Archive for the 'Social Media' Category



Social Media IMPACT with Pub Club NE & PRSA Boston

By Kate Binette (@katebinette)

With more than 1,147,000 Twitter followers and about 1,410,000 Facebook fans between them, the panelists at a recent Publicity Club of New England and PRSA Boston event had much to offer in terms of social media strategies and tactics.  Earlier this month, Amanda Guisbond (@agbond) and I headed downtown to hear Christi McNeill of Southwest Airlines, Peter Panagopoulos from WGBH and Elaine Driscoll of the Boston Police Department speak on all things social.  They shared interesting and unique insights into their social media programs and provided great tips and tricks for PR pros executing social programs for their clients.

Mike Volpe, CMO of fellow Boston company HubSpot, moderated the panel and kicked off the night with a few surprising social media facts:

  • People are now spending more time on social media than on email, with more than 100 million tweets pushed through each day and one out of every eight minutes on the Internet spent on Facebook.
  • The average person views over 2,700 Web pages per month.
  • 40 percent of B2B companies and 60 percent of their B2C counterparts have secured clients on Facebook.

It’s obvious that the social sphere is still continuing to grow, and with B2C and B2B companies making business connections through Facebook, a social presence is increasingly important for all of our clients.  But what are the tried and true tactics that hold up across industries?  Here’s the quick and dirty from the panelists:

  • Use social media to set the tone for traditional media.  Social media should be a supplement to traditional outreach and vice versa.  Elaine explained that when news hit about Osama Bin Laden’s death, the BPD’s quick execution on Twitter helped set the tone for local media conversation.  The Department also filmed a 30-second statement from the commissioner explaining that there was no threat to the city of Boston.  Every news station in the city referred to the BPD’s tweet and used their video, limiting hype and keeping the public’s reaction under control.  Similarly, quick action from Christi and the rest of the Southwest Airlines social team on the company blog and Facebook and Twitter pages helped alleviate calls from the media in the wake of the Company’s most recent plane crisis. 
  • Find a monitoring schedule that works – and keep the approval process short.  Monitoring 24/7 is a challenge, but it’s important to keep track of tweets, Facebook posts and events in the news that require a response.  At the BPD, a few quick internal conversations revealed that several 911 operators had a personal interest in social media.  The all-day, every-day access provided by the operators, combined with a nimble approval process, ensure quick action and response.  Christi’s team stays in touch and divides and conquers – communication is key!
  • Stay in touch with influencers, and stick to what works to reach them.  Christi found that catering to aviation bloggers and inviting them to Southwest Airlines’ media day helped broaden their reach beyond the airline’s traditional customer base and engage a niche group of aviation enthusiasts.  Peter explained that WGBH strives to give the people what they want – despite efforts to promote more interactive content on the Antiques Roadshow Facebook page, tune-in messages and appraisals see the most engagement from fans and keep them coming back for more.

To sum up the night, the panel shared their top tips for a successful social media strategy – in 140 characters or less, of course:

  • Have fun, and be relevant. – Christi
  • Inform, and be thoughtful.  – Peter
  • Don’t overtweet, and always be relevant. – Elaine

What do you think are the most important parts of a relevant, successful social media campaign?

Social Media Camp NY

By Nicole Kruse

I recently attended the Social Media Camp NY event, which occurred during Social Media Week NYC 2011. I was able to attend six great sessions. While all of the speakers were captivating and shared many useful insights regarding social media, I found two sessions particularly useful. The first session reminded me that great social media ideas don’t have to be a huge production, but rather a simple, relatable concept. My biggest takeaway from the second session was to “fish where the fish are.”

Execute on Everyday Experiences in an Extraordinary Way

Saul Colt, Head of Magic at FreshBooks, shared ways to create word of mouth with no budget using social media. He inspired the audience by sharing the following tip, “Create something so fresh and fascinating; people will have no choice but to share it.” Essentially, he urged us to execute on everyday experiences in an extraordinary way.

For example, for one company, he built a trade show booth that looked like the fruit stand from Arrested Development, and gave out bananas with his company name stickered on it.  It was a conversation starter, an icebreaker and very low budget.   I really like how Saul successfully executed on such an uncomplicated, practical, everyday idea.

Saul suggested holding brainstorms with your team to find interesting ways to connect with customers and get your brand noticed. You may recall the below successful, creative social media campaigns:

•    Burger King’s Subservient Chicken
•    Old Spice’s “Smell Like a Man, Man”

Have any of you come up with great social media ideas you’ve put into practice?

Location, Location, Location

In a presentation about the future of social media in 2011, moderator Howard Greenstein shared what he believed to be the future of social media: location, location, location. Location can mean many things:

•    Where individuals find information about you and/or your brand. For example a website or Facebook page.
•    Where individuals talk to you. For example, in person at a retail store or in the comfort of one’s own home on the telephone.
•    Where people are when they share with each other. For example via a text, tweet or email.

I found it interesting to think that individuals can be in more than one location at once. For example, individuals can physically be at a retail store, while simultaneously texting or tweeting with friends about their experience and visiting the brands Facebook page.

Howard believes that companies should be “located” where everyone is… Facebook! According to Facebook.com’s press page, the site:

•    Has more than 500 million active users
•    50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
•    Collectively people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the site
•    More than 200 million active users access Facebook through their mobile device
•    People who use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users

Just for fun, I thought I’d share this colorful interpretation of The Future of Social Media 2011 drawn by Dean Meyers.

Photo courtesy of Dean Meyers

What are your social media predictions for 2011?

The Last Exorcism: Getting Creepy with Chatroulette

By Mike Fearon  (@mdfearon)

Yesterday, I went around the office to play a quick word association game with my fellow SHIFTers. During which I begged the question, “When I say Chatroulette, you say?” My respectful, upstanding co-workers responded with:

“Creepy”  “Naked”  “Sketchy”  “Nudity”  “Gross”  “Surprising”  “Creepy Guys”  “Laughter”

Since the days of El Pres sporting a tux on Barstool Sports’ Chatroulette Wednesdays, Daily Show spoofs and Merton, the Ben Folds impersonator, marketers have been looking for a way to connect with consumers on Chatroulette (or whatever Chatroulette becomes now that experiment #1 is over – I hope this experiment has nothing to do with 2009’s “The Box.” If it does, we’re doomed).

Cracking the Chatroulette code is not easy. At worst, you’re left with impressions like those top of mind for my co-workers and I. At best, you find one or two fully clothed, intelligible people to chat up. Then, against all odds, came last week’s Chatroulette promotional campaign for the horror genre film “The Last Exorcism,” premiering today.

If you haven’t seen the video, it’s a compilation of creeps who think they are about to peep on a girl on Chatroulette but are then left completely skeeved out when their would-be exhibitionist goes full-on Linda Blair exorcist. Warning: Put your ear buds in, this video contains NSFW language (are you surprised? This is Chatroulette after all).


As a movie buff, I really appreciate this effort – especially knowing the rules of the horror genre made famous by Wes Craven’s “Scream.” If you’re not down with the rules, the Cliff’s Notes version states that if you do anything inappropriate (drugs, sex, drinking, etc.) then something bad will happen to you. In the above video, the Chatroulette folks were breaking the horror genre rules and quickly given their comeuppance.

In the end, the marketing campaign may be more memorable than the film (remember “The Blair Witch Project?”). It will be interesting to see if the video’s two million-plus views translate to the big screen, but I would never have considered watching a PG-13 version of “The Exorcist” without “The Last Exorcism” Chatroulette video. Personally, I find it poetic that the best example of marketing on a platform notorious for its creepiness happens to be for a creepy movie. Hopefully, this is not the last we’ll see of a company’s creative use of Chatroulette.

Double Trouble for Dunkin’ Donuts

By Mikinzie Stuart (@mikinzie)

If any of you “Like” Dunkin’ Donuts on Facebook, you might have noticed something less than palatable appear on your news feed recently. This is because Dunkin’ Donuts was spammed on their Facebook page earlier this week with provocative links and images (seeing as these images are NSFW, we will just say they involve young women and the phrase “scantily clad”).

Hmm... something's missing.

Contrary to what you may think, the real crime wasn’t the spam itself; it was the fact that it took Dunkin’ Donuts 12 HOURS to acknowledge the spamming to their Facebook community. Even after the initial wave of images was finally removed, naughty photos and links kept showing up, flooding the company’s Facebook page throughout the following day.

Fellow SHIFT colleague, John Carter, noticed one of the racy spam videos pop up on his Facebook news feed and brazenly “liked” the spicy video. To prove a point, of course.

“More than anything, I think it points to the gap between content creation and community management when it comes to social media. If you look at Dunkin’ Donuts’ Facebook page and other initiatives, they’re doing some really great stuff; the donut creation contest and fan of the week are both absolutely genius. But their actual one-on-one interaction with consumers is rudimentary (at least on Facebook),” said Carter.

While DD Facebook fans waited and watched to see how the company would respond, it was disappointing when Dunkin’ Donuts followed up with a simple boilerplate apology to angry comments left on the Facebook wall by loyal customers:

“Thanks for your concern. We’re responsible for protecting the integrity of this community and take this very seriously. In accordance with DD Facebook Etiquette, all of these posts have been removed, flagged and banned. Any future posts of this nature will also be dealt with accordingly. We’ve always tried to keep our Facebook page open for fans to share and post links, pics and videos. Unfortunately, there will inevitably be a few individuals who abuse this. But rest assured that we’re on top of this and will always do everything in our power to keep this type of content off our fan page. Thanks, Ben”

As the conversation around the Facebook flop moved to Twitter, it was clear the damage had been done. Even though Dunkin’ Donuts quickly responded to customer tweets about the spammers, the fall-out had solidified, with complaints about: 1) the fact that it happened (and was left unattended) in the first place, and 2) a weak attempt to resolve the problem via a blanket apology.

So, what can be learned from DD’s double-down? Too many brands are concerned with the fancy bells and whistles of their social media space and forget that they need to have someone moderating the content. Granted, mistakes do happen: Dunkin’ Donuts could have had technical difficulties with the Internet down all day; the person in charge of monitoring the Facebook page and scanning for coverage could have been off sick that day; or maybe, and more likely – the company wasn’t investing enough time in regularly checking up on its Facebook page.

As one of the administrators of SHIFT Communications Facebook page, I check the space multiple times a day. I do this not only to moderate what is being posted on the Facebook page wall, but to understand what is important to SHIFT’s various audiences and what it takes to maintain the outward image of our company.

It’s just unfortunate that, as of late, Dunkin’ Donuts has been outdone by those other double Ds.

Twitter and Ice Cream: A Love Story

By Amanda Guisbond (@agbond) w/ photos from Katie Despres (@kdespres)

Who needs location-based social media (hello, Foursquare) when you have a Twitter-branded moving target? Such is the brilliance that is Ben & Jerry’s dessert-on-wheels, the Ben & Jerry’s Truck (@BenJerrysTruck). Granted the Truck is leveraging SM tools such as Foursquare (by staking a claim in every new location) and Twitpic, its main spot is Twitter with more recent stops along the streets of Boston.

And, naturally, how does one elicit a visit from the Ben & Jerry’s Truck – and more importantly, the gift of free ice cream? By using Twitter to beg, plead and bargain with the brand! SHIFT Communications Boston staffers took to Twitter yesterday, in response to a provocative tweet by the Truck, asking for recommendations on where to stop in the greater Boston area. SHIFT’s pleas for ice cream even inspired a #hashtag:

Full disclosure – SHIFT Boston shares residency with a few other big Boston brands, including WGBH and New Balance. WGBH staffers, including @WGHBJoanna were also on the case to bring Ben & Jerry’s to our offices, and even buddy-ed up with us on the cause!

Needless to say, the Truck came through and delivered free, mini-ice cream cups to WGBH & SHIFT staffers, to everyone’s delight. So what does this mean from a brand standpoint? Is Ben & Jerry’s just giving away product? What is the ROI?

  • Increased awareness of Ben & Jerry’s social media presence on Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook (savvy SHIFT staffers quickly turned to Facebook to fan the Ben & Jerry’s page and seek out any additional details on the truck’s whereabouts)
  • Social media-savvy brand support from Boston-based companies actively sharing the Truck’s presence via their own feeds. For example, the Truck visited and was tweeted by @Google, @oneforty, @HubSpot and @ZipCarBoston – and all in a 24 hour period!
  • Increased brand loyalty (or at least the guise of it) via happy consumers everywhere – including SHIFT staffers who posted smiling photo ops like this on their own Facebook pages…

Thanks, Ben & Jerry’s!

NPR’s Facebook Survey – Some Interesting Takeaways IMO

By Amanda Guisbond (@agbond)

Yesterday, NPR shared findings from a survey of more than 40,000 of its Facebook fans about – naturally – their Facebook/NPR preferences and habits. Results of the survey were shared via the media outlet’s Go Figure blog. Go Figure is NPR’s “Audience Insight & Research Group” blog, the goal of which is to provide a forum on how NPR conducts research on its followers – and a pretty cool way to motivate them to respond to surveys!

Beyond some of NPR’s Facebook survey findings that could probably only/mostly be applicable to NPR listeners – i.e. 3 out of every 4 NPR Facebook fans listen to NPR on the radio – following are broader takeaways I found interesting and relevant to the use of Facebook for business and in particular, by media:

  • 3 of every 5 respondents (60.7 percent) said they get most or all of their news online and three-quarters of them (74.6 percent) agree Facebook is a “major” way in which they receive news/information from NPR. Conversely, only 51 percent agree Facebook is a “major” way to receive information from news organizations in general.

My take: A media outlet like NPR, that does a solid job of updating its Facebook page with relevant news information in real-time, is considered a more valuable resource to its target audience than those outlets that do not make their news as readily consumable for their Facebook fans.

  • 84 percent of NPR Facebook fans regularly read the links the outlet posts. Not without coincidence, the majority of NPR’s Facebook fans (96 percent) access Facebook on a daily basis.

My take: If you build it, they will click. People are already on Facebook – it’s a part of their daily routine. So, if they take the time to “like” you, and you post content that’s relevant to their reason for “liking” you (i.e. not a crappy contest that causes them to “like” you once and then hide you), they will visit and re-visit your content.

  • NPR readers/listeners are interested in a wide range of topics – except sports and “rich people.” NPR listed out various story types and asked its Facebook users to select what they wanted to see more of, less of, or about the same amount, from NPR moving forward. For example, respondents wanted more “health, music, media, and Internet/social media” stories from NPR.

My take: Here-in lies the golden ticket for NPR – what type of content to focus on/build-out in an effort to retain its target audience. Clearly those answering the survey are more likely to be NPR brand loyalists and therefore invested in NPR’s success. These are the people any business wants to make happy and keep around.

  • Users don’t think the number of “likes” on a Facebook post will make them more likely to click it. Only 11.8 percent of respondents to the NPR survey said more “likes” on a story would make them want to read it. NPR said it was surprised by this finding.

My take: Can that actually be true? Or do people not want to admit, consciously, that popular opinion inclines them to read online content? What do you think? Do more “likes” draw you to a story? Why/why not?



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