Powerful Support

As we are all well aware, social media is a powerful tool. Similar to the power of wealth, if used correctly, it can do great things for the society, nation, and the world. When social media is so often used for the bad- greed, selfishness, and personal business advancement- there are those seldom, yet greatly powerful moments when it is used for the good. Today, is one of those moments.

One year ago today, our nation underwent one of the most heartbreaking attacks on our soil- the Boston Marathon bombing. Last year, on April 15, 2013, our nation watched the marathon fall under attack of two bombs near the marathon finish line, killing three individuals and injuring over 260 more. The surviving victims of this terrifying tragedy have spent the past year in recovery, emotionally, psychologically, and physically. They have faced their own personal challenges and struggles since the bombing and endured life changing aftermath effects. Something on their mind recently? You bet, the one year anniversary of the attack. Today. Testimonies of surviving victims have explained their attitudes and perceptions of this date. Some felt fear and anxiety leading up to this event. Some were ready to embrace it, take control of it, and stand up for those who were affected. Regardless of how each individual survival victim felt, they all needed the same thing- the support, encouragement, and love from their fellow Bostonians and nation as a whole.

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They did not want to face this difficult day alone, and through social media, Boston and our nation made sure they didn’t.

Social media is a powerful and effective tool in transferring support and love throughout our communities, nations, and world. If used tastefully and authentically, companies can capture this tool to support those in need, which strengthens the brand. Boston professional sports teams came together as one force this morning, when they tweeted the exact same tweet with the same picture and hashtag, purely in loving support of the victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon camaraderie. The tweets were intended to unify the city and commemorate the anniversary in an appropriate way. The camaraderie of the five professional teams is said to be heartwarming and powerful- providing the love, encouragement, and support that Boston needed on a day like today. My appreciation goes out to these sports brands for taking advantage of the opportunity that social media provides them in order to bring good to society on a day where good is much needed.

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#BostonStrong

 

 

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Power to Bounce Back

“There is no such thing as bad publicity.”

People could sit around a table for hours debating whether this is true or not. It depends on who you are, what industry you’re in, what consumer you are trying to represent well for. So we aren’t going to investigate the validity to that statement, but what I do want to explore is the tactic of bouncing back from bad publicity. I specifically want to dive into discovering how crucial a strong social media strategy can be when facing times of distrust and dislike from consumers and reputation rebuilding in your industry.

As we have talked about before, one of the most powerful aspects of social media is it’s power of reach and diffusion. When your company or brand faces a reputation crisis through bad publicity, reaching as many consumers to correct the wrong is a strong tool to have in your toolbox. It is one thing to get the reach, but once you reach them, you have to know what to say. That’s when another attribute of social media comes in handy for disaster clean ups. Social media gives a company a more upfront and real-time access to their consumers, which in turn provides efficient engagement. This engagement is what can start bring your company back into you’re target market’s good graces. You have a unique chance, through social media, to correct the wrong done to your brand’s name by interacting with the consumers that could be spreading the negativity in the first place. This not only puts your loyal consumers back on the map but also gives you an unpaid army to go spread the truth. 
One company that has been successfully taking advantage of this social media ability is SeaWorld. When the documentary “Blackfish” came out, bashing SeaWorld for the mistreatment of it’s animals and the poor decisions of it’s management, they faced a huge amount of negative publicity. They endured backlash for over 12 long months from animal rights activists, boycotts from tourists, cancelled appearances from endorsers and sponsors, and the spreading of rumors from what once used to be their consumer base. As bad as “Blackfish” made SeaWorld look, SeaWorld had their own side to the story, and they intended to share it. And one way they intended to do so was through social media. They took advantage of the engagement ability social media offers and reached out to individual consumers that spoke of concerns regarding the documentary and directed them to where they could find correct answers.

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Something else they did wonderfully was while playing clean up crew for their bad publicity, they also made sure they kept their original social media strategy strong by interacting with the consumers positively as well, reposting their happy comments or pictures and thanking them for coming to their park as well as wishing them safe travels home. Along with a boat load of other PR stunts and outside work, social media helped SeaWorld take control of their situation and resulted in the park having little “Blackfish Effect”, with three months of all time high attendance from consumers in 2013. The CEO made a statement regarding how there is no major impact left to be seen from the negative effects Blackfish had on SeaWorld Parks.

Had they not set forth a strategic plan to come back from these attacks on their brand, SeaWorld would be in a much different place today. A lot goes in to keeping your brand in a good light, but when crisis strikes that is out of your control, I’d argue almost nothing offers the ability of impact to change the consumer’s minds and perceptions like social media. So whether your brand is currently suffering or you would be able to sleep better at night knowing you had a plan ready should something try to negatively effect your reputation, a strong social media strategy is always a smart weapon to combat the outside world.

 

Using Your Power for Good

We all know social media gives the corporate world big advantages. Between advertising, brand awareness, engaging loyal advocates, and more, companies are learning to take advantage of social media more and more every day. But as much as they gain from social media, shouldn’t they give back? Normally my posts put emphasis on the ability for companies to harness social media for marketing purposes, but today I wanted to make a point that as much as they take, they should give. With the large following and therefore reach that some of the more social-media-successful companies have, they also have huge potential to do a lot of good.

We see companies giving back to the world everyday, through volunteer days, fundraising events, or even sponsoring charities or events. So, just like in the real world, companies can also give back through social media. It’s called corporate social responsibility. Several companies do this nicely, including Wal-Mart. This Facebook post of there’s is a prime example of them taking charge of their social media responsibility:

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With the amount of reach that Wal-Mart has on social media, the message of can food month was spread farther with their help. And it didn’t take that much effort on their part but positively affected the community around them as well as their brand image. Which brings me to my next point.

All though this post is geared to the “selfless giving” of companies, taking part in social media charity (sort of speak), also benefits them. Companies taking a more active role in their social responsibility on social media are generally viewed more favorably by consumers. As stated by a philanthropy organization, Truist, “Corporations that want to protect their brand understand that social media is an integral part of public perception. When a corporation exercises social responsibility in the form of fundraising or setting up employee giving programs, using social media to promote these actions helps to create a positive branding environment and it is a great way to engage with your audience on a deeper level that goes beyond your products or services.” And its true, many consumers make purchasing decisions based on how they feel about a company, especially when their specific product is in a very competitive market. And if the charitable doings of that company are visible on social media, likeliness is increased that they will support that company over others.

So, its a win-win situation. And at the end of the day, corporations need to take a step back from the greed of the economy and understand that their researched and analyzed and targeted “consumer” is human. Just like them. And it is their humanly duty to support each other and give back to those that need help. So, I challenge you, Corporations, to step up; and not only take advantage of the power of social media for your own benefit, but for the benefit of the community around you, as well.

Humor is the New Black

Humor is the new black.

Marketers have been drilled with the criticism of providing good content on their social media platforms so to stay clear of being that annoying pest and entice the consumer to engage in the brand name. Being a consumer on this side of the fence, I can safely tell you that companies have gone to great lengths to engage their audiences, trying out everything from inspirational clips, sex related avenues, engaging quizzes and more. But one of the simplest and most effective ways to capture your audience’s attention and keep it is through humor.

Being funny is one of the best traits a brand can have on social media. Funny, sticks. Funny, spreads.  Funny grabs the attention of the consumer on the social media platform far more successfully than a random contented post that can easily be scrolled over. And if funny is done successfully by the brand, funny has a way of being passed from one to another in the blink of an eye. Our society consumes humor. And if done often enough, the society will come to expect humor from your brand. Which is good- because to expect it means they are watching out for it. And to watch out for it means they are “liking,” and “following” your pages, creating more traffic on your sites.

Take Old Spice, for instance. They have a fan base on their social media platforms who actually enjoy following them to keep tabs on their ridiculous posts. It comes as an enjoyment for them. Which is huge, because they increase their likeliness to be brand ambassadors and brand loyalty out in the market. By simply bringing humor to your audience, you are shaping a free branding army who is ready to go out and market your brand for you without even knowing they are doing so.

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Another reason humor is so important on social media is because humor makes an impact on the brain. Consumers are scientifically more likely to remember something funny then just a regular, boring, old post. So whether your humorous post has anything to do with your products or not, your brand will stay in their working memory longer, making it more prominent in their minds when the need for your products does come up. Just think how well you remember the best super bowl ads from a couple Sundays ago? Guarantee those “best” ads you remember are all based around humor.

All in all, if you are going to post something on social media as a brand marketer, make it worthwhile. Make it worthwhile for the consumer to read and worthwhile for you as a marketer to further spread your brand without even looking like you are doing so. And remember, no one likes a fake or awkward brand on social media.  So what better way do we as a society know to break the ice than through humor? Go get em’ you comedians, you!

The Power of Speed

I have a point to this post, I promise. Bear with me for a little bit and you’ll understand where I’m going.

A girl was scrolling down her newsfeed on Facebook and she came across a post someone had put on her sister’s wall. The post was from a family friend sending her condolences about the death of her father. Shocked and confused, the girl called her mom to see if this post was real. It was. Social media informed this poor girl about her father’s death faster than the girls own mother could contact her.

So what’s my point with this? My point is social media is now faster than day-to-day communication, on an extreme level. It doesn’t wait for anyone. And if you are a company using social media for marketing purposes, you need to be on your game. If you want to be the company people are talking about, you need to be first. And to be first, you need to be fast. Really fast. If you fall behind, you will never catch up. You will be buried by the noise of other brands and have extreme difficulty in getting your company’s voice heard.

Social media waits for no one, in both a positive and negative way. Blogger Jay Baer posts

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I agree with him completely. If you are first, you have more power to influence the consumer than the 3 or 4 companies’ that follow you up. The speed of social media can be a powerful tool in positioning yourself in the forefront of the consumer’s mind.

But like I said, there are negatives to the speed of social media, as well. Like in the story of that poor girl and her father, social media can be too fast for our own good. From a marketing standpoint, an example is clicking that post button too fast. We all know the importance of first impressions. Marketing can often be the first impression of a company to a consumer. And if you mess up a first impression with the consumer, you may have just bombed any chance you had on acquiring that consumer. So you need to get it right. And we all know that speed and getting things right don’t always go hand in hand. In their race to keep up with the speed of social media, many companies have kicked themselves in the butt. For example, in his race to be puny and comical on the present state of our country possibly sending our military into Syria, Kenneth Cole tweeted

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He didn’t stop a second to think of the negative perception his followers would have on him after so rudely and coldly using our nation’s men in uniform as a marketing vantage point. He realized his mistake of heartlessness soon after, when he received an incoming of negative remarks and reprimands from consumers about his distastefulness. But it was too late. He had already pressed the post button and the damage was done. He brought on a negative and tarnishing light on his brand. He was too quick to the draw and the speed of social media punished him greatly for it.

Getting the balance right between saying things in a fast enough manner and not being too fast where you put your foot in your mouth is a meticulous and important task. If done correctly, you can harness the power of a speedy social media environment but if you aren’t careful, you could also suffer the damages that the speed of social media can so easily bring.

The clock is ticking. Ready, set, post.