PR With a Twist

Not just PR, but the twists and turns that make life interesting.

BOO! Who’s Afraid of Social Media?

Happy Halloween everyone! I’m marking today by sharing my experience when asked to be a featured speaker late last month at a client’s national conference. Selected Independent Funeral Homes (no Halloween jokes please) is a wonderful group of individuals, the vast majority of whom are community leaders and philanthropists who have, for the most part, gotten into this business because it was in their families for generations but also because they inherently want to serve others. They think of themselves as caring for the living, not necessarily for the deceased. What they do provides closure and helps in the grieving process. But I digress. My post is about the scary topic of social media.

However, I wanted to give a little context about the people in my sessions and their profession. My topic was “Working with Today’s Media,” which focused heavily on integrating marketing and PR into your business but also had an entire section on social media. As you can imagine that could have been a session all its own. The funeral industry is not unlike many others, which have been forced to evolve or become extinct. People’s attitudes toward funerals and associated costs has changed dramatically and to succeed, practitioners and business owners must keep up with the times. Also like many businesses, theirs is about relationships and making a connection with the people they serve. Those people, of course, happen to be on social media in growing numbers.

My session included social media statistics in order to set the stage for the trend. Most of the attendees already “got it” and several were doing it right and served as case studies in my sessions. One has a fantastic blog with a great following that covers a wide array of eclectic topics. Another has a community outreach program that builds and strengthens partnerships. A third has a huge Facebook following built over the past three years. But, what struck me were the fraidy-cats and the can’t-be-bothered’s, particularly when it comes to Facebook, arguably the largest social networking platform.

And, not to pick on this group that I presented to, either. I’ve come across this with other clients and in plenty of business (and social) networking conversations. What I’m talking about are those people who are either plain scared of social media or acknowledge its potential but don’t want to be bothered. Show of hands . . . do you know one? Are you one?

The Fraidy-Cats.  These are the folks who aren’t necessarily internet-averse, but they don’t like the idea of sharing information on the internet, creating personal profiles and posting their status for all to see. Perhaps it’s the fear of the unknown, in terms of a simple lack of understanding for how it works. The other thing keeping the fraidy-cats away could be a fear of the time commitment (or potential time waster) inherent in getting on board the social media bandwagon. All valid concerns. Now on to . . .

The Can’t-Be-Bothereds.  These are people who have given social media a try and are really not averse to it in theory. In fact, their status updates may be quite interesting and they found themselves connecting with people that they were happy to find after all these years; possibly even leading to business networking opportunities. However, they simply cannot bring themselves to care about what the people in their news feed had for dinner or to muster up the energy to even log on to Facebook on a regular basis to keep it active. So they abandon it altogether.

Here’s where I have great news for both groups of people:

Social media can be your friend.

It’s true. You don’t have to have hundreds of Facebook friends and post several times a day (or even every day) to make this medium work for your business. You also don’t have to keep up with what your long-lost high school buddies did last weekend. Don’t let these things prevent you from starting — and maintaining — a Facebook page for your business. Here are just a few tips to get you past your fears:

  1. If you aren’t comfortable with Facebook, enlist someone who is (from within your organization or get outside help) to get you started.
  2. Share the page with the friends and business associates who you know are on Facebook and ask them to “Like” your page. Make sure your employees do so as well. They will be your best ambassadors.
  3. If you are only using Facebook for your business, then do just that; focus your time on posting to and growing your business page, using it as a tool to connect with customers and build relationships.
  4. Remember that Facebook is for social media. It is NOT a sales tool or for self-promotion. Your posts should be about topics of interest to your followers and the community and not what you’re selling. Be a helpful source of information and when a customer needs what you have to offer, you will be top of mind.
  5. Last but not least, set yourself up for success. Don’t overwhelm yourself with expectations you can’t meet. Set an attainable goal for consistent posting and updates (include photos, events and other interesting content). Consistency and quality is more important than quantity. Solicit content ideas from your staff and make it fun — run monthly contests for the best post ideas!

I hope this will help allay your fears of the social media monster. If you have additional tips or feedback to share, please chime in.

Lisa

Is This Dieting? No, It’s Paleo . . .

I like baseball. I like movies. I love baseball movies. Whether The Natural with Robert Redford or Kevin Costner’s classics, Bull Durham (which also launched Tim Robbins’ career) and Field of Dreams, there’s just something iconic and all-American feel-good about them. The other thing about memorable movies is their great lines. Field of Dreams has one of the best:

That’s what I thought of this week as I got to the 20-day mark with 10 days left to go on the Whole30. I take a look at some of my meals over the last week, most of which come from Melissa Joulwan’s “Well Fed” book, available here. And, although I’ve heard that the Whole30 is just an amped-up version of Paleo eating, I sometimes find myself having a hard time believing I’m on a diet. And then I remember, I’M NOT!

This is a new way of life, not a short-term diet that I’ll yo-yo back to again and again. Or, worse, bounce to the next-best-thing diet six months from now. I know this because of the way it makes me feel and the fact that I know the food choices I’m making are healthier, but more importantly, can be maintained long-term. If I didn’t, do you think I’d be writing about it in this blog right now??? Well, hopefully not.

That’s why, with 10 days to go, I don’t look at it the end of the 30 days as a countdown. In fact, it’s barely even a milestone, since I’ve already planned to extend my Whole30 another 15 days and then maintain Paleo long-term. In the meantime, here are several pics of some of the delicious foods that have kept me very satisfied and maintained along the way (and again, the hus’ is loving this food too!). Enjoy.

Lisa

P.S. A word of caution — clicking on the photos to enlarge may make you hungry. :)

Chipotle Carnitas Bowl: In a pinch, I was able to grab a quick lunch out at Chipotle. I ordered the Carnitas Bowl with extra meat and no beans or rice, pico de gallo, lettuce and guacamole. Divine!

Whole Roasted Chicken and Gravy: From Nom Nom Paleo, this is a whole roasted chicken made in the crock pot, with its own gravy that’s unreal. I served it with steamed green beans and mashed sweet potatoes.

Shepherd’s Pie: This is the Italian Pie version with ground beef from “Well Fed”. I can’t even tell you how good it was. I sent some leftovers to work with hubby today and had some myself. Even better the second time around!

The Versatile Frittata: Got eggs and some leftovers? Make one of these! A little coconut oil melted in the pan, scramble the eggs and add a bit of S&P. Pour in the pan and add a little leftovers. This one has some roasted chicken and onion. One day I used ground beef and served it with salsa and avocado. Just cook on the stove until it’s mostly set then pop in the oven under a low broiler until it browns on top. Slide out of the pan and enjoy. (Remember to use a high-heat safe pan).

 

Flat Iron Steak: Pan sear the steak in a very hot pan that has melted coconut oil. For about an inch think steak, cook 4 minutes on one side, turn and 3 minutes on the second (use a meat thermometer to check doneness to your liking). Remove meat from pan and let rest. Lower heat to medium and deglaze pan with just a touch of organic beef broth (check label for additives) then add mushrooms and saute until done. Pour mushroom sauce over steak and serve with another steamed veggie (I served asparagus), a salad or both!

 

 

 

The Full Cycle News Story

Wisconsin Anchor Jennifer Livinston

Or “The Tale of the News Anchor and the ‘Helpful’ Email”

ROUND ONE.

Rewind to Oct. 2 when previously unknown (except locally) news anchor Jennifer Livingston takes up four minutes of air time at the Wisconsin CBS-affiliate WKBT where she works to share with viewers an email she received. Mind you, she gets lots of emails, but this one was from Kenneth Krause, (initially identified as a personal injury lawyer but actually a security guard) who admittedly wasn’t a regular viewer but felt compelled to write Livingston to tell her she should lose weight. He went on to say he felt she wasn’t a good role model to young girls in her present condition.

Livingston obviously took offense as the mother of three young girls and pointed out that Krause, who doesn’t know her personally, has no right to judge her based solely on her appearance. She said she chose to bring the email to light to make a point about bullying and to teach young girls, like her daughters, that bullying is never acceptable. Interesting angle. Keep in mind she did not identify Krause at the time, but her station did identify him in a story on its website.

Overnight, the video became viral and news stations around the country picked up the clip. Livingston appeared on national morning shows speaking about her new anti-bullying platform and women’s positive self-image issues. She reminded viewers that October is National Anti-Bullying Month. Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres spoke out in support of Livingston and it turns out that her brother is actor Ron Livingston of Office Space and Game Change fame, adding a little more notoriety when he also made a statement to People magazine in her support.

Livingston did reveal to the Associated Press  that she and Krause had initially exchanged several emails and that he refused to back down from his position prior to her going public with his email. “It’s not what this one particular man said to me,” she told the AP. “It’s the reaction that what I am saying back to him and bullies everywhere (that) is impacting me. I am just shocked right now that the words of one journalist in small La Crosse, Wisconsin can make such a loud roar.”

ROUND TWO.

As you can imagine, Krause was quickly pounced on by the media and forced to answer to his actions — which in reality amounted to a private email that he sent to a public individual. Finding himself under siege, Krause issued a statement to the station and continued to stick to his guns, suggesting that Livingston use the opportunity to start a diet right away and even offering to help. Seeing the firestorm that had begun, soon Livingston was asking the media to back down from Krause and respect his privacy.

However, not long after the tide began to shift just a bit.

“When you are in the public eye, you should be big enough to ignore. What he did was hurtful. She was behaving like a bully,” said PR Donnie Deutsch on The Today Showguru Donny Deutsch Oct. 4 on the Today show’s “Today’s Professionals” segment. He went on to say that a bully by definition uses strength or power to intimidate those who are weaker. Clearly, with a platform of TV viewers she was doing this when she exposed Krause’s email, in Deutsch’s opinion. Others on Facebook began calling her “overly sensitive” and worse.

“I’m in no position to bully her,” Krause told ABC News. “She’s a big media personality. I’m just a working stiff.” Krause eventually revealed that he was obese as a child and could therefore empathize with the medical condition that Livingston since claimed has made it a challenge for her to lose weight.

ROUND THREE.

In a (hopefully) final chapter billed as an “ABC News Exclusive” airing on Good Morning America on Oct. 5, Alex Perez confronts Krause as he reports to work his midnight shift and asks if he has any regrets. For the first time, Krause issues an apology saying, “If she is Kenneth Krause Apologizes, Sort Ofoffended, I truly apologize to Jennifer.” “That’s the last thing I ever wanted to do.”

Never mind that by adding “If she is offended . . . ” it is the classic non-apology type of apology.  It is being billed as an apology nonetheless. Whew, closure.

CONCLUSION.

So, what are the lessons we have learned — PR or otherwise — by watching this entire news cycle unfold, start to finish?

  1. Emails are not private. This may seem like a big duh, but before you hit send, remember that once what you’ve written is out of your hands (and outbox), there’s no telling whose hands it may end up in and what may become of those words.
  2. As soon as you point the finger at someone else, prepare to have it pointed back at you.  This happened to both parties in this case, and I think both were surprised by that fact.
  3. There’s no end to what will spark the imagination of the media and the public.  Andy Warhol was right. Everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame, and in this age of new media, that’s more likely now than ever before. Just make sure that for you (or your client) it’s not the wrong kind of 15 minutes and that you are prepared for whichever way the tide turns.

Like many people I was supportive of Livingston when I first saw her heartfelt clip, and I do agree that people shouldn’t be judged merely by their appearance.  However, I’ve found it a fascinating case study to watch it come full circle and see all sides of the story.  Curious to know your thoughts . . .

Lisa

LGPR Chicago:

Happy Friday all! I just love these thoughts on social media and life from KateUpdates. Incidentally, I was one of those thousand or so people who found her from Gini Dietrich’s Spin Sucks blog. And I’m glad I did! Therefore, I just had to share her post from today so you all can love her stuff, too. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Kate Updates:

“Just because you’ve hatched, doesn’t mean you’re ready to jump out of the nest.”

As soon as I heard that statement, I laughed out loud … in church. Luckily, our church has a less formal format so the occasional laugh isn’t frowned on. Just the thought of a little bird being born, looking around and then jumping out of the next sounds crazy! But that wasn’t why I was laughing. The point he was making was that we often run ahead of where we are supposed to be, like baby birds jumping out of our nests too soon. We need to wait until our wings are ready. We need to wait. We need to value rest. That was exactly what I needed to hear.

So why was I laughing? Let me explain …

Cracking Eggs and Learning to Tweet

I am a very passionate person. If I find something I…

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Food Too Good Not to Share (and a first time for everything)

I grew up eating spaghetti and chili. What? For the uninitiated, the closest I can come to explaining is Skyline Chili, which I actually didn’t experience until fairly recently. Skyline does a fairly good job of imitating the legendary Fred & Red’s “Spaghetti Red” of my youth, although none will come close to the original.

The now-defunct, yet iconic diner formerly located in Joplin, Mo., will always hold fond memories for me and my family, oddly enough all of whom (except me) grew up in and around the area. I just visited there all my life. And with each stopover, I insisted on reliving that glorious dish, never straying from the same order each time.

Skyline 3-Way Chili

When we couldn’t make it to Joplin, my mom would make it at home and it was a family favorite, naturally. Years later, I served it to my Chicago-born-and-bred husband and he came to enjoy it as well (although admittedly maybe not as much as the rest of us). And, eventually, I discovered Skyline. Sadly, Skyline has no restaurants anywhere near Chicago and Fred & Red’s closed earlier this year after 89 years in business. Now I can’t even visit there when I go to see my dad in Joplin. Steak & Shake is a desperation substitute.

But, what am I thinking?! I adopted a PALEO lifestyle of eating. I wouldn’t dig into a plate full of spaghetti Imagetopped with greasy chili and mounds of cheddar cheese anyway!! Right? Right. So, you can imagine my delight when I purchased the wonderful “Well Fed” book by Melissa Joulwan and found not only a Chocolate Chili recipe that is to die for, and which is also available on her blog here, but the version in the book recommends it with spaghetti squash for a slice of heaven that brings me back home . . .

It marked THREE firsts for this paleo newbie:

  1. My first “followed-to-the-t” paleo recipe (I’d been winging it before now)
  2. My first meal sampled from the “Well Fed” book
  3. My first experience with spaghetti squash
Image

Finished dish with fresh avocado and green onions

I’ll sum up what I discovered in two words. Home run. Seriously delicious. The leftovers? Even better. And the hus’ loved it too. Here is a pic of my own concoction. Needless to say, I thoroughly recommend it. This Whole30 thing is a snap! :)

P.S. Would love to hear from you if you like your spaghetti 3-way, 4-way, 5-way or otherwise! And doubly so if you’ve had this paleo version that I think outscores them all!

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