Readings for Apr. 23: SEM vs SEO/ Social Media Critique Presentations

Here are the readings for our final class.  Please post your blog post before class and be prepared to discuss the readings.

SEM vs SEO: What’s the difference and Which is Right for My Brand?

How to Sell the Importance of Engagement Over Fan Growth on Social Media    


Begin Social Media Critique Presentations:  Teams will present their Social Media Critique assignments to the class.  Each team will have 15 minutes to make their presentation.

Readings and Blog Post for Apr. 16: Content Curation

Please read the following articles and write about them by answering the following questions in your blog post for April 16.  Please be prepared to discuss the readings in class.

What is curation?  How can curated content be used as an effective journalistic tool?  How can curated content be used as a tool in public relations and marketing?

Why Curation is Important to the Future of Journalism (Mashable)

A Beginner’s Guide to Content Curation (Hootesuite)

10 Content Curation Tools Every Marketer Needs (Hubspot)

Readings and Blog post for Apr. 9: Too Good to Be True? Is It Fake News?

Please read the following articles and write about them by answering the questions below for your Apr. 9 blog post.  Please be prepared to discuss the readings and your blog post in class.

How to Spot Fake News

Answer these questions on the first article:  What are some fake news sites and how can you spot them?  Name some other ways to spot fake news?

Fake News Experts on How False Stories Spread and Why People Believe Them

Answer these questions on the second article:  What are some things Mark Zuckerberg said FB is going to do to reduce the spread of misinformation on its platform?  How do the Macedonia sites spread fake news on FB?  Who runs theses sites?  What is FB’s role in fake news?  What is Google’s role in fake news?


Watch FB documentary.

Assigned Apr. 2: Social Media Critique

This assignment is due on Apr. 23.

Description:  Working in teams of two, critique a brand, company, or news outlet’s media presence.

Explanation:  Select a national or international brand, company, or news outlet and critique its social media presence.  Compare and contrast its presence on at least three social media platforms.  Critique the brand or outlet and its social media strategy and make specific recommendations for improvement.

  1. Identify your brand, company or news outlet.  Submit the name of the company you have chosen to me via email before our class on Apr. 9.  I will need to approve the brand or company you have chosen.
  2. Decide whether you will critique the brand, company, or news outlet through the lens of a specific demographic, or in general.  I recommend you choose a specific demographic.  (Does this brand, company, or news outlet appeal to college students?  To young adults?  To women who want careers in business?  To consumers between the ages of 35-50?  To conservatives?  To liberals?)
  3. Research your brand, company, or news outlet.  Identify the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, YouTube, etc…)  the brand or news outlet has chosen to embrace as part of its strategy.  Of the platforms the company uses, select three to focus on for your paper.  Also identify the platforms that are not used or are underutilized by the company.
  4. Write your paper following the instructions below.  (You will lose points if you don’t follow them.)
  5. Introduction – No more than one page.  Describe your company, why you selected it, and in general how the brand or the company presents itself on social media overall.
  6. Compare and Contrast Social Media Platforms — about two pages.  Identify the social media platforms you have chosen.  Describe each.  How does the brand or company use them?  What seems to be the overall purpose?  (Customer feedback, marketing, promotion, etc…)  How do these channels appeal to your selected demographic or the public in general?  Include screenshots of photos as examples.
  7. Suggest areas for improvement — about two pages.  Now that you have provided a comprehensive review of the company’s platforms, take some time to make recommendations for ways in which their social media performances could be improved.  How does the brand or company relate to your own demographic?  What have you not seen that would appeal to you?  What seems to be the target audience for the company?  Are they missing a key way that they could be relating to more consumers, clients, or members of the public?
  8. In your suggestions for improvement, include at least two specific social media platforms that could be added to the company’s strategy.
  9. Also include at least two specific tactics that could be used on these platforms and explain them (live video, live tweeting, Twitter Live, Instagram Stories, Snapchat  Stories, Twitter Lists, Crowdsourcing, etc…)
  10. Conclusion – no more than one page.  Provide your overall summation of what you found and recommended.  How will the brand or company benefit from your advice?  What new outcomes can be expected?  How might the changes allow the brand or company to grow?

Class Presentations:  You will present your Social Media Critique to the class on Apr. 23 and 30.

Grading:  Your final project is worth 50 points, broken down as follows:  Each of the 10 items above is worth 5 points.

Readings for Apr. 2: Media pitching and Press Releases/ Social Media Task 9: Social media press release/ Instagram slideshow due

Here are your readings for class on Apr. 2.  Please post your blog post by the beginning of class.

Traditional Press Release — Out — Online News Releases are IN

How to Write a Social Media Press Release

Questions to discuss: How have news releases changed in recent years? What are keywords and why are they crucial in crafting effective releases?  What are effective strategies for reaching and pitching journalists:  How do releases on social media differ from traditional releases?  What are some mistakes to avoid when writing a social media release?

Instagram Slideshow due: some presentations in class.

Social Media Task 9:  Writing a Social Media Press Release

This assignment is due on Apr. 9.  Please post your release on your blog when you are finished writing it.  Be sure to identify your release as a class project.

Description:  You will apply the skills you have learned and the tools you have used this semester to craft a Social Media Press Release.

Explanation:  Select either a campus organization or a local organization or business that has news worth publicizing.  You are their public relations representative.  The news should be recent (within the past few months or coming up in the next few months.)  The news may be an event, announcement, anniversary, opening, or other milestone, campaign, product launch, etc.

Part 1:  In-class assignment:  Research events that are going on at Seton Hall or South Orange on FB, Twitter, Instagram,  Snapchat, or another platform for the subject of your social media press release.  Tell me your idea before you leave class.

Part 2:  Write a social media release publicizing the news.  It is due on Apr. 9.

Length:  The body of the release should be at least 350 words.  The release should also include:  Contact information, a headline and possibly a secondary headline; a lead/summary; body; pullet-point facts; multimedia links; keywords.

It should also include at least one image (either original photos that you shot or images downloaded from the organization’s website or social media accounts) and/or a link to a YouTube video.  Take advantage of the range of features of the social media release.

Information:  Do some research to write the release.  Make sure all the information is accurate.  You can interview someone to get quotes, or you can quote yourself as the public relations representative for the client.  Do not write the release in the first person (I, ours, we) — use the third person.

Style and Format:  Portray your client in a favorable light, but don’t exaggerate.  Assume you’re writing for a general audience that might not be very familiar with your client.  Make the headline informative and “tweetable,” and search engine optimized.  Use keywords in the headline and body.

Keep paragraphs short and succinct.  Pay attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation and AP style.

Post your release to your blog and tweet about it at least twice.  Feel free to use other social media platforms to publicize your news, or post your press release.  (Be sure to identify it as a class project since it will go out to the public and you’re not really the PR representative for the client.)

Grading:  This assignment is worth 20 points.

Social Media Critique Assignment due April 23.  See posted assignment guidelines.


Readings and video for Mar. 26: The Bender Group Guest Speaker/ Instagram vs. Snapchat/ Live Tweeting due

We will have our guest speaker(s) from The Bender Group — social media expert, Hayden Hammerling.  (Possibly Stacey Bender, too).  Please research him and The Bender Group, and write a blog post about the company.  You should include the fact that he is coming to speak to our social media class at Seton Hall on March 26 at 5:30 in NU 105, and that anyone in Journalism and PR is invited.  You should also tweet about The Bender Group coming to speak at least three times before the event.

Here is your reading for class on Mar. 26.  In addition, please watch the following YouTube video:  Instagram vs. Snapchat by Neil Patel.  Please write a short blog post by the beginning of class on Mar. 26.

Rihanna hits Snapchat where it hurst

Live Tweeting Assignment due; some possibly presented in class.


Readings and Blog Post for Mar. 19: Photo and Video Sharing/ Social Media Task 8: Instagram slideshow

Please read Chapters 5 & 6 in Briggs and write about them for your Mar. 19 blog post.  Please be prepared to discuss the readings and your blog post in class.

Qustions to think about:  What makes Instagram unique?  What makes Pinterest unique?  What benefits do social media channels like Instagram offer to photojournalists?  To professional photographers?  To brands?  What fears to professional photographers have about platforms like Instagram?  How can photo and video sharing social media platforms be used as tools in public relations.

Home Work:  Social Media Task 8:  Instagram Slideshow/ Due on April 2.

Assignment Overview:

  • Work in teams of two.
  • Decide on an interesting topic or a brand to write about.  It doesn’t have to be Seton Hall related.  It can be political, or have something to do with entertainment, or sports — any topic or any brand you want to choose.  You are to measure public opinion on campus on that topic or brand.
  • Write three questions you will ask all of your participants about the topic or brand you chose.
  • Interview at least four students on Instagram video.  (Four total — so two each).
  • Create a slideshow with your video — each video can only be 60 seconds or less.
  • Write a caption that summarizes how your participants felt about your topic or brand.
  • Try your best to find four interesting views on the topic, which may mean you need to interview more than four people.  (So ask their views on the topic before you shoot the video.)

Conduct Your Interviews

  • Tell your participants you will be posting their responses on Instagram.
  • Identify the fact that you are participating in a class assignment.
  • Ask each person being interviewed to identify themselves (first and last name, class year, and where they’re from.)
  • Ask each person the same three questions.

How to Make an Instagram Slideshow:  

How to Post a Slideshow with Videos

Grading:  This assignment is worth 20 points.

Mar. 5: Blog Post Assignment for Reuters Guest Speakers/ Live Tweeting assigned

Your blog post assignment for March 5 is to write about our Reuters guest speakers.

Research Reuters news service, where our guest speakers Gina Cherelus and Barbara Goldberg are national correspondents.  They will be speaking about how Reuters NY uses social media to report news, how they use a Twitter board, and more.  Your blog post should include the fact that they are speaking to our class on Mar. 5 at 5:00 pm in Room 105 in Nursing.

Please write five good questions to ask them after their talk.  You will lose 5 points from your blog points if you do not come to class with these five questions.

You should also tweet about them coming to speak and mention that it’s open to all journalism, PR, and communications majors at SHU.  Be sure to tweet about it at least three times before the event.  Don’t forget to use the class hashtag — #social3422.

Second Half of Class:  We will discuss Live Tweeting an event and go over your Live Tweeting assignment.  The Live Tweeting assignment is due on March 26.



Social Media Task 7 assigned Feb. 26 — Live Tweeting an Event

This assignment is due before class on Mar. 19, so you have two weeks to complete it.

Description:  This challenge requires you to live-tweet an event to your followers.

Explanation:  Find an event that is suitable for live tweeting.  Lectures, speeches, and public forums work particularly well.  Routine meetings, workshops, and performances do not work very well.  Check the SHU calendar on the website to find upcoming events on campus.  You might also choose an event that is not related to school that takes place either in South Orange, or your hometown, or anywhere else.  That’s fine, but you may not live-tweet an event in which you are an active participant.

If you can’t find an event on or off campus to attend, you may live-tweet a televised event.  However, this should be a last resort and you will automatically lose 2 points for not live-tweeting an event in person.  (See “Grading” below.)  If you live-tweet a televised event, it should be a competitive reality show or a televised sports event or awards show.  You may NOT live-tweet a scripted comedy or drama series or movie.

You are responsible to check that you are allowed to live-tweet your selected event.

Use the Twitter account you created for class to live-tweet.  Make sure to follow the advice for live-tweeting discussed in class, including the following:

— Select an appropriate hashtag and use it in every tweet.  Also use our class hashtag — #social3422.

— Send out at least one tweet before the event to announce that you will be live-tweeting that event.

— There is no set number of tweets (but 4 or 5 is probably too few.)  Generally, the longer the event, the more tweets.  Post enough tweets to give people a clear sense of the event and its highlights.  The tweets serve as a narrative of the event.  Don’t omit important information.  Tweets should be spread out throughout the event.

— Write in the third person.  (Do not use the words I/me/my.)  Include your observation, not your personal opinion.  The focus must be on the live event, not on you.  Show, don’t tell.

— Each tweet should “stand alone” as best as possible.  Tweets should make sense to people who aren’t attending the event.  You are their eyes and ears.  If people “had to be there” to understand your tweets, then the live-tweeting wasn’t helpful.

— Accuracy is crucial.   Do not make any factual errors.  If you do, fix them by sending out a new tweet.

— Use appropriate attribution, including Twitter handles where appropriate.

— Use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

— Include at least one photo and/or video.  This photo can be in your original tweet announcing that you will be live-tweeting the event, or during the event.

Submitting the assignment:  When you are finished live-tweeting the event, send me a DM on Twitter with the name of the event, the time it started, and the hashtag you used in your tweets.  The DM must be sent prior to the beginning of class on Mar. 19.

Grading:  This assignment is worth 20 points.  It will be broken down as follows:

Readability/organization (5 points):  Is the stream of live tweets informative and easy to understand?  Are the tweets organized well to create a strong narrative?  Is attribution used appropriately to make it clear who is being quoted or paraphrased?

Reporting (5 points):  Is the stream of tweets complete and accurate?  Does it reflect good news judgement?  Is every tweet relevant?

Tone and presentation (5 points):  Is the tone of the tweets professional and engaging?  Are hashtags used appropriately and consistently?  Was there at least one tweet in advance announcing that you would be live tweeting?  Is there at least one photo?

Mechanics (5 points):  Do the tweets use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation?

There will be an automatic 2-point deduction if you live-tweeted a televised event rather than an event in person.