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Which Social Network Should My Business Be On?

Deciding what social media platforms your business should be on can be nerve-racking — especially with over 800 to choose from. Don’t worry. We’re just talking about the major players today. You don’t want to be on all of them. That takes up too much time, and other areas of your business need your attention. Before we begin, there are several questions you need to understand and answer, like:

  • Which platforms are consumer-oriented vs. B2B?
  • Where is our target audience most active?
  • What are our social media marketing goals?

Don’t fret — there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s get started.

FACEBOOK

This probably comes as no surprise, but you should consider Facebook — the world’s most popular social network — for your business needs. Whether your content is consumer-focused or B2B, you can find success on Facebook thanks to in-depth advertising and targeting options. And with over 2.23 billion active monthly users, odds are you can find your target audience. Here’s another fun fact: Approximately 10% of ALL website traffic takes place on Facebook — it’s no exaggeration when people say it’s taking over the world.

So, is there any reason not to be on Facebook? Perhaps… but only because of over-saturation. There are A LOT of businesses on Facebook. That means when you spend advertising dollars, your business will be facing A LOT of competition. There’s a decent chance (depending on your niche and target audience) your best ROI might not come from Facebook — but there’s a better chance it will.

TWITTER

Twitter can be tougher to manage, mainly due to its volatility (and because you can’t edit tweets). Twitter users are notorious for trolling, especially when politics is involved. Everyone has an opinion about everything, and the Twitterverse is where those thoughts are shared without a whimsical care in the world. That being said, there are still plenty of benefits to having a presence there.

First, Twitter is made up of 335 million monthly active users. That’s a big audience, which gives you a great opportunity to expose your brand to influencers who could share your content and increase your organic reach. Second, it’s the perfect platform for managing customer service. Throw in a social media management tool like Sprout Social, a product we use in Candorland, and BOOM! You’ll be on your way to managing customer’s needs quickly and efficiently. And perhaps most useful, Twitter is great for social listening. Twitter makes it easy for you to monitor keywords relevant to your company/industry, so you can jump into any conversation, anytime. This takes a bit of work, but it’s well worth it.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is the most visually-demanding platform, and it has become incredibly popular with a younger demographic. That usually gives B2B companies pause. But while it is easier for lifestyle B2C companies to promote on the platform, always remember Instagram has 1 BILLION monthly active users. Your audience is there — you just have to get a little creative with your creative. And did we mention Instagram is owned by Facebook? This means you’ll be awarded the same ad targeting options and seamless integration into the Facebook advertising model.

LINKEDIN

LinkedIn is a no-brainer for B2B businesses. This social network has become increasingly popular in recent years and has 227 million active users. While every social platform’s goal is to make connections, LinkedIn LITERALLY connects business professionals with each other (and recruiters). It’s the best platform to seek out high-quality talent to join your team. In terms of advertising, LinkedIn can’t quite match the powerhouse that is Facebook, but if your goal is to target other professionals across a number of disciplines, this could be your golden ticket.

PINTEREST

Pinterest is a platform many businesses don’t normally consider. But did you know the Pinterestverse is comprised of 250 million monthly active users? AND it’s the 2nd most likely platform to influence U.S. social media users’ purchasing decisions. Pinterest is perfect for businesses with aesthetically-driven content and can do wonders at driving traffic to your website, getting people to download your app or selling your product — especially with Rich Pins.

SNAPCHAT

While Snapchat is a popular platform with 188 million daily active users, there’s currently some debate between marketers on whether the platform is dying. It was down 3 million users in Q2 of 2018, and its latest update has made a lot of people upset (to say the least). It also ranked dead last in a new advertising poll. To put it simply: It takes a lot of time and dedication to move the needle with Snapchat. Some of the previously mentioned platforms can be way more fruitful for your business.

OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS

Yes, there are STILL some other social networks worth mentioning. Google+ has seen better days, but it’s still essential to be on to enhance local SEO, and it doesn’t take much to keep up with. YouTube makes a lot of sense for businesses producing video (which Candor can do in-house!). Behind Facebook, YouTube is actually the most popular social media network in the world with 1.9 billion monthly active users. You can take a gamble at Reddit, but you risk upsetting Redditors and hurting your brand’s reputation. Tumblr is comprised of over 200 million blogs publishing 80 million posts per day, making it another hot spot ripe for advertising. There’s also an upcoming platform called TikTok we’ve been keeping a close eye on. It has global audience of 500 million, and is especially popular in China. In the first half of 2018 alone, it was downloaded 104 million times on the Apple app store.

In reality, all of these social media platforms could help your business with the right care, strategy and knowledge. But — candidly — it’s a lot of work. Our digital experts have the tools and experience to help your social media channels grow, build brand awareness and bring in new business leads.

Send us an e-mail. We’re ready to chat.

10 Photography Tips For Taking Quality Social Media Photos

Do you find yourself endlessly scrolling through social media feeds? If you’re between the ages of 14 and 65, there’s a good chance you were scrolling right before you started reading this blog post! But, eventually, we stop scrolling. Whether we want a closer look or actually engage with the content, we’re most likely stopping because of the image we saw. A great visual leaves us wanting more and inspires our own work.

If you’re anxious about posting photos to your social media channels, here’s the good news: The basics are easy to learn and remember. And you should definitely learn them, because utilizing quality photos is key to creating engaging content, whether for your business or personal profiles. Fear not — we have tips to help you get started.

Use a good quality camera. 

Whether you’re using a cell phone camera or DSLR, make sure it has the capacity to take high-quality photos. Newer iPhones and Androids have the specs to take desirable photos, but if you’re still rocking that Moto RAZR from 2004, we’ve got mad respect for you… but it might be time for a new phone.

Hold the phone steady.

Another easy tip. Unless you’re trying to capture a photo of the Blair Witch, there’s no reason for excessive camera shake. Your photo will always come out blurry (see below). But this is avoidable! Invest in an inexpensive tripod to help, which will also be useful in low-light situations.

Let there be light.

Speaking of light, find a light source and use it. If you’re in a poorly lit area and all you have is your cell phone, it’s going to be tough to capture a properly exposed shot. This is where that aforementioned tripod comes in handy — but always move to better lighting if you can.

Use the Rule of Thirds to help compose your shot.

Pro-tip:  Justify your subject to the left or right of your photo to make it more visually appealing. This is a good rule to follow, but remember: All photography rules are meant to be broken. Speaking of which…

Symmetry is awesome, so use it! 

For some scientific reason, humans are naturally drawn to the beauty of symmetry, and you can find it almost anywhere — in a cool building, out in nature or even in a mirror! Taking an engaging photo is all about finding balance, and that’s exactly what symmetry offers.

Perspective is everything.

If a subject looks boring to you, move yourself around. By simply shifting positioning and shooting angles, you can turn the most mundane photo into something striking and original. If you don’t look like the guy below, you’re doing it wrong.

Focus on your subject. 

No, seriously. It sounds obvious, but always make sure your camera is in focus. And if your cell phone camera has a portrait mode function, try it out! This mode gives a nice, artificial bokeh effect to certain shots that can sometimes rival a DSLR. But be wary – it’s far from perfect.

If you’re using a cell phone camera, avoid the zoom.

Whenever you zoom in on a subject using your phone’s camera, high-quality pictures become a lot harder to take. Zooming means dealing with pixelated images, more camera shake, lack of detail, etc. It’s best to just use the zooming device you were born with to get in closer (yes, I’m talking about your legs).

When in doubt, keep it simple.

If your photo has too much going on, it can confuse the viewer and downplay the importance of your subject. For example, there’s always a lot happening at speaking or networking events. Instead of getting a boring shot of the whole room, try focusing more on individual interactions to breathe some life into otherwise stale photos. See a few examples below from an event Candor recently covered.

Ask other people what they think about your photos.

You might not always like what you hear, but getting constructive feedback is an important part of getting better.

Are you ready to start taking photos? These tips will put you on the right path, but the professionals at Candor are always around to offer more advice, cover events or even deliver trainings. Send us an email if you have something on your mind! We’d love to help.

How to Grow Personally & Professionally in 3 Simple Steps

 

February is an interesting month. It’s squeezed between the excitement of a new year and the anticipation of spring. It’s also the month my daughter turns 18.

While she is now old enough to vote, I worry she may not be ready to govern her life at college next fall. These thoughts keep me up at night, but I’m learning to embrace change because, ‘what’s the alternative?’

The same is true in business. When I birthed Candor in 2012, I never imagined my “baby” would become a fully-integrated agency. Heck, I won my first client sitting in my gym shorts and flip flops while chatting on a flip phone in my guest bedroom.

Needless to say, we’ve come a long way. Today, Candor is one of the fastest growing firms in Oklahoma. We’re housed on historic Film Row near downtown OKC — which is, perhaps ironically, one of the fastest growing districts in the city. We even have a cool building! Before being converted into an office space, Candor was the home of an old Pabst Blue Ribbon ice house.

Recently, we took a big leap of faith and added a 2,000-square-foot video production studio. The space includes a Facebook Live set in addition to a full edit suite. Video has become increasingly popular as a social media tool — and it’s not going anywhere. Here are a few things we know:

In addition to our building expansion, Candor recently had triplets. We added three new professionals to help with content creation, social media and video production. Adding new team members is always exciting, but it can create challenges with office space, onboarding and company culture.

So, what have I learned through the growing process?

  1. Control is an illusion.
    Being an entrepreneur is a lot like being a first-time mom. You want to control everything, including your well-meaning friends and family who tell you to relax and let go. But here’s a not-so-surprising secret: Business can’t grow until leaders relinquish some of their power. I’m pleased to say I’m no longer afraid to ask my colleagues to change a dirty diaper or two.
  2. Surround yourself with good people.
    Relinquishing power becomes a LOT easier if you start with this rule. At Candor, we hire folks with a can-do spirit. That may sound hokey, but it works. We simply don’t have room for entitlement. Good things happen when everyone works toward the betterment of others. Remember: You can’t spell Candor without ‘can do’! Okay, that definitely sounds hokey.
  3. Get out of your own way.
    Are you sensing a pattern? Sometimes you just have to let your family or coworkers do the heavy lifting. Whether dealing with a client deadline or a college application, real growth can’t happen if one person is always in charge.

Will someone please remind of me of this rule when my kid pulls out of the driveway for her first solo trek to college?

Does ‘Die Hard’ Count? (And Other Thoughts on Holiday Movies)

The Candor team loves spending holiday time with friends and family. We know it’s meant to be fun, but being around people you love can also lead to strife. Debates aren’t always about politics or who should clean up the dishes: Sometimes they’re about things that really matter, like the best holiday movies.

The Candor team didn’t squabble over which film puts us in the holiday spirit. But we did select a wide range of movies to warm the heart, generate laughter or, you know… demonstrate what it takes to stop an international band of thieves from taking over a skyscraper.

Karen Wicker‘s Pick — It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Jennifer Byrd‘s Pick — Home Alone (1990)

Jim Kessler‘s Pick — Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Ashley Neese‘s Pick — A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Alex Joseph‘s Pick — Christmas Vacation (1989)

Ally Glavas‘s Pick — Elf (2003)

Sandy Meier‘s Pick — How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Larisha Hunter‘s Pick — Die Hard (1988)

Jacqueline Sit & Adam Brooks‘s Pick — A Christmas Story (1983)

3 OKC Businesses Doing Social Media the Right Way

 

Tell me if this sounds familiar. It’s evening. Dinner has been made or bought. You’ve got roughly two hours to kill before you should be in bed. For just a moment, you consider doing something productive.

Then you remember you have a phone. A laptop. Netflix. Literally anything you want to watch for the next few hours is a click away. Plus, you haven’t scrolled through social media enough today.

For the next seven hours, you’re simultaneously absorbing as much as you can from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, all while vaguely listening to a group of weirdly qualified kids try to defeat a demogorgon in rural Indiana on Stranger Things.

You may be reading this blog solely because you saw the link to it on social media while doing something else.

That means I’ve done my job. And I guarantee this isn’t the only thing you’ve clicked on while you were scrolling. Somewhere between the seventh photo of a newborn and the 28th I-promise-you-I’m-having-fun selfie, you saw something from a local business that caught your eye. That is the holy grail for a local business’s social media presence. They don’t need you to see every piece of content; they just need you to see the right content.

You’re probably sick of being targeted with ads. Social media pros get it. But with the way social media has evolved, that’s the primary way to be seen. Here are a few local brands worth following — they do social media the right way.

Facebook

Facebook has made it increasingly difficult for brands to stand out. The platform prioritizes posts from friends and family over organic content from businesses. If an organization doesn’t have an advertising budget, frustration levels can run through the roof because posts aren’t getting the reach or engagement they deserve. But brands can fight back.

Facebook prioritizes video over graphics or text-based posts. And if it’s a Facebook Live video, that’s even better. Facebook will curate an interested audience and push your video to the top of newsfeeds.

In Oklahoma City, one organization stands out for getting seen.

Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau

Oklahoma City is getting more impressive every day, and the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau does a fantastic job showcasing growth and revitalization. In the past month and a half, @VisitOKC has created nine videos on a myriad of topics, including planning the perfect girls’ getaway, finding adventure indoors and a series of five things to try around the city.

Those nine videos have garnered over 88,000 video views.

Here’s something to remember: You don’t have to be a professional videographer to create quality video on Facebook. Use your phone. Use your camera. It may take some practice, but you can improve your engagement rate through video.

Twitter

Candor gets asked a lot whether every brand should have a presence on Twitter. If content fits a target audience and someone has the resources to run Twitter correctly, it makes a lot of sense. But a great Twitter handle doesn’t mean scheduling out a few tweets a week and never checking responses. Twitter is all about engaging with brand advocates (and even haters). If mentions and messages aren’t getting blown up, then you should be tracking relevant keywords and responding to conversations.

One Oklahoma City brand has really stepped up its Twitter game.

Commonplace Books

This indie bookstore hasn’t even celebrated its one-year anniversary, but it has already made a huge impact. Showing traditional Oklahoma hospitality, Commonplace welcomes visitors with open arms. On my first visit, I was greeted as soon as I entered and treated like a family member. Ben offered a tour, a coffee and I met who I believed to be his young daughter (who happened to be the one who rang up my purchase). On my most recent visit, I was offered a mimosa, my books to be gift wrapped and a few minutes of cuddles with Boz (the giant shop dog).

Commonplace carries its one-for-all persona to Twitter by constantly engaging with followers and reaching out to other local businesses. Twitter is all about showing the human side of a brand and making the audience feel welcomed. Commonplace does Twitter the right way.

Instagram

If an organization doesn’t have engaging visuals to share, then it probably shouldn’t be on Instagram. That’s why the best Instagram feeds often belong to restaurants, retail shops and friends who travel.

But what if you don’t have enough engaging content to last through most weeks? That’s where UGC (user-generated content) comes in handy. That means sharing/posting content created by other users. This could be a follower sharing a picture of something from your store, food selfies from your restaurant, etc. It’s an easy way to deliver content without putting in a lot of effort. According to Social Media Today, UGC has a 4.5 percent higher conversion rate than regular posts.

The ultimate Instagram goal, however, is being able to package UGC with interesting, original content. Several OKC brands do this well, but one really rises above the rest.

Blue Seven

Specializing in locally crafted apparel and quirky home furnishings, Blue Seven has become a local favorite for stylin’ wardrobes and secret Santa gifts. The Blue Seven team has enough interesting material in their store to create several quality posts per day. But having great material to work with isn’t enough: Brands must craft great posts. 

You might assume a professional photographer came in and took all these photos. The lighting, the placement, the editing — everything is spot-on. I want to buy literally everything they post about. I can’t be the only person that feels that way, either. Great job, Blue Seven. Now take my money.

Selling up the Chain of Command

 

Sometimes the most important sale to be made is within our own organization.

For example, we all have ambition. Some of us ambition to be recognized, others to be paid more. Some ambition to advance a cause, others to keep their job. But few achieve their ambitions in isolation. We need to persuade others we are worthy of their support. And persuasion – like it or not – is selling.

Most frequently, those in the best position to support us are in our upstream chain of command. So learning how to sell to our boss, or their boss, is critical to achieving our ambitions.

Here are a few tips fresh from the sales bullpen you may want to consider applying to your upstream communications.

  1. Sell as you go

Unfortunately, it’s often not enough simply do great work, assuming others will notice and appreciate it. Reputation is like a campfire. It needs to be regularly stoked or it will gradually turn as cold as ash. [bctt tweet=”Reputation is like a campfire. It needs to be regularly stoked.” username=”candorpr”] In communicating with upstream executives or board members, reinforce the value of your work relative to what is important to them. As sales trainers say, “Sell benefit, sell benefit, sell benefit.”

  1. Think like they think

As a dad, I had to teach my kids how to buy a gift for their mom she would appreciate, as opposed to gifts of interest to them. It’s not much different in business. Whether delivering a strategic plan, a business case, a status report, a presentation or just an idea, know what is important to the audience with whom you are communicating. Gift wrap your information in a manner they will appreciate and appreciation will be returned.

  1. Speak with candor

Don’t be a “yes” person. Executives cannot trust someone who only says what they believe another wants to hear. Instead, be straightforward, authentic and tactful in all communication.

  1. Anticipate objections

A mistake of many persuaders is the failure to anticipate objections. I have seen many great ideas shot down because the presenter was unprepared to answer an unexpected question. As a part of your communication prep, take time to anticipate objections and formulate your response to each.

  1. Understand it’s always about numbers

Don’t be fooled. The pool of funds available for any endeavor is limited. Every person in your chain of command has numbers for which they are responsible to monitor and achieve.  So don’t just report activity or progress upstream, also report results – how your activity has measurably moved the proverbial needle. Tie what you do to the numbers valued by those in charge.

Several years ago, I provided an update to my boss. The project had come in over budget, but we had exceeded client expectations. Expecting a pat on the back, I was surprised instead to be criticized for the overruns. His words were, “Excellent work in our company is expected. You still have to bring the work in on budget.” That was the last time I took upstream communication for granted.

Stoke the fire. Regularly.

 

What Raising Dogs Taught Me About PR

I’m a dog person. (Wo)man’s best friend has stolen my heart forever. I’m active in my local humane society and rescue organization as a volunteer and donor, and my family adopted two dogs into our home. I’ve learned a lot while trying to keep my furry kids happy, safe and alive. Some of those lessons apply to our clients at Candor.

1. It’s a 24/7 Job

One of the first lessons I learned as a dog parent is I have to be willing to get up in the middle of the night for emergency bathroom breaks. Every dog parent knows the sounds that wake them from a dead sleep faster than any alarm and send them racing to the door so the dog doesn’t mess up the rug again. In PR, a client crisis can happen any time, so I’m always prepared to jump into action. I monitor the 10 p.m. news and wake up thinking of new ideas for story pitches. The passion for the job carries well past 8 to 5.

 

2. Equal Attention

My husband and I recently adopted a second dog. I quickly learned the importance of giving each one equal attention. It is impossible to pet one dog without the other nudging impatiently. This lesson matters at Candor. We make sure each client gets our full devotion, so nobody feels left out.

 

3. Multiple Personalities

My Lab, Odin, is a couch potato who wants nothing more than to cuddle and watch TV with me. My German shepherd, Ruby, is constantly perched, watching the back door and waiting for me to throw the ball a million times. They have completely different personalities and needs. The same holds true with our clients. Some prefer text messaging, while others need formal email communication. Working in a PR agency requires intuition about what makes people tick. My job is a lot easier once I get to know clients’ needs and personalities.

 

4. Rewards Matter

Everything is easier when treats are involved. My dogs always listen to basic commands. But if they are learning something new or being made to do something they’d rather not, they need an incentive. When Candor is working with new clients, sometimes there is skepticism about a certain tactic or strategy. Once the client starts seeing results, the PR lightbulb goes on, like a pup who realizes what it takes to get a reward. Some of the best days are when I know a client has seen the results of what we can do and they get excited for next steps. This process allows us to build trust.

 

5. It’s Messy

I gather toys. I pick up pieces of toys. Sweep up hair. Clean the nose prints off windows. As a dog parent there are a myriad of messes. As a PR pro, cleaning up takes the form of adjusting messaging that went awry or developing a brand new strategic plan to get company goals back on track. This is when the fun really starts. I get excited when a company engages our firm for a brand or website audit. It’s a lot easier to notice the gaps or areas for improvement when you are on the outside looking in.

I’m fortunate to have found two passions in life: helping clients communicate their stories, and coming home to slobbery dog kisses every day.

Why I Didn’t Have to Sell My Soul to Leave News

When I decided to leave the world of news – again – for public relations, I knew what I’d hear from friends and colleagues: “Going to the dark side, eh?”

I was right. Though I think people who say that have the wrong idea.

Working as the managing editor of The Journal Record for two years put me on the front row of business and politics in Oklahoma City. I saw great drama: Entrepreneurs with big ideas and the drive to turn them into reality. Figurative and literal earth-shaking events in the energy industry. Political careers peaking and crumbling. Changes in practice and perception across the statewide economy.

And when the opportunity to join Candor came along, I saw it as a chance to participate more directly in those activities.

Some think PR agencies push fluff without regard for truth. But I’ve never seen it that way. Professional communicators take great pride in helping people get their messages to the masses, and we know it’s never worth it to risk our reputations by being dishonest. You may not always agree with our clients, but when you see something in public discourse that fits your view, a professional communicator probably helped get it out there.

We’re not trying to steal money that used to go to mass-media advertising. We help people and organizations find the best, most efficient ways to share their stories with their audiences.
Sometimes that means a high-impact event or a buzzworthy social media post. It often means keeping websites stocked with information that gives a realistic view of an issue or a company.

At Candor, it also means sometimes telling a client that he or she needs to rethink a concept or move in a new direction. Sometimes it even means declining to take on work if we don’t think we see eye-to-eye with a prospect about how to ethically and responsibly act.

A public relations and business consulting firm doesn’t have the same watchdog responsibility as a journalistic operation. But we do hold ourselves to high standards. The focus of my work shifted, but I won’t have to give up any of my dignity or ideals.

Some have said I left the forces of good. I see a chance to shine a spotlight on the businesses and causes that make our community better.