Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide


November 2011

The power of your own Page

I’ve managed a lot of Facebook Pages over the past few years.

They’ve always been owned by my employer or my clients.  Occasionally they’ve been owned by a community group that I’ve been part of.

As the Page manager, I was always careful to retain that Page’s brand voice, to protect its business interests, keep its community happy and grow the Page’s fanbase and engagement. It’s something I enjoy within the boundaries that apply – because those boundaries challenge you.

Yesterday I announced that I will be launching my own social media consultancy. And with that, comes my own Facebook business page.  And that feels so invigorating I am still searching for a metaphor to do it justice [please feel free to leave appropriate metaphor in comments below].

I always advise clients to have a goal when using social media, and to have standards and a ‘voice’ to stick to. That helps steer them away from trouble, and the problematic blending of the personal and professional. Will I be tempted to be silly on the new Prakky Page? Will I forget the brand voice now and then? I hope not. I have to remember that I have my personal Facebook profile for that …

As a Prakkypedia reader, I hope you’ll take the time to Like and interact with me there. I’m looking forward to seeing you.

Over coming weeks, I’ll also be launching the new brand on Facebook and my new website. There’ll be a different look for Prakkypedia too.

My big fat, not-so-secret news

I’m excited.

About lots of things. Including the Foo Fighters performing in Adelaide this Monday. And Christmas approaching. (Yes, I love Christmas).

But there’s something I’m even more excited about. SO EXCITED I AM MOVED TO USING CAPS WHICH I DON’T DO LIGHTLY.

Next week, I become Prakky, sole social media consultant.

For the past two years I’ve been working as social media consultant with Hughes PR, where I’ve had a fantastic time and worked with fabulous clients. Prior to that, I was Digital Content Manager with the South Australian Tourism Commission, managing websites and social media platforms there.

Now it’s time for me to do my own thing.

If you’re a Prakkypedia reader, you’re probably in one of these camps right now:

  1. Not surprised at my move
  2. Surprised at my move because you already thought I was a sole consultant
  3. Surprised that I’m a Foo Fighters fan

So, what now?

I’d like you to stay tuned for my business launch, including my new website and Facebook business page. (I am very much looking forward to managing my own Facebook business page.  Those of you who manage Pages for others know exactly what I mean. The freedom will be dizzying). I am looking forward to sharing my new brand look with you, too.

The Prakkypedia blog will continue so I hope you’ll stick around.

And of course .. tell your friends.

p.s. I called this post “not-so-secret” because the news has leaked to some people already. Because I told them.

Twitter 101 series: conference hashtags

This read is for those who are new to Twitter or new to Twitter hashtags …

You might have attended a conference recently, where other attendees were tweeting.

Did you feel left out? Did you wonder what was going on?

If you haven’t delved into Twitter yet, it can be difficult to understand the attraction and benefits.

Twitter encourages conference debate and opens proceedings up to people who can’t attend physically.

So how does it work?

Prakky speaking at PR Directions conference
Prakky speaking at PR Directions conference

Anyone can join Twitter and start to write updates. If you’re at a conference, you can start to comment on what’s taking place. But how do other people see it?

On Twitter, you can use a simple keyboard symbol to bring topics together for people to see. It’s the hashtag (the # symbol).  It’s like agreeing on how we’ll categorise a topic in a library, or what drawer we’re going to put the Gladwrap in.

Let’s walk through an example. Imagine you’re attending the Perth Widgets conference.

Organisers have sent you the agenda, a list of recommended hotels – and they’ve let you know that the conference Twitter hashtag will be #perthwidget.

Or, as you’re packing your bags, you’re chatting on your phone to a colleague who’s also attending. They let you know they’re going to initiate the Twitter hashtag #perthwidget and they want you to use it too.

During the first morning’s presentation, the speaker says something mindblowing about the new widget for 2011. You’re compelled to share this with the world. You grab your smartphone and share the comment on Twitter, typing in #perthwidget at the end.

Everyone at the conference searching for #perthwidget on Twitter will see your message and can respond.

People who can’t be in the room with you  (your colleagues back in the office, your employer at another session) can also read your #perthwidget Twitter updates. They may even have that hashtag as a temporary saved search, or have set up a column in Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to follow the conference hashtag easily for the day.

More and more conferences are incorporating Twitter streams into their official proceedings, because they’re recognising it as a broadcast channel and a debating forum.

Some conferences display Twitter on a giant screen for all to see. This can be somewhat distracting but also, for those used to multi-tasking and accessing more than one communications stream at a time, it can provoke more interaction at the conference rather than risking you nodding off.

Twitter hashtags also help you socialise at a conference. We’ve all seen the list of attendees at the door, but it still isn’t easy to find the people you want to network with. So if you read a #perthwidget tweet that Joe Bloggs from Widgets Worldwide is getting coffee now, or that Mary Joe Bloggs is setting up for her speech and wants to meet people with questions now, you may be able to approach them and chat.

What sort of conference hashtag experiences have you had?

What’s in a name?

I presented two social media Masterclasses at the South Australian Tourism Industry Council conference recently.

The conference MC was a journalist named Emma Rebellato.

Emma had a lovely speaking voice. Smooth tones. Calming manner.

But it was her name I was even more envious of. Emma Rebellato. Say it aloud. It runs so easily off the tongue, like a poem or an incantation. You want to say it again and again.

Prak Tshirt circa 2006
Prak Tshirt circa 2006

With my name, it’s different. “Michelle Prak” stops you in your tracks.

“Prak” is almost spat out. It’s an abrasive sound. And it’s often misheard by people because it’s so unusual. I’m frequently asked to repeat it, to make sure I didn’t say “Pratt” or “Brack” or some such.

Twice, I’ve had the opportunity to change my surname.

The first time, in my teens. My family was going through a time of change, with two families joining together and a plethora of surnames  up for grabs in all sorts of combinations.

After a quick poll of my high school besties (because really, who else can you trust?), I chose to stick with ‘Prak’.

Years later the opportunity came with marriage. Again, I stuck with Prak – for professional reasons mainly, but also because I found too many other advantages in sticking with the name I was born with rather than changing (for which I couldn’t find many compelling reasons). Happily, my fabulous husband didn’t try to influence my decision.

Today, as a social media passionista I’m more glad than ever that I didn’t change my name.

And that comes back to my high school besties. Because they were the first to call me Prakky.

Prakky became my online name and has worked well for me. People seem to like it.

Prakky is different to Prak.

Prakky rolls more easily off the tongue. It seems to make people happy, and comfortable with me.

Even better, it’s lent itself easily to other formats – like my blog, where I crowdsourced the name Prakkypedia.

Similarly, Prakky has helped me move away from the more vanilla ‘Michelle’ which is quite a common name for my age group. I’m not in the league of Ita or Madonna, but Prakky is a name that has gradually become a brand in my little fish pond and helped me to promote my work.

What’s this all leading to?

Well, stay tuned for more uses of the Prakky name coming soon.

Is Klout Losing Its Kred?

There has long been disquiet and scepticism surrounding the social media ‘influence measurement tool’ Klout.

I’ve seen most of this on Twitter over many months (and not just recently, following changes to Klout’s algorithm). I’ve seen tweets from people questioning their Klout topics of influence, questioning the Klout scores of ‘bots’ and spammers, and so on. Another example is this vignette from Ken Mueller, discussing some perplexing Klout perks he’s been given

This week some social media leaders have decided to delete their Klout accounts. In the main, this doesn’t appear to be related to personal disgruntlement at a drop in score. It seems to be related to a dissatisfaction with the principles behind Klout.

I’ve decided to keep my Klout account. These are my reasons:

  1. I want to keep in touch with how Klout evolves.
  2. I’m not entirely convinced it’s evil yet.
  3. I don’t mind what my Klout score is –  because my clients don’t mind.

Most of my clients don’t know Klout exists. My measure of influence with clients comes from my face-to-face time with them. It comes from my 20 years of communications industry experience and passion for the social media space. It comes from my growing social media case studies. And it comes from word of mouth and social media referrals from other spheres, primarily Twitter (and this blog!)

Going up or down? Klout.
Going up or down? Klout.

If Klout sticks around and gains resonance in the wider community, some clients may refer to it. But I’d like to think they have the maturity to know that one number doesn’t sum up a consultant’s entire career.

However, I’ve enjoyed reading the recent debate about Klout.

The people over at PeerIndex posted a very measured response, urging people to keep calm. Among the points:

  • Social media metrics are in their infancy. Social media has only been mainstream for a few years.
  • No one agrees on a single definition of influence. Because there isn’t a single definition.
  • Having many players with different approaches bodes well for both companies and consumers.

Neville Hobson wrote about why he has quit Klout. When submitting his ‘delete account’ form on Klout, his reason for leaving the platform was “Thanks, but I no longer believe your service offers me any value.” He stated that he simply didn’t trust Klout.

Neville cited Lynnette Young who, after quitting Klout, said on her G+ account “I no longer feel dirty and hypocritical”.

He also cited Rohan Jay Miller, who on Social Media Today urged people to ‘delete your Klout profile now’. Miller said “The fundamental evil of Klout is that it’s a venture capital-backed company looking to leverage into a big IPO payday  and the only value proposition they offer is their ability to identify, train and exploit people they can sell to advertisers as “key influencers”’. Wow. I don’t know about Klout’s capital-backing, but that sounded scary. (It’s worth reading the comments below Miller’s blog post, including comments about whether Klout had removed the ability to delete your own account).

Of course, now I want to hear Klout’s response – particularly to Miller. Them’s some strong words he has used!

But it seems Klout CEO and founder Joe Fernandez hasn’t tweeted in response to the ‘deleting my Klout account’ posts. He did retweet a post by Mike Johansson on Social Media Today, but that revolves around analysing the PR backlash using Alterian sentiment measurement.

The official Klout blog doesn’t appear to have a response.

What does Klout say to the accusation that it’s preparing to “exploit people they can sell to advertisers”?

I’d be interested to know. As a PR professional, it’s not a charge I’d encourage any client to let stand without response …

Related Prakkypedia post you may want to read: The Age of Measurement.

(My thanks to Lee Hopkins  for recently sharing his Klout reflection on Facebook. That was the inspiration for today’s post).

Big Day Out – Kanye Fix It?

One of Australia’s most popular annual music festivals, the Big Day Out, is receiving a backlash today after announcing that a drawcard for next year – Kanye West – will not appear in Adelaide or Perth.

BDO is trending on Twitter, and it’s not for the right reasons.

The BDO website provided this news for Adelaide:  “… the need to reduce from two to one main stage in Adelaide also means several acts from the first announcement will not be able to perform in Adelaide. Unfortunately The Living End, Mariachi El Bronx and Kanye West will not be appearing at the Adelaide Big Day Out and we thank them for their help, support and understanding.” And for Perth, it was the same story.

Well, there was little understanding online today.

And BDO’s absence from social media hasn’t helped.

@cka4 summed it up with her tweet below:

Not impressed
Not impressed

At the time of writing, BDO hadn’t tweeted for seven hours, and all previous tweets were announcements linking to its official page where the bad news was delivered. The details were not discussed on its Twitter page – and the name Kanye definitely wasn’t used.

Big Day Out’s Facebook page is the home of some venting, but again, the organisers themselves are remaining quiet.

What are BDO’s choices, from a public relations and social media point of view?

They could opt to engage with each and every complainant in ‘real time’ which may demonstrate they’re in touch, they care, and that they’re part of what’s happening today too. These posts could placate people – or incite them. If BDO took this route,  it could find that it is generating more conversation and spinning its wheels.

BDO could opt to be quiet and ride out the storm, letting the community vent online and then attempting to wrap up the issue with some summative posts tonight or tomorrow. They could offer fans an apology and perhaps a refund offer. It appears this is the route they are steering toward. (They may well be working behind the scenes now to decide how to deal with disgruntled ticket holders who don’t want to come to a BDO that doesn’t feature Kanye).

You know what else would be nice? Some words from Kanye on BDO’s Facebook and Twitter profiles.

3 helpful tips for G+ Pages

Many of you may be busy setting up your business page on GooglePlus, as this feature became available today. Here’s three helpful things to note:

1. How to find your Pages:

Under your G+ profile picture (top left) you’ll find the drop down window leading to the pages you manage. See the example below. Simply click on the Page name to begin to use G+ as that Page.

GooglePlus - how to find your Pages
GooglePlus - how to find your Pages

2. Staying out of trouble
When you use the platform as a Page (or brand), G+ reminds you – which can be useful for keeping you out of trouble! See the image below for a sample (“You are now using Google+ as this page …”)

GooglePlus Page reminder
GooglePlus Page reminder

3. Your vanity URL
When you use G+ as a newly-created page, see the ‘Get started’  text below your name. It leads to a very useful page which also contains your G+ website link. You can use that G+ link to obtain a vanity URL with That gives you a slick, neat way to share your G+ page name (and applies to personal profiles too).

What handy tips can you share?

Early birds – Australian brands on Google Plus

Today GooglePlus gave organisations and brands the ability to officially hang up their shingle with a GooglePlus Page.

Australian brands that have quickly jumped on board include:

Vodafone Australia

Honda Australia

Hill & Knowlton

Tourism Australia

Amnesty International Australia

Liberal Party of Australia

In Adelaide, ConnectingUp and of course Socadl have GooglePlus pages. There’s also a generic Adelaide page  and the University of South Australia has one too.

In addition, there are several South Australian organisations that appear to have had a G+ profile for more than a month now (raising questions about their ‘legality’ within Google’s terms and conditions, so I won’t reprint their names here).

It’s interesting to note that the brands delving into G+ have taken the time to share photographs, enhancing their brand and quickly populating their new page. This is something that hasn’t always occurred on platforms in the past, and it’s nice to see. I always encourage clients to share images – they add interest, colour and tell an immediate story.

And thanks to my tweet pal @JMSness for sharing this lovely examples of a G+ business page – Burberry. The image below doesn’t do it justice so please visit the page live. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Burberry on GooglePlus
Burberry on GooglePlus

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