Biting the Bullet – Crisis Communication and Social Media

Obviously it is important to be cautious of what professionals post on the Internet, right? This should be common sense. But for some surprising reason not everyone has gotten the memo. Sometimes there are traditional crises, and then there are social media crises.

This week we’ve been studying the importance of crisis communication and PR. What is crisis comm. exactly? Business Dictionary defines it as “The effort taken by a company to communicate with the public and stockholders when an unexpected event occurs that could have a negative impact on the company’s reputation.” In other words, it’s an organization’s attempt to maintain excellent public relations in the midst of a PR mishap.

Crisis communication is something every brand should be skilled in, but hopes will never have to use. Unfortunately things happen, and when they do, it’s important to know how to deal with the issue and restore the damage. Luckily my class will get further insight on this issue from expert Melissa Agnes (@Melissa_Agnes) this Friday! Agnes is the founder of Agnes+Day Crisis Intelligence Firm, an internationally established organization which provides services to mid/large sized companies in the public relations field.

We discussed a few examples of social media crises today in class. Some were more severe than others, but the most outrageous had to be the inappropriate tweet by Justine Sacco. Sacco is now a former PR executive for the international media company IAC. On December 20, 2013 just before catching a plane to Cape Town, Africa Sacco sent out a tweet stating, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m White!” Needless to say this immediately caused a social media uproar. To make matters worse, Sacco had no Internet connection on her 11 hour flight to respond to the mess she was creating. All this coming from a “PR Professional?” How ironic.

Justine Sacco
(via www.PBS.org)

According to an article by CNN, the IAC released a statement in attempts to restore Sacco’s damage saying, “The offensive comment does not reflect the views and values of IAC. We take this issue very seriously, and we have parted ways with the employee in question.” By the time Sacco landed in South Africa, she had been terminated from the company.

As IAC can tell you, it is extremely necessary organizations (of all sizes) have crisis management plans in place. Unfortunate events aren’t always predictable, but sometimes it’s the response that leaves a bigger impact.

The wonder that is Google Glass

Google Glass – what is it? Shortly put, it is a new device opening doors to an entirely different world of technology. This one-of-a-kind creation combines nearly every aspect of a laptop and a Smartphone into the wearable design of eyeglasses. With just the touch of a finger or a spoken command, Glass can operate as any form of modern technology available today.

To name a few of its nearly endless capabilities, the device can act as a search engine to answer spoken questions, translate one’s voice, give GPS directions, send messages, take pictures, record video, and share content through live video call (similar to Skype or FaceTime). Glass isn’t just changing the world of technology, it will change the way we communicate as a society.

So where can you get your hands on a pair of these futuristic glasses? Well you can’t. The device is not yet available to the general public, but Google has created a competition in which they can select special users to experiment with Glass first-hand. These people are known as “Glass Explorers” and have been chosen based on their unique qualities which contribute to the experiment and development of the device. However, these people still had to pay the high price of $1,500 (which is expected to go down upon general release.)

Lucky for me, my social media professor (Dr. Karen Freberg) and the University’s Social Media Coordinator (Nick Stover) are both Glass Explorers, so I’ve been able to geGlasst my hands on the device a few times. The first time I wore Glass was at a Men’s Basketball game. I was able to take pictures and videos all from the small computer on the frame of the glasses. It was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever witnessed.

As I was researching more about Glass for a class assignment, I noticed Google has shared on their website several videos of Glass Explorers and their experiences with the device so far. The one I found most interesting was a story about Young Guru, a Los Angeles record producer and DJ. Guru has been using Glass to explore the world of music even further. As a result, the device has given him new inspiration for his creation of beats and music styles which no one has heard before. There are thousands more Glass Explorers like Guru who’s stories are worth checking out here: Google Glass – How It Feels.

Unfortunately, Glass has also seen a few negative side effects so far. Because it allows you to capture photos and videos so discreetly, many people have found Glass to be an invasion of privacy. According to a recent article by Business Insider, Google Glass has been banned in a significant amount of restaurants and bars in the San Fransisco area. After one Glass Explorer was allegedly attacked for wearing the device in a bar, policies have been set to keep it out of these establishments. Looks like a lot of people would rather not have photos taken of their night out on the town without their permission.

Despite these bans, there’s no question the sale of Glass will skyrocket once it’s accessible. The new technology is far too innovative and exciting to fail, not to mention the endless possibilities it will bring to the marketing world. I’m interested to see where this technology takes our society over the next few years, and hopefully I’ll have another chance to explore it myself!

Social Media Monitoring – Are you making an impact?

Today’s marketing world has undoubtedly embarked into the new era of social media. But how can brands be sure their social media efforts are effective? This week in class we learned about social media monitoring and how analyzing your online presence is beyond essential.

The concept of social media monitoring is to analyze and understand the impact of one’s online accounts. Organizations can create all the marketing plans they want, but unless research is done to back up these campaigns, their efforts could mean nothing. The goal of creating online content is to influence one’s audience and engage with their followers. There should always be some sort of response or feedback in order for the content to be considered valuable.

Having an influence over your audience could mean a number of things; whether it’s simply gaining views, receiving comments and tweets of interaction, or receiving likes and shares, these are all results of creating impacting content. But how can a brand track what their impact really is?

Today in class, we spoke of several social media tools that do exactly this. Both Facebook and Google provide their own means of analytics to organizations on those platforms. Twitter has several tools as well, including the ever popular Tweet Stats, where you can search your twitter handle and view a graph of your account’s statistics. Each of these tools are free, but there are paid tools out there as well which may provide more detail. Two of the most commonly used of these are Keyhole and SalesForce (formerly known as Raidan6.) SalesForce has created innovative research by gathering data from conversations among multiple platforms, so it can provide you with the most relative information to your brand.

According to a recent post by BundlePost, a survey was taken to see which monitoring tools are being used the most by marketers. The results show a whopping 53% of respondents claim to use Hootsuite (not surprising.) Hootsuite allows you to view all your social media platforms simultaneously on a single dashboard. However, I was surprised to see the results that 4.4% of respondents do not use any outside social media tools at all.

socialmediamonitoring
(via BundlePost)

As my professor Dr. Karen Freberg (@kfreberg) explained, social media monitoring is crucial for brands to understand and measure aspects including brand health, marketing optimization, revenue generation, operational efficiency, customer experience, and innovation. Each of these areas relate to the ultimate business goal of an organization, so tracking one’s online impact can either reassure the effectiveness of their efforts or show the need for a new direction in marketing.

Some organizations take their monitoring so seriously they have established social media “command centers.” Like many other Universities, especially those in Division I athletics, Oregon University has their own “Quack Cave” headquarters.

quackcave
(via @kfreberg)

My suggestion for all brands and their marketing departments is simple: USE SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING TOOLS! If your company’s budget is small, the free monitoring tools are still more effective than using none. It’s amazing what the power of monitoring your online presence can do in the long run!

Lizelle Lauron – From Louisville Ladybird to Dallas Mavs Social Media Coordinator

In what other class would I get the opportunity to Skype with my former teammate and learn about her new career with the Dallas Mavericks? This is why I love my social media class. Monday morning we had the privilege of hearing Lizelle Lauron (@letstelllizelle) speak on her new position as the Dallas Mavericks Social Media Coordinator.

lizelle

For the past two years, Lizelle and I were teammates on the Ladybirds Dance Team. On a personal level I can honestly say she is one of the most upbeat and positive people I’ve ever come across. She has a unique drive and determination for herself, so it is no surprise to me the amount of success she has achieved this past year.

Lizelle grew up as a Mavericks fan living in Dallas, Texas and transferred to the University of Louisville in 2011. In her two years here, she not only danced as a Ladybird but interned in the athletic department under Nick Stover with social media. She majored in Communications and minored in Sport Administration, and was in my seat as a Freberg student exactly one year ago. Upon moving back home after graduation, Lizelle encountered a rare opportunity to meet the Mavericks’ Social Media director, Stephen Chavera (@Stevallica). Eventually this led her to receive an internship opportunity beginning in August, and on November 1st, 2013 she was hired with the Mavericks full-time.

Within her new career, Lizelle’s responsibilities include much of what we learn about in class. She attends every practice and game, posting behind-the-scenes content through the Mavericks’ social media platforms including their Twitter, Facebook, Vine, and SnapChat accounts. One thing Lizelle spoke about which I found the most interesting was their recent strategy of hiring two “Vine Guys” to take over the Mavericks’ Vine account (@DallasMavs). She simply came across two popular vine sensations living in the Dallas area, emailed them, then hired them onto the social media team. The “Vine Guys” now attend each game posting their own behind-the-scenes content and adding their personal entertaining twists. The Mavericks have found these vines to go viral, receiving thousands upon thousands of likes and revines.

mavsvine

Lizelle inspires me not only as a friend, but as a professional role model. Her career with the Dallas Mavericks serves as proof that setting your mind to achieve your dreams is possible – no matter how old you are. I share the same interests as Lizelle, from dancing to working within the sport industry. Her work with the Mavericks motivates me even more to achieve my own dreams as a Sport Administration student. I am beyond proud of Lizelle and the success she continues to achieve. Hopefully we will reunite in Dallas as Louisville basketball reaches the Final Four next month!

Nick Stover talks Louisville Athletics and the latest in Google Glass

As a Sport Administration major, I know just how important it is to communicate and engage with fans. And what better way to do this than through social media? In today’s world, social media and sports go hand-in-hand. You simply cannot have one without the other.

As we see each year with the Super Bowl, sporting events serve as major opportunities for social media marketing (and vice versa). Fans are constantly searching for content online related to their favorite sports teams, whether it’s photos, statistics, or even real-time game updates. This creates the perfect atmosphere for marketers to reach a vast audience in an immediate and effective way.

Today, my class had the privilege of hearing from guest speaker Nick Stover (@ULFlyingCard), the Social Media Director for the University of Louisville Athletic Department. Because of my background with Sport Administration and being a member of the Ladybirds Dance Team, I have actually met Stover before. I’ve been following him on almost every social media platform for over a year now, so I’ve already gained some knowledge on what he does for the University. Nonetheless, I always love to learn about his career and the interesting aspects of his everyday duties. This has been one of my favorite guest lectures so far this semester.

stover

One of the most interesting aspects I found today was his recent inquiries with Google Glass. He explained to us the University of Louisville is one of the first college athletic departments to explore the new technology. Part of his recent responsibilities have involved coming up with creative strategies for the University to use Google Glass through athletic events. One strategy in the works has been putting Google Glass on athletes during pregames/practices so fans can get a never before seen experience from the athlete’s point of view.

Here is a video from the Google Glass experiment with basketball player Luke Hancock as he viewed the 2013 National Championship Banner reveal in the KFC YUM! Center:

This new technology will completely change the way we view sports all together! I truly can not wait to see the wonderful things it will have to offer the sports world in the future. Perhaps Louisville’s next Google Glass experiment will reveal a half-time routine from the perspective of a Ladybird? I have a few ideas in mind…

Infographics – where Science meets Art

Lately my social media class has been learning about the power of visual content. It was no surprise this week’s topic has been over the proper use of infographics! Needless to say, I’m very interested in this because it deals with visual design – something I’ve always wished I was better at.

An infographic in simple terms is information arranged and designed into a visual presentation. Before the boom of social media, infographics were probably nothing more than pie charts and lists. But thanks to technology, we are finally able to get a little more creative than that.

Using infographics can actually be pretty tricky. If executed properly, brands can use them to enhance their online presence while delivering insightful information to their audiences. But if executed the wrong way, they can become distracting eye-sores and turn consumers away. The bottom line is, your infographics are a reflection of your brand!

As always, I learned something in class this week I hadn’t known before – there are actually websites out there devoted to creating infographics! Am I the only person that never knew this? Well I’m glad I do now. One key website we’ve been discussing is Visual.ly. This site is perfect for anybody, whether you’re a professional web designer or a first-time user, and targets both brands and designers. Just submit the data you wish to design and Visual.ly will help to create the perfect infographic of your choice!

Another website similar to this is Piktochart. This website actually takes you step by step through the infographic process, providing detailed descriptions of how to design visually appealing information on the web. As I looked through the user gallery on this page, some of the infographics are so attractive I want to start designing them myself!

Here are two examples of infographics provided by Visual.ly:

colorpsych
(via Tarresamuffet)

I Like the design of this one because it is based on colors and their emotional effects. It is insightful to brand’s and their marketing strategies because, as we all know, color is a major focal point in visual content. The information is laid out in an organized fashion which is pleasing to the eye and easy to follow.

skillsinfo
(via Yanntey)

I also enjoy this infographic for similar reasons. The colors are coordinated in an appealing fashion, and the lettering is large enough to read. It also displays just the right amount of words (it’s never appealing for an infographic to be “wordy.”) However, my greatest dislike is the fact that these percentages do not add up… what kind of data is this really?

As the semester continues, I plan to develop my graphic design skills a little more. I’ve always been interested in Photoshop and design, but never really had the opportunities to learn about them – until now! Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned so far is this:

“An infographic is where science meets art to create wonder.” – Dr. Karen Freberg (@kfreberg)

A Valentines Day post everyone can enjoy

Valentines Day – we meet again…

Though half the world still refuses to accept it, today is the day we “celebrate love.” Valentines Day might just be the most controversial holiday of the year – but that doesn’t stop Hallmark and Edible Arrangements. No. While billions of people will be showering their loved ones with gifts today, billions of others will be on Twitter complaining about being single. What can you say? You win some, you lose some.

I’ve never been one to have any kind of opinion about Valentines Day. I’ve always enjoyed my annual sentimental card from my dad more than from any significant other. And for the years I’ve been single (basically every year) I’ve spent my day watching sappy movies with my other single friends. I see it as a day that gives me the excuse to eat too much chocolate, like Halloween – and who doesn’t love Halloween? But I know for a lot of people, this is not the case.

Too many times people stress over this holiday, and I really do not know why. Either everything has to be perfect for your dinner date, or you are miserable because you don’t have a date. I feel as though it’s time everyone takes a step back to be thankful for what we do have. And that is hilarious Valentine’s Day cards – past AND present!

Thank you @HuffingtonPost for this list of the top brutally honest cards by @Someecards:

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And thank you to SoBadSoGood.com for these blast-from-the-past vintage Valentine cards – that really did exist…

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At least we can all be thankful our generation has less creepy Valentine cards than our grandparent’s did… Right?