Tag Archives: Facebook

Tweeting Trackside: Behind-the-Scenes with the Grand Prix Social Team

Picture this: an Indy Car sporting the Facebook and YouTube logos on either side, an Instagram logo on the nose and a Twitter logo center stage on the rear wing.

Behind the wheel OTTO Detroit CEO, Mark Russell, is focused on placing higher in the standings than he did at last year’s race. While his chief engineer Alex Fulbright coordinates a team of 18 Wayne State University students to help him achieve his goal.

This was kind of the set-up we had for this year’s Chevrolet Belle Isle Detroit Grand Prix social team. I was tasked with the responsibility of educating the students on social best practices, crafting a tone-of-voice, building an engagement strategy and ultimately creating content surrounding the race experience for one of the most-talked about and anticipated racing events of the year – the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

Chevrolet Belle Isle Detroit Grand Prix social team

The 2015 Chevrolet Belle Isle Detroit Grand Prix social team.

We worked hard, dodged some flying debris and had a lot of fun. Here is some behind-the-scenes action of what took place in the pits with our Grand Prix social team:

Starting the Engines
Coming into day one, the students had done a great job revving up the conversation so many of the fans, media and drivers were already tagging the @DetroitGP handle and using the #DetroitGP hashtag. So we started having conversations with them – answering their questions, telling them how great their photos looked and doing it in a fun, playful way. The fans loved it.

Detroit Grand Prix Social

Over the weekend we received numerous tweets from fans saying how much they enjoyed the @DetroitGP.

While the moderators were talking to the fans, our production crews were out capturing content. From race action to poncho pics – we wanted it all, and they got it for us. Some were posted to the channels on-site via mobile, while others made their way into the daily recap videos. The amount of content we collected was unreal and honestly, some of it never even saw the light of day.

‘Swift’ing Gears
The only way to succeed on social media is by staying relevant. That means not only knowing what’s going on with your client, but also keeping tabs on the other conversations happening on social. During our moderation we discovered that one of the Verizon Indy Car Series drivers racing in the Chevy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans was driving a car that featured by Taylor Swift (which was kind of awesome). So naturally, people needed to know about it. This content was fun and effective because it expanded our audience to include both race fans and Swift fans.

Taylor Swift Racecar

@DetroitGP posted about Tony Kanaan’s Taylor Swift car with a reference to “Shake It Off” lyrics.

Time is of the Essence
The tricky part of having so much to talk about was getting it posted while it was still relevant. We couldn’t post a photo of the TRAXXAS Truck Series winner during the final lap of the Dual in Detroit Indy Car race, so we had to be tactful and quick about getting the info out. Our solutions: Live-stream behind-the-scenes content and race action using Periscope, live-tweet content from press conferences and work closely with the Grand Prix team to communicate race updates. By the end of the weekend we also started posting most of our content via mobile to make sure the information got to our fans as quickly as possible.


With on-site attendance a bit down, due to weather, many fans looked to us for their race updates.

2015 Detroit Grand Prix

Quotes from the drivers were posted to Twitter almost before the words had finished leaving their mouths.

Rain Tires
The biggest challenge we faced over the weekend was actually the same one the drivers were facing – rain. Sure when it’s sunny and 70 the stands are packed with happy race fans, but with temperatures in the low 60s with wind and rain – people are more inclined to stay home.

Sunday’s forecast was a combination of bad weather and poor conditions. We knew coming into the day that more and more people would be looking to us for race updates and other information, but we didn’t want to stop at just relaying information about what was happening on the track – we also wanted to inspire attendance.

But how do you motivate people to leave the comforts of their warm homes to brave the rain and chill to watch a race? Show them other people having fun doing that, of course! We quickly realized the fans at the track genuinely wanted to be there, rain or shine, so that’s what we focused our content on. Umbrellas, ponchos, drenched and happy families – all of it was fair game and all of it was well-received by our followers.

Happy Grand Prix Fans

By showing photos of wet and happy fans, we hoped to inspire others to come join the fun.

Winners Circle
Overall, I think the Grand Prix social team earned a spot on the podium for their efforts. We pushed out compelling content that showcased the races, fans and the overall event experience; we had genuine one-on-one conversations with our fans in such a way that made them feel valued; and we encouraged event attendance for this year and years to come.

For you number folks out there: we clocked over 138M potential impressions across platforms, generated more than 1,000 new Twitter and Instagram followers, and managed to keep our Twitter momentum trending all three days – #DetroitGP trended in Detroit Friday/Saturday; #DualinDetroit trended in Detroit Sunday.

But, being a marketer has taught me that there’s always room for improvement. So let’s hear it, any praise, comments, critiques you have. I’m all ears.

Alex Fulbright is a digital marketing specialist at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at 313-567-5085 or fulbright@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter: @AlexandriaFul and connect on LinkedIn.

Breaking the age barrier: Reaching older generations through social media

Social media sites have a wide variety of uses for business. With a wide demographic of users, any company can reach its target audience through a good social media strategy. Photo credit: Jason Howie

Social media, once a simple tool for young people to connect with friends across long distances, has evolved over the years to become a communications tool reaching people of all ages.

A 2013 Pew Research study found that, while younger generations are still more active on social media, the number of older people who use the sites is increasing rapidly. In May 2013, 43 percent of people 65 and older were using social media compared to just 1 percent in February 2005. The study also found that nearly two-thirds of people age 50 to 64 are on social media.

As communicators, this shift in users’ demographics requires our attention. The social media team at Franco monitors trends in social media.

“Technology changes so quickly, we work closely with our clients and closely review our strategies to make sure we are reaching the most appropriate audiences on each of our accounts,” said Stephanie Angelyn Casola, account manager at Franco. “As the online audience grows, these tools stand to benefit businesses in nearly any industry. The key is finding the best approach to using them.”

An effective social media strategy incorporates messaging, not only for the traditional age range of social media users, but for all age ranges. As seniors are currently the fastest adopters of social media, they deserve increased attention when creating a plan.

Dan Horn is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5008 or horn@franco.com.


Tools a PR pro can’t live without – a Franco perspective

A PR pro’s job can be hectic and fast paced. Working in this industry, we have to learn and master many tools of the trade to do our job effectively.

In this case, my definition of a tool is anything and everything I use to get the job done, from my notepad and pen to my car and cell phone.

You might be surprised to learn that some of a PR pro’s most important tools can be found in the junk drawer at home. For example, I might use a pair of scissors to cut the hardcopy of a story about Arbor Hospice (client) out of the pages of the Detroit News and I’ll probably reach for a glue stick next to adhere the story and masthead to a piece of white paper, completing the clip. A little old-fashioned with the internet but it’s important because stories aren’t always posted on the web and not all papers have a digital edition.

Some of the more unique tools PR pros use includes media monitoring services such as News Power Online and Critical Mention. Subscribing to these services allows us Franconians to monitor TV, radio, print and digital media from across the globe for mentions of our clients. Not only do these services keep an eye on media near and far they also allow us to pinpoint, clip and download audio and video copies to save in our files or share with clients. This tool comes in handy when a client is mentioned by an out of market media outlet or a client requests a copy of a specific segment.

When I asked a few of my Franco colleagues what tools they can’t live without and this is what they had to say:

For Vice President Tina Sullivan, it’s her tasks list in Microsoft Outlook. “My schedule is constantly changing and having a dynamic task list allows me to move dates and tasks around as often as necessary. Being able to update on the fly keeps me on top of my everyday to-do’s.”

Account Executive Andrea Kenski relies on her iPhone and the Evernote app to help stay organized. “This free app has saved my life when it comes to remembering things, but what I like most is that it saves documents, ideas and images across my electronic devices, including my iPhone, iPad and computer.”

There are still more tools vital to the completion of our day-to-day tasks, such as a rolodex (I know, it’s old fashioned), dictionary and thesaurus, email and even Facebook and Twitter for monitoring current trends and connecting with audiences. But a PR pro’s most important tool comes from within. Creativity is what drives progress and innovation in our line of work. By opening our minds to new ideas and opportunities, we are able to develop and implement strategies that break the mold.

On a side note, I thought this discussion warranted an honorable mention for the office coffee maker. Many of us would be lost without our morning cup of Joe.

What are some tools that you couldn’t live without?

Dan Stocking is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5094 or stocking@franco.com. Follow him on Twitter @danielstocking.

Cyber Shot is a reminder of how much we’ve evolved

I received a cyber flash-from-the-past a few months back via a former colleague who posted a photo on Facebook from one of my earliest jobs in public relations. There was a fresh-faced me among my PR Associates co-workers atop downtown Detroit’s Penobscot Building in a promotional image that would accompany an article touting our firm’s strengths to the business community.
A lot of memories flooded back with that mid-‘80s photo.  The friendships I still cherish with a few in the group and the loss I still feel from the passing of others. I thought of the projects that allowed me to apply my newly acquired PR skills and the seasoned practitioners in that shot who kindly nurtured my professional growth.

Much has changed since then. PR Associates blended into Franco’s DNA in 2002 when Franco acquired the agency to proudly roll on as Michigan’s oldest independent PR firm. In fact, we’ll be celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2014!

The profession and we as practitioners have also changed dramatically.  I took a lot of good natured ribbing in sharing that photo with my young Franco colleagues.  We laughed at the fact that they weren’t even a glimmer in their father’s eye when I stood on top of that building.  (Well, it was mostly them laughing.) We also laughed at my conservative skirt suit and pearls – must haves for any budding professional in those days.

There’s a casualness in today’s workplace, most notably reflected in the informal wardrobe choices of the youngest professionals.  Buttoned up business attire is now donned only for the most important of meetings and events.  And those of us who once dressed to impress everyday have happily embraced this more comfortable dressed down fashion trend.

But this casualness does not reflect a lesser commitment or competency among today’s employees compared to those of us with roots in a more “formal” era.

Like all professions, the Internet boom and the ever- increasing reliance on communication via social media has transformed the practice of public relations. The proliferation of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and dozens of other social media outlets, combined with 24/7 network and cable news, means the response to events large or small the world over can be immediate and relentless.

For those of us in PR, the more controlled, two-way communication between a company and its various publics has long been replaced with commentary occurring in all directions at warped speed.  It’s a phenomenon that would overwhelm yesteryear’s more formal approach to public relations. But the younger practitioners entering the field have transformed the profession.

Their flexibility and spontaneity have infiltrated our work . . . all for the better. Their familiarity and fearless use of all the electronic gadgets that are the new tools of our trade challenge those of us who’ve been at PR for a while to up our game.

And that’s a good thing, if YKWIM.

Pat Adanti-Joy, APR, is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group.  You can reach her at 313-567-5046 or joy@franco.com

Four reasons to combine media relations and social media

Combining your social and media relations teams saves time and budget. Photo: Flickr via Guy Kawasaki.

In a world where breaking news is most often spotted first on social media before it’s blasted over the airwaves, it is essential to blend your social media and media relations strategies. Just look at the news of Whitney Huston’s death, which broke on Twitter 47 minutes before it was reported in traditional media.

But even in the non-celebrity world, a blend of traditional and social media relations is key to achieving success in both arenas. Here are four reasons why:

Combining your social and media relations teams saves time and budget. When you have individuals from different organizations working on media relations and social media (whether it’s two agencies or an agency and an internal team member), there is often a disconnect. One team can be held up waiting for another team to share content for repurposing or posting. Content creation and maintenance are expedited when PR and social media are handled by the same team. Not to mention, you then have one point of contact for both traditional and social media inquiries.

It’s important to have a common voice. The voice of your company should be consistent across all platforms. Whether it’s a news release or a tweet, the tone and strategy need to be aligned. Most companies have (or at least should have) a social media policy that outlines what can and cannot be shared online; which is often similar to what is allowed to be shared with traditional media.

It’s where your stakeholders look for answers during a crisis. Social media plays a huge role in crisis communications today. Companies must respond immediately in a crisis, and vague media statements don’t always cut it.  When a crisis hits, consumers will turn to social media for answers and your company needs to be able to provide them. Carnival Cruise Lines received much criticism for its decision to “take a break” from posting on its social media pages during the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia in Italy. Unfortunately, you cannot turn off social media. The company received angry comments, complaints and inquiries and is still working to rebuild its reputation.

Social media helps build media relationships. After working with a new reporter on a story, one of the first things I do is follow them on Twitter from both my personal and my client/brand’s account. Doing so helps keep you and your client top of mind, and also invites the reporter to opt-in to updates that might be of interest for future stories. Many reporters spend more time Tweeting or on Facebook than they do on their email, which is usually overloaded.

Angela Hernandez is an account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5008 or hernandez@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AngelaHernandez.

“We’re gonna need you to come in on Saturday, and give us your Facebook password.”

As you prep for a job interview, I’m sure a flurry of questions runs through your head – “Am I wearing the right clothes?” “How many other candidates have applied for this position?” “Do I have sufficient experience?” “I wonder what their work environment is like.” But I’m sure you’d never expect to hear your interviewer utter these invading words: “Can you please give me your Facebook login information? I’d like to check out your profile.”

This recent interview trend, as reported by the Associated Press last week, has many people wondering how far is too far. Not only does this practice invade a job candidate’s privacy, but their friends are then subjected to unsolicited profile views, as well.

In response to the recent exposé, Facebook issued a statement Friday expressing serious concern for its users’ privacy and have now made it a violation of the company’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.

So what if you were faced with that situation? Is it just a way for employers to make sure potential employees will represent their brand in a positive manner or is it an excuse to invade one’s privacy?

Genna Young is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5014 or young@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter at @GennaYoung.

The privacy debate: Keeping your audience in mind when posting online

Be careful what you post if you’re connected with co-workers, clients or employers on social media. Photo credit: Microsoft Office Images

Social media can feel like your own personal paparazzi is splashing your name across web pages and into the hands of well, quite literally, everyone and your mother.  Even if you don’t use social media for business, the warning to clean up your online image and avoid potential scandal has become constant, often directed at college-age students and budding professionals.

What was once considered a personal site filled with 700 of your closest friends, certainly won’t damage your chances of being taken seriously in the job market, right? This, of course, is the great debate. Should sites like Facebook and Twitter be limited by the buttoned up realm of the professional world?

Well, no, not exactly. The sites are personal yet, the world can see them. With our increasingly public lives, lines need to be drawn to keep the balance. Potential employers or clients can walk into our lives with a simple Google search. So instead of letting everyone in on the intimate details of your social life, give them a little taste of your personality but keep it classy.

How much can be revealed? How much is too much? Some sites, like Linkedin, have clear a purpose. It’s strictly a business zone reserved for creating and honing your professional networks.

Facebook profiles can be much more personal. So, if you don’t want people peeping through the windows of your personal life, close the curtains. Use the privacy settings and stop friending everyone you meet.  Or, post as you like, but amp up the security settings and zero in on your audience. Just remember your grandma is probably on Facebook and if she’s not, then someone else’s grandmother is.

Twitter is quite another beast. It’s an open space decorated by you. Sort of like the front porch to your social media house. It’s okay to pin up personal décor but try and keep a positive image for your followers. While you can limit who follows you, everyone can see your tweets.

If you’re willing to sacrifice sharing the latest Vegas vacation pics and keep your online image strictly professional, good for you. But, if you want to make it a personal space to share your life, just remember to keep your posts appropriate for your audience.  Be careful what you post if you’re connected with co-workers, clients or employers on social media. Utilize advanced security and list building settings and keep up with changing privacy policies, check out this article on Facebook privacy concerns.

Really, how you portray yourself online is up to you but once Google finds you, there’s no turning back. So if you think posting something could potentially damage your hard-earned reputation, think twice and don’t post it. Show your best side on social media and remember, all eyes are on you.

Amanda MacCormick is a PR Coordinator at Franco Public Relations Group. She can be reached at maccormick@franco.com or connect with her on Twitter @AmandaMickMac, Connect with Franco PR Group on Facebook and Twitter@FrancoPRGroup.