#SochiProblems

This week, we were asked to write about social media crisis reported in mainstream media within the previous six months and to identify three ways we would have tried to alleviate the issue.

I figured this was a great time to write about the recent Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the infamous #SochiProblems trend that appeared on Twitter just days before the Olympics were set to take place and continued to trend throughout the duration of the Olympic games.

Upon their arrival in Russia, a group of North American journalists were greeted by less than optimal conditions in Sochi. Many journalists described the conditions as arriving in a city that was still under construction. Many hotel rooms had no running water (and once the water was running, it had a very strong smell to it and a brown tinge), the electrical wires were still exposed, and washrooms had no walls dividing the toilets from one another, creating a “community bathroom” of sorts. As a result of their disgust, and to bring a little bit of humour to the situation, journalists opened a Twitter account with the handle @SochiProblems. Athletes and spectators in Sochi would send photos to the Twitter account with the hashtag #SochiProblems with photos of problems that they found in the city throughout the games. The owners of the Twitter account would then re-Tweet the photos with captions written in a way that it was mimicking a Russian person speaking broken English.

Some say a picture is worth a thousand words… but an entire Twitter account and hashtag dedicated to one campaign generated far more than a thousand words. Here is a sample of some of the photos that resulted from the #SochiProblems trend.

 

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So how would I have solved the problem on social media channels?

Set the Record Straight with your Own Photos

I would go through the Olympic village with my own camera and I would take photos of the accommodations in a different light. I would include photos of well-kept hotel rooms and tweet them in response to negative Tweets from journalists, spectators and athletes. I would also respond to photos and tweets posted by unhappy hotel guests and offer them a phone number for a customer service line, in an attempt to resolve the problem and provide customers with a solution. I would also try to resolve the problem by speaking with the Hotel companies and arrange for refunds to be given to customers that truly did face unsanitary or unsafe conditions in their hotel rooms.

Encourage Spectators to Post Positive Photos for a Chance to Win a Contest

I would encourage Olympic spectators to post positive photos and videos of their experience at Sochi with the hashtag #SochiProud. I would encourage these spectators to post positive visuals with an incentive of a chance to win tickets to a special event of their choice or to the closing ceremonies. By reaching out to the spectators that were enjoying their experience at Sochi, and by offering these spectators an incentive for posting positive photos, I would be able to boost the #SochiProud trend, thus drowning out the #SochiProblems trend and displaying Sochi in a positive light. Spectators would be invited to enter the contest by posting on any form of social media of their choice with the hashtag attached.

Bringing the issue into context:

Proving that host countries rarely do a flawless job at presenting their country to the world….

I would collect photos from various previous Olympic games to show that many other countries were also ill-prepared for the Olympic games in their cities. I would create a video with these examples from past Olympic games and post it on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook in an attempt of moving the conversation away from Sochi and on to the Olympics as a whole. Radar Online has some great examples of “The Biggest Olympic Blunders”. One of the blunders include: mistakenly displaying South Korea’s flag in advance of a soccer game between the North Koreans and the Colombians at the London 2012 Olympics. Other examples that could be included are the 1988 Seoul Olympics opening ceremonies. The organizers planned to release a flock of doves into the stadium during the ceremonies, however, when the cauldron was lit, the birds were burnt to a crisp and died on international television while the entire world was watching.

Social Media Analytics – Action, Attitude and Attention

This week we explored Social Media Analytics and ROI – Return on Investment. 

Measurement, math, and monitoring a return on an investments has never been my strong suit, so I found this week’s assignment a little bit more difficult to wrap my head around. 

This week we looked at the core concepts of social media measurement and analytics to help a business, or PR Practitioner measure their success on a social media campaign. Of course it is sometimes difficult to measure, because as mentioned in previous blog posts, social media campaigns can cost money, both in resources and in paid ads, promoted tweets, etc. This sometimes makes it difficult for a community manager or PR practitioner to prove the value of a social media campaign to their superiors. If money is being spent on these campaigns, how can a PR practitioner prove that the campaign is worthwhile for the company and will produce a return in the end?

This brings us to the three A’s as a means of measuring a return on investment for social media. 

Action, Attitude and Attention

Action:

Action can be defined as the overall business results for your company as a result of an online social media campaign. For example:

  • Visits to your website
  • Donations
  • Ticket sales for an event
  • Overall sales 

Attitude:

Attitude is  the most difficult to measure as it is all about analyzing the feedback that your company is receiving on the social web and determining whether the overall sentiment of followers is positive or negative. For example:

  • The measurement of positive comments versus negative
  • The “strength” of followers, ie. Do you have other major companies and CEOs following you or are you not reaching your target audience with you followers?

Attention:

Like Action, Attention is easier to define also as it is more clear cut, however, it is important to note that Attention can also give false results at times. Essentially attention is the measurement of traffic or volume of interest a business is getting on their pages. Fore example:

  • Number of Likes
  • Number of Shares or ReTweets
  • Number of Clicks 
  • Number of Followers
  • Number of Views 

Essentially the three A’s work in tandem to help a PR practitioner and a company measure their social media return on investment. When used together, a practitioner can get an overall view of the success of a specific campaign or even just of the company’s overall perception to the public. 

The PM’s New Social Media Strategy

Given the focus on visuals and graphics in our social media class lately, I thought I would point the class to the Prime Minister’s newest social media strategy, 24 SEVEN.

The Prime Minister’s communications team has been doing a great job recently at trying to humanize the PM and to make his social media more interesting. Below are some links to some of the new videos on the PM’s YouTube channel where a weekly “24 SEVEN” video feature is posted to give an overview of the highlights of the PM’s week. The videos are short and succinct but give an overview of the happenings in the government for the week. You will notice that “exclusives” are also added where cabinet ministers and members of the Conservative Caucus are also interviewed on topics that are relevant in the news or the legislation that is before the House of Commons.

I think this is a great initiative that has helped to show Canadians what it is that the Prime Minister is doing on a weekly basis.

8 TED Talks everyone in social media marketing should watch

8 TED Talks everyone in social media marketing should watch.

Hello fellow Social Media class mates! This week, I wanted to share with you a blog post by some friends of mine Kimbe McMaster and Matt Davidson, who are the Co-Founders of Fides. Fides is a start-up based in Kitchener-Waterloo  working on a solution to improve social media analytics for users. 

Fides will analyze your historical tweets, and figure out what multiple attributes contribute to your social engagement. Essentially, users will create a Tweet in the Fides extension and they will provide real-time recommendations to improve your tweet before it’s published. For example, it will tell you if your post is too short, or if you should post it during a specific time of the day. Additionally, it will suggest a hashtag or certain keywords that you should use. Kind of neat eh? 

In any case, Fides recently made this post on their blog entitled 8 TED Talks everyone in social media marketing should watch. I found it really interesting myself and thought that I would share it with you all! 

Week 4 – Content Strategy

Hello fellow bloggers! This week, we learned about content strategy. Our blog assignment asked us to “find and post three images or diagrams that summarize the elements of a content strategy. The blog post should include your reaction to their strengths and weaknesses – as standalone images – in helping you understand better what creating a content strategy is all about.”

The first image that I found was quite thorough. I will admit that I found it a little bit confusing as to why some considerations were placed in the middle, as opposed to the outer layer, or vice-versa. An explanation might help to define and explain some of the items, however we were asked to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of of the stand-alone images and therefore I find it a little bit confusing. The diagram doesn’t go into enough detail in my mind to explain the considerations that need to be made and why.

The next image was a little bit more understandable as a stand-alone image. I liked the analogy of feeding into an eco-system and creating energy and turning the nutrients into active organisms. I also think that it is important to note that just like a real ecosystem, it is circular and the job of creating content strategy is never over.

http://raelin.musuraca.com/2010/12/a-case-for-social-media-the-web-as-a-content-ecosystem/

The final image is my favorite. It reminded me of the tenth grade when our English teacher was trying to explain to the class how to write a five paragraph essay (oh how far we’ve come from the day when a five paragraph essay seemed so daunting!). We were told to think of an essay like a triple cheeseburger. The top and bottom buns were the introductory and concluding paragraphs and the three patties were the content that we were describing. The cheese was intended to blend everything together and help things gel together. This explanation has stuck with me now for several years and really helped to explain the concept of essay writing. The diagram below leaves me with the same thoughts. I liked the additions of lettuce (for crunch ie. tone) and sauce (ie the audience). The description is very similar to the essay analogy and very easy to understand.

cheeseburger infographic {Infographic} Social Content Strategy: Cheeseburger Stylehttp://www.valeomarketing.com/blog/infographic-social-content-strategy-cheeseburger-style/

Week 3 – QR Codes and Foursquare

This week we learned about the less frequently used types of social media mainly, Location Based Services (LBS).

I had heard of Google Glass before on the news and found it a little bit concerning that someone could potentially record their whole day and then play it back. What every happened to people’s privacy? I can see this as being a very dangerous type of social media, if we can even call it that.

I have also used Find My Friends on my iPhone in the past, and frankly I have one friend that I have added to it, but I’ve never really found it to be useful (probably because I only have one friend on it). It is almost scary that you can pinpoint someone down to their exact address and sometimes even the location of the address that they’re in. For example, I was babysitting for the only friend that I have on Find My iPhone one day and I got a text from him saying “Why are you hanging out in the backyard? Aren’t my kids in bed? Did you bring the baby monitor?”. Now, obviously, he was joking, but it just goes to show how accurate these types of location based services can be – or not, because in fact, I was in the living room, and his kids were safely tucked into their beds. My iPhone was located in my purse at the back door, which had it showing in the backyard and not where I was located inside the house.

In any case, this week we were given two options to write about, and for the purpose of this blog post, I have decided to write about Foursquare and QR codes. QR Code Readers are something that I have been using for quite some time now. There was a time when I would get very excited any time I saw a QR code and would immediately bring out my scanner and scan the code. In most cases, they turned out to be a little bit pointless and I found often times, the QR code would bring me to a website that was not mobile-friendly, leaving me with tiny print and hard to see graphics on a tiny screen. I remember one time, when I was looking at buying a new home,  I went for a drive in some neighbourhoods that I was interested in. A couple of the for sale signs had QR Codes on them and so I tried to scan them from the car to see more about the listing, how much it was, what it looked like on the inside, etc. After multiple attempts to scan the QR code, by zooming in, driving up closer to the sign, I eventually gave up. Ultimately, I would have had to get out of the car and walk right up to the sign to get the QR Code Reader to respond and at that point, I could have just gone and knocked on the door! Now, I have several thoughts about QR Code Readers, but this week, we were asked to write about our single biggest learnings about QR Code Readers and Foursquare. In that case, the thing that I found the most interesting about QR Codes this week, was that you can add any company logo into a QR Code, making it more visually appealing, and it can still be read! Who knew! Here are a few examples:Subway QR Code

These QR Codes are less of an eyesore and more appealing to the eye. Not only that, but these companies are not using the regular black QR codes, but they have been able to change the colour and look of their codes making them more inviting. A code like this looks much nicer on a brochure or business card than a black blob-like code.

I learned about Foursquare this week for the first time. I was actually quite surprised that I had never heard of this application before, because I found it very interesting. I’m an avid social media user when it comes to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, but I’m more of a follower than a user. I rarely check in on Facebook or post status updates and when I do, they’re quite vague – I don’t need everyone knowing my business. The way I see it, is if you want to know, or I want you to know, I will tell you. I almost never Tweet unless it’s about concerts or food it seems (oddly enough) and as a result, I’m not sure that I would check in very often on Foursquare UNLESS there’s something in it for me! Which brings me to my biggest learning this week about Foursquare. That’s where Foursquare got me. I started exploring the App and what was located around me and started to find deals at coffee shops, restaurants, and clothing stores where I would get 10 – 15% off of my bill for my first check-in at these locations. I was intrigued. I haven’t tried a check in yet where I would receive an incentive for checking in, but I plan to. I can see how this would be very useful where restaurants would be getting publicity from people checking in and it would therefore be driving these people’s friends to the restaurant also. Sometimes all it takes is to get someone in the door once to generate a regular customer – very clever! I also saw that there were promoted places – much like the promoted trends, and tweets that we talked about last week. These are paid ads where companies can promote a deal to potential clients based on their geographic location, demographic, gender, etc allowing them to be top of mind for people looking for a new place to visit or a new deal to take advantage of.

I can’t say I will become a long time user of Foursquare only because I am not big on everyone knowing where I am and when, however, I can see myself using it when I’m looking for a new restaurant and a reason to try it. When it comes to QR codes, I have just found myself able to Google a keyword faster than it takes me to find my QR Code Reader on my phone, load it up and scan the code. Normally, I’m not where I as when I saw the code by the time I get everything booted up and ready to go.

Next week, we will look at the topic “what is content”. Stay tuned!

CDPR 108 – Week 2 – Promoting Your Company on Twitter

This week, we explored the four most prominent social web platforms to the English language, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. We were also introduced to Brian Soll’s (2009) Conversation Prism that showed us through a visual diagram the complexity and variety of social media/social web platforms that exist. But I digress… the blog topic that we were assigned this week was about Twitter. We were asked to “write a 500 word post assessing the potential value – if any – to a public relations program of Twitter “promoted tweets,” “promoted accounts” and “promoted trends.”” We were asked to review this article from Quora to get us started.

First off, let me define the difference between the three options.

Promoted Tweets

Promoted Tweets are sold on a “Cost Per Engagement” basis. This means that users can select a price that they wish to pay ($0.20 – $5.00) per engagement also known as a “bid”. Engagements for promoted tweets are considered to be a click on the Tweet, or a Retweet. These Tweets will show up on a targeted user’s page based on geographic region, gender, demographics, etc.Promoted Trends

Promoted Trends are the most expensive form of advertising offered on Twitter. They are a flat fee rate that cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per day to have your company’s hashtag or trend highlighted at the top of a user’s pages. This is considered to be the most valuable form of Twitter advertising because it has the most reach. Again, these Trends can be targeted at the choice of the buyer to a specific geographic region, gender, demographic, etc.

Promoted Accounts

Promoted Accounts are sold on a “Cost Per Follow” basis where Twitter will recommend a company or user to follow on targeted users pages. The Cost Per Follow ranges from $0.50 – $5. The Company or user would then pay based on the amount of users that followed their page due to the advertisement.

Interestingly, when I went on to my Twitter account after doing some research on this topic, Twitter Small Business had a Promoted Tweet on my page regarding advertising for small businesses. Below is a screen shot of an example of all three forms of advertising.

Promoted Tweets

While researching this topic, I came across a  story about Twitter Advertising case studies by Bloomberg Business Week outlining  local small business owner’s experiences with Twitter advertising. The story can be found here.  Now, this story was written in 2012 when the Twitter for Small Business concept was in its infancy stages. However, I still feel as though the comments made in this story hold true. If a company is looking to build relationships with their publics to aid them with brand recognition and outreach, Twitter Advertising is a cost effective way to reach new followers who are involved in the particular market that a company serves. This type of follow, in addition to a company maintaining an active account, (therefore maintaining engagement) and building their brand recognition is the first step to staying top of mind as a consumer is looking to purchase a product. On the same note, if a company is more interested in a transactional relationship with their consumers as opposed to building a customer relationship, then the value of a follow, Retweet, Tweet or response to a Tweet would be lost on this one time engagement.

The following quote sums up the argument quite well:

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 7.58.31 PM

In conclusion, in terms of a major corporation that has a very large advertising budget and is interested in building brand power and customer loyalty, Twitter Advertising can be quite useful and beneficial. For a small company with a limited advertising budget that is looking to drive sales, this might not be the appropriate use of advertising.