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Every client has a story to tell, a goal to reach. We believe every public relations story and marketing goal should be approached with a “sky’s the limit” style.

That positive inspiration carries over to the Hendricks Communications’ blog, below. Offering inspiring tips, news and reflections on writing, marketing, social media and much more, join us in the conversations below!

Instagram Images: Social Media Eye Candy

The Philadelphia Zoo is wild about Instagram!

The Philadelphia Zoo is wild about Instagram!

By Karen Hendricks

This column examines the latest social media trends, while highlighting Gettysburg and Adams County businesses.This article was first published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, May/June 2014.

One of the fastest-growing forms of social media, Instagram features smartphone-based photography combined with a variety of fun apps that add vintage appeal. About 5 million mobile photographers are signing up weekly, and Instagrammers recently surpassed the 50 million mark. It’s a remarkable success story, as Instagram went from a zero-revenue startup to a $1 billion company that Facebook purchased in April 2012.

Instagram’s visual appeal ties in perfectly with one of the biggest topics in social media circles: the growing prevalence of images and the decreasing amount of text, on both the Internet and social media channels.

Whether you join Instagram purely for fun—sharing photos with family/friends—or whether you approach it from a business perspective, Instagram offers a unique blend of smartphone technology combined with a nostalgic twist. The app lets you select from a variety of 20 filters, many of which give your photos a retro feel. For example, there’s the “1977” filter with a Polaroid-type appearance.

Basically, your “feed” consists of photos from people you follow, similar to other social media streams. The big difference is that Instagram is 100 percent eye candy—photographs with very little text except for short captions, which are optional. Like Twitter, hashtags help identify photos within a theme.

Small businesses, associations and nonprofits are hopping on the Instagram train every day and adding it into their marketing campaigns. What a beautiful way to showcase a brand—snapping exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos or highlighting products or events in order to reach new audiences. Some of the most visual and creative Instagram images are posted by USA Today, Starbucks, National Geographic and the Philadelphia Zoo.

Three Adams County businesses currently using Instagram to their advantage by showing local scenery and events include:

If you enjoy Gettysburg area scenery and events, these are three accounts to watch!

Destination Gettysburg's Instagram Profile

Destination Gettysburg’s Instagram Profile

And to read more about the upward trend of visuals, see our previous article, The Visual Vocabulary of Social Media.

 

 

With Teens in Mind

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Karen Hendricks

Welcome to “Gettysburg Social!” This column examines the latest social media trends and was first published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, March/April 2014. 

Ninety-five percent of American teens have access to the Internet and 78 percent own a cell phone—two reasons that social media use continues to soar among teenagers. According to the Pew Research Center, 81 percent of online teens use social media. What can adults do to help teens stay safe and maintain a healthy perspective?

Arm yourself with the e-facts

  • Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the top three social media sites used by teens. All three require users to be at least 13 years old.
  • Sixty percent of teens use privacy settings on Facebook, meaning only friends can see their posts and photos. That means 40 percent grant public access to their photos and information.
  • Ninety-two percent use their real names on the profiles they use most often; 91 percent post photos of themselves.

Set e-rules

Social media can be accessed on cell phones, computers, iPods and other devices. Set usage limits and make sure teens maintain a balance of “real life,” studying, sports/activities, family time and socializing with friends vs. “screen time.” This may not win you a “mother-of-the-year” award!

Be e-savvy

Talk to teens about boundaries, privacy and safety. Topics for discussion include location-enabled services, privacy settings, appropriate language and examples of cyberbullying.

Limit e-photos

Photo-sharing can be a wonderful aspect of social media, especially for teens’ friends or family in faraway places. But talk about the permanence of viral photos and stay on top of a trend that spirals out of control for many teens: posting “selfies.”

Look at the big e-picture

Social media use can impact future college and job applications. Help teens understand that their actions, online or otherwise, have consequences that reach beyond their teenage years.

Show e-love

One last statistic: 72 percent of parents say they do not get involved in their teens’ social media use because they are “overwhelmed by technology,” and they just hope for the best.

To see previous Gettysburg Social columns, click here.

Karen Hendricks, the mother of three teens, owns Hendricks Communications, a Gettysburg-based firm specializing in PR, marketing and related services such as social media. She also teaches social media classes regularly at the Adams County Arts Council.

The “Visual Vocabulary” of Social Media

Social Media Week NYC - Buzzing with Energy

Social Media Week NYC – Buzzing with Energy

By Karen Hendricks

One of the prominent themes woven into last week’s Social Media Week NYC was the increasingly growing use of photos on all forms of social media. Images now comprise 40% of the internet and 70% of all social media channels. Wow.

A few more statistics:

  • In our lightning-fast-paced society, people process images 60,000 times faster than text.
  • During a recent survey, two out of three people said images are more powerful than text.
  • Six in ten people report they are taking more photos than ever before, thanks in great part to cell phone cameras.

What does all this mean, for those of us involved in Marketing and Social Media?

Images are compelling: Our eyes can certainly “read” images faster than text; our eyes are drawn to images. Photos can trigger emotional responses. A picture is worth a thousand words. Social media strategists even know which colors our eye prefer–a recent study of Instagram photos revealed that blue-tinged images receive 24% more “likes” than red-hued images.

Feedback from social media images is valuable: Major companies, including retailer Nordstrom, are adapting their marketing campaigns based upon direct feedback from images on social media including the number of “likes” or “pins” garnered by photos of new fashions. Nike is even designing custom shoes based upon fans’ Instagram photos.

Images need to be put into context: What are we losing as we shift (from text to visuals)? Answer: Context. Images, although powerful and emotional, can be taken out of context. When we post images, it’s up to us to provide an accompanying message.

It doesn’t mean we don’t read anymore. Yes, images are the driving force of social media. On Facebook, more people engage with photos than text posted alone. The entire concept of Pinterest is based upon the pinning of images. But “combining text and visuals is much more effective,” according to Will Palley, Trends Strategist for Marketing Communications giant JWT. The length of text shared via social media depends on the time of day. During the workday, brief is better. But on weeknights or weekends, when people are relaxed and have a bit more time, successful communications can include more details.

We still love a great story. Storytelling is still a “very deeply basic human interaction,” shared Ji Lee, Creative Director for Facebook. It’s just that more and more of our stories shared via social media begin with a compelling image. And that’s changing the dynamics of news-gathering organizations everywhere. “One of the biggest challenges to journalists today is adapting storytelling techniques to a visual standpoint,” explained Jim Roberts of Mashable. Journalists need to tell stories that grow out of a great visual.

Ownership is an issue. The idea of intellectual property changes per generation. While people of all ages seem to know that text is copyrighted and owned by the writer, there is a learning curve with images. Many people think they can just “grab” them from the internet or social media. Millennials, or Generation Y, perhaps due to their freeness in sharing photos on Instagram, especially do not recognize that photographs do indeed belong to the photographer and should not be used without permission. (All photos in this post were indeed snapped by the author!)

Panel Discussion - "Reading is No Longer Fundamental: The Shift Towards Visual Vocabulary" - #SMWJWT

Panel Discussion – “Reading is No Longer Fundamental: The Shift Towards Visual Vocabulary” – #SMWJWT

Credit for these social media insights and tips are thanks to two workshops primarily:

  • Social Media Week NYC’s Reading is No Longer Fundamental: The Shift Towards Visual Vocabulary
  • Social Media Week NYC’s The Changing Face of News Consumption Hosted by the WSJ

Social Media Week, February 17-21, featured more than 800 events in eight cities, drawing more than 25,000 attendees total.

Social Media Week NYC took place at Highline Stages, 15th Street.

Given the topic, I have to include one more visual! – Social Media Week NYC took place at Highline Stages, 15th Street.

Adams County Icons: From Battlefield to Barns

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York Springs Landmark: The Trostle Barn, currently undergoing rennovations

By Karen Hendricks

I won’t ever look at a barn the same way again. These days, while I’m driving through central PA and beyond, I can spot and ID the traditional Pennsylvania Barn–all thanks to Curt Musselman, Historic Gettysburg-Adams County (HGAC) board member and Barn Preservation Project chair. Curt “schooled me” on the subjects of barn preservation, types of barns, and the importance of documenting these historic structures dotting our rolling agricultural landscape. He’s the driving force behind the HGAC’s Adams County Barn Registry. It was all part of a freelance assignment for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine.

Barn expert Curt Musselman

Barn expert Curt Musselman

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HGAC is selling 2014 calendars featuring Battlefield Barns as a fundraiser–Call 717-334-5185 for more information.

Click here to read the full article, These Old Barns: Preserving Adams County’s Agricultural Icons. And what a thrill… the story was selected as Celebrate Gettysburg magazine’s cover story in the current January/February issue.

Celebrate Gettysburg mag cover Jan-Feb 2014

Cover Photography by Bill Dowling; Barn owner John Trostle is pictured.

I also interviewed Jayne Shord, owner of perhaps the most meticulously-preserved barn in all of Adams County. It was a treat, to tour her beautiful property, Beech Springs Farm, located in Orrtanna, PA. I first met Jayne several years ago when she hosted a dinner including then-Governor Edward G. Rendell and the awarding of the Pennsylvania Culinary Art Award. Since then, the property has grown even more beautiful under Jayne’s expert guidance–including her talent for gardening and her oversight of Beech Spring Farm’s barn preservation project. Below is a collection of photos I snapped while interviewing her back in October. (Click on any photo to open a gallery.)

Also in October 2013, Gettysburg’s tourism community was in the grips of a government shutdown. What could have been a crippling event for a community dependent upon the flow of visitors across the hallowed battlefield, turned out to be an experience that bonded businesses together and produced creativity, resilience and perseverance.

Click here to read Gettysburg Tourism Community Rallies Amid Government Shutdown, featuring stunning photography by Casey Martin.

More to the Stories…

Click here for more Shutdown Stats & Quotes

And click here to learn about the 5 types of barns found in Adams County, the benefits of barn preservation, and a few more stories behind the people interviewed in the article.

Links:

Celebrate Gettysburg magazine / Beech Springs Farm /

Historic Gettysburg Adams County / Shriver House Museum

Hickory Hollow Farm Horse Tours / Gettysburg Tour Center

LinkedIn Cultivates Connections

Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Karen Hendricks

Welcome to “Gettysburg Social!” This column examines the latest social media trends, while highlighting Gettysburg and Adams County businesses. This article was first published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, Jan/Feb 2014. 

Every second, two new members join LinkedIn, the social media network with a professional twist. LinkedIn is 10 years old, and while it has a solid foundation, it’s still growing and adding new features that make it easier to “do business” via social media.

Adams County’s professionals are well-represented on LinkedIn; if you enter the search term “Gettysburg,” more than 16,000 profiles pop up. One reason is that many Gettysburg College students have LinkedIn profiles. Actually, students and recent graduates are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic. As of the school year ending May 2012, more than 20 million students and recent grads have developed “online résumés”—another way to approach LinkedIn profiles.

But LinkedIn profiles aren’t limited to those launching their careers; well-established professionals from all job sectors imaginable are represented, including executives from all of 2012’s Fortune 500 companies. There are 225 million LinkedIn users worldwide.

Creating a profile allows you to… connect to past and present co-workers, ask for their recommendations, list your skills and accomplishments, promote your job search, or scan online employment postings. It’s online networking at its best.

About two years ago, LinkedIn began offering businesses and nonprofits the ability to create company pages—mini websites within LinkedIn where companies can showcase news, products, services or job openings. Many small businesses and nonprofits have yet to take advantage of this free marketing tool. When searching under the term “Gettysburg,” only 88 company pages display on LinkedIn. Here are a few adding LinkedIn luster to their online presence:

Simply click on the links above to explore the LinkedIn company pages. And if you haven’t already, consider creating a company page to showcase your business today!

Also… a warm invitation to attend my upcoming Social Media 101 for Business workshop, a 2-part series:

  • Overview: Learn about valuable–but free–social media channels and select the “best fits” for your business. 
  • Feedback from past attendees: “Extremely helpful, practical information. It is a pleasure to work with Karen and I cannot thank her enough… she is a true treasure.”
  • Dates: Wednesday evenings, February 5 & 12 from 7-9 pm
  • Location: Adams County Arts Council, 125 S Washington St, Gettysburg PA 17325
  • To enroll: Click to enroll online or call 717-334-5006

 

Top 5 from 2013

New YearHappy New Year! Best wishes for 2014!

Many thanks to all of our clients, fellow business owners, writers, marketers and PR practitioners who read and enjoy our articles. We appreciate your business, friendship and camaraderie.

In case you missed one, here are our 5 most popular articles from 2013… showcasing a mix of our marketing and social media work, along with freelance writing pieces on regional and statewide levels:

1 – Handmade in PA: Foxxy Moxxy

2 – “Buy Local” this Holiday Season

3 – Everyday Hero: “Angel” Traci Lochbaum

4 – Word Clouds… in the Forecast

5 – 5 Tips for Business Blogs

 

“Buy Local” this Holiday Season

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Hobbit House Pottery by Jack Handshaw – created locally in Fairfield, Adams County

By Karen Hendricks

One of the most current, effective marketing strategies for small business owners, across all types, is the “buy local” approach. And it’s not only working in favor of business owners; consumers are identifying with the movement, supporting and appreciating the local flair only small businesses can provide.

Several key principles fuel successful “buy local” marketing campaigns:

  • People care about their communities. Shopping in local businesses directly supports that community and adds to its economic vitality. Many successful “buy local” campaigns build on this theme so that consumers understand and appreciate the power of local spending versus supporting national “big box” retailers.
  • Consumers appreciate local flavor. Carrying the above notion a step further, many consumers see the value in purchasing unique, locally-created items versus mass-produced items.
  • There’s strength in numbers. Small business owners who band together for collective “buy local” marketing campaigns stand a better chance of generating buzz and traffic. Downtown merchant associations and farmers’ market associations are just two examples of group approaches.

Here in Gettysburg, PA, the Adams County Arts Council is following the “buy local” trend by offering their Holiday Art Show & Sale, now through December 30. The collective works of 44 local artists and artisans is on display–showcasing a wide variety of wearable art, wall art, functional art such as pottery and glassware, and so much more.

And what better time, than the holiday season, to support local artists? Not only do shoppers support their creative neighbors, but the recipients on their gift lists are receiving handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items for a truly personal touch.

Take a tour of the Adams County Arts Council’s show, highlighting local talent–click any image below to open a slideshow. I am honored to be a part of such an incredible show by exhibiting several pieces of photography!

More information:

Perfect for last-minute gift-giving as well as thoughtful, “buy local” purchases… The Adams County Arts Council’s Holiday Art Show & Sale is open:

  • Sat, Dec 21 – 10-2
  • Mon, Dec 23 – 9-6
  • Tues, Dec 24 – 9-12
  • Mon, Dec 30 – 9-12
  • (Closed Dec. 25-29 and 31)
  • Location: 125 South Washington Street, Gettysburg PA 17325
  • Phone: 717-334-5006
  • Website: http://www.adamscountyartscouncil.org/