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I admit when I saw this tweet in my feed this morning, I was horrified.
Why would anyone turn on the option to receive direct messages from any follower (even if you don’t follow them back)? I get enough annoying auto-DMs from people I follow (“Thanks for the follow! Please like my Facebook page!”).
While I’ve yet to find a reason to activate this feature for my personal Twitter account, I can think of a few reasons why it would be a huge boon for brands.
Some downsides to consider:
In essence this feature would turn Twitter into a sort of email/text message platform and potentially make brands as accessible as your drinking buddies, which could be either good or bad.
What do you use the DM feature for right now? Are you going to opt in to receive DMs from people you aren’t following?
Amanda Factor is a Social Media Consult at APEX Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter.
"While Canada has been rated as one of the five best countries for entrepreneurs, three in four find financing a hurdle. This is the group Ignite Capital wants to help," explains McNamara, who has counseled several leading corporations such as Coca-Cola and Nike.
Way to go, Pat!
Recently a call came into the APEX office from a student who was looking to interview a PR professional for a school assignment. I immediately recognized this task as one that I had completed while doing my post-grad degree in PR and offered to give said student a call back to chat. I wanted to help.
The student thanked me for calling her back and proceeded to set up an in-person interview time. I explained that while I wasn’t available to meet her for three hours on a Friday afternoon, I thought we could probably do an effective interview over the phone. She panicked: the interview had to be in person, and the assignment was due on Monday. I apologized that I couldn’t help her and went back to my work, but I couldn’t help think of all of the things that were wrong with her approach.
Here’s some tips on how to request an interview with a mentor, prospective employer, or for a school assignment.
Don’t leave it to the last minute
In any company, but especially in a profession where your day is accounted for in six-minute increments, it can be difficult to drop everything for something non-billable. If you’re looking to set up an interview, give it a good two to three weeks to come to fruition so proper plans can be made.
You don’t know the position of the person on the other end of the line, so every point of contact should be respectful and pleasant. Large companies get requests for informational interviews all of the time, and it’s easy to drop a call from someone who is rude and disrespectful.
Keep your reputation in mind
If you’re a student with an internship program, or you’re doing an informational interview with a prospective employer, you want to put your best foot forward. If people remember you as the rude person with poor time management skills, you’re not getting hired. Period.
Something is better than nothing
If what you want is a three-hour sit-down meeting with someone in your desired field, keep in mind that they most likely do not have that kind of time. Three hours is nearly $500 in billable hours that that individual will have to make up on their own time. If they can spare 20 minutes over the phone, take it. If they suggest sending an email over with your questions, do it. And if they can’t accommodate your request, thank them for their time anyway.
It’s on you
Remember that this is your request, benefiting you. It’s not really anyone else’s problem if your assignment is due the next day, if you’re desperate for information, or if you can’t plan far enough ahead to make it happen.
Here’s the thing. The assignment isn’t just about the interview, it’s about the whole process: networking, making connections, and learning something about your desired field. The ultimate goal of a post-grad degree in PR is to get a job in PR…so be nice. It goes a long way.
Robyn Hunt is a Consultant at APEX Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter.
(Photo by THEfunkyman/Flickr.)
At last night’s gala at the Thompson Hotel, Susi Vander Wyk of Chilliwack, B.C., was officially named Walmart Canada’s 2013 Mom of the Year.
This is the second year that Walmart has awarded the title to a mother who has made an outstanding contribution to her family and her community. Susi started EPIC, a support group for parents of children with disabilities, after her daughter Holli was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2. And this only scratches the surface of Susi’s long list of accomplishments!
In addition to the title, Walmart will donate $100,000 to Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Canada Society, Susi’s charity of choice, and $10,000 to the charity of choice of each of the other seven finalists. During the gala awards ceremony, all eight finalists were rewarded with $10,000 to treat themselves.
Susi was handpicked out of seven finalists by a jury including Juno Award-winning artist Chantal Kreviazuk, notable Quebec comedian, actress and radio host, Sophie Prégent, the 2012 Mom of the Year, Katie Schulz, Editor-in-Chief of Walmart Live Better magazine, Sandra Martin, and president and CEO of Walmart Canada, Shelley Broader. Guests at the gala enjoyed the hosting spirit of The Social's Traci Melchor and were treated to a show from Nikki Yanofsky and a surprise performance from Chantal.
One of my favourite Sunday morning pastimes is listening to Michael Enright on CBC’s Sunday Edition. I enjoy the remarkable list of guests, the informative content and thought-provoking commentary. This past Sunday was no different. While listening to Ira Basen‘s documentary Brand New World, featuring APEX’s Ken Evans, I was struck by the following points that impact not only myself, but my clients.
You are already branded (whether you want to be or not)
As soon as we are born, we become a brand. Our name becomes a representation of who we are. It is our “book cover” and something that people can judge us on. Personal branding from day one is an asset to be protected.
How we think about brands and how we interact with them has changed dramatically
Individuals are now behaving like brands and brands are now behaving like individuals. Brands are no longer items we wear, eat or buy, they are a part of our lives. We interact with them, follow their every move and communicate with them just like we would our friends.
Brands who do it well have a sense of humility and sense of humour about them
The more brands behave like humans, the more likeable and attractive they become to their audience.
Using consumer labour and consumer activity enriches the brand culture and brand power
Never before has it been easier for a brand to get instant data from their audience or followers. A social test group of people who are passionate and willing to share their thoughts are available at the click of a button. Additionally, the feeling that a brand is “listening” to us validates our relationship with a brand and makes us more likely to buy their product or service.
In the world of the social web, content is like a currency
Not only are brands using content and inspiration from their followers, consumers are “borrowing” material from brands and sharing brand information.
As communicators, we are advising our clients on best “branding” practices, but do we give much thought to our personal trademark and more importantly, should we?
Hilary Lawton is a Senior Consultant at APEX Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter.
On the occasion of APEX Public Relations’ 15th anniversary, our people share their answers to the question: How has PR changed in 15 years?
"15 years ago, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr, Blogger, Digg, and social media generally did not exist."
"The way content is created. Brands are able to create their own content rather than having to go through publications."
"The way we interact with media. We can follow them on Twitter, see what they’re posting on Instagram and Facebook, and tailor our pitches accordingly."
"We faxed press releases to newsrooms."
"Mobile phones, laptops, and text messages were not the norm: connectivity, always-on communication and speed-to-market now define public relations."
"We compiled monster clipping binders for clients."
"We actually pitched and negotiated story ops over the phone and in-person."
"Only 2% of us had a cell phone in the late ’90s."
"We measured media coverage using ad values instead of MRP."
"It’s now a recognized profession."
"Less focus on traditional media channels, and more emphasis on participating in the social world."
"Many more media outlet to get a client’s story told, way fewer media people to help with the story-telling."
'The art and science of influencing people has evolved into mastering social media.”
"It’s not just about media relations anymore – PR people do social media, experiential marketing, sponsorship, product placement, advertorials, strategic planning, and a whole lot more."
"Fewer publications and more and more cutbacks on pages and circulation of newspapers/magazines. It requires the PR practitioner to be even more creative in their pitches and angles to grab a journalist’s attention."
Image by Leo Reynolds/Flickr
A note from our CEO:
15 years. How did that happen? One minute I was moving into our 1,000 square foot sublet on Bloor Street by myself and the next planning for our new move to 10,000 feet of open concept space at Bloor and Sherbourne. While we’ve stayed in the same ‘hood, a lot has changed.
We are 30 people strong with a myriad of talent. Their expertise has grown exponentially – it’s not just about media relations anymore. We have experts in social, experiential, CSR, digital, event planning and reputation management. We’ve moved from counting clippings to measuring the impact through MRPs, a system that was born at APEX. And while we’ve always been a very social group, that word has taken on a new meaning, now integrated into everything we do for our clients and for our firm.
But a lot has stayed the same. When we met to celebrate our anniversary the other day, the chorus is the same one I have heard over and over again. Fabulous people. Amazing clients. Challenging work. And that doesn’t just happen…we’ve worked hard to sustain that culture.
We started with name brands – Netscape, Fuji, BMO and Adobe in year one and continued to build that brand experience throughout the years with prestigious clients such as Absolut, Coca-Cola, Coty, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Levi’s, Molson, Nestle, Samsung, UPS and Walmart.
And we successfully transitioned our leadership as I stepped back to focus on philanthropic initiatives. APEX is expertly led by our President Linda Andross with support from the best agency management team in the city.
I don’t usually brag, but there is an amazing dynamic at APEX and it hasn’t wavered for 15 years. I couldn’t be prouder.
Pat McNamara is the CEO of APEX Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter.