city hall.

So, what can I do to get better? I’ve done some research in an effort to make sure that I can deliver when I’m called on to make a presentation or deliver a speech. Here are a number of the tips that have helped the most:

  • Preparation is important: be sure to review your notes several times and practice beforehand. Videotaping yourself while practicing is a good idea because you can watch your body language and identify any bad habits and work to correct them. Also, have someone else watch your presentation and offer input.
  • Know your audience: take time to research who you are speaking to and tailor your speech to reach them. Analogies and examples that work for one audience may not work for another. A bad analogy could lead to difficulty getting through to an audience, or even turn them against you.
  • Start Strong: Be sure to grab your audience’s attention. Use a startling fact, a humorous anecdote, or a shocking statistic to get their attention. Also, avoid “Burying the lede” a turn of phrase from my TV days. It means you took too long to get to the focus of your presentation.
  • Speak Slowly: Many people, including myself, tend to speak faster as they get more excited, potentially leading to mumbling. Instead, slow down. Make sure you annunciate every word. It can help your clarity, and prevent mistakes.

There are plenty of other tips and tricks you can use, like maintaining eye contact, dressing properly, and using humor wisely. Ultimately you need to adopt a public speaking style that works for you, and helps you connect with an audience.

Finally, keep in mind that the best way to improve your public speaking skills is to gain experience. The more speeches and presentations you give, the better you get. Eventually, giving a speech or making a presentation will become second nature.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tips for Getting Your Story Noticed By A Reporter

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

As a PR professional, I’m frequently asked how to get a story “noticed” (code word for “get my story used by the media”).  There’s never a one size fits all answer, but it helps to understand what news is.  Here are seven tips that might help:
  • Is it something new or different? Something brand new or different, whether it’s an opening, new information, a new product line, etc. will raise the interest level. Just avoid saying it’s unique unless you can prove it!
  • Will the story appeal to the reporter or outlet’s target audience? Pitching a story about a new lawnmower to a swimmer’s magazine isn’t going to get results. Know who you’re pitching to. Make sure your pitch or release fits.
  • Is it something people need to know about? Taxes aren’t the most popular topic but, if there’s a tax code change with widespread impact and you’re an accountant, you have a shot at getting a business reporter interested in your take on the new code.
  • Why will people care about it? A new president at a big retail company or high-profile local firm is likely to get coverage. But the new president of a small, B2B firm probably won’t generate that kind of interest.
  • Is it visual? Even print media and radio look for photos and/or video these days. (Think about their websites and social media accounts.) What do you have to offer from a graphics, photo or video perspective?
  • Are you offering expertise or advice? Providing non-commercial expertise or advice about your industry and your works can be a great way to tell your story and showcase what you do.
  • Is it something quirky or entertaining? Sometimes the strangest things make the media. That’s because they’re quirky enough, or entertaining enough, to perk the interest of a reporter. There may not be any true news value, but if it’s fun, it could make the news.
Before you start pitching a story or sending out releases, do a quick review of this list. As we often say during media training, “It doesn’t matter what you think; the bottom line is, news is whatever the editor or reporter thinks it is.”  So pitch wisely my friends!

Friday, June 16, 2017

For some, it’s exciting when the new AP Stylebook arrives

By: Scott Stein, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

For any writer or reporter, the arrival of the AP Stylebook each year brings a certain amount of excitement. Seriously!

Many in the communication business have come to rely on the AP Stylebook and the folks over at Associated Press keep things interesting by making some changes each year. Many of those changes are a reflection of changes in communication and changes in society.

Some examples in the latest edition of the AP Stylebook include: 

  • Gender denotes a person’s social identity, while sex is defined as a person’s biological characteristics.
  • The term fake news may be used in quotes or as shorthand for the modern phenomenon of deliberate falsehoods or fiction masked as news circulating on the internet.
  • The AP Stylebook now says it’s acceptable to use they as a singular pronoun when crafting the sentence as plural would be too clumsy or awkward.
  • Don’t use the term driverless vehicle unless there is no person in the vehicle who can take control in an emergency. The preferred term is now autonomous vehicles.
Of course, there are a number of other changes in the newest AP Stylebook, which will keep me going back to it as my most used reference book. And I have no doubt that there will be many additional changes in the 2018 edition as language and communication styles continue to change.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Location isn’t just important in real estate

By: Allison Barnes, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Social media is often measured in the success of a topic by what’s trending, how many views a video may get, or how many likes, retweets or shares a post gets. But what’s next for determining successful social media? The activity in each location. 

In a recent Forbes article, the author shared that “Geosocial Index” is becoming a prevalent way of measuring social media presence, such as people’s posts, likes and shares, at popular locations across the globe. 

The idea behind it is to track the social media presence of a location to determine which locations are more popular than others. Locations like sports venues, hotels and tourist destinations are currently being tested in this method. 

With this new way of thinking, it’s important to make social media content specific to locations and for public locations to be more active on social media. For example, airports could benefit from this method of measurement because travelers passing through often kill time between flights on social media. By encouraging these visitors to share their location on social media and to post about the airport will boost the social activity. 

Social media platforms often give users a way to share their location. For example, “check in” on a Facebook status or give your location on an Instagram photo. Tag your location on a tweet or add one of the popular location filters to your next Snapchat photo. An interesting display, artwork, large logo or window overlooking a view are just a few options to give visitors at any destination something they will want to share. 

This location data from social media could be influential for those looking for the latest trendy travel destination or up-and-coming city activity. The data will also increase the profile of hotels, landmarks, concert venues and tourist destinations.

What do you think of Geosocial Index? Are you influenced by location?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Practice makes perfect, especially in front of an audience


By: Cole Buergi, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

I was listening to a presentation recently about a topic that wasn’t that overly interesting, yet I found myself compelled to listen to what was being said. On my way back to the office following the presentation, I thought about why I was so intent on listening to the speaker.

Upon reflection, it truly boiled down to the presenter’s style, the appropriate use of inflection in his voice and how he had a strong sense of conviction in his message. I thought others could use some tips on how to be a better presenter.

It’s always good to have an interesting topic to share but, if you don’t, you still can capture your audience with some simple techniques:

Practice, practice, practice…
Practicing a speech in advance not only builds confidence but allows you to memorize more of what you’re going to say, preventing the need to rely heavily on note cards, if at all. It also allows you to fine tune your messaging and identify natural transitions on topics.

Speak clearly…
Pronounce your words clearly and speak at a level so that everyone listening can hear. Practice using inflection in your voice so that you don’t come off as monotone and boring.

Avoid filling silence with the speech killing ums and ahhs…
We’ve all this done and, yes, I’m guilty of it even today, albeit I actively try not to. Don’t believe me, truly listen to how a good speaker is speaking and you’ll notice that he or she seldom, if ever, says, “um” or “ah” as a pause in their speech in preparation for what they are about to say next. Television and radio news anchors are especially good at it.

Use hands and body gestures…
Don’t just stand with your hands in your pockets or by your side. Just like when you use photos and video in PowerPoint to capture the audience, use your hands, arms and body to help maintain their attention.

Finally, look at your audience…
They are not there to look at the top of your head while you look down at a podium and read off a script. Making eye contact with your listeners builds rapport and shows that you’re confident in what you’re saying.

Following these simple tips will make you a much better speaker and one who people will want to hear.

Do you give speeches regularly? Feel free to share tips you use to be successful.