Be cautious with outbursts on your Facebook Business Page

What not to do on your Facebook business page


Damaging your own reputation through social media – a cautionary tale

A restaurant owner in small town in Washington surely regrets sharing publicly that he pay his utility bill and blaming the local PUD on his woes. The reactions below demonstrate risks of outbursts for managers of a Facebook business page.

What can we we learn from this Facebook business page fail?

  • Don’t post when you’re angry. You’ll regret it later and it just might turn viral.
  • Don’t share your financial issues with customers. You’ll lose respect.
  • Don’t act maliciously. You’ll lose fans quickly.

Your Facebook business page publicly represents your company in a platform that allows all of your customers to engage or witness your engagements. Every comment you make can be shared with thousands in seconds. The impression you make can have a lasting effect. Be cautious and interact in a way that supports the reputation you want to have. If you think what you’re about to post has the potential to be misconstrued or hurt your reputation, run it by a second pair of eyes first.

For more cautionary tales (and some laughs at others’ expense) check out Failbook.


PM at ampm pr

Cute Animal 2: Electric-Cute-A-You

No matter how much thought we put into our blogs, none get the readership of the super simple, eye-catching cute animal photos and videos that are the forte of other sites out there. So, in our continuing effort to appeal the cutest common denominator, here’s yet another video of one of our pets doing something silly. This time it’s Gus, my cross-eyed ragdoll ball of joy. He’s built a fort for himself out of a cardboard box, but with a feathered cat toy and just a bit of luck, perhaps we can coax him out. Let’s see, shall we?

Helpful Tips

5 tips for tip-top media outreach

Media relations has always been a central part of what public relations is all about. Unfortunately for those working in PR and companies looking to tell their own stories, media outlets are no longer the same beasts we used to know. Newspapers and other print and online media have ever-shrinking staff, which is responsible for covering a greater array of topics – across a greater number of channels – than ever before. Getting messages to these overtaxed reporters is no small feat.

Below are some tips to keep in mind when pitching story ideas to media:

1. Know your target – Some questions to ask yourself include: Who is the reporter? What do they typically cover? What specific stories have they written? What are their personal interests? You need to take the time to fully understand whom it is you’re communicating with. Having a little background info can go a long way toward building trust and respect between and you and reporters. If you can find a personal interest that’s appropriate to allude to, do it. Happen to know that a certain reporter has a thing for cats? Go ahead and use that fact and a little humor in your email subject line to get their attention. I once used that particular tactic, and it did in fact elicit a response.

2. Understand the story you’re telling – Be able to succinctly summarize and explain why a particular story or news item truly matters. If you can’t articulately explain the topic or situation, don’t expect a reporter to be able to. It’s your job to make his or her job easier. Be as helpful as possible in describing the key facts and ideas; reporters will be more likely to cover something they can easily wrap their minds around.

3. Avoid PR stereotypes – Don’t be a robot. Blast emails come across as such. Be sure to tailor the email to each reporter or news outlet, keeping in mind all you learned through the research you did in Tip #1. Be professional, but also memorable and genuine. Reporters don’t like overly schmoozy PR people any better than robots.

4. Quality over quantity – Target the people you most want to tell the story. Don’t mass email a huge list of folks. Be strategic, make a list of the writers you most want to tell your story, and work from top to bottom. If you think your story is worthy of being covered at the Enterprise level, start there. If you’re shot down, work your way down your list of desired targets. Starting at the bottom might get you a writer who is willing to tell your story but is unable to either tell it properly or get it the placement it deserves. You’re better off starting with your dream targets and settling if you can’t reach them than starting at the bottom of your list and precluding optimal reporting.

5. Be flexible in your followup – Some reporters only want to be contacted via email, while you’ll have better success reaching out to others by phone. If you don’t succeed with one channel, don’t be afraid to try the other when you follow up. Also, know when to check back with those you reach out to. Use common sense to determine if you’re going overboard with followup; put yourself in the reporter’s place. Don’t badger, but don’t drop the ball. Make sure to gauge the response you get from the writer, and respond accordingly. A lot of the subtlety of follow-up protocol is best learned through trial and error. See what tends to work best over time, and take note. I mentioned earlier that members of the media are spread particularly thin these days; keep this in mind in respect to follow-up frequency. Some reporters will appreciate a friendly reminder, while you’ll drive others crazy with the exact same nudge. Be aware of the response you tend to get from a particular person and keep it in mind for future interactions.

Those are a handful of what I hope are helpful tips. Do you have any that I’ve missed? Please share.

Peter Morrissey - friend and mentor

Missing a mentor today – Peter Morrissey remembered

A good friend and mentor died August 3. His passing reminds me again of how we’re formed by the people we admire.

I first met Peter Morrissey when our firm joined an international network of independent public relations agencies, Pinnacle Worldwide. Peter owned a firm in Boston that specialized in corporate reputation management and crisis communications.

It was easy to see why corporate executives trusted Peter. He was honest, whip smart and direct. He also was a teacher. He shared stories to illustrate lessons. And like a good Irishman, he had great stories to tell.

Among Peter’s corporate clients was Johnson & Johnson. He counseled the company and its McNeil Pharmaceuticals subsidiary when poison introduced into its Tylenol capsules killed seven Chicago-area residents in 1982. It’s now a classic case study in PR classes on crisis communications.

In addition to running his successful firm, Peter was the consummate good citizen. He taught at Boston University, was active in numerous community groups and served on the board of Boston Athletic Association, sponsors of the Boston Marathon.

I remember him most for what I learned listening to him. I suppose that’s why I enjoyed reading Rate Your Professor comments from students he taught at Boston University.

“Morrissey’s real-world experience as CEO of a highly successful PR firm makes his class probably the most useful I’ve taken at BU.“

“Professor Morrissey’s class was a great class. He brings his real-world experience of owning his own PR firm and working with big name clients to the class. Morrissey’s work in crisis communication especially is a case study for every intro to PR class everywhere.”

“I LOVE PROFESSOR MORRISSEY! If you want to go into PR, take as many of Morrissey’s classes as you can. Work hard, talk to him outside of class, and he will help you in your job search way more than Career Services ever could.”

Peter was the same way with his professional colleagues. He would help you any way he could. Mostly he helped me remember that, at its core, our profession is about serving our communities with integrity, honest communications and a commitment to do what’s right.

Peter taught that by how he lived.

MeetUp - the social site that encourages you to meet in person.

MeetUp – The greatest social network you’ve never heard of

– by Cam Clark

One of the most prominent complaints I hear against social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter is that they actually make us less social. They suck you into interacting on a superficial, virtual basis rather than face-to-face.

There are arguments for and against this thought process, but for the past ten years one social network has been quietly and successfully nullifying these two assertions right under our noses by creating a network of people who meet virtually and congregate physically. is one of the rare websites that actually encourages people to meet in real life. The website aims to help people create communities unified by a common interest, such as: politics, books, sports, movies, health, pets, jobs or other hobbies. Members just enter their ZIP code or their city and the topic they want to meet about, and the site helps them arrange a place and time to meet.

Meetup’s mission is “To revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.”

This under-recognized social networking site is the world’s largest network of local groups, with people getting together somewhere on the planet every 13 seconds. Meetup boasts an impressive 9 million visitors per month in 45,000 cities worldwide, and has 280,000 monthly Meetups on every topic imaginable. Sure, compared to Facebook numbers, 9 million is a drop in the bucket and the site could use a visual overhaul, but just because this site has been outshined by others does not mean you should ignore it.

I personally have made some great connections through this site, and in a very short time frame. I’ve pub-crawled with the “20 and 30 somethings in Portland,” happy-houred with the “Happy Hour Aficionados of Portland,” run with the “NoPo Run Club” and even sung my face off with the “Portland Karaoke Singles.” There is so much fun to be had.

If you don’t think you have time to check it out, do me a favor. Go to, enter in a topic that interests you and your zip code, and just see what comes up. If you are unable to find anything interesting, come to one of our PR 3.0 meetings and I will buy you a beer. Or, maybe, just maybe, you will find a group of people that will forever change your life. Either way, what do you have to lose?

Gen Y - brand agnostics and savvy

Credit unions need to keep it real to woo Gen Y from banks

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) recently invited me to present tips on reaching Gen Y. Like most organizations, they want to know how to attract the largest consumer group in history. With Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day leading the news, there’s never been a better time for credit unions to be heard.

The first step in building relationships with this generation is knowing everything about who Gen Y’ers are and what drives them.

Meet the Gen Y’ers:

  • Believe they can be and do anything.
  • Believe miracles are possible.
  • Want to live first and work second.
  • Care about servicing their community.
  • Don’t like to be told what to do or what’s cool.
  • Want to experience the world for themselves to develop their own judgement.
  • Don’t want to be marketed to.

Gen Y respects authenticity. If you want to be listened to, be real. This generation can see through B.S.

Gen Y socialize on smart phones

Where are they? On their phones. They are more than half of mobile users in the US. Also nicknamed the Connecteds and Net Generation, they’re almost all socially networked. They do everything online, including research before buying.

When purchasing a product or service they look for:
  • Low cost
  • Good quality
  • Fast service
  • An “experience”

Living in an era when information is everywhere and everyone is constantly connected, how can NWCUA members and your organization reach Millennials? Relate to what’s important. Know that they listen to their friends. They care about their community and they care about living life well.

Give them what they want and:
  • Differentiate credit unions from banks. Seize the 99%.
  • Offer tools for living well that Gen Y will want to use. Financial literacy hasn’t been taught to them in schools. Make money management “an experience” with an app that helps them manage their money and reach their goals of buying a house or traveling the world.
  • Communicate credit unions’ community involvement. Offer an online program teaching financial literacy and curriculum for teachers.
  • Engage them on social networks. Let them lead on Facebook, and be a real resource for them on Twitter.

As evidenced by the 690,000 people who dumped their banks in a single month around Bank Transfer Day, Gen Y will like what credit unions offer. Be easy to find, easy to use and make their decision to switch easy.

am:pm pr tips

As for any other organization? Anticipate what members of Gen Y will want from you and what they’ll look for on your website. Don’t add fluff. Make sure to give them something that they can recommend to their friends without sacrificing their authenticity.

10 Tips for a Perfect Party

We’ve all been to particularly fun events that leave us wishing they lasted a few hours longer. We’ve also been to some that can’t get over quick enough. Here are some fundamentals to keep in mind when planning an important event. They’ll help make sure that your party falls into the former category.

1. Location, location location!

AM:PM PR party

Choosing the right location for an event is key. You want the venue to impart the vibe you’re aiming for. Is it going to have a street fair vibe? Is it a swanky cocktail soiree? Or is it a barn dance? If so, you need a barn. Find the location that’s right for the feeling you want to create for your guests.

2. Party time

What time, day and week make the most sense for your guests? We have found in the past that Thursday early evenings tend to work well for a lot of people. However, some Thursdays are “First Thursdays,” “Last Thursdays,” or some other themed Thursday that might conflict with another big event. Also, if you hold your event while people are at work, only those who can get time off will attend. Choosing the best day and time will vary based on types of guests, but there is no sense in putting on an event if most invitees can’t make it.

3. Lock down the fixtures

This isn’t the sexiest part of party planning, but it is essential. Depending on the scope of your event, you might need tables, chairs, tents, table coverings, bottled water, ice, storage containers, plates and utensils, serving apparatuses, etc. Start thinking about this early, and the day of your event will be a whole lot less stressful. While your DJ, vendors, caterers and other party participants aren’t exactly fixtures, organization will similarly pay off when dealing with them. Keep them apprised of what’s expected of them, and check back as often as is necessary to make sure everybody’s on the same page.

4. Serve tasty beverages

Clearly, this is the most important component. Okay, maybe not the most important, but it’s right up there at the top. Drinks, even if they’re not of the alcoholic variety, make people feel comfortable and more apt to loosen up a bit and chat. There is a reason booze is often called a social lubricant – it makes conversation slip off the tongue more easily and makes interaction feel more natural. Be sure to take care of this important detail.

5. Feed the people

AM:PM PR partyThis one seems obvious, but it’s necessary. People will stick around longer if tasty treats are available. At our recent anniversary party, we served finger foods from a local caterer that were all but demolished within a few hours. People congregate around food tables, so sometimes a couple food stations will keep people moving through your venue with fewer traffic jams.

6. Play good tunes

Many events, though not all, are even more awesome with good music in the background. If budgets allow, a live DJ – or band – is better than an iPod, but a custom playlist in iTunes will work just fine. And remember to keep the volume at a level that keeps the conversation the star of the evening.

7. Put thought into your guest list

It’s too easy to forget to invite guests if you rush and wait until the last minute to compile your guest list. Make an initial list, wait a couple days, then go back and make sure you included everyone.

8. Promotion

When you go through the trouble of planning an event, you want people to show up. I recommend covering your bases on the invite front. The ubiquitous Facebook invite is never a bad idea — you’re reaching people where they already are. For those invitees without a Facebook account, or those who tend to ignore invites, EventBrite is a great option. You can create custom invites and send them out via email – or snail mail for your more traditionalist guests. Using these platforms in conjunction makes it more likely that you’ll reach everyone on your list. Plus, you can easily track your RSVPs.

9. Be a good host

Though exhausting, being a good host is vital to making sure the vibe of your event remains social and fun. Be sure to introduce guests to one another when convenient, especially if they have common interests. If you’re doing your job of keeping the food, drinks and people moving, you’ll only have 10 minutes or so to spend with each guest, so make sure they have plenty to talk about “amongst themselves.”

10. Main Attraction

Whether your event revolves around a guest speaker, like our extra special, month-end editions of PR 3.0, a live band, an anniversary or simply a theme – tiki beach party, zombie prom, what have you – it’s important to identify that main attraction early on and use it as an integral part of your promotion and conversations about the event. This will create excitement and guide some of the other tough choices you’ll have to make along the way to the perfect party. Finally, remember that there’s actually no such thing as a perfect party. Into every social gathering, a little awkwardness must fall. But if you grin and keep your wits, and a modicum of grace, about you, your guests will barely notice the difference. At least we hope so.

* This blog post was made possible through a generous grant from the Jake Ten Pas Brain Trust. No, seriously, we recently planned the AM:PM PR Birthday Bash together, and wisdom contained herein flowed naturally from that process.

The wisdom and wise words of Dr. Suess

Five Dr. Seuss Quotes with PR Lessons

Dr. Seuss’s wise words for the young and old can be applied to every part of life – even in the PR business. Some of his best quotes have PR lessons within.

Top Five Dr. Seuss Quotes Translated Into PR Lessons:

1.) “Shorth is better than length.”

The most read blogs are 150 words or less.  This blog is about three times that length, so I’ve chopped it into bite-sized nuggets for easy consumption.  If you want to get your message across, whether by blog, email, video or media pitch, keep it short.  Shorthness will increase the likelihood that your message is remembered.

2.) “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”

We often get requests from prospective clients who need help with outreach, but have no plan in place.  Developing a strategic plan that integrates all outreach enhances the effectiveness of your efforts.  Creative brainstorming and planning will also provide social networking content ideas and pitch angles throughout the year.

3.) “I meant what I said and I said what I meant.”

Don’t create messages you think your audiences want to hear.  People want to hear truth and will respond to it.  For example, don’t say you’re green if you haven’t made real strides in the area.  Your words won’t ring true.

4.) “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

So much fear still exists around embarking on social networking.

Complicated questions: “How can we control what our employees will do when given access? How will we respond if someone trashes our good name? We’re already so busy; how can we do it all? These are just a few of the questions we hear.

Simple answers: Trust your employees.  Criticism is unlikely for most businesses. When it does happen, respond transparently and your fans will come to your defense.  Social networks are where the conversations are happening.  Transition is a must.

5.) “I’m sorry to say so but, sadly it’s true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you.”

Be prepared.  Create a crisis communications plan.  It’s one of those things, like a will, that you know you should have, but it’s easy to keep putting off.  Being prepared for anything will help ensure that you maintain a consistent message and increase the likelihood of preserving a positive reputation in the face of a crisis.

More great Dr. Seuss quotes worth remembering:

Wisdom from Dr. Seuss's "The Lorax"

Dr. Seuss encouragement

Dr. Seuss's simple wisdom

Stand out