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Penna Powers took home some serious hardware at the 30th annual Golden Spike Awards Gala on Nov. 16. We earned six Golden Spike awards and one finalist award at the 2017 Golden Spikes in categories ranging from research for governments/non-profits to community relations.

2017 Golden Spikes

Golden Spike Awards

Harmons Grocery Local Print Ads

Category: Print display advertising
Harmons Grocery has been operating in Utah since 1932. What started out as a farmstand has blossomed into a progressive chain of grocery stores committed to quality food, unsurpassed service and community wellbeing. Supporting local vendors has always been at the forefront of Harmons mission, in fact, Harmons has been an integral cog in helping many local businesses get started. Over 2,300 products sold in Harmons are local items. With this in mind, Harmons asked Penna Powers to develop print ads with an emphasis on local. The ads featuring local products and produce were placed in various local Utah publications reaching more than 250,000 in readers.


UCAIR & Penna Powers: Show Them UCAIR

Category: Community relations
UCAIR and Penna Powers have conducted fully-integrated educational campaigns for the past several winters, when Utah’s air quality suffers most. Research in early 2016 showed that Utahns are concerned about air quality, but many believe air quality challenges are beyond their control. However, research participants activated around the issue when presented with the health impacts poor air can have on those they love. Building on this insight, UCAIR and Penna Powers created the “Kidult” campaign, inviting Utahns to “Show Them UCAIR” by changing behaviors to reduce emissions.


UDOT & Penna Powers: UDOT 1-15 Tech Corridor

Category: External audience videos
Utah County is growing rapidly, resulting in commute-time traffic jams. The Utah Department of Transportation planned to expand I-15, but funding wouldn’t arrive until 2020. In 2017, the State Legislature approved a bond to accelerate construction.
A public awareness survey showed that only 24 percent of locals knew a project was coming. UDOT developed a video to educate stakeholders on the project and announce the accelerated timeline. The video link was emailed to government and business leaders and promoted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to area residents and commuters.


UDOT & Penna Powers: UDOT TravelWise

Category: Research for government/non-profits
In order to establish a baseline around the TravelWise Program, UDOT conducted a general public telephone survey of Wasatch Front residents through Lighthouse Research & Development, Inc. The research included a total of 810 interviews. It was the first time that research of this scale had been done on the TravelWise campaign. It substantiated our belief that the campaign is necessary, surprised us in the level of program awareness, and provided actionable insights that are currently being pursued by the team.


IDOT & Penna Powers: Iowa Zero Fatalities “Impaired Sports”

Category: Social media for government/non-profits

With 32 percent of all traffic fatalities caused by alcohol related crashes, Zero Fatalities Iowa identified a need to address impaired driving with residents. In an effort to reduce fatalities, Iowa Zero Fatalities implemented a social awareness campaign during NFL and NCAA sporting seasons targeting men ages 18-49. Event targeting reminded spectators to get a sober ride home after the game. The campaign successfully, reached 59.8 percent of the target audience and helped lift overall Zero Fatalities awareness by two percentage points.


UCAIR & Penna Powers: UCAIR Illustrated Inversion Education Video

Category: Photography and illustration
The Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) is a non-profit dedicated to clean air. UCAIR and Penna Powers have conducted fully-integrated educational campaigns for the past several winters, when Utah’s air quality suffers most. Part of the challenge of getting Utahns to engage around air quality is overcoming their general low awareness that what they do does, in fact, make a difference in pollution levels. Many believe nothing can be done about Utah’s poor winter air episodes due to the meteorology and geography of the local airshed. During the 2016-17 winter campaign, we produced an illustrated educational video to attack this issue head-on.


Gold Spike Finalist Award

UDOT & Penna Powers: Zero Fatalities

Category: Community relations
To reduce traffic-related deaths between Memorial and Labor Day, Zero Fatalities implemented a multifaceted campaign called the “100 Deadliest Days.” As titled, the campaign focused on educating Utahns about (1) the 100 DD of summer when roadway deaths nearly double in Utah and (2) how to best prevent a traffic-related tragedy during the summer. Not only has the campaign performed exceptionally well in reach, frequency and engagement – As of August 23, there have been 12 less roadway related deaths this summer when compared to this same time last year.


The Golden Spike Awards measure effectiveness regarding research, planning, execution, evaluation and project content. A Golden Spike Finalist is awarded to entries that earn at least 80 out of 100 points; the highest scoring entry earns a Golden Spike. The annual competition is sponsored by the Utah Chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicator and the Utah Society for Healthcare Communication and Marketing.

Additionally, President and Managing Partner Dave Smith, APR received the Professional of the Year award.

Thank you to our clients for your continued partnership. While we are proud to produce award-winning campaigns, what matters the most is driving meaningful change together.

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Nostalgic Marketing Millennials

“Wonder Woman” just dominated screen ratings, the Nintendo NES Classic Edition is sold out and Atari just announced a new hardware system. You’re not mistaken if you think I’m talking about the late 70s or early 80s. However, I’m actually talking about right now. It seems as though the past keeps weaving into the future through nostalgic marketing, and for good reason too.

Companies ranging from tech to film are harnessing nostalgic marketing in their products and campaigns. Why is nostalgic marketing such a hit? One reason is that many people love being reminded of the good old days before responsibilities: childhood. With limitless impersonal marketing today, creating an emotional connection in marketing leaves a lasting impression.

Discover how some of our favorite brands are tapping into their millennial demographics with nostalgic marketing.


Atari, the preferred retro game maker of the 70s, has revived itself from the bankruptcy graveyard and announced a new hardware called Atari Box. Other than utilizing PC technology, not much else is known about the console. What we do know, however, is that the hardware will probably fly off the shelves.


Nostalgic Marketing and Nokia

Remember your friend’s trusty Nokia that was sturdier than a brick? Nokia sure seems to, as well as the rest of the United Kingdom. Nokia recently relaunched its 3310 model and sold out online within the first week. The phone boasts an impressive 22 hours of talk time or month-long battery-life on standby. The best part? The cult-classic game Snake comes pre-loaded.


Before “Pokemon Go” and the Switch, Nintendo was facing a sales slump that was easy to see from a mile away. The Wii U’s expected sales in its first fiscal year were only one third of what the company expected. While Nintendo started to look like a sinking ship, it rebooted its NES with a nostalgic marketing campaign that garnered millions of views. If you’ve tried to get your hand on an NES, you know how difficult it is. I’m talking standing in line at Best Buy for hours after tracking shipments difficult. Now that the company has stopped producing one of the greatest consoles of all time? Almost impossible.


Nostalgic Marketing and Netflix

If you weren’t hiding under a rock this past Halloween, you know that Eleven from Stranger Things was the costume of the year. “Stranger Things’” subtle nod to 80s pop-culture phenomenon’s such as “Alien” and “ET” was an instant hit. In a more obvious note, Netflix brought back a “Full House” remake as well as “Gilmore Girls.” While Netflix doesn’t share ratings information, it’s safe to assume millennials binged both shows. I know I sure did.

Here at Penna Powers, we’re no strangers to nostalgia. Nerf Gun fights are a regular occurrence in the office. The Underground (the name of our creative/development team)—I’m looking at you Thor—can’t stop talking about the “Godzilla” remake. We know firsthand the effect of nostalgic marketing and aren’t afraid to utilize it. Appeal to something that millennials already love and you’re almost guaranteed to create an emotional connection—or at least tap into their social media base.

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“How many leads has PR brought in for us this month?” “How are we tracking on those website KPIs?” “Are referrals increasing?”


It may be a quick discussion with the CEO in the elevator, sitting in a client meeting or working with your team on month-end or year-end reports. The exact situation is unpredictable, but what is certain is that you will be asked at some point by your executives, client or team to demonstrate return on objectives (ROO) and return on investment (ROI) (aka, justify your value, your existence).

Here’s your open to bring in the analytics and other hard metrics that many people still think cannot be measured as part of their PR efforts. Let’s once and for all blow up that misperception. One of the primary principles of PR is setting measurable objectives and determining the measurement criteria for evaluation. Then, as with any assessment, the critical step to analyze, evaluate, retool and repeat.

While many agencies and larger organizations have the luxury of employing one of the sophisticated measurement and reporting tools that are available to help in these endeavors (Cision, Meltwater, Radian6, etc.), for many its not a budgetary reality. Or, even if you do have these tools at your fingertips, here are some terrific ways and what’s to measure that go beyond counting only placements and measuring PR’s real contribution and value to your company’s ROI. Best part, they many of these measurement approaches can be accomplished using existing technologies (e.g. Google analytics) or don’t require any additional hard cost for an additional third-party tool at all.

  • Dream Hits—Peg a few dream outlets and get placed. Include vanity URLs to drive to a particular page on your website, share content on your social channels that link to your site or have sales share directly with prospects. Track your analytics back to particular events to measure traffic, conversions or sales.
  • Key messages—Particularly instances when you are working to educate or persuade people on a particular issue, tracking if your key messages are include and how they are presented.
  • Completed action—Setting up call tracking numbers, unique URLs, hashtags, share, redemption, pixels, referral/lead capture that map back to a particular effort, offer, pledge request can let you know almost immediately if your initiative is performing as desired.
  • Influence—Measuring the percentage of news coverage that includes a spokesperson from your organization compared to those that don’t can give you a month-over-month or year-after-year glimpse into how you are able to influence the telling of your story vs. not being included.
  • Positioning—Whether benchmarking the perception of your product against a competitor, your organization’s reputation, brand awareness or adoption of a behavior, a survey, poll or other research instrument will show you where your currently stack up so you can plan your next move.
  • A/B testing—This can be used with different headlines, images, calls to action so you can measure which is/will perform most effectively.

Whether you’re using a third-party tool or are benchmarking and reporting through originally created metrics, the true measure of success is what, your CEO, CMO or client sees as a win. Start those conversations, set your metrics and then regularly report the true measure of your ROI.

What are some unique measurement benchmarks you have used in your campaigns, programs and publicity efforts? Tell us in the comments below!

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Whenever I tell someone over the age of 30 what my job title is, their general reaction is usually one of disbelief. I am oftentimes met with questions like “Is that a real job?” or “Do you just ‘play’ on Facebook all day?” But, within our day and age, the burgeoning growth of social media cannot be ignored. In today’s digital-driven world, a Social Media Coordinator has become an integral role in many marketing and advertising agencies. Listed below are some of my main responsibilities as Penna Powers’ Social Media Content Coordinator.

First and foremost, Content Creation:

This is where all of my hard work taking advanced English and Writing courses over the past 8 years has really begun to pay off. Since I started here in November, I have been lucky enough to take over writing Twitter, Facebook and Instagram content for 2 accounts, fully immersing myself into the different ‘brand voices’ and subject matter that make these clients who they are. Holiday content has become my personal favorite, and I have been able to let my own voice shine through with, what I believe to be, relatable content.

Next, comes Scheduling:

After I, or my colleagues, write out our monthly content calendars (as discussed above), I schedule everything to send out to our clients’ social media channels. Over the past few months, Hootsuite has become my best friend. I can spend hours of my day plugging in links, captions and images that will magically send out to different channels at a date and time that I specify. Instagram’s new account switching function has been a lifesaver in keeping everything running smoothly.

Analyzing and Reporting:

Every week, after our content has had time to reach its intended audience, I take a look at several clients’ Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics to see what is working and what isn’t. After my Excel spreadsheets highlighting positives, neutrals and negatives are written, we are able to determine what kind of content is reaching the most people, the peak times of day and what we can be doing to continually improve.

Community Management:

After all of the above is said and done, I am able to take a step back and look at how our audiences are interacting with us as a whole. Are the discussions meaningful and reinforcing? Do we need to reconstruct? Are there any questions that we can answer?

On top of all of these responsibilities, one of my roles here at P2 has been to take over the title of co-‘Blog Manager’, which really goes hand in hand with my daily Coordinator duties: creating content, editing and scheduling out the content of others, reporting on monthly blog analytics and keeping everyone motivated and on schedule with their writing. In an ever-evolving digital world, I have been lucky enough to find myself as a part of the Penna Powers PR team, in a job that I love.

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We revel in the opportunity to work with our clients side by side on safety efforts that are saving lives. While the greatest reward is every helping everyone get home safely, it is nice to also receive accolades for a job well done.

At the Pinnacle Awards, sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America Nevada Chapter, we did a lot of celebrating with our client partners.

Best of Show in Tools and Techniques was awarded to the Zero Fatalities Bicycle Safety Social Media campaign for the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT).

First place Pinnacle Awards were earned for:

An Award of Excellence was earned by NDMV for its Smog Spotter Grassroots Event Booth.

Now in its 19th year, the Pinnacle Awards highlight the best public relations programs in Nevada. The programs and campaigns earning recognition this year were awarded for the measurable strides that were made to benefit the community, the environment and the overall safety of Nevadans that included:

Zero Fatalities Bicycle Safety Social Media

Best of Show and Pinnacle Award

With the number of serious injuries and fatalities involving cyclists on Nevada’s roads, the Nevada Department of Transportation launched a public awareness campaign that encouraged both drivers and cyclists to share the road. Through social media, the Zero Fatalities campaign started a conversation about safe roadway behaviors among drivers and cyclists alike, and aimed to show them that both parties play a part in keeping each other safe.


With the use of both Spanish and English posts, a surge of engagements and click through to the website was achieved.

Zero Fatalities Nevada Rider Chalkboard Video

Pinnacle Award

After a surge of motorcycle accidents in Nevada between 2009 and 2013, an effort to educate riders on safe driving behaviors to decrease motorcycle fatalities was undertaken with the Nevada Rider Chalkboard Video. It illustrates the three most dangerous behaviors for motorcyclists in Nevada.


A targeted online media buy exceeded expectations for views, reaching 88.9% of motorcycle riders in Nevada.

Stay on the Go

Pinnacle Award

With a long-standing reputation as a sluggish, red tape-ridden institution with exceptionally long wait-times, The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has taken great strides in eliminating the need to visit a physical DMV location. Through online tools, like MyDMV online processing, transaction kiosks located in grocery and AAA storefronts, and Dash Pass remote check-in, the Stay on the Go campaign’s aim was two-fold: Have people skip a trip to the DMV and improve the perception of the DMV.


Online transactions increased by 33 % and through a commitment to technology and innovation, Nevadans have ultimately been provided with excellent customer service and convenience.

Smog Spotter Grassroots Events Booth

Award of Excellence

With a goal to decrease pollutants from vehicle emissions, we launched the ‘Smog Spotter’ program with NDMV. Nevadans are encouraged to report smoking vehicles to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. Spotters are able to report smoke emissions through both the phone and a mobile-friendly online form. Awareness for the program was increased in part by the Smog Spotter booth exhibit that traveled to community events throughout the state.


Smog Spotter report filings increased by nearly 10% over 2014.

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Responding to media inquiries is a delicate process, and without preparation and practice it can be a game of life and death. Okay that may be a little dramatic, but rather than make mistakes, let’s take a lesson from some recent highly publicized PR disasters and save ourselves the crisis.

1. Always Think Before You Speak
In a media interview, no matter the format, expect to get a question from left field. Remember, if you don’t know how to respond, stick to your key messages. (Don’t call women fat!)

          2013 Fail/Example: Lululemon founder Chip Wilson and co-founder Shannon Wilson go on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart” with Trish Regan. During the interview Regan raises the question, “what’s up with the pants,” as some customers had recently been complaining of sheer pants and peeling logos. After rambling through a lengthy answer, Wilson lands with “some women’s bodies don’t work for [the pants].” To which Regan was quick to follow up with, “so not every woman can wear a Lululemon pant.” (view interview)

          The Cost: Sales drop, Wilson makes a public apology before surrendering chairmanship.

2. Your Tweet Can and Will Be Held Against You
Even when you aren’t in a formal interview setting, things you say in public (such as social media outlets) can and are used by the media.

          2013 Fail/Example: Before Justine Sacco, director of corporate communications for InterActive Corp (IAC), boarded her flight to Africa she tweeted: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

          The Cost: Huge controversy erupted while Sacco was mid-flight with no internet access. The hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet quickly began trending and a parody account @LOLJustineSacco appeared. IAC quickly made a statement distancing themselves from Sacco’s tweet. Sacco made a public apology. Sacco was fired.

3. Always Check and Double Check Your Sources
If you are providing a source to the media, make sure the individual/company is exactly what you expect them to be.

          2012 Fail/Example: 60 Minutes aired an interview with Dylan Davies who vividly recounted being at the U.S. consulate during the fatal attack in Benghazi, Libya in September 2012. However, after the story aired, Davies’ tale was put to question. CBS Correspondent Lara Logan initially defends Davies and then blamed him when the story was found to be false.

          The Cost: CBS publicly apologizes, goes into damage control and answers MANY follow up questions from the public and other media outlets. Logan and her producer were asked to take a leave of absence.

4. Never Pass Blame
When you are in the wrong, and the public knows you are in the wrong, you better own up to it with honest confidence. If you make a mistake, you can recover. Sometimes mistakes are opportunities to shine. However, sometimes it’s the last hole in a sinking ship. Be very careful in how you respond, ALWAYS.

           2010 Fail/Example: We all remember the BP oil spill of April 2010. Eleven people were killed and oil leaked from the ocean floor. Initially the company downplayed the spill only to later call it an “environmental catastrophe.” In the difficult process, CEO Tony Hayward told a reporter “we’re sorry for the massive disruption it’s caused to their lives. There’s no one who wants this thing over more than I do, I’d like my life back.”

           The Cost: BP and its CEO were criticized left and right. Even President Obama, in an NBC interview, said Hayward “wouldn’t be working for me after any of those statements.” Six months after the explosion, Hayward “got his life back” when he stepped down as CEO.

5. Limit Off-the-Cuff Jokes
Remember, a joke can be interpreted a million different ways. Be VERY cautious when using humor on record.

          2009 Fail/Example: In November 2009 our nation was in the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. During an interview with the London Times, CEO of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein answered questions concerning employee compensation. He defended their company’s large staff bonuses, despite the national economic struggle, saying banks serve a social purpose and bankers were just doing “God’s work.” Days later Blankfein clarified that his comment was intended as a joke.

          The Cost: The media and public had a heyday–article after blog, after report after skit–people definitely laughed. Blankfein publicly apologized on behalf of Goldman Sachs, while the company worked to dig out of this self-made hole. (read the WSJ blog or Colbert Report)

So let this be a warning and reminder: Always be ready when media come calling. Have key message documents, media prep sessions and a great deal of common sense.

For media advice or strategic planning, give us a call. OR for another informative read: “The worst advice we’ve ever heard for handling a media interview.”


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TwitterEverything needs a little organizing every once in a while and why should your social media be any different? Your pages and profiles are constantly out in the open for everyone to see, in many ways, they represent you and your voice to the masses. So whether it’s your personal page or business page, do a little clean up to make sure that only the right people are seeing your posts and that your social media past reflects who you want to be.

Here are some quick tips to help you clean up your social media:

Remove content that conveys the wrong message – First things first, what does your content say about you? If it says “Hey! I partied in college!” it’s probably time to clean it up a little bit. Go through your timeline, Tweets and posts and make sure that your content tells your followers who you are. This could mean getting rid of low quality photos, posts with old or wrong messaging, or any content that no longer reflects your company or personality.

Control who sees your information – It is important to have friends and followers, especially for your business’ social media channels, but if the followers are just numbers, they aren’t of much use to you. Take time to go through your list and make sure that the people there are benefiting your page or will benefit from seeing you on their wall. You don’t want to be sending out information to fake or empty followers. As for your personal page, make sure you’re not sharing personal information with people you don’t know.

Update your information – When is the last time you checked your About You section? It can be easy to forget about this part of your social media pages. Make sure that your website, phone number and About You sections are updated, especially if it is your company page. And if you don’t want all of that information showing, make sure to check your privacy settings.

As important as it is to clean up your social media, it can be a pain to do. Here are a few tools that you can try out to help you keep your social media organized:

AJAX Social Wipes

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School is back in session and the change in routine makes it a good time to remind kids and families how to stay safe. To help get the word out and share important safety tips, PPBH and Primary Children’s Hospital recently partnered to host an event called “Safety Saturday” at The Leonardo science and technology museum in downtown Salt Lake City. The event was designed to highlight everything Primary Children’s Hospital does to help keep kids safe. Some of the programs featured included:

We had a fantastic turn out with 35 bloggers attending the event along with their families. Everyone had a wonderful time exploring the kid friendly educational displays provided by Primary Children’s Hospital. A crowd favorite was the seat belt safety display where kids enjoyed drawing their own face on an egg, placing it on a toy car, then watching it smash to pieces to demonstrate what happens when you don’t wear a seat belt. Everyone also enjoyed the melon drop, where cantaloupes were used to simulate what happens if you don’t wear a helmet while riding your bike.

Blogger events have proven to be a great way to help clients reach their target audiences. From large scale events, to smaller, more intimate blogger tours, Q&A sessions and more, PPBH can help clients of all sizes design a blogger event to fit their needs and goals. If you are interested in finding out more about our capabilities, email us at













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Thumb Up Sign

Contributed by Jane Putnam

Last month, Facebook rolled out its revamped Insights to all page managers. If you’ve used Facebook’s Insights before, you’ll be excited to see the new information and analytics now available. Now, the challenge is upon us as digital marketers and community managers to actually put these Insights to work in our favor—increasing reach, increasing engagement and supporting our ROI for these efforts.

So, with this new data and range of information, what does it all mean? My recommendation: take the time to comb through your page’s Insights and explore what’s now available. I’m really excited about the revamp across the board, and some of my favorite additions include:

How each post type performs. It’s a basic principle in the social media world that you need to cater your posts (including the type of posts and content of the post) to your specific community. The new Insights include a breakdown of the average reach of post types (status update, photo, link, video) as a whole, and the “virality” score of individual posts has now been fleshed out to include number of clicks and is now known as an “engagement rank.” Use this information to your advantage—measure the success of your posts and cater to those successes in future content.

Know when your fans are online. To help your post be seen (in addition to making sure the content rocks), the new Insights include a breakdown of your fan-base and the most popular times to be online. Social media isn’t a 9-5 gig, and your posts need to be put out there at the best times for your fans, not for your schedule. Use this data to help you to determine those “best times.”

Reach broken down by fans and non-fans. When a fan comments, likes or shares a post on your page, it often time appears in the news feed of their friends, who may or may not like your page. The new Insights include a breakdown of the engagement on each post by fans and non-fans. What type of content performs best with non-fans? Can you determine a conversion rate of new fans, from your content appearing in their timeline from a fan?


What other additions to the Page Insights are you most excited about? Tell me in the comments.

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social media

Contributed by Jane Putnam

We’re back with the second part in a series on curating content for your brand or company’s social media channels. In case you missed part one, read it here.

 1. Host a brainstorm and gather ideas. If you’re struggling to even get started or not sure what type of content to use, hold a group brainstorm with people from different teams. This means even those who are not involved in social media—take advantage of different perspectives, insights and new ideas. Keep the brainstorm open and take down all ideas; pare it down post-meeting.

 2. Mix up the types of posts. Whether it’s a text-only post, an image, a photo album, a link or something else, mix up the types of posts you use. Keep in mind, visual posts (an infographic, photo, image or other) often perform better on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean every post needs to be the same. Also, experiment with different ways to present/share content.

3. Build in a strategy for sharing, retweeting and giving credit. Support your partners and other collaborators by supporting their content. For example, if your business in City X, which is commemorating its X-year anniversary, share your support or congratulations through your content. There are dozens of other ways to share, retweet and give credit too. Moral of the story, don’t get so lost in your content that you forget about what’s going on around you and your company or brand.

And, one final thought: whatever the content you’re sharing, make sure it shares well on mobile phones and devices other than laptops or computers. The Pew Internet and American Life Research Project found, as of April 2012, that 55 percent of adult cell owners use the Internet on their mobile phones; nearly double 2009 numbers.

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