How to Influence Public Perception: A Blueprint

The perception of your company and industry as a whole is the primary driver of purchase behavior for consumers. Learn how to shape those perceptions and grow your business.

The Web Never Forgets

I recently read an article called "Think Again Before You Post Online Those Pics Of Your Kids" that made me think. It made me think A LOT about what I have been posting about my family and friends on social media. How many of you have posted a funny video of your kids that might be slightly embarrassing for them, but it is just too good not to share? I know I have. But what I have failed to do is to think about how many will view and share that particular video, and for how long it will be available for anyone and everyone to see.  The carbon footprint, so to speak, that we leave behind of ourselves on social media is there for the public to view forever! That ‘fun’ video you posted of your kids will be on the internet for your kids’ friends to view forever, even when they are teenagers and most likely do not want anyone to see it.

In trying to keep my kids safe, I have always been very concerned with what my kids share on their preferred social media platforms (which, incidentally does NOT include Facebook). I often tell them that what they post will be there for an eternity. I have put down a long list of ‘rules’ of what is okay and what is not okay on their social media; there can be no indecent photos, no bad language, no mean comments, no bullying, no connecting with strangers, no rude comments about myself or their dad, and he and I both have to be a ‘friend’ of theirs, so we can keep tabs on their social media activities. But in all honesty, I haven’t given much thought to the longevity and potential reach of what I post on social media. Of course, I don’t post anything about my kids maliciously, but rather to share what is going on in my life, which includes not only my activities but also those of my kids. My family lives in Europe and it is an easy way for me to connect with them and vice versa for them to see what is going on in my life here. But here is the thing: How do my kids feel about what I post about them on social media? I am embarrassed to say that I have never asked them…

Social media hasn’t been around that long (Facebook started in 2004, about the time when most current middle school students were born,) so it is hard to say how growing up on social media can affect your kids’ privacy and security. However, it’s time to consider the issue seriously. What we as parents post on social media about our kids shape their online image, which is there to stay forever. My daughter turned thirteen in the fall. As any other young teenager, she is concerned with her image and wants to be portrayed in a positive light whether it is on my social media or at school.

After reading that article, we decided that it’s time we sit down with our kids and draw up guidelines for what they are comfortable with being posted on social media. Working together on deciding what to post and what to avoid will create a mutual respect and appreciation, and at the same time teach great social media etiquette. In my household, we have set up a family meeting for this Saturday to make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to posting on our social media.

With that said – Good luck and happy posting!

Tweet for #Education

Twitter, the social network that just increased its character limit from 140 characters to 280 at the beginning of this month, attracts a wide spectrum of users, including a growing number of educators. In the world of education, teachers are using Twitter to enrich their classrooms and connect with informal professional networks. Twitter is frequently used to reach out and communicate with students and parents alike, for assignments, links to educational resources, changes to homework, last minute information, and contests, just to mention a few.

 By Sylvia Duckworth

By Sylvia Duckworth

Twitter is not only a great tool for reaching students and parents with a quick tweet, it also connects teachers with their colleagues and forums for quick up-to-date references on what other institutions are doing as well as the latest trends. Twitter for Teachers gives teachers access to hundreds of important links and helpful ideas from teachers around the world. The forum also gives teachers an opportunity to follow and implement good examples as well as share their own efficient teaching methods.

At Kuentz Elementary in Helotes, Texas, using Twitter to connect with students and parents is common practice. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with one of the 5th grade Teachers, Karen Connor, to find out why she finds Twitter useful:

TPM: Why do you use Twitter as a communication channel in your classroom?

KC: As a professional and the Fifth Grade Teacher Leader, I was encouraged by our principal to use Twitter. She invited me to attend a motivational speech by George Couros (@gcouros), which was very enlightening and encouraged me to use social media professionally and personally. In my classroom I use Twitter to share positive things that are happening in school and at other schools. I also use Twitter to connect with parents.

TPM:  What are the three main things you use Twitter for?

KC: I use Twitter for professional development, outreach and global learning. Public schools are in direct competition with chartered schools for students. I keep myself informed on @WeGoPublic, so I know what I am up against. I try to stay ahead of the educational game by connecting with other teachers and schools.

TPM: Do you feel you connect better with your students and their parents using Twitter?

KC: It has improved since I started using Twitter two years ago. More parents follow this year and prefer Twitter over our web page, but the majority still rely on emails. My students are too young to have a Twitter account yet, but I do have an iPad in the classroom that they can use every now and then.

TPM: When do you resort to tweeting and how often do you tweet?

KC: When I tweet during school hours, it’s mostly an ‘in the moment’ thing when we’re doing something fun or creative that could be useful to other students and teachers. We use Periscope and go live too. My students think it’s fun and will make an extra effort.

TPM: What is your prefered social medium and why?

KC: For personal stuff I prefer Facebook. It feels more secure because I can limit who can view my posts. I use Twitter for professional development, to reach out and learn what is new in my field.

TPM: Do you feel Twitter is a good tool for professional development?

KC: I do now, but at first I hated it. I don’t like wasting my time, especially when you’re asked to go to professional development courses on your own time. With Twitter I can do it when it’s convenient, narrow down relevant topics and it’s an instant gratification.

TPM: Is it mandatory that you tweet and stay technologically savvy by Northside Independent School District (NISD)

KC: It’s not mandatory, but it’s encouraged. I am privileged to have a proactive Principal who encourages us to be on the cutting edge of what is going on in our field, and who provides us with the tools necessary to get there.

TPM: Do you find you connect better with your students by using social media?

KC: I use it mostly to connect with parents and the public. My students do get very excited when their work will be shown on Twitter and will work harder. Most of them don’t have their own Twitter accounts yet.

TPM: Twitter expanded its character limit to 280 characters. Is that helpful to you?

KC: When I first started using Twitter the 140 character limit was very frustrating, but it has helped structure my thoughts and get to the point quickly, and it makes it very easy to go through my feed. I am not sure what I think of the expansion. I haven’t reached the limit of 280 characters in any of my tweets yet.

TPM: Do you tweet professionally? Privately? Why?

KC: I do both. I have a classroom Twitter account and I have a personal account too. In the morning I will scroll through quickly and catch up on headlines, but after my day it will be something more purposeful and enriching.

TPM:  Has Tweeting helped you develop new contacts in the educational world?

KC: Absolutely! I am much more connected. Not just to Northside Independent School District and Texas, but also beyond. I constantly learn about new methods on teaching or new ideas, and adjust them to fit into my classroom. I also reach out and tweet about what we do here. It’s refreshing.


Clearly Twitter has been a powerful medium for awhile now, and it continues to beat traditional media to the punch. In fact, traditional media often uses tweets to mold or lead their stories (Good luck trying to count how many POTUS tweets have national media coverage this year.) Personally, I have mostly worked with Twitter in a marketing capacity, and have viewed it more as a platform for celebrities to interact with their fans worldwide, or push products they are endorsing. But having a fifth grader in Karen’s class exposed me to another exciting world on this platform. Learning how educators like Karen are harnessing Twitter for networking, communication and professional development to further enrich the learning process for kids in elementary school was eye-opening and encouraging. And since these kids will be around social media their entire lives, being exposed to it in a positive, constructive manner this early in life to counter the increasing negativity is certain to help shape their views on how they use it later in their lives.  #IwishKarenwouldhavebeenmy5thgradeteacher



Highlights from Sprout Partner Day 2017

 Photo credit: Sprout Social

Photo credit: Sprout Social

Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much,” and that’s just how it felt when we met 100 of our newest agency friends on Sprout Partner Day at the Sprout Social headquarters in Chicago last week.

As a founding member of the Sprout Partner program, we were invited to mix and mingle with other partner agencies from across the globe, as well as sit in on sessions and workshops aimed at optimizing our agency’s social offerings and providing the best services to our clients.

At Thin Pig, Sprout Social is the social media management software we utilize to manage all of our clients' social media channels. It makes communicating with customers, as well as internal members on our own team, simple and productive. It’s a user-friendly interface with robust analytics, and great for any level business wanting to up its social media game.

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Sprout Partner Day was not only a day to learn more about Sprout Social as a company and as a product, it was also a fantastic opportunity to meet other agencies and exchange creative ideas with one another. While many of us could have viewed each other as competitors, that vibe was nowhere to be found in the room. Instead, many of us chatted about how our agencies were structured, how we utilized Sprout Social for our clients, and other hot social media topics. We were all genuinely excited to meet each other and talk about what worked for us. Not only did we learn a lot from meeting other agencies, but we hope we created friendships and partnerships with our colleagues in the field.

One of my favorite sessions during Sprout Partner Day was a talk about Twitter by Eric Martin (@ericmartinyc). As an avid Twitter user, I think many of us can agree that the network has had its ups and downs, but Eric emphasized that Twitter is “what’s happening now” and that truly does sum it up. While many think that Twitter may be going away or decreasing its market share, people are still going to Twitter for breaking news, trending topics, and customer service from brands, so it’s still important to have a presence on this network.

Eric also showed us how Volvo used Twitter during the 2015 Super Bowl. Sit back and prepare to be in awe of this brilliant campaign:

“Volvo Interception” by Grey New York

In addition to the Twitter talk, a few of the other topics included: “The Future of Social Media”; “Building Social KPIs for your Clients”; and "Best Practice from High-Performing Agencies.” I enjoyed each and every speaker’s session, and really appreciated their insight.

If you're a fellow partner reading this, please share your favorite happenings from Sprout Partner Day in the comments below. We'd love to hear what you thought!

We look forward to attending Sprout Partner Day 2018, as this year’s was truly “A Day for Partners to Grow Together.”


True Life: I am a Social Media Manager

It's that time of the year when everyone is on vacation, so we decided to give our blog writers a much deserved time off and repost one of our top performing blogs of the year. We hope you'll enjoy it, and have a great rest of the summer!

For whatever reason, it seems as if the most commonly asked question when meeting someone for the first time is, “What do you do?” I usually respond, “Well, I am a Social Media Manager (SMM).” This is usually followed by the person responding with, “Oh! You get paid to sit on Facebook and Twitter all day?” Sound the record scratch! While this is partly true, marketers and numerous brands/companies know that this is just scratching the surface. While social media is an ever-evolving industry, it is obviously so much more than just “posting to Facebook and Twitter.” In any given day, I wear many different hats.

In a typical day, I converse with clients and coworkers, create engaging and valuable content, analyze analytics of ad campaigns and content, research and plan future posts and campaigns, and monitor the different networks for engagement and mentions on behalf of my clients.

I recognize that the social media world is confusing for business owners to navigate when they have been focused on their trade for much of their career. Social media for businesses came quick and has turned into a whirlwind of an industry. The thing that some business owners may not understand is that being an SMM is a real, full time position that goes far beyond posting current specials and commenting when someone likes their status.

Creating and analyzing ad campaigns are two of the largest responsibilities for a SMM in more ways than one. Building campaigns properly to get traffic, engagement, and to hit goals, is crucial. My clients have entrusted me with their money and expect that I will use my industry knowledge to gain them results. Once the ad is created, I’m not on coast-mode. I optimize throughout the month to make sure it’s delivering, and if it is not, I tweak it.

I review this information and create content with the goal of resonating with the type of people that are responding to the different posts and ads. My clients provide me with photos and specials they have going on to align with their advertising goals. I also keep an eye on local events that may attract people to the area because my clients are in the hospitality industry.

When I’m not focusing on ads or creating content, I’m monitoring the different social profiles that I manage. I engage with the followers and answer any questions that get directed to the brands. This is one of my favorite parts of my job. It is exciting to see when my content has been a success and the positive feedback that my clients receive. It is also beneficial for me to see when content doesn’t generate any form of engagement. This lets me know I need to try something else in the future.

All in all, I am in a field that is constantly evolving and requires a lot of detail, research, and thought. I consider myself to be a part of the small percentage of people who are paid to do something they are truly passionate about. Like everything else, it is not always rainbows and lollipops. There is responsibility and even liability of speaking on behalf of a brand. I look forward to this challenge, amount of responsibility, and sense of purpose I am embarking on as a newly hired Social Media Manager at Thin Pig Media.