Social Media Blunders and Bullies

Welcome to week 11! I am now in the final strokes of the course and getting into the real meat and potatoes of the social media course for public relations.  I spent last semester learning about reputation management (which has proven to be a nice little addition to the social media course).  This week we are looking at crisis management in the social media context and this is an extremely interesting and beneficial topic.  While I had some corporate ideas in my mind, I kept thinking about the recent #consciousuncoupling announcement between Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin.  I am by no stretch of the imagination a celebrity follower or a gossip junkie, but it was hard not to pay attention to the news over the past week and the media coverage and comments started to disappoint me.  I heard the news of the uncoupling and didn’t really think much of it.  Then the news kept appearing in my social media feeds and then the moms got involved, so I was curious.  Why were so many mother’s angry with Gwyneth?

Following the uncoupling announcement, Gwyneth had an interview with E! News and spoke about the challenges of being a movie actress vs. the 9-5 working mom.  She alludes to the fact that being a 9-5 working parent is easier because you have a routine, whereas a movie star is on a set and jet setting around the world.  The interview was not well received by many and those who do not agree are not hiding their opinion as you will see below.

s.  Image


One working mom wrote an open letter to Gwyneth in response to her opinion of the 9-5 parent.  The New York Post along with other media sources and online resources brought attention to this open letter and started the conversation. 



I believe an apology is in order.  Does she live a different life from the average working mom, of course!  Every family is very different and the daily routines and schedules are also different.  Raising children is ultimately the same for the varying classes in society, but we all want to be able to relate.  She upset and disappointed her fans and needs to address her audience, whether she believes this or not.  Gwyneth has more than an acting career to jeopardize; she has a clothing line, cookbooks and a following of her lifestyle.

Another way to help the social media frenzy is to speak back to the online fans that are angry and relate to them.  A creative hashtag could be created and conversations could take place.  The goal is to get back with the mommy bloggers, working moms and those women who are angry with Gwyneth.  Here are my suggestions: #momsunited #24/7moms #weareallwomen #momchallenges

The reason that I chose this topic is to highlight the lesson that what you say may come back to haunt you.  Social media followers can be very critical and mean to others.  Many become very brave behind a computer screen, but the point to remember is that there is a person or company on the other end reading the messages.  Should she have compared her life to the regular working moms, perhaps no, but this certainly does not open the door to bullying and rude comments.  This is a lesson that organizations can also relate to.

Online Sources:


Monitoring & Measurement

two speech bubbles containing social media icons overlapping

Last week we starting looking at ROI and the initial measurement tools of social media campaigns.  This week we are now focusing on the various on line tools that can help organizations monitor their social media campaigns and help make life a little more organized for the social media manager or the small business owner who has many other daily tasks to think about.  There are many free on line tools that can easily monitor the online conversations of an organization.


Our friends at Hootsuite have not only made the week social media planning easy, they now have social media analytics tools that can help you track social media presence.  You can view facebook insights, twitter statistics, google analytics and follow conversations online.  Hootsuite also prepares a convenient report that can be used as a one pager in a meeting or weekly report.  The best part, this is free!

CNW Group

CNW Group is a media monitoring company that has grown its business to the meet the neA secure web application that delivers real-time media monitoringeds of its clients.  At one time the company was mainly monitoring traditional media outlets and aiding clients with press release creation and now they offer MediaVantage, which is an online media monitoring intelligence tool, particularly to manage reputation and allowing companies to stay on top of information being shared online.  CNW Group has evolved to be a “one stop shop” for clients and have adapted to the ever changing needs in the market for social media monitoring as well as traditional media monitoring.


I have to admit, I have never heard of this source.  Upon investigating, HowSociable generates a magnitude score for your company or the brand that you are searching.  A 10 would mean that your company is saturating the market, whereas a 1 would mean that no one is talking about your brand or company. Interpret as you wish!  They offer a free service, but you can pay for different levels of monitoring on different networks.  They look up 36 various sites (believe it or not…36!  I can only count 6 off the top of my head). The score aspect is a great goal that a company could set for themselves, should they choose to use this medium to manage their online marketing.

Social Mention

This online tools allows organizations and individuals to track certain words.  This could be their own company, a new product or trend and it is in real time.  You can search in blogs, microblogs, bookmarks, images, videos and questions. The site offers a tab called “sentiment”, which just like the other online tools show us what the world is saying about the brand.  This shows the positive, neutral and negative impressions across the various social media outlets. For fun I typed in my workplace and poked around the website.  Similar to many other monitoring and measuring sites out there, Social Report (which is a division of the Social Mention product) provides a quick and free online scan of the interweb.  If you want to really get down and dirty to analyze online information, there is a paid portion which is the Social Report section of their company.



ROI? More than an acronym added to your vocabularly!

As a precursor to my blog entry for this week that is about return on investment (ROI) for social media, I am going to start with a story about my radio sales days.  I found the readings this week very interesting, because I spent 4 years of my life selling air to clients and teaching them about their ROI in advertising.  Similar to social media campaigns, radio campaigns are a challenge to determine the ROI.  A client wants to sell 100 hot tubs in a weekend.  They sell 110 hot tubs (but will only tell the sales rep that they sold 80, because the sales person cannot always be right) but is it the radio campaign alone that sold the 110 hot tubs?  This was the #1 challenge in my sales role.  Perhaps it was the radio alone because the ads were placed at strategic times, the copy for the ad was creative and customers were dying for a reason to buy a hot tub.  Then there were the radio campaigns that didn’t sell any hot tubs.  How does a sales person over come this challenging client visit on Monday morning when 100 people came through the show room door, but not one hot tub was sold?

When we look at a social media campaign or a radio campaign for instance, the million dollar question is what was the ROI?  No business owner has an unlimited budget for facebook advertising and simply doesn’t care how much money is coming in from the campaign.  I told my radio story to relate to other industries.  Both have their challenges, but there are many similarities.  For the campaign that did not sell any hot tubs, one thing was accomplished and that is ATTENTION was brought to the business.  I would use the word “Awareness” interchangeably with “Attention”.  Those people who walked into the showroom may not be purchasing a hot tub today, but heard the ads and wanted to check out the store.  When we relate this to a social media campaign, the customer could be looking on facebook on a Saturday morning while enjoying their coffee and see an ad for a hot tub company and click through the ad.  That company may view this as a success.  That is one more customer that now knows the company name and attention was brought to their company. Attention is the start of the buying cycle, which will lead to a tangible number in the ROI.

Those customers that walked into the showroom and didn’t purchase; why didn’t they?  Was the price too high?  Were the sales people ignoring them?  Was it too busy and they were not being services?  These are the questions that the owner of the company must analyze.  This is ATTITUDE and how others view your company or products.  When we look at this through social media, the potential customer clicks through to your website, looks around, then hits google to compare with other companies.  This customer is interested, but wants to learn more.  They go to facebook and post out to their friends “Thinking of buying a hot tub, suggestions?….GO!”.  Friends start posting and your hot tub company is there, but then someone posts that they have terrible customer service.  The potential customer still marks your company down on their short list of where they are going to check out for the potential future hot tub purchase.  Your facebook ad has moved this customer through the sales process and you are still on the list, that’s good news!

Now, let’s get to the sale.  This is known as ACTION.  You have created attention through your campaign, you have worked to maintain a positive image or attitude of your company and now you have a potential customer walking into your business that wants to purchase.  They heard that the customer service may be lacking, but that’s just one opinion from a friend.  Worth checking out on their own.  The price is right and the service is exceptional and this customer is walking out with a hot tub delivery.  Success!

Without sales, you cannot measure the ROI from a campaign, whether it is social media or a traditional media campaign.  The sales cycle isn’t just about the meat and potatoes of the campaign, it is about having the proper image in the market, the staff in the building or the person answering the telephone and the product to back all of this up.  ROI is what will get you the go ahead from your boss to create another campaign or move more money into the social media budget. 

The Big C: Content!

As I enter into week four of class I am reflecting on what I have learned this far.  We have looked at various social media platforms, marketing opportunities and instant sharing techniques and now we are focusing on the content of the message.  I reflect on the blogs, websites and facebook pages that I frequent.  Why am I going to these sites?  What is it that I look for when I go?  How is the company/user presenting their opinions and content?  Our focus this week is on content and visualization and how infographics can help deliver the content strategy of your website, blog, facebook page, twitter account… and so on.

The first image I am using to illustrate the parts of a content strategy is of a hamburger.  Not only do I love hamburgers, but this image easily helps explain the “meat and potatoes” of the content strategy. 

Content Strategy Burger Infographic

This image illustrates the key elements of the content strategy and the use of the burger illustration helps represent the importance of all elements playing together.  Everyone knows that a traditional burger has a bun, some sort of meat (or vegetarian option), sauce and toppings.  The image is very simple and basic, which is also a weakness.  There is no emphasis on structure or how to start the planning stage.  If we read the burger image from top to bottom, the channels are the first step that we see, when the social channels would be further down the content planning stage.  I am looking at the image of the burger as we would read from top to bottom, or bottom to top, as in how you would typically make a burger. 

The second image I have selected goes against what I am learning about content, but I want to elaborate and look at the purpose of the image as there is a strong message.

This image is powerful because it is true.  Content is nothing if there isn’t anyone reading or following you.  You have to build the relationships with clients, followers and customers. “Content is Currency” is a strong message.  Content can equate to money and this is the underlying goal behind the strategy.  Without a content strategy, how can you make money/gain followers or whatever your goal is.  This image is missing the key elements of a content strategy and focusing more on what not to do.  The image makes you think and I am sure you are looking at it thinking of a different approach. 

The final image I am using to exemplify content and infographics is…

This image made me think about writing ads for a radio station.  Clients want as many words as possible in their 30 second ad.  They want their phone number and web address as well as the excellent customer service that they offer.  Blah, blah blah!  Try telling them that less is more!  This image made me think about this and it is powerful.  The image of the content strategy is simple and appears fun and positive.  Websites that are text heavy scare people away, as do radio ads that have too many words and the announcer sounds like a chipmunk.  Bring in the content strategy.  This image is simple and touches upon the key elements of the plan.  What it is missing are the points that would be included in the Plan (audience, message) the platforms in the Create phase as well as the approaches that will be used to audit/measure the success.  The “Content Lifecycle” in the centre of the circle is exactly what it is… a lifecycle.  Once the audit phase is complete for one campaign or article you are back at the planning stage again. 

Newly added to my vocabulary: foursquare, QR, check in, loyalty, newbie, scan and trending

My single biggest learning experience from foursquare is that people are obsessed with knowing what everyone else is doing.  Period.  I love talking to a friend after a couple days of not hearing from them and hearing about how they filled the past 48 hours.  They tell me about a great restaurant they ate at, a show they may have taken in and that occupies our one on one verbal conversation.  For our assignment this week we had to sign up on Foursquare and plug around the app and site to learn a little more about it.  In my observation, those friends who are active on Facebook telling me how they spend their day are the same friends who are active on Foursquare checking in on their locations.  I truly do not feel that Foursquare is popular in my city.  It was a challenge for me to search for friends and when I clicked on the “trending” tab, nothing was trending.  There were only a handful of restaurants that appeared in a city that has a large portion of restaurants.  Foursquare reminded me of Groupon.  Perhaps Groupon is still doing this, but they were promoting location based deals and when you were in a certain area of a city, the deal would pop up.  This has never appeared in St. John’s and we barely have one significant deal a day with Groupon.  Is this a great sales tool in a large city, absolutely.  The idea that I can open up my Foursquare App and find deals around me and read reviews quickly is a big selling feature.  Similar to Trip Advisor, it is great to log onto one site or use one App and see what is around me and what others are saying about it. Needless to say, I won’t be a Mayor on Foursquare any time soon.

The QR Code is a bandwagon I didn’t jump on.  My previous employer has us put a QR code on our business card.  I doubt anyone ever scanned it.  Once scanned it would go to our corporate website.  I have the QR reader App on my phone and I am not sure if I have ever scanned anything.  

How can we use these applications for PR?

Employee Engagement: You work at Starbucks and I work at Starbucks, well let’s promote that we are there and get more people to come in and see what we are all about.  This may be a terrible example, but I feel there is an opportunity for employees to help build the social media platform for the employer or company without even knowing it.  Of course there would be guidelines, but what better way to get your business out there and engage and empower your employees.  Have them think of the campaign or deal of the day and run ideas past them.  They are a wonderful ambassador for the business.

Partnerships: What goes together better than a cupcake after pizza?  If your business doesn’t sell dessert, then why not promote the neighbours special or cross promote businesses together.  Downtown businesses will often band together vs. the malls or other shopping areas, so play off each other in the same area.  You know what you do best and you certainly know what those around you do best.  It’s all good for business.  

Be Real: Acknowledge the poor reviews, post when the special of the day is sold out, advise when the front door is broken..basically stay real!  The new generation look for transparency.  We realize that not all businesses are going to be flawless at all times, so having someone on the other side responding to the complaints and reports is exactly what we like to see.  A heart and a pulse.


Potential Value in “Promoted Tweets”? The jury is out there…

Now that I have my non-school related post out of my brain, I can now focus on the school assignment at hand for the week.  We are examining the potential value of promoted tweets, promoted accounts and promoted trends within twitter.  Before I get into the costs and research for the topics, I have to say that when I look through my own twitter feed and and see promoted tweets, they drive me crazy.  I didn’t choose to sign up to those accounts, so why is the post there?  Similar with facebook when I am scrolling through my news feed and there are suggested posts.  If I was interested in learning more about some epic weight loss program, I would likely sign up for it myself.  No need to put it right in front of my face FB advertisers.  These comments are coming from an unbiased user perspective, not as a PR person looking to run a successful campaign; can’t say I won’t use these avenues in the future.

Rant aside, is there value in the promoted social media products and what are they?  Basically the promoted tweets, accounts and trends are very similar to facebook ads.  The promoted tweets are extended to users who are not direct followers and the costs are on a per engagement basis.  The promoted trends are for the corporations who can afford (for lack of a better word) pollute the twitter trends for the day.  I used to work in the radio business and we would sell campaigns sometimes based on a one day ownership of the station.  I would call this “polluting” the airwaves for a day with company A.  It was a great way to promote a new product and gain quick recognition, but for a modest price tag.  The twitter promoted trend is a similar situation, which is advantageous, but somewhat only affordable to the big players.  Advertisers can also promote their twitter account to gain followers and recognition.  This is paid similar to the promoted tweets, as you are being charged on a cost per follower basis.  I always wondered how people and companies were on the “Who to Follow” section.

I am committing to learning more about this topic and following up with myself on this topic.  I have a better understanding of facebook advertising, but the promoted twitter notions are new to me.  I feel that if a company has a successful product and campaign then why do they have to pay their way to the top trending?  Shouldn’t you successfully make it to the top, or why would being on the top of the promoted accounts matter?  Perhaps the top trending topics are left to the celebrities and the hard working companies have to pay their way to the top of the feeds.  That’s some food for thought.