Social Media PR: Two Way Communication

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Lots of company’s know that they need a social media accounts to push products, interact with customers and increase awareness.

The reason it’s called social media is because there should be interaction between the customer and the business. The social media platform that I am most referring is Twitter.

It is an easy way for customers to interact with the brand and feel a connection. However, sometimes there seems to be a disconnect and communication is only going one way, consumer to business.

I understand that there are businesses on Twitter that get thousands of mentions each day. However, to keep the customers happy you must please them by interacting with them.

HubSpot:

One business that is really good at doing this is HubSpot. I am currently completing their marketing classes and they always talk about pleasing the consumer. HubSpot always encourages people to interact with them on Twitter.

After each lesson I tweet out thanks to HUbSpot and the individual who taught the lesson. Whenever I tweet the instructor the tweet is always favorited and then they follow me. Every time I mention @hubspot in my tweet they always favorite it.

It’s a simple click of a button for them to favorite my tweet, but it honestly makes me feel special and make me feel that they are listening to me. Whether they read the tweet or not I now have a favorable image of them. Isn’t that what PR is all about? Consequently, I have told a lot of students about HubSpot because of my experience.

Taco Bell has been trending on Twitter the last few days because of their new breakfast menu. When they announced this Monday morning on Twitter they said that they would be answering question for the next 30 minutes. I tweeted them right after I saw that, which was in the first ten minutes of them sending out the tweet.

I asked a question and never got a response. I know that a lot of people were probably asking questions, but I wanted them to respond to me because it would have been cool. I don’t have an unfavorable image of me, but if they would have responded my attitudes and perceptions would certainly be different.

J.P Morgan Fail:

However, don’t set yourself up for a disaster. J.P. Morgan announced a Q&A on Twitter this past Nov. after they were fined $920 million over its “London Whale” trading loss. They wanted people to ask questions so they could clear the air on Twitter. Their goal was to interact with customers and it was a complete fail.

Instead of receiving real questions about the allegations they received a whole bunch of hate texts.

Here are just a few:

Did you always want to be part of a vast, corrupt criminal enterprise or did you “break bad”?”

Did you have a specific number of people’s lives you needed to ruin before you considered your            business model a success?”

What section of the poor & disenfranchised have you yet to exploit for profit, & how are you                working to address that?”

Why aren’t you in jail for sending a literal ton of gold bullion to Iran in violation of sanctions?

Definitely not the interaction they were looking for.

Sbarro:

Another good example of this was Sbarro. On Feb. 20 they announced that they would be closing 155 locations, most of them in mall food courts. Approximately 1,400 people will lose their jobs.

Former employees got on Twitter and started to complain that they lost their jobs and they had no prior warning.

Sbarro was on Twitter and responded to a lot of the complaints and told them to send a direct message on Twitter or call a Sbarro hotline.

Twink.I.E @MistaZero2Sixty I got laid off… Wtf. I just found out this morning that Sbarros closed all stores in San Antonio.

Sbarro’s response: @MistaZero2Sixty We are sorry your store closed, please DM us if you want to talk more.

Although I believe that they should have given their employees prior warning that the stores were closing, they did do a good job responding to the people on Twitter. The people were probably still mad that they lost their jobs, but at least they felt heard.

That is the whole point of the word social in social media. The consumer just wants to be heard. Responding to them on Twitter may not fix the problem, but at least they know that their voice was heard.

Fake, made up news destroys credibility

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Putin ordered to have a man killed after a mistake at the opening ceremonies.

Blake Griffin smacked Justin Bieber in a Starbucks.

The creator of the app Flappy Bird, Dong Nguyen, committed suicide.

These are all stories that were written online and were not true, but they fooled a lot of people.

Plenty of people believed these fake posts and shared them all over social media, searching for the truth.

Fake blogs with stories like these are ruining blog credibility as we speak.

The ability to create content and publish it online is a great opportunity, but it can also be a huge problem.

Some sites produce content that is deliberately and obviously ridiculous for entertainment purposes.

The Onion is a famous fake news outlet that produces outlandish content.

It is so outlandish that it is obviously fake and fabricated.

These posts about Bieber, Putin and Flappy Bird could have actually happened.

That’s why people believed them. The writers of the aforementioned stories use catchy, misleading titles to draw people to their blogs to increase their views.

Even if an Onion news article has a title that could be misleading, if you read even the first two paragraphs it is clear that the article is fake.

After the first 50 comments on the ‘Blake Griffin smacks Bieber’ article, only two people mentioned the possibility of it being fake.

Some call these stories satire. I don’t think they’re satire at all.

One comment on the article said, “This isn’t even satire. Satire is witty commentary on society. There’s nothing witty, clever or original about this … it’s just a fabricated chain of events that … would draw publicity to his ‘article’

The article drew 6.5 million views.

I guess the author is proud to say that his fake news article tricked people into visiting his or her website.

I saw people on Facebook posting the stories about Putin ordering a man to be killed after the opening ceremonies and the Flappy Bird creator killing himself.

Some may say that people are stupid for believing such stories. Honestly, how are we supposed to tell sometimes when everyone has a blog and can post just about anything?

Since when is it OK to joke about death and committing suicide?

This happened even after Dong Nguyen had received multiple death threats over social media.

That is just distasteful and disrespectful. No one who was in these stories were harmed once the stories were proven false.

The worst that could have happened was someone wasted five minutes reading the fake story and another minute searching Google to find out if the story was true.

However, it is just one more strike against bloggers and Internet credibility.

I want the people visiting my blog to believe that what I am writing about is true so they come back again

I love satire and a good laugh, but I also love satire that is actually satire and not a bunch of fabricated lies. I enjoy reading some of The Onion’s stories because they are outrageously fake. So let’s leave the fake news to The Onion and focus on writing about things that are actually happening.

If you are tired of this too or have any insights I would love to hear about them. Comment below.

There is the link to the article: http://www.byuicomm.net/fake-content-can-ruin-a-blogs-credibility/

NBA: Image Issue, crisis mode

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The NBA All-Star weekend was buzzing on social media, but not for a good reason.

If you were following anything on Twitter over the weekend the most exciting part of the weekend events was the Celebrity Game, which is usually notorious for being boring.

The league knew there were previous flaws and tried to change the format this year.

Here is what some Twitters users had to say about the Dunk Contest on Feb. 15.

@NickBarnett Yo this new format stinks!! #DunkContest

@CptAnarchy Please go back to the old format … too much talent to not showcase it … that                was really weak @NBA @NBAAllStarWeekend #NBAdunkcontest

@KenSothman I don’t understand what just happened in the #NBAdunkcontest. I want the                 past forty minutes of my life back.

@Sportsgal1972 It’s broke. Fix it. #NBAdunkcontest

If you want to talk about image problem let’s talk about the NBA.

According to Time’s Business and Money section, NBA teams are selling tickets as low as $1 or giving them away free to put people in the seats.

How can tickets be given away for free when the top six players in the league are making over $20 million?

Last year’s Finals did produce a high amount of views, but the regular season is still struggling.

 

The NBA’s image problem started shortly after the Michael Jordan era, but its catalyst was in 2004.

On Nov. 19, 2004 a massive fight brought out during the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons game. Players ended up in fist fights with fans in the stand. It was an ugly moment for the NBA and the start of a barrage of attacks on the league.

Rush Limbaugh, former ESPN and NFL analyst said the brawl was a “hip-hop culture on parade” and also added the statement that “NBA uniforms are now in gang colors. They are in gang styles.”

After this it was reported that some Pacers fans started to refer to the team as “The Thugs.”

Since that time players have received stereotypes and overall there seems to be a huge disinterest in the NBA.

Commissioner Stern, who recently stepped down tried to put in place a dress code before each game. He desperately tried to change the image, but nothing was working.

Fuel was also added to the fire in 2006 when the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets ended up in an all out brawl on the court.

Reporters aren’t the only one unhappy with the NBA’s image and style of play.

Gary Payton, former NBA point guard and Hall of Famer said in an interview that he basically doesn’t like anything about the NBA.

He said that no defense is played and that every single touch foul is called. He said that in his day it was rough and tough.

Payton also said that it also has to do with the players being young and immature.

I personally have stopped watching the NBA. No one plays defense and it is just plain boring. You only need to watch the last four minutes to catch the action. That is when the players actually start to play.

I understand these are generalizations, but I must not be the only one thinking it if $1 tickets are being turned down to attend the games.

I am not here to present solutions; it really is a tough situation. How do you change an entire culture of 450 players? How do you make them change the way they play?

The problem here is that it is an image problem coupled with a culture problem.

Adam Silver was appointed to be the new NBA commissioner on Feb. 1. Maybe he will have some new ideas to get the NBA back on track.

What are some ways that they could change the culture and attitude? I would love to hear some ideas.

Nothing is ever free, except in PR

media

With so many news outlets and different sources it can be intimidating to try and gain their attention for your company or PR campaign.

Have you ever had to pay for a journalist for an article? You better not have.

PR is generally free. What I mean is that you shouldn’t be paying people to get earned media. It needs to be earned, not paid for.  If the PR campaign is exciting enough newspapers, TV stations and other media outlets will pick up on the campaign and cover it.

Obviously there are the costs that go with producing a PR campaign, but it is nothing like advertising. Millions and billions of dollars are pumped in to companies talking about themselves. In PR, other people are talking about your company. Now that’s credibility.

I have the unique perspective of being a journalist while studying public relations. I see both sides. I am one of the editors for the school newspaper.

Once in awhile I will have someone come up to me and say we (a college department) want to work with the school newspaper and get a lot of articles in the paper this semester. I then ask them what they were thinking of doing, this is usually followed by a blank stare like I am supposed to have the ideas.

Don’t say you want to work with someone and come with ZERO ideas. Like I said it’s earned media, there has to be some work done.

As an editor I want current, timely and new material. I don’t want to write about a boring event that is going to happen. If you want the article or PR then you have to do the work and we the journalists will do the rest.

It is really interesting studying PR while working as an editor. I see the use of press releases, but if that subject line doesn’t stand out or if the email is constructed terribly I just delete it. Granted I do this and I don’t even get that many press releases. Imagine an editor who gets hundreds a day? He is definitely less patient.

Currently I am working on a PR campaign for Circle of Love, a local bridal and formal wear store in Rexburg, Idaho. We want to get an article in the paper about the owners and the event we are going to be having. However, this event isn’t going to anything that is really newsworthy or amazing.

On the flip side, if I give it an angle that an editor will like it could potentially become newsworthy and relevant. For example, the owners of Circle of Love own a lot of buildings downtown. Those buildings are over 100 years old and were once Hotels and other stores. My pitch could be something like this.

“Buildings that are over 100 years old in downtown Rexburg are not being used for their original purposes. Buildings that were once hotels are getting a face lift. The owners of Circle of Love are revamping them and turning them in 21st century building of business. There will be an open house on March 9th from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. to show off their store Circle of Love. There will be free food, raffles, grab bags for the first 25 people and lots of great deals on a bunch of items.”

Not the greatest pitch, but definitely more interesting than “Hey we are having a cool event can you cover it?”

You should have to work for your earned media, not buy it.

Remember that if your idea isn’t worth writing about that is not the editor’s fault, it’s yours.

handout

Make sure that it is timely, newsworthy and exciting. Most of all remember that we shouldn’t be entitled. Earned media is not a hand out, hence the name earned in earned media.

 

Super Bowl Advertising or Super Bowl Public Relations?

superbowl

If you had the chance to watch the commercials during the Super Bowl you might have noticed a couple of things.

One, is that the advertising wasn’t really advertising it was more public relations.

How many times did you actually see the company mention price or tell consumers to buy the product?

I don’t think I saw one dollar sign in any commercial.

Think about it. What ad stuck out the most?

One commercial that stuck out to be more PR than advertising was Coca-Cola. It wasn’t meant to be funny, it was meant to share a message and bring people together.

In case you missed it here it is.

What was the message that they were trying to send? Everyone is American even though they aren’t from America. At least that’s what I got from it.

Budweiser won the USA Today voting with their PR commercial Puppy Love. It has nothing to do with Budweiser. It has a puppy in it, of course people are going to love it.

Now after watching that don’t you have a better feeling about Budweiser even if you don’t enjoy their beer? It has gotten 43.5 millions views in 6 days.

The commercial that generated the most publicity and buzz before the Super Bowl were the Bud light commercials. They were genius in their planning.

Bud Light released short 30 second commercials showing bits and pieces of the commercial that would air during the Super Bowl. When I saw the ad I immediately looked it up on Google to find what it was about.

They used two spots in the first quarter to tell the whole story. It had people on the edge of their seats. It had a lot of hype leading up to it and has generated earned media after the fact. ABC did an interview with the unsuspecting person in the commercial (Ian Rappaport).

The examples can go on, but the point is Public Relations is on the rise and advertising is dying.

Here are some stats to prove my point:

*2001:

GM spent $819,000,00 advertising its Chevrolet

Ford spent 39% LESS and Ford outsells Chevrolet by 39%

“Just because you out-advertise your competition doesn’t mean you are going to outsell them.”

*Stats and quote from book, “Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR” by Al Ries and Laura Ries. I highly recommend it.

Sponsoring 2014 Olympics worth the risk?

coke

Usually sponsoring the Olympic Games gets brand names lots of publicity and great recognition. However, this year sponsors are facing lots of adversity.

According to the Huffington Post, sponsors were warned in August about the possible complications that could arise. The 2014 Olympics in Sochi have generated more negative based articles than I have seen for any other Olympics.

It is detracting from the real purposes of the Games.

However, my point is to not talk politics, it is to talk about Public Relations. McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are facing real problems on social media that isn’t giving their brand the excepted recognition that comes from sponsoring the Games.

Coca-Cola’s social media campaign “Share a Coke” had to be shut down. Activists were using it to persuade people to use social media to highlight the anti-gay brutality and laws in Russia.

What was a great PR idea by Coca-Cola was ruined by the activists. It was an interactive site where participants could type there name in and then share the coke online. People tried typing the word “gay” in, but the site would not except it. Activist were outraged.

This was Coca-Cola’s statement.

The name and message auto-generator on our South Africa “Share A Coke” website would not accept the word “Gay”, but did accept the word “Straight”. This isn’t how the program was supposed to work, and we’ve pulled the site down until we can fix the problem.

We apologize for this mistake. As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion, equality and diversity through both our policies and practices.”

They weren’t the only ones being affected by the social media hijacking.

McDonald’s hashtag #CheertoSochi was meant to cheer on the athletes, but was again used by LGBT activists to promote their ideals. Two great campaigns foiled because of politics.

Twitter users were outraged by the hashtag. One user @MSignorile tweeted:

Shame on @McDonalds sending #CheersToSochi while gay activists are attacked by Olympic officials. Outrageous!

mcdonalds

McDonalds also had a response.

The real question here is did McDonalds and Coca-Cola really think of the repercussions of sponsoring these Games? They were well aware that there would be come complications.

However, I don’t think that they thought it would get this bad and this politically heated. Right now their names are taking a hit, but I don’t think that it will affect them overall.

They are not getting good publicity now, but this will all blow over just like the Kony 2012 campaign and many other protests. People are bored and they want something to complain about so that’s why they are pouring Coke down drains.

Was it worth it for them?

According to CNN’s Money Web page Corporations pay an estimated $100 million to become a major Olympic sponsor. On top of this, they pump massive investment into related marketing campaigns.

Here are some links for more information:

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/16016.aspx

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/olympic-sponsors-were-war_b_4679919.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-wooledge/mcdonalds-cheerstosochi-c_b_4640514.html