Archives for posts with tag: social media

When driving North on I-65 I came across two billboards each a mile apart. The first was for a local mom and pop diner. On it was a picture of food and a call to action – the restaurant’s phone number. From what I could tell it wasn’t the type of joint you would need to call ahead for a reservation, so why was the phone number featured so prominently?

The second billboard was for Burger King. It also had an image of food but in big bold letters it read: Turn right at the next exit. Followed by an arrow. Burger King nailed it. Granted they probably had a support of a large agency,  but they clearly understood how the medium (a billboard in this case) worked. 

Whether it’s a poorly placed QR code or a text heavy Facebook post, people often fail to think about how the medium is being used by their customer. Here are two key questions to ask yourself when developing a campaign:

1. What is the information your customer needs to know?

2. What is the best way to deliver that information on the particular medium you are using?

If you are using mobile use wide ranging methods to reach your customer –  less QR codes and Apps and more use of mobile web and SMS.  Mobile search is often searching “in the moment” or “on the go.” What types of information would your customers need to know as they are heading out to shop, eat, etc?

If you are using social  be conscious of which platform you are using. Twitter behaves differently than Facebook which behaves differently than Pinterest. Make sure you are in the right space to reach your customers. On social media what social currency can you give your followers so they’ll help spread the word? Maybe it’s a coupon, maybe a recipe or perhaps a bit of trivia. Think about information that is interesting and useful for your fan base while still helping you achieve your business goals. 

No matter what the medium, it’s important to understand how people are using it and to identify the critical information they need so you can make a sale. Sometimes it’s as simple as a big yellow arrow pointing toward your next Whopper. 



Abortion is an extremely polarizing topic and I try to keep my personal views separate from my work, but I would like to talk about how Susan G. Komen handled the recent pulling of funds from Planned Parenthood from a PR and social media perspective. I think there are lessons to be learned here, whether you are a pro-lifer or pro-choicer. Looking at the coverage and social media chatter, from a public perception standpoint,you have to admit that on some level Susan G. Komen got slammed for how they handled this piece of news.

So here it goes…The Top 5 Mistakes Susan G Komen Made

1. Silence

Susan G Komen had no official press response put out to media aside from “No Comment.” So what happened when USA Today, New York Times and others couldn’t get a comment? They went to the organization’s Facebook page and lifted a post from the page. It wasn’t a poorly written post by any means, but if you are going to speak up in one space why not offer up the same comment to the media. The two boundaries are blurred now. What you say in social can easily end up on the front of the New York Times. Be prepared for that and think twice when you hand over your Facebook page to your intern to run.

2. Transparency

Whether this was true or not, people on Facebook were accusing Susan G. Komen of deleting Facebook posts. On one hand it didn’t really matter because the negative posts kept flooding in, but it was clear that the organization did not have a crisis plan in place. They should have anticipated, staffed up and had a library of responses or well-crafted posts to state their position clearly and explain to people that they are pulling funding from one source and putting it in another to assist low-income women. Goes back to Point 1 though, Susan G. Komen opted to remain silent for the most part.

3. Planning

You had to scratch your head and think…”Didn’t they see this coming?” There did not seem to be any statements in place or any alternative plans – take funds from Planned Parenthood but provide funding  in those same cities for free breast screenings. To make a move like this, Susan G. Komen should have gotten out ahead of the announcement and begin talking to fans and media about their efforts with low-income women that extend beyond Planned Parenthood.

4. Solidarity

In the midst of their silence there was one person who spoke on the record. Yep, it was the President of the Susan G. Komen Connecticut affiliate who was pretty vocal about the fact her local office didn’t support the national position. It really would have been in the organization’s best interest to make sure everyone was on the same page and that their affiliates were armed with talking points prior to this news coming out.

5. Anticipating Weakness

Whether there was an underlying political agenda or they simply felt funding an organization under investigation was wrong, they should have “thought” like the opposition. Did they not anticipate people digging up info on Karen Handel? True or not, public perception is powerful and you need to prepare for whatever backlash there may be. I would try to poke holes in my own story, find my weaknesses and make sure I have ammunition and facts to back up my stance.

No one’s perfect, mistakes happen and we don’t have to dwell on this forever. (Knowing people’s attention spans this will be over by next week). But it is always good to learn. In today’s world, transparency is key. If you think your decision will upset some people, it probably will, and you’ll probably hear about it. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can put yourself in the best position possible through planning and anticipating, which wasn’t what happened in this case.


Another year, another step closer to viewing social media less as a newfangled technology and more as a must-have in your marketing plan. My 5 predictions for social in 2012. Feel free to add yours!

1. Going beyond the blue F. Yes, you have a tiny blue “F” at the bottom of your ad perhaps a tiny blue bird as well. While it’s a good reminder to consumers to look for you in the social space it’s kind of passe. People expect you to be there and people expect you to be listening. In 2012 I believe the companies who are doing it “right” will give people a reason to visit their page, use their hashtag, take that extra step. Some will integrate it into a campaign – visit us on Facebook and tell us why you love to drive your Honda – others will wave a reward to lure people in – follow us on Twitter for breaking airline deals. Either way, you need to give a reason, the blue F isn’t enough anymore.

2. Interests are key. Facebook will continue to be the keeper of our personal memories, stashed away in a beautiful timeline, but the other space to play in for social networks is our personal interests. Twitter has capitalized on this and the emerging network Pinterest is also quickly gaining ground. When we want to take a break from our friends and selfishly look at what interests us, these types of networks will be where we go. Facebook tried to tap into this with its subscribe button, but posts on your interests are often overwhelmed in your newsfeed by your friends’ activity. I believe they are two separate needs, and ultimately two platforms.

3. Social will continue to be an important voice. From the upcoming election to unrest in the Middle East, social media will  be the people’s voice and play an important role in social change.

4. Mobile, mobile, mobile. Social media will be how we show the world what we are seeing, hearing, feeling while we are on the go. From pictures to check-ins to status updates, social will continue to be our voice on the run, our source of news, our quick hellos, our way to kill five minutes in the waiting room. The big networks will continue to invest in their mobile platforms and you’ll start seeing more mobile ads on social networks.

5. Getting help. Companies will continue to have that a-ha moment when they realize that social takes time and they need to either staff up or outsource. At first they’ll try to save a few dollars and pawn it off on the intern. Then they’ll realize their intern may know his/her way around Facebook but is not quite yet a marketing genius and get someone with more experience. It seems to be the path most businesses go. What I predict you’ll see is more affordable social marketing support in the next year. Smaller agencies who will run your Twitter, Facebook accounts for a reasonable amount.

My five predictions, let’s hear yours.

Thanks to one of my clients – The World Affairs Council of Kentucky and S. Indiana – I had a front row seat with members of the Tunisian revolution. (This does circle back to social media so stick with me). I admit, prior to the event, I knew little about Tunisia and I certainly couldn’t pick it out on a map.  I did know that the Tunisians kicked off the Arab Spring. They were the first country in the region to overthrow their
dictator and you could say gave inspiration to nearby countries.

What struck me during the cultural conversation was one comment, spoken by one of the older Tunisians – “The youth had rocks and tires which they would set on fire, but the greatest weapon of the revolution was the mobile phone.”

After hearing their story, I have to admit it was true. The mobile phone allowed the people to continue to tell their story long after the traditional media had been shut down and the journalists jailed. The youth took photos and videos sharing them on Facebook and Twitter which were then used by media around the world.

I couldn’t help thinking of Mark Zuckerberg. When he created Facebook did he have any thought that one day this platform would give people the courage to overthrow a dictator? And it didn’t stop in Tunisia. The Tunisian youths taught the Egyptian youth how to best leverage social media along with other tips on surviving and winning a revolution. It was a sharing of best practices you could say.

The Tunisians are now in the rebuilding process and will start elections in October. Oh and by the way, this country went from one dictator to 107
political parties. Can you even imagine? I suppose they wanted choice.

Next time you take out your phone and fire off a tweet, give a second to think about the Tunisians and the power of social media. That phone of yours may one day be your most powerful weapon. You never know.

As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11 two things struck me – 1. How would it have been different if social media had been around? 2. I still was carrying a lot of emotion when it came to 9/11.

Everyone has a story of where they were when 9/11 happened. It didn’t matter if you lived in Manhattan or Des Moines, Iowa, your world suddenly stopped that day. I had just moved back from New York City to my hometown of Chicago a month before it happened. I did know people who lost loved ones from 9/11 and I did feel a sense of guilt for leaving the city behind.

I found out about the attacks when my father called me at work. He had been home watching the news and called when the first tower was struck. I kind of brushed him off because I was busy and had no idea the impact of what he was talking about. He called back when the attacks continued and I began to worry because his voice was wobbling. After all dads don’t cry often. At least my Dad doesn’t. I remember hanging up the phone and watching the office file one by one into the conference room where there was a TV. We were all watching in horror before they made the announcement to evacuate the building. There was a mad rush as we tried to get away from the tall skyscrapers of downtown to the train station. It was the longest elevator ride down 21 floors I had ever experienced.

Once home, I remember trying to call my friends back in New York and not being able to get through to any of them. All the phone lines were tied up and at the time texting never crossed my mind. It was a helpless feeling to not be able to connect.

Fast forward 10 years, and I truly believe that if I received the same call from my father today, Twitter would have been one of the first places I checked for news and Facebook the first place to check on my friends. Imagine going through half your phone list calling them  one-by-one versus scanning a newsfeed and knowing instantly. Sure Facebook could feel less personal then a phone call but at that time it wasn’t about being personal it was just about knowing he or she was alive.

We’ve seen how people have used social media to connect over and over when disaster strikes from cleaning up cities post riot in London to posting a lost and found on Facebook after tornadoes struck the South. Social has allowed us to organize quickly, connect no matter what the distance and “see” the disaster firsthand through the tweets, posts and pictures of those on the ground.

Part of me is glad social wasn’t around when 9/11 hit because it was so horrific. Part of me wish it had existed so I could have received more answers more quickly.  Either way I’m taking time to deal with some emotions (to feel, not wallow) on Sunday and to be grateful for all the good that has happened these last ten years.

How do you think 9/11 would have been different if social media was around?

As a PR professional, I’m always interested in what is going on in the media world. Not surprising, print subscriptions are down, newsrooms continue to cut staff, and media companies seem to be scrambling to come up with some new technology that will save the industry. The New York Times tested their own social network which they later scrapped and most recently, the Tribune Co. announced it was coming out with its own tablet to woo new subscribers. Tribune vs. Apple? Doesn’t seem like a fair battle.

Having also worked in interactive marketing , the same lesson has been pounded over and over in my head and I think it could be the key to saving traditional media. Here it is: Be where people are spending their time. In other words go with the flow. If people are buying iPads, do whatever it takes to integrate yourself into an iPad, don’t waste energy building your own. If people are on Twitter and Facebook, make those social networks your priority, versus spending a ton of time and dollars managing your own.

Makes sense right? Taking this idea further…What if newspapers put social media first? Facebook/Twitter becomes their “site/paper” – reporters focus their efforts on social, not as an “after the fact, the story has been written” kind of way but more of an ”in the moment, this news is happening now” kind of way. The reporters who currently do it well are the ones who are using social networks real-time. They are at the city council meeting tweeting from the event. They are watching newsfeeds to dig for the next big story. They aren’t just tweeting headlines with links to the story after the event has occurred. Sure they still write the story at the end of the day and still play a very important role in gathering the facts and crafting something that is legit and vetted, but they’re also just as real-time as everyone else.

I get that real-time news may make some news organizations or editors uncomfortable, but as a friend recently said  – “I stopped checking the newspaper online because if something is important I’ll hear about it on Twitter.” Being uncomfortable is better than being irrelevant.

So if you did shift most of your efforts to social media and had your editorial in order, then what about advertising? Well what if you had a @gannettdeals for example. People who live for coupons could follow or fan that page. It could be something you could sell to advertisers (we’ll tweet XX amount of times for XX dollars) and it would push advertisers to be more creative/give something of value to readers versus a banner ad that no one wants to see or a circular I’m going to throw straight into the trash.

You could also take your classifieds and start Twitter handles/Facebook pages. @ganettjobs. People who actually are looking for jobs, cars, puppies, etc could easily find what they need without having to sort through all the other listings. Another lesson I’ve learned from my interactive marketing role, making life easier for people is always a win.

So there you have it, this is one idea on how traditional media could continue to thrive – by being relevant, flexible and most importantly being where people are spending their time. Oh, and by the way, if they are all these things, they’re also going to be more attractive to advertisers.

TV stations, you fall into this as well – use Twit Vid, YouTube and Facebook to air your segments, try live streaming. Your advertisers will thank you for it and your viewership has nowhere to go but up. You just have to be willing to change the way you measure audience numbers by including social.

I like local media and I would like local media to continue to exist for years to come. I hope they are willing to be flexible and change with the times. It would be sad to see them go the way of video stores, record shops and book stores because they just didn’t see it coming.

Any other thoughts on how to make traditional media profitable?

 Involver, a social marketing platform, has partnered with Klout to create a Facebook app that unlocks special content based on someone’s Klout score. Basically, if a brand uses this app on its Facebook page it can detect if you have a high Klout score and serve you up special content based on the level of your influence. What’s a Klout score you ask? It’s a number that represents how influential you are on a social network – how many friends/fans, how often do people engage with your content.

Audi is the first brand to test this out, but no doubt other brands will follow, offering up rewards (coupons, special branded content, rewards) to those who matter most. Is this dangerous? Perhaps a little. I may be a hardcore fan of your product but I may not have a ton of followers on Twitter. On the other hand, if you’re trying to get the word out on a new product rewarding those with social influence could a great strategy.

Until Klout, and some of the other listening platforms, companies had to really dig to identify influencers. Now companies will know who “matters” more within seconds. I predict this will either tick off the loyalist (those who don’t spend a ton of time online but still love your brand/product) and/or make everyone work a little harder on producing good content and treating their followers well in order to pump up their Klout score so they can reap benefits.

Klout is a cool tool, but I also think you still need to pay attention to who is loyal to you and reward those folks as well.  If we were to go all “high school” on this topic – there should be a nice balance between the cool kids and your best friends. They’re both important in their own ways.