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Why PR Pros Should Establish Themselves as Resources to Reporters


PR pros should work to establish themselves as important resources and sources to key media members with whom they have or want a productive relationship. Doing so will benefit the journalist and your PR firm and its clients. More importantly, being helpful means the reporter or editor will be open to future pitches and might even start calling you for story ideas.

Bennet Rudder, Vice President at Ben Carter Enterprises

Bennet Rudder, Vice President at Ben Carter Enterprises

This scenario worked out well this month when Joel Groover, a writer for Shopping Centers Today, said he needed a retail developer to discuss cool and innovative ways to market their shopping and outlets centers. We let Groover know right away that Ben Carter Enterprises, an Atlanta-based commercial real estate firm and client, employed some cool techniques to market space and additional land at an adjacent to Tanger Outlets Savannah, which opened in April along I-95 near Savannah, Georgia. One of the cutting-edge tools Ben Carter and his team are utilizing is a drone that can fly high above the site and capture photos and angles and heights previously unattainable without hiring a helicopter or small plane.

The idea resonated with SCT’s Groover, who requested an interview with Ben Carter. During the interview, our client also discussed a unique way his company is marketing retail space at its Broughton Street Collection, a $75 million endeavor centered on the restoration of more than three dozen historic properties on Savannah’s historic Broughton Street (once the city’s premier retail corridor).

Savannah's Broughton Street and Ben Carter (right)

Savannah’s Broughton Street and Ben Carter (right)

We followed up with the writer to find out if he needed any images, because today no story can run or appear online without art – a photo, locator map, rendering or screen grab to illustrate the story. Groover asked whether we could get a photo of a BCE executive at the Tanger site with a drone. Though his deadline was tight, we jumped on the opportunity, and Ben Carter did, too. Right away, we got a photo of Bennett Rudder, a BCE vice president who leases space at Tanger and Broughton Street, holding the drone on property.

That photo is the lead art in the just-published Shopping Centers Today story, ATTENTION GRABBERS – Landlords Are Using Drones, Flash Mobs and Other Creative Tactics to Get Prospective Tenants’ Attention. Click here and turn to Page 44 to see the score.

Digital Updates: Tech News To Know


We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 Twitter is looking to acquire another social media network. In February, Twitter acquired live-streaming app Periscope. Now Twitter looks to add to its arsenal again with an offer to purchase the article-sharing app Flipboard. The series of talks began in January. While the deal is currently on hold for unknown reasons, it is estimated that Twitter will spend roughly $1 billion in an all-stock deal to purchase the app. This is significantly larger than the $100 million deal to buy Periscope, which has gained a huge following and looks to be a new power in the social media market.

#2 Who are the “Verified Users” on Twitter? We’ve all seen those Twitter accounts with the small blue circle with a check in it and not really known what it meant. These accounts are authentically verified to be a key individual or brand on Twitter. This is done for accounts that will most likely have fake accounts created posing as that person or company. As of May, about 150,000 accounts are verified, which is roughly .05 percent of all Twitter accounts. Approximately 25 percent of verified users are journalists, and media outlets make up about 7 percent. Even with that small slice of the pie, media outlets dominated all other categories in the number of tweets they put out.

Verified Twitter Account

Verified Twitter Account

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No blue mark, parody account

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 12.34.35 PM

Another fake, no verified mark












#3 Snapchat wants you to shop through them. Snapchat added a money transfer feature to its app back in November and now it wants you to put it to good use. Snapchat is investing in Spring, a shopping app that launched last year to integrate with its current messaging app. Snapchat has been focusing on promoting events and concerts around the country, so adding the ability to purchase tickets or merchandise through the app makes sense. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other large social media networks have also added a “buy” feature to get more people to use their e-commerce features.

Digital Updates: Tech News To Know


By: Nick Prather

We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 LinkedIn is taking its app game to a new level with Elevate. LinkedIn’s new app Elevate is a paid app that suggests articles to users. It will allow users to schedule and share social media content across LinkedIn and Twitter for others to see. Early results show that for every six pieces of content shared, the user gets six profile views and gains two new connections.

#2 Storify is letting you add pictures now! Storify has introduced a new tool to directly upload and include photos. This feature was purposely left off the blogging site until many of the millions of Liana Moran.

periscope-logo-1920-800x450#3 Twitter is innovating social media again with Periscope. Twitter has launched its new live-streaming app called Periscope. The app allows anyone to stream a video from anywhere for the world to see and will also save videos you’ve live-streamed to view later. The app was acquired by Twitter for about $100 million dollars and has been out for a few weeks. The only bad news: Periscope recently came under fire with people live-streaming the newest episode of “Game of Thrones,” bringing concerns of copyright infringement to the table.

Digital Updates: Tech News To Know


By: Nick Prather

We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 Storify is looking to shuffle up your Twitter! There is a new way to customize your Twitter feed thanks to Storify’s Twitter Cards. With “Beginnings” theme. Each photo has a summary. The account now has over 52,000 followers and 110 posts since it launched March 9th.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.41.38 AM

#3 Twitter to show you where you went right… or wrong. Twitter launched its new analytics home page that will show you more Twitter stats. The page will give summaries of your top Tweets, top mentions, followers and even your top “media tweet” so you can see what your followers love, or hate, to hear you say. Twitter also simplified the Twitter Ads process with the ability to “quick promote” an ad directly from your profile.

Digital Updates: Tech News for Your Business


Digital PR is an ever-changing landscape. The Wilbert Group stays up-to-date on everything social media and tech so we can use that knowledge to arm our clients with the best digital strategies.

#1 A Change for Marketers. Facebook recently announced that it will change its timeline algorithm to reduce the amount of overly promotional posts users see in their newsfeed.

David Vanderpoel, senior director of product innovation at our client Sparks Grove, spoke to TechRepublic about how this will influence brands.

#2 Automatic for the People. In recent months, Twitter has amped up its ad program and allowed brands to share videos to users’ timelines. Now the platform must weigh the question: to autoplay or not to autoplay?

The answer could have a significant impact on whether Twitter keeps up with the growing influence of Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, says AdWeek.

#3 Hashtag Controversy.  Ahead of its “Cops Under Fire” special, CNN asked Twitter users to tweet a question they would pose to a police offer and use the hashtag #AskACop.

Because of recent news events, users flooded the hashtag stream with outrage and made it the top trending hashtag in the U.S.

#4 Easier Analyzing. LinkedIn is rolling out a newly redesigned homepage that puts your analytics front and center. It also makes it faster and easier to see what your connections are up to and view trending articles and Influencer posts.

#5 Free Analyzing. SlideShare has made its analytics free to all users, letting you view where, when and how people are viewing your presentations.


Digital Updates: What’s New in the Tech World


by M.C. Rhodes

At The Wilbert Group, we’re always trying to stay in the know about what’s happening in the digital space. From social media to tech tools, here’s what you need to know.

#1 Blackout. All Taco Bell social media channels went silent this week – Twitter account locked, profile photos turned to plain black boxes. What was the reasoning? Taco Bell released a new mobile app to make ordering easier.

On, fans were met with this message and a link to the app. A similar message greeted fans on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

It was a risky move by Taco Bell to shut down social channels on the day the app launched, but it certainly got us talking. What do you think about the move?

#2 The next generation of chat rooms. Facebook launched a new app called Rooms, which allows users to join groups based on a common interest – from beekeeping to beat boxing.

Users can use pseudonyms to identify themselves within the “rooms,” which each display a newsfeed with photos, videos and text updates. Is Facebook trying to target real-time conversations as it competes with Twitter?

#3 Easier photo sharing. Facebook also launched a new app to help users quickly organize and post photos from their phones.

#4 Mobile on the rise. Facebook now has 1.35 billion monthly users, a third of which are on mobile-only.

#5 But not a lot of growth for Twitter. The stock market is reacting negatively to Twitter’s third-quarter financial report. Turns out, the social platform isn’t gaining many new users.

Nate Elliot, a social media analyst with Forrester, points to lack on innovation to explain why Twitter remains stagnant.

The bright spot for Twitter is it saw a huge increase in revenue during the third quarter. Thanks to advertising, revenue doubled to $361.3 million versus a year ago.

Five Reasons Digital and PR Should Be Integrated


by Caroline Wilbert

Increasingly PR firms are developing digital practices that operate separately from their traditional public relations teams. Staffers either work in “PR” or they work in “digital.” At The Wilbert Group, we take an entirely different approach, believing digital and traditional public relations can and should be integrated at every level.

Five reasons:

Photo: Google Analytics.

#1 Any SEO expert will tell you a media hit in a well-known outlet is “SEO gold” so traditional public relations is inherently driving digital/content goals.

#2 Media hits increasingly mean chatter on social channels. People read news from traditional outlets online – and then hit the Twitter or Facebook icon to share the story.  As an example, one of our clients was quoted in a Wall Street Journal story Friday. The story was tweeted 35 times, reaching more than 40,000 people.

#3 We evaluate paid opportunities to amplify hits further, with promoted social posts on Twitter and Facebook and by using a service called Outbrain that places media hits across web channels.

#4 Blogs and digital content are “the new press release.” Some leading companies, including Coca-Cola, are doing fewer press releases and depending on blog entries to hook reporters. Wilbert recently created a SlideShare for North American Properties, generating more press than a press release on the same topic would have.

#5 Traditional media outlets, especially trades, accept digital content from outside sources. So if PR pros are creating video for a client, they should be pitching it to media sites, as well as putting it on the company website and social channels.

Digital Updates: What’s Going On in Social Media


by M.C. Rhodes

At The Wilbert Group, we’re always trying to stay in the know about what’s happening in the digital space.

Here’s the scoop on what’s up in social media. Don’t forget to like/tweet/post on June 30 in celebration of Social Media Day!

#1 Facebook goes after small businesses. Dan Levy, director of small business at Facebook, said the website now has 30 million small businesses with active pages.

#2 It isn’t dead yet. We’ve heard for a long time now that younger people are moving away from Facebook. However, a new report by Forrester Research shows kids age 12 to 17 are using Facebook more than they did a year ago.

But according to research by Mashable, a lot of people could live without it.

#3 Promoted pins. Pinterest has rolled out “do-it-yourself” promoted pins. Businesses of any size can promote their pins on a cost-per-click basis.

#4 Slingshot goes live. Slingshot, Facebook’s photo messaging app that happens to be very similar to Snapchat, is now available worldwide.

#5 New look for LinkedIn. If you’re a LinkedIn premium user, you’ll notice a new look to your profile. The network is trying to woo users to pay for a premium account with bigger pictures, additional features to make contacting you easier and more information on your page views.

Five Social Media Updates You Need to Know About


by M.C. Rhodes

Here at The Wilbert Group we pride ourselves in staying in the know, and we want to keep you up-to-date on the latest social media happenings too. Recently, there have been a number of changes to our favorite social media sites.

Here are five changes to watch out for:

#1 A streamlined Facebook. Does your Facebook timeline look a little different? Facebook is rolling out a new streamlined design for both personal and brand pages. The changes to brand pages will allow fans to see company information (such as phone numbers and hours of service) right next to posts. The design will also be helpful to us PR pros who use admin features often.

These changes come in addition to changes in brand visibility we reported on last month.

#2 Who’s viewing you on LinkedIn. Public relations relies on connections, and LinkedIn is now making that easier. You’ve been able to see who views your profile, but now you can track your weekly views and see how your activity is increasing those views.

#3 Ideas for increasing engagement. LinkedIn also now gives you a way to build your thought leadership in your industry. It gives you custom recommendations for increasing views; for instance, it recommended me sharing a story on Google’s new search updates for a 230 percent increase in engagement.

The “Pulse” feature on the top of your homepage is also a good place to look for shareable information that is customized to your industries and interests.

#4 A new look to Google searches. Google is also experimenting with a minimalist approach. This week some changes to its search function were revealed for desktop users. Font sizes are increased, links are no longer underlined and AdWords-targeted ads now appear without shading behind them and instead a smaller ad marker.

These updates come on the heals of recent mobile changes, which Google Search Senior Vice President Amit Singhal described as being “cleaner and simpler…so you can focus on the answers you’re looking for.”

One has to wonder if the new ad layout makes for better sales, though.

#5 Faster Instagram. If there’s one thing we in PR can appreciate, it’s fast social media apps so we can update clients’ accounts quickly. Instagram for Android has been updated with improved performance. And again we see the trend towards simpler, cleaner interfaces.

Five Insights on Atlanta Startup Scene


by Josh Guterman

As part of its “Catalysts for Growth: a Game Changing Conversation” speaker series, Hines Atlanta focused Oct. 30 on venture capital. We were pleased that Hines, one of the country’s leading real estate firms, invited The Wilbert Group to the event. Relatively new to Atlanta, I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the local startup scene and to make connections in my new community. The session underscored Atlanta’s growing national reputation as a nexus for startups and highlighted the need for more local venture capital.

John Heagy of Hines Atlanta moderated the panel, which included Alan Taetle, general partner, Noro-Moseley Partners; Bernice P. Dixon, president and chairman, Atlanta Technology Angels; and John C. Yates, partner-in-charge of technology practice, Morris, Manning and Martin LLP.

Panelists discuss capital investment in Atlanta technology startups. From left: Moderator John Heagy; Andrew Taetle; Bernice P. Dixon; John C. Yates.

Here are the top five points from the panel:

#1 Atlanta is undercapitalized. Compared to other regions with booming technology sectors, Atlanta is underserved by venture capitalists. “There is a lot of competition in Silicon Valley, and a lot of competition in Boston, Northern Virginia and New York,” Yates said. “If they (investors) can go to this region—particularly the southeast where Atlanta is the capital—and find very exciting companies, they have much greater opportunity to invest in these businesses at valuations they find more attractive.”

#2 Atlanta has great talent. Thanks to reasonable real estate prices and a proximity to top-tier universities, Atlanta has a highly educated, tech-savvy workforce. Investors also like the culture of loyalty versus the job-hopping culture of Silicon Valley. “We tend to have people who stay in an industry and get deep in a company and that is very attractive to investors and entrepreneurs,” Dixon said. “People will stick with you over the years, help develop (your organization) and capital gets expanded into the ecosystem. It also contributes to higher valuation.”

#3 An overwhelming majority of investment comes from outside of Atlanta. Ninety percent of capital that funds Atlanta’s small companies is from outside the region. Of the 65 venture capital firms that participated in the Venture Atlanta Conference 2013 on Oct. 22, 51 were from outside of Georgia. Panelists agreed that external investment is essential for growth, but desired more investment from the Atlanta community. “It sure would be nice to have a bit more local capital, because it tends to be earlier and know the people a little bit better,” said Taetle. “It would be great for it (outside investment) to be less than 90 percent. It doesn’t have to be at 50 either, but somewhere in between.”

#4 Atlanta needs more mid-sized public companies. After the burst of the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s, few local technology companies have gone through the public offering process. Many who consider an IPO also run a secondary campaign to shop the company for sale. “Most of our companies have been acquired in the tech space,” said Taetle. “We need to build a real nice cadre of public companies that can be acquisition vehicles again.”

#5 There is tremendous opportunity for Atlanta’s small businesses in the E-commerce and health care sectors. Between the CDC, Athena Health and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, there is a large—relatively untapped—market for businesses in the research and technology sectors. “Those kinds of (organizations) tend to spawn research, tend to spawn technology, and other companies,” said Dixon. “So we’re intensely watching health care and think Atlanta will prosper from that.”

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is also a remarkable asset for companies as retailers shift their business model to same-day delivery logistics. “You’ll want to be located near transportation hubs,” Dixon said. “It changes a lot and it really puts Atlanta in a great position as a transportation hub and as a logistics center.”