Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University


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All hail the Queen: how Beyoncé influenced my PR strategies

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The lessons one can learn from Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter are endless.

In 1999, she taught us to be weary of a significant other who won’t acknowledge your relationship around others.

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In 2003, she taught us that you need one (or three), things in life: me, myself and I.

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In 2008, she taught us that a diva is a female version of a hustler.

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In her latest album, she taught us how to get in formation and to always be conscious of how to turn lemons into lemonade.

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Most recently, she taught society just how beautiful motherhood really is.

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While the life lessons Queen Bey bestows upon us all would be enough for me – her brilliant and strategic planning has impacted my professional development as well. Beyoncé has been in the industry since the ‘90s, providing constant innovation and inspiration for fellow artists and her fans.
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PR In the News: Oscars in la la Land

It’s the movie industry’s biggest social event of the year: the Oscars. Movie stars line the red carpet in some of the most unique and glamorous outfits money can buy. The 89th celebration, lasting nearly four hours, was going smoothly until it came time to announce Best Picture, when presenters gave the Oscar to “La La Land”, when, to the Academy’s horror, the winner was actually “Moonlight.”

Viewers debated if the presenters were in a la la land of their own, confused about how such a major mishap could occur.

The two presenters, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, were apparently handed the wrong card backstage. Beatty opened the card, read it and paused for a moment, seeming confused. He then handed the card to Dunaway who announced “La La Land” as the winner. It wasn’t until after the cast and producers were on stage accepting that they corrected the mistake, announcing “Moonlight” as the actual winner.

Immediately this mistake took social media by storm. Twitter began to blow up with posts comparing this mistake to Steve Harvey’s last year when he announced the wrong Miss Universe winner. In light of the joke, Miss Universe tweeted “Have your people call our people – we know what to do #Oscars #MissUniverse”. Following this, Steve Harvey even tweeted “Call me Warren Beatty. I can help you get through this! #Oscars”. Users continued to caption meme’s relating to Steve Harvey.

Other posts compared the mistake to the 2016 election, including tweets “wishing this is what happened with the election.” Users turned the jokes political by bringing up the popular vote issue from the election.

PwC, the accounting and consulting firm that handles the ballot counting process for the Academy Awards, took more than two minutes to take action to correct their mistake during the show.

According to ABC News, PwC had no other option but to be up-front and explain what happened to minimize damage to their reputation and brand. The company tweeted a statement apologizing to Beatty, Dunaway, all of “La La Land” and “Moonlight” several hours after the show ended.

Do you think the company took enough action for damage control? Or should they have stepped up more? Time will tell, but, in my opinion, I think the company could have provided more than a tweet to apologize to viewers and the people affected on-stage. Possibly by apologizing for the mistake themselves while it was happening on live T.V. would have served them better and appealed to viewers emotions better.

The Academy has since released a statement, apologizing to the cast and crew of both movies. The Academy shared the statement on its website and social media.


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FlashCast: YouToo Social Media Conference

Many of our interns helped plan and attend this year’s YouToo Social Media Conference, which took place Friday, April 8, 2016.

Attendees this year heard from a variety of great speakers, including Kyle Michael Miller, lead social media producer for NBC’s TODAY and Scott Monty, CEO and founder of Scott Monty Strategies.

We recapped this year’s YouToo conference and discussed our favorite parts of the day in our latest episode of the FlashCast podcast. Check it out below!

 

What did you think about this year’s YouToo Social Media Conference? Let us know in the comments or by emailing us at flashcomm@kent.edu!


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YouToo Social Media Conference Recap

IMG_0947I can’t believe the ninth-annual YouToo Social Media Conference has already come and gone! A lot of preparation went into the day, and the day could not have turned out better.

Kyle Michael Miller

The morning began with a keynote from Kyle Michael Miller, lead social media producer for NBC’s TODAY show. Kyle spoke about everything from content to his working environment. He reminded us all to look for stories.

One thing he said that really stood out to me was, “People aren’t going to Facebook for the TODAY show. They’re going for their mom, friends and dog.” I thought about that quote a lot during the rest of the day, especially when I was in a later session and Alyssa Purvis from Key Bank said the same thing. Being in charge of a brand, you become enthralled with what the brand is doing, and it’s important to you. However, it may not be so important to others, and that is where creativity and research come in.

Kyle shared with us the story behind the post of Kathie Lee Gifford talking about her recently deceased husband and why it was so successful. “Authentic moments always win in the social space,” Kyle said. People can tell when you’re being unauthentic. People are responsive to raw emotions. As Kyle said, does anyone really pass up a video of a husband crying after seeing his wife’s new makeover?

Another huge theme of the day was social media analytics. Looking at the analytics of posts to see how they were received by your audiences is beyond important. Having the ability to judge the success of a post on more than just how many likes it received can help you craft future posts and learn more about what content is best received by your audiences. Kyle talked for a while on Facebook analytics and how he uses them daily to track the reception of posts. That information then carries over into future posts.

Two key takeaways from Kyle’s keynote:

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Magazines succeed – and slip up – across social media platforms

Magazine Journalism Major Kelli Fitzpatrick evaluates the social media efforts of top magazines

Magazine Journalism Major Kelli Fitzpatrick evaluates the social media efforts of top magazines

As a magazine journalism major, I love the world of magazine media. Whether it’s in print, on an iPad or online, I consume magazine content every single day. The method I most frequently use to gobble up celebrity, fashion, food and culture news is social media. I follow many of my favorite publications on Twitter, where I watch tweets roll in by the minute. Today, most magazines have accounts on many platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. I’ve looked into my three favorite social media sites to uncover how magazines are using their accounts to promote their brands with style—or are struggling to do so.

Twitter

Doing it right: @slate, 780,000 followers. Slate, a daily online magazine, seems to have mastered tweeting new original content every few minutes with funny, catchy headlines. “Does Pope Francis support gay civil unions?” and “Reminder: 10 percent of people will believe anything” are just two gems to attract readers to slate.com to read more. @slate also retweets followers who share Slate stories, putting on display the articles that actual readers are enjoying.

Needs some work: @marieclaire, 1.45 million followers. Fashion mag Marie Claire regularly commits a Twitter crime: way too many repeat tweets. I understand tweets roll in so fast that a media account must repost links to keep its content near the top of followers’ feeds. But Marie Claire goes overboard in repeatedly pushing its content. Case in point: the early-morning celebrity news on March 6th was Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s setting a wedding date. @marieclaire posted a link to its news article six times, each with a different paparazzi shot of the notorious couple, between 6:24 and 7:06 a.m. Maybe I’m biased because I am anti-Kardashian, but this incessant coverage was nauseating.

Facebook

Doing it right: Entertainment Weekly, 1.7 million likes. Entertainment Weekly uses a combination of horizontal photos and links to content and to other Facebook pages to make its posts pop on the Facebook news feed. EW’s albums of “exclusive” photos and videos make visiting this page worth your time.  Regular posts tote exclusive content on EW.com, with heavy emphasis on daily TV and movie news.

Needs some work: Seventeen Magazine, 2.4 million likes. The fashion magazine of my youth struggles to stay relevant on the Facebook news feed, with its first offense being a boring profile picture. Instead of updating its photo to the month’s cover star—as most magazines do—Seventeen uses its plain pink logo, which gets fuzzy in thumbnail form. The page could also do more to liven up its posts. Seventeen doesn’t use nearly enough photos, leading to plain posts with simple callouts such as “How to shop smart online and avoid counterfeit sites.” I know the 17-year-old version of myself wouldn’t be persuaded to click that link, making the post a failure.

Pinterest

Doing it right: Vanity Fair, 50,000 followers. Vanity Fair creates an eclectic, enticing array of 43 boards. With a total of more than 1,300 pins, the magazine presents a smorgasbord of topics: The VF Oscar party, retro photos from the magazine’s 100 years of production and even a “Classy Cats” board of celebrities with their felines. The entertaining mix doesn’t stop there: “Style in the Streets” features street style on celebrities and normal folk alike; “Vanity Table” delivers food pics; and “Office Treats” shows off goodies enjoyed by the editors in their New York City office.

Needs some work: Reader’s Digest, 6,400 followers. With just 11 boards, Reader’s Digest has a good start but needs to step it up to make it in the world of Pinterest. The “Quotable Quotes” and “Fun Food” boards seem to be the most shareable. But outdated boards such as “Christmas Crafts” from 2012 drag down the account because it has so few other boards to explore.


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Social media and personal branding from a college student’s perspective

Junior PR student, Bryan Webb, shares a few tips on personal branding from a college student's perspective.

Junior PR student, Bryan Webb, shares a few tips on personal branding from a college student’s perspective.

Ever since MySpace surfaced when I was in middle school, I have been an avid social media user. I can’t quite figure out why social media intrigues me so much, but it certainly has something to do with the networking aspect of it.

I’m a person who likes to get out, meet new people and take advantage of professional opportunities as they arise. I haven’t always been like that, but networking through social media – and in real life – has helped me gain confidence and, more importantly, experience in what I want to spend my post-graduation life doing.

Immediately when you network through social media, you begin to build a personal brand. That is, your online presence (whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or blog sites) is the beginning of your mark and reputation.

I’m sure I’ve had my fair share of regrettable Tweets between eighth grade and now. But building a personal brand on Twitter requires young adults, like me, to be very conscious of what we send out to the world.

The most fascinating aspect of this whole social media and personal branding craze, to me, is Twitter. I’ve had my account since 2006, so I’ve seen the website come a long way with the addition of retweets, hashtags and mentions.

I have written for multiple publications thus far in my college career, and I have learned many things. Although I am no expert, I came up with three things you could be doing with your Twitter account to maximize your personal branding:

  1. Use hashtags.
    People, and especially companies, search specific hashtags on Twitter multiple times a day. Look at some professional and company accounts to see how they are using hashtags. Hashtags are also commonly used for live-tweeting and tracking live events, although there are a few cons to live-tweeting. Be careful not to overuse hashtags, though. I’ve always gone by the rule of three, maximum, per tweet.
  2. Mentions are key.
    I write for Black Squirrel Radio, and over the summer I made a list of “Ten Country Songs You Should Be Listening to This Summer.” I tweeted the article out to every artist on the list and, by doing that, I got a reply and retweet from one of the artists. Avid fans also search Twitter for mentions of their favorite artists. That list ended up being my most viewed article of the summer. Most companies also check their mentions and sometimes engage in conversation with their followers. (You may even get a new follower from it.)
  3. Tweet links and information about your desired industry.
    This is something potential employers may be looking for, and it shows them that you’re dedicated to what you want to do. It also shows that you’re in-the-know of what’s happening in your industry. And who knows, you might be able to Tweet your way to your next job.

As a junior in college, I still have a lot to learn about personal branding and utilizing social media in the most effective ways. Getting a head start, though, never hurts and I believe that you can always learn more.


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The Importance of Social Media

Nicole Winkleman, Senior Public Relations Major, shares her thoughts on the importance of Social Media for students

Your teachers always tell you to keep your Facebook and Twitter accounts professional. Obviously that’s a good idea, especially when looking for a job or an internship, but it can be invaluable and help you land the interview!

I’m a fashion merchandising, public relations double-major at Kent. Although I work at Flash, I haven’t fulfilled my PR internship yet. The summer of 2011 I completed my fashion internship with the Cleveland Indians.

How Twitter helped me. When I first found out about the opportunity, I immediately started following the Indians on Twitter. The day after my interview I had a request to be followed by @tribeinsider. They were tracking my social media use and wanted to see if it was professional. Because I keep my Twitter professional, it helped me land the job.

How you can find jobs. I also started following @PRSAjobcenter recently on Twitter. Although I am not looking for a job yet (I need an internship first), you can easily find what markets are hiring and what types of jobs are out there for entry-level PR professionals.

Don’t be fake. Just because you’re being professional, doesn’t mean to be fake or overdo it. You don’t need to constantly post links to articles and #hashtag things. Make sure what you say is genuine, but it never hurts to link to a good article when you read one.

LinkedIn. Also, make a LinkedIn page if you haven’t already done so. This will help people find you and it is also a way to network with people that went to the same college as you. Sometimes that’s all you need for a recommendation from a colleague.

Network. Although social media isn’t all about networking – it is! Connect with people you’ve had classes with, people that work at a job you’d like to work, any professional in the field. You never know when someone will stumble on your blog, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook and will want to get to know you better. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals, but don’t stalk them. A lot of professionals will think of you as a go-getter, if you reach out to them.

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/n_winkleman 
Read my blog: http://portsandlinesoftheair.wordpress.com/ 
Connect with me on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=151992892&trk=tab_pro
OR email me: nwinklem@kent.edu