Category Archives: Social Media

New Facebook Design Rolls out for Brand Pages

After months of waiting, brand pages are now able to convert to the new Facebook design. All pages will automatically get the new design March 30. The new design brings many added benefits – including a more visually appealing design – for businesses.

Here’s what you need to know:

Preview your page before it goes live. Now through March 30, page administrators can preview their page and publish it right away. While you are working on it, any changes you make to the page will only be visible to other page admins. And, if brands are not ready to transition just yet, they can wait until Facebook automatically does it for them.

Cover photo now spreads across the top of the page. Brand pages now have the ability to include a cover photo, or a billboard that stretches across the top of your page. It’s the first thing people will see on your page, and it should make an impression. This photo will speak volumes about your brand. However, Facebook has set rules for what these photos can be. The photo has certain size limitations, but most importantly, it cannot include price or purchase information, contact information that belongs in the About section, references to like or share, or a call to action. So take note when selecting your image.

Tabs go away, apps menu now below the cover photo. Photos, likes, events and apps are now at the top of your page, just below your cover photo. Photos will only show in the first spot but you can change the order of everything else so people see what matters most.

Timeline gives managers ability to rearrange posts. Timeline displays all your posts in chronological order, but page administrators can rearrange their page’s timeline by “pinning” or “highlighting” posts.  When you “pin” a post, it moves to the top left of your page. This allows managers to prominently display relevant posts even if it is not the most recent one. Notice in the image below there is a tiny orange flag in the top right corner of the post. This means the item has been pinned successfully. The post will stay at the top of the page for seven days and then return to its original posting date. Want to remove it before then? Don’t worry. You can “unpin” it at any time.

Managers also are able to expand – or highlight – a post to make it wider. Below is an example of this. Notice the top post is wider than the   bottom two – giving more prominence to the top one.

One last thing on Timeline, admins can add “milestones” to a brand’s page. Milestones are prominently shown and can include a photo. This is just another feature of the new design that really allows a brand to tell its story.

New admin panel makes managing page easier. Brand admins will find managing their page gets easier. Everything – from latest insights to comments on your page – are all in one place.

Followers can now communicate with pages privately. This is by far one of the best features Facebook has given brand pages – the ability for followers to connect privately with your page. A “message” button will now appear on your page, allowing followers to contact you with questions or concerns. However, it does not appear brand admins can initiate conversations privately at this time.

There are many changes you will find with the new design – both big and small – but I think the few I’ve highlighted here will get you on the right path. If you’re not quite ready to convert to the new design, play around with the preview options and get to know the new layout. Strategically think through what your cover photo should be and which posts you want to highlight or pin on your page. I think you’ll agree it’s a great way to tell your company’s story.

And, if you need help learning the new layout and getting your brand to stand out in this digital world, contact our team of experts.

Christina Morton is an account executive specializing in social media at CBR.

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Social Media Sites to Watch

Just when you thought your social media strategy was complete, a new social network comes along and throws everything to the wind. Hold tight. A few of the newbies that have recently joined the ranks of the top social media sites may be just the thing to complement your strategy and put your company on top – depending on how you use them, of course. As companies continue to make social media a key part of their overall public relations efforts in 2012, here are some of the sites we are watching:

Google+ – 90 million users and counting

Launched in June 2011, Google+ is Google’s second attempt to compete with social media-behemoth Facebook (remember Google Buzz?). The site is similar to Facebook in the way you can update your page, but a unique feature is the ability to hold a “hangout.” A hangout is a video chat with up to nine friends – which can be useful for a business both internally and externally. There are a number of ways to utilize this tool. For example, President Obama experimented with it in January to connect with voters, and just before the Super Bowl, players from the New York Giants hosted a set of hangouts.

However, much attention of late has been paid to the site’s release of “Search Plus Your World.” This effectively means “Google+ results will be blended with the traditional ‘authoritative results,’” as explained in a recent Mashable.com article. Users will see results from people in their “Circles” – which are groups of friends labeled by the user – when logged in to Google+. This also will give priority in search rankings to Google+ pages over more relevant results that may be on other social networks. This will become important for companies to integrate into their SEO strategy.

There is much to talk about when it comes to Google+, but for fear of turning this post into a novel, let’s move on to Pinterest.

Pinterest – “Social Media’s Rising Star”

So, what is Pinterest and why should you care? Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows users to “pin” – or collect – photos and videos from the Web and post them to their “boards.” I like to think of it as a digital scrapbook. It’s addicting to say the least. That’s why the site’s traffic stats are impressive. With more than 10 million unique visitors, the average visitor spends 88.3 minutes on the site, putting it behind only Facebook and Tumblr. While most social networking sites, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, have more visitors, they fall behind Pinterest in time spent.

*Image from Jan. 29 article on Mashable.com

Not sure Pinterest is for you? Here is something else to consider: In January, Pinterest drove more traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined, according to a recent article on Mashable.com. It’s hard to ignore the numbers.

Whether Pinterest or Google+ is for you, it will be interesting to see how everything unfolds this year in the social media realm with these new players.

And as always, feel free to give us a call to learn more about how these and other social networking sites can complement your public relations strategy.

Christina Morton is an account executive specializing in social media at CBR.

Countdown to Space Shuttle Atlantis

10, 9, 8…

Those are the words every Orlando resident, and many across the world, is eager to hear: the final countdown of the last space shuttle mission. Space shuttle Atlantis will take to the skies Friday, July 8, and CBR Public Relations has a front-row seat.

I’ll be attending on behalf of the agency, as a NASA Tweetup STS-135 participant, for what is to be my first and last shuttle launch experience. (Follow my experience on Twitter at @CBRPR.) It’s a coveted spot, with more than 5,000 people applying from across the world and only 150 people selected to participate.

It’s an exciting time for our agency, and it’s an exciting, and bittersweet, time for the Space Coast. But what does the final shuttle launch really mean?

A Reflection on CBR’s Long History

The launch is a historic moment for many people and for various reasons. For CBR, it’s a piece of our long history. Its significance not fully apparent to me until a recent staff meeting when our CEO Lori C. Booker shared her favorite CBR moment:

“CBR promoted Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s 25th Anniversary of Man’s Last Walk on the Moon, which generated international media attention. The night of the event I had the goose-bump opportunity to stand next to NASA Astronaut Gene Cernan outside the Saturn V building. I looked up and saw puffy clouds parting to slowly reveal a full-harvest moon in a star-filled sky. In awe, I asked him what it was like – this view from earth of the moon he walked on – and his eyes filled with memories he didn’t share. He cleared his throat and just quietly said, ‘Magnificent.’”

 A Time for the Space Coast to Shine

With all the media attention and the hundreds of thousands who will flock to the area to be a part of history, Brevard County and the Space Coast have an opportunity to shine in front of a global audience. It’s a new era for the Space Coast, one that it is ready and willing to take on. From pristine beaches to zip lining, there is plenty to do. You can sail the high seas out of Port Canaveral, test your swing at golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer and Joe Lee, or tackle the waves at some world-famous surf spots. I really could go on and on, but I’ll let you discover it all.

So, get ready. History is about to be made, and we are all a part of it.

3, 2, 1… Liftoff!

Christina Morton is an account executive specializing in social media with CBR.

An Intimate Social Media Experience with Orlando CEOs

I Have a Twitter Account. Now What?

When I first started experimenting with social media, I wondered the exact same thing. Twitter is about letting people know you had coffee for breakfast, right? Wrong. As a public relations professional and social media enthusiast, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge and understanding of the latest in the digital realm. For years, we have been hearing about the power of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others. But are we truly tapping their potential?

Not yet.

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of sharing some insights with a group of Orlando CEOs who are members of Vistage, the world’s largest chief executive organization. This was a group of smart and savvy business owners who wanted a better understanding of the social media tools out there, and I wanted to show them some of the valuable, but lesser-known, functions of those tools. There’s not enough room here to share everything we talked about in our meeting, but I thought I would at least share some of my observations.

QR Codes – The Wave of the Future

Public relations, marketing and advertising professionals have been enamored with QR (Quick Response) codes of late, even though they have been around for many years. Some are even dubbing 2011 as the year of the QR code. Not only can they bridge the gap between a user’s offline and online experiences, but they can be customized. While QR codes are still working their way into the mainstream, many early adopters are finding creative ways to reach their target audiences. And I could tell this group of CEOs immediately understood the benefits of this technology. You almost could see the light bulbs go on as I began to talk about how they work. My hope moving forward with these nifty little codes is that professionals will employ them to provide that extra value to users and not waste their time.

Twitter Provides Valuable Monitoring Tool

Yes. We all use Google Alerts to monitor our brand and keywords. But what about monitoring on Twitter? Twitter’s search function proves valuable when trying to stay  on top of conversations happening around your brand or a keyword in a certain geographic area. While some may see Twitter as a place to post the details of your breakfast, providing a glimpse at the conversations surrounding an industry gave this group a different understanding of the “tweets” happening right at their fingertips.

When all is said and done, social media is constantly evolving, and I’ll be the first to admit that it is hard to keep up with everything. But, before jumping in and setting up accounts for every single tool out there, get to know the ones you are using now. You’ll be surprised at the functions you didn’t know you had.

Christina Morton is an account executive specializing in social media with CBR. 

Seniors Get Social

Including social media as part of your company’s communications strategy? There may be a target audience that you’re overlooking on Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms: seniors. A recent study by Princeton Survey Research Associates International found that seniors are the fastest-growing audience and participants in social media – signing up for social networking sites at a rate double than that just a year ago.

According to the survey:

  • 42 percent of Americans 50 years old and over participate in social media
  • 20 percent of adults ages 50-64 go online every day

This is significant because it may mean your company is overlooking a big segment – typically with major purchasing power – in its online activities. Creating and posting online content should be done with as careful consideration as with creating a traditional media campaign. Who is your target audience? What appeals to them? For instance, a viral video campaign may win teenage fans, but creating an information-rich Facebook fan page may be a better way to reach the Baby Boomer audience. For more information about how CBR Public Relations can help your business spread key messages on social media, see our “Capabilities” page.