Tag Archives: Social Media

Another BP #fail

At least BP covered all their social media bases.  You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitter and even Flickr.  In a crisis situation such as the Gulf oil spill (you may have heard about it) social media outlets present a unique opportunity to circulate company messages in a timely and focused manner.  Concerned citizens can get updated information directly from BP in the company’s voice, without an attached agenda of news networks.  Information directly from the horse’s mouth – what a wonderful thing!

And surprisingly, as noted in NPR post, BP has been good about sharing information using social media, however their messages and tactics have not stood the test of time.  Meaning (strike number one) BP rushed out information using social media channels that turned out not to be accurate and (strike number two) they put out the same information using social media channels as they released through more traditional PR channels like news releases.

Broadcasting the same information over both social media and traditional channels is a completely viable strategy and messages should be integrated, but social media (especially in a crisis situation) requires a little something extra: conversation.  BP is just talking at people, which is okay for an ad campaign, but not very effective on Facebook where people want and expect interaction and conversation.  No one likes being ignored, especially over such an emotional and serious issue like the oil spill.  And with their anger building, many people are flocking to satirical, negative Facebook and Twitter pages like Boycott BP and @BPGlobalPR to vent their anger and avoid a lot of the inaccurate spin that BP’s PR team is pushing out.

So BP, in addition to washing pelicans and hermit crabs and stopping the bajillion gallons of oil shooting into the Gulf every second, needs to revisit their social media strategy or risk #failure in yet another aspect of this tragedy.

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A quick recap of Facebook Community Pages

Well, sort of.  Unfortunately anything having to do with Facebook cannot be explained in less than 1000 words and at least 100 million angry users.  But I’ll do my best.

Facebook recently launched a new feature called Community Pages that are a new breed of topical pages tied to users’ stated profile interests.  These pages are owned collectively by the community and show a Wikipedia entry for the topic, as well as comments from others that mention the brand, candidate, topic etc.

Brands, as you can imagine, are slightly miffed by this uncontrolled presentation of their brand content. This feature has the potential to confuse users who are connected to the Community Page rather than (or in addition to) a company or candidate’s official page. It seems to me that these pages will just get in the way and these pages may just be more brand clutter on Facebook.

But Facebook’s development mantra has pretty much been “shoot first, apologize later” and it seems they’ve done it again with the community pages.  Either they really want to better connect their users (BS) or these pages are really meant to pressure more brands into creating their official pages and buying millions worth of advertising.

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Social media backlash pushes Nestlé to evaluate palm oil policies

Well what do you know? Nestlé listened.  Following a two month Greenpeace assault on palm oil purchasing practices of the food giant, Nestlé announced earlier this week that they will stop purchasing palm oil (used in many popular products like Kit Kats) from companies that own “high-risk” plantations and farms.  These high-risk plantations are accused of driving the destruction of natural habitats for animals like the orangutan. The new “zero-deforestation” policy is in partnership with The Forest Trust that will work with Nestlé to amend its palm oil purchasing policies.

Nestlé’s decision comes after a tumultuous 8-weeks in which Greenpeace released a provocative video on YouTube to raise awareness of Nestlé’s questionable methods for acquiring palm oil.  The video, which likens eating a Kit Kat to eating an orangutan, was subsequently removed by Nestlé; an action that spurred an even greater backlash from the Greenpeace community who bombarded Nestlé with calls, emails and Facebook page comments. Now enter social media “meltdown” as Nestlé representatives responded to Facebook comments with mild requests for users to stop using altered versions of the Nestlé logo as their Facebook profile picture or risk their comments being taken down.  Needless to say, users were not happy with this restriction of their right to publicly protest on an open forum like a company’s Facebook page and the comment threads were shared on blogs and news articles across the Internet – directing even more negative attention toward Nestlé.

As a result of the targeted Greenpeace campaign and the added headache of a social media crisis, Nestlé was forced to pay attention and had to address the problems with the palm oil it buys. Hopefully, Nestlé’s new policies will help save some orangutans and make some of us feel better about eating Kit Kats.

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Not so Daily Social

I’ve just realized that I named my blog “Daily Social” with the full intent to post interesting and informative social media-ish content every day. Well loyal readers, you’ll notice that that really hasn’t been the case – and I’m okay with that. While fresh content is suppose to help attract and maintain readers, my goal for this blog was never to reach the masses (although the masses continue to come to my blog because of the Farmville pic).

I was recently asked in an interview (top secret – no word on the outcome yet) why I started my blog. Although I had not rehearsed this answer like I did for 50 other Frequently Asked Interview Questions (just go ahead and ask me what my biggest weakness is), it was easy for me to find the right words. I started this blog with the intention of learning 1) how to post a blog, 2) about social media. You learn best by teaching, and I hope I’ve taught at least some of you a thing or two about Facebook, or Twitter or going on safari.

I’m working on a post right now for Marketing Conversation about this whole Facebook “like” button/taking over the Internet phenomenon and because when I learn, you learn, here is a bit of light reading for you:

What you should know about Facebook’s changes – CNN
What Facebook’s Latest Means for the Web – CNET
Facebook Open Graph: What it Means For Privacy – Mashable

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You should know “lo-so”

Oh foursquare, we meet again.  The first time was on the black-top at recess in the early 90’s.  These days, you are Foursquare (capital “F”) and I can’t help but read about you every where I turn on the Internet.  Foursquare, and other location-based social (lo-so) networks like it, are all the rage these days and all the experts are saying we should all start paying attention.

Foursquare, which was launched at last year’s SXSW, now has over 500,000 users who use the service to “check-in” at various locations in order to earn badges and bragging rights as the “mayor” of that particular place.  The more a user checks-in, the more badges they acquire and the closer they become to the coveted mayor title.  I use Foursquare every once in a while and currently hold the prestigious badge of Newbie that everyone gets when you check-in once (congrats to me).  Chris Abraham, however, holds a number of badges including Superstar (for checking-in at over 50 places), Super Mayor (for being mayor of more than 10 places) and my personal favorite, Overshare (for 10+ check-ins in less than 12 hours).

But even as a lowly Newbie in the Foursquare realm I have to agree with the experts here, and say that Foursquare and other location-based social networks present some pretty cool marketing opportunities for businesses in the form of mobile coupons and real-time promotional offers. An article on Mashable says location-based social networking  allows for a real world connection to social media that could mean more foot traffic and profits for business owners. Well that sounds pretty good.  But my question is: are any businesses actually taking advantage of these opportunities and if so, who is doing it well?

As is the case with any new and shiny social media “toy,” all the experts and gurus seem to agree that lo-so (all the gurus call it that) networks are a hot topic right now, but which businesses are heeding all this advice and implementing strategies that are working?  Granted I am a self-proclaimed Newbie, but all I’ve really heard is that Starbucks may use Foursquare to start giving out mobile coupons, for photo sharing and to build online reputation scores.  But that’s just the “coming soon” phase.

Do you agree that location-based social networks present some interesting marketing opportunities?  Which companies have you read about (or actually experienced) using Foursquare creatively?

(and yes this post is green on purpose.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)

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Social Media, What is it Good For

It’s getting to be crunch time for this master’s candidate.  I have a gigantic capstone project due at the end of April and the pressure is on to finish at least half by March 8 when I go on Spring Break (cruise to the Bahamas…yesss!!!).  I’m writing about social media (obvi) and get ready to have your socks blown off…or not.  I’m not really the best “academicky” writer.  Really, I hate it.  I die inside a little every time I write something in which “the literature” is the subject of my sentence.

But the purpose of this post is to let my reader(s) know that I might not get to posting as much as you want me to over the next two months.  So I’m sorry to the 5 of you that actually tune in to see what I have to say.  Well, actually I had over 500 people read my blog last week!  Or so I thought.  After a little blog stat research, I realized a picture of Farmville I included in a post was one of the first 10 that came up on a Google image search.  People just wanted to copy the Farmville picture.  Blog Fail.

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HAPPO Day – A Post in Two Acts

Act 1:  I want to be a HAPPO day success story

Wouldn’t it be great if your company was featured in hundreds of blogs posts, magazine articles, mainstream media mentions, the Harvard Business Review as a social media pioneer?  I mean, YES.  And wouldn’t it also be great to have an employee who gets the job done creatively, cost-effectively and on time AND is a fun person to be around?  YES.

It’s really easy for this wonderful dream to become a reality.  Bring me in for interview, let me impress you with my knowledge of interpersonal influence theory (the topic of my Master’s thesis), and offer me a job.  What a great HAPPO day success story…for both of us!

A little more about me:  I am a graduate student at American University getting my Master’s in Public Communication in May 2010 .  I have been interning with Abraham Harrison LLC, a digital PR company, for the last 3 months.  Before school I was an analyst at Abt Associates, Inc. where I worked with government clients in Africa on health financing studies. I would like an account position where I can work directly with clients; writing, pitching, blogging, media training, event planning…all the PR good stuff.  No specific industry, I just want to be challenged.

Here is what I know:

  • It’s a breeze to budget and plan multi-million dollar projects (well, for me anyway)
  • Be persistent, but not annoying
  • Understand what and to whom you are pitching…make it personal
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Prioritize and finish the most important work first
  • Always try and figure something out before you ask questions – but always ask questions if you need to
  • Social media is above-all, a way to build relationships with consumers, not a sales outlet (unless you are @delloutlet, then that works for you)
  • Always respond and be active in the Twittersphere, blogosphere, all the “spheres” (a la Southwest)
  • Measuring “eyeballs”
  • I am a really good worker, I’m a good communicator (except from the ages of 13-17, when no one “understood me”), and even though it sounds cliche, I play well with others.

Looking for jobs is terrible, looking for staff is terrible (I had to find my replacement at Abt before I left).  Why don’t we both just end this terrible process and you give me a shot?  Then we can both relax with a celebratory happy hour Super Mug from Chef Geoff’s Downtown.

Hopefully your interest is peaked, so send me an email (elliebrown1@gmail.com) or Tweet if you want to chat more.

Act 2: What the heck is HAPPO day? (this one’s for you Mom)

HAPPO stands for Help a PR Pro Out, so today PR bloggers, agency leaders, and PR professionals from across the country will donate their time and talents to help fellow PR pros connect with employers as part of the first-ever HAPPO day.  Using the hashtag #HAPPO on Twitter, hundreds of industry professionals will click on this very link, realize I am what their company has been waiting for, and hand over a job (I hope).

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