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New Updates in the Digital and Social Media World That Will Make You Sound Smart

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This week there were some product announcements that sound pretty dull. New branded content tools and verified domains – Wooo! They really are interesting though, especially if you rewrite the headlines. “Branded Content Tools” becomes, “Many Influencers are Lawbreakers” and Instagram is Helping them Become Law Abiding.” We won’t tell you to “READ MORE NOW!” because data analysis tells us urgency doesn’t convert, but we’ll give you the satisfaction of sounding smarter to your colleagues when you’ve skimmed our summaries of what’s happening this week in the world of digital and social media.

Instagram

Instagram: Branded Content Tools on Instagram
Many influencers and brands are breaking the law, and Instagram’s new feature makes obeying the law easier. By law, influencers have to disclose paid partnerships or promotions. Something many are failing to do according to the FTC. Instagram’s new feature makes it easier to clearly display promoted or partner posts. Read more after the jump…

The Biggest PR Disasters of 2017 – Part 1

As 2017 comes to a close, we take time to reflect on the year’s biggest PR disasters:

United_Airlines_Logo.svgUNITED AIRLINES … The only good news for United Airlines is that its string of PR disasters occurred early in the year when they could be overshadowed by newer debacles over time. But what a year it was. The airline took the worst hit when it literally dragged a passenger off an overbooked plane, breaking his nose and knocking out teeth in the process. While that incident took the lion’s share of the headlines, the airline also managed to make additional waves when it banned two girls from flying because they were wearing leggings and forced a mom to hold a toddler in her lap for a full flight because it gave away the toddler’s paid-for seat to a standby passenger. United apologized for all the incidents, but the airline’s brand was harmed and its stock price remains down nearly 17 percent since the first incident.

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RED CROSS … NPR and ProPublica have been a thorn in the side of the American Red Cross since the media outlets examined the nonprofit’s spending following Superstorm Sandy in 2014. They found, for example, that seven months after the storm, the Red Cross still had not spent $100 million of the $300 million it had raised. Unfortunately for the Red Cross, NPR revisited the questions about the Red Cross’ efficacy just as Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and the Red Cross was frantically trying to raise money for relief efforts. The Red Cross promised more transparency, but a generation of Millennials who like to invest locally have been finding smaller nonprofits on the ground in affected areas to support. The long-term implications of this PR disaster for the Red Cross have to be scary. Read more after the jump…

Questions to Consider Before Discussing a Project with Your Graphic Designer

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Though I do my best to anticipate client needs, problems occasionally arise when clients haven’t fully considered what their design needs actually are. It’s easy to say, “I need an infographic,” or, “We want an updated logo,” but it’s much harder to dissect the who, what, when, where, how, and why of a creative project.

Graphic Designers are trained to glean as much information as we can from interactions with our clients, but a reciprocal relationship in which the designer and the client are open and honest always results in the best work.

Read more after the jump…

Tackling Thin Content & The Battle Over Quality vs. Quantity

SEO Content Strategy: Tackling Thin Content & The Battle Over Quality vs. Quantity | CenterTable Digital AgencyHow many times have you heard someone say “you just need a blog!” to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy? Don’t get me wrong, there’s merit to this claim – when it’s done right. Fresh, quality, original content is king. But how do we define quality? Simply aiming to hit a certain number of blog posts in the name of SEO, rather than writing robust, meaningful content on the topics that are most relevant to your users is probably not worth your effort.

What is Thin Content?

So, what is thin content? And how do we make it thick? In 2011, Google rolled out the Panda update, which assigned quality scores to web pages, aiming to reward the high-quality websites and demote the low-quality websites in search results. In 2016, those filters became part of the algorithm. Google defined thin content as pages with little or no added value, typically those that include: Read more after the jump…

5 Ways Starting a Business is Like Learning to Surf

IMG_9346 (1)I recently decided to take my first ever solo vacation to Sayulita, Mexico. Earlier this year I made a list of the 52 Things I Wanted to Do in 2017 That Scared Me or I Had Never Done Before. Traveling solo was #38. Learning to surf was #39. In comes Alejandro. “Alex” was introduced to me by a friend as a “forgiving” instructor. He is a father of two teenage boys and, as it turns out, has a knack for teaching a middle-aged, non-athlete how to get up on a board.

Alex and I spent two mornings together. As you might imagine, I spent a lot of time hanging out on my board waiting for the moment Alex would say, “Paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle. Paddle harder. Now, get up!” It was during these moments that it hit me. Learning to surf is a lot like starting a business. Read more after the jump…

What Does the Data Say?

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The unending flow of data within our countless digital platforms can make it easier to know what’s working and what’s not – if you know what to look for. Check out these recent case studies and new data points that can help you navigate and make sense of your digital campaign results.

Instagram 

Social Media Today: What We Learned About Instagram Story Performance by Analyzing Over 800 Accounts
Social Media Today monitored more than 800 Instagram accounts’ story analytics to determine early usage trends and best practices. Read what they’ve discovered about adoption rates, influencers and prime posting times. Read more after the jump…

What Communicators Can Learn from the White House Press Secretary

What Communicators Can Learn from the White House Press Secretary | GroundFloor Media PR AgencyAs communicators, it’s hard not to have an admiration for one of the toughest PR jobs on earth: The White House Press Secretary. Watching the current White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, bob and weave on a daily basis, got me thinking about this challenging role and one of the most famous press secretaries, C.J. Cregg of the West Wing (I know it was a TV show, but who didn’t love watching her in action?).

It has to be one of the toughest, most stressful communications jobs as every day is a crisis of some sort. According to the International Business Times, the average White House spokesperson stays in the job for two and a half years. President Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, made infamous on Saturday Night Live, lasted just 182 days.

Read more after the jump…

Nonprofit Sector: Are You Creating Shared Value for Your Corporate Partners?

Prof. Michael Porter, Harvard University explains the difference between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Creating Shared Value (CSV)

Prof. Michael Porter, Harvard University explains the difference between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Creating Shared Value (CSV)

Nonprofits creating shared value for their corporate partners are seeing impacts to their fundraising efforts and the role of their organization in a community. The term, Creating Shared Value (CSV), is where nonprofits collaborate with companies to build meaningful and impactful partnerships to advance positive social change.

Jocelyne Daw, a recognized pioneer and leading expert in the evolution of authentic business and community partnerships, explains CSV as follows, “Creating Shared Value is a new form of corporate community involvement. Shared value is created when companies generate economic value for themselves in a way that simultaneously produces value for society by addressing social and environmental challenges.”

Daw explains that companies undertaking shared value initiatives need community partners to help them reconceive markets and services; build clusters; or reduce the costs in their value chain. “Shared value initiatives require the expertise, experience and knowledge of the community sector. At its heart, shared value requires cross-sector collaboration and deep partnerships,” Daw says.

Gone are the days where corporate partners are seen only as funders. Nonprofits need to seek common goals and build programs of mutual benefit. CSV initiatives provide support beyond philanthropy and are an added benefit to what companies are already contributing in their communities. “Shared value allows companies to generate value for themselves as they identify the immense human needs that must be met, large new markets to be served, and the internal costs of social deficits—as well as the competitive advantages available from addressing them,” Daw says.

What does this look like? In an article from the Harvard Business Review, businesses like Nestlé, Johnson & Johnson, and Unilever have incorporated this concept into their partnership programs. “Nestlé, for example, redesigned its coffee procurement processes, working intensively with small farmers in impoverished areas who were trapped in a cycle of low productivity, poor quality and environmental degradation. Nestlé provided advice on farming practices; helped growers secure plant stock, fertilizers, and pesticides; and began directly paying them a premium for better beans. Higher yields and quality increased the growers’ incomes, the environmental impact of farms shrank, and Nestlé’s reliable supply of good coffee grew significantly. Shared value was created,” says Michael E. Porter, of Harvard Business School, and Mark R. Kramer, the managing director of the social impact advisory firm FSG.

We’ll be hearing and seeing more about CSV partnerships in the coming years. They provide a competitive advantage and anything that impacts the bottom line can’t be ignored. It will be exciting to see which organizations embrace these changes moving forward and how they continue to affect communities.

Screen Size Matters: Editing Video For Social Media

The number of ways people are viewing content are multiplying faster than ever before. From the invention of the TV to shortly after Y2K, TV and the 4:3 format was the only way we saw the world. But in the decade since HD and accelerated by apps like Instagram and Facebook, creators are being demanded to rethink the way they create content. No longer are the conventional ratios acceptable.

We have to think in perfect squares and vertical rectangles now. It’s definitely influenced the way I edit content.

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Hopetoun Falls - Original Photo | Screen Size Matters: Editing Video For Social Media

I’ve included this picture of a rain forest to compare the differences in the various Instragram formats.

Read more after the jump…

Time to Get a 2018 Plan Underway

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Nowadays things move so fast that spending time reflecting on what’s working and where you can improve on a specific strategy can feel like a luxury. Planning for the New Year? Sure – it’s possible to throw together a plan in an hour, but it’s unlikely you’ll see outstanding results. Now is the perfect time to carve out a few hours to meet with your team to look back on 2017 and talk about what success looks like for your team and your brand in 2018. It might be a challenge to find the time, but it’s an exercise that’s certain to pay off in the long run.

Adweek: 5 Social Media Content Marketing Trends to Watch Heading Into 2018

We’re just weeks away from the New Year, so now is the perfect time to evaluate how your social media content strategy performed in 2017 while considering how you might modify for 2018. Are the right team members on board? How often are you using video? Are you leveraging user-generated content? Consider these and more trends in this helpful article. Read more after the jump…