Thursday, December 30, 2010

Weighing In On Generation Y

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Generation Y (or Millennials as they are also known) are the 18-24 year old set, up-and-coming in the work force and are being talked about all over the blogosphere. Regardless of what you label them, it seems that this generation is one both marketers and human resource experts are having the toughest time of figuring out how to sell and manage.

A recent article, 10 Things Social Media Marketers Should Know About Millennials, was featured on Written by millennial Jackie Lampugnano, the post provided a firsthand account of the 18-24 demographic in terms of their preferences, personality quirks and preferred work style.

Lampugnano presents 10 traits that marketers should keep in mind in order to understand the psychology of Generation Y.  There are a few points that I agree with such as “we love technology”, “we’re oversharers” and “we have short attention spans.”  These traits are all fundamental to figuring out what makes GenY ‘tick’ in order to find a successful medium to reach us.

For additional insight we spoke with client, President of the Human Resources consulting company K HR Solutions, author, and generational expert, Kim Huggins.  Kim agreed with many points Lampugnano’s post concerning the millennial generation and discusses many of them in her book, GENerate Performance! Unleashing the Power of a Multigenerational Workforce. The book is the quintessential guide for navigating the challenges of managing a multigenerational workplace.

“I think Jackie’s first point is one that I agree with most about the importance of getting to know each millennial on an individual level.  I tell my clients this all the time.  There is no shortcut, especially for leaders of teams, they must get to know their employees on a personal level,” said Kim. “To find out what motivates, frustrates, and ultimately gets the best results from employees in this group it is essential to put energy into getting to know them.  This can be uncomfortable for some leaders who grew up during a time when the work environment was more impersonal and people were afraid of or discouraged from talking about their life outside of work.”

“Today, employees not only want, but actually expect, their managers to know about them on a more personal level,” she continues. “That means that you have to talk to your employees about what they need and expect from you, the company, etc. – and then do something about it.”

From my own GenY point of view, Kim is spot on with her analysis of the ways generations work together in the workforce. Whether marketers are targeting us or bosses are trying to communicate with us, GenerationY seems to present new challenges and bring different characteristics to the workforce.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Working With CEOs To Eliminate Jargon, Buzzwords

Photo Credit:
Posted by Amanda Walsh

A article by Matt Wilson titled, The war on jargon: For best results, use a scalpel, not an ax, gives some helpful tips on guiding the company CEO to write more effectively and eliminate some overused buzzwords.

As we near the end of 2010, many bloggers and news makers are examining the past year as a whole. We are all looking at the biggest media gaffes from the worst "sound bites" to clichéd buzzwords that everyone is tired of hearing. 

Communicators need to act gingerly when editing and proofreading a manager's writing.  These tips can help a communicator clean up language and cut through the unnecessary jumble --doing away with clichés, overly verbose language and hackneyed business-speak like “leverage” “synergy,” etc. In the end, the outcome should be to streamline a communication piece. Good communication is like art, good communicators therefore, should become masters at crafting and molding language that resonates with the target audience.

* "Establish who the audience is and what response you seek." Once this is ironed out, a CEO is more apt to listen to suggestions

* Engage the CEO by asking, "how can we make this more effective?"

* "How will this wording get the point across? Why is this phrased the way it is?" Instead of automatically saying, this needs to be edited which may offend.

* “Use their favored phrase, and follow it up with a second one in layman’s terms” This technique is used to explain and drive the point home for readers.

* What may be considered jargon to a communicator could make sense to a specific audience.  It is important to outline what is considered jargon and to whom and how to bet effectively communicate with an audience using words they understand.

* Make sure there is a human element to all communications.

* Providing examples of clear communications from other companies and company CEOs to illustrate your point.

A valuable resource for all communicators is the book, Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Keep these tips in mind the next time you are given a piece from the CEO that is tricky to proofread.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Facebook: A Documentation Of Our Lives

Posted by Amanda Walsh

I came across this heartbreaking article today in the Washington Post, A Facebook story: A mother's joy and a family's sorrow, that got me thinking about Facebook and how it plays an integral part in many people's lives as a documented way to preserve memories.

Shana Greatman Swers, a 35-year old married consultant from the Washington DC area was accustomed to posting updates on her Facebook from her iPhone. The Washington Post article gathered some background information along with her Facebook status updates to give readers a personal peek into her life. She announced the happy news about her pregnancy through to updates about the birth of her son all on the social media platform.  After her son' birth, updates still playing out on Facebook, medical complications forced Swers back into the hospital several times and finally, an announcement of her sudden and tragic death last month appeared as a status update.

As sad as this story is, it got me thinking about Facebook and how it really is an internet-based documentary of our lives. Depending on how engaged you are with the platform, Facebook provides a 'play-by-play' of many of aspects of our daily routine including pictures or status updates about special memories or tragic moments. Many families have been known to post pictures of their children or anecdotes of the darnedest things they say to share with friends and family near and far. We are living in a time now where, as these kids grow, Facebook has become a virtual 'baby book' so to speak or a memory book for those to remember loved ones that have passed away.

Facebook documents the important, the mundane, the big days and the not-so-big days of our lives. For many in the 18-24 set or even older (if someone decides to use a scanner), the hazy moments from our college days that we wish we could erase, remember or re-do can often still be dug up in the Facebook archives. Working at Furia Rubel Communications, a PR and marketing firm specializing in legal communications, we think about the implications of social media in the legal sphere. Facebook is non-discriminating in its collection of snippets of our lives- meaning the good, the bad, or the unethical, it's all out there. For lawyers collecting evidence it can be a valuable tool.  For attorneys fresh out of law school embarking on the job search, it can become their Achilles heel.

For better or worse, Facebook has become a virtual scrapbook of our lives- documenting the happy, the sad and all the in-between. It allows us to keep in touch with friends, honor someone's memory, showcase pictures, remember a special moment or an entire era of our lives.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Science Of Blogging Tips From Dan Zarrella - Part Two

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella shared so much interesting data in his webinar the other day that I wanted to write another post highlighting a few more findings from his research. Zarrella offered insight into driving traffic to your blog and increasing visibility through Facebook and Twitter. Check out my first post about the webinar.

When should I post?
• Post in the morning, around 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. because readers tend to read blogs in the morning.
• Links to posts increase around 7 a.m. and comments are highest around 8 a.m.

How often should I post? 
• Frequency is important. Blogs that produce posts more than once of day, of course, are creating timely news-type stories and receive more traffic.

When should I tweet or put my blog post on Facebook?
• Tweeting your blog post later in the afternoon is a good idea. Retweets peak around 3 p.m.- 4 p.m.
• Facebook sharing is optimal late morning and again in the early evening.
Zarella advised posting in the morning but sharing your post on social media outlets later in the day.

What day of the week gets most blog views?
• Post blog posts on Monday because that day tends to get the most views and links, but readers tend to post comments on Saturday mornings. The same stats are true for social media sharing – the weekend is best for sharing blog posts.

• Measurement is key to determining success of social media. Google Analytics provides a lot of interesting data that will help you determine what is working and what is not working for you and your blog.

Knowing your audience will also play into when you post. Women read more posts via email; men tend to read blogs late at night and more than once a day. This information should help you determine when and how often you post. Good luck and happy blogging!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Science Of Blogging Tips From Dan Zarrella - Part One

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Last week, I tuned into “The Science of Blogging,” a free webinar hosted by Hubspot and Dan Zarrella, HubSpot's social media scientist. Zarrella presented a lot of data from surveys and research on optimizing content on your blog, Twitter and Facebook. There was so much valuable information that I have written two posts. I’ve included a few takeaways from the presentation below.

• You should have a blog. People are reading them and not just once a week, typically once a day or even more.
• Readers want to know who you are and why they should follow you.  Identify yourself authoritatively on your blog. Zarrella discovered that words like founder, expert and speaker increase your following.
• Positivity sells. This may seem like a no-brainer but obviously happy messages are shared more.

Why do you read blogs? What makes you want to read a certain blog?
• Zarrella’s findings revealed that readers wanted to learn about the insights and opinions of that specific blogger. People liked the blogger’s analysis of information and their unique point of view.
• People want to hear from you not about you.  Zarrella presented some interesting findings about Retweets (RTs) on Twitter.  He found that self-references in tweets do no increase RTs. He advised sharing useful information with your followers.

Should I post videos or pictures? 
In order to figure out what you should use on your blog, you need to assess what your goals are. These goals will dictate the type of media you produce.
• Videos are shared more on Facebook than Twitter.
• Videos get more links, but photos get more comments.

Give your readers a call to action. 
If your goal is increasing RTs on Twitter, why not ask for others to pass the information along? If you want comments, ask for them.
• Most viewed words: Insights, analysis, answers
• Most linked to words: recent, insights, on, answers
• Most commented-on words: giveaway, recruiting, gifts, job, money, comments
• Most shareable words on Facebook: “why, most, how” Zarrella explains that people want the bigger picture and also sited that news story-type headlines are effective on Facebook as well.

Lastly, content is still king.  Zarrella’s surveys not so surprisingly revealed that readers want to read good, quality content.  Excellent bloggers should foremost be excellent writers. Use correct grammar and punctuation, always. Period.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Facebook Redesign News: What Do You Think?

Posted by Amanda Walsh

It's been a full week with the new Facebook profile redesign. If you haven't heard about or noticed the changes, I put together some screenshots and links for more information.

Below is a screen capture of my new profile page. Notice at the top there is a film strip of my photos and on the left-hand side my friends are listed.

The new redesign puts your information at the top of the page including where you work, where you studied, where you live and birthday.  In addition, randomly-chosen, tagged photos have been moved to the top of the profile page as well.

When you look at a friend's profile, the share bar (below) pops up. In order to write on their wall, you need to click "Post".  This may be an extra step in the process of writing on someone's wall, but I don't find it too annoying.

I personally like the new redesign. I believe it streamlines profiles and put interesting information about a person at the very top of the page where it catches your eye. I've noticed on some blog comments that people aren't thrilled with the change. Some say that where you live and work is information that your friends should already know about you. Also, users are commenting that status updates are most important. Many don't like the random photos that come up in the filmstrip at the top.

In the past, when Facebook has made changes to design, there has inevitably been a backlash from some users. Time will tell how Facebook weathers another design change and the opinions of its millions of users.

Here are some links to learn more about the changes to the Facebook profile page.

* Sixty Minutes Broke the News on Sunday December 5. CEO Mark Zuckerberg did an on-camera interview with Lesley Stahl.
* Facebook Blog Breaks the News About the New Profile
* PCWorld gives Facebook Redesign Tour

What do you think about the new redesign?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Happy Holidays From Furia Rubel Communications!

Wishing you serenity, prosperity and abundant success today and always!

Happy holidays from the marketing, public relations and social media team at Furia Rubel Communications

Gina Rubel
Laura Powers
Leah Ludwig
Brandyn Bissinger
Amanda Walsh
Katie Noonan

Monday, December 06, 2010

Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Ratings & LinkedIn

Posted by Amanda Walsh

The other day, I came across this article on LinkedIn called, "Showcase your legal expertise on LinkedIn with Martindale- Hubbell Lawyer Rating." Written by Carlton Dyce, VP of Peer Review Ratings and Client Review Services at LexisNexis, on their recently launched lawyer ratings application on LinkedIn.

He announced a new application integrated in LinkedIn "Lawyer Ratings by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell." Now lawyers who showcase their rating on® and www.lawyers.comsm can also display their peer recognition within LinkedIn.  This application also allows clients a way to fill out a "Martindale Hubbell Client Review" on LinkedIn.  How convenient!

Instructions for how to download the application and more details about this new service on LinkedIn can be found here.