Thursday, December 29, 2011

The new Facebook Timeline. It’s our new “permanent record”

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

Remember in grade school or high school, when you were faced with the threat of something going into your “permanent record?” We always wondered who kept those permanent records and how long would they follow us through life. Then, as adults, the thought of a permanent record became a bit of a joke (maybe with the exception of our personnel files at work – never a joke).

But now it looks like your permanent record has become a reality. Facebook’s Timeline is very much like a permanent record of your life. As with all things Facebook, any major changes to the existing format are met with skepticism, criticism and eventually, acceptance (after all, who has a choice in the matter?)

The Facebook Timeline is a new kind of profile; one that literally turns everything you’ve ever posted on Facebook into a personal history. I would highly recommend you not simply accept whatever Facebook gives you for your Timeline. The Timeline can be changed and edited, and you’ll want to do that so it reflects who you are right now. Eliminate those college beer party pictures, comments by your ex partners/spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends, etc. Do you really want future employers or associates to see all of that?

There’s plenty of help available online to help you sort through the new feature. A couple of stories I found useful include:
Love it or hate it, the Timeline will be implemented on all Facebook accounts, so now’s the time to learn about it and figure out what you want included in your personal history, or I should say permanent record. It’ll be there…until the next Facebook change comes along.

Have you tried out Timeline…do you love it? Hate it? What tips do you have for customizing the Timeline?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2012 PR trends…what’s on your radar?

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

With only days left in 2011 it’s that time of year when the PR pros are looking ahead to the opportunities and challenge that 2012 will bring. Here are five trends to keep in mind.

1. Relationships remain critical. PR has always been about creating and enhancing relationships and connections with others. But in the social media world, this also couldn’t be more true. Look for new people and organizations to connect with, but don’t forget to say connected with the people who you already have relationships established with.

2. Crises will continue. Whether a crisis hits the news media or social media channels, crises will continue to occur in 2012. Some will flare up quick and die out just as fast, while others might lag around. In either case, knowing how to handle the situation properly will help mitigate the crisis.

3. Social media integration. With social media platforms continuing to expand and develop, concentrate your efforts on the channels that offer your organization the greatest ROI and compliment current PR strategies. It might be Google+ Business page for one organization and a Facebook Fan page for another. Remember to not get overwhelmed. Pick your channels, keep it simple, listen to what others in your industry are saying and engage in the conversation.

4. Traditional media is not dead. Traditional PR tactics will be enhanced with new and innovative ways for engaging audiences through social media. For instance, you may choose to pitch a reporter via Twitter instead of email. The brief nature of social media makes it the perfect place for reporters to get information quickly.

5. Continued Improvement. The one thing constant in PR is change. As PR professionals we must embrace change because it is a part of our daily working environment. One of the most important aspects of effectively implementing change is ensuring that everyone involved clearly understand the reasons for the change, the likely impacts, as well as the methods used to create the change and the expected benefits.

What’s on your PR radar for the New Year? Will any of the above be a factor in your PR success in 2012? I’d welcome hearing your predictions.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2012: Time for a PR refresher

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

The holidays make many of us think about the future and the inevitable list of resolutions: lose weight, read more, be more community minded. The New Year is a great time to renew yourself and your lifestyle. But it’s also a good time to renew the company PR plan.

Just as people can fall into a mundane routine or a rut, so can the actions you take with your PR plan. Taking time now to review your plan (or develop a plan if you don’t have one) and making just a few updates can help ensure success throughout the year.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Do you have a big event coming up? Launching a new product? Working on a special project? Determine if anything your company is doing is newsworthy well in advance so you have time to plan ways to attract local media. 
  • Take a look at your website and social media accounts like Facebook. Can any of these tools use an upgrade or be refreshed in any way? Make sure the content is current and that all links work properly.
  •  Start a photo archive of activities and events and make it a point to include photos with any news releases that go out. 
  • Scan national headlines on a regular basis and contact area media outlets to offer a local perspective when appropriate. 
  • Develop or update the company media kit and send it to local media outlets so they know they can tap into your expertise for any stories. Make hard and electronic copies.
You took the right step to develop a PR plan for your company – now make sure you use it! Making simple updates can yield a big benefit in the long run. Who else has ideas to help renew a PR plan for the New Year? Please share!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Can You Keep a Secret?

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

Can you keep a secret? From childhood on, all of us are asked from time to time to keep a secret, or maybe we’re the one telling a secret. You hopefully learn which secrets really should be kept, which ones have little meaning and which ones should definitely be brought out in the open.

One of the great secrets of modern times was “Deep Throat,” the name Bob Woodward of the Washington Post gave to the informant who provided him with information about the Watergate scandal. The secret lasted for 31 years and was only revealed when the family of the informant, former FBI associate director Mark Felt, went public.

I sincerely doubt that kind of secret would hold that long today. The world of instant media means everything is pretty much fair game to inquiring minds. That’s today’s reality. In fact, I am amazed when people or organizations are surprised that their secrets – recent or long held – come to light and are subject to public scrutiny. There are so many examples, be it Herman Cain, Penn State, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Kim Kardashian, to name just a few. In the case of something that’s illegal, immoral or unethical, it’s a good thing these situations are exposed. But really, do the private details of Kim Kardashian’s divorce warrant all this media coverage? (Can you tell I’m not a fan?)

But it isn’t just public figures and institutions that are subject to today’s wide world of secret-busting, instant media. All of us would do well to stop and think about what we’re posting online as well as how we live our lives. It is an open book where secrets don’t last for long.

Have you thought about how today’s media world impacts your personal life or, perhaps more importantly, how it could impact your life in the future if you are keeping any secrets? Have you, or will you, change what you post or how you live?