The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: A PR Success Story for Nonprofits

By Amanda Limoges

The idea is simple: Pour a bucket of ice water over your head, share a video of it on social media and challenge your friends to do the same. If you do not complete the challenge within 24 hours, you are asked to donate $100 to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research. The idea itself may be simple, but with more than 3.7 million ice bucket-related videos posted on Instagram in a matter of weeks without a single penny spent on advertising, I am utterly intrigued as a budding PR professional by this campaign’s unique ability to attract worldwide attention.
Not only did the campaign significantly increase awareness of the disease, it also generated a large amount of revenue for ALS foundations globally. Between July 29 to August 28, the ALS Association raised $98.2 million compared to just $2.7 million the year before. This campaign was free for ALS research organizations that normally spend significant dollar amounts on advertising and fundraising efforts that produce only a fraction of the results. The success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is leaving many nonprofit organizations inspired to alter their traditional publicity tactics to match the viral Internet age.
Here are three lessons nonprofits can take from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:

Be Original

Many nonprofits have got into a rut of utilizing the same tried-and-true techniques to meet their fundraising needs. Whether it is an expensive black tie cocktail affair or a 5-K run, everyone has participated in numerous fundraising events that begin to mimic one another. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge broke the mold, encouraging a diverse group of individuals to support the organization through a fun and unique challenge spurred by competition among friends, colleagues, celebrities and family members. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge showcases the need for nonprofits to think outside of the box to drive fundraising efforts, and demonstrates that “innovative” does not have to be synonymous with “more work.”

Embrace the Internet Age

The emergence of social media has revolutionized marketing and public relations for nonprofits, providing a platform for organizations to quickly and easily share their story and interact with key stakeholders. No longer do nonprofits have to spend large sums of money on big fundraising events and extensive advertising campaigns to share their message, although they may have to pay someone to monitor social media and come up with creative, engaging content and campaigns. While social media management does come at a cost, the platforms themselves are free and can generate a great ROI for nonprofits that are strapped for cash. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge shows that nonprofits should be taking advantage of social media and creating a strategic plan to use these platforms effectively.

Surprise with Positivity

So often we see nonprofits utilizing scare or empathy techniques to generate revenue. While these work, as noted by the SPCA’s continued use of commercials highlighting abused animals, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a refreshing, positive break from these types of campaigns. Think of the Dove Beauty Campaign, which utilized similar positive tactics and has generated more than 4.6 billion PR and blogger impressions simply by embracing “real women” in a world of Photoshopped models. Create a positive, unique campaign, and you’ll see the results.
Photo courtesy of tenz1225’s Flickr photostream.

No Dumping on the Internet: 6 Tips for Effective Social Media Management

By Alyssa Bedrosian
In just a few years, social media has become vital to our personal and professional lives. From wedding hashtags to Instagram advertising campaigns, the impact of social media is felt in all aspects of society, and so it’s no surprise that it has changed how companies approach public relations. As this new media gives organizations new platforms for storytelling, PR pros are adapting to this dynamic communications tool that gives everyone a voice.
At RLF, we manage social media for several of our clients. While tweeting and pinning may seem like second nature to the millennial generation and younger, successful social media management requires strategy and measurement.
Although we have several professionals with experience in social media management, it’s always helpful to exchange best practices and lessons learned with other industry professionals. Earlier this week Jenifer Daniels, APR, shared some of her experiences as social media manager for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Tar Heel Chapter monthly meeting. Daniels is the creative resources specialist for the library, and has nearly 15 years experience in nonprofit and education communications.
After the library’s budget was cut by 50 percent a few years ago, Daniels used social media to actively listen to the concerns of patrons and share the library’s story. Here are some key points from the discussion:

Follow the Pareto Principle, which states that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of the causes.

The 80/20 rule pushes us to focus on the 20 percent of tasks that really matter and are key to success. You can see dramatic improvements in social media engagement by focusing your efforts strategically, rather than trying to do anything and everything on social media.

As social media managers, 80 percent of our time should be spent as active listeners.

Find out what customers are saying about you and listen to what they want from your organization. The remaining 20 percent of your time can be used to share information with your followers.

Don’t chase followers.

You want hearts, not eyeballs. Organizations should seek followers who will actually engage in discussion, regularly visit an organization’s social media pages and share content.

Don’t lose customers to negativity.

Try to solve their problems as soon as possible, and take their recommendations into consideration.

No dumping on the Internet.

Don’t overindulge on social media just because you have the capacity and resources. Before you post, ask yourself these questions: What do my followers want to hear? Am I posting something of value, or am I just posting junk?

80 percent of posts should be helpful, interesting, funny or irreverent.

20 percent of posts should be original or self-promotional. Share messages that will resonate with your followers, but feel free to weave key messaging and positioning into these posts.
In a world that has been saturated by online content and social media overload, Daniels’ advice is short and sweet: Simplify your social media strategy through focusing your efforts, listening to followers and posting interesting content.
Daniels ended the conversation with one last social media tip: If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t matter.

The Power of Pinterest

By Kara Frasca
The power of Pinterest for companies is in its ability to connect with current and potential customers, and ultimately drive those customers to make purchases. Not only is the site the third-largest source of referral traffic online, but Pinterest traffic converted into a sale 22 percent more times than Facebook traffic. To top it off, a whopping 70 percent of Pinterest users utilize the social media site for inspiration on what to buy. That’s 17.5 million of its 25 million members.

So Pinterest is an extremely powerful marketing tool, but is it right for your brand? Unless you’re targeting women between the ages of 25 and 54, the answer is “no.” Eighty percent of Pinterest users are women, and 50 percent of all users have children. Lifestyle brands typically have the best luck on Pinterest, but that doesn’t mean that a company selling dental insurance has no chance at Pinterest success. It’s all about creating good content and appealing to your target audience.
In order for companies to reap the benefits of Pinterest, it is vital that they follow these steps:

Pin often to win

By remaining fresh in a user’s newsfeed, a company has a better chance of capturing attention, and ideally, connecting users to its website. To save time and improve results, use a scheduling tool. Pingraphy and Curalate are two scheduling tools that also offer analytics.  Saturday morning is the best time to reach pinners, so schedule more pins on that day to reach more people.

Crop your images

Because a user sees many different images from different sources in her feed, your pins will be competing with many others’ for attention. Statistics show that pins with taller images get pinned more, so it is vital to crop your images vertically. This cropped format matches Pinterest’s vertical scroll layout and your images will be more likely to catch the attention of users.

Optimize, welcome and convert

Fifty percent of users access Pinterest through a mobile app. In order to reach this demographic, companies must optimize their pin-linked websites for mobile devices. The website must load fast, be easy to read and navigate, and require minimal scrolling.
Since its inception in 2008, Pinterest has grown to become a leading social media platform for both businesses and consumers. That popularity is only increasing. By harnessing its attributes and incorporating these tips into your Pinterest strategy, you can further brand awareness in an effective way.
Have you achieved Pinterest success with your brand? What tips can you share?

B2B Social Media: How Social Media Means Business

By Mark Tosczak
RLF and First Citizens Bank recently co-presented a workshop on using social media for business-to-business marketing and public relations. We’re sharing the slide deck we used for that workshop below. Let us know what you think.

4 PR Lessons From Viral Videos

By AK Brinson

Viral videos have evolved.
In 2005, it was laughing babies and sneezing pandas. Today’s videos often compel users to create their own versions, so the virulent nature of these pieces is not just about sharing, but participating.
Participative viral videos are more powerful than ever. South Korean rapper PSY’s  Gangnam Style video was imitated and shared to the tune of more than one billion views.

While viral video isn’t a part of every public relations campaign, here are four lessons PR professionals can learn from them.

1. Engage with influencers.

Understand and follow the influencers within your channel and platform. Promoting content via Facebook and Twitter can boost brand goodwill with followers, but interacting with key industry influencers can propel your brand not only within your set of followers, but also with those key influencers’ followers, too.
In January, Call Me Maybe was just another omnipresent, fluffy tune by pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen. But then Harvard baseball players got their hands on it during a road trip and “choreographed” an upload to YouTube. As a result of its popularity, other sports teams and groups, including the Miss USA 2012 contestants, started whipping out their video cameras to create their own versions.
You can bet that Jepsen got exposure with lots of new audience segments and potential fans thanks to the video’s viral spread.

2. Keep it short and simple.

Many of these viral videos come in pretty short. Most Harlem Shake routines were 30 seconds or less. The original 31-second-long video inspired more than 50,000 imitators; obviously, it doesn’t have to be long to attract attention.
Keep pitches to journalists, bloggers, or anyone else you want to reach, the same. Reporters don’t have the time to read through a convoluted email describing your client’s most recent success. Providing more information is appropriate for follow up emails and calls — after the reporter has signaled interest.

3. Encourage journalists to share, but don’t be pushy about it.

The original Harlem Shakers never imagined (or asked for) the thousands of parody videos that followed theirs. But thanks to sharing of videos, plus blog posts and news reports, the Harlem Shake built up its own momentum. At last count, it had gotten coverage on ESPN and CNN, among other major news outlets. It was the viral nature of the video, and its popularity, that helped focus mainstream media attention on it. So, too, making your stories interesting and newsworthy will help them spread.

4. Listen to the industry buzz.

Timing is important, whether pitching a story or trying to get a video to go viral. Listen to key influencers (including reporters) to understand what they’re working on and what’s going on in the industries they cover. Trying to pitch a big story while reporters are already engaged with something big (like a major industry trade conference) your pitch might need to wait.
Other big stories (like super storm Sandy last year), can knock the media out of their usual news cycles and make it tougher to get their attention. Knowing what’s occupying the attention of journalists and other influencers is key to deciding the best time to make your big pitch.
Have other things you’ve seen in viral videos inspired lessons for public relations or marketing? If so, we’d love to hear. Please share your observations in the comments.

Four Ways to Defend Your Company Against Wikipedia Errors

By Mark Tosczak
When public relations professionals were surveyed a few months ago about the accuracy of Wikipedia entries, 60 percent of the respondents said articles on their companies had factual errors.
Yes, 60 percent. Other surveys of the accuracy of Wikipedia articles on companies have also found significant problems with entries on Fortune 100 and FTSE 100 corporations.

I’m sure that PR professionals at those companies (or their agencies) would love to simply go in and edit those entries to correct those errors, but they’re not allowed. Under Wikipedia’s rules, most direct edits by PR professionals are simply forbidden. In fairness, a few less-than-ethical paid communicators have done some things they should not have. Wikipedia itself has a fairly extensive entry on this subject.
As a result of this attitude, entries about many companies are likely to have factual errors. And yet, Wikipedia pages are a favorite of Google, which tends to put them at the top of search entries. Wikipedia is also a favorite as a first stop (and occasionally, the last stop) of researchers, journalists and others looking for reliable information.
The result, unfortunately, can be that inaccurate information becomes a part of the accepted public dialogue about a company.
There is an industry effort underway to try to make Wikipedia’s edit policy friendlier to businesses concerned about the truthfulness and accuracy of their profiles on the site. Right now, though, this effort is in its infancy. The UK-based Chartered Institute of Public Relations also has published a Wikipedia best-practices document for PR professionals.
There are some things public relations professionals should be doing to minimize mistruths.
1. Make sure your corporate website (and any affiliated sites, such as blogs, micro-sites or online newsrooms) are optimized for key search terms. Search engine optimization for a corporate web presence could be several blog posts by itself, so I won’t get into details now. But suffice it to say that if you’ve not assessed your corporate SEO efforts and search results lately, it’s time to do that.
Google has made major changes to algorithm and social media has become a huge factor in search results, and if your site and your social media efforts don’t reflect these realities it may not appear at the top of search listings. And that makes it more likely that searchers will find inaccurate information on other sites, including places like Wikipedia that may be viewed as authoritative.
2. When blogs, the news media and other sources make mistakes, ask for corrections. In my own work, it seems like mistakes by journalists have become more common the past few years. This may be the result of fewer reporters and editors being asked to produce more content in less time. But now fixing those errors is more important, as they may be cited and repeated by others.
For a long time, the conventional wisdom was that in some cases, at least, it wasn’t worth asking for a correction: It might insult the reporter, it might bring further unwanted attention to something negative going on, or it might simply not be worth the trouble.
Not anymore. Information lives forever on the web; once it’s there, it’s hard to get rid of it. Getting corrections, especially online, increases the chance that when those online news stories, blog posts or whatever are used as sources by Wikipedia authors, they will have accurate information.
3. Post enough information about your company on your company website. Some corporate websites are surprisingly shallow. Just because you don’t think details of your corporate history are important doesn’t mean that others will feel the same. Better that they get the accurate information from you.
4. If you do engage with Wikipedians to ask for a correction or update, be polite, professional and straightforward. This is not the time to debate whether that nasty lawsuit from five years ago (that really happened) is “worth” posting on the page devoted to the company. Focus on verifiable factual issues, not matters of editorial judgment. That way, your requests for corrections are less likely to come across to PR-wary Wikipedia volunteers as attempts at “manipulation.”
These tactics won’t guarantee that a company’s Wikipedia entry will be 100 percent accurate. As vast and useful as Wikipedia is, its crowdsourcing model of content generation still leaves it vulnerable to errors and shortcomings. But these steps should increase your odds of getting an accurate Wikipedia entry.
Have other suggestions to help ensure the accuracy of Wikipedia entries about your business or organization? Please share in the comments.

How Twitter Helped Me Pop the Question

By Adam Bowers

My fiancée loves to personalize her possessions (seriously, nearly everything she owns is monogrammed). So when I decided to ask her to marry me, I knew I had to do something unique and creative to personalize the proposal. After racking my brain for weeks, I decided to ask her favorite band, Relient K, to make her a personal video that could lead into my proposal.

While it was a great idea, I quickly realized there was one tiny problem: I had to figure out how to get the band on board. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of the band members on speed dial, and I knew showing up on their doorstep would probably land me a restraining order. So I turned to Twitter, set up a new account handle (@HelpMeRelientK) specifically for this purpose, and began tweeting at the band. Along the way, I learned a few things about getting noticed on Twitter:
Creativity is a double-edged sword
A few years ago, my proposal idea would have been a pipe dream that could never have come to fruition. Luckily one of great things about Twitter is it gives us a way to interact with those we normally would have no way of connecting with – like a famous band. But the downside to Twitter offering this connectivity is that everyone is trying to get noticed. This means you have to be incredibly clever and creative with your tweets just to break through the clutter.
To make myself stand out from the crowd, I incorporated lyrics from the band’s songs into some of my tweets. For example, the band has a song with the line, “Marilyn Manson ate my girlfriend,” so instead I tweeted to them, “Marilyn Manson did NOT eat my girlfriend! Help me propose to her! All I need is a 30 sec video.” I also knew from their tweets that the band was recording a new album at the time, so I also referenced this to show the band I was tuned in to their timeline.
Consistency is key
When it comes to getting noticed on Twitter, I found consistency to be just as important as creativity. At the beginning of my social media campaign, I was tweeting at the band once a day, hoping this would be enough. I soon realized it wasn’t. When hundreds of people are tweeting at a person or brand, it’s easy for a single tweet to get lost in the mix.
After a few days of not hearing back from anyone in the band, I upped the ante to three or four tweets a day. This not only increased the chance of one of my tweets being seen, but also showed the band I was determined to get their help (or I had a lot of free time on my hands).
Research does wonders
Even after increasing the number of creative tweets I sent each day, I still had no luck. At this point, I assumed that either the band had pegged me as a stalker who needed to be avoided at all costs, or I simply still had not optimized my chances of getting noticed.
I started looking more carefully at my target audience (the band) and picked up on a few things. For example, I realized the account for the band was merely a talking head that never interacted with anyone, so I shifted my focus to tweeting at the individual band members. I even took it one step further by studying their past tweets to learn what times of day they were active on Twitter. I then scheduled my tweets to go out at these times in hopes of catching the band members while they were checking their Twitter feeds.
Shortly after I combined strategic timing with creativity and consistency in my tweets, the band’s guitarist sent me a direct message with his email address so I could pass along a more detailed message.  And finally, 22 days and 39 tweets later, the band granted my wish for a personalized video to my girlfriend that segued into my proposal. Needless to say, she was blown away, and most importantly, she said “yes.”

A PR Professional’s Guide to Avoiding Spoilers During the 2012 “Social Olympics”

WARNING: Olympic Spoilers Ahead
By Caroline Nobles

As public relations professionals, so much of our job depends upon staying up on current events and news. In addition to sifting through newspapers and watching local and national TV stations, we must now regularly scan non-traditional media such as blogs, Facebook posts and Twitter feeds for the most recent coverage.
And the current hot topic? The 2012 London Olympic Games. There is a steady barrage of news concerning shattered world records, down-to-the-wire finishes, heartbreaking losses and mind-boggling wins. And all of the event news can be heard, seen or read in real-time thanks to online video streaming and social media updates. The Games were even dubbed the first ever “Social Games” as Twitter recorded 9.66 million tweets just during the Opening Ceremony.

But the trouble with having immediate Olympic results at our fingertips is that some of us still don’t want to know the outcomes until we have the chance to watch the events on television, live or taped. Most avid Olympic fans, such as myself, don’t want to find out via Twitter that Michael Phelps won gold to become the most decorated Olympian, or read on Yahoo! News that defending beach volleyball champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings historically lost their first Olympic set, but managed to dig, set and spike their way to a win. We want to see the action for ourselves.
Here are my tips to help PR professionals avoid spoilers while still staying in the loop throughout the day:
Reset your web browser
During the Olympics, no major online news outlet is safe. It’s almost impossible to avoid the Internet while trying to work during the day, but we can minimize our exposure. Avoid casual news-surfing and use a search engine, such as Google, that doesn’t list real-time news updates. And if you must visit a news outlet like USA Today or The Wall Street Journal, navigate as quickly as possible to the section or search bar you are trying to find. (I recommend holding a hand in front of the computer screen to block scrolling news updates).
Turn the dial down on talk radio
You can tempt fate by hovering over the radio dial in your car, ready to change the station at any one moment should the broadcaster start recapping the daily sporting news, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The risk of overhearing an Olympic event spoiler is too great. Instead, use your commute time to clear your head, outline your work load for the next day, listen to your new audio book, or simply plug in your iPod to eliminate all risk of spoilers.
Limit your social media intake
Twitter may be the most difficult social media outlet to shun during the Olympics. Athletes immediately post to the site to celebrate their medals or the successes of their teammates. If you must check Twitter, you can use applications like Twitter DogHouse or TweetDeck, which allow you to stop following users for a certain amount of time, or filter out words and hashtags associated with the Games.
Even Instagram isn’t safe from Olympic spoilers. The mobile phone app, which allows users to filter and post creative photos to their followers, spoils its own share of surprises for those who follow Olympic athletes. For example, Michael Phelps posted a photo of him and training partner Allison Schmitt, with their silver and bronze medals from the 4×100 freestyle relays, immediately after winning the medals – but long before coverage aired in the U.S. I recommend temporarily un-following Olympic athletes until the Games are over, or avoid the application altogether for a few weeks.
Inform others of your plan
You may do everything correctly, from driving to work without the radio in the background, to staying off Twitter and Instagram, to avoiding all online news sites that may hint at Olympic results, but if you forget to tell your co-workers, family and friends about your mission to avoid Olympic results, all your hard work may be for naught. I know firsthand the feeling of almost making it through a work day with no new Olympic updates until hearing an unknowing co-worker casually exclaim from his office, “Michael Phelps gets the record!” So post a sign outside your office door, send an office-wide email or verbally communicate with your colleagues to let them know of your plan to avoid all real-time Olympic results.
While the Social Olympics are still heating up this week, and many are following the results in real-time via traditional and non-traditional media outlets, rest assured you don’t have to be one of them. It is indeed possible for PR professionals to maintain office productivity while staying away from the daytime Olympic results. And if you falter, it’s not the end of the world. After all, you’ll have another chance to perfect how to watch (or not watch) in 2016!
Photo courtesy of Claire Dancer’s Flickr photostream.

Are You Listening?

By Mark Tosczak

Believe it or not, a lot of businesses – perhaps most businesses – are still not active in social media. For those of us in the fishbowl of marketing and public relations, this may seem like an astounding assertion, but it’s true.
In my own life, I think about friends and neighbors who own body shops, chiropractic practices, are partners in law firms or physician-owners of medical clinics. I can also think of a number of sizeable companies that have stayed mostly or entirely away from social media due to resource limitations and regulatory concerns.
To all of those businesses, big and little, I have a message:  It’s time.
Even if you’re not active in social media, your company already is, whether you like it or not. Customers and prospects are talking about you on Facebook and Twitter. News outlets, if they are covering your business in print, over the air or on the Web, are almost certainly also tweeting the story, sharing it on Facebook and posting it to LinkedIn.
Are you listening to this online conversation?
Companies like Facebook and LinkedIn, whether you like it or not, have plucked your company’s name and address out of public databases and put up pages about your firm, pulling information from search engines and other sources – sometimes soliciting input from the public.
Is that information even accurate? Have you checked?
Chances are, your employees are talking about you, your competitors and your industry. They’re talking about if they like their jobs or bosses – or hate them. Your sales force – maybe even if you’ve told them not to – is probably using social media in some fashion in their work.
Do you know what they’re saying? Do you have a social media policy or a way to enforce it?
Even if your business is not active on social media, chances are that some (or all) of your competitors are. They may be reaching out to customers and clients (maybe yours?) and recruiting employees (maybe yours).
Do you know what your competitors are saying and doing online?
Here’s the bottom line:  Your company may not be ready to tweet, link to or friend people, but you need to start working toward the day when you are ready. And a first step in doing that is to start listening online to the conversations that are already happening (even if you’re not a part of them).
There are a number of robust, commercial applications out there for monitoring social media for specific topics and keywords. But as a first step, consider some free services. Start with Google alerts and then add some of the many free tools that are available, and you’ll start to hear how people are talking about your brand and your industry.
Photo courtesy of Alan Cleaver.

Six Social Media Lessons to Learn from Super Bowl Sunday

By Caroline Nobles
Social media professionals and sports fans alike are eagerly awaiting Super Bowl XLVI this Sunday night. Debates have already blossomed around the showdown between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Will the event be a rematch of Super Bowl XLII or a sequel to the game in 2007?
Whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl bash or curling up on the couch to watch the Patriots, Giants or the highly publicized Volkswagen commercial, social media will certainly be abuzz with Super Bowl fever. As many of us are professional and personal users of social media, we can learn from athletes and teams using the same channels. What are they doing to get results, and how can we do the same?

Photo courtesy of emma.kate's Flickr photostream.

Be engaged and active.
Athletes and teams who use social media successfully are constantly adding and updating content. They talk about upcoming games, chat with other athletes, promote special events or banter with rivals. Their goals may differ, but successful users are continuously linking, updating, following and talking.
Think outside the box.
When NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal announced his retirement from basketball, he didn’t follow the norm and hold a press conference. Instead, he posted a 15-second video to Tout, thanking his fans and informing them he was stepping down from the game. Last fall, to engage people via Twitter in the Battle for the Golden Egg between Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State painted #HAILSTATE in one end zone. “Hashtagging” the end zone was an innovative way to marry sports enthusiasm with social media. Generating ideas and tactics that might be slightly outside your comfort zone just may provide the inspiration needed to start conversation.
Follow athletes in and out of your sport.
Athletes follow other athletes via Twitter in their own sport and outside of their sport. There are always opportunities to learn from others in and out of your field. Eli Manning, quarterback for the Giants, doesn’t only follow his teammates on Twitter;  he also follows NBA star LeBron James, quarterbacks Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, and ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols.  Use social media to keep up with colleagues, competitors and industry news. Untapped ideas, pitching opportunities, marketing tools, story ideas and other useful content is always available.
Promote yourself.
Sports teams and athletes use social media to talk about themselves, their products and their brands. With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, players on the Patriots and Giants aren’t talking about The World Series. Sports bloggers aren’t blogging about the U.S. Open. No, athletes, writers, reporters and sponsors are tweeting, posting, liking and blogging about the Big Game. So, use social media to your advantage and promote yourself. Promote a new product or brand through Facebook or YouTube. Blog about awards or recognitions your company, client or product earns. Launch a Twitter campaign to increase website awareness. The possibilities are endless.
Avoid the penalty flag.
While many sports figures maintain a professional image when using social media, there are athletes who abuse the privilege.  Once you start using social media, you place yourself in the public eye. A seemingly innocent status update or tweet may be misinterpreted and result in the loss of a client or sponsorship. Champion dropped its endorsement deal with Rashard Mendenhall, running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, after an ill-timed and controversial tweet. Proofread and edit your content, and don’t post in frustration or anger. Maintain a professional image – one that demonstrates your expertise and mirrors your values.
Set goals and break records.
Whether you’re trying to break into the social media scene or become more engaged, set reachable goals. We can’t all be like Tim Tebow and set a record of 9,420 tweets per second. We can, however, set objectives such as tweeting at least three times per day, posting links and updates to Facebook once a day, blogging two to three times per month, and building our LinkedIn connections. Consistency is the first step to a winning effort.
No matter how you spend your Super Bowl Sunday, social media will play a key role in event coverage. Make a conscious effort to observe how other athletes and professionals use these online tools to generate coverage and awareness, and decide what strategies and tactics you can employ to get the most out of your social media.
How do you plan on using social media on Super Bowl Sunday?
Caroline Nobles is an assistant account executive who can be reached at @carolinenobles during the game.