Sword and the Script

Internal Communications Lessons from a PayPal Fiasco



by Frank Strong

paypal communications fiascoGood initiative, bad judgment.

That’s how I’d characterize PayPal President David Marcus’ message to PayPal employees leaked to VentureBeat.  His note can be summarized by his final paragraph as posted by the same publication:

In closing, if you are one of the folks who refused to install the PayPal app or if you can’t remember your PayPal password, do yourself a favor, go find something that will connect with your heart and mind elsewhere. A life devoid of purpose, and passion in what you do everyday is a waste of the precious time you have on this earth to make it better. [emphasis added]

“You” — not “we” or “us” — but you.  You people.  You are not like me.  I am better.  The language is alienating and likely for a group larger than the intended audience.

Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly.  Read More…

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5 Advanced Tips from a Facebook Advertising Playbook



by Frank Strong
facebook advertisingSince I’ve recently ranted against Facebook’s push for advertising, I thought I’d turn it around and take a fair look at effective advertising strategies. I downloaded white paper pitched by Marin Software titled The Definitive Facebook Advertising Playbook and found it to contain pragmatic advice for Facebook advertisers.

The paper outlines what the software vendor sees as four key advertising trends:

  1. Facebook’s news stream functions like native advertising
  2. User are increasingly accessing Facebook on mobile devices
  3. Social commerceengaged Facebook fans are more likely to purchase
  4. Rotating the creative aspects of an ad avoids user fatigue Read More…
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Helpful Tools: PR Salary Surveys and Calculating Your Worth



by Frank Strong

Infographic PR Salary

Generalized PR salaries according to PayScale which has an online tool to develop a custom report unique to your skills, experience, location and industry.

Every few months it seems a study is published demonstrating PR is among the most stressful jobs.  Stressful?  Sometimes, but then PR isn’t a profession, it’s a lifestyle.  According to a news piece on Ragan.com:

For the third straight year, public relations has landed on CareerCast’s annual list of the most-stressful jobs in America. For 2013,public relations manager is No. 5 on the list, inching up two spots from last year.

What is that stress worth?  According to the same report:

The media salary listed for PR manager is $57,550, which is a marked decline from last year’s $91,810. (However, it was PR executive, not manager, that made the list.) Read More…

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Personal Injury Lawyer Schools Marketers on Viral Marketing



by Frank Strong

viral marketing

Every marketer wants to go “viral” – the enduring mission to be the next Old Spice, the next Dollar Shave Club, or Oreo.  Oreo in particular is especially compelling because it segues to disruptive thinking, lawyers and the notion of viral marketing.

Most marketers wouldn’t look to a law firm for a lesson on virility. In fact, by my observation, the legal industry is mostly struggling today with digital marketing arguments the marketing industry had five or more years ago such as:

  • Are blogs social media?
  • When is the best time to tweet?
  • What is content marketing?
  • How do I use data and analytics?

In a session at LegalTech, a major industry trade show for lawyers and technology, Luke Williams a professor at NYU Stern, gave a key note speech on how to provoke disruptive thinking. The thesis? Read More…

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Social Media Gurus and the Foolhardy Trend to Bash SEO



by Frank Strong

Bash SEO

Some time ago, I chatted up an alleged communications and social media proponent on Twitter, in an effort to, well, start a “relationship.” This person remarked despite the growth of the network, they just couldn’t “get into Google+” – to which I responded, well, it’s important for search.

In the context at that moment, the response came back rather sharp in tone.  This person didn’t use social media for SEO, they used it for relationships. The irony of that statement notwithstanding, the response was seeping with an implication and indictment that was far broader than just Google+:  SEO is a dirty term; only gamers think about SEO.

What bothered me the most about that “conversation” was it underscored a lack of understanding of just how important search is to anyone interested in relationship building. If we, or our content, cannot be found then just who are we building relationships with? Read More…

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Infographic: Millennials and Social Commerce



by Frank Strong

social commerce

The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is out with their latest social media report.  Though I’ve followed this series regularly, I haven’t read the full report yet, but spent some time perusing the highlights as presented in this infographic. I’m struck by the inverse relationship between some fans and followers on some social networks and the influence on purchasing.

For example, 62% of millennials follow brands on Facebook, but only 38% say they’ve made a purchase after liking a post.  Contrast that with just 11% of millennials on Pinterest, but 47% say they have made a purchase.  Is Pinterest comprised of early adopters more likely to make a purchase?  Does the visual nature of what some have called a “visual search engine” have a greater influence on purchase decisions?  Are people becoming immune to ads on Facebook? Read More…

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Off Script #6: Ignite’s Jim Tobin: Fans as a Metric are Fool’s Gold



by Frank Strong

Jim Tobin Twitter
Jim Tobin of Ignite Social Media recently made headlines with this post about Facebook: Facebook Brand Pages Suffer 44% Decline in Reach Since December 1.

With offices near Raleigh, NC and Detroit, MI, Jim’s company manages social media marketing for a range of large brands.  This provides the firm with unique insights into the results large corporations are finding in the social space.  His commentary certainly has credibility:

Ignite analysts reviewed 689 posts across 21 brand pages (all of significant size, across a variety of industries) and found that, in the week since December 1, organic reach and organic reach percentage have each declined by 44% on average, with some pages seeing declines as high as 88%. Only one page in the analysis had improved reach, which came in at 5.6%.

I’d jokingly point out that Jim may be partly to blame for coining the idea that Social Media is a Cocktail Party, as it’s the title of his first book co-authored with Lisa Braziel.  Last year he published his second book:  Earn It. Don’t Buy It.

While I’d have to confess I haven’t read either of his books, I do read his blog regularly and his other writing on the web.  After reading one of his posts that was referenced by the Triangle Business Journal, I asked him if he’d be interested in answering some questions for this Off Script series and he agreed.   Read More…

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The Soft and Subtle PR Pitch of Content Marketing



by Frank Strong

content-marketing-PR

He just started writing reporters one day.  It was a time before blog comments, and tweets, and Facebook updates; he sent his thoughts by email.

It wasn’t a pitch.  It wasn’t a call to action.  It was a note.  Just a conversation – a comment on an article he read.  He offered perspective – his own – but it was all done without an ask.

It took a while, but then he started to get a lot of press coverage. Instead of leading with his credentials, or his story, his emails offered the viewpoint of a person engaged in the daily activities of his industry.  He became a source. And reporters started asking him for his opinions.

This story is my recollection of one chapter in The Cluetrain Manifesto, a book I often reference in posts on this site. One of the authors, Doc Searls, is still quite active on the web from his vantage point at Harvard. Read More…

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Minus Like: Facebook Feature Reportedly Cuts off Thumbs



by Frank Strong

facebook brand text status
Did you see the guest post from Mark Zuckerberg on this blog earlier this month?  It was essentially
Facebook’s open letter to small business.

It was a fun guest post (haven’t seen any alerts in GWMT yet either) and it gave me some contacts I might not otherwise have had. After reading Chris Penn’s post, Facebook wants you to post more pictures of kittens, I reached out to those contacts for the scoop.

First, the facts as Chris says:

Facebook announced yesterday that they’re applying a News Feed algorithm change that will penalize text-only updates from Pages. Brands, companies, personalities, bands, musicians, politicians, and anyone else who uses Facebook Pages will now have their text-only updates seen less in the News Feed.

That’s write, Facebook is saying words do not matter, so my sources tell me it’s introducing a new feature: the minus like.

Without a thumb, it might be hard to grasp the notion of a minus like Read More…

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The Long Road to Content Shock



by Frank Strong

TopRank's Content Marketing Maturity Model

TopRank’s Content Marketing Maturity Model

Have we reached the limits of content marketing?  Is the birth of a trend just now starting to hit the mainstream destined to crash?

Mark Schaefer calls it “content shock,” which comes with an eloquent explanation that boils down to this:

This intersection of finite content consumption and rising content availability will create a tremor I call The Content Shock. In a situation where content supply is exponentially exploding while content demand is flat, we would predict that individuals, companies, and brands would have to “pay” consumers more and more just to get them to see the same amount of content. Read More…

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