fbpx

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.

taking a selfie

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.

blurry photo

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…

Rule of Thirds lighthouse

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.

skyscraper symmetry

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.

blurry cat

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.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”3″ gal_title=”Tech Tour”]

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?

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 Convention & Visitors Bureau Facebook post

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

Commonplace Books OKC Twitter

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

Blue Seven OKC Instagram

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. Look at these photos:

Blue Seven OKC Instagram
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.

5 Ways to Spot Fake News

I had a good career in journalism. My experience should make me an expert at spotting fake news. But the proliferation of information on social media means it’s challenging for anyone to decipher fact from fiction.

I have seen too many Facebook posts go viral, garnering thousands of angry comments, only to discover the story was bogus or repurposed from years ago.

Once, I was shocked to read about feces floating off the Hawaii beaches where my family lives. When I shared the story with my relatives, my direct sources discounted the stories.

Unfortunately, nobody can count on having a personal connection to verify or refute everything she reads. But if general users spent more time digging a little deeper and less time recklessly reposting, online angst might not ignite into a digital wildfire so often.

Facebook has joined the fight. The world’s dominant social network now offers an “educational tool” to weed fake news from current events. The company changed its algorithm to reduce the spread of bogus articles designed to deceive people. However, there is only so much social media platforms can do to identify fabricated stories. Readers must take proactive steps.

Here are five ways to find the facts:

1. Read beyond the headline

A new study reports only four in 10 Americans read more than news headlines. But readers must do more than skim the top if they want to know what’s really going on. Reading several paragraphs — perhaps even a full story! —  will help them spot misleading or incomplete headlines. They will also learn more about where information came from, which can help determine if it’s true.

2. Verify the source

Factcheck.org is a valuable resource to filter out false information from reality. Informed readers must stay up to date on a changing media landscape. It can be easy for small groups to publish professional-looking sites with no credibility, so readers must have their guard up. When people see a site with an unfamiliar name, they must ask a few questions, starting with, “Have I ever heard of this source before?” People should also read the website’s About Us section, double check the URL and see if anyone else is reporting the news.

3. Use multiple resources

Google News added a “Fact Check” tag to identify articles reviewed by news publishers and fact-checking organizations. Chrome extensions are another resource for technology to flag fake news sites.

4. Reframe the picture

Does a photo in the story look fake or seem unlikely? Dig deeper. Upload, drag and drop an image into Google Image to find the image’s origin. Many fake news stories, especially after disasters, take images from movies or previous events and pass them off as current.

5. Don’t take information at face value

Sometimes the news posted online is not new. The information presented is often misrepresented and outdated. Snopes.com has been a reliable reference exposing misinformation and myths for decades. Research the rumors, check the publication date and carefully inspect the domain name to shun out the satires.

Keeping It Real on Social Media

Did you see the story recently about coffee shops shutting down Wi-Fi to force people to interact? What about the memes of people glued to their mobiles in front of great works of art? Have you heard high-school dances are going extinct because teens would rather just Snapchat each other?

Everyone bemoans what mobile technology has done to personal interactions. But who would really give up their devices? Our pocket computers provide many advantages – including deepening our connections with loved ones – and someone without a digital connection would miss out on too much of the modern world.

The desire for connection creates challenges and opportunities for brands. When brands try to reach an audience, they must compete with millions of other companies, celebrities, friends and loved ones, cute animals, mainstream news sources and verbose politicians.

To break through, successful organizations need to find ways to make emotional connections with the audience, rather than just providing information.

One great way to make sure content – especially on social media – feels authentic is to imagine speaking to a real person. When I worked in internal communications, a conference speaker reminded people not to write for a generic group such as “fellow employees.” She suggested picturing someone specific, like Carol in accounting, or John from IT. Writing as if I were sending an email to a coworker helped me keep things simple and clear.

Brands must also remember what the audience wants. People who have already taken the time to like a Twitter account or follow on Facebook have demonstrated an interest in a product or service. They want information about upcoming events and new offerings. But to build trust and loyalty, users must sense a real person on the other side of the screen with real emotions – and perhaps a sense of humor. Nobody wants to read dry, corporate copy; so don’t write it.

Listening truly sets people apart on social media. Traditional media relied on “we say, they listen” communication; the technology required it. Too many organizations act as if things still work that way. They Tweet or post on Facebook without a plan for the next step. Anything interesting online draws shares, likes, comments and reviews. We recommend group organizations designate a person, process and culture for responding quickly and consistently. It’s the key to being seen as more than self-promotional.

Candor doesn’t believe any of this is easy. Making every follower feel as if they’re the center of attention may be the greatest communication challenge we have. But when organizations set authentic connections as the goal, they take a huge leap toward generating a loyal, passionate audience.

3 Ways to Ditch the Press Conference

Candor recently helped a client open a new location. They wanted to generate buzz and excitement.

In the past, we would have suggested blowing up some balloons, ordering a backdrop and a podium. Then, we would hope the press showed up for our news conference (maybe we’d even let them know there would be cookies).

Now, we have much better ways to share big developments.

1) Own the Content – We didn’t wait for reporters to spread the news. Instead, we turned carefully crafted talking points and Q&A materials into blogs, news releases, etc. and posted them to the company’s website.

Along with those tactics, brands can share content on social media channels. Send a digital newsletter.

Basically, we took control of spreading the message, rather than waiting to see if TV stations and newspapers would do the job.

Brand bonus: Allocate a budget for social media advertising to amplify the message to your target audience.

2) Go Live – We also grabbed a mobile phone and broadcast the grand opening live. Hundreds of people watched in real-time, and the video ultimately reached thousands of people. We also interviewed the client on-site and posted the mobile video later in the day.

Facebook and Instagram have launched incredibly successful live video functions. These broadcasts are unedited, authentic and in the moment – which is exactly how most people prefer their content. This tactic also accommodates understaffed newsrooms. Reporters under tight deadlines may be more likely to watch the announcement on their computer rather than traveling to the event.

Brand bonus: Have a staff member play reporter. He or she can pose questions to leadership, give a tour of a new facility or demonstrate the newest product.

3) Tweet About It – In addition to the client’s other channels, we posted to Twitter throughout the day regarding the announcement and grand opening activities. Many reporters use Twitter as a resource to gather information and story ideas, and we generated additional coverage with a few posts and photos.

We issued a press statement in 140-character chunks. Today’s news consumer has a shorter attention span, and many get their news while scrolling through feeds in their spare moments. This change is scary, but it represents the future of our society and presents new opportunities for engaged brands to take control of the narrative.

Brand bonus: Include short videos or creative infographics online to increase interest and social media engagement.

Ultimately, we were successful with our client’s celebration because we didn’t focus on doing things the way they used to be done.

There are many innovative tactics companies can use to share information and announcements with the public instead of relying on traditional media. With new ways to create content, brands must take advantage of digital media channels and rethink their old communication plans to reach audiences and goals.

Your Marketing Plans Are, Like, So Last Year

For businesses, a new year is an opportunity to reflect on how to take marketing strategies to the next level and ditch plans that are, like, so last year.

Many new year’s resolutions have faltered, but February is still a good time to re-examine three marketing tactics that worked last year and see if they are here to stay.

Live Video 

Video recording on cell phone

Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms give priority to video, especially live videos. Companies need solid clips to stand out from competitors.

Live video provides unedited, authentic and in-the-moment storytelling many users now expect to see and share.

Verdict: Here to stay.

Press Conferences and News Releases 

press conference

Press conferences can advance an organization’s cause, especially when addressing significant news. The format provides an opportunity for different speakers to share specific messages. And live-streaming a press conference on social media to accommodate short-staffed newsrooms could broaden a story’s coverage. Press conferences also create touchpoints with members, potential customers or donors, and other stakeholders. Used right, press conferences can be successful.

News releases, another traditional tool, are on life support. A news release only doesn’t cut it anymore. Media pitches are often replaced with attention-getting social media posts sent directly to writers, reporters and targeted audiences.

Verdict: Not dead … yet.

Podcasts 

Podcasts
Podcasts give organizations a place to share their thoughts on trends and the ability to target audiences. According to an Interactive Advertising Bureau study, one in five Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month. The challenge? Starting a podcast means staying committed to creating compelling content and promoting material consistently.

Verdict: Here to stay.

These tools can help kick-start an effective marketing plan. But to grow a client base or retain current customers, focus on the following three tactics.

Analytics and Measurement

analytics
What does success look like? What’s your business objective? How are companies learning more about customers? Install analytics tools for all email campaigns, websites, social media accounts and blogs. Use results to identify potential customers, and to learn about their communication and buying habits.

Paying for Social Media Advertising

social media
Organic reach has been declining for years. Social media platforms make their money from advertising, so they give priority to organizations that invest in ad dollars. eMarketer’s research shows digital ad spending reached $72 billion, surpassing TV ads in 2016.

Basically, you have to pay to play.

Investing in Video

video shoot

Videos dominate Facebook feeds and are shared seven more times than links. A study shows nearly 75 percent of adults are more likely to buy after watching a video explaining a product or service. Brands must create compelling content to attract and retain customers.

Constant change can be hard. But as old tactics become ineffective or out dated, new ones take their place. Learning the new ways reaps better engagement with the audience and a higher return on investment.

Taking it Old School to Learn New Lessons

Hip-hop music may seem like the new kid on the block. But rap has topped charts since at least 1990. (I promise to make that the only oblique reference to Vanilla Ice in this post.)

Beats and rhymes have been influencing culture for more than 30 years. Many of today’s executives and decision makers grew up on Run-DMC and other pioneering MCs and DJs. And the genre holds lessons for nearly any business or organization, regardless of the audience.

At Candor, we’ve found five outstanding lyrics to remind us of the principles of our profession.

  1. “Ain’t no future in yo frontin’” – MC Breed & DFC, from “Ain’t no future in yo frontin’”

Don’t lie. That’s it. It is the foundation for everything we do at Candor, and we hope it guides every client we represent.

Of course, everyone preaches honesty as the best policy, based on idealism and simply doing the right thing. But staying true to reality holds special importance when dealing with the media or the public. Whatever a falsehood hides, it will look much worse when it gets splashed across the internet.

A good public relations counselor will help emphasize the positive, but everyone on the team must commit to avoiding false statements.

  1. “La di da di, we like to party” – Slick Rick, from “La Di Da Di”

A common caricature assumes PR pros spend all of their time planning and hosting parties. It’s an exaggerated image, of course.

Putting on excellent events for our clients is part of the job, and we are happy to help (and share in the good vibrations). We always remember, though, a party is more than just a good time.

Besides theme, invitations, timing sheets and talking points, we remind clients to think beyond the details and remember the message. We help them consider what guests should learn at a party, press event or open house; how they should feel when they leave; and what ideas should stick in their mind when they leave the venue.

  1. “You can plan a pretty picture, but you can’t predict the weather.” – Outkast, from “Ms. Jackson”

Candor boasts of its ability to plan ahead. We look days, weeks and months into the future to help our clients find opportunities and avoid hazards.

As Oklahomans know, no forecast is certain. Conditions change rapidly, and we always prepare for contingencies. Even when we spend long hours developing a detailed, months-long campaign, we know it could get torn up and tossed out the window. It happens when a new bill is filed at the Capitol, when news breaks somewhere else in the country or when someone simply comes up with a better idea.

It doesn’t bother us. We expect to adapt.

  1. “I’m not a business man. I’m a business, man.” Jay Z, from “Diamonds From Sierra Leone”

Brooklyn-based rapper, producer, sports agent, media mogul and NBA team owner Shawn Carter had a hard-knock life. But he understands something fundamental about branding: it always matters, and everything a team does affects the image.

When a CEO speaks in front of hundreds of people, it changes how people see her company. When a volunteer greets a guest at a groundbreaking, it can make people more likely to donate to his nonprofit. When a spokesman is running errands on his off hours, his demeanor could affect coverage of a hot-button political issue.

Nobody needs to be image-obsessed, but everyone in every organization needs to feel part of the team, so they feel responsible for projecting professionalism and trustworthiness.

  1. “I gotta say, it was a good day.” Ice Cube, from “It Was a Good Day”

No matter the field, no matter the role, work is challenging. At Candor, we make time to celebrate our victories. We keep our clients updated about their media hits, newsletter opens and social media mentions. And when something special happens, we celebrate with snacks and sirens in the office. We stay positive through the day by bouncing ideas off each other, giving constructive feedback and talking about our common goals.

It’s just the way we roll with our homies.

How Candor Won a PR Daily Award

Candor PR Daily Award Winner

Christmas came early for Candor. In early December, PR Daily named our makeOKbetter campaign the best interactive storytelling campaign in the nation for 2016. I know what you’re thinking: “But what does ‘interactive storytelling’ even mean?” Honestly, it’s the new way to look at PR. With the rise of digital media, our services and capabilities as PR professionals keep growing. The makeOKbetter campaign wasn’t confined to just one medium. Instead, we dabbled in: social media advertising; email marketing; web design & management; infographics; high-quality, scripted video; and even live video shot directly from our phones. We coupled all of this with some tried-and-true PR methods, such as media pitching, press conferences and strategic op-ed pieces.

Here’s some background on our campaign, why it was necessary and what it took to win a PR Daily Content Marketing Award.

The History

During the 2016 legislative session, the Oklahoma Hospital Association faced a proposed 25 percent cut to Medicaid provider rates, which would have devastated hospitals across the state.

It was a complicated issue in the middle of a statewide budget crisis, but the OHA called Candor to create a strategy that would save hospitals and save lives.

Together, we launched the makeOKbetter campaign to ensure Oklahomans were aware of what was at stake, especially for 42 rural hospitals at risk of closing. We hoped to get rid of the 25 percent cut by urging hard-working Oklahomans to ask the Legislature to “take back” federal dollars to adequately fund health care.

We needed to pack a punch to make a difference, so we outlined three phases to highlight the campaign and tell our story across Oklahoma.

Phase One – “Educate & Inform”

These budget cuts were going to impact jobs, communities and families, so we needed the title to focus on a solution. We created the logo in-house using recognizable healthcare colors. On February 24, 2016, we publicly launched the campaign with an interactive landing page urging advocates to “join the movement.” We collected e-mail opt-ins and explained the issues and key messages. We stressed the idea of “a better future” for Oklahomans. The site received media coverage around the state and let stakeholders and elected officials know there would be an organized effort to make health care funding a top priority.

The landing page housed our first video, an animation explaining the proposed budget cut and its potential impact. We made it easy for hospitals to share the video, and also gave them posters, payroll stuffers, FAQs and social media posts they could share.

After optimizing the makeOKbetter social channels, we turned the animation video into paid ads and targeted an interested audience. We used Facebook and Twitter to display hard-hitting infographics explaining the budget crisis. The infographics cut to the core of our messaging:

• “Don’t let this happen to Oklahoma Hospitals”
• “Join the movement and take back our federal funds.”

By educating and informing our audience, we were ready to kick off ‘Phase Two.’

Phase Two – “Emotional Appeal”

On March 21, it was time to put numbers behind battle cries. We used video to tell the story of
the rural community of Sayre and what it meant to lose its hospital. It was fresh on the mind of its community members, so our video crew took to the streets, cafes and salons to hear how they had been affected.

That was just one town. One hospital. One community. Our audience was starting to understand the dire situation.

By the end of our campaign, the Sayre video totaled 237,105 views, reached 352,535 people and received 9,272 reactions, comments and shares.

We followed the video with opinion editorials, posting earned media hits to our social media channels and sharing media clips with key influencers. And then we were hit with a few wrinkles.

Phase Three – “Call to Action”

As the month went on, it became clear the Legislature was not going to take back federal health care funds, forcing advocates to devise a new strategy. Under the direction of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, makeOKbetter endorsed the Medicaid Rebalancing Act and a proposed cigarette tax.

Through new data and a compelling infographic, we grabbed media’s attention. We stressed the need for action, stating the proposed Medicaid cuts would mean as many as four out of every five Oklahoma hospitals would not deliver babies, nine out of 10 nursing homes would be forced to shut down and more than a dozen hospitals would close within the year. Polling found 74% of Oklahomans supported a cigarette tax increase to fix health care.

We launched a new video, stating “Oklahoma is on life support” and “health care is in crisis” to create a sense of urgency and desperation. We unveiled the video at a press conference alongside the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers. Multiple media outlets and health care professionals attended. We asked our audience: “What are you going to do to save Oklahoma health care?”

We supported the message with infographics, door hangers for Capitol offices and a coordinated op-ed campaign from hospital CEOs.

Some legislators said our campaign was crying wolf, so we asked health care administrators to stand up and say exactly what would happen to their hospitals, services and communities if the Legislature did not act. We edited highlights from each speaker and turned them into short videos to promote on Facebook. We targeted legislative districts with our new information through detailed social media ads, and we purchased ads in newspapers.

Finally, it was time to vote. In an unlikely turn of events, the Republicans supported the cigarette tax, while the Democrats were still holding out for an agreement to accept federal funds. The Legislature left the vote open until midnight, but ultimately, the cigarette tax turned to ash.

However, within days the Legislature removed the proposed Medicaid cuts and miraculously found money to avoid the health care crisis. The makeOKbetter campaign accomplished its original goal to preserve health care funding, and developed a foundation to continue to educate lawmakers next session.