Social Media Insights


Social Media Tips from Green Chamber of the South Panel

Posted on April 15, 2010 by Nora DePalma

Starting at left, moderator Beth Bond, editor of SoutheastGreen; Gretchen Miller, Vitrue ; Nora DePalma, O'Reilly/DePalma; Sean McCandless, Green Chamber member; and Candace McCaffrey, Cookerly PR

O’Reilly/DePalma principal Nora DePalma participated on a social media panel for members of the Green Chamber of the South last night.  Nora’s Green Earth PR colleague, Nancy Rogers, took notes of the tips, the best of which are listed below:


  • Vitrue just finished a study that estimated 3.6 impressions for every fan on Facebook.
  • Rate of posting depends on audience: there is no set schedule that works for all brands.
  • Ask people to fan you; promote it on main website and other sales collateral.
  • Audience skews female.
    • Building products takeaway:  Good consumer play; think female -oriented content.


  • Better to retweet and have public dialogues, rather than direct messaging. This helps build followers
  • Engage in conversation by searching for topics related to the brand, and then answer questions or offer advice.
  • Mention others 12x for every one mention of you.
  • Audience skews male. Also a lot of journalists on Twitter.
    • Building products takeaway: Most of our trade press is now on Twitter, along with a surprising number of professionals: plumbers, kitchen & bath designers, and builders.  We almost think of Twitter as a b-2-b play.

Linked In

  • Good place to search for journalists seeking experts
  • Answering questions and posting good articles on the right forums can help establish thought leadership
  • More corporate than other social media channels; more buttoned up and formal language.
  • Audience skews male and c-suite.
    • Building products takeaway: be very mindful of talking more about others than yourself.  Some of the groups are very insightful to read for trend info.

You Tube

  • Second largest search engine after Google.
  • Small “flip” type video cameras are inexpensive and easy for newbies to shoot interviews, testimonials and do fast editing.
  • Speed of editing and posting more is preferred over polished productions.
  • Audience skews male.
    • Building products takeaway:  how-to videos and how-they-work videos do really well.

General Tips

  • Tagging articles on Delicious, Digg and Stumble Upon helps get key messages out to influencers.
  • Cross-promote all digital properties online and in press releases as warranted.
  • Best starting point: a blog. Can even be your website (as O’Reilly/DePalma has done). Gives you an “anchor” for content that can be cross-promoted on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Plan for content and then repurpose it to keep costs and time commitment low.
  • Just do it.  Start with personal accounts and experiment.

The panel was well received, according to Ofra Tessler of the Green Chamber, “Both social media novices and experienced people said it was a great event, they learned a lot, it was interesting, interactive and inspired action.  Everyone said they took quite a few new bits of information back and that it was well worth their time.

“One or two people said this was the best event they had been to on the topic. “


Architects and Social Media -

Posted on April 1, 2010 by Nora DePalma

Architects using social media report greater visibility and interest from journalists and peers, according to this article from Architectural Record on architects and social media.

While few firms could point to their social media investment as leading directly to projects, other benefits have emerged, including low-cost networking, talent recruitment, and the ability to use tools such as WordPress to easily update websites. (The O’Reilly/DePalma website is built in WordPress for the very same reason.)

Arch Record cites the architecture firm HOK for being active in social media and using employee-generated content for an artfully designed blog. From there, HOK lists what it calls its HOK Network, links to all of its social media sites listed below:

Mike Plotnick, HOK’s media relations manager, told Arch Record that social media was working better than traditional public relations because their own internal talent was able to present the company directly just being a part of the dialogue about design and architecture.

Read the Arch Record story here.


Timing Facebook Ads: The NCAA and the Syracuse U Bookstore

Posted on March 21, 2010 by Nora DePalma

A friend just posted this on Facebook:

2:30pm: Syracuse U wins their NCAA game to advance in the tournament. 2:45pm: Syracuse U bookstore sends all alumni on FB the latest deals on SU sportswear and accessories, while simultaneously adverting to alumni on Facebook.

Timing is everything, as they say. Syracuse knew that alumni would likely be powering up computers as the game ended. At that point they made sure an irresistible offer was in the first two places they were likely to go: email and Facebook.

-with thanks to Greater Media Radio NJ sales executive.


Building Online Communities

Posted on January 13, 2010 by Nora DePalma

Enjoyed speaking to Atlanta Green Communicators last night about tips for building and sustaining online communities.  As Peter Shankman of HARO says, it’s pretty much everything your mother taught you.   Be nice, be a good listener, recognize others.   Think of how you would act at a networking event, and let that be your guide.  Here’s our tips:

Step 1:  Shut up and listen. (Admittedly hard for your humble correspondent.)   What are people talking and tweeting about related to your area of interest?

Step 2: If you build it, will they come? What is out there already?  It may be better for you and your brand to become active in an existing community, rather than building your own.

Step 3: What is your platform?  Where will you build your group?

  • Linked In: Not our preference to start a group. Good place to “break in” with comments and questions. No IT help needed.
  • Facebook: Surprisingly good! Having a fun name for your group helps. Little to no IT help needed.
  • Twitter: Yes, you can build a community with 140 characters or less.  Selectively follow and purposefully post. No IT help needed.
  • Blog:  Just as you’re reading now.  Most time consuming, but the best ROI we’ve seen. Templates exist, but we recommend investing in custom design and features. No IT help needed for updating.
  • Custom: Pricey. Harder to demonstrate ROI at that spending level, and more expensive to build.   IT help needed.

Step 4: What to post? Videos, images/slide shows, copy. In that order.   Funny is good.  Weekly is also good; vary timing to see best results (Facebook is big Mon-Wed; Twitter is big Thurs – Fri). Don’t forget weekends.

Step 5: Be a person, not a brand. It’s a networking party, not a board room.  Share of yourself. Ask questions. Start conversations. Thank contributors.  Loved this advice from remember birthdays!

Step 6: Be patient. Easier said than done with bosses and clients.  Set expectations up front and set them low. Contests and corporate social responsibility initiatives can help build communities, but rapid growth can create volatility with a lot of churn. Our personal bias is quality, not quantity.

Atlanta Green Communicators was founded by our Green Earth PR Network colleague, Nancy Rogers.  Join through Linked In, or let us know if you want to attend the next bimonthly meeting.


O’Reilly/DePalma Principal Speaking to Atlanta Green Communicators Jan 12

Posted on December 11, 2009 by Nora DePalma

“Building Communities Online” is the topic for Atlanta Green Communicators on Tuesday, January 12, 2010.   Speakers are Hope Dlugozima, VP and Director of Community and Social Networking at Mother Nature Network and Nora DePalma, Principal with O’Reilly/DePalma Public Relations and Marketing.

Mark your calendars for 4:30 to 6:30 pm in the Baraonda private dining room, 710 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 30308. Parking is validated.  RSVP to Green Earth PR founder Nancy Rogers or join our Atlanta Green Communicators Linked In Group.


More Tales from the Front: Building Products & Social Media in Action

Posted on December 3, 2009 by Nora DePalma

We’ll call this chapter:  “Eliminating the Middleman. All of Them”

Pleasantly surprised one morning to open my email and find a completely unsolicited testimonial about a client’s product:

Hi Nora,

Please comsider this endorsement for the American Standard “speed connect” drain.  If you find it helpful in any way please feel free to modify and use in the promotion of the product.

Thank you,
John Murphy
National Association of Plumbing Showroom Professionals

American Standard has introduced the “speed connect” drain to many of their faucet lines this year. The company claims that there are fewer moving parts to install, the drains will seal and hold water upon installation and the drains will not need adjustment. These claims are all true.

What American Standard has not stated is that this new cable action pop-up drain assembly is what the plumbing industry has needed for decades. This drain really does what AS claims and more.

Ask any plumber what the most difficult or frustrating part of installing a lavatory faucet is and they will say the drain linkage and adjustment. Well, not after they install this drain. American Standard has removed the linkage and replaced it with a cable not unlike some of the bath drains that are out there.

This new lavatory drain is a problem solver and it is a pleasure to install.”

Obviously, not just any testimonial.  John Murphy is a master plumber in New England, active on Linked In and other social networks and President of the new National Association of Plumbing Showroom Professionals.  We had met through Linked In and enjoyed an ongoing dialogue.

But I hadn’t sent him anything about Speed Connect.  Who did?

Among the flurry of emails shooting back and forth across American Standard’s servers that day, we tried to solve the mystery.  It was much later in the day when the truth was revealed:

To All

This came about from a discussion that I began with John on Linkedin, another example of the power of social media.


Donald C. Devine
CEO, American Standard Brands

There is much talk about what CEOs should or should not be doing online.   Don Devine does pretty much the same thing he does offline: talks to customers and prospects.  When the door opened with John Murphy, Don asked him to try one of our products.  Talk about eliminating the middlemen … and middlewomen.


Tales from the Front: Building Products & Social Media in Action

Posted on November 28, 2009 by Nora DePalma

Social media isn’t a magical new fad.   It’s simply a new way to communicate, cost-effectively opening up dialogue that didn’t exist in the old marketing communications model.

In the old days (1990s), building professionals such as kitchen & bath designers might give helpful feedback to their rep and it might work its way up the corporate food chain, and something might happen.

Or not.

In October,  kitchen & designer Paul Anater published a blog post, Sears’ Blue Crew Needs Some Work,  detailing his frustrations with the Sears Kenmore built-in appliances his new kitchen remodeling clients had purchased on their own.

The St. Petersburg, Florida designer could not get the necessary  dimensions from the Sears Kenmore website, nor from their hapless customer service reps, kept well-protected from pesky customers by a phone tree from heck.

“If I can’t tell the cabinet maker these dimensions, he can’t build me the cabinet I need. They have to be exact because we’re talking about a several thousand dollar cabinet here and there’s no such thing as a return for custom work,  Paul blogged.

Paul took note that the Sears website spends more digital real estate “touting the virtues of the Blue Crew than it does dispensing information. It’s difficult to navigate and the information I needed was buried. There was no pro section and no dimension guide. Ridiculous.”

He continued: “Why not take some of the serious cash you’re spending on the Blue Crew TV and print spots and spend it instead on updated spec books and some training for your trained professionals? This doesn’t bode well and you can rest assured that you have a kitchen designer in Florida who’s actively pointing his clients as far from your doors as he can.”

A dedicated and prolific communicator, Paul promoted his blog post via his Twitter account, @saintpetepaul.  Talk about hitting a nerve.   “That post set off a firestorm of commiseration in my comments section and on Twitter that lasted throughout the weekend,” Paul says.  “When I first wrote that post I thought that I was the only one who had these frustrations. To say I’m not alone in this is an understatement.”

Paul’s blog post was published on a Saturday.  On Monday morning, Paul had a voice mail message from a Sears executive.  “He was very clear in his e-mail that he wasn’t out to make a Kenmore convert out of me,” Paul noted. “Rather, what he wanted to gain from a conversation with me was a better understanding of the sort of information design professionals need from them.”

The Sears exec asked if Paul would be willing to talk to him and a couple members of his team. Paul upped the ante. He volunteered to solicit feedback from his nationwide network of kitchen & bath designer friends, and got 12 of them to join the call, which almost certainly became the lowest-cost focus group ever.


Paul: “Let me start out by saying that I am beyond impressed with Sears Appliances. I see them in a whole new light. I mean, how many members of the appliance industry would open themselves up to a panel discussion with a group of designers and architects who’d been hand picked by blogger who’d been done wrong? ….You guys showed me a side to your company I never knew existed. Bravo.”

Sears:  Within three weeks of that call, Sears was back in touch with Paul to continue the dialogue, asking if he would be interested in an an ongoing series of conversations.


Bringing Professor Toilet to Bathroom Blogfest: 2009

Posted on October 27, 2009 by Nora DePalma

Our Professor Toilet blog for American Standard is part of Bathroom Blogfest 2009.  This is a fascinating study in how social media brings content together in an ad-hoc, yet engaging and well-linked experience.

The brainchild of Simple Marketing Now principal C. B. Whittemore, Bathroom Blogfest 2009 includes a promotion from the Kaboom brand of cleaners and the diverse list of contributing bloggers includes long-time O’Reilly/DePalma friend Leslie Clagett at kbculture.  We are all supplying content and links around a single theme:  ”Flush The Recession and Plunge Into Forgotten Spaces.”

Our first Blogfest post,  Flushing this Economy Will Take More than the Average Toilet plays up the recent top scores American Standard toilets received for “bulk removal” in the independent Maximum Performance Testing (MaP test) by John Koehler and Veritec Consulting.

Early indications show high quality traffic visiting Professor Toilet. It will be interesting to see what happens. List of bloggers is below:

Susan Abbott at Customer Experience Crossroads

Reshma Anand at Qualitative Research Blog

Shannon Bilby at From the Floors Up

Shannon Bilby and Brad Millner at My Big Bob’s Blog

Laurence Borel at Blog Till You Drop

Jeanne Byington at The Importance of Earnest Service

Becky Carroll at Customers Rock!;

Leslie Clagett at KB Culture

Katie Clark at Practical Katie;

Iris Shreve Garrott at Checking In and Checking Out;

Julie at Julie’s Cleaning Secrets Blog

Marianna Hayes at Results Revolution

Maria Palma at People To People Service

Professor Toilet at Professor Toilet’s Blog

David Reich at My 2 Cents

Bethany Richmond at The Carpet and Rug Institute Blog

Carolyn Townes at Becoming a Woman of Purpose

Stephanie Weaver at Experienceology;

C.B. Whittemore at Flooring The Consumer and Simple Marketing Blog

Linda Wright at Build Better Business with Better Bathrooms


Shared Article: Mike McCready: Social Media — Is it a Fad?

Posted on October 26, 2009 by Nora DePalma

Mike McCready: Social Media — Is it a Fad?

New must-read book about to publish: Socialnomics.


  • 34% of bloggers (and there are over 200,000,000 blogs) post opinions about products and brands
  • 14% of people trust advertisers, yet…
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations.

Should building products marketers spend less brand advertising and more on storytelling?


Shared Article: Social Network Statistics | Brian Solis - PR 2.0

Posted on October 6, 2009 by Nora DePalma

Social Network Statistics | Brian Solis - PR 2.0.

New social media statistics show rapid growth in Facebook. Nearly a quarter of all Facebook users are in the 45-54 age range.  Women are outpacing men on Facebook, 57% to 43%.

In our experience, boomer women are much more enthusiastic about social media than men.  (George Clooney in a recent People magazine:  ”I would rather have a rectal examination on live TV by a fellow with cold hands than have a Facebook page.”)

The link also provides updated demographics for all leading social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, You Tube, etc.

I would rather have a rectal examination on live TV by a fellow with cold hands than have a Facebook page.
National Kitchen and Bath Association Public Relations Society of America: Georgia Green Earth PR Network