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It's social media; and you're invited!

December 31, 2012

posted by: Brittany Thoms | Comments Off on It's social media; and you're invited!

According to its 20th anniversary survey conducted by the Public Relations Global Network, social media is a top priority for communicators.

Among the results was the primary use of social media for these particular strategies:

  • Promoting events
  • Monitoring customer feedback
  • Launching campaigns/initiatives
  • Giving consumers/customers a sense of community
  • Attracting new customers

For See.Spark.Go and our clients, we have used social media in all of these ways and multiple combinations of them. We’re simply missing a foundational element: building the community.

Say you launch a new brand or new product. Like setting up a website, launching a Twitter and Facebook page pretty much come with the territory. But, how do you find your target audience on these mediums and attract them to your newly launched presence? We have 11 best practices listed here:

1.    Tell a story through unique and relevant content. Everyone has a story. What makes yours unique? Why does your story matter? What problem are you solving? Think about how your brand looks, feels, tastes, smells – what emotion or experience do you want customers/consumers to have when they interact with you?

2.    Know who’s sitting across from you. It’s like that very first job interview. Know about the company to which you are applying in order to make a great first impression.

3.    Follow like-minded people. Likewise, unfollow people with no similar interests. They likely won’t respond and there’s no need to talk to a brick wall.

4.    Listen and learn. Social media is a great listening tool. Find out what competitors are doing/saying. Listen to your customers or potential ones. Learn their interests so you can better engage.

5.    Engage in conversation. When starting out, it’s not likely you’ll be the conversation starter. So, find conversations between like-minded individuals and speak up! The rules are the same as they were in high school popularity contests – be lively, smart, entertaining, helpful, & kind. Don’t be a bully, a smarty pants or negative. It just doesn’t work.

6.    Celebrate others’ victories!  #FF anyone? Everyone loves to me recognized. When you recognize the work or accomplishments of others, you earn good will in the social space. Make this a habit and mean it.

7.    Invite influencers to the party. Celebrities, big brands, friends with large networks – invite them to join you in what you’re doing. Hopefully it makes sense for them to do so and you can gain a lot of traction and exposure that way. It never hurts to ask!

8.    Let your personality shine! It’s the age old adage, “Be yourself.” Not surprisingly, it’s important that the actual person behind your social media accounts be social in nature, trustworthy, likeable and, of course, have good grammar skills.

9.    Give people a reason to follow. What are you known for in real life? What is your brand known for (or what do you want it to be known for)? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking: industry expert, humorous, authentic, premium/quality product or service, exclusive opportunities via social media for insider info, discounts, access, etc.

10.  Dress up for the occasion. Okay, so this should go without saying, but make sure your Twitter and FB pages LOOK like your brand! 😉

11.  Have fun! After all, it’s one big get together!

Now, go socialize!


It’s All in the Name

December 29, 2012

posted by: Brittany Thoms | Comments Off on It’s All in the Name

Many of you may not realize that our name is our process. See.Spark.Go is more than just a catchy name or a logo, it’s the steps we use to seek out, create and execute meaningful and impactful public relations and social media campaigns. Our process begins and ends with you (the client) in mind as we see, spark and go, ultimately telling great stories about great companies.

So, why is knowing the process important? As we begin any journey, in life, as in PR, it’s important to have a roadmap.

We start by defining the “win”. Seeing is all about understanding, getting a lay of the land, knowing the competition, etc. Spark is the fun part. It’s where we get to create an engaging campaign that highlights your story in a tangible and creative way. And “Go” is the storytelling aspect. Whether it’s simply a newsworthy story we’re sharing with the media or an integrated campaign that involves our partners in advertising/event execution and our sweet spot of social media and PR, the “Go” is where the magic happens.

In brainstorming sessions, we navigate through each aspect of communication within the organization to discover how we can come be an extension of your team. Think of us as another set of eyes seeing through the lens of communication and asking questions like, “What do we want people to hear?” and “What channels should we use to reach the right audience?”

Remember, you’ve got the story to tell; we know how to tell it. Whether you’re seeking to get your name in front of influential media or to create an online community, we’re your team.

As we like to say, those three little words know how to pack a punch. We’re passionate about the brands we represent and stories we share. Now all we need is your expertise in your field and for you to say the words, “Let’s See.Spark.Go!”

Which step of “See.Spark.Go” do you need the most? How can we make this process better? Share your thoughts below or Tweet @seesparkgo with your ideas.

Meet Nicole!

December 20, 2012

posted by: Brittany Thoms | Comments 1 »

Please give a warm See.Spark.Go welcome to our newest team member, Nicole Foo! We are thrilled to have her join our team and we think you will love her as much as we do! She’ll be heading up several PR projects here at SSG, and we can’t wait to see her tear it up! As an accomplished publicist, Nicole understands the value of PR for clients and is able to navigate the media landscape, leveraging the great stories that we have the opportunity to share!

We asked her to give you a glimpse into her first week at SSG and a little background on herself. So, without further adieu, here’s Nicole!

Hello, all! Where do I even begin? I am so excited to be a part of the See.Spark.Go family and am looking forward to what’s in store for the team.

A little bit about me – my name is Nicole Foo and I am from Marietta, Georgia. I graduated from UGA in May 2011 with a major in public relations and minors in Spanish and Chinese language and literature (Go Dawgs!). I recently worked at Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau before starting at See.Spark.Go.

I had a great first week and I absolutely love it here! The office was a little quiet with interns on spring break and Lauren off on her honeymoon. Still, it was a really great opportunity to get a thorough overview of our clients. I participated in a few client conference calls, sat in on a company pitch, contributed to a creative brainstorming session, and visited a client site. Phew – all in one week!

The See.Spark.Go team is incredibly talented and so hard working; I know I will learn a lot from everyone around me. It is great to be surrounded by such a positive environment with people who are willing to work hard for their clients. I know that I will do the same!

Some fun facts about me:

  • I speak three languages – English, Mandarin and Spanish. I’m working on French now (thank you, Rosetta Stone!).
  • I studied abroad in Oxford, England, in the spring of 2010. It was the best academic experience of my college career.
  • I was born in Singapore.
  • Other things that make me happy: traveling, hiking, scarves, greeting cards, Scrabble, cardigans and Walt Disney World.

I am proud to be the newest member of the See.Spark.Go team and look forward to keeping you updated on things that are happening here…any maybe sharing your story one day soon!

Follow me on my blog or on Twitter.

Meet Hannah, our “not-so-newest” team member!

December 18, 2012

posted by: Brittany Thoms | Comments Off on Meet Hannah, our “not-so-newest” team member!

As many of you know, the See.Spark.Go team continues to grow leaps and bounds! We feel so blessed! With that, I’d like to introduce you to our “not-so-newest” team member, Hannah Springston. She’ll tell you all about herself and you’ll get the idea why we’re bouncing off the walls excited for her to join our team full-time! First, here’s a look at our whole team:

Pictured left to right: Andy Thoms, Brittany Thoms, Lauren Carnes, Nicole Foo, Hannah Springston

Hannah here. Most would say I’m the newest member of the See.Spark.Go team, but actually, this is my third position within the company.

Before we dive in to my PR background, I’ll tell you a little about myself. I’m an aspiring foodie with a knack for communication and brand loyalty. I live for my faith, but I also love: my family & friends, high heels, coffee (or cream, not sure), cooking, baking, reading and traveling. Keeping a healthy mind and body are also very important to me, so I spend my spare time working on creating creative kitchen combinations while catching up (via long phone calls) with my recently dispersed college friends.

I began as an intern at SSG in spring of 2011 with very limited knowledge of what PR really is (for the record, cheese is still my favorite food). When the semester started, I was building media lists and writing email pitches, but by the end of it I was pitching the media and coordinating interviews. I was EXCITED about PR, which is especially easy when you work in this office!

With each success and every story placement, I was increasingly motivated to hone my skills in PR and dive into learning how to create and leverage meaningful relationships with clients and the media. What I realized early on is that some of the most important relationships in this job are the ones I build right here in the office with my co-workers (word from the wise—the way to their heart is through baked goods!). If you don’t have trust in the office, not much can happen outside of it.

After that semester, I spent my summer in Los Angeles doing another PR internship before coming back to See.Spark.Go as an apprentice in fall 2011. In my second position, I worked under Brittany and Lauren to continue advancing relationships, coordinating media coverage and managing client press appearances. It was an exhilarating semester and each day brought teachable moments and successes that solidified my love for the industry and ignited personal and professional growth.

This past May, I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in public relations and a minor in speech communication and, after a 1-week hiatus, I’m now full-time around the office and still loving being a part of the team. Of course some days bring challenges, but we have a motto around here: Make it happen. It is as simple as that. We want results and understand that results happen where there is trust—with the media, with each other and with our clients.

The Importance of Positioning

December 16, 2012

posted by: Brittany Thoms | Comments Off on The Importance of Positioning

Over the past few years, See.Spark.Go has embraced the idea of building communities through social media, like any good communications agency (wink). Very rarely do you find yourself talking one-on-one with your target would-be customer, but social media allows you to do just that from anywhere in the world.

Enterpreneur Magazine writer Mikal Belicove lists four critical elements to creating a social media content strategy for your business in this article, but I want to highlight the value of his step #1: positioning. These are the critical components for any company or organization to define its identity and space before proactive communications outreach can begin. They are:

1. Who are you?

2. What do you do?

3. Why does it matter?

4. Why are you better?

Define these, and you’ve nailed the inner core of your business or enterprise. Scripture says, “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) The same is true in business. Out of who you are as a company/organization/etc., your story flows. Here’s a great test: how would your co-workers, staff and customers answer the four questions listed above?

We couldn’t be more thrilled and honored to be the mouthpiece for so many meaningful and outstanding organizations whose hearts we buy into and believe in fully. So, we ask: what’s your story? We hope these questions help set you on the path to communicating well the story you’re living out. Enjoy!

Meet the Fall 2012 Interns

December 15, 2012

posted by: Brittany Thoms | Comments Off on Meet the Fall 2012 Interns

With college students returning to Athens and the countdown to football season in full swing, the energy in Athens is high, and our office is right on par! This fall we are welcoming two new interns into our office – Kelsey Schmidt and Chelsea Carter. These ladies both hail from Grady College and have a deep love for the PR world. Their positive energy and fresh perspectives are sure to contribute a lot to the See.Spark.Go team this semester!

Kelsey, a junior public relations and international affairs major from Jonesboro, Ga., hopes to land a career as a public relations specialist for an international aid organization after graduation. Her spunky attitude and desire to serve others helps her tackle every job she encounters.

Fun Facts:

  • She recently studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, with Global L.E.A.D where she jumped off the world’s tallest bungee jump and rode an ostrich.
  • Chocolate is the way to this girl’s heart.
  • She hopes to visit every continent before age 50.
  • Forget coffee! Give Kelsey a Diet Coke, and she can conquer just about anything.

Chelsea is fifth year public relations major and fashion merchandising minor from Dublin, Ga., and will graduate this December. She’s interested in a career that will allow her to be involved in event planning, social media, and PR research.

Fun Facts:

  • Her favorite Athens restaurants are Taqueria del Sol and Copper Creek.
  • If you want to learn to do a back flip, Chelsea is your girl. She was a competitive gymnast growing up and taught gymnastics at Bishop Park in Athens.
  • Her dream vacation destination is Greece (she even took a college Greek language course).
  • Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, she makes bucket lists for the upcoming year.

We are so excited to kick off the new semester with these upbeat interns and can’t wait to see what the next four months have in store for them!

See > Spark > Go > REPORT!

posted by: Brittany Thoms | Comments Off on See > Spark > Go > REPORT!

I was thinking through our strategic process with clients today, when it dawned on me – we should change our name!

Okay, so not really. But, since our name has so much to do with our process, I thought’d I share what I mean.

See: This aspect of our process involves conducting an audit of the communications landscape for any given brand, product or service. When we begin working with a company, this is the first thing we do: observe, get to know the company, its culture, and of course, the competition.

Spark: Naturally, creative types in our office cannot wait for these team exercises. Huddled in a creative brainstorm, this is where we look for white space and develop possible campaigns to reach the target audience with a message that hits at the core of whom we are representing.

Go: Execute. At the end of the day, we can come up with great ideas and build great relationships with our clients, but as one client recently said, “As much as I already love you guys as friends, this report is killer.”

And, there you have it. See.Spark.Go.REPORT! If we aren’t executing at the top level and producing amazing results for our clients, there’s no need for a working relationship. Just friends would do. But, that’s what I love about our team! We are continually sharpening our reporting methods and as such, providing a greater value to clients. For us, this looks like three things:

1. Weekly Updates (typically on Fridays with a list of accomplished tasks, activities and requests)
2. Monthly Snapshot (one-page PDF of results that month)
3. Quarterly Trend Report (a measure of what type of growth we’ve seen that month. For both social media and PR activities, what are we seeing that’s working well and what is not hitting the mark?)

It’s not always the most glamourous, but it’s necessary.

How do you report in your organization? What type of reporting would you like to see/do more of?

The cow jumped over the moon.

December 9, 2012

posted by: Brittany Thoms | Comments Off on The cow jumped over the moon.

Okay, so forgive the title. I have two toddlers. 🙂

Last Friday, May 4, our staff worked behind the scenes at the 2012 Chick-fil-A Leadercast. In all, more than 125,000 leaders from around the globe watched (from 800+ locations!) as some of the most renowned authors/speakers/leaders in their own rite took the stage to talk about the choices that affect our leadership. We are all leaders and the choices we make everyday, matter.

My personal favorite came from someone’s tweet (I can’t remember; I saw so many come through!), but he basically said, I now think of my alarm clock as a shotgun start for the day. I like that. I just might revise the phrase “alarm clock” to my “second cup of coffee.”

Alas, here are a few of our favorite quotes from the day:

“Every decision you make is, at some point, going to be nothing more than a story you tell.” – Andy Stanley

“Ask yourself: What would my replacement do?” – Andy Stanley

“Your challenge is to take what is unique about you and make it useful.” – Marcus Buckingham

“I want to make someone else’s life better because I’m here. If you have that attitude it will change your day and change your life.” – Tim Tebow

“We have no more excuses. Kids will move to the expectation we have of them.” – Roland Fryer

“Always ask yourself: what’s best for the brand? Let that guide you. It removes egos and self.” – Angela Ahrendts

“We don’t grow on accident, we grow on purpose.” – John Maxwell

“If you can somehow raise the level of play of those around you, then you’re considered a leader.” – Urban Meyer

If you’re interested in learning more or downloading the streaming access from Friday’s speakers, check out the new Chick-fil-A Leadercast Network.


Make It Count in 2012

December 6, 2012

posted by: Brittany Thoms | Comments Off on Make It Count in 2012

There is something nice about a fresh start at the beginning of a new year. But what happens when the newness wears off? As February comes into full swing, here are a few ways to make each day count. (And, by the way, we’re taking a cue from Nike’s challenge to “Make It Count” campaign with the launch of it’s latest and greatest, the Nike+ FuelBand. More on that below.)

1. Accountability. Nike’s “Make it Count” campaign encourages brand enthusiasts to share stories of inspiration via Twitter and using hashtag #makeitcount. There’s something about writing it down or telling a friend that at the end of the day, makes you just do it. Pun intended. 🙂

2. Measure performance. With the launch of the Nike+ FuelBand comes the ability to sync to a mobile app using the wristbands sport-tested accelerometer, and measure daily workouts based on steps or calories. Users set a fitness goal in “Fuel points” and must work to a certain level of physical intensity to attain that goal.

3. Love what you do. A person can do any form of activity—from running, to walking, to dancing, to soccer – you choose what you love. The FuelBand tracks progress and notifies the wearer of their success by changing from a red light to a green light when the goal is met. I can’t think of anything greater than hitting a goal by doing something I already love.

4. Make it a habit. We think Nike is on to something much greater than athletics. Having a “make it count” mindset could transform the way we approach our lives. After all, attitude is everything.

Our favorite part of the Nike+ FuelBand is the ability to translate your everyday moves into NikeFuel. We can choose to do simply what is required of us or to set the bar high and go beyond it. Make every move count.

You want incredible results? Are you craving to see positive changes in your world, your life? Make it count in the small, daily aspects of work and life and fuel your dreams and aspirations. We can’t think of a better reminder in this second month of 2012.

So, we ask you: how will you make it count in 2012? Comment below or Tweet at @seesparkgo with the hashtag #makeitcount.

Passion 2012: Headed to the Dome

December 1, 2012

posted by: Brittany Thoms | Comments 2 »

For those who just so happened to drive by the Georgia Dome during Passion 2012 at the start of the New Year, initially the sight didn’t look too out of the ordinary. The 40,000 people walking around the Georgia Dome at night could have easily passed as Falcons fans, excited about the night’s game. But instead, this gathering was different: it was Passion 2012, where more than 40,000 students between the ages of 18 and 25 came to sing, worship, donate and pray in the name of Jesus. Among those tens of thousands of students, you could find the See.Spark.Go team hosting members of the press there to cover what these life-changing days in the heart of that significant “university moment” that has shaped so many of us.

The four-day gathering sold out the Georgia Dome at 42,000 collegiates, nearly double that of the 2011 gathering held at Philips Arena and the next-door Georgia World Congress Center. Lead worshippers such as Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, Kristian Stanfill and Christy Nockels took the stage in music, while world-renowned Christian speakers Beth Moore, John Piper, Francis Chan and Passion founder and visionary Louie Giglio brought powerful messages to the Dome, inspiring attendees to live out their faith and also to “Do Something Now.”

This year’s event was dedicated to the cause of FREEDOM: freedom for the 27 million people around the world currently living in modern-day slavery. Passion’s goal was to raise $1 million for this cause, and the students of Passion far surpassed that goal, reaching a total of $3.3 million before the conference came to an end. The money will go to a variety of organizations that help victims of modern-day slavery find rescue and restoration and work to prevent human slavery all together.

A few of the chosen organizations are Tiny Hands International, A21 Campaign and Wellspring Living. The money donated to Tiny Hands International will build and fund eight border monitoring stations and eight safe homes in Nepal that will help intercept victims as they are being trafficked. Wellspring Living will use the money to renovate 12 apartment homes for survivors of sexual exploitation in Atlanta, Georgia. Finally, the A21 Campaign will fund a year-long prevention program that will reach 48,000 children who are at risk of being trafficked in Ukraine.

Louie Giglio said people had laughed at the thought of poor, Ramen noodle-eating college students donating their petty cash for this abstract cause. But as he announced the second morning that donations had already exceeded $1 million, I was particularly touched. I can admit, as can Louie, that people today have certain preconceived notions about my generation, the college students of today. Many believe we are self-centered and immature, only concerned with our cell phones and ourselves. But the college students at Passion 2012 proved that argument wrong. As this Atlanta news video agrees, “these are kids today.”

As you may guess, Passion 2012 attracted the attention of more than just the pedestrians on Northside Drive. In addition to the 11Alive coverage, and many other articles and blog posts, the CNN Freedom Project took notice and did an international segment regarding the event. Also, the Atlanta Journal Constitution was especially impressed by Passion’s $100,000 donation to the Atlanta Police Department’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection squad here. Overall, Passion 2012 did powerful things in the lives of countless college students and also in the lives of those all over the world…in the name of One powerful Savior of the world, Jesus. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Passion 2013!

Photos courtesy of Passion