In Search of Visual Content for Social Media


Social media is nothing without graphics. Visual appeal is very important for a blog, social media post, or meme. Wading through the Internet in search of royalty-free images just got a bit easier. I found a few graphics sites with the help of Jeff Haden’s Where to Find Free Stock Photos Online.    

In his article he shares a list of 29 sites compiled by Chelsea Blacker, head of client delivery at digital marketing agency BlueGlass UK. Among the sites listed, I was surprised to learn of Microsoft’s Bing image search. I was unaware that in the image search there was an option to search for images that are “Free to modify, share, and use commercially.” This has proved invaluable for me as coming up with images for this blog has been a challenge for me.

Another site that has been helpful is Death to the Stock Photo. You can subscribe to their service (it’s free) and they deliver stock photos for you to use commercially and royalty-free on a monthly basis or you can join their premium service which delivers much more for a fee.

Are you still not convinced that visual appeal is important to social media? Below is a video from Katie McKee of Elizabeth Christian Public Relations who speaks of the Importance of Visual Content in Social Media.



Digital Media and the Practice of Public Relations

The practice of public relations in the Information Age has changed irrevocably. Digital media has altered the way we distribute press releases, respond to crises and promote organizations.

In the past, creating and distributing a press release involved wire transfer services such as PR Newswire, AP newswire, etc. We now send press releases via email as well as wire services, and social media releases are becoming more common as they permit the public relations person to embed media into the press release. Knowing how to use search engine optimization, hashtags and keywords that increase the visibility of the press release, is now a valuable skill.

Crises erupt and the news can go viral via YouTube videos, tweets, and Facebook posts. Consumers have become empowered by access to digital media and social media channels that permit them to share their good and bad experiences. Companies often need to respond via social media to quell bad situations before they become full-blown crises and public relations professionals have to monitor social media channels around the clock. Crisis management via social media presents many challenges to the public relations professional. For example, a tweet by Kenneth Cole during the 2011 protests in Cairo created a public relations nightmare for the Kenneth Cole brand.

Kenneth Cole Tweet

The public relations department later issued the following tweet in the aftermath of the ’twitter storm’:

Kenneth Cole Tweet 2

To promote an organization, companies now require a website so the organization can tell its story to its shareholders, consumers, businesses and other publics via videos, pictures, press releases and testimonials. Digital media, and specifically the internet, has created the opportunity for organizations to express themselves to a larger audience via informational websites that are easy for people to visit and are available to a national as well as international audience.

Social Customer Service: The Time is Now

Customer Service is the latest to be revolutionized by social media.

“Your call will be answered in the order it was received”

Sound familiar?

Soon those recordings may be coming to an end as companies are starting to heed the call to serve customers on the same channels they use to engage them. In today’s day and age, a quick post on social media via Twitter or Facebook is bound to get someone’s attention. Social listening tools such as Hootsuite, Simply Measured, Salesforce’s Radian6 and countless others have made ‘social listening’ an easier task for social media customer service representatives and social media marketing departments. No longer is social media a place where marketing teams ‘push’ sales pitches and marketing campaigns to the masses. Social media has leveled the playing field, so to speak, and naturally consumers have started to reach out to companies for their customer service concerns via social media.

Capitalizing on this trend, many social networking sites have recently begun to market their sites as platforms for customer service or what many have begun to call, social customer care. Recently, Twitter published a 122 page Customer Service on Twitter playbook containing guidelines and best practices for brands looking to enhance their customer service via the social media networking site. In a move that should help brands achieve this goal, they recently abolished the 144 character limitation for direct mail on the network which should make taking a conversation off the public channel and customer care a bit easier for brands.

Facebook is undoubtedly, the winner in social customer care although there is much room for improvement. According to Social Bakers, brands on Facebook, are answering 76 percent of the 1.5 million questions posted on their Facebook Pages in Q2 of 2015. In a move designed to strengthen their position in social customer care, Facebook recently introduced Pages, an app that helps brand managers manage up to 50 brand pages via their smartphone or tablet, as well as, many other enhancements that will make Facebook an ideal place to engage in social customer care.

In the infographic below I have included some tips on how to effectively handle customer complaints via social media, the return on investment (ROI) of companies who invest in social customer care, and Pew Research Center’s latest findings on social media usage from 2005-2015:

Social Customer Care

Social Customer Service’s time has come and those companies that deal with customer service issues effectively on social media stand to reap the rewards. To learn more about social customer care, I recommend the following articles:

4 Social Customer Care Rules You Can’t Ignore

How is Social Media Use Affecting Customer Service?

Providing Great Customer Service through Social Media



Are Performance Reviews on the way out?


As the end of the year draws near, once again, it is time for the annual performance review. Although it has been found that performance reviews are universally despised and do much damage to the boss-subordinate relationship, companies continue to perform them. In 10 Reasons to Get Rid of Performance Reviews, Samuel Culbert, lists some pretty good reasons to scrap the performance review. Among them, performance reviews prevent employee improvement, destroy teamwork, and keep employees from offering smart ideas.

So why do companies conduct performance reviews? Traditionally, it has been a way to know who the top performers are in an organization, determines raises, who to promote, and who to let go. Fortunately, some companies have learned of a better way.

For example, in 3 Ways Companies Are Changing The Dreaded Performance Review, we learned how some companies have ended performance reviews in favor of giving more consistent feedback. In the article, they cite how The Gap has instituted monthly ‘coaching sessions’ that increase communication between manager and employees in an internal program The Gap calls “GPS” (Grow, Perform, Succeed).

If you need more reasons to get rid of the performance review, take a few minutes to learn how they affect employees in How Your Brain Responds to Performance Rankings, a video from the Strategy+Business website.