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Social Media Legal Matters and Copyright Questions Answered

We can all agree that Social Media channels are among the most informal spaces for users and marketers. With that comes a much more relaxed attitude about certain things, including Copyright, Trademarks, and other legalities. We often receive questions from clients regarding these topics and so we decided to lay it out on our blog.

Often times clients confuse what’s OK for individual users to post on Social and what’s LEGAL for business to post.

There really is no right answer, and we are not lawyers, but we can offer up some best practices and rules of thumb to help keep you on the safer side. Any look on Google for “answers” (because well it’s 2017 :P), most “answers” you see are very confusing and far more complex and in-depth than most marketers and business owners expect or would like. Here are the top three concerns we often talk about with clients:

  1. Trademarking Logos
  2. Stock photos
  3. Music

Trademark

Trademark laws typically cover anything that might be used to identify a company, so of course, most logos are created entirely for this reason, which means logos are generally protected under Trademark Laws. You might ask why larger companies don’t use the TM or R symbols across their platforms and the answer is simple, a large company known by millions is not going to have as many people trying to steal their logo or use their logo in an inappropriate way. For much smaller companies that may not be the case which is why our research leads us to one thing: be proactive, adding the TM or R symbol to your logo is a great way to help prevent others from using your logo.

Photos

“If it’s on the internet it’s fair game.” We hear this a lot. While in many cases using images you don’t own on Facebook is common, given credit to the owner of the image is always recommended. Anytime you are using someone else’s image you are using property that THEY own, not you. However, DO NOT, in any case, use any image you don’t own on a business website. Even with giving the owner credit, this could get you in big trouble. Be sure to purchase or get written consent before publishing images on your website. The biggest distinction is to think of it this way: if you’re using someone’s creative property to sell or make money (whether in an ad or on your website (a place of business), and the person can sue you. Unless there is a Creative Commons License stamped on the image, it is royalty-free, or you have paid for a stock image, you do not have rights to those images.

If asking for permission or buying the image is not an option, there are plenty of great FREE stock photo websites.  One royalty free website we can confidently recommend is Unsplash. Facebook also has a massive stock library of photos free for you to use if you are advertising on their platform. *OR* be original and create your own custom images. It’s the best way to 100% avoid any issues with Copyright laws and is the best way to personalize your brand!

Music

Another common concern we hear about is using or creating videos with music. Facebook is going to much greater lengths to control what videos are put out on Facebook and many of you have probably run into this in the past with YouTube already. If you try to create a Facebook Live video and Facebook bots hear copyrighted music they will stop your video immediately.

Just like images you use on your pages, you must have rights to the music you use. Ways to avoid running into an issue like this would be by getting your music through websites such as https://audiojungle.net/ or the YouTube music library if you’re on YouTube. It might not be as great as your favorite Beyoncé single but in the long term, it can prevent any potential lawsuits.

While this topic is complex and ever-evolving, we believe some of the best practices we listed above will help you to steer clear of any legal troubles you could come across. Knowledge is power, here is a link from the government to learn more about copyright and copyright laws. If you have further questions about topics we didn’t cover in this blog, just reach out to us!

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How to Perfect Your Media Pitch

If you’re in the public relations field, then chances are you’ve had to do a media pitch. Since reporters e-mail inbox is full of media pitches you want yours to stand out. Here are a few ways to make sure your story gets noticed:

Keep it short and sweet. Journalist and editors are constantly getting a new media pitch in their inbox. Chances are they won’t read your pitch if it’s too lengthy.

Get personal. If you have met this person then remind them. If they know you well then ask them a pertinent question (How is your wife Jane? Is your son enjoying soccer?). Briefly bring up previous and relevant work they have done.

Don’t send out a mass pitch. Make sure each media pitch is unique to the individual. Also, a personal touch makes a difference.

Be appreciative. In order to build a relationship with these people show your appreciation of their time. YOU NEED THEM!

Be persuasive. In addition to building a relationship, you want your story covered. Be clear and know your story. Give them something they can’t say no to.

Hook ’em! Grab their attention with an interesting hook or curiosity arousing line.

First paragraph. In 3 to 4 sentences get to the point. Tell them the what and why. This is where you explain the benefit of this person covering this story.

Second paragraph. Here’s your chance to give background information on the organization you’re representing and their coverage worthy event or product.

End with a call to action. You are responsible for following up with them. Instead of asking them to “let you know,” tell them when you will get in touch with them. In the meantime, provide them with all materials and links they may need if they are interested.

The real key to perfecting your pitch is to practice. By following these guidelines you can ensure your media pitches are checking all the necessary boxes. Always know your story and stand behind it. Happy pitching!

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Social Media Impacts Your Company’s Brand

Nowadays, it’s incredibly common for people to check out an organization’s Facebook page before buying its product or service. As we know, first impressions are crucial even on the web! The messages an organization frames on social media can receive heavy traffic so they must accurately portray it.

Branding in the Age of Social Media

Facebook has become a mecca for updating where you are and what you are doing there. You might discover a new restaurant when your friends tag themselves there for a romantic dinner. You may learn of a new place for your kids to play when a fellow mom posts pictures of her kids having fun there. Now more than ever, we have access to information on organizations.

We want to go to a company’s Facebook page to find out more about it. We can read reviews, see images, and find links to its website.There is this increased desire to share our experiences, good or bad, with each other. People can get passionate about their like or dislike for a brand. With the help of social media people can share those strong feelings. An online review and rating can make or break a person’s decision about a brand.

So does this make branding easier or harder?

The answer is not so simple. The ability to build brand awareness may be more achievable. However, it is challenging and time consuming to maintain relationships with the public. Studies done by the Pew Research Center say that 69% of Americans use social media.  These numbers continue to climb. According to a survey by Cone Communications, 93% of those people expect companies to have a social media presence. 

This doesn’t just mean Facebook. It includes all of the main social mediums, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

It’s not as simple as having a social media presence. The goal is to use each form of social media in the best ways to frame effective messages that reach consumers. There is a science behind when and what to post. It’s usually connected to an overall larger communication plan that is carefully crafted based on research. Social media also provides an opportunity to connect with the public in a personal way and respond to customer complaints.

This is why it is crucial for an organization to have a social media expert on it’s PR team to represent the brand.

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Local SEO Service and It’s Integration with Public Relations

If you have been in the world of PR for the past few years, you know how drastically it has changed. There are fewer journalist on the payroll and much of the writing is done by folks in content marketing and not those in public relations.

Clients are asking for more content writing and are expecting more results from PR and media efforts.

The explosion of the age of technology has made it critical for public relations specialist to have the desire and ability to incorporate the tools utilized online (think productivity trackers), content marketing, and social media into PR strategy. Not only are these new strategies working to advance sales, produce leads, and grow brands, they do so with trackable results! This is a breath of fresh air to the PR managers of the past who had trouble identifying where their ROI (return-on-investment) was coming from.

Become part of the media.

If you want the media to work for your branding efforts, you must become part of the media. Invest in high-quality content. Great content spreads like wildfire online. You draw the attention of clients, other companies, and huge publishers that want to share your content, therefore sharing your message. Hire professionals to write content for you.

Take advantage of Google tools to optimize SEO content to earn your placement online.

While PR projects may utilize offline publications and they certainly have their place, they must join efforts with marketing and ensure everyone is pursuing the same goal.

Publishers are marketing their work.

In recent years, publishers have taken to marketing their work.

Why is this? There are several reasons.

The competition for writers has gotten thick in the past few years. With more people freelancing and more professionals using their work, there is a surplus of good content. In order to get your content seen, you must market it. There are companies that specialize in providing content. There is no reason not to have good quality material.

How are public relations specialist integrating social media and content marketing?

As PR pros are reaching out to marketing, they have incorporated a lot of tools that are allowing them to merge public relations, social media, and content marketing. Here are a few examples:

  • Growing networks on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, and YouTube.
  • Creating and participating in forums that help promote their brand and allow them to converse with their target base.
  • Creating social ads. Ads on Social Media are big business. PR has a lot of control over where their social ads pop up. People spend a lot of time online. There are thousands of websites, willing to place your ad for you.
  • Investing in social content and incorporating social listening. PR pros agree, in today’s market one must create content that grows their brand, get it to the right social sites to have it seen, and respond to customers who take their time to comment. If a customer praises your brand online, thank them, If a customer is having a problem, resolve it. Pay attention to social conversation and react as needed.

These are just a few tips for today’s integrated PR pros. Don’t hesitate to contact your marketing experts any time for more information!

 

Author Bio

Wendy Dessler

Title: Super-Connector at OutreachMama

Wendy is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Towering SEO who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition. You can contact her on Twitter.

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Optimizing your Social Media Presence

Effective use of social media is a necessity in today’s business landscape. All forms of social media provide opportunities to get in touch with customers in a quick and relatively inexpensive way. Jayson DeMers recently wrote about optimizing social media profiles for Forbes. In this post, we’re going to share some of his tips, as well as our own, to help get your social media presence on Facebook into tip-top shape.

Visuals
The cover photo is the perfect place to get creative and to express the essence of your business. For example, restaurants might want to choose a picture that features a signature or popular dish. It is also important to consider that mobile devices account for 65 percent of all digital screen time. Therefore, be sure that your cover photo will format well on computers, 828 x 315 pixels, as well as smartphones, 640 x 360 pixels.

Information
Customers will often seek out information about a business on social media before using any other avenue. Use the ‘About’ section of Facebook to your advantage by providing as much information as possible in a clear and concise manner. Include any external website addresses as well as hours of operation and physical location. In regards to content, don’t just share products or services. Add value by sharing articles, videos and photos that relate to your business and its lifestyle.

Interaction
Creating an online presence for your business does not have to be time-consuming. Set aside a certain amount of time each day or week to respond to inquiries and schedule posts. Interact with your followers by sharing behind the scenes information and company news with them. Respond to comments and questions with an upbeat and friendly tone and re-post positive reviews from satisfied customers. In order to encourage more interaction from your followers, consider running a social media contest or creating a unique, business related hashtag.

Remember, it is worse to have an inactive social presence than none at all! Starting with these tips should put your business on the right track. Feel free to reach out to us on social media for guidance or help getting started.

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Geo-filtering Between the Lines

Social media has changed the way we communicate with everyone from Grandma Marie to little cousin Kaylie. From Facebook to Pinterest to Instagram, we’re on it all. But what about Snapchat? Who uses it and what’s a geo-filter? We’ll break it down for you.

Snapchat is a messaging app that’s all about posting photos and videos. It’s THE network right now. Over 70% of Millennials use Snapchat and the figure only continues to grow. One of the defining features of Snapchat are its geo-filters. “What’s a geo-filter,” you ask? It’s a special filter that provides a location (city, business or event) on top of your photo. But did you know that you can create your own filter?

Here’s how to make your own Snapchat filter, according to their website:

  1. Visit geofilters.snapchat.com to download your 1080 x 1920 Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop template. Create a design and/or logo to incorporate into your filter and drop it into the template. The design must adhere to Snapchat’s guidelines and fit into the template. Snapchat offers two types of filters – business (for businesses and brands) and personal (ex: weddings or graduations).
  2. Set dates and times for your geo-filter to go live. Filters can only be scheduled on an hourly basis (and remember to check your am’s and pm’s!). The geo-filter can be live for a max of 30 days.
  3. Draw a fence around where you’d like the geo-filter to be visible – you can cover anywhere from 20,000 square feet (minimum) to 5 million square feet (maximum). Keep in mind that the longer your geo-filter is up or the larger the area it covers, the higher the cost may be. Visit Snapchat for more information on pricing details.
  4. Check-out: verify order details and enter credit card info before submitting the order.
  5. Snap away!

Now that your geo-filter is up, you want to take a peek at the analytics. How do you do that? Visit geofilters.snapchat.com and click on your username in the upper right-hand corner, selecting, “My Orders” from the dropdown menu. The analytics (aka metrics) will appear below. The metrics are usually available about 24 hours after the geo-filter has ended. A delay with the metrics listed is possible.

This short video explains the submission process, as well.

Happy Snapping!

Sources:

Snapchat.com

http://www.firebrandgroup.com/snapchat-geofilters-definitive-guide/

http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/snapchat-statistics/

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Let’s talk about the ‘gram

Over the past couple weeks, Instagram has made some major announcements.  We break down what’s going on with the ‘gram below.

instagram logo

First off, let’s talk about the new update, which was announced last week.  One of the most noticeable changes is the logo. The signature camera & rainbow remain in the app’s new flat-design logo. The company’s other apps (Boomerang, Layout, and Hyperlapse) also underwent logo re-designs.  The app also received a re-design, from the brand’s classic blue and white combo to a muted black and white.  This new re-design reflects Instagram’s idea to let the photos really shine through.  The outcry across the Internet has been mixed, with many preferring the old logo – many people either love it or hate it.  Just this week, Forbes shared some designers’ interpretations of a logo re-design.  On the flipside, Instagram recently shared users’ interpretations of the new logo.

Photo via @paulodevalle

Instagram made the following statement on its blog last week:

The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more – a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.

The ‘gram faced similar backlash when the algorithm change was announced a few months ago.  Those changes have yet to go into effect.

This past week, Instagram also made an announcement that many business owners and brand managers are happy to hear about – the company has announced that it is testing analytics offerings.  In addition to maps and contact info, some of the offerings include:

  • Demographics
  • Impressions
  • Reach

Many social media managers (including all of us at Social Drive) have been patiently waiting for this update.  Recent updates — especially view-counts and 60-second video — have been beneficial to brand marketers.  Instagram has not divulged how much of its user base is testing the new business tools but has stated that it is “testing new business tools coming to Instagram in a few months.”  These new updates mirror those of Facebook’s brand pages.  As for additional changes, we’ll see what the future holds.  The one change we’re patiently waiting for:  in-app or desktop scheduling for brands.  Are you listening, Instagram?

For more info on all the recent updates, visit Forbes, TechCrunch & Entrepreneur.

Welcome Diana Rodrigues to the Social Drive Team!

Diana RodriguesDiana joined us in December of 2015 and has been a great addition to the Social Drive team.  Diana brings with her experience in the social media marketing world.  She enjoys following social media influencers, like Gary V and Carlos Gil, and integrating their thoughts and ideas into her daily routine. She is always curious to learn more about social media and be the best marketer she can be. She is a recent graduate of Suffolk University, where she studied marketing and international business. As a junior, she studied abroad in Rome, Italy at John Cabot, where her passion for travel truly blossomed. These days, you will find her tweeting, Instagramming and blogging her way through her latest and greatest adventures.

Diana is an avid live-poster and loves to share events in real-time. If you can’t attend an event, she feels you should be able to experience it through social media. Diana also loves to follow brands on social media and always says, “People are behind the brand – Make it fun, interesting,  and most of all, personable. You’re talking to another person, not a robot.”

Her interests include:

  • Event marketing and management;
  • Live-posting;
  • Brand management; and
  • Personal branding

Diana is also an active member of the local Portuguese-American community, volunteering her expertise in social media marketing toward preserving and promoting culture. She works with many organizations, including the International Portuguese Music Awards, the Boston Portuguese Festival and the Young Portuguese Americans organization, based in the Bay Area of  California.

Connect with Diana on Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat at @diana_rdrgs or about.me/diana_rdrgs. Welcome to the Social Drive Team!