Don't forget your social media etiquette

By Jake Hawkins

We all grew up with reminders from maternal figures on how to operate politely in civilized society. If you were anything like me growing up, you probably had your hand slapped on more than one occasion with a quick jolt and whisper, “You forgot to say please!”

About the author: Jake Hawkins is a social media and content strategist at Intrinzic.

About the author: Jake Hawkins is a social media and content strategist at Intrinzic.

Proper etiquette is important to put your best foot forward in any situation … even on social media. While you certainly shouldn’t append “ma’am” or “sir” to Facebook comments, or “thank you” after every like (please don’t do that), there are unique etiquette norms that must be applied when using social media on behalf of your organization.

Thank you for not smoking

Just as you would no longer walk into the office and start smoking without expecting consequences, there are some things you simply don’t do when engaging others online.

  • Don’t argue

Take it from the past mistakes of others, engaging in virtual arguments on behalf of your brand is probably the worst thing you can do. It will make you look unprofessional, childish and rude.

If someone says something that is inaccurate, it is best to thank them for taking the time to comment and point them to a source that provides clearer information to sort out any confusion. If someone states an opinion that isn’t favorable to you or your organization, just ignore it and work hard to generate other discussions that are more positive for your image.

  • Don’t delete

Once something is out there, it’s out there, and deleting something rarely changes that. This comes in two forms. There’s content you generate and content that users generate. In both cases, it is generally a good rule of thumb to delete something only as an absolute last resort, if ever.

In the case of user-generated content, unless it is patently defamatory against an individual, illegal or threatening, it should never be deleted. (Side note: if it is any of those things, you should report it before deleting.) Deleting something that you disagree with, or don’t want others to see, is the quickest way to anger others and ensure a screenshot of the content in question achieves notoriety.

When it comes to your own content, observe similar caution. If you post something and immediately notice a mistake, go ahead and delete and retry. Occasionally deleting something immediately (less than 60 seconds) after it is posted because you notice a mistake is generally OK (though closer proofreading would eliminate the need), but deleting something is poor form. If you seriously regret a past comment, tweet or status, it is best to address it proactively and transparently with new content, not try to hide it.

Pardon my reach

While not quite as stringent as those above, ignoring these niceties may just cause someone to give you a disgruntled stare.

  • Don’t be overly self-promoting

Effective social media requires time and money and can – and should! – generate some sort of return on investment. This isn’t generated by pushing spam and sales pitches onto customers on an hourly basis.

Any credible advice on creating engaging content agrees that success is driven by copy that builds your reputation, engages your audience or furthers a grand narrative. The moment you tell someone outright to buy your product is the second they hit the “unfollow” button.

  •  Be sensitive

Insensitivity can come in a variety of forms, accidental or otherwise. Avoiding insensitivity takes vigilance. An otherwise perfect post that is prescheduled can become highly offensive if it hits moments after a national disaster or highly publicized death. To counteract this, stay abreast of current events and keep the day’s scheduled posts in mind.

Another potential sensitivity pitfall can come from piggybacking on social media campaigns for social or charitable causes. Generally, as long as you are purposefully participating with or advancing the cause as an organization, it is OK. Hijacking the topic for commercial reasons, however, breaks social media etiquette norms.

A somewhat recent example comes from the Ice Bucket Challenge. Many celebrities and business leaders posted videos participating in the challenge with assurances they would also donate to the cause. That works! It wouldn’t work nearly as well, however, if you were the CEO of an ice distributor encouraging others to use your ice when completing the challenge.

Mind your Ps and Qs

This isn’t an exhaustive list. There are dozens of other things you must consider when engaging in social media. Just like everyday manners, though, you learn through socialization and interacting. That’s why the best social media practitioners are constantly reviewing case studies, keeping up with trends and looking at their feeds throughout the day. Unlike the non-virtual world, everything is out there for you to see … it’s OK to look into other companies’ conversations. In this case, it’s fine to be nosy.


A closer look at Fifth Third's Blacksmith campaign: 'Retweet to Reemploy'

By Kathleen Williams

2014’s Blacksmith Best in Show campaign winner was Fifth Third Bank – one of three Blacksmiths the bank’s Marketing and Public Relations team took home that night. We’re going to dissect Fifth Third’s Blacksmith-winning social media campaign to take a closer look at how the team did it – and what other PR professionals can learn from it.

About the author:   Kathleen Williams is communications coordinator/PIO for Clermont County.

About the author: Kathleen Williams is communications coordinator/PIO for Clermont County.

Fifth Third’s Homeowner Reemployment Program was introduced in 2013 to help the bank’s unemployed mortgage customers find jobs. Fifth Third partnered with a reemployment solutions company, NextJob, to offer customers a variety of tools, including job coaching, webinars, and a job search toolkit. In 2014, the bank launched a 6-week digital marketing campaign to connect its customers to the program.

Curiosity opened the door

"Helping our customers find reemployment is a perfect illustration of the curiosity of Fifth Third Bank," said Maria Veltre, senior vice president & chief marketing officer. "Our program evolved from the question of how to help unemployed people keep their homes and led to answer an even bolder question, 'how do we get our customers back to work?' For Reemployment, it was important to develop a campaign that not only helped our job seekers but also engaged the public in a shared mission to impact unemployment.”

The Marketing team at Fifth Third also worked with its agency of record Leo Burnett as well as Wordsworth Communications to develop a multi-prong approach to promoting its reemployment program.

One of those prongs, of course, was social media. Entitled “ReTweet to ReEmploy: A Reemployment Campaign,” the social media campaign identified several target audiences: the general public to encourage participation and awareness; traditional and social media outlets; online influencers; and legislators and trade associations in Washington, D.C.

Real people, real stories

The key was focusing on the faces of unemployment:  Real customers willing to share their stories, said Shannon Paul, vice president and social media strategist at Fifth Third Bank. The bank spent months interviewing a number of customers going through the program, and identified four job seekers to feature throughout the campaign.

After months of planning, the campaign launched in late May of 2013. It introduced its microsite -- -- featuring short videos of the four job seekers and information about the program. And it devised a great call to action to encourage tweets: For every 53 retweets, the bank would feature a new job seeker on its microsite and pay for job search assistance for up to 53 “scholarships.”

 “Fifth Third launched ReTweet to ReEmploy not to impact the bottom line but rather to increase brand awareness and consideration for the Bank,” said Shannon. “In order to accomplish this, the bank worked to connect with consumers outside banking center walls on a more human level—by providing a compelling message and a way for all consumers to get involved with the campaign. And we believe it worked.”

Impressive metrics

Among the measurements:

  • drew nearly 100,000 unique visitors
  • Fifth Third surpassed its retweet goal with several weeks left in the campaign – meaning 53 more job seekers had coaching scholarships
  •  44,000 shares from paid, earned and owned media
  •  Targeted video buys generated the highest YouTube views to date for the bank
  •  The bank’s Facebook fans increased 84 percent
  •   Twitter followers increased 15 percent

The bottom line was that Fifth Third did well by doing good. Through a sophisticated social media campaign, and other public relations tactics, it increased brand awareness and goodwill for the bank by making an earnest effort to help its customers most in need. By demonstrating how the bank was helping these customers find new jobs, and using social media to help find jobs as well, the bank spread a message of concern and care to multiple target audiences.

As for those who may not have Fifth Third’s resources? Shannon advises, “Having great content and a seamless user experience is important for any company looking to leverage social media to generate consumer engagement. However, as social platforms continue to evolve, allocating some paid media budget to help amplify and distribute content via these platforms will continue to be crucial for success.”

Have you saved the cat lately?

About the author: JD Bruewer is a senior communications specialist at Hamilton County Job and Family Services.

About the author: JD Bruewer is a senior communications specialist at Hamilton County Job and Family Services.

By JD Bruewer

To keep my writing fresh, I try to learn from other types of writers. I've always been fascinated by the mechanics of movie writing. The story moves from beat to beat. The "beats" are the key moments of the film. They include "Set-up," "Theme Stated," "Catalyst," and "Debate."

One of my favorite books (and websites) about screenwriting is Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat." It breaks down the structure of stories and offers advice on how to outline any story. The name of the book comes from a scene Snyder said is too often missing from films today. It's when the protaganist does something kind that makes the audience like him. Blake argues that it is essential because if we don't like the protagonist, we won't care about the story. In the end, it's all about the story.

In movies, the scene often involves a tough guy showing his soft side. The cop who lets a bad guy off the hook; the soldier who doesn't shoot; and the boss who cuts some slack are all cat savers. In PR, how the cat is saved depends on the protagonist. Ideally there is a person or group of people at the center. If the protagonist is a brand or product, try to embue some personality into it.

The Gorilla Glue Co. does this well in its marketing. The product is glue and tape, but the protagonist is a giant gorilla who repeatedly saves the cat with the product. But those are scripted commercials. In public relations, you can't control all of the script -- you have to work with the facts you have. You have to find the scene where the cat is being saved.

If you look at our overall marketing and communications as the film, you can be on the lookout for those scenes and make sure they don't end up on the cutting room floor. When your organization, or one of its members, does something kind, share the story.

Avoid the urge to hammer home how this fits your mission or purpose. What you are promoting here is likeability. Save the cat scenes are not big moments, they are subtle moments that underscore the likeability of the main character. The same goes in PR, the save the cat stories you share don't shape your brand, product or organization, but they make it more likeable. 

Job Search 101: Finding my first job

By Bridget Sullivan

Full Disclosure + Introduction

Hi, my name is Bridget, and I’m not here to lie to you. So, I’ll tell you the truth: the job search is hard. It’s not an excruciating level of difficulty, like completing a marathon or solving a Sunday crossword puzzle. You can do this, seriously. But it’s going to take time, energy and willingness to look (and feel) foolish. 

I say that last part from first-hand experience. I’m a young professional --  emphasis on the first part. I spent the better part of 2014 figuring out how to land my first job, post-grad. Take everything I’m about to tell you with a grain of salt. (Maybe two grains.)

About the Author    Bridget Sullivan has been a Social Media Coordinator at  2060 Digital , LLC since June 2014. Her role includes brainstorming and implementing creative social media strategies for clients.

About the Author

Bridget Sullivan has been a Social Media Coordinator at 2060 Digital, LLC since June 2014. Her role includes brainstorming and implementing creative social media strategies for clients.

But know this: that no matter where you are in your search, I’ve been there. Or maybe not.

Either way, I am here to offer you some friendly advice, based on my non-traditional experiences job searching.

Step 1: Channel organized chaos.

When looking for my current position, I wrote down every position I applied for. Every last one.

As the number of jobs starting stacking up, I began to get discouraged. This might happen to you, but don’t let it. Even if the number starts to resemble the size of a small country, continue to write down these jobs.

Why would I possibly do that? (You’re totally asking yourself this right now.) Well, I’ll tell you.

If you’re applying to any and every appealing job without a good organization system, you’re going to be a hot mess. To clarify, you’ll become a frazzled, unorganized person that makes unnecessary mistakes. Mistakes that could cost you a job. You’re too good for that.

Now, I’ll be honest, you will be frazzled at times, existential at others, and often running around like you’ve eaten your weight in espresso beans. That’s part of the job search (and being human).

But don’t let your emotions compromise your search.

In short, keep a list of jobs, companies, of people that you’ve met (whether it’s through networking, or hiring managers, etc.). Your future, employed self will thank you because now you have a tangible record of your hard work.

Step 2: Know what you want. (Or what you don’t.)

This list you’ve curated is the gift that keeps on giving. During your search, you might be thinking several things:

a.    I don’t know what I want

b.    I don’t know what industry I want to work in

c.    I don’t know what I’m qualified for

These are valid worries, and they ran through my head again and again. Until, I sat down and took a calculated look at my job list.

On that list, I had a wide array of industries, companies and positions. I had starred the ones that I’d been called back from. There were roughly six stars on a multiple digit list. Of these six positions, I was fairly certain of one thing.

The jobs that I was getting called for were not the ones that I wanted.

Realizing that I didn’t just want “any job” was a game-changer. If you take anything away from this article, know this: you are employable. You have marketable skills. No job is perfect. There are millions of jobs out there, and if you put in enough time and effort, you’ll find something.

Step 3: Be prepared for surprises. 

That being said, any interview experience is good experience. Aka, if you get invited to interview for a position, dress up and show up. I firmly believe this, and that’s why I found myself going to an interview for a job that I didn’t think I “wanted.”

In the first five minutes of my interview, I gave my usual spiel about my interests, internships and qualifications. Then, my interviewer stopped me.

“You seem like an intelligent person,” he said. “But not the right fit. I know we have an opening in another department, and I’ll give that hiring manager a call.” In the time it takes to place an order at Starbucks, my job trajectory drastically shifted. What had started as a polite “no” turned into a new lead -- for a job that actually excited me!

As irony would have it, I had applied to both jobs at the same company. For the second position, I hadn’t been contacted, and I’d basically crossed it off of my job list. Now, I was getting a second chance (in person no less!) to express my interest in working for this company.

Now here’s the crucial part to remember: if I hadn’t shown up for that first job interview, I would not have gotten any closer to getting my first job. During your job search, be prepared to be surprised.

Step 4: A good “thank you” goes a long way.

After every single interview, I would send a handwritten thank you note to my interviewers. This is a job search best practice, one that you’ll probably read about in dozens of articles. I won’t bore you with techniques to help you craft the perfect note.

But I will tell you this: thank you notes work. There are dozens of people you will encounter in your quest to find employment. Any one of them could help you land your next position. If they take the time to meet with you and hear about your story, the least you can do is express gratitude.

After one particular interview, I wrote six thank you notes. I addressed individualized notes to the interview team members, the hiring manager, and an effusive thank you note to the first hiring manager. In the week after this interview, I stressed over verb tenses, the color of my pen and the ‘flow’ of each note.

I shouldn’t have worried. Later, I was told that these thank you notes sealed the deal. (I got the job!)

Thanks for reading -- and good luck on your job search! 

PR Visions will be periodically posting blogs about job search strategies for young and mid-career professionals. If you want to share your tips with us, email Kathleen Williams,

2014 Diamond Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to Cincinnati’s Diamond Award winners!

There may be an extra bit of sparkle these days at several Greater Cincinnati agencies and non-profits – their work won several awards from the PRSA East Central District 2014 Diamond Awards. The Diamond Awards are very competitive, as public relations professionals from 16 chapters across six states are eligible to enter. Drum roll, please:

Diamond Award
Strauss Troy
Brand Storytelling through Client Testimonials
Brand Management

Merit Award
Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services
Yes For Issue 3 – Hamilton County DD Services Property Tax Levy Campaign
Public Affairs

Merit Award
Kenton County Public Library
92 Days of Summer at the Kenton County Public Library
Special Events/Observances

Merit Award
Wordsworth Communications
Running Motivation in Six Seconds Tactic
Integrated Communications

Merit Award
Wordsworth Communications
Setting New Records to Celebrate Brand History Tactic
Special Events/Observances