Cliquish: Influencer Networking Event

A few weeks ago, a friend and colleague sent me info on a networking event and panel – “So you want to be an Influencer” featuring a variety of veteran and up-and-coming influencers who were going to share their experiences and insights.

I decided it would be fun and interesting to attend and put myself out there in a scenario that was a bit unknown. Not going to lie, I was pretty sure I would be walking into an event where I was the oldest (by a decade plus) and would stick out like a sore thumb. But I decided, in my third decade, to step out of my comfort and just go for it.

Arriving at the event, I was greeted by a variety of faces, women of all ages, interests, race and ethnicity. It was refreshing to talk to so many different women who are passionate about sharing their interests and lives with others in a very public platform.

The panel was a slice of the social world from Ms. Danti, a make-up maven and PhD student, who has been in the game before there was a game to an 18-year old YouTuber, who started blogging in middle school and took off last summer when she made daily relationship challenge videos with her boyfriend. (Apparently this is a huge area of interest for younger girls.)

Loved hearing each of their journeys, tips and perspective. While they were very different, the one common denominator was their desire to connect with people through authentic content and giving others a glimpse into their lives and passion. There’s a lot of power in being vulnerable and opening yourself up to others. And I connected instantly with that part of each of their journeys.

I was reminded that networking is such a powerful tool and got to know a lot of new ladies, and even left with a new friend – a fellow Mama Bear of three, who is also Hispanic and loves sharing her journey of motherhood and passion for fashion.

If nothing else, there is always value in putting yourself out there, meeting new people, talking about common interests and making connections.

This event solidified why I do this. I enjoy having a creative outlet that is all mine, not dictated by others, and the ability to share with people the things I love. If I can make someone smile, try something new or even step out of their own comfort zone, then it’s the cherry on top!

Xo,

Ivette

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#LillyForTarget PR Dream, IT Nightmare

If you’re a Florida girl like me and live in the South, then the Lilly for Target designer collaboration aka “Pink Sunday” was as exciting as Christmas morning. Thousands of women (me included) set their alarms at 3am to snag clothing, accessories, children’s items and home decor from this one-of-a-kind designer collection.

From a PR perspective, the buzz generated from the announcement, lookbook and commercial, celebrity event and night before/day of in store and online collection launch was amazing. Since its announcement in January 2015, I’ve continued to see a steady stream of news surrounding the collaboration. The timeline was executed flawlessly with just enough time between the initial announcement to the sneak peak lookbook and commercial to the actual collection launch on April 19 to ensure the media covered each phase, while building excitement among the socialverse with loyal Lilly lovers and newbies alike.

The lookbook and commercial were amazing and over the top, featuring Chris Noth (Mr. Big from SATC), Bella Thorne, a Giraffe and a slew of other celebs. The celebrity launch party was also a huge success with stars like Shameless’ Emmy Rossum and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Ellie Kemper sharing photos and numerous posts via Instagram and major outlets like E News once again covering the partnership. #LillyForTarget has been the #1 trending hashtag on Twitter for nearly an entire day with more than 10,000 tweets and counting.

If there were ever a question that partnering with Target to create a designer line at an affordable price to reach middle America was not a great move for a brand, please Google #LillyForTarget and hit “news” — you’ll find tons of stories from CNN to Refinery 29 and everything in between. On Twitter, local TV stations were soliciting stories from local residents on their Lilly for Target experience. The media attention alone has brought new focus and potential customers to Lilly. If you didn’t know Lilly Pulitzer, you’re probably intimately familiar with the iconic resort brand with the amazingly colorful prints, post Lillypocalypse.

Even with the negative tweets and news stories covering the angry women who were not able to purchase Lilly for Target in stores or online, the sheer amount of conversation and news attention generated has elevated both brands once again. Unfortunately with a limited time collection, one can only expect website crashes, empty stores within minutes and crazy people in line starting at 4am. America wouldn’t have it any other way. I personally find it fascinating to participate and watch this unfold.

For those in IT at Target and the employees braving the store this morning, I’m sure they’re ready for a nap. I loved the fact that Target mobile President Jason Goldberger live tweeted in the middle of the night and answered consumers’ questions. The one pr fail is the fact that once the website and mobile sites crashed, Jason stopped communicating via Twitter. Target should have anticipated madness and therefore crafted messaging to address this and the angry customers. With a highly anticipated launch such as Lilly for Target one could imagine the madness that would ensure online and in stores. Although no amount of tweets or communication will change that, I have seen an enormous amount of tweets and also stories questioning Target for their “radio silence.” There could have been a better way to implement a communication strategy in the wake of site crashes and lack of inventory and own that story rather than be blamed without comment.

I’m interested to see if this designer collaboration is duplicated once again perhaps next summer. Until then, I’lll enjoy reading the stories and tweets generated from the “Lilly for Target Apocalypse” and waiting for my pieces to arrive in the mail.

Would love to hear from others regarding their thoughts on #LillyForTarget. If you’re in pr, what did you think about Target’s pre, during and post launch plan? Did you purchase any Lilly and what was your strategy? Do you think this cheapens the brand or do you find it exciting when designer brands create attainable collections?

XoXo,

Ivette

Facebook Confessionlas: TMI

Don’t get me wrong…I love Facebook as much as the next person. My problem isn’t with Facebook, it’s with the people and their affinity for oversharing. I won’t name any names, but there are certain users who go a bit crazy in the status update department. I feel like some of the posts are reminiscent of the “confessional” sound bytes used during reality shows. Always too much and never a secret!

Here are a few of my favorite TMIers…I’m sure you know some and please feel free to add other categories.

The Complainer

This person is NEVER happy. Life must be incredibly hard for people like this because they seem to always be complaining about something. They want something so they complain, they get it and they complain – either way their stream is all about how miserable things are.

For example, there’s the “I need another job, more money, etc. post,” followed by a string of updates in the coming days about job searching, interviews, etc. You land the job…YAY, but no now come the posts about being “tired, overworked, it’s too much.” So you say you need something, then you get it and now every post is a series of complaints about the thing you wanted and how much it sucks. Enough already, Negative Nancy!

The Lover

This person LOVES to share all about love, their relationship, ups, downs, hugs, tears, fights – EVERYTHING! I have a feeling most of these “lovers” are really not that content in their relationship and use Facebook as a means of overcompensating. The posts about “I have the most amazing husband in the world and thing couldn’t be better…” indicate to me that things may not be so rosy. Then there are the couples who constantly write “I love you” and even worse, inappropriate TMI love messages on each others walls. Thanks for sharing! The worst by far are the couples who fight on Facebook going as far as stating “saying I do was my biggest mistake.” Maybe it’s time to take the conversation from the FB wall to a therapist.

The Farmville (insert other game) psycho updater

OMG…is there no way to turn these updates off?!? (My sources tell me there is in fact a way to turn off the automatic updates.) I understand that you may not have other responsibilities in your daily life aside from harvesting crops, killing mobsters, or playing Family Feud, but must you subject us to constant updates about your gaming habits. It’s just crazy and unnecessary. There is nothing useful in any of these updates.

The Politico

It’s political season and this FB offender has an opinion on every candidate. They’re creating pages for candidates, groups, hosting fundraisers and sharing every single detail along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support the political process and think everyone should exercise their right to vote. HOWEVER, I think talking politics can be sensitive and Facebook may not be the right place for it. I’m totally comfortable with a post or two about a certain candidate or about volunteering on a campaign, but if every other post is about campaign signs, donating money to a campaign, attending the 20th fundraiser for a candidate, or joining yet another “I voted for so and so” group – I vote no.

The Viral Junkie

This “friend” must secretly work for YouTube as every post in their stream in a video. No real rhyme or reason, no context to go along with it, just a robotic stream of video after video after video…

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Facebook posts. Are you ever annoyed by people’s status updates? Do you have any other offenders you’d like to add to the list?

What Social Media Means to Me

In honor of social media day, I decided to write a quick post about what social media means to me. I was always on the Facebook bandwagon and have had an account since it premiered in 2004, but in the last year or so I’ve really gotten into social media – learning more about it and participating in more platforms.

I resisted Twitter for a long time and now I can’t imagine not being able to tweet. I have to thank Deirdre Breakenridge who was a speaker at our local FPRA chapter meeting and really got me thinking about Twitter. I decided to look into it and gave it a try. I have met so many interesting PR professionals through Twitter, made connections with people in my own community, made great friends (shout out to Niki Pocock!) and have learned so much from 140 character postings.

A lot of people who are not fans of social media argue that these types of platforms make it easy for people to disconnect with reality, staying away from connecting with people in the “real world.” But I must say, Twitter, LinkedIn, Brazen Careerist, Foursquare, Facebook – all of these sites have allowed me to connect with a much larger network than would have been possible without them. Even locally, I have met so many people through Twitter and then turned that into lunch meetings, face to face conversations, new business and new friendships. If anyone thinks social media is not powerful…think again!

Starting this blog also has been an amazing experience. I love being able to share my thoughts and ideas with a global audience and connect with other people through my posts. My blog and Twitter lead me to find Brazen Careerist a career focused social networking site that connects professionals and allows us to discuss countless topics. It’s amazing what you can discover and who you can meet through social media.

For me, social media has been a new education and a place for me to share information and insights with others. It has given me an online voice and has helped build my personal brand. I’m excited to see what new networks and ideas emerge in the coming months or year…I love that it’s so fast and transformative that you can’t keep up. Social media keeps you on your toes and for that I’m grateful.

So what does social media mean to you?

Your “online” persona vs. the “real” you: Does it add up?

I’ve recently been invited to speak to a group about “brand management,” but instead of presenting on big companies and recognizable brands like Nike, Target and Apple…it got me thinking about your personal brand. I don’t think enough people consider what they’re saying and the first impressions they are making online.

I’ve seen many a Facebook status update and tweet with TMI. By TMI I mean way too much info…too personal, too whiny, too rude – basically grounds for losing a job or a friend. Certainly unbecoming. Unfortunately, the things you do online coupled with how you present yourself “in person” become your personal brand. Everything you put out there: pictures, status updates, tweets, blogs, comments and even other people’s comments become part of your personal brand.

You may think that some things are private, but when it comes down to it…is there even a difference between your personal and professional brand? Have you Googled yourself lately to see what comes up? You are a combination of the real you (the person your family, loved ones and close friends know), the professional you (your work ethic, creativity, drive) and the online you (your profiles, social resumes, blog posts, pictures, etc.) – when you put all together is it all adding up to who you really are?

If someone doesn’t know you and Googles your name, are you proud of what they find or are you crossing your fingers they’re not that savvy and quit searching? At the end of the day, are you making a statement about who you are or misrepresenting yourself? Have you updated or deleted information to clean up your act? How do you feel about your personal brand? Would you invest in you?