March 1, 2012 § 2 Comments
A court ordered facebook apology. That’s a new one, right? Mark Byron was ordered to apologize to his wife via facebook or face jail time after posting a rude status update. Mark and Elizabeth’s marriage began to get rocky after having their son in July of 2010. Elizabeth then began claiming that Mark verbally abused and physically threatened her.
According to the Cincinnati news, after being exonerated of criminal charges, a civil protective order was issued against Mark, ordering him to stay away from his wife. Frustrated with the court and his wife, Mark wrote, “…if you are an evil, vindictive woman who wants to ruin your husband’s life and take your son’s father away from him completely – all you need to do is say that you’re scared of your husband or domestic partner…” on his own facebook wall.
Even though he had blocked his wife from his facebook page and the post was not addressed to her, she found the post and reported it to the judge. She believed it violated a court order, stating that Mark was not to, “to suffer physical and/or mental abuse, harassment, annoyance, or bodily injury.”
The court gave Mark an option, either go to jail for 60 days or post apologies on his facebook wall for thirty days. According to the Cincinnati news, free-speech expert Jack Greiner said, “The idea that a court can say ‘I order you not to post something or to post something’ seems to me to be a First Amendment issue.”
“The court’s order to compel speech is as much a violation of the First Amendment as suppressing free speech,” Greiner said.
Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation said, “Forcing someone to speak as punishment for speaking” could violate Mark Byron’s free speech rights.
If you ask me, I agree with Greiner and Fakhoury. Forcing someone to apologize or face jail time isn’t giving them much of a choice. What do you think? Did the court violate Mark’s First amendment rights?
February 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
TV and Twitter tend to coincide. Whether it’s during the Superbowl, the Grammys or the newest episode of The Bachelor people are tweeting while watching. This also means it’s very likely that people are voicing their opinions via Twitter during the presidential debates.
According to TechCrunch, South Carolina tested this theory with their Republican debate by having viewers tweet the candidate’s name and #dodge or #answer in regards to how well the candidate answered his or her questions. Participants were asked to tweet during breaks and after the debate. The results were displayed in a graph showing how well the public believed the candidates answered their debate questions. The only problem? Fox didn’t show the candidates the results in real time because, “influencers and technologists might be overrepresented.”
If you’re not going to show the candidates what people are saying in real time, then what’s the point of creating a real time, online conversation about the debate? If I thought candidates were “dodging” questions, I would want to give them a chance to backpedal and fully answer the question.
So, what if our tweets were broadcast in real time to the candidates during the presidential debate? Obviously there would need to be someone monitoring the chat or chaos would ensue, but that would at least answer some of our key questions. At minimum, the candidates would know when the people watching the debate believe they are not fully answering the questions presented. Real time opinions broadcast to the candidates might even improve the transparency of this year’s presidential election. Food for thought.
Photo Credit: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/15/flock-the-vote/
February 20, 2012 § Leave a comment
There are so many tips and tools that anyone can use to build their own app. But how many apps do you know of that you downloaded then immediately deleted because, lets be honest, they sucked. And why do they suck?
Unless it’s the technology itself, it probably sucked because it wasn’t created with a plan. When creating an app, you can’t just say, “well, our competitor xyz has one that works for them, we must need one too.” Any app you create needs a strategic plan, just like anything else in advertising, public relations and marketing.
One thing you should be sure of: Do you really need an app? Check out these next few questions to see if you do.
First thing to ask yourself: Why are you building the app? If the app doesn’t solve a problem, then you’re just wasting time and money that would be better suited elsewhere. Your app should identify a problem and solve it. Take Gasbuddy for example: If you don’t know where to find cheap gas Gasbuddy solves the problem by finding the cheapest gas in your area.
Secondly, who is going to use the app? Although it is quite possible that those outside your target demographic may utilize the app, it’s important to have a general idea of the kind of person you’re gearing your app towards.
Where are people going to use the app? If the app is Gasbuddy, people will probably be using it while behind the wheel. Is it a cooking app? If so, it’ll most likely be used in the grocery store and at home in the kitchen. Knowing the “where” can help gauge how simple the app should be to use, and the amount of extras to throw in.
What is the value of the app? Figure out why someone would want to download your app in the first place. Is it for productivity? Travel? Entertainment? Figure out the value, and go from there. If the app isn’t valuable to people, then no one is going to download it, and if no one is downloading your app then you’ve just wasted a lot of time and money creating it.
If you’ve gone through these questions and still think creating an app is a good idea, ask yourself how you can make the app more meaningful. Make people care about it, and make it a part of your target audience’s everyday life. If your app isn’t better than your competitors, then why should people choose to download your app instead of a different one?
Bottom line: If you’re going to build an app, think about it first. Do you really need it? Or would that money be better spent on something else?
February 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
The power of social media strikes again! The pit-bull advocates’ community is in an uproar in response to McDonald’s newest radio spot, which states that petting a stray pit-bull is riskier than eating the company’s new Chicken McBites.
Rachele Lizarraga, a pit-bull advocate and social media coordinator for a pit-bull rescue started the “Pit Bulls against McDonald’s” facebook page. The page, which currently has 13,722 likes with over 2,750 people talking about it, generated a lot of buzz around the insensitive ad. The page features memes created by pit-bull owners, with images of their harmless pooches and slogans railing against McDonald’s and their radio ad. In addition to the facebook page, Lizarraga created an online petition to pull the ad.
According to AdAge, it only took McDonald’s two days to pull the ad and make a public apology, stating, “The ad was insensitive in its mention of pit bulls. We apologize. As soon as we learned of it, we tracked the source and had the local markets pull the ad immediately. We’ll do a better job next time. It’s never our intent to offend anyone with how we communicate news about McDonald’s.
AdAge brings up a great point—why would you associate your chicken nuggets with risk? Even if McDonalds is saying their chicken nuggets are safer then petting a stray pit-bull, isn’t associating your food with risk a poor advertising strategy? With the current general consensus that McDonald’s food is bad for us, why would the company take that perception a step further by associating their food with other “risky” behaviors? That sounds like a pretty half-baked advertising strategy if you ask me, even without the public backlash from pit-bull advocates.
February 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
For those who haven’t heard about Pinterest, it’s a bookmarking site that allows its users to bookmark links and images that they find interesting. Once you bookmark or “pin” an image, it’s then placed on a virtual bulletin board of your choice. Although the social networking site is about 2 years old, its popularity has increased dramatically in the last few months. According to Compete, between Sept 2011 and Dec 2011, Pinterest had a 429% increase in new members. And who is taking advantage of this? Businesses, of course.
As people “pin” that cute dress at Macy’s or the new necklace at Tiffany’s, those retailers are attracting more traffic to their sites. Between July and December, “same-store referral traffic from Pininterst to five specialty apparel retailers rose 389%.” Although it is definitely driving more traffic to retail sites, it still falls below referral numbers for facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Yahoo; search engines still bring the most traffic to retail sites.
Although Pininterest is driving traffic to many sites like Nordstroms, West Elm and ModCloth, that doesn’t mean the site will work well for all businesses. You never want to jump into a social media site without a strategy, and if you need help creating one please refer to my previous post, What is a Social Media Strategy, Anyway, for some step by step tips.
January 18, 2012 § 3 Comments
Everyone talks about social media plans. But do you really know what it takes to create one? A social media plan, whether it is for personal use or for your business, isn’t just one set of rules, but many different guidelines. Here are step-by-step guidelines that can help you with your plan:
1. Start listening.
It’s important to know what people are already saying about your brand. By using specific key words you can set up a dashboard with feed readers, creating an easy to understand display of what people are saying about your brand. Try Netvibes for your dashboard, it’s the platform I prefer. Also, set up Google Alerts for your brand so you know whenever anyone says something new and relevant that will show up on Google. The key is to know what communities you want to be involved in, before you throw yourself into the vast world of social media.
2. Determine your goal.
Know what you want to accomplish. Do you want to increase sales, increase brand awareness or gain more traffic to your site? Know your goal before you start, that way you’ll know what you need to be tracking when it comes to the measurement portion of your plan.
3. Know who you are and who is best suited to show that in your company.
Outspoken Media has some great thoughts on knowing who you are. Generally, it’s having the ability to tell a story about yourself or about your brand that is going to make other people want to interact with you online. On that note: DO NOT LIE! Being transparent is extremely important, because if you’re not it only takes about 4 seconds to do a Google search and find out the truth.
Knowing who you are means knowing who your customers are, too. Figure out who your target audience is. Knowing the demographics and psychographics of your audience will help you with step 4 when you choose which channels to use.
After determining who you are, make sure the person you’ve chosen to implement the social media plan reflects the image you would like to maintain online. You also need to make sure you have the time and the necessary resources, because if you stop a few months into it, you’ve wasted not only time, but money that could have been better spent on another marketing plan.
4. Decide what channels to use.
Not every social networking site is going to fit your goal. It’s important to choose the sites that will. Although it would make sense to use facebook if your goal is customer communication or brand exposure, it wouldn’t make sense to use it if your goal is SEO. Take a look at this chart from Drew’s Marketing Minute it will help you decide what sites work best for your goal.
5. Create rules.
You need rules for engaging with people online. What are you going to do when someone says you’re doing something great? And what are you going to do when someone tells you that your brand sucks? Make sure your rules leave room for flexibility but create a solid guideline for how to react in both good and bad situations.
6. Creating and Scheduling Content.
Now you’re ready to start creating content. Know how often you want to be pushing information out, making sure you don’t flood your fans and followers news feed. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to schedule all of your posts. Try Hootesuite or Tweetdeck, they’re both easy to use and free. Watch your noise to signal ratio as well. People don’t really care about what you’re eating for lunch as much as they care about the big sale over the weekend. Remember, quality over quantity.
7. Engage, be genuine and be transparent.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Be transparent and be genuine. No one wants to talk to a robot and no one wants to talk to a liar. Engage with people online. Decide what you’re going to do to encourage participation. You don’t want to be talking at people online, you want to talk with them.
8. Measure, analyze and rework your plan.
Are you accomplishing your goal? If your goal was to increase sales, have you? If your goal was to get more traffic on your site, what does Google Analytics say? Do you have more traffic then you did before you started your social media plan? If something isn’t working take time to rework and rethink. If your plan is working but you’re running out of money to fund it, analyze your overall marketing plan and consider cutting your losses; maybe you can get rid of something else and focus on social media.
Don’t expect results right away. A social media plan can take anywhere from two to six months, and sometimes longer, before you really start to see results. And if it didn’t work for you, figure out if it’s worth it. If your brand was doing better with traditional forms of marketing, then it’s probably a good idea to stick to what works for your brand.
January 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
At #7 on the list, PR Executives even come before the Corporate Executive on the stress test. This doesn’t mean that every Public Relations Executive is going to have an extremely stressful job; it just means the majority of them do. Just the same, the police officer who sits behind a desk for eight hours a day isn’t going to be as stressed out as the one who patrols the streets.
Why is the Public Relations Executive so high on the list? PR Executives are in charge of maintaining the positive image of the corporation, company, person or government entity they represent. Sometimes this is a difficult task, especially when the client is involved in any type of scandal or controversy. Being the intermediate of communication, the PR Executive often acts as the voice of the client while interacting with the media and the public. In a very competitive field, meeting deadlines and making speeches is a large part of the job.
Ironically, the Event Planner comes in at #6 on the list, which is often categorized as a type of Public Relations. Moral of the story… If you’re looking for a place to relax, the Public Relations industry is probably not for you. But if you’re looking for a career that is going to keep you on your toes and give your something different to do everyday, then you’re on the right track.