It may be big, but Facebook is like a shark. It just keeps moving. Recently, Facebook opened itself to sponsored content. We talk about recent changes at Facebook, including sponsored content. We talk about the need for adequate disclosure of sponsored content to enable people to recognize it as such.
We also discuss Facebook Messenger’s second email inbox. It seemed to have sent a lot of people into a tizzy. Joe, on the other hand, is quite happy to have Facebook Messenger filter out as many messages as possible.
Facebook uses its huge data store to fine tune its news and advertising algorithms. But kudos to the company for this innovation: Facebook introduced auto captioning to make itself more accessible to people with site impairment. Good on Facebook!
And we couldn’t talk about Facebook without talking about Facebook Live Videos. They are available to all of us and we’ve been using it. Video for the rest of us. Video that persists (unlike Periscope which expires.) Video that we can schedule with an event. Or, as we have done, video available only to members of a group (join the Inside PR Facebook group to see the video Joe made of his end of the recording of this podcast.)
We’d love to know what you think.
Is Facebook going to become the one social network to rule them all?
Junk filters? Nuisance or must-have.
Have you used Facebook Live Videos yet? How was your experience? Do you have tips for others who are just beginning to use them?
Facebook Reactions have been with us for several weeks now. Chris Penn’s early look at the impact of Facebook Reactions suggested that “haven’t statistically changed engagement yet. If you publish unengaging content, Reactions won’t help you. If you already have a highly-engaged audience, you will likely continue to do so – Reactions don’t appear to make it better or worse.” We offer our own early reactions to Reactions.
If you didn’t have enough video in your life, take a look at Snapchat. Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel says that Snapchat users are watching more than 8 billion videos per day. There’s clearly an audience for video. So, if you produce video as part of your initiatives, it’s worth checking out what works well on Snapchat.
Fake accounts. Could this happen to you?
We close out this episode with a discussion of the communications agency executive who faked over $250 million in contracts go gain advancement at this advertising agency. Sad but true.
And a big thanks to Suzy Chisholm. Suzy, who heard me state a few episodes back that I preferred single purpose apps over those that take a “Swiss Army Knife” approach. Suzy, who lives in Switzerland, sent us three Swiss Army Knives, branded with the Philips logo (where Suzy works) and a very nice note. Thank you Suzy. You brought smiles to our faces and reminded us that there are times when you want to reach for that one thing that does it all. 🙂
Martin leads off with a discussion of Jack Dorsey‘s attempt to shift perceptions in the ongoing conversation about the future of Twitter. Gini talks about the importance of managing crises by participating in conversations where they are already taking place. As Gini points out, many people resist change to the applications they know and are accustomed to using. That resistance will only be overcome with clear explanations and allowing people time to consider and try the new and changed features.
Speaking of shifting perceptions, Martin and Gini have a great discussion about ads featuring celebrities. And then they use this as a launching point to talk about advertising equivalencies (AVEs) and the importance of the PR industry to measure meaningful outcomes.
On this week’s episode, Inside PR 434, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I take a look at PRSA’s Counselors Academy this week. The Counselors Academy conference is coming up May 1-3 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. All three of us have participated in the past. It is a unique opportunity for PR agency leaders to learn about the “business of the business.” It’s a networking place to find others who share the same business challenges that you do as a communications business leader. In fact, Martin, Gini and I first met at the Counsellors Academy annual conference in Phoenix. It’s not too late to register for this year’s conference. If you do attend, make sure to say hello to Martin! 🙂
For our second topic, Gini asks the question, “Is specialization in PR a thing of the past or the way of the future?” Martin and I weigh in with our views and how they have harnessed generalist and specialist knowledge in their careers. But, why not download the episode or subscribe to the podcast to listen to the complete episode?
Ten years in, we’re making a change to the way that we record Inside PR that could lead to a significant change to the format of the show that we publish.
For all of its life, we have recorded Inside PR as a double ender, with the hosts each recording their tracks locally on their computer or a dedicated recorder. Following recording, we upload our individual tracks to a shared dropbox. Then the show’s producer edit combines the voice tracks together with the musical intros and outros, edits out the bloopers (yes, there are even more than the ones that you hear) and runs the finished product through a program called Auphonic to eliminate background rumble and level the sound across the different input sources.
About a month ago, we started to use a new tool, Zoom.us that transforms the way that we record the show and opens the possibility to making it available as a video podcast as well as an audio podcast.
Zoom.us replaces the double ender recording of individual tracks onto separate devices with a single online recording which can be downloaded as a single, level-balanced track. This eliminates a lot of work. But even more importantly, it also enables us to capture the recording on video. And we’re keen to add a video component to what until now has been an audio-only podcast.
For now it’s an experiment. If you listen closely to Inside PR episode 428, you’ll hear some significant variations in the sound quality between Gini, Martin and I. We’re attempting to identify the source of the differences – mic quality, the age and specs of the computer, the quality of the internet connection are the obvious first candidates for scrutiny. But as we bring up the general quality level, we hope to move on to offer a video feed in addition to the traditional audio feed. So, stay tuned for that.
Facebook has made its platform even more attractive as a place to publish videos by providing new tools to give publishers greater control over how they post their videos and target their reach. Facebook has joined YouTube as a must-publish place for video. If you aren’t already publishing your videos to both places, it’s time to test a dual publishing approach. Test it for several videos. Watch your stats closely. Then draw your own conclusion about how these two platforms work together to enable you to reach the people who are interested in your content.
Google isn’t giving up on video. It keeps innovating with YouTube. It is updating the YouTube mobile app, to make it easier for you to upload, find and view videos.
And going the other way – reducing a service’s scope and reach, Google announced that it is decoupling Google+ profiles from the login for other services, starting with YouTube. What does this mean for Google+. Trying to strike a positive note, Bradley Horowitz, Google’s product manager for Google+, said in a post on his Google+ page that,
“Google+ can now focus on doing what it’s already doing quite well: helping millions of users around the world connect around the interest they love. Aspects of the product that don’t serve this agenda have been, or will be, retired. But you’ll also see a slew of improvements that make this use case shine (like the recent launch of Collections – https://plus.google.com/collections/featured).”
So, there is a lot happening with both Facebook and Google+. Things you should know about.
If you find these #IPRMustKnows to be useful to you, click over to the Inside PR podcast blog to subscribe to receive the new episodes as soon as they are published.
Yeplive joins the streaming video field. And it lets you shoot your video in landscape mode, unlike Meerkat and Persicope which serve up your videos in portrait mode. You can get the Yep Live app in the iOS and Play stores.
Google “began remotely installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users.” The code supports Google’s hotword feature that enables voice commands. This is the kind of feature you need to be aware of. Remember what you enable on your device because always-on monitoring has become a “feature” of our lives.
In our main discussion this week, we turn our attention to the increasing role of algorithms and computer code not only to shape the distribution of news, but also to create content. Do you know when your news is generated by a person or generated by an algorithm? This is the type of development that strongly divides people. And it is a discussion that we’ll surely be having much more in the future.
I’m as mystified as I was the day of the announcement. Google is removing restrictions on Google+ user names. They announced it with, what else, a Google+ post.
“When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names.
“Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing +Page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+. Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use.”
When I first saw it, this move left me asking, “Why? And why now?.”
I think that those potential users who objected to having to use real names on Google+ long ago stopped caring about Google+. And the folks who are using it now are probably quite happy with the rules as they are. And they use it and like it.
I worry that the most immediate impact of lifting restrictions on names will be to welcome the trolls onto Google+. In fact, Gini DietrichtellsMartin Waxman and me that shortly after the announcement, she received a marriage proposal from one of the newly-minted anonymous users. A fun move? Or just plain creepy? Whichever, hopefully this is not a sign of things to come.
If Google+ is hoping to attract hordes of new users to mainstream itself as one of the larger social networking platforms, they’d better have some new magic up their sleeves. There is no reason for people who’ve decided that Facebook or Twitter meets their needs to abandon those services for Google+.
In fact, I think that Google+ has built a happy and enthusiastic group of users around features like Hangouts and Google+ Communities. I’m thinking about the FIR Podcast Community that generates a constant flow of conversation. Yes, it’s only 500 people strong. But it is a community that has a specialized interest and actively uses Google+ to converge around that interest.
So, Google+ is a success for those who use it. Why would the people who cared about anonymity in the first place ever come back to Google+?
In the past two weeks, requests by European citizens have flooded Google with requests to delete information about them from the search engine’s results. Gini points out that the European Court’s decision requiring that Google takedown information upon request does not sit well with Americans, who see this as undermining the right to free expression. Nevertheless, she advises clients with operations in Europe and elsewhere to take note of this move. It points to the need for companies operating globally to be sensitive to different values in different places. Martin is uncomfortable with the potential that this ruling holds to rewrite and obfuscate history. Where do we draw the line between someone wanting to remove a hurtful or hateful opinion and someone who wants to remove or obscure facts? The true impact of this ruling will only be known over time.
And kudos to Scott Monty for the classy way that Scott announced on his blog that he had left his role as social media head at Ford. Scott praised his team, praised the company and praised the work that they did together. Others who are announcing a move would be well recommended to look at Scott’s departure announcement as a template for the right way to handle yourself when announcing a career change.
Finally, Interesting factoid or fiction? Martin says that Canada is the only country in the world that still celebrates Queen Victoria’s birthday as a national holiday. With fireworks no less. Is that true? Are we truly unique in the world?
This is a slightly modified version of a post that I wrote on the Inside PR podcast blog. I’ve adapted it for ProPR so that it’s in my archive of posts.
This post was originally published on the Inside PR blog. I’m posting it here so that readers of this blog will see it. If you like it, please consider subscribing to the Inside PR podcast.
Gini Dietrich and I do a two-hander in this episode as Martin is on a train with only spotty online access.
This week we talk about MasterCard’s aggressive PR tactics around the Brit Awards, more evidence that we’re all going mobile and the New Klout.
MasterCard ties one on
Gini pointed to MasterCard’s efforts to tie coverage of MasterCard to access to the Brit Awards. Dominic Ponsford detailed exactly what happened, from the PR company’s suggestion that access would be tied to agreement to mention MasterCard through the reactions to the Twitter backlash.
Ponsford published the text of an email to a reporter in which MasterCard’s PR company asked reporters to agree to tweet MasterCard messages in their feeds. The PR company went so far as to suggest content for tweets before, during and after the event:
Pre event – e.g. Really excited to be heading down to @BRITAwards tonight with @MasterCardUK #PricelessSurprises
Event night – live tweeting from the event including @MasterCardUK handle and #PricelessSurprises and to retweet @MasterCardUK tweets throughout the night where appropriate
Post event – tweet directing followers to @MasterCardUK BRITs YouTube videos
Needless to say, this prompted a backlash, with Twitter comments like this:
Good press coverage is hard to bribe. For everything else there’s Mastercard. #PricelessSurprises
The managing director of the PR agency didn’t back down, arguing that:
“The role of the PR agency is to pursue all coverage opportunities on behalf of its clients. This includes providing accurate brand references from the outset, for use across all platforms. It is a two-way conversation between the journalist and the PR in order to reach a mutually beneficial outcome. Editorial control always remains with the journalist.”
Gini and I discuss our views about this type of tactic. Gini sees this as an illustration of the fine line between legitimately promoting an event and the questionable offering of a benefit for coverage.
I see it as a clear example of tied coverage. “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. You give me reference to my client and I will give you access to the awards.” Yes we have seen this before. Think of auto journalists flown to exotic locations to review new cars. But in recent years, the trend has been against these kinds of junkets, with many news organizations telling their staff to refuse the benefits. “You can’t blame a guy for trying. But you can blame the other guy for playing along.”
What do you think of MasterCard’s media relations approach? Too cheeky? Or taking fair advantage of the an opportunity. Or somewhere in between.
Canadians go mobile with Facebook
The world truly is going mobile. New stats out of Facebook Canada indicate that Facebook Canada is making more money on mobile devices than on PCs and stationary devices. Of Facebook’s nineteen million Canadian users, ten million check their Facebook account once a day via mobile versus only four million who check it daily from non-mobile devices like desktops.
To me, this just underscores the importance of think mobile first. If you are thinking about communicating with people primarily in front of PCs or laptops, you’re failing to follow the audience where they’ve actually gone. They are looking at the mobile devices in their hand.
Gini cautions against following an overall trend without looking at your specific circumstance. In her experience, many sectors are lagging behind in the move to mobile, with many of her clients’ sites continuing to receive the majority of their traffic from desktop applications. It’s important that you know where your traffic is coming from. So check your analytics.
A New (Improved?) Klout
And finally, we discuss the new Klout. Gini finds it useful, because it surfaces content from people with whom she already engages. Gini also finds the measurement tab to be useful in that it’s suggests which individual pieces of content have generated the greatest engagement. For my part, I find the metrics to be even more dumbed down than they used to be and of the dubious value. It appears to me that Klout is positioning itself as a tool to assist content creators in competition with established players like HootSuite or Buffer.
What do you think? Is the new Klout a step forward or moved to irrelevance?