Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Elite 8: Top Tips to Get Retweeted

By: Dallas J. Short

The game’s on, but there’s work to do. The struggle is that a lot of America has been going through the past week or so. So much of our office talks involve sports and social media. I was recently reading Krista Bunskoek’s article for Wishpond “52 Methods: How to Get Your Tweets Retweeted,” but caught up in the spirit of March Madness, I figured I’d narrow it down to my Elite 8 and share them with you.

• Keep the content about you and your products to a minimum – Yes, you’re on Twitter for business purposes, and you want to market yourself. But, truth be told, your Followers don’t really care that much about you and your products. Make your Twitter content about related stuff, and cleverly add in your company content.
• Focus on engaging your customer – As above, you are tweeting to connect with your market, not talk about you. Tweet like you actually want to get to know your customers better – engage with those who Follow you.
• Create interesting, witty content – Try to tweet out interesting stuff, and if you have the skills, make it witty and likeable. If people like your Tweet, they’re going to share it.
• Think about your audience – Don’t blindly tweet stuff. Be intentional about actually wanting to interact with your followers, and other twitter users.
• Tweet with your personality – Add character to your tweets. People want to connect with people online. Include a bit of realness in your tweets by mentioning something quirky or specific you like to do.
• Use quotes – Quotes are a great way to connect with your market, and get retweeted. Include a few quotes in your weekly schedule. Use stuff that inspires, makes you happy, or makes you think.
• Keep your tweets cool – Don’t beg for a retweet, or send out spammy messages. This is huge turn off, and you won’t accomplish your goals. Like this example, of a tweeter jumping on the Oreo Royal Baby wave by begging for more followers. Ok, it might be kind of cute, but a little too obvious and spammy for most.
• Be real, and have fun!

Being retweeted is a great way to be acknowledged by others, make sure you acknowledge others as well. With the lifespan of a tweet being 18mins to 48hrs (depending on who you ask), retweets help you stay active and “alive” longer on Twitter and, ultimately, it (retweets) connects more people to each other.

I’m a big believer in personality, voice and fun (if appropriate) when it comes to engagement with social media, which is how I narrowed down the tip tourney to my Elite 8, hopefully leaving no one upset.

You can read the entire Wishpond article, full of amazing and effective tips, here: http://blog.wishpond.com/post/56542607344/52-methods-how-to-get-your-tweets-retweeted
Please be sure to follow us on the sites listed below to stay up-to-date on all of our awesome clients and events.
Twitter: @IndraPRGroup
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Website: http://www.indrapr.com

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Let the Madness Begin!

By: Dallas J. Short

March Madness is upon us. If you have not filled out a bracket, time is running out, but be warned: the person who does not watch college sports will probably win. It just happens. If you do not have an interest in the NCAA Tournament, sorry, but it almost becomes unavoidable. There is still a good chance it is the big buzz around your office or by a lot of people you know, it is especially a huge deal on social media. Expect the hashtag #MarchMadness to be trending for the next 3 weeks.

While Facebook will definitely include predictions, outbursts, and reactions – people will be on Twitter and keeping with up the action in real time. According to the research Twitter has done with DB5, “75% of sports fans on Twitter use the platform to follow their favorite teams and athletes, and 61% follow their Twitter feed and/or Tweet while watching sports on TV. Nearly half (49%) say they feel as close to the action following games on Twitter as they do watching them on TV.”

Last year, Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings found that in the US, TV broadcasts of the tournament generated 14.1M Tweets and 1.6B Tweet impressions.

Even if your team was ripped off and wasn’t selected for the tourney (Miami Hurricanes, Temple Owls), this is an exciting time in sports. The college players play with not only skill, but so much passion and heart – that it is not as easily predictable as the major professional sports. Anything can happen and there will be “madness” indeed. Duke (3) was upset last year by Mercer (14) and Twitter exploded and it actually became more tweeted about than even the Championship final. Duke is a #1 seed this year, people love to hate Duke, so let’s see how they do this year. Another story to follow is Kentucky, also a #1 seed – they went the entire season undefeated, how long will the ride last?

There are so many experts and self-presumed experts on Twitter right now, it is easy to learn more about the players, the coaches, the matchups, predictions and more. It becomes fun and addictive to stay in the know and follow along as it goes. No matter if you are using Twitter for personal or professional use during #MarchMadness, you will want to be in the know.

In 2014, Twitter users were as engaged on game days as they were on non-game days, so this a great chance for brands to be involved and jump into the conversation as well. Be prepared to be locked in until at least April 7 (Championship game is April 6), fans are watching and responding, they want a brand they feel like they are watching the tournament with, not being sold to while trying to enjoy it. Brands need to respect the intensity of the game and the fans. People tend to have deep ties to college sports and it is not just a random or forced association.

As I said in my blog for Get in the Game: Tips for Tweeting on Super Sunday, this is an opportunity for you and your brands to connect and engage on a more natural level and develop meaningful interactions and relationships. With games starting March 17 and ending on April 6, this gives you a lot more time to build and strengthen those bonds with fans, followers, and possible/future fans and followers. Do not waste any more time, jump in now.

As far as who my predictions are to win? Well, we are doing an office pool and I believe in the jinx. So, let’s talk more in a few weeks. When I’m not at work, you can be sure I’ll be tweeting along. @Meddafore If you feel like throwing your predictions out there, feel free to do so. If you think there is a better platform for #MarchMadness engagement, please let me know that too.

As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like what you read be social and share.

Free Agency & NFL Trades

By: Dallas J. Short

In case you forgot, the NFL proved this week (more so than usual), that it is indeed a business first. Veterans, starting QBs, Super Bowl Champions, no one was safe and job security was thrown out the window.

Here are a few of the dealings that caught my attention this week:

The New England Patriots decided not to pick up the $20 million second year option on cornerback Darrelle Revis, he then went and cashed in by reuniting with the New York Jets for 5 years, $70 million, with $39 million guaranteed. Revis said he was following his heart, not the money. He obviously has a heart of gold. After a bad few years, Gang Green has a reason to smile again, while Patriots Nation stick to believing in Brady and Belichick.

The Patriots’ running back Shane Vereen is out of Foxboro as well and now with the New York Giants. Vereen said joining the Giants is a “step up”, not sure how going from winning the Super Bowl to a team that did not make the playoffs is a good thing. I’m sure his new fans loved hearing it, but it just sounds ridiculous.

New Orleans Saints let Pro Bowler, tight end Jimmy Graham go and he ended up with the Seattle Seahawks. The Saints had just given him a $40 million contract a year ago. The Seahawks were already a solid team and with him now, they have got to be the favorite to head back to the Super Bowl. While some players during free agency are going to downgraded teams, this is a big win win for Jimmy and Seattle.

Two stars who have shined time and time again, but I guess once you get to that 30 club, that shines diminishes in how your team judges your worth. The San Francisco 49’ers running back Frank Gore and Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson were also released from the teams they have taken to the playoffs. This worked out well, with both former Miami Hurricanes ended up together on the Indianapolis Colts, where they are online trying to recruit other Miami Hurricanes players to come to Indy. (Currently defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who the Patriots also let go after 11 seasons, but the Pats might pick him back up.

The St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford and the Philadelphia Eagles Nick Foles swapped cities, sort of how Michael Vick and Mark Sanchez did before (Philadelphia and New York), but this seemed more intentional. It could possibly be the most pointless trade, as I predict they will both end up as third stringers, behind a draft pick QB from this year.

There were a lot of things that happened (Suh to Miami, the other Eagles moves, etc.), and they will be a lot more going on before the season starts. It has been fun watching Twitter explode (announcements and reactions from players and fans), Facebook meltdown with related memes, and Adam Schefter is putting in a crazy amount of overtime to break as many stories as possible.
I stopped buying players jerseys and almost think it could be a jinx. If you like a player too much, he’ll be gone. Loyalty lies with the fans and it is a job for the players and owners, sometimes it would be nice though if NFL teams could act like it cared a little bit more and not just know no matter who they give you or take away, you’re stuck with supporting them and spending money anyway.

Were there any deals made you that liked? How did your team make out? Is your favorite player still allowed to be your favorite player?

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

#FerrellTakesTheField and Spices Up Spring Training

By: Gina Mason

This year’s Major League Baseball Spring Training is one for the record books and one player is sure to go down in infamy for pulling off one of the most bizarre antics in baseball history. On Thursday, this player was traded to 10 different teams and played 10 different positions during five games in the span of one day. However, this was not your average professional baseball player. This type of accomplishment could only be pulled off by the man, the myth, the legend, Will Ferrell.

The comedian/actor laced up his cleats and hit the baseball field in a stunt of epic proportions to defy the odds of baseball, honor baseball legend Bert “Campy” Campaneris and most importantly, raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer.

Thanks to the brilliance of HBO and Funny or Die, Ferrell played all 10 positions (including DH) for 10 teams in the Cactus League in Arizona as part of an upcoming TV special that will air later this year. Relying on cars and “choppahs” (helicopters) to get from game to game, Ferrell managed to go 0-2 (2K) with one foul tip on offense, he also intentionally walked one batter while pitching, skillfully coached third base with awesome signs, grew an impressive beard and was traded for a Churro Dog and a D-bat Dog.

Prior to the games, Ferrell said that he felt confident going into the day and that “these teams need a clubhouse presence and my presence is a flabby 47-year-old guy that doesn’t know how to play. But I have life experience and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done,” during a pre-game(s) interview with ESPN’s Mike & Mike.
Not only did Ferrell pull off this crazy stunt, it was all documented via live-tweeting with the hashtag #FerrellTakesTheField.

Here is a recap of the day, thanks to ABC News:

“GAME ONE: Ferrell kicked off the first game by playing shortstop for the A’s. However, his time with the team was short, as he was traded to the Mariners almost immediately. “The A’s announced that Will Ferrell has been traded to the @Mariners for a CATBNL (Comedic Actor To Be Named Later). #FerrellTakesTheField,” the Mariners announced on Twitter. He played second base for the Mariners.

GAME TWO: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
As a kid, Ferrell rooted for the Angels, “before they became the L.A. Angels of Anaheim, Adjacent to L.A., Just Southern California, South, North of San Diego Angels,” he joked. He kicked off game two playing for his hometown team, taking center field in place of Mike Trout and during his time on the field, successfully fielded the ball.
Afterward, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he played first and coached third base.
Ferrell also batted, though he struck out!

GAME THREE: Cincinnati Reds at Arizona Diamondbacks
In a blockbuster trade, the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired Ferrell from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for two specialty hot dogs — a Churro dog and D-Bat dog — before playing Cincinnati.
It’s unclear if the hot dog he was later seen eating was one he was traded for.
Ferrell lined up in left field for the Diamondbacks.
Ferrell was later traded to the Reds and suddenly grew a lengthy grey beard. He played third base for Cincinnati.

GAME FOUR: San Francisco Giants at Chicago White Sox
Ferrell was on the move again later, arriving as a member of the Chicago White Sox via helicopter.
He struck out as a White Sox player and was quickly traded to the San Francisco Giants.
GAME FIVE: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres
Ferrell pitched for the Dodgers before he was traded to the Padres to become San Diego’s right fielder.”

What may seem like an extravagant ploy, the craziness of the day did not go unnoticed and was extremely successful in terms of fundraising. According to @CBSSportsMLB, Ferrell was able to raise $1 million dollars to fight cancer and he will also auction off all of the uniforms and equipment he used during the day for the cause. It seemed as though the players, fans and all involved really enjoyed the comedic relief of Ferrell’s absurdity, but not all appreciated what he was doing. Former NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden found the stunt offensive, ““That’s a lack of respect. That’s a lack of respect for the game and a [lack of] respect for what players have to do to get where they are.”

As a huge Will Ferrell and baseball fan, I loved this stunt and that fact that it raised money for a great cause. Some view the game of baseball as “boring” and I think this spiced it up a little and showed the MLB as an organization may not be so “old school” as many previously thought. While I understand how some view the stunt as “disrespectful” to the game, I think because it was raising awareness for a good cause it was totally acceptable. After all, this was Spring Training not Game 7 of the World Series. I also loved the social media updates from all of the teams involved and hope that baseball as well as all professional sports organizations can take advantage of opportunities like this to generate awareness and give back to charities that need help.

What did you think of this stunt? Did you find it funny or disrespectful?
As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read be social and share.

Getting Traffic to Your Website

By: MJ Pedone

How to get traffic to your website depends in part on your demographic, your niche and how you plan to monetize. But the main components for earning online traffic are pretty similar across the board and should include:

1. Growing a newsletter

This is, by far, the best thing you can do for your site. When you have email addresses, you can go right to the source instead of you waiting for them to find you. If you can email your readers, you will be able to encourage them to visit your site continually, building a loyal following over time. So building your newsletter list should be your number one priority. Display your sign-up form prominently on every page of your site. Offer a freebie for anyone who signs up. Collect emails like it’s your job because it should be your priority and share your amazing content with those readers on a regular basis.

2. Becoming active on social media

Don’t sign up for every social media platform out there. Instead, choose two or three channels and maximize them. Be strategic about which ones you choose; work the channels that make the most sense for your demographic.
In addition to sharing your own content, share others as well. Be generous, and use Twitter’s @mention or whatever the equivalent tag is on the channel you use so influencers notice you.
If you choose to use Facebook, expect to put some money behind your updates if you want to gain any traction as Facebook has lowered the reach on page posts in order to capitalize on advertising dollars.

3. Optimizing your content for search

The best thing you can do is optimize your headlines. Use Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends to figure out what terms people are searching for that relate to what you’re writing about and use them in your headlines. Don’t write for SEO; instead, write your content and then go back and tweak it so Google will feature you high in search results. If you do this consistently, you will see your organic search traffic increase. As that increases, more people will share your posts, more readers will sign up for your newsletter and you’ll see a high volume effect on traffic.

4. Getting back-links to your site

Building back links is an SEO tactic, but it requires its own strategy. When other websites link to your site, Google looks favorably on you and ranks you higher in search results. The bigger the publication that links to you, the more Google love you get. As an added bonus, when publications link to you, some of their visitors will hop over to your site, too.
How do you get back-links? Here are a few options:
• Write guest posts. Write them for free as long as you get a link back to the site in your bio.
• Get press. Convince other outlets to feature your story. One smart way to make this happen is by responding to HARO requests.
• Encourage organic link-backs. If you offer dynamic content and help people notice it through all the avenues written about, bloggers and publications will link to your content without you asking them. One way to encourage this is by writing a list post that features the best bloggers or resources in your niche. Because when you put someone on your list, it makes him or her look good and they will share it with the world, which will likely include a link on their blog.

When it comes to generating traffic there is a lot more you can do but if you find yourself strapped for time and money, these are great first steps to cover. Of course this all assumes you’re creating unique content that’s valuable to your readers and information people want to share with their friends. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that if you create great work, people will find it. The truth is, you have to help them find it.
If you don’t push yourself to spend time on promotion, your blog will probably rarely get read. If you do, your site will gain traction, traffic and influence over time, which will lead to all sorts of opportunities for your creative endeavors.

What have you been doing thus far to gain traffic to your website? Have you implemented any of the strategies listed above? As always, if you like what you read, be social and share.

Quick and Dirty Tips to Improve Media Outreach

By: Gina Mason

In honor of the release of Forbes’ annual billionaire list, I thought it would be appropriate to quote the world’s wealthiest man. “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” – Bill Gates

Mr. Gates knows the value in public relations and acknowledges that media attention is still one of the best tactics to get your brand/company/product out there to the masses. Yes, advertising and social media are extremely useful, but there is no better way to get your brand and message out there than receiving (free) attention in a newspaper, magazine or TV show. However, media outreach and attention can be very difficult to obtain if you don’t have an established PR pro utilizing their media relationships to get that next big media hit.

For those of you DIYers who don’t use a PR firm, here are 12 of my favorite tips from media guru, Jeff Bullas that you can employ to “establish, improve, and solidify your outreach capabilities.” (Caution: for best results leave the media outreach to the PR pros)

1. Be different. If you’re not different, there’s no reason for editors and publications to cover you.
2. Identify quirky components of your company (logo), CEO (hobby), or company culture (You don’t work on Fridays).
3. Find reporters on Twitter and use AllMyTweets to identify topics they like, dislike, etc.
4. Create Twitter lists of editors and reporters and stay informed of their interests regarding developing news and stories.
5. Set Google Alerts for key terms, so you can stay informed about stories the reporters think are important.
6. Set Alerts for names of editors and reporters too to see what they’re writing about (Share their work too!)
7. Read reporters’ articles, blogs, and tweets. Mention their work and create a greater sense of context and logic regarding the reason for initial contact.
8. You’re supplying information but editors are well aware of the benefit of news coverage. Thank them for their time and for (even) considering your input.
9. Provide multiple opportunities for contact – include work email, cell phone, business phone, Skype, Twitter handle, etc.
10. Maintain an excel sheet of sites pitched and reporter contact information. Keep notes and dates (so you don’t re-pitch!)
11. When used for a story or article, become a marketer for them. Help spread the news!
12. Send a follow-up thanks.

To read the rest of Jeff’s article “50 Surprising Tips for Getting Attention in Mass Media” and see more of his great tips, visit:
http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/08/07/50-surprising-tips-for-getting-attention-in-mass-media/#pzFHefGpuLEUKWxR.99

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

Twitter Takes Steps to Stop Bullying

By: Dallas J. Short

After complaints from the media and users, Twitter announced in December that they would be creating updates to protect the safety of their users. Twitter recognized they were not handling cyber bullying properly on their platform, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo even said the company “sucks at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years.”
Well, it looks like those updates are on the way to us all. In a brief memo from Tina Bhatnagar (@tinab), VP, User Services, she informed:
“We streamlined the process of reporting harassment on Twitter recently; now we’re making similar improvements around reporting other content issues including impersonation, self-harm and the sharing of private and confidential information. These changes will begin rolling out today and should reach all users in the coming weeks.”

So, it will now be easier to report if someone’s bothering you and if you see someone bothering someone else online. Twitter has also increased their staff so they have more people handling these reports of harassment.

“Over the last six months, in addition to the product changes, we have overhauled how we review user reports about abuse. As an example, allowing bystanders to report abuse – which can now be done for reports of private information and impersonation as well – involved not only an update to our in-product reporting process, but significant changes to our tools, processes and staffing behind the scenes. Overall, we now review five times as many user reports as we did previously, and we have tripled the size of the support team focused on handling abuse reports.”

Twitter realizes that online bullying is on the rise and are believe these new steps they are taking will allow them handle the complaints more efficiently.
“These investments in tools and people allow us to handle more reports of abuse with greater efficiency. So while we review many more reports than ever before, we’ve been able to significantly reduce the average response time to a fraction of what it was, and we see this number continuing to drop.”

Twitter is all for kicking off bullies and people who harass others. They might have let a lot of things slide for too long, but they are committed to changing that stance.
“We are also beginning to add several new enforcement actions for use against accounts that violate our rules. These new actions will not be visible to the vast majority of rule-abiding Twitter users – but they give us new options for acting against the accounts that don’t follow the rules and serve to discourage behavior that goes against our policies.”

Twitter is fun, I use it a lot. Most of the sports and entertainment world (that I care about) seems active on it. It’s more of an immediate thought conversation than other platforms. Even though their actions could have been more proactive than reactive, it is great that they are doing something and showing commitment to their users’ safety and enjoyment.

As always, I welcome all comments and if you like what you read be social and share.
(Source: Twitter)