Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What I like about this presidential election

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

No, I haven’t lost my mind. (OK….I know some would argue that point!). This presidential election cycle is unlike any other. It is uglier, more mean spirited and more in the mud than any election I’ve ever seen.  There are candidates that scare the heck out of me. I hate the endless negative ads and robo calls.

However, there is one thing about this election that I do like: it has people talking and it has people involved. This is the first presidential election in a long time that I remember people actually discussing the candidates so early in the process. Generally, many ignore the whole thing until the candidates are decided because, let’s face it, in most years we know who the candidates will be long before the political conventions.

Now, you can argue that there is slim to no talk about the issues and I won’t disagree with you. But, you have to admit that, at least once a day (probably more often), someone in your life is going to make a comment or ask a question about the presidential race. No matter the party affiliation, or no affiliation, there are a lot of conversations going on. If nothing else, people are interested in the process. That is a very good thing. That’s what this country is all about. Now let’s hope all this discussion and debating actually results in people going to vote. That’s what I’d really like to see in this presidential election.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Balanced Storytelling with Social Media

By: Ashley Vickney, Account Assistant
Leonard & Finco Public Relations

You’ve identified what social media platforms your audience members are on, you’ve followed the best accounts, and you’ve started to build an engaged following. Now it’s time to start posting about your organization: the people, the events, and the products. How do you balance it?

Social media posting is about balance. People who follow your accounts want to hear about your deals and events, but also want to hear stories. Social media gives you the ability to tell your story, on your terms. Take advantage of that opportunity and share your story, not just your events and products.

I’ve noticed a recent trend with many business or organizations, posts that are about their volunteers, customers or employees get the most engagement. Likes, comments and shares happen when people feel a human connection.

How do you find the perfect equation? Trial and error is the easiest way to figure out how often your followers want to see events in comparison to feel good stories. Share more promotional posts one month, and the next more human connection stories. Which month do you have higher engagement? From there, decide what is best for your organization, business or brand. 

Use a human connection to tell the story of your product or event. Have someone narrate how the idea started, and the process from there. People will not only connect with your product or event, but will also connect with your company on a human level. 

Why do you want people to connect with you on two levels? Brand loyalty. Millennials are the most loyal generation, with over 50 percent saying that they are extremely loyal or very loyal to their favorite brands according to an article on More than 40 percent of Millennials use social media to spread the word about their favorite brands. Millennials are also encouraged by authenticity. Showing the process by which your event or brand came about is a genuine way to showcase your business. 

How do you tell your story?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Politics...Can we talk about your pets instead?

By: Steve Scaffidi, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

If you haven't already realized, it's a presidential election year! The past few months have been a deluge of nonstop campaign commercials, robo-calls, and a series of over-analyzed and over-blown debates, with politicians trying their darndest to capture your attention.

Don’t get me wrong. America’s elections are important, and my hope is that anyone who has the right to vote, exercises that right. My concern is that political discussions can creep into the workplace or at social gatherings filled with people, some who you know, some you don't.

My caution is politics is a hot topic and can quickly become flammable as most people have their own strong convictions on who should be elected and the reason(s).

There is one really good reason why it’s a good idea for you to avoid talking about politics. If you're in a professional situation, alienating half of your audience (based on my unscientific estimate that the country is split roughly 50-50 down political lines) probably isn't a good idea. You also run the risk of endangering a client relationship if their political leaning is different than yours. You may also ruin an opportunity for a referral, losing clients you haven't even met yet. Why take the chance?

Avoiding political discussions and hot-button topics can be an art form all by itself. Knowing when to shift the conversation away from politics can be challenging, but there are ways that a good communicator-giving you the benefit of the doubt on this one-can successfully navigate these testy political waters.

If someone asks if you watched the debate last night, change the subject or deflect the question. This is great advice even if you may have actually invested several hours of your evening watching the candidates spar with each other. The reality is nobody else needs to know that.

Some simple responses may include that you were tied up with something else at home or had a family activity. If you’re not comfortable with deception to avoid conflict, there's always the simple nod of the head. The questioner sees the head nod as agreement, but you're not really saying anything, thus avoiding a political litmus test on what they've just asked. It’s then up to you to quickly change the topic.

Of course, it's never easy to steer a conversation away from sensitive political agendas, but the reality is there is a time and a place for political discussions. The work place and event gatherings are not among them. Talk about something else, maybe the Academy Awards? No wait, ask them about their pets. Most everyone has a dog or a cat.

Politics can ruin good conversation...what's your strategy for avoiding political discussions at work?