Evelyn Tipacti

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    • Title:Community Editor
    • Organization:ProfNet Connect (PR Newswire)
    • Area of Expertise:Media Relations, Hispanic Media
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    Upcoming #ConnectChat: Insider Tips for Book Promotion

    Thursday, July 3, 2014, 12:02 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    Our next #ConnectChat, "Insider Tips for Book Promotion" will feature Sandra Poirier Smith, (@SmithPublicity), the president of Smith Publicity, an international book marketing company based out of Cherry Hill, NJ.

    Sandra will discuss how authors can get publicity for their books and provide visibility to their work and expertise. She'll also discuss how advertising differs from publicity and much more to help get you the publicity you seek.

    The chat will take place Tuesday, July 8 from 3 to 4:30 p.m, EDT. To submit questions for Sandra in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet or @editorev.

    We'll try to get to as many questions as we can. Of course, you can also ask your question live during the chat. To help you keep track of the conversation, we’ll use the #connectchat hashtag. Please use that hashtag if you are tweeting a question or participating in the chat.

    If you can't make it to the chat, don't worry -- a transcript will be provided on ProfNet Connect the next day.

     

    About Sandra Poirier Smith

    Sandra is the president of Smith Publicity, Inc., an international book marketing company dedicated to helping authors create awareness about their books and expertise through media coverage. Smith Publicity has promoted thousands of authors/publishers since 1997—from New York Times best sellers to first time, self-published books.

    At Smith Publicity, Sandra consults with publishers and authors of every genre developing tailored strategic plans to help build author brands to attract attention for their work. Sandy has worked with hundreds of authors and publishers ranging from New York Times bestseller Jeff Foxworthy, Curvebender Publishing, publishers of the sold out book Places I Remember by Henry Grossman (author)/Sir Paul McCartney (introduction), The Writer’s Coffee Shop, original publishers of Fifty Shades of Grey, Harvard Business Review Press to Boardwalk Empire by Johnson, the book upon which the HBO Series was based.

    She also works closely with Smith Publicity’s creative and diverse team of book publicists to research story ideas, angles and tie-ins to breaking news to create media attention for their authors. This media exposure has helped Smith Publicity clients secure lucrative business opportunities, new book deals, writing/blogging/column invitations, op-ed and byline article placements, regular appearances as the expert on national television programs, expert commentary quotes, film option interest, speaking engagements, and of course, increased book sales.

    Sandra previously worked as Manager of Marketing Services for Thomson & Thomson, of the Thomson Reuters Corporation, where she planned and implemented over 400 marketing, PR, and image development programs. Sandra also worked for Advanced Computer Graphics in Boston, MA, servicing clients such as Reebok, the National Association of Desktop Publishers as Associate Editor, and for Ocean Spray Cranberries of Plymouth, MA. She has extensive experience in graphic design and website content development.

    Sandra earned a Bachelor of Science in Art, and a Master of Business Administration from Northeastern University in Boston.

    Media 411: Top Apps for Journalists

    Thursday, June 26, 2014, 3:54 PM [Media 411]
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    Smartphones are everywhere and almost everyone seems to have one. If you’re a journalist then you almost certainly have one, but if you don’t, run out, get one and start taking advantage os some pretty cool apps that can help you with your reporting.

    The apps available to journalists are quite plentiful, so I’ve put together a list of articles that name the top apps journalists should be using. There are several out there you should automatically download, but read on to see which ones would work best for your particular journalistic needs.

    10 Best iPhone Apps for Journalists (Poynter)

    Apps For The Mobile Journalist (AppAdvice)

    My Top 10 List Of Must-Have iPhone Apps For Journalists (NABJdigital Blog)

    Top road-tested iPhone apps for mobile journalists (International Center for Journalists)

    Mobile apps for investigative journalists (Investigative Reporters and Editors)

    Top 10 iPhone Apps Every Journalist Should Know About (syscortech)

    New digital tools every journalist should try (Knight Foundation)

    Top apps for journalists shooting video on mobile (International Center for Journalists)

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com

    Media 411: Kid Reporters are Journalism's Future

    Thursday, June 19, 2014, 3:38 PM [Media 411]
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    For years I've been an advocate of kids and young children (and adults) learning how to speak and write well. I read to my daughter as much as possible and hope that she will develop a love for reading and writing like me. When kids are little they absorb information and new experiences like sponges. They're curious and want to learn as much as they can and see a cause and effect. It's remarkable to see them show you what they've learned. They learn all the time, not necessarily just in a classroom experience.

    The English language is beautiful when spoken and written correctly. Anything less is an insult to the language we call our native tongue. Unfortunately, it gets butchered all the time in social media and even on television. Chills run up and down my spine and my blood boils when I see someone who has written 'its' instead of 'it's' or has said I'd like an 'expresso' instead of an 'espresso.' I could go on and on with examples but you get the point.

    If kids are the future, then let's teach them. It is fundamental to their future that they speak and write well. Way too often I see people with a college degree who can barely write. How did they graduate? Perhaps I'm too harsh, but sincerely, how did they ever complete an acceptable thesis to get their diploma? I digress...

    When I was a child I knew I wanted a career in media, whether as a writer, reporter, or anything else that would allow me be creative and express myself with words or via a visual medium. My family was always supportive and my grandparents who raised me, always pushed for me to learn and do the best I could and to reach for the stars, so when I see companies who also want to help support a child's dream, I'm thrilled. If your child has expressed interest in becoming a journalist, here's an opportunity you may want to consider:

     The Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, a nationwide team of Kid Reporters ages 10-14, is now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 school year. Students with a strong interest in journalism and writing can learn more about the program and the criteria for applying at www.scholastic.com/news. Applications must be postmarked by September 26, 2014.

    For more than 13 years, the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps has covered, "news for kids, by kids," reporting on current events, breaking news, and entertainment stories from reporters' hometowns and on the national stage.

    "The Scholastic News Kids Press Corps has a long history of smart and talented young reporters, some of whom have gone on to careers as professional journalists," said Suzanne McCabe, editor of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. "As we look toward the midterm elections and other big news stories this year, I am excited to start working with the next group of Kid Reporters."

    In 2012, the Kid Reporters provided extensive coverage of the presidential election, which appeared on the award-winning Scholastic 2012 Election website, and the devastation and recovery efforts in the Northeast caused by Hurricane Sandy. Members of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps have had the opportunity to interview politicians, entertainers, authors, scientists, sports stars, and newsmakers, including President Barack Obama, singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, Norman Bridwell, creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog(R), astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks. They've also gathered "Tips from the Pros" from such journalists as Brian Williams, anchor of NBC Nightly News, and Soledad O'Brien, special correspondent to Al Jazeera America's America Tonight, reporter for HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and founder of Starfish Media Group.

     

     

    Media 411: Most Memorable TV News Stories

    Thursday, June 12, 2014, 4:53 PM [General]
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    The dawn of television news in the 1940’s brought the ability of national and international stories to enter our homes front and center with images and sound. Since then there have been several events that forever will stay in our minds and will be synonymous with the era of television news.

    Here’s my top ten list. I know there are some missing, so what events would you add?

    1) The assassination of JFK (1963) “Do you remember where you were when John F. Kennedy was shot?” A question which has been asked over and over again to those who lived that fateful day.

    2) The Civil Rights Movement (1960s) The struggle for equal rights and the violence of this decade was shown and Americans could see the ugly reality of what was taking place. Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination was also

    3) The Challenger Explosion (1986) The country’s most famous teacher, Christa McAuliffe was set to become the first teacher in space when tragedy struck 73 seconds into the Challenger’s flight and exploded before ever reaching space.

    4) OJ Simpson Murder Trial (1994) The Ford Bronco was never the same after this. Who could forget the famous chase which seemed to be seen by everyone on earth? And don’t forget the famous line spoken by the late Johnnie Cochran, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

    5) The Monica Lewinsky Scandal (1998) Yes, I had to include this. Political figures love to be involved in scandals and this one took the cake in the 90’s. Sex scandals were much publicized after this one and President Bill Clinton somehow escaped without too much injury.

    6)  Columbine (1999) School shootings were about to increase after this horror took place. A school shooting in Paducah, Kentucky two years earlier was also in the news but the number of those who died and were injured surpassed anything this country had ever seen. 12 students lost their lives.

    7) The 2000 Presidential Election. Can you say ‘hanging chads?’ The presidential election of 2000 showed the election process is severely flawed. It left most of us shaking our heads in disbelief that in the Y2K, this could still happen.

    8) September 11, 2001.

    9) Barack Obama Becomes the Nation’s First Black President. (2009). History was made as he was inaugurated in January, 2009.

    10)  Sandy Hook (2012) The horror of this day cannot be imagined for us who were not directly affected. Coverage was unbearable and seemed to be too much as the media did not leave the small town of Newtown, Connecticut for a long time. I cannot even type what took place but if you don’t know by now, please search online, if necessary.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com

    Media 411: Have a Plan B

    Thursday, May 29, 2014, 10:36 AM [General]
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    Going to work is something most of us should look forward to in the morning. Eventually, however, there comes a time when we all reach our breaking point and know it’s time to either move on or make a huge change (if it’s not forced on us).

    If you work in journalism, you’re aware of the long and awkward hours, the pay, the stress, etc. Shall I continue? It’s truly a calling, and if you’re lucky, you get to build a career and make a decent living. For the vast majority, it’s an up-and-down field, a love/hate relationship even when it’s fulfilling. This is not to say that all journalists are miserable -- of course not. There are many who are very happy doing what they do.

    The reality, however, is that being a journalist today is challenging, but that’s obvious to us. There are many reasons for leaving journalism. For some it’s the fear of the unknown and the instability; for others, it’s the pay, or the lack of opportunities at other media outlets, or getting a better position where they are. Many other reasons exist, but those seem to be the ones that dominate when I speak to people who’ve left the business.

    Journalists often make the switch to what is usually called the “dark” side and go to PR or become company spokespeople or freelance writers and authors. Then there are those that go back to school and start all over in a different field.

    I’ve mentioned this in previous columns, but I’ll reiterate. I’m a former broadcast journalist who left to work in media relations (not the same as PR in my case) and I haven’t looked back. Not to say I don’t miss it (I do) or that I won’t give it another try in some capacity, but I feel equally as fulfilled. I like what I do, my colleagues and the hours.

    Making a change is a scary thing and not something you can decide overnight. It takes some serious thinking and soul searching, but trust your instincts. Even if your situation is forced, turn it into a positive, although at the time it may be tough to see. It will be challenging, yes, but always have a plan. No journalist should think their role will remain the samel, but I would say that for most fields, anyway. It’s always good to have a plan ‘B.’

    Media 411: Journalists Using Instagram

    Thursday, May 22, 2014, 1:27 PM [Media 411]
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    Journalism and social media go hand in hand these days and it’s now the norm for journalists to have both Facebook and Twitter accounts or at least use one of the two.

    Instagram is becoming more popular as well, but journalists are still trying to figure out how to use it.

    Below are some links to helpful articles that discuss how Instagram can be used as part of your job and help you decide whether or not it’s suitable for you.

    7 Ways News Outlets Can Use Instagram via journalism.co.uk

    How to Use Instagram in a Genius Way (and Grow Your Audience) via Ann Handley

    How Instagram Could Change Journalism via Newszou

    Instagram Becoming Major Part of Reporter’s Toolkit via The EIJ News

    Should News Organizations Publish Instagram Photos? via American Journalism Review

    If you already use Instagram, what advice do you have and is it working for you?

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com

    SPOTLIGHT: Leslie Gray Streeter, The Palm Beach Post

    Thursday, May 15, 2014, 11:21 AM [Spotlight]
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    Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

    This SPOTLIGHT belongs to Leslie Gray Streeter, an entertainment reporter, blogger and columnist for the Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, Fl. where she has worked since 2002.

    A native of Baltimore, Maryland and a graduate of the University of Maryland, Leslie began her career at the Miami Times, a weekly serving the black community in that city, then worked for eight years at the York Dispatch/Sunday News in York, Pennsylvania.

    She has spent most of her career as a features writer, specializing in entertainment including movies, television, music, celebrity and pop culture. Leslie is married to Scott Zervitz, a tech sales manager and fellow Baltimorean and Ravens fan.

    Have you always wanted to be an entertainment journalist or did it happen by chance?

    I have wanted to be an entertainment reporter since before there was really a name for it – there were movie critics, and rock critics, and art critics, and most newspapers had one of each of those and more, when there was money for separate ones of all those things. My first story ever for my high school newspaper in Baltimore was a review of “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins,” which I was probably too kind too. But the experience was exhilarating, like “I saw a movie, wrote about it and people want to see that?” I was intrigued. And in college, even when told by professors that I was being silly and fluffy, I knew how important those experiences are to life – maybe not as much as fires and taxes, but important. I’m thrilled that’s mostly what I’ve done for the last 21 years.

    Your first job was at the Miami Times -- did you cover entertainment there as well? Was it a tough choice to move to Florida from Maryland?

    I’d moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Maryland in 1993, during a recession. We were the Gen-Z “slackers” who moved home with no jobs to go with their degrees. “Home” was actually, for me, a rotating proposition, as my parents, who’d raised us in Baltimore with two years in Saudi Arabia in between, moved to Cincinnati my junior year and then to Miami right before I graduated. My twin and I were like “We don’t have jobs. We’ll just move with you!” and my parents weren’t really sure we were serious until we cashed in our graduation gift checks for train tickets. My dad let us sit by the pool for two weeks and then handed us the Miami Herald wants ads. A week later I was selling bad fake grunge clothes to teenagers, which I continued for a month even after I got hired full-time at the Miami Times, since the nice manager hired me with no retail experience. And that was because I had a degree and she thought that meant I’d be responsible, so I guess I owed her.

    I wrote everything for the Times, from community news to man on the street interviews, to a column that started when I rode the bus to work every day and wrote about an outsider’s take on this very specific community, up close and personal. I did start doing entertainment as well – I knew that’s what I wanted to do eventually and took every opportunity. But being a jack of all trades was so instructive to the rest of my career, because I approach entertainment journalism like a reporter first, and not like whatever it is they do on TMZ.

    What type of  stories do you really enjoy covering?

    I love fun, funny column fodder and interesting profiles the best, whether they’re on weird local people or long interviews with entertainers I admire. I spent an hour on the phone with Art Garfunkel recently, and while I’m sure I didn’t get him talking about anything he hadn’t previously talked to a zillion reporters about, it was an achingly vulnerable conversation. He talked about losing his voice and the uncertainty he had about his identity if he had not come back – “Would I still be Art if I couldn’t sing?” I learned something about Art Garfunkel and I shared it with my readers. That meant something to me.

    Do you make suggestions as to what stories you cover or are they assigned most of the time?

    It varies. Some of my stories are calendar or anniversary-driven, so those come to me, and others are things I just really want to write about. I like to think I’ve earned the opportunity to drive that. Of course, there’s the fact of there being less of us than there used to be, so sometimes we have to do things that we wouldn’t do with healthier staff numbers. Price of having a job, you know. It’s still 85 percent what I love to do. I’ll take the 15 percent randomness.

    What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you?

    Please do a little bit of research into what I cover. Don’t pitch me something that I’ve never written about. I know you have a job to do, but so do I.

    What should they always do and never do?

    Again, give me the courtesy of figuring out if I am the person who would be most likely to write about your pitch, or at least preface it by saying “If this isn’t you, who would it be?” Don’t be over-familiar, but also don’t robot me to death with an obvious chain letter that you’re pretending is personal. And don’t presume coverage, like “We’re gonna need a story.” Well, you need to take out an ad then. Do readers need to read your story? That’s the most important thing to me. And please spell my name right. One more thing – don’t make me chase you down about the date of your event/TV episode premiere. If I have to do the research, that annoys me. I get about 150 unsolicited emails a day. I can’t read them all top to bottom before deciding what to do with them.

    What's the best way for someone in PR to start a working relationship with you?

    Email me first and then call me and say “I’m the person that emailed you!” And then give me a day or so to respond. Be honest about what you are looking for, but not steamroller-y. I had an unsuccessful experience with a woman from a news network that I won’t name, who attempted to dictate every aspect of my story, including the hosts on the show I was writing about, as well as experts (I found my own on Prof-Net!) and the viewers I wanted to talk to. And when the story came out pretty much the way I figured, but with a headline she didn’t like, she called me to berate me into changing it online, screaming at me that we’d worked so closely together, as if she believed she was writing the story and I was just the stenographer. No changes were made. She was pretty awful, and acted as if I’d broken some sacred trust, when I was not writing a press release, but a newspaper story. Whatever she did? Don’t do that.
     
    Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries? 

    I love, love, love ProfNet because I almost always get what I am looking for, along with a few extraneous responses that I applaud for them just trying, you know? I like when the responses actually pertain to my question, and aren’t just blatant attempts to tie my story to the very specific people the PR professionals represent that obviously have nothing to do with what I’m looking for.

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

    My favorites tend to be professors, because they’re usually articulate, funny and very thoughtful. They aren’t out to waste anyone’s time, and the conversations are usually very instructive.

    What is the best part about covering entertainment? Your least favorite?

    My favorite thing is tapping into the passions of my readers, because entertainment is very personal. My least favorite is dealing with people who take it too personally, who yell at you for writing the next day about a show, even in vague terms, because they haven’t watched it yet, or people like the “Big Brother” fan from last year who accused me of having an agenda to embarrass a particularly awful contestant (who happened to be a local) because I was “jealous” and out to hurt her. Dude…I’m 42 with a job and a husband trying to pay my rent. I don’t have time for personal agendas. Also…you know she was awful.

    Do you have a most memorable assignment?

    Oh, gosh. That’s hard. Being an extra on “Law and Order” and sitting behind Sam Waterston’s shoulder? I had a viewing party, and found I’d been left on the cutting room floor except for my red Afro, seen glowing behind his shoulder. Awesome.

    Do you use social media as part of your job?

    Social media has become a very big part of my job – We Tweet nearly every day, I when covering festivals and concerts, for instance, much of my coverage is Twitter and Facebook.

    What's your advice for someone thinking of going into journalism and also for someone who's just starting out in the business?

    Be prepared for change. It’s a completely different business than when I started, in terms of scale, technology and resources. But you have to remember what your job is – to tell the truth. That will sustain you.

    What do you like to do when you're not at the office?

    Since you cover entertainment, are you still able to enjoy a personal outing without relating it to work? It used to be hard to watch a movie, in the days when I was a reviewer, without writing a lede in my head automatically. Same thing with concerts. I have to remember that enjoyment enhances my coverage, but it’s nice when I don’t have to take notes. I love watching crime documentaries, playing Scrabble online, and am attempting to get back to my marathon-running ways.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com

    Media 411: Internet Trolls

    Thursday, May 8, 2014, 2:09 PM [Media 411]
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    Don’t you love those internet trolls who always have something to say? Yeah, didn’t think so and neither do many media organizations.

    Nasty comments are being dealt a blow as more and more lewd and vicious remarks are being left in the comments section after reading an article or blog. Some of the comments are just advertising products which also don’t add anything to the conversation. None of this is really new, however, considering hateful posts have been a part of the commenting process since the whole idea of adding reader comments began.

    The Washington Post reported earlier in the week that The Chicago Sun-Times temporarily shut down its comments sections last month due to out of control, hateful comments. They also reported that Popular Science has not allowed comments since last year.

    Some news organizations have used other methods to keep a comments section open but in a way where rude comments are kept at bay. One way is for readers to sign in with a Facebook account, another is including an “abuse” button where a reader can report a specific comment/reader to a moderator, and one other way is to just shut the comments down when things get out of hand.

    What other strategies can you think of to curb the trolls? Do trolls bother you or do you just ignore them?

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com

    #ConnectChat Recap: Social Media Marketing for BtoB and BtoC

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 3:56 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    On Tuesday, April 29, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Social Media Marketing for BtoB and BtoC" with Amanda Peterson, the corporate communications coordinator at  Petmate.

    Amanda discussed the differences between social media marketing for BtoB and BtoC, preparing strategies, creating messages specific to each social media platform and more.

    Please follow @ProfNet and @editorev on Twitter for more information on future chats or check back right here on ProfNet Connect for details.

     

     

    Tell us about your role at Petmate.

    Hi, thanks for having me on today! I’m excited to chat about social media for biz with y’all today.

    I’m the Corporate Communications Coordinator so I wear a lot of hats, as most communicators do! Never the same day twice and I love it.  My primary roles are in PR, marketing communications (copywriting, blogging) and managing our social media channels.  I also work with our attorneys on intellectual property (trademarks, patents, copyrights).  Interesting stuff!

    What are the key differences between BtoB and BtoC communication in social media?

    Obviously, the audience. It’s important to understand the needs of each and target your messages with those needs in mind. At Petmate, we focus our B2C messages to educate on our products to help improve their pets’ lives.  For B2B we offer more information about the products and company itself, i.e. our green marketing practices, charity partnerships, etc.  When retailers understand who we are and what we do, they are confident in selling our brands. We are always supportive of our strategic retail partners and their promotions, events and business efforts.

    Is there a social media platform that's more specific to BtoB and BtoC?

    Facebook is the number one platform for B2C in my opinion, but the reach is changing. It’s no longer a “free marketing” tool, so you have to be strategic. By utilizing other platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, you can extend your reach on Facebook by cross-promoting those posts. For B2B, LinkedIn is a great platform for generating buzz about your business within your industry. LinkedIn, in my opinion, acts as a secondary “About Us” page and is especially important for HR professionals! LinkedIn is invaluable for business networking as well.

    How are the audiences different?  

    B2B and B2C audiences are usually very different in how they utilize social media. Our B2B relationships often look to our social channels for ways to help promote their businesses.  B2B relationships often want to extend their reach through our social channels and drive traffic to their stores. Consumers usually come to social channels for a solution to a specific need. They also want to be entertained and share their stories with us! I think consumers also enjoy the community feeling of our social media channels, especially Facebook. They share photos, videos and stories, which strike up conversations with other pet parents on our page! It’s fun to watch it happen. Our pages are places where people connect over their pets’ love of Petmate products! I also see adoption groups use our Facebook page as a way to find homes for pets. They know most people there are animal lovers who can help!

    I have to ask --  you're with a company that caters to pets and pet owners -- is it more difficult to market to this audience since a product is for their pet and not the owner? Does it matter?

    Really, it’s the exact opposite. People are SO passionate about their pets. They are family! While pets themselves may not be tweeting (although I do know a few cats and dogs that have their own handles) we know that pet parents are! Social engagement with pets is second only to human children! There is an emotional connection between pets and their people. Plus, cats are wildly successful sources of social media content. I mean, have you seen #GrumpyCat and her fan base?!

    What are some of the do's and don'ts with both BtoB and BtoC social media communications?

    For B2B, it’s important to support our retail partners. However, it’s crucial to not align more with one over another. Social media can be tricky in both B2B and B2C – you want to promote your company, products and services without sounding too self-serving. That’s why we often let our consumer photos, testimonials and reviews speak for us – it’s invaluable content for a business social strategy. 

    Even with some distinct differences, is it really all that different in terms of overall marketing?

    The ultimate goal is to raise awareness, in my opinion. However, you always want to target your message appropriately.  Your tone and manner may change from one audience to the other – from cross-promoting business to offering solutions.

    Is one more challenging than the other?

    Not if you understand the needs of each audience and develop content accordingly. What’s truly challenging is finding the right balance for both audiences.

    What are some of the networks you use and how do you tailor your message to each one?

    Petmate is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and we have a company blog. We also have Facebook and Twitter channels for our major brands: Chuckit! Dogzilla and JW Pet Company.  For Twitter, it’s all about getting the most bang for your buck – you only have 140 characters! Our Twitter messages are short and sweet and usually tease the reader to click through to read more. Which is why it’s important to include a URL or link to a photo or post elsewhere on Twitter. Use tweets like headlines!  

    On Facebook, we have more room to write and can utilize the visual aspect of photos and video when planning content. We ALWAYS include a photo/video in our Facebook posts. Not only is it more interesting to the reader, it boosts the EdgeRank. By boosting the EdgeRank, more Facebook users will ultimately see the posts. More eyes = more engagement!

    For Instagram – we post photos of pets in our office, pets playing with our toys or sleeping in our beds. The best way to get started on Instagram is to piggyback on popular hashtags, like #dogsofinstagram. Then after you build a following you can create your own hashtags and track the photos shared with it!

    With Pinterest, we pin all of our products on specific boards, either by brand or by category so they are easily searched. When writing descriptions for your pins, it’s important to optimize the content & write as someone would search. We also create boards specifically for re-pinning! If you search for #chuckit on Pinterest you’ll find some really cute photos!

    How important are visuals and how do you use them?

    Like I mentioned before, visuals do double-work for your Facebook posts. They’re crucial for visibility. Did you know Facebook posts with photos are estimated to get more than 50% more likes than posts without? There’s a J-school saying that babies, dogs and nuns will grab attention. Thankfully one of those is relevant to our industry! Photos (either of our products or user-submitted images with our products) always increase the engagement of our posts.

    Would you consider a blog to be a big part of a social media campaign?

    Yes, definitely.  A company blog will help improve your SEO and web presence! Blogging allows you to position your company as a thought-leader in your industry.  Also, having a bloa great way to generate your own social media content! Need a post on cat grooming? Write one! 

    What are some of the reasons why a strategy may not work?

    Not providing the right kind of content to your audience will kill your strategy. If we know 65% of our social audience is dog owners and we only post hamster-related content, it’s not relevant.  Also, if giveaways or contest are involved, be sure to provide clear direction. The simpler, the better!

    What's the best way to prepare a strategy?

    First, know your goal. Is it to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Increase sales?

    Second, do your research and get to know your audience(s). Who are you talking to, really? Then break your content plan into buckets. Promote products, talk about company practices, include user-generated content, etc . A good rule on social content breakdown is the 70-30 split. 70% brand posts, 30% promotional/offers.  Build campaigns into your overall social strategy – blogger campaigns generate good third-party content. Photo contests do too!

    The number one way to gain interest in your posts is to provide a reason to click – enter a contest, learn more, get a coupon, etc. Piggyback on current events and trending topics/hashtags. We love to use #dogsatwork on Instagram and Twitter! People are so interested in what goes on “behind the scenes” here. Yes, pets come to work every day!

    Social media real-time & highly-exposed. Like with traditional PR, be prepared with a social “ER” strategy, just in case! A well-managed page becomes a community for sharing photos and stories. A fun place! A poorly managed page can quickly become a sounding board for negative comments. Be prepared! Every company needs a social media diffusion and escalation policy and plan in place in the event of a crisis. 

    Do you use cross-promotion as part of your strategy?

    Yes!  As I mentioned before, we cross promote across platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but also across brand pages. We currently have four Facebook pages, four  Twitter handles, Instagram and Pinterest. It’s important to follow brand tone and style guidelines for the overall Petmate brand so we’re posting consistent messaging. We develop content considering what works for all, what is brand/channel-specific and leave room for last-minute, hot topic posts. Our social channels are promoted on our website and on the blog as well. We also work with retail and charity partners and our blogger network to cross promote Petmate reviews and important events.

    What are some other general tips you can provide?

    Social media presence is a must-have for businesses. My best tip would be to get started, somewhere. As your audience grows, expand into new channels. Test the water with Instagram and Pinterest, etc. don’t lose sight of what it is – social! It should be fun, engaging, educational and entertaining.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: Social Media Marketing for BtoB and BtoC

    Monday, April 28, 2014, 3:30 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    Our next #ConnectChat, "Social Media Marketing for BtoB and BtoC" will feature Amanda Peterson, (@AmandaPeterson), the corporate communications coordinator for Petmate.

    Amanda will discuss the key differences between social media marketing for BtoB and BtoC, preparing a strategy, tailoring messages to each social media platform and much more.

    The chat will take place Tuesday, April 29 18, from 3 to 4:30 p.m, EDT. To submit questions for Amanda in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet or @editorev.

    We'll try to get to as many questions as we can. Of course, you can also ask your question live during the chat. To help you keep track of the conversation, we’ll use the #connectchat hashtag. Please use that hashtag if you are tweeting a question or participating in the chat.

    If you can't make it to the chat, don't worry -- a transcript will be provided on ProfNet Connect the next day.

    About Amanda Peterson

    Amanda Peterson is the Corporate Communications Coordinator for Petmate in Arlington, Texas – her dream job since she has four dogs!

    A native to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication – Journalism from the University of Texas at Arlington.

    Amanda previously worked as a writer for Horse & Rider magazine and as the social media community manager for FedEx Office. Find her on Twitter at @AmandaPeterson or follow Petmate @PetmateProducts.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com


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