Every Social Media Manager’s Worst Nightmare

dflaWe’ve all been to a restaurant before that left us wanting more. The lack of service, atmosphere, or good food can lead to a less than desirable experience. What do you do when this happens to you? Below you will find a hypothetical situation of an individual taking to social media to express their disgust and what I would do to address it.

“I am disgusted about the state of your store on 1467 Justin Kings Way. The counter was smeared in what looked like grease and the tables were full of trash and remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”

Ouch…this is a harsh comment. From a business standpoint I would want to take this down, but sometimes leaving these comments up and responding publicly to them can show the audience that you care about each customer. I would comment on this post by saying “Hi there, Thank you for letting us know the conditions of our store. We are very sorry to hear about your experience. Please send us a direct message giving us more details and we will address the issues you have mentioned. Thank you, Alexis.”

Once I have left my comment I know there will be more left on this post. I have seen so many Twitter rants and Facebook comments go off topic and turn into other users fighting. I do not want that to happen on this post. I want it to be an example of what my company is doing to improve our services. I would let the conversation play out but as soon as obscene language or hate speech came into play I would jump back in the post and let user’s know we do not condone this type of behavior. It is one thing for people to say they agree with the disgruntled customer but to throw this type of language into a post services no purpose.

From one extreme to another, I’ve worked in television for about five years. During my reporting days I was taught to always report fair and balanced to avoid situations like this:

“Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your air time to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reporting of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious.”

Wow, another  social media attack. This one seems a little harder to address considering the racial issues this viewer has. I would first respond to the comment by leaving one saying “Hi, we are sorry to hear you did not like our story last night. Our goal is to provide our viewers with fair and balanced stories. Please contact by direct message so we can work at providing you with a better story next time. Thank you.”

In our lecture it was noted not to respond in anger. As a reporter it would be hard for me not, considering we know the story was unbiased and accurate. I also believe user’s should not respond in anger so once I let the viewer know I saw this comment I would remove it from our page. Using obscene language is unnecessary and unprofessional. I do not want our viewers to be subjected to this.

How would you react to these situations?

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Publix: Is “Where Shopping is a Pleasure” Prevalent on Facebook?

publixIf you’ve ever been in the southeastern part of the U.S. you’ve probably seen a few Publix grocery stores. Publix was started by George Jenkins in 1930 in Winter Haven, Florida. Jenkins wanted his stores to be revolutionary. He designed stucco floored stores with air conditioning, electronic sliding doors and superior customer service. Jenkins wanted his stores to be “where shopping is a pleasure” and have a family feel. When I walk into the stores I get this feeling, but does this culture translate on Publix’s social media pages?

I follow Publix on Facebook and in my opinion they do an excellent job of expressing their tone on the network, they even say so on the “About” section. The grocery store’s page is filled with recipes, saving opportunities, family-based content (i.e. images), and employee praise. Publix does a great job of responding to comments, both negative and positive as well. While looking at some recent comments I was very impressed to see that most posts were addressed within an hour and employees running the social media page even signed their name in the response. This correlates with the Publix culture. Anytime I’ve ever had a problem, it’s quickly been addressed and always in a friendly and welcoming manner.

Capture2That being said let’s take a look at two examples of how Publix effectively employed their welcoming tone to their Facebook audience. Timothy is pretty upset. He’s been having issues with his local Publix and feels as though his voice isn’t getting heard, so he did what any disgruntled customer does nowadays and took to social media. Even though Timothy’s message got a little heated Publix responded in a calm tone. They apologized, reinforced their mantra (premiere customer service), asked for more details via a private message, and apologized again. They could have ignored this post but instead addressed it within the hour it was posted. They want Publix to be a place “where shopping is a pleasure” and are making it right for Timothy.

CaptureIn this post Publix is reinforcing their belief that they are a family oriented store. Everyone who shops there is special to them. This post received a lot of attention and positive feedback and a Publix employee responded to every single comment, including comments from other Publix employees. Recognizing the people on the frontlines making Publix stores a success reiterates the respect Publix has for ANYONE who walks through their special sliding doors.

Ultimately I believe it is the content Publix posts and the way they respond that make their Facebook page very effective at illustrating their brand. I wish more companies (cough*CitiBike*cough) would take the initiative to connect with their audience, and loyal followers like Publix has on social media.

Trust…A Very Powerful Tool

Trust is indeed a very interesting aspect of social media. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…without trust you have nothing on social media. With this aspect so being so important how can we ensure we are creating an environment of trust through our posts?

I really like the trust formula developed by Steve Rayson and outlined in this week’s lecture. Authority x’s Helpfulness x’s Intimacy divided by self-promotion is a pretty spot on interpretation of how trust is developed online. That being said I do believe our teacher, Justin Kings is correct in saying having an element of reliability in this equation is important. This is perhaps my biggest frustration when it comes to social media, both with individuals and brands.

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In my reading reaction this week I talked about an experience I had with Citibikes in NYC over the Memorial Day weekend. If you are not familiar with Citibikes they are bikes (sponsored by Citi Bank) you can rent out for certain periods of time with stations all over the city. It’s supposed to make renting bikes easy, however mine and so many others experiences were just that. To make a long story short my friends and I spent almost two hours circling a two-mile radius trying to find a station that a) had enough bikes, b) had bikes that were able to be rented, c) accepted my credit card, d) accepted the code given to me once my transaction was completed to rent the bikes. At almost every station we went to we saw the same people from previous stops experiencing the same problem. I called customer service three times with no luck and finally took to Twitter to see if I could get a response there. Still no luck…I felt frustrated and defeated! How are they supposed to make my experience better if they don’t see what’s wrong!?

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This is an example of what brands don’t want to experience on social media. The goal should be to add value to follower’s experience. Answering tweets (reliability), helping people (i.e. listening), having authority over content and network, giving followers a unique experience, and a little self-promotion is the formula for success. It sounds so simple, yet so many companies do it wrong. The train company mentioned in this week’s lecture has done it right. I was so impressed by their practices! If only other companies would implement these easy processes into their routine…it would mean a world of difference to frustrated followers!

In Case You Were Waiting on Baited Breath…the Results Are In!

Last week I asked audiences on Google+ social media focused communities and followers on my blog to take a short survey about social integration in television programming. I chose to ask these audiences as opposed to my Facebook friends because I felt I would get a more diverse demographic of participants. Seventeen people answered a variety of questions detailing social media’s role in television.

One response that stood out to me the most was how people like to see social media incorporated into their television shows. Over 47% of those who took the survey said they liked to see a Twitter crawl as opposed to a television host reading comments (29%). This was interesting to me because later in my survey I asked what incentive would get my audience to participate in social integrations and over 58% said they would post more if they knew a television host would read their post on air. So what is it they really want? Twitter on tv

82% of my audience believes social media in television programming does add value to their shows, but they generally like it to be done more passively (i.e. via Twitter crawl). I can’t say I disagree. It is nice to be updated about the latest in a certain genre every half hour or so in this fashion, when it interrupts a show or becomes the focal point the show’s message can get lost. I also think social media contests are not as common in programming so the incentive to have a famous person read one of my audience’s social posts is something different than what they are used to seeing!

I found out the majority of my audience likes to interact with their television shows on Twitter (58%). Everyone agreed social media will only continue to play a bigger role in television programming in the future and the majority of my audience supports this (48%). 58% of my audience interact on social media via mobile but surprisingly 0% interact on a tablet (that one threw me for a loop). I expect this statistic to change some in the future as tablets continue to take on a bigger role in our digital world.Social-TV

Hindsight is 20/20

Overall I am very happy with the results I received, but looking back I would change some things in my survey. I did not ask any demographic questions which I am disappointed about. To be honest I just overlooked these type of questions and really focused on the meat of the matter. I realize now how important demographic questions are because it could help me understand what gender and race like social integration more.

I also wish I would have asked a few questions centered around YouTube. YouTube is vastly popular but isn’t seen much in social integrations on television. Why? I would like to see what my audience’s feelings on this outlet being incorporated into their television shows would be.

I plan to take this information and really think about what it means to me, my career goals and my focus in this degree program. I think if ever presented the opportunity to make a survey about social integration again I have a great outline and now know better, more precise questions to ask my audience.

Social Media Wrap Up

This semester we have talked about what seems like every aspect of social media. From social media networks to SEO and edgeranking, we’ve performed and analyzed the majority of the social media practices on the Internet. As this semester comes to a close there are still some questions that linger…

How does social media impact journalism? What is social media’s relation with public relations? Is it public relations? How much of an impact does social media have on your job? I’ve thought about these questions throughout the semester and luckily this week’s readings provided some insight.

In my opinion social media and journalism now go hand-in-hand. Print is merely extinct and the majority of journalism can be found on the Internet. News companies have leveraged Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other mediums to post their stories and interact with the public. Perhaps the greatest way social media impacts the news is by giving journalists leads.journalism on social media

As an undergraduate I studied journalism. I remember going into the newsroom and pitching stories to my news director. The majority of my story ideas came from the Internet and my news director would always ask me how I could make my pitch a more personal story for viewers. Social media allows this to happen. Journalists can see what’s trending, ask the public if they’ve been affected by something, and find sources.

What about credibility? News means nothing if it is not reliable. Reuter’s is a great example of a news source having a guide in place for their reporters. In it they stress having a checks and balance system (make sure sources are credible) and encourage journalists to rely on their supervisors and peers to help maintain credibility. I encourage all news companies to set the same standard when it comes to social media and reporting.

On to social media and PR…

Social media is a catalyst for public relations. Social media was created with the intent of sharing content and connecting with people…the primus of public relations. I would encourage PR teams to utilize social media because “by sharing information, both PR and social are able to grow their networks and surpass client expectations.” Social media gives people a platform of millions and millions of people, and in my opinion gives people visibility that surpasses what print and feature article can provide. While most PR teams know this and utilize social media today, it is never a bad for them to get a reminder how important these platforms are for their clients success.

prWhile social media can help accomplish your job more effectively I can’t stress how important it is to be mindful of what is said on these outlets. People watch each other on social media and if they don’t like what they see it can negatively impact your career. My advice: be smart and don’t share anything on social media you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see. Practice proper edict and your job and reputation won’t be in jeopardy.

In summation, everything public relies on social media to help tell a story, let the right people know the information, and get the job done. Like other aspects of life it is important to set goals that help you define success. Knowing expectations will help you utilize social media appropriately and keep you on the right track.

What are some insights you have in regards to what was discussed above? Do you think every company should be utilizing social media in some fashion? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Pinterest, and YouTube, and Vines…Oh My!

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Can I just say I love Pinterest! You can find anything on the site (for those who understood my Wizard of Oz reference…probably not a brain, a heart, or courage though). I enjoy looking up new recipes to whip up in my kitchen, how to redecorate my home, the next outfit I hope to purchase, and so much more. Pinterest has introduced me to a whole new world of retailers! It has exposed me to retailers and brands I would have otherwise not heard of or found. Because of this it is essential for retailers and brands to take advantage of Pinterest!

Companies often turn to Facebook and Twitter as their main source for social media. With such a single-minded approach these brands will miss an audience on Pinterest that is open to buy from anywhere! In fact, 70% of Pinterest users visit the site for inspiration for their purchases. I am definitely part of that 70%. I’ve bought clothing and home goods off the site from retailers located all over the country. Pinterest users trust each other.  When we repin an imagine we have automatically endorsed it. By not being a part of this social media platform companies will miss the chance to establish trust with their audience, but also miss the opportunity to expose themselves to new clients.

0Another outlet brands need to incorporate into their strategy is YouTube. YouTube is wildly popular. YouTube has over four billion hours of videos watched each month! Research has shown that consumers trust YouTube over Facebook. I think when consumers can hear what’s being said and see the person saying it it helps create trust. YouTube also allows brands to be creative and let the consumer see a more personable side of them. For instance, a runner I like to follow on YouTube, The Ginger Runner gives advice on training, apparel and nutrition to fellow runners. He is hysterical and pretty creative! I trust him because I’ve seen him training for marathons via YouTube and know that he is a reliable source. Brands will be able to impact consumers immensely if they include YouTube in their social media strategy.

vine1-645x250Images resonate with people, videos inform an audience, and when they are combined they have proven to be unstoppable. This was the case for the Boston Marathon tragedy when over 19,000 vines were tweeted. Twitter’s video source, vine has transformed video sharing; on average one is created every five seconds. Personally, I have never found vine to be that compelling but with so many people using the application companies should join in the trend and reach consumers.

Using social media isn’t just comprised of Facebook and Twitter. It is important for brands to reach the consumer who enjoys spending time on content sharing communities such as Pinterest and YouTube. From my experience my audience enjoys when I share pictures with them. Continuing to utilize Pinterest and other image sharing sites like Instagram will be a key component in my social media strategy. I’ve dabbled with YouTube, but I think it will take me a while to find out what kind of content my audience enjoys watching. As for vines, I’ve never done one but I guess there is a first time for everything!

What about you? It’s important to use all of these social media platforms but which one do you think will be the most beneficial to your audience? Do you think Twitter’s vine will continue to grow in popularity or is it just a trend?

Do You Know How Social Media Really Works? (Lecture Reaction)

Social media is a science. Sometimes when I tell people I’m earning my Master’s specializing in social media I get the response “You’re paying people to make you post on Facebook.” After learning about the power of Facebook and Google+ and the opportunities people have on social networks I would say that statement is the furthest thing from the truth!mediatraining

Many people don’t understand what EdgeRank is and how to utilize Facebook to increase it. I was one of those people until I started this program. When I logged on Facebook I would always wonder why people’s post from the day before were at the top of my newsfeed, now that I understand EdgeRank I know why. Using Facebook and creating post that generate interaction and shares is essential to effectively leverage the social media site in your favor. Now that I know the details involved with ranking on the site I will be employing them and look forward to seeing the results!

Google+ is arguably the most overlooked social media site of them all and in my opinion it houses the most power. Prime example, I posted my reading reaction blog on Facebook and it was completely overlooked, but when I posted it in a social media community on Google+ I got more response than I could’ve imagined (7+s and 9 comments, that’s amazing for a Google+ newbie like me)! Google+ allows you to target your audience. I can put people in groups and post things that are relevant to those groups. I can show people my work in the communities I follow. I can author my work and increase my SEO. The possibilities are endless!googleplus

As I continue to market myself as a social media expert strategy will be the key behind every post I will be making on social media sites from here on out. I recently spoke with a recruiter at HSN and asked her what the biggest thing she looks for when it comes to potential social media professionals. She told me she wants someone who understands how social media really works and has a portfolio to back it up. By gaining an understanding of how Facebook and Google+ work and how they influence each other I can utilize them to take me to new heights professionally. I will continue to strive to build myself as a brand and continue to implement social media into my work to prove social media isn’t about posting, it’s about strategy.

What is Your Goal When it Comes to Social Media?

Social-Media-BrandThis weeks articles really impressed upon me the importance of building myself as brand, finding my unique voice on the Internet via social media, and helped me realize that doing all of this is going to be a long term investment.

I have always been a very goal oriented person. I have utilized the S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) method when pursuing personal and professional goals but never thought of employing it with social media until I read Be Honest: Do You Have a Social Media Strategy? Social media and the Internet aren’t going away. They are only becoming more prevalent in our society. I understand that having reachable goals and a strategy when it comes to social media is important but what is it that I really want to get out of these outlets?

The concept of companies using social media to get to “know” their applicants opened my eyes to a new reality and also what my goal in social media should be. I am taking this masters program because I want to advance my career in social media. I need to employ social media to show recruiters this is what I am passionate about and I am good at it. When they view me on social media outlets I want them to visit my blog and read what I have to say about social media. I want them to realize that what my resume may lack in comparison with someone with 20 years of experience I make up for with my real world approach to the most influential (and potentially lucrative) media source out there…social media.

The Hidden Benefits of Social Media Marketing article helped me realize that I am on the right track. I have a community of followers that I have instant access to. Why am I not tapping into them and using them to get my message across? We aren’t “businesses” connecting with “consumers” we are people connecting with people. People want to talk to each other not automated voice systems. As I continue to position myself as a social media expert I need to find content that will keep me “human” and not just push a message across. Ultimately I need to focus on building relationships with my followers and have them help me get my message across!

In this social media journey I have embarked on I know not everyone will understand or condone what I am doing. I hope to embrace and listen to them just as Makers Mark listened to their consumers. Not everyone will agree with what my goals in social media are but it is up to me to listen to them and respond appropriately to have a better understanding with my community.

Your Response

  1. What do you think of companies now using social media for recruiting purposes? Are you in favor of companies getting to know the real you or do you feel it is an invasion of privacy? How far is too far when it comes to “investigating” potential employees?
  2. Everyday we are bombarded with ads and other nonsense posted on social media sites. As you work on branding yourself, or your company, what are some methods you plan to use to not be overlooked on social media?