Hey Friends –
Yes, yes. Been a while again. I’ve been working at Yelp as a sales rep for about a year now. That’s right – sales. I do inside sales and call small businesses talking to them about Yelp’s local ad product, Yelp’s deals product and more. It’s a completely different form of communicating with an audience. Crazy change right?
You see, I came from a rich history of PR (as some of you know). I’ve collaborated on social media projects for large national clients as well as SMBs looking to drive local traffic, I’ve done internal relations for organizations and I’ve worked at an agency as well as internally- and I loved it. PR will always have a place in my heart. But – measureables were hard to prove on a large scale. And – fate dealt me a new card… (long story short, I picked up my life from SF and moved to AZ taking a pay cut, getting into a new industry and ultimately taking a huge risk in something that I could only hope would satisfy my hunger for change).
Yelp was and is my metaphorical satisfying sandwich in life. Make sense? Hope so. 🙂
Now that you’re caught up – you may find yourself looking for that same satisfaction. It may not be a job change for you… so take this advice in stride… but PR to Sales is actually an easy transition.
3 Tips for A Successful Transition:
1. Find a job that puts your natural abilities/skills to good use while also being a company you truly believe in. We are in PR because we to communicate. We blog, we skype, we tweet, we poke, we ping, we text, we.. we.. The same communication skills come in handy in sales – you are innately drawn and passionate at communicating. You are good at rapport, “have a way with words”, listen and want to drive a client customers. As long as you work with what your momma gave you – you’re 75% there. Just make sure the company is one that you believe in the values of as well. Ultimately you’ll be contributing to the company’s bottom line and therefore should believe in the bigger picture of that company.
2. Be coachable. For those skills you can’t be naturally gifted with (Mom will love this post), you want to be coachable. Apply everything you are told once or twice. If it works, incorporate it into your pitch. If it doesn’t – try something else. But, you’ve got to try. There is no perfect pitch or perfect way to approach a client but there is a science to approaching industries, people, etc -> the folks who are training you are in that position because they’ve done your job, they’ve read articles you haven’t and they know their product and how to get it into consumers hands. Listen. Take notes. Let it saturate in your brain.
3. Remember – you are your own number. PR is about working under a clients budget and meeting certain measureables. In sales, you reap what you sow. If you want to be successful, you will work your butt off. Your number reflects on the opportunities that open up for you. It’s a great thing if you’re good – because you are recognized as an asset. It’s a struggle if you don’t hit your number as you could be expendable in the role. I personally appreciate it because my work can be measured and valued and the long hours and passion behind it pays off.
Let me know if you are making the transition and we can talk in more depth. 🙂
I think that Sam Axon asks a very important question… Should the internet be something free and open to all? I voted, “Yes, but mainly because the free flow of information is necessary to preserve other liberties”.
Internet freedoms were in the headlines earlier this year after Google threatened to quit China, the world’s biggest Internet market, over strict censorship rules.
Just like we are all granted certain rights to freedoms – I wouldn’t say that the internet is a “fundamental right” – because time and time again, we have seen people abuse it and post hate and crime and other unmentionable things. Just like your parents can take away your car keys and your browsing privileges, I think that you can “lose” your right to surf the internet…
Now do I think that right should be managed by the government? Heck no! But there has to be some “third-party” that can put one on probation or “ground” them temporarily for breaking the law or taking away other people’s right to freedoms. Unfortunately I don’t think this “third-party” exists without biases.
One interesting fact (from the many) in this article was that according to the poll, over 70 percent of respondents in Japan, Mexico and Russia said they could not live without the Internet. Have you ever tried to live one day without internet? Better yet, in college I remember my professor once dared us all to do one day without technology – we turned off the televisions, closed down the laptops and had to find something else to entertain us and keep us busy… The only thing I could come up with was sitting still because I figured as soon as I started moving, there was some piece of technology affecting my being – music on the radio, car to get somewhere, cell phone ringing – it was impossible to avoid… Would I DIE without internet? No. Would I function without internet? Not at all.
I know, I know… It’s been forever… Don’t get me wrong, I thought about my blog often and always – constantly saying to myself, “I should blog about that”, but never getting to it. Furthermore, I got to a point where I would ponder for hours about what my first post would be after this long sabbatical. Do I apologize? Would anyone care? Do I blame the economy or a new job or just the nature of social media as a trend for participation? There have been so many of these conversations in my head and the answer is this: I was busy.
- Yes – I DO apologize for those who subscribe to my feed because my occasional witty posts and thought-through analysis of society and social media’s impact on it are missed opportunities to have had my voice heard and quite frankly, my SEO improved…
- Yes – I DO think people would care because of the aforementioned!
- Yes – I blame the economy… I definitely was laid off from my position at GolinHarris. Don’t cry for me yet or play me that violin though- it worked in my favor as I was interviewing in California weeks previously with the intention of moving back to the Bay Area late July. I may actually be the only person who says that getting laid off was the best thing to happen to me in 2009. But, I didn’t have a lot of time to ponder, analyze and remain consistent to my audience on this blog. That said, it fell by the wayside.
- And finally – hell YES do I believe it is the nature of social media and our generation to follow blogs, viral videos, twitter and other social media engines like a trend: cool one minute, bored and “over it” the next. It’s hard to remain consistent because it’s impossible to remain engaged and stimulated. I actually fear that some vaccine our parents all took in the 60’s may have left my generation with a slight or major case of ADD. It’s become a blessing and a curse as we are the best at multitasking… but ask us to focus on one thing for a long period of time and you will find us squirming and refusing to complete the task at hand. As with my blog falling temporarily into the abyss, so did Twitter. I almost actually synched my Twitter to my Facebook account (THE AUDACITY!)… but alas – I use them for separate intentions and could not allow my Twitter feed to change course to my personal life.
So what have I been doing?!!?
Since I last blogged:
Moved to California – ahhhh San Fran – nothing better…
Got a new, fantastic job with a medical start-up as Manager of Marketing and Business Development – handling all market research, advertising, media outreach, community outreach, donations, radio and endorsement deals, corporate sales (for integrating the program into current wellness programs), and more. It’s a BEAST of a job but I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much in such a short time. I also don’t know a lot of people my age who are being exposed to this type of experience. It’s completely expanded my skill set. We are in the works of bringing on a marketing firm as well which will allow me more time to work on other projects as well as provide me with the experience of being an in-house point of contact with a firm. I’m looking forward being in this role with the tables turned! Haha.
Reconnected with fabulous friends of the past
Lost a significant amount of weight after both working out, eating healthy and living the program I promote. It has changed my life which is why I love what I do. I know the impact that weight loss can have for someone and the overall quality of life that goes up
Broke my leg (tib/fib fracture) in a freak co-ed soccer accident!!! This wasn’t a “highlight” of my year but I’ve been working through it. I try to do physical therapy and I’m learning to move more with it. Titanium rod and four screws later (permanent) – I want to get back to running but it isn’t looking like that is in my nearest future!! Oops.
AND SO MUCH MORE!
So all in all – I’ve been busy… but all of those moments where I had wished I blogged or thought to myself that it would make a great piece to analyze and post – to those moments – I will make a vow to try harder to post. Call it a New Years Resolution or something – but I’ll put more effort into this because I still truly love social media and appreciate the influence it has had on me and all societies in all fields. It has literally revolutionized the way we communicate. And, whether you choose to participate or not, you are always participating because social media has seeped into all aspects of news, politics and government, social interactions, LIFE, etc… it’s impossible to avoid.
Oh…. there I go again… better stop myself… but STAY TUNED! 🙂
February 16, 2010. Tags: Blog, broken leg, Facebook, influencers, jumpstart medicine, meghan beattie, sabbatical, san francisco, Social Media, Twitter, weight loss, where's waldo. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.
Dave Carroll and His Guitar
Dave Carroll is just one more case of citizen journalists taking to the social media sphere to share injustices and be heard when companies lack the customer service necessary to resolve problems.
Dave Carroll is a Canadian musician in the band, the Sons of Maxwell. In 2008 while connecting through O’Hare on a United flight from Halifax, Nova Scotia to a gig in Nebraska, he saw out the window his guitar being thrown amongst the ground crew while they were unloading the plane. He spoke with employees of the airline but no one had an answer for him. This was his experience:
On March 31, 2008 Sons of Maxwell began our week-long-tour of Nebraska by flying United Airlines from Halifax to Omaha, by way of Chicago. On that first leg of the flight were seated at the rear of the aircraft and upon landing and waiting to deplane in order to make our connection a woman sitting behind me, not aware that we were musicians cried out: “My God, they’re throwing guitars out there.” Our bass player Mike looked out the window in time to see his bass being heaved without regard by the United baggage handlers. My $3500 710 Taylor had been thrown before his.
I immediately tried to communicate this to the flight attendant who cut me off saying: “Don’t talk to me. Talk to the lead agent outside”. I found the person she pointed to and that lady was an “acting” lead agent but refused to talk to me and disappeared into the crowd saying “I’m not the lead agent”. I spoke to a third employee at the gate and when I told her the baggage handlers were throwing expensive instruments outside she dismissed me saying “but hun, that’s why we make you sign the waiver”. I explained that I didn’t sign a waiver and that no waiver would excuse what was happening outside. She said to take it up with the ground crew in Omaha.”
Carroll Takes Action
Well better than taking it up with Omaha, Carroll took it up with the people of the world. He took his band’s music and the situation they were in and complained using what, should be soon, a series of videos that spoke of the guitar-breaking experience he had.
Since the first of a few videos posted on July 6, the view count continues to rise from its current count of over 3 million! From this blogpost, to many other placements in top publications, broadcast news and Twitter a-buzz with the stories and video-sharing, this band has DEFINITELY received its share of PR and publicity.
They’ve also revamped their website with their story and their video posted. Soak it up boys!
According to a report by the Chicago Sun Times, the airline, headquartered in Chicago, is saying it’s learned its lesson, thanks in no small part to Dave Carroll and his video tale of travel woe. So much so, in fact, that they want him to let them use his work as an in-house training guide for their customer service employees on how not to handle a “my bad” situation.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
Rob Bradford, managing director of customer solutions at United, called Carroll Wednesday to apologize for the foul-up and to ask if the carrier could use the video internally to help change its culture.
“It could be used to improve the way passengers are treated around the world,” Carroll said.
Carroll has also posted a “statement” based on the popularity of the video and his discussions with United. United has offered him compensation and he’s offering it to a charity of their choice (because he doesn’t want compensation – he wants FAME)… this is starting to sound like he’s abusing the power. Just my opinion. You have to give United a little break here, Carroll. They are trying.
Effect on PR/Consultants and My Recommendations
Won’t be too bad for his band’s visibility either, huh? Well Carroll’s case was just one example of citizen journalists using their voice on the web to get through the corporate runaround we sometimes get from customer service. But why is this important to us as PR professionals and consultants? This is a clear case of crisis PR but MORE than that, there are two lessons from this example.
First of all, this should not have happened in the first place. Every agent, every employee, every person in a company should be aware of a consumer’s VOICE on the internet and the power it may have. In this case, you should automatically assume they will blog about their experience, good or bad. Usually the bad gets more press than the good, but the good and the bad are all measureables that United or whichever company can be using to change their processes, change their consumer experience and change their overall presence as a product, service, etc. That doesn’t mean do whatever the customer says or you’ll get in trouble. But, it does mean that approaches to complaints and customer experiences can be handled better. My recommendation would be to assign one customer service rep to a customer. If that customer rep doesn’t have an answer for that customer, let the customer service rep do the back-end work to resolve the issue without handing them off to another person who may not fully understand the situation. There is nothing worse than an angry customer who does NOT want to tell you the story AGAIN for the 10th time.
Second of all, from a PR perspective, if you are a business in this situation, you must act fast. United must have some sort of monitoring service covering this issue. If I was United, the minute that video was posted, we would have been acting quickly to resolve the issue. It is mid-July and the video is still being discussed. Although I applaud the effort of United to request the band’s video for training their employees, another creative method would have been a video with United employees apologizing for the way his complaint and guitar was handled. I’m imagining the ground crew and the airline staff in a sing-song that is both fun, funny and apologetic. This would only turn bad PR into positive PR showing that they recognize the creativity Carroll has as well as their social media savvy business model.
Here’s a great post on the impact of monitoring and calls to action for businesses:
There are two anomalies happening in the realm of celebrities and social media. For this post, I examine the “Fact vs. Fiction” in reporting celebrity deaths/news and “The #RIPMJ Phenomenon”.
Fact vs. Fiction
It’s hard to tell these days what’s fact versus fiction. Centuries ago we depended on WOM to spread news… then came newspapers, then the 6 o’clock news and now social media. The problem with WOM was just like the game of telephone: stories skewed and the truth got lost by the third person. Newspapers and television stations had owners who wanted “certain” news spread over others and audiences began to feel “filtered”. But, social media offered us a way to get the news straight from the horse’s mouth (or at least a first-hand account).
More recently, Twitter has been serving as our source of news. In Iran, social media has been our only way to know what was happening (see here for article from the Washington Post re: State Dept asking Twitter to not shut down for maintenance due to it’s influence in Iran) while journalists were kept out. Citizen journalists took to the streets and we were given videos and Tweets that made us feel like part of the action. Twitter was a trusted and powerful news source.
But, with power comes sometimes (most always) abuse of power. And just like most of America has put their thoughts on Iran to the side to pick-up the juicy gossip of celebrity deaths, I too, will make Iran my side dish to this entree.
So let’s run down what is true and what is false in regards to celebrity gossip on Twitter:
Who DID pass away?
– Michael Jackson, RIP
– Farrah Fawcett, RIP
– Billy Mays, RIP
– Fred Travalena, RIP
– Ed McMahon, RIP
Who did NOT pass away?
– Miley Cyrus
– Rick Astley
– Jeff Goldblum
– Ellen DeGeneres
– Britney Spears
– Harrison Ford
This is a concerning trend. And social media didn’t just impact other Tweeters like you and me, it impacted news bureaus. Suddenly television stations were being “duped” left and right because they trusted what was being Tweeted to the World from unverified Joe Shmoes. I mean, from plane crashes to Iran – Twitter had a history of being an honest source of news – for the most part. It’s a shame that celebrities are having to do media tours to prove they are alive and breathing!
(see here for a hilarious video from The Colbert Report where Jeff Goldblum has to argue indeed he is NOT dead)
So what does this mean for the evolution of social media as our source for news – a source for PR pros like myself who depend on blogs, videos, podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, etc to offer audiences honest information about people, products and services? Well I can tell you it’s not good.
For starters, in order to redeem Twitter’s credibility, we will need a global movement. Once again, just like in the game of telephone, you eventually hear the truth when the source is able to tell the last person in line how badly they received the message. But, it’s every step in-between that is an integral part of sending along the message. It’s not the person on the end who is to blame; it’s a fraction of everyone in line.
So – can I point a finger at someone? Well, it’s the first person – who may not have spoken clearly or concisely. It’s the second who may have jumbled up one or two words. It’s the third for passing along a message from a second-party that may or may not have been 100% accurate. (and so on and so forth).
Now I’m not calling for a stop on all media sharing or RTs or whatever your mode of communication may be… in short, though, journalists have become lazy. Yeah, I said it. But I mean news journalists as well as citizen journalists. You, me, Barbara, Matt, etc. We all carry this bond of laziness.
So what now? I read Twitter and Mashable every day – more than I read CNN or my local paper… why? Because the language, the style and the source is more like me and therefore I enjoy reading it more than a stuffy news site. BUT – before I Tweet, Retweet, Email, Call, Text, Podcast, Blog, IM, YouTube, and SCREAM the news from my rooftop – I vow to trace at least two steps back. I may not be the third person in line of our telephone game but if we all took a few seconds to trace our news two steps back – we may find the truth in the news once again. I personally hope that my contributing to sharing news isn’t creating a massively miscommunicated jumble of jargon that leaves questions unanswered.
For further views on the recent impact of social media on celebrities feel free to check out the following sites:
Is Rick Astley Dead? Internet Hoaxes Have Fans Wondering, ABC News
Miley Cyrus Death Latest False Celebrity Death Rumor, AC
The #RIPMJ Phenomenon
Pete Cashmore wrote a great article on Mashable a few days back about Michael Jackson’s death and its influence on Twitter. I think it deserves its own category for phenomenal impact on a social media engine to date. He states:
Previously, we might have learned of a pop star’s passing via TV, or a friend or coworker: now knowledge is immediate, and mourning has become more public than private: a collective expression of loss. According to the Twitter tracking tool Twist (incidentally, Twitter appears to be straining under the weight of the tributes to the star), 22.61% of Tweets currently contain the phrase “Michael Jackson”. “MJ”, meanwhile, accounts for 9% of Tweets right now. More than 25% contain the name “Michael”. In total, at least 30% of Tweets are remarking upon the star’s tragic passing, and that’s likely an underestimate.
And thank you to TechCrunch who offer this trending topics pic from Twitter showing MJ’s influence:
Michael Jackson’s death spread like wildfire and the world was affected. Blogs popped up specifically dedicated to his memory. It was a media frenzy. I wanted to include this information to show the IMPACT that social media has on how we not only RECEIVE news but how we RESPOND to news.
I leave you with a few more statistics on MJ’s death (thank you CleanCutMedia):
- Web Usage: Jumped to 4.2 million global visitors per MINUTE. Normal is around 2 million.
- Web Search: More than 50% of top 100 searches were related to Michael Jackson
- Mobile Search: Saw the largest spike ever with 5 of 20 searches being about Michael Jackson
- Yahoo: Single day record of 16.4 million visitors
- CNN: Significantly slowed as they saw 20 million page views and saw traffic jump 5x normal levels within the first hour after the news broke.
- AIM: Went down for 40 minutes
- iTunes: 8 of the top 10 selling albums for download were from Michael Jackson, 8 of the top 10 music videos were also Michael Jackson related. 5 of the top 10 songs.
- Amazon: 10 of the top 25 albums for download were Michael Jackson.
- Amazon: For all CD sales, Jackson held 17 of the top 20 spots including all top 10 slots.
- Youtube: “Thriller Video” currently has 43.5 million views and 185,000 comments.
- Youtube: Fans are uploading videos in droves in memory of Michael Jackson
- Twitter: 5,000 tweets per minute
- Twitter: 23% of all tweets dedicated to the star.
- Twitter: 9 out of 10 popular topics were about Michael Jackson.
- Twitter: Celebrities expresses sorrows while followed by millions on Twitter.
- Facebook: Groups formed to organize vigils and celebration of Jackson
- Domains: Nearly 4,000 domain names related to Michael Jackson registered on Go Daddy within the first day
I’ve been packing for a move to San Francisco and haven’t had the opportunity to load my experiences and video from the Summit… I look forward to loading this later today so stay tuned… Fantastic time with oodles of great knowledge shared.
Check back tomorrow or later today!
I have recently become fascinated with Yahoo! Answers. I recently compared it to Twitter except a strict Q&A forum only. I started with a simple question: “What should I have for dinner tonight?” I explained that I was going to Star Trek and wanted to eat something that wouldn’t feel gross in my stomach during the movie but I didn’t particularly want something “healthy”.
Surprisingly I received answers almost immediately. One person suggested a burger while another person said “Subway!” It actually made something stressful like dinner decision-making easy and off to Subway I went.
Shortly after, I was researching for new business and decided the best method for understanding 8th graders was to just ask them, “Hey! What’s cool with 8th graders right now?” I explained that I was doing some research (to clarify I wasn’t some creep) and was wondering if it was still Jonas Brothers or something else. I had a few 8th graders respond to me with the same answers, “We aren’t into ANYTHING. We like all different things. We hate the Jonas Brothers because they are lame”. I then remembered that I didn’t want to be doing anything mainstream either when I was in 8th grade.
Then I started to think about this forum more and more as it applies to my field. PR professionals could really benefit from using Yahoo! Answers as a forum to research audiences and to find themes and big ideas. It could be a public forum for brainstorms.
I have been told that Yahoo! Answers does have Yahoo! Answers Knowledge Partners. The Knowledge Partner program is a way for organizations to share their professional knowledge with the Yahoo! Answers community. Interesting… so we’d have to partner with Yahoo! Answers in order for our clients to have an impact here? Either way, I still think it’s a great forum for research on an individual basis. But, keep in mind that it is not the SOLE research method you should use – just an additional tool that comes in handy when you need answers fast(ish).
I recently submitted a question that was less “silly” and haven’t had any answers. I think that the forums are still attractive to people who don’t have to “think” to answer a question but get the satisfaction of feeling smarter than someone else online… aka it still has some development necessary and room for improvement.
Post your Yahoo! Answers question… http://answers.yahoo.com/question/ask
Disclosure, my employer represents Yahoo! though I do not work directly for this client.
Twitter lied to me today. They claimed maintenance would be happening tomorrow at 1 pm eastern and I just received THIS troubling image:
Well, it’s only an hour… I will survive… but you do get a #FAIL from me.
This does bring up an interesting point… Where will people turn? Already Twitter is over capacity from people going to the site to see if the news is true. Will they turn to Facebook for a hug and a status update? Probably. I guess Facebook will finally receive a little more attention from audiences for at least 60 minutes. I’d love to see the page view information over the next hour at Facebook… would be interesting stuff.
Stat tracking firm, Nielsen, released a report today stating that more than 60 percent of Twitter users stopped using the free social networking site a month after joining.
“Twitter’s audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month’s users who come back the following month, is currently about 40 percent,” David Martin, Nielsen Online’s vice president of primary research, said in a statement.
“For most of the past 12 months, pre-Oprah, Twitter has languished below 30 percent retention.”
People want to be on Twitter because it has become trendy, cool, everyone else is doing it, etc… but if you don’t know HOW to use Twitter – you end up looking like a fool. For example, you may not have a bio or have Tweeted yet you expect people to follow you? No thanks… All of this hype over Twitter is flooding Twitter and slowing it down. I’m completely satisfied with the Nielsen study that people drop off – because I truly believe you should only be on it if you have a purpose and understand it fully.
When I speak to clients about engaging on Twitter, I first have to research to ensure their audience is even congregating in that space. The average Tweeter is 45-50. I think that statistic is drastically changing with the onslaught of hype over celebrities on the social engine, but I wouldn’t recommend a client engaging if their audience isn’t using the tool or because “everyone is doing it”.
I feel very passionate about my purpose on Twitter. I network, I collaborate, I learn and discover new things both in the world and in my field of PR/Social Media. Spam me on Facebook – fine… but all of you trendsters – either learn how to use it or find another mode of communication!
Here’s a funny video from last week’s Soup on E! that really grasps how out-of-hand and overly trendy Twitter has become… enjoy!
For once (and probably only once in my life) – I was into something trendy before celebrities had a chance to pick-up on it <insert pat on my back>. From Ashton and Demi to Oprah and Larry – everyone’s doing it – talk about peer pressure.
I will admit though – I am one of the over 300,000 Oprah followers (I think I got in there within the first 30,000 so I feel a little cooler than 260,000 people). And so far – so good.
I was imagining Oprah would immediately start plugging her show, magazine, book club, philanthropies, tours and the million other things she owns or has power over… Instead, I’m refreshingly impressed by her Tweets.
First of all, you can tell it’s her… I think it’s because of the initial Tweets that didn’t totally make sense or she didn’t use “@” before replying to someone. With all of the resources available to her, you’d know if it wasn’t her because they would be carefully and strategically placed Tweets.
Next, I learned something new about her… I learned that today she could pull a show if she didn’t like the final cut.
Also, she donated… in a single Tweet… $200,000 in bed nets for a NPO helping Africans battle malaria. I was really impressed with that… And others followed.
If anything, her Tweets have shown me she’s human. I would place money down that her Tweets will evolve quite a bit over the next few months but in the meantime, I enjoy reading them and I think she’s embraced Twitter well.
Good job Oprah! Follow Oprah here: http://twitter.com/oprah
Follow me here: http://twitter.com/meghanbeattie