Reblog: Brands on Social Can’t Ignore Social Engagement

January 25, 2012 at 9:00 AM (Customer Service) (, , , , )

This post originally appeared on my agency’s blog, RaceTalk.

A recent compilation of research on eMarketer shared that – surprise! – people don’t like being ignored by brands on social media. I mean, people don’t like being ignored in general, but when it comes to business-to-consumer offenses online, it can have some noteworthy repercussions: research firm Conversocial found that more than a quarter of survey respondents would no longer do business with a brand if their questions went unanswered on Facebook or Twitter. And let’s not forget the ripple effect: only 11.7 percent of survey participants said they wouldn’t care if they saw other user questions ignored online. Almost half said they would be far less likely to buy anything from that brand in the future, and the remainder said they would think twice (but recognized that there are other factors to consider).

eMarketer research

That’s a big angry chunk of the pie. I know that I’ve had both positive and negative experiences with brands on social media that continue to influence my willingness to give them my money. And yes, some of those negative experiences have been when I had a problem and no one on the brand side ever acknowledged it (*cough*cough*Southwest Airlines*cough*cough*). While I’m a huge advocate for brands being on social media, they need to know that “getting a Twitter” just isn’t going to cut it. Once you go social, you need to be social; there’s no private office to hide from customers. While it’s not possible to respond to all feedback, questions and complaints merit timely acknowledgements – even if it’s a request to redirect the conversation to another, more manageable channel. Otherwise, it becomes worse than being on-hold for 20 minutes, because at least there, it’s initially a private frustration – until the angry customer blogs about it later, anyway, but that’s another story.

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Reblog: Google Sneaks Social into Search

January 24, 2012 at 9:00 AM (Happenings) (, , , )

This post originally appeared on my agency’s blog, RaceTalk.

How’s that for alliteration? This week, Google began incorporating Google+ content into search results naming it Search Plus Your World – poetic, I know. Said Amit Singhal, a Google fellow who oversees search: “What you search today is largely written by people you don’t know; we call that the faceless Web. Search Plus Your World transforms search and centers it around you.’’

I’m not sure I like this idea. When I want to find my friends and their content, I’m going to go to the online source, be it their blog, YouTube page, Google+ profile (rare as that may be), or Facebook page. When I go to Google, I want the faceless Web. I want Google to provide me with searches that are as unbiased as possible, with most relevant/popular links showing up first – not some exchange I had with my second cousin on Google+. A real-life example: I like to periodically Google my name to see where I stand in the World Wide Web. Which blog posts come up, tweets, event attendee lists, competitive ballroom dance results and convicted doppelgangers are going to make their way to Page One (and yes, all of those things have been or are on Page One)? Today, I saw a whole bunch of my own posts via Google+. Not exactly useful to me.

Google did say that Google users will be able to toggle between integrated posts, just personal posts and just standard, but unless Google suddenly gets access to Facebook content and can cache the entire social web in search results (which will likely never happen, because why would Facebook and Google cooperate, and if they did, how much of  a privacy fit would that cause?), I still don’t see the point.

What do you think of Google social integrating with Google search? Good? Bad? Huh?

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Reblog: Paula Deen and Her [Deep] Fried PR Strategy

January 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM (Happenings) (, , , )

This post originally appeared on my agency’s blog, RaceTalk.

For all two of you who don’t already know, Paula Deen has Type 2 diabetes. Sounds like a stretch, I know. All those deep-fried Twinkies could not have possibly had anything to do with it. What’s drawing even more attention though is that not only has Ms. Deen been tucked away in the diabetes closet for three years (more on that below), but she has also timed her announcement with a deal to promote a diabetes medication. In the words of Ad Age contributor Eric Webber, “the irony has not been lost on the public,” and while this may result in some bad press for Paula, it’s also bad press for the industry. Webber does a great job explaining why this is bit of a booboo for all of us PR kids (so read the article), I wanted to highlight a few particularly good points.

Bad timing Deen’s claim that her limited knowledge of the disease kept her from going public says one of at least three things: 1.) Her doctors lied and told her she has something WAY more exotic than diabetes, 2.) she doesn’t know how to use Google (in which case, I have a great site for her friends to check out), or 3.) she had plans to time the announcement so that she’d be a prime candidate for a lucrative spokesperson deal.

Two steps back The do-gooders of the branding industry are fighting a seemingly endless battle against the stigma that people in PR, marketing and advertising are all soulless spin doctors who are only after dollar signs. Admittedly, there are folks who are only in it for the bottom line, but it certainly isn’t standard. As Webber put it, it gives the industry a black eye.

Celebrity endorsements “But, of course, I’m being compensated for my time,” we hear from Deen when asked about how she’s benefiting financially from the partnership. “That’s the way our world works.” Again, with the making us all look like money mongrels, especially when it comes to celebrity partnerships. There’s a common assumption that celebrity spokespeople are sell-outs, but Webber reminds us that not all of them are about the contracts. Some, like Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve, may not have agreed with Deen’s perspective.

Paula Deen, diabetes, Type 2, fatty foods

Not sure if Deen and her team have been sitting on their hands in the three years that they’ve had to plan for these announcements, or if they thought that the Boy Scout motto of always being prepared didn’t apply to them. I’m guessing at least one person involved in this strategy (or lack thereof?) is scratching his head saying “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” What do you think was going on during the planning stages?

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Winners from Beer Summit’s Winter Jubilee

January 22, 2012 at 7:13 PM (Events, Food, Happenings) (, , , , , , )

Yesterday was a magical day filled with lots and lots of beer, thanks to Beer Summit: Winter Jubilee. I’ve been to a couple summits in previous years and of course find new, interesting things at every one. The Jubilee, however, seemed to be a special treat: I have never had so many delicious beers at once. Great job, brewers! That said, a couple brews stood out that I’d like to share so that you can taste and enjoy, as well.

dark winter aleBrewery Ommegang Adoration If there was a “Best of Jubilee Award,” Adoration deserved it, hands down. I love Belgian dark strong ales, and – I can’t help myself here – I adored Adoration. It was the perfect beer to warm you up on a cold winter’s day, with the perfect blend of coriander, cumin, mace, cardamom and grains of paradise. Ales like Adoration make me tolerate all the crappiness that can accompany a New England winter.

Long Trail Double Bag I actually wouldn’t have gone to Long Trail’s booth had my friend not insisted we go. It’s not that I don’t like Long Trail – I’d just never had it and had other breweries I wanted to visit. But, not being one to turn down something new, I gave it a shot. Double Bag is another strong ale with a notable alcohol content (7.2 percent abv) that you don’t notice when you’re drinking it. Good for drinking at home without having any plans to go outside.

beer, Sam AdamsSamuel Adams Whitewater IPA The kids at Sam Adams hold a special place in my heart because the first beers I really started drinking were the Boston Lager and the Octoberfest. If you’re friends with me on Untappd, you’ll see that I still drink more Sam than anything else. It’s a brand loyalty thing. Anyhoo, back to Whitewater IPA. I’m actually not crazy about IPAs and usually lean toward maltier beers, but there were apricot notes that softened this beer enough for me to drink and even enjoy. Well done, Jim and co.

Staropramen Premium Lager Holy yummy, Batman. Owned by Spaten, who also makes my beloved Franziskaner and of course, Spaten Premium Lager, this is simply a very solid lager. Nicely balanced, it goes down easy and may be the lightest beer on this list (but don’t you dare confuse this with a light beer). In short, it’s just a bottle of satisfaction. I might even suggest it to my dad, the world’s pickiest beer drinker.

My only regret about Jubilee is that I didn’t make it to all the booths I wanted. I missed out on Notch, Backlash, Peak Organic and some other great breweries, but on the bright side I tried some new stuff, too. And really, isn’t that the best part of a beer summit?

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January Networking Events: Where Will You Be?

January 2, 2012 at 4:10 PM (Events) (, , , , , )

We all (should) know by now how much I love talking to strangers about public relations and the like, and what better way to do that than via industry networking events? Below is a rudimentary list of goings-on this month that I’d consider attending. For some reason I don’t hear about most events until a few days beforehand, so if you know of any others, send them my way and I’ll see about adding them here.

Beantown Social, January 16 – Boston
http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2536095530/esearch?srnk=8
A free mix-and-mingle for social media folks at Sonsie, in Boston’s Back Bay. 21+. UPDATE: This event is booked, but there’s a waiting list. Who knows? If I don’t go maybe you’ll get my ticket.

Bruins Pre-game Meet-up, January 19 – Boston
http://bit.ly/xwQw1F
The Social Media Club of Boston and LPP are partnering up at the Greatest Bar for a little pre-game networking in advance of the Bruins/Devils game. Go B’s!

Boston Media Makers at NIGHT, January 22 – Boston
http://bostonmediamakersatnight2012.eventbrite.com/
Back at Sonsie for some schmoozing, pizza, and an optional regifting-tastic Yankee Swap extravaganza.

BostInno Meet Up, January 24 – Boston
https://www.eventbrite.com/register?orderid=64380364403&ebtv=C&eid=2557144488&client_token=noqueue
Like beer, networking and BostInno? Of course you do. Swing by, rub some elbows and have a good time.

Boston’s Media Best, January 24 – Boston
http://www.pubclub.org/upcoming-programs
Details TBA from the Publicity Club of New England.

3rd Annual #MegaTweetup, January 24 – Cambridge
http://megatweetup3.eventbrite.com/
A tweet-up celebrating tweet-ups. This thing is probably going to be monstrous, taking place at the Microsoft NERD Center.

How to Use Rich Media to Create Winning Campaigns, January 24 – Cambridge
http://prsaboston.org/meetinginfo.php?id=10&ts=1324659383
Head over to the Microsoft NERD Center to hear about how important it is to liven up content with media to tell a compelling story, courtesy of PRSA.

Where will you be this month?

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