Posts related to: social media

Living in The Moment or Remembering The Moment

4 Steps To Making Sure Social Media Doesn’t Take Over Your Travels

by Hannah M. Avery

A crimson sunset gracefully sets on the Italian Riviera. You close your eyes and hear the waves crashing on dock, breathe in the salty air and take a mental note to remember this moment for a lifetime. Sounds pretty spectacular, right? Most of the time, mental moments like this don’t happen. Whenever there is a breathtaking sight, you can bet someone is going to pull out their phones to capture the experience. Somehow the organic element of “living in the moment” is gone as soon as someone sends a Snapchat or “checks-in” on Foursquare.

Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to capture, share, and express yourself in the environment around you. After all, what is the one thing that everyone tells you before you travel? “Take lots of pictures for me!” Traveling is more than experiencing, but also to bringing back pieces of the world to share with others. Whether that be in pictures, Instagram updates, Facebook posts, or even tweets – staying connected with home while traveling is always important.

So what is a respectable balance between living in the moment and having tangible proof and memories of your visit? Here are four tips to keep you connected; yet free from the addictive grasp that social media has on most of us.Capture 2







You see them everywhere—the extreme addicts who would rather go to a fast food restaurant with Wi-Fi than have a scenic picnic on the beach. At least you can Instagram the French fries, right? According to, around 70% of travelers updated their Facebook status while they were on vacation. Although it is great to stay up-to-date with news, emails and keep up with friends and family, there comes a time when you need to put down the phone and live a little bit.

2. Capture the moment and then put it away

I personally love taking picture wherever I travel. There is no better way to embrace your inner tourist than with a camera in hand. Even if the photo isn’t spectacular, it is wonderful to be able to look back and remember my days through a diary of photos. Strangely enough, most times the photos I liked the best were ones where I wasn’t trying to be Picasso and create a masterpiece, but just simple snapshots throughout my day.

Take photos, gather memories – but look at them when you get home. Small changes like taking your phone off the table during dinner make a huge difference. Don’t spend all evening discretely (or not so discretely) checking Facebook to see how many likes you get on your photo.

3. Stay in touch

Take the time to send a quick postcard or letter to those you love. Although you are out experiencing new sights, tastes and sounds – the rest of you family and friends are left wishing they could be with you and wondering what you are doing on the other side of the world.


Anyone can send a text, but it takes thought and planning to send something hand written. Sitting down with a pen in hand to write a personal message is an alien concept to many – don’t fall into this category! Even if you just send a couple sentences, it will mean so much to the lucky person receiving your card. As John Diaz from the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out, “Neither a thousand tweets nor an e-mail of any length can quite match the power or poignancy of a handwritten letter.”

4. Take time to reflect

Capture photos and videos. Describe your experiences to family and friends. But if you don’t take some time for yourself to absorb the experiences in your mind, then what are they really worth? Try going for walks or writing in a journal to unblock your thoughts from the hustle and bustle of a busy day.

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11 Perfect Post Ideas for Your Company Blog


At Gaia Group, we do a lot of blogging for our clients. Blog integration is one of the most important keys to digital success. Blogging adds tremendous social and SEO value to any organization’s marketing strategy. However, we understand that it can be difficult to come up with consistent, relevant, exciting content for your company’s blog. With these 11 fail-proof ideas, you will never be at a loss for words.

  1. “Top” Lists – “Top 10”-type lists are perfect for driving traffic to your blog. “Top” lists are memorable, practical, and help us organize our thoughts. These lists are great for SEO, especially if you tag included photographs very well and share on feed-based sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
  2. “Lessons Learned” Posts – These posts take events from the zeitgeist and liken them to an industry issue. Lessons learned posts are wonderful for engagement, and they vary blog content from the “usual.” These posts include eye-grabbing headlines like ” Five PR Lessons Learned from Beyonce’s Grammy’s performance” or “What the New iPhone Commercial Says about Millenial Marketing.”
  3. Write News Roundups – Posting occasional entries filled with links to industry news sites or other reputable blogs. After each link, write a short blurb with analysis. This increases your SEO and builds your credibility as an industry thought leader. News and link roundups also build relationships; when other thought leaders see traffic directed to their site from yours, it opens your organization up for more partnerships and collaborative opportunities.
  4. Post Trend Updates – Is there a new issue or trend sweeping your industry? Write about it! How does the trend help? Hurt? How has your organization adjusted to the changes the trend influences?
  5. Include Feature Stories about the Organization – Write about employee programs, someone on the team who deserves to be recognized, or a special social responsibility initiative you have going on. This will give stakeholders an inside look at your organization’s mission and values.
  6. Debunk Common Myths – Is there a common myth in your industry? Debunk it in a blog posts, and talk about how your organization operates outside of that myth.
  7. Interview a Client or Customer – Who can speak better about your product or services than you can? Schedule a sit-down with a trusted client, and post the conversation to give potential customers an idea of what to expect from your organization.
  8. Share a List of Your Favorite Industry Blogs – This one works similarly to the news roundup. These types of posts are best for building partnerships and influence as an industry leader.
  9. Share Conference Takeaways – Did you learn a lot at the conference you attended last week? Great! Share with your stakeholders! You can also pick up a lot of the conference’s traffic: chances are, people who didn’t attend are looking for a summary.
  10. Post an Industry-Relevant Infographic – Write a quick blurb about an interesting industry infographic, and make sure to html tag the photo!
  11. Take a Poll – The best way to engage with your stakeholders is to reach out and talk to them. When you ask others for specific action or feedback, you’ll get it!

Lindsay Buchanan is an Associate at Gaia Group. You can follow her at @LBuchananPR or check out her blog, Southern Belle Stylista.

Positive Social Sharing for Brands: Amazing or Annoying?


It recently came to my attention that an old high school classmate was overheard complaining about my social media usage. She complained that I only post about  “every positive thing” in my life, and that it was “annoying.” I was initially offended: I couldn’t figure out why a person I haven’t thought about since I was 18 years old would care enough to complain about my positive social shares. However, because 60% of my job is to create, measure, and study social media interactions – I considered her opinion and rationalized it in a professional context. Is positive social sharing irritating to some people because it seems fake? If so, what kind of implications does that have for social content for major brands?

Share Diverse Brand Information

As marketers, we’re encouraged to shape perceptions, promote positives, and spin negatives. However, we also have to be careful not to alienate our clients’ blog readers, Facebook page fans, and followers. There’s nothing wrong with being positive, just as long as you’re being truthful and sharing diversified content.

Reduce Brand’s Fans’ “Fear of Missing Out,” And Save Reputation

Perhaps, my old classmate was just suffering from social media envy. This “epidemic” was the subject of a particularly interesting New York Post article. The immediacy of physically seeing someone’s happiness or success can give people a severe “fear of missing out.” Similarly, social fans who feel left out and unheard are far more vocal than if they have no complaints about the brand and its content. According to a survey quoted in a Mediapost article, on average, social media users who have had bad service experiences tell 53 other people about the experience; that’s almost three times the number of people that non-social media users tell. To limit negative news and help fans feel included, cater your content to your audience, and respond to posted issues social quickly and respectfully.

Spread Positivity With Comments and Likes

In order to counteract Internet negativity, I routinely comment on engagement photos, baby pictures, and school acceptances, congratulating my fellow happy social media pals. In a similar way, brands need to share the love. When active brand lovers mention you on Twitter or comment on your Facebook photo, respond! Building relationships with your organization’s digital friends only strengthens brand loyalty, broadens your impressions and reach, and pays the positivity forward. Brands that talk back to their fans online are more likely to receive more favorable comments more often. This spreads reinforces a positive, branded digital culture.

Don’t Try To Please The “Un-Pleaseable”

Although, after some self-reflection, I decided that I disagreed with my former classmate, her opinion taught me a valuable career lesson: always consider the naysayers. In the words of Dita Von Teese, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone who hates peaches.” When creating digital content, write for your target and listen to their criticism, but don’t get caught up in trying to please a consistently negative “fan.” Web activity sometimes fosters a subculture of nonsensical contrarianism. Don’t try to be everything to everyone: be the best you can be for the people who need or hire you.

Client In the News: There’s More to the Super Bowl than Meets the Eye

facebook haystax

One of our clients, Haystax Technologies, was just featured in a CNET article . Their technology is “designed to pull in huge flow of raw data — things like camera feeds, radiological monitors, RFID and GPS systems, and social media — and algorithmically bring the most important data points to the top.”

In short, their product helps first responders find a needle in the proverbial haystack.

Check out the article here.

Three Ways Your Brand Should Use Vine


by Lindsay Buchanan, Associate

Given that two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2017, and mobile makes up more than more than 25 percent of YouTube’s global watch time, many brands are making the wise decision to create more web video content.

Vine is winning the brand war in many ways. Five tweets per second contain a Vine link. A branded Vine video is four-times more likely to be seen than a regular branded video. Although Instagram has 10 times the users that Vine does (130 million and 10 million, respectively), Vine’s users are extremely vocal. Additionally, Vine’s influence stretches beyond the app itself.

Vine video compilations are among the most watched videos on YouTube. Even if people are not Vine users, they are more than likely watching the top videos via YouTube, Twitter, or blog site embeds. Additionally, Luce Performance Group found that Vine videos from brands got .0206 percent average engagement rate and an average of 20 retweets, while Instagram videos got .0111 percent average engagement rate and an average of 7 retweets.

Here are a few ways your brand can jump on the Vine bandwagon:

Partner with Vine Influencers

There are many users on Vine, but there are a few who truly stand out. There are some breakout “Vine stars” whose videos receive thousands of re-Vines and comments every day. Brands to build partnerships with these influential Vine users in order to create more brand awareness and gain more followers. Ask influencers to create a video on their account using a campaign hashtag, or ask them to direct a series of videos on your Vine account. By working with these Vine “celebrities,” you can greatly expand your brand’s reach and influence.


Like with any social strategy, cross-promotion is key when drawing attention to your brand’s Vine videos. Make sure that you share content across all social channels. Share videos on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Get the rest of your organization involved, too. The more that eyes are on your content, the faster it will spread.

Extend Campaign Key Messages

Use Vine to promote your brand’s key messages. Consider Vine as an extension of your integrated communications plan; it should not be your entire strategy. Social media marketing only works effectively when it’s part of a carefully crafted communications plan. The best branded Vine videos are ones that are obviously, carefully planned. Social is a tool, not a tactic; make sure you consult a communications professional to make sure all of your brand messages, social or otherwise, are created thoughtfully and strategically.

Curious about Vine vs. Instagram? Here are some resources to help:

“PR Is Dead,” and Other Lessons from PRSA iCon

by Lindsay Buchanan, Associate

Last weekend’s 2013 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) International Conference in Philadelphia was full of lessons and forecasts from the industry’s greatest minds. The crown jewel of the weekend’s lineup of presentations delivered by industry superstars was the keynote speech from Brian Solis of Altimeter Group. Brian is a well-known and longstanding thought leader in the PR industry. Here are just three of the many insights Mr. Solis shared with the crowd about “The Future of PR” and are practice that Gaia Group and others in our industry put into practice and also serve as reminders of where we are headed.

1. Selfish Social is a Major Branding Blunder.

Solis urged professionals to put the “social” in social media, NOT the “me.” Some companies jump on social media, and they only use it to push out marketing messages. In reality, it is not advisable to market “at” people, but rather to draw them into a digital experience. The “experience cycle” involves the relationship between user, consumer and brand experience.

In this interconnected digital world we’re actually kind of antisocial, said Solis. Our digital feeds should be about creating an experiential environment where followers become brand ambassadors, not about shoving a product or service into our follower’s line of sight. Followers should feel like they are a part of your brand lifestyle. The brand journalism movement adds promise, and that all digital content should consider the consumer and her likes and dislikes.

2. Communicators Need to Communicate (With Each Other).

Winning social campaigns start at home. Successful social strategy requires communication between all of an organization’s departments. Transparency allows communicators to unify messaging and create a meaningful, workable strategy that keeps all internal parties involved. He talked about the journey that consumers have to take with organizations, whether it’s through a website, press release, an app or Facebook page.

Brian Solis described the “journey” of creating competent content as “a mess.”

“The people who own mobile don’t talk to people who own the website. The people who own the website don’t talk to the people who are running Facebook,” Solis said. This disconnect creates multiple brands and multiple voices for one company. It is up to PR practitioners to redefine that “journey,” integrate it, and, thus, change content for the better.

3. PR is Dead.

At least in the traditional sense. Public relations is no longer just about writing press releases, pitching stories, and planning events. The Future of PR is all about creating experiences, either online or in person.

Public relations now sits at the intersection of brand experience, user experience and customer experience.

4. Communications Professionals Should Avoid “Kodak Moments”

It’s important to know when to adapt. If you fail to adjust your strategy to account for new information, digital innovation, or new ways of thought, you may have a “Kodak moment.”

Brian Solis said that the old definition of the “Kodak moment” was co-opted by society as the “Instagram moment.” Kodak didn’t change their business model at a time when digital and consumer experience were exploding in their industry. They had all the technology and patents to create that experience, but they didn’t. Brian Solis defines the “new Kodak moment” as the moment you failed to realize that your organization needs to change.

“In order to change and innovate, we have to see what we don’t do right,” said Solis. Communicators are responsible for assessing their strategy, assessing their organization’s industry, and deciding how to influence a shift in consumer perception.

Lindsay Buchanan is an Associate and Digital Strategist at Gaia Group. You can catch up with her on her style blog, Southern Belle Stylista, or on Twitter 

Need a Social Media Reality Check?

Susan’s Social Corner: Your Social Media Reality Check

By Susan Shuckra

Using social media is practically a prerequisite for most B2B and B2C companies. Whether it’s a combination of using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or others, you’re probably leveraging one or more platforms on a daily basis.  So how to you create more “meaningful” online relationships with the little time you have to post or tweet to ensure maximize impact for your business? Here are some tips to help guide you towards establishing a loyal following through on any social media platform:


  • Create an open dialogue. Are you listening to your audience? This is your opportunity to find out exactly what your customers say about you and what they want. Bottom line:  Interacting on Facebook is more than just pushing out posts.
  • Commit the time and resources. Social media is not a quick process. Look at the people in your offline social circles—those you hold closest. How long have you known them? How much time have you spent together? All of this time bonds strong relationships.  Bottom line: You need more than 10 minutes twice a week.
  • Respond (and sooner rather than later).  If you get a comment, respond quickly. Bottom line: Responding quickly shows that you’re engaged and listening to your online community.
  • Create your own content. It’s ok share good content and information, but put your own spin on it. Bottom line: People want to hear what you have to say not what you found on the internet.


  • Come across like a broken record. It’s important to have some diversity in your posts/tweets. Don’t say the same thing over and over. Say something new and different to gain the interest and respect of your followers. It’s ok to be opinionated. Bottom line: Share content that inspires you, infuriates you, or makes you laugh.
  • Just sell your stuff.  Social networks are not direct sales tools. Use them as a place to develop a community of people who are interested in your brand and what it has to say. Bottom line: We all  have to make ends meet but try to focus less on pushing your products/services and more on creating and sharing interesting content.
  • Be inconsistent. It is not good practice to update your online status twice in a two-hour period, and then only once the next week. Be consistent so your audience knows what to expect. Bottom line: Take the time you need to interact, listen to your community and hare good content.
  • Ignore negative comments.  See negative comments and feedback as an opportunity to reinforce your message. Bottom line: Ignoring comments only makes you seem like you’re hiding something. Be transparent in your comments.

Social media for business is about getting people to like, know and trust you. The more you communicate and have a two-way dialogue, the more you will humanize your brand and grow your a reputation within your niche.

Interested in more tips?  Drop me a line to receive our quick guide on “How to Use Social Media to Drive Awareness, Grow Business, and Generate Revenue” at


Congressmen in Shorts?

That was an attention grabber headline, eh? Well, we can’t say there will be any shorts this week (DC is unusually chilly for April), but there is a lot going on with soccer in D.C…

Our very own, Susan Shuckra, will be presenting on social media at the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s annual Urban Soccer Symposium.  Susan will be presenting along with Jason Longshore, Chief Strategic Officer, Soccer in the Streets.  These two social yoda’s will be teaching young jedi’s how to wield the force for their brand benefit (yes, we are girl geeks too!).

The week concludes with the first annual Capital Soccer Classic.  Where, perhaps, you may be able to glimpse Members of Congress trouncing the competition.



When Tragedy Strikes

All of us feel deeply saddened by the events in Boston this week.  The first 24-48 hours after something like this, no one goes without thinking of how things went terribly wrong and what, if anything, could have prevented the dominos from falling.

In crisis, media professionals get to work. Clients need to be informed that the AP reporter who was interested in the story yesterday, may be much less interested today. Oh, by the way, it’s very bad taste to be tossing story ideas within 24 hours of national tragedy. An unwritten rule, but one to remember and abide by.  This also applies to social media posts and large group promotional emails.  Nothing is that important that it needs to be promoted while a nation mourns.

A new day dawns, times passes and we are back at it again.  Recovering what we can and moving forward.  It’s what we do best.

Olympic -sized Snafus, Fast Food Fracas and the Centre County Crisis Continues – Musings from the Hammock II

As the summer season tends to get busy, it’s hard to blog regularly so we decided to do a roundup of news and comments from this year’s hot spell.   Summer 2012 will be remembered and enumerated by social media scandals primarily in the form of Twitter. It’s hard to fathom in this information age that public figures haven’t learned how to control their feeds.  Scandals, revolutions and outrage are all possible in the space of 140 characters.

The power of Twitter was felt by Olympic athletes from Greece to Switzerland – and our very own Fourth Estate.  From jumper to soccer player and network critic, all have been impacted by the world of social media.  While all targets of the tweets were victims, none were as visible as NBC.  Yes, you can watch events live, but they are still broadcasting a delayed version for prime time.  Yes, the viewership is sky high, but we hope network execs can do a better job of planning live streaming in the future.

Chicken Sandwiches Spark National Attention

Chick-fil-A’s President and Chief Operating Officer Dan T. Cathy wasn’t a household name in many places other than the hallowed halls of HQ until the day he broadcast personal beliefs around a red hot topic.  Cathy’s personal opinion of same sex marriage set off a fire storm of negative publicity for the company.  In the middle of the controversy, it looks like the Chick-fil-A PR team lost a team leader while managing to keep the statements churning.  Regardless of their status, the team navigated a national firestorm of commentary and grassroots activism on both sides of the issue.   No matter what anyone thinks of the issue, the PR team should be applauded for its adept and professional handling of an unexpected crisis.  Did this crisis hurt or help the brand?  We’ll leave that up to the court of public opinion.

Football Scandal Continues Momentum

Not to bum everyone out completely, but let’s address the elephant in the room – Penn State.  While a bird told us that Edelman is working with the university to recharge its public image, it will take a while to get there.  With players fleeing to other fields, statues being removed and fines imposed, the PR team will be hard at work crafting messaging that focuses on (re) building public trust for a long time to come.  As with any crisis program, all elements of the issue are reviewed and that includes taking a temperature with social media. The Pew Research Center’s Project on Excellence in Journalism examined the discussion on Twitter before and after the Freeh report’s release on July 12. Findings state that, “Before the Freeh report was released, 42 percent of the tweets about Paterno were positive. After the Freeh report came out, that number actually increased to 44 percent. Meanwhile tweets about the Penn State football program went from 40 percent being positive down to 22 percent.”  We look forward to seeing the in-depth reporting with a positive spin likely to come around as a result of professional issues management.

We decided to shelf In-N-Out’s sick cow crisis – two fast food stories is one too many.  Feel free to drop us a line and let us know about your favorite news item of the summer.