Snapchat Usage among International Leaders

 

Source:  Burson-Marsteller study

Source: Burson-Marsteller study

 

Millennials are often portrayed as being the least likely generation to be involved in politics.

Global government leaders know this all too well.

Since millennials were the first generation born into the digital revolution they are constantly on their mobile devices. Snapchat is one of the hottest apps among young millennials, aged 13 to 24 years old.  So, America and other government leaders from around the world are using Snapchat to engage this key voting population.

A study by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller highlights how some of the world’s most powerful leaders and governments are interacting with young people.  The Burston-Marsteller study highlights 16 world leaders and government officials using this popular app.

The study found:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom was the first international government entity or leader to adopt the social media powerhouse.  Its account opened on Sept. 17, 2015 just prior to a Rugby World Cup party.  U.S. President Barack Obama is the first American president to embrace social media. So, it’s no surprise that the White House created a Snapchat account in early January 2016. It was originally created to give people insights into the 2016 State of the Union address.  Later the White House used Snapchat to accent the 2016 Easter Roll festivities featuring President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama on the White House lawn with participants.

 

Source:  Burson-Marsteller study

Source: Burson-Marsteller study

 

The United Nations, Irish government, European Parliament, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, along with leaders from Holland and Iceland began using Snapchat in recent months.

These worldwide government titans are not only on the hottest social media platform, but their receiving terrific engagement feedback. For instance, the UK Foreign Office boosts a 60% engagement rate and 90% completion rate of people watching the entire snapchat clip.

Sounds like they are hitting their target audience. So why isn’t your brand using Snapchat?

Get to Snappin’.

 

How Social Media Stress Affects Us Based On Gender

Social media stress is real. Yes, it’s not just you. Other people do get stressed out regarding things happening in their friends and family members’ lives after reading updates on social media accounts. How much the stress affects us depends on our gender and other aspects of people’s communication levels, according to a recent study.

A joint research study with more than 1,800 participants conducted by the Pew Research Center and graduate students at Rutgers University studied social media users self-rated anxiety levels across the top five social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Participants were asked how often a series of 12 life-changing events appeared on their timelines and to rank their anxiety levels based on a perceived stress scaleThis scale is often used by psychologists to measure a person’s stress level.

Researchers deemed the increased stress levels as the “cost of caring,” noting “that stress is contagious.” The study found that surprisingly, frequently using digital technology does not cause higher stress.  It’s rather what is posted that can cause psychological distress.

The study was very interesting because it showed social stress affects us largely based on our gender and the level of connections we have with others in our social networks. The study found that Pinterest, followed closely by Instagram and Twitter contained the most stressful posts. It is not explained why Pinterest and Instagram ranked so high. I guess it is because people might be posting infographics regarding job hunting and interviewing tip on Pinterest and Instagram. For the past couple of years Twitter has been a go-to platform for social activists, so I see how that can cause stress.

Image source: Pew Research Center

Image source: Pew Research Center

 

Women tend to be more stressed about instances posted online than men as they appear to be more aware of events upsetting their close friends and family.  Women with fewer years of education and not living with a partner also experienced higher levels of stress after seeing distressful postings.  Women who used more than one social media platform, text messaging and emails with friends and family were less likely to feel stressed as those who only use one platform.

Men were alerted to other people’s stresses as a result of social media postings. Yet, interestingly, the study found it added less stress to the male participants’ lives.  Men tended to be more affected by stress if the men surveyed participated in email and text messaging with large groups of people.

If you encounter someone very stressed out online send them a quick message of encouragement. That can make a huge impact in someone’s life just knowing there are other people who are praying for them and sending good thoughts their way. Remember you cannot solve everyone’s problems. You could make someone smile though.

Millennials use of social media based on political party affiliations

Millennials are engulfed by digital media from birth.  It would be reasonable to think that this generation would all use social media on an equal basis to learn more about the 2016 U.S. Presidential candidates and election topics, whether people identify as Democrat or Republican.

Pew Research

Source: Pew Research

A recent Pew Research Study conducted in English and Spanish from online systems show there is actually a strong divide between people who identify as Republican and Democrats and how they get their information regarding the 2016 Presidential election.

Of millennials who planned on voting or caucusing in their states, 74% of Democrats were likely to look to social media to educate themselves on the candidates running to be America’s next commander in chief. That’s a significant margin over the 50 percent of Republicans, planning on participating in primary season events, who seek out information on various social media platforms.

Facebook is the leader in social media platforms and it appears to be the most popular spot for Millennials to gain their information. Nearly 40 percent of people under 33 years old looked to Facebook for information regarding the race. That a more than four-to-one margin over people seeking information on Twitter or YouTube. Democrats again turned to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube significantly more than their Republican counterparts.

With several more weeks before the Democrat and Republican national conventions, it will be interesting to analyze how Millennials react to the conventions and later general election season on social media networks.

 

Public Relations – Keep Learning & Growing

This fall my strategic public relations course offered a wide variety of lessons in the do’s and don’ts of public relations. Coming from a career in the journalism field I thought I knew everything I needed for public relations. I quickly learned I was not as insightful as I thought.

The overall techniques of public relations are the same whether you are handling corporate communications, working at an agency where you handle a variety of clients or working in a government role. Before this course, I did not realize how important research or evaluation was to an effective communications campaign.

Two Way Discussion Image courtesy of Mashable.com

Don’t just speak to your audience. Engage with them. Image courtesy of Mashable.com

R – Research

A – Analyze

           C – Communicate

E – Evaluate

Some lessons I learned in class directly from my professor.  She always impressed on us to never stop writing. The more you write the better you hone your craft to carefully reach your audience. She also pointed how we can continue to learn how to best handle issues through analyzing public relations situations.

Some lessons were gleaned through interviews with industry professionals, such as Jamaison Schuler, APR and senior director of corporate communications for Dean Foods, and guest classroom speaker Morgan Lyons, who is the assistant vice-president of communications and community engagement for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority (DART).

Schuler, a devoted Public Relations Society of America former officer, advised me that working in a public relations agency setting is a great way for someone new to the industry to experience a broad range of industry genres.

It is important to discover – do you prefer to be the strategic mind behind the a new product launch or do you prefer the hands-on work of the nuts and bolts of public relations where you write and interact with various segments of your targeted audience.

Lyons reinforced the notion it’s better for an organization to be great in a limited number of social outreach avenues than try to tackle the ever-growing number of social media avenues.

Sometimes people can learn a great deal about public relations through analyzing how officials handle breaking news coverage throughout the nation.

Earlier this week it was readily apparent that during a press conference it is important to not only remain calm and in charge of the situation, but to remember to rephrase each question from reporters during your answers. Remember as a spokesperson you can hear the reporter’s questions. The viewing audience in cyberspace or at home does not have that luxury.

I’ve also learned even once I complete my degree in the spring as a public relations professional I can never just sit back and stop learning. As long as I desire (or anyone else who desires) to be in this industry, must be open to continuing to learn new ways to communicate and ultimately evaluate how we interact with our intended audiences.

When you stop learning you start deteriorating. Stay strong. Soak up as much knowledge as you can.

#Hashtag Power

We’ve all seen the power of the hashtag.

Never underestimate the power a hashtag can have on your campaign or brand.  Image courtesy of Juntae DeLane

Never underestimate the power a hashtag can have on your campaign or brand.
Image courtesy of Juntae DeLane

It’s amazing how a simple # followed by a phrase can join people from down the block, across the state or even around the world together for a common goal. What’s great is the ability for it to transcend multiple social media platforms – Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Sometimes the hashtags, such as #MFFL, commonly used by Dallas Mavericks fans to cheer Dirk and the team on are fun and playful.
Other times the hashtags, such as #ParisAttacks, alert us to real and breaking news that forever change our world.
Do you know how to effectively develop of hashtag phrase to engage your audience?
Try these quick tips to develop a hashtag to improve your odds of going viral:

Research. Research. Research. – This is such an integral step to any communications outreach. Make sure your hashtag does not have a negative contention already associated with it. A great hashtag can provide positive exposure you need. Yet, a tasteless hashtag can be worse than your car’s engine blowing up while your speeding down the highway.
Have a tight grasp on the brand or campaign you are trying to launch – You want something that is classy, but represents the sentiment of your overall message.
Keep it short – Remember Twitter only allows 140 characters including spaces for each tweet. Then you have to keep in mind that your followers or people viewing the hashtag timeline might be interested in, so keep that factor in mind too.

Remember using too many hashtags in your posts will backfire as people will think the posting is too attention seeking and corny. Remember the hilarious Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake Twitter song video.

Bloomingdales Holiday Date-Rape

Who doesn’t love going to a holiday party during the Christmas season? It’s nice to take time to enjoy spending time with friends, co-workers and even your significant others.

Controversial holiday ad from Bloomingdales Courtesy of Twitter @KrisAlderson

Controversial holiday ad from Bloomingdales Courtesy of Twitter @KrisAlderson

Bloomingdale’s Christmas 2015 holiday book features an ad with a young woman laughing and man eyeing her like he’s a predator who is moments away from bagging his trophy. If the man’s glance wasn’t disturbing enough the suggestion of date raping the woman are absolutely terrifying. The ad reads “Spike Your Best Friend’s Eggnog When They’re Not Looking.”

It didn’t take long for luxury retail giant Bloomingdales to receive heated messages across social media platforms as people detested this dangerous date-rape message.

Twitter user @KrisAlderson posted a copy of the ad on Monday, Nov. 9 just moments before midnight,  and added “Or don’t and quit being a creep.” Her posts was retweeted 558 times and favorited 639 times.

#Bloomingdales analytics Courtesy of Topsy.com

#Bloomingdales analytics Courtesy of Topsy.com

Search analytics tool Topsy.com shows more than 2,560 tweets were sent within a seven-day period from Nov. 6 to Nov. 13 using the hashtag #Bloomingsdales.

A quick search shows some of those tweets were not in relation to the ad, but a vast majority are directly related to the posting.

The retailers acknowledged people’s outrage and apologized in their most recent tweet made at 5:02 pm Nov. 10, roughly 17 hours after Alderson’s posting.

Bloomingdales online apology. Courtesy of Bloomingdales' Twitter feed

Bloomingdales online apology. Courtesy of Bloomingdales’ Twitter feed

Bloomingdales did the right thing by responding to this incident in less than 24 hours. In today’s ultra-fast world a brand, regardless of size, can not delay in not responding as it could prove more damaging to the brand.

Yet it really should have not taken that long. It’s today’s world of social media everyone is connected by digital technology. I assure you whoever is responsible for the ad and the Bloomingdales social media account must have seen the backlash much earlier in the day. Possibly as early as 9 a.m. A decision should have been made to write and release a statement, preferable before lunch.

@ShortCanuck said in part …”Astonished that ANYONE would think it appropriate. Hope contribution to women’s causes is made.” Other tweets pointed out Bloomingdales or the agency responsible for the ad suffers from a lack of diversity. Bloomingdales has yet to release any additional information answering the demands for contributions or its failure of a diverse staff overseeing the copy design.

Some of the people posting responses to believe the ad was intentionally added to the catalog to ensure a viral hit for the 143-year old department store. Another user felt the public was being unfairly harsh to the retailer calling the backlash a result of too-much political correctness in our society. I found that to be very disturbing.

Twitter user @SirTitan45 was upset as he complained about people being too politically correct Courtesy of @SirTitan45

Twitter user @SirTitan45 was upset as he complained about people being too politically correct
Courtesy of @SirTitan45

It’s one thing to spike someone’s drink if they know it is being done. It’s quite another to do it to potentially sexually assault someone. Sex should always be consensual.

@MXJackMonroe pleaded with people not to spike anyone's drink. Courtesy of @MxJackMonroe

@MXJackMonroe pleaded with people not to spike anyone’s drink. Courtesy of @MxJackMonroe

In days leading up to the ads posting, Bloomingdales typically tweeted three times daily. Bloomingdales has not tweeted since the apology was posted on Nov. 10th.  That makes sense you don’t want people to think you are not sincere about your apology or just returning to “business as usual.”

So they took the right initial steps, which you would expect from a brand of their stature. Executives still need to review their approval and diversity processes immediately. Better yet, the ad should have been left on the editing floor.

 

Bibliography:

Bloomingdale’s history – http://www1.bloomingdales.com/media/about/history.jsp

 

Social media is no place for hot-heads

The Dallas Cowboys are struggling this season as several key players have become sidelined with devastating injuries. Fans are upset. They were hoping to see the big blue star head toward the 2016 Super Bowl.

When people are frustrated and upset they often lash out vengefully at the people they consider responsible.  It does not matter if it is truly the person being attacked is truly at fault.

Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Cole Beasley took the brunt of the backlash from people on Twitter after a fumbled punt lead to the New York Giants gaining control and ultimately a win of the Oct. 25 game in the remaining moments.

Beasley’s wife, Kyrstin Beasley, fired back at people who began blaming her husband for costing the Cowboys the game by responding with scathing profanity laced responses. It wasn’t long before the Dallas Morning News article appeared detailing Beasley’s responses.

Beasleys wife goes off on Twitter. Courtesy: Dallas Morning News Facebook page.

Beasleys wife goes off on Twitter. Courtesy: Dallas Morning News Facebook page.

 

I know plenty of people who if their children or significant others are attacked verbally or physically they will do whatever it takes to defend them. I completely understand the reasoning from the loved one’s point of view. Who doesn’t want to protect their beloved’s reputation? There is nothing wrong with that.

Kyrstin Beasley broke the cardinal rule of social media. Whether you are an individual or representing a major brand, as her husband does every time he puts on the silver helmet bearing the giant blue star – do not post when you are frustrated or riled up. When you respond while you are irritated you will be responding with pure emotion, instead of thinking sensibly.

Kyrstin Beasley later apologized for her profanity-filled tweets and eventually deleted her Twitter account. She attributed her outburst to someone on Twitter-speaking badly about her son.

Some Twitter users understood her frustration and offered her their support.

Tweets from Beasley supporters Courtesy: Twitter.com

Tweets from Beasley supporters Courtesy: Twitter.com

Even Cowboy teammate Dez Bryant tried to uplift her spirits.

Dez Bryant tweet supporting the Beasley family supporters Courtesy: Twitter.com

Dez Bryant tweet supporting the Beasley family supporters Courtesy: Twitter.com

Social media is intended for a two-way communication. Which works great when both sides are being respectful. Yes, even in frustration a person can civilly make their displeasure known.

It’s a sad commentary on today’s warped society, but there are people who have nothing better to do then attack and tear down other human beings. With the advent of social media mean spirited people can now launch written taunts while safely hiding behind their closest digital device.

Remember, just make sure you have a calm head when responding to internet trolls trying to push your buttons.  Feel free to reply to the haters, but turn the tables on them by responding in a polite way. Remember the old saying: “Kill them with kindness.”