Lives Clashing Online: The Importance of a Social Media Policy

Employees' Social Media Activities under the magnifying glassLiveJournal. Friendster. Myspace. Facebook. Early on, social media sites began as online outlets allowing people to express themselves and connect with their friends. It was intriguing, it was experimental, and above all, it was classified personal. Over the years it’s become evident just how public our social media activities are. Recently, a New York Times reporter was reminded of how personal and professional lives are clashing online, by being assigned a social media babysitter.”

The Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the nation’s most prominent newspaper repeatedly posted messages on her public Facebook profile that her employer found to be problematic. As a result, she will now work closely with an editor on her social media posts.

According her New York Times editor, Margaret Sullivan, “The idea is to capitalize on the promise of social media’s engagement with readers while not exposing The Times to a reporter’s unfiltered and unedited thoughts.”

Watching what we say is not a new topic, but certainly one that bears repeating, as more companies are tracking what their employees post online.

As the employee, it’s important to know your company’s social media policy. If they don’t have a policy – ask for one.  Also remember that anything you say online can be tied back to your company, whether you like it or not. Platform Magazine, which included commentary from DVL in its latest issue, advises that before posting on social media to ask yourself, “Would you want your boss to read this?

As the employer, make sure you have a social media policy in place. From creating these for various clients, DVL knows policies can vary from industry to industry and company to company, so it’s not advised to “borrow” one you find online. There are many factors to consider, such as how an individual engages in social media for a company, how individuals engage in social media on company and personal time, as well as how the National Labor Relations Act and employees’ rights affects a social media policy.

Social networking has evolved from its beginnings and continues to grow, but one thing often holds true online and off – think about what you’re going to say before you say it.

Recognizing the Impact of Social Media

via Twitter.com

More than 327,000 tweets per minute.  More than 4.2 million likes on Facebook.  More than 800,000 retweets.

It beat the previous photo share record holders of  Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding photo and a glass of beer tribute to a fallen soldier.

http://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/266031293945503744/photo/1

(Special note: While the photo was posted election night, it was actually taken three months ago on the campaign trail.)

The impact of social media in today’s world is significant as the “four more years” photo was posted to Facebook and Twitter before a mass email was sent and even before the crowd was addressed in Chicago.

Regardless of your political affiliation, you have to recognize the impact of social media and the juggernaut it continues be.  How do you capture lightening in a bottle like this?  It happens at the intersection of timing and emotion.  It’s organic.  Social media is how the world is communicating.

Next time you have something big to share – how will you do it?

MLB Continues Building Social Media Buzz During World Series

Baseball bat hitting ball in slow motion: MLB's social media efforts: Twitter, Trends, CampaignsGame 1 of the World Series generated the second-most social media comments in postseason history, according to MLB.com. Mentions of Pablo Sandoval (“The Panda”) accounted for 20 percent of the 813,000 Facebook and Twitter comments, thanks to the athlete’s historic three-homer night. No count yet on how many mentions the infamous Barry Manilow reference from FOX announcer Tim McCarver received.

Social chatter during sporting events is expected to increase, as the number of sports fans who use social media to follow leagues, teams and players has almost doubled since 2011.

This postseason has been very successful for the MLB’s social media efforts, having generated twice as many social media comments by Oct. 10 as it did during the entire 2011 division series. This could be in part to the MLB’s expanded online presence and digital campaigns. Nearly every team now has its own Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr account, as well as check-in services.

In an effort to make its fans feel more engaged (and in turn get more buzz about baseball), the MLB has run online campaigns such as #MLBmembersonly, #FlyWitness and Pictober (#postseason). One of the most successful social programs is the MLB Fan Cave – a physical venue that hosts athletes and other celebrities whose interviews, antics and musical performances are shared online.

If the Giants’ and Tigers’ social networks and online buzz were analyzed to predict an outcome of the World Series, the winner would be the San Francisco Giants. According to Sysomos, the Detroit Tigers’ social mentions are at about only 2.3 million, compared to the Giants’ 2.75 million, which account for 54 percent of the conversation. The Bay Bombers also have a larger social following (as of Oct. 26, 2012, 9 a.m.):

Detroit Tigers
• Facebook: 1,118,742 likes
• Twitter: 183,242 followers

San Francisco Giants
• Facebook: 1,586,853 likes
• Twitter: 340,691 followers

No matter who comes away with the Commissioner’s Trophy, it’s apparent the MLB is winning with many of its fans when it comes to social media. The platforms are changing the way not only the MLB connects with fans, but players, too. Athletes talk directly with their fans, respond to their questions, encourage engagement and even retweet followers’ messages – which is as good as an autograph for many people nowadays.

If you want to find out if your favorite athlete is on Twitter, check out Tweeting-Athletes.com.

Blogger Outreach: Engaging With Online Brand Influencers and Advocates

PRadICAL: Blog megaphone

When Peter Merholz coined the term “blog,” (breaking up Jorn Barger’s word “weblog into “we blog”), it’s doubtful he could’ve imagined how the online platform would grow into what it is today. The number of blogs and people using blogs continues to grow at a staggering pace (about 181 million blogs globally, according NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company).

As the digital age rises, so does the consumption of – and trust in – digital-born entities, such as Huffington Post, TripAdvisor, Amazon, Yelp and self-made influential bloggers. Blogs come in all shapes and sizes. People like The Pioneer Woman, Perez Hilton and Seth Godin blog about entirely different topics, but have each amassed followers in the multi-millions.

More and more, people are going to blogs to find recommendations. As we know, stats can vary, but a recent Nielsen study revealed, “Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust messages on this platform, an increase of 15 percent in four years.” These reviews don’t just come from traditional review websites, but from influential blogs as well (many of them run by moms). NM Incite found that about 33 percent of bloggers are moms; 52 percent are parents with kids under 18.

In March, AdWeek.com reported on a BlogHer study that found, of those who indicated they use social media:

“81 percent of women representing the general U.S. population said they trusted blogs and Pinterest…”
– and –
“61 percent said they’d acted on a blog recommendation and 47 percent said they’d acted on one from Pinterest.”

If you think about it, this isn’t too different than what people have been doing for generations: Seeking out those they trust for suggestions on products and services. Only now, it’s also done virtually.

Companies can leverage the relationships these bloggers have with their followers to help spread brand awareness. Mashable stresses the significance that creating blogger relationships can have for a brand in its post,Blogger Outreach: 5 Tips for Connecting With Top Influencers:

“A single relationship with the right blogger could lead to thousands of instant relationships with targeted readers who fully trust that particular source; not to mention the back links.”

Not only can companies reach powerful influencers, but advocates who are already passionate for the brand as well that can support it online and offline. Social Business News explains:

“[Brand advocates] will share their opinion, recommendations and even defend the brand from detractors. They may not have thousands of followers or be quoted in the media as an industry thought leader, but they have influence within their social network.”

As public relations practitioners, we still reach out to traditional outlets to earn media coverage. However, thanks to the blogosphere, we now have more opportunities to connectdirectly with influencers and brand advocates.

So how do you best initiate those connections? A great way is to meet the bloggers face-to-face. DVL recently attended Reviewer’s Retreat, a conference for product and resource review bloggers, to learn more about the genre and engage with some influential parents who blog. Stay tuned to our next post where we’ll share some of our top takeaways from the event.

We Want To Play! Filmmaker Helps Caine’s Arcade Become a Reality

One of the great benefits of social media is its ease of spreading awareness. But in order for the word to spread, someone has to see an opportunity and tell a story.

Caine is a 9-year-old boy who built an arcade made from cardboard boxes at his dad’s auto parts shop. His father’s shop was visited by many customers.  Sadly, his ingenious idea went without recognition because they didn’t see the opportunity. But it took one man, a filmmaker, who was simply looking for a used auto part to notice a story in Caine’s Arcade.

The filmmaker, Caine’s only customer, purchased a fun pass (500 turns for $2) and was amazed by the kid’s creativity and enthusiasm during their interaction. So much so, he decided to plan a flash mob to get customers for Caine. His father, who didn’t believe Caine’s story would mean anything to anyone, also allowed the customer to shoot a short film about Caine.

The filmmaker created a Facebook event page asking people to show up and play at the arcade. News spread quickly. The local NBC affiliate made a visit to the Caine’s Arcade; people from around the world were leaving comments and sharing the event. It even landed on the front page of reddit. On the day of the event, Caine was surprised by a mob of people shouting “We want to play!”

The launch of the short film and Caine’s Arcade Scholarship Fund also went viral. According to Vimeo statistics, the film received 3.3 million plays, 11,200 likes and 637 comments. Caine’s Arcade Scholarship Fund asked page visitors to donate $1 or more to help Caine go to, and prepare for college. The cause has raised more than $200,000!

Everyone can relate to a story, because everyone has a story. Caine’s Arcade went viral because someone stopped and realized that there was an opportunity. It takes people like us, in the public relations and advertising world, to find good stories in the most unlikely places. Caine’s story connected with viewers, and as a result, many people took action. Be aware of your surroundings the next time you’re out and about.

There may be a story that you can tell.

 

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…Reasons for Facebook’s Instagram Purchase Become Clear

In the wake of Facebook’s $1 billion Instagram buyout and recent IPO, Zuckerberg & Co. have just thrown us into even more of a tizzy.

Head to the Apple App Store this afternoon and install the newest Facebook offering—Facebook Camera, a standalone photo-sharing app that allows you to take, edit and browse photos on a smartphone.

Wait, isn’t that Instagram? Yes, but wait.

First, the Instagram purchase isn’t final.

Second, Facebook claims that Instagram will remain its own entity.

Lastly, Instagram has only 40 million users compared to Facebook’s 900 million.

Maybe Facebook has once again flexed its muscles, breadth and buying power to eliminate competition.

Follow the links below for more information regarding Facebook’s new app and clarity on the Instagram purchase.

New York Times: http://nyti.ms/LtgIgx

L.A. Times: http://lat.ms/LJbAv8

All Things Digital: http://dthin.gs/Kufiph

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Wears Hoodie to IPO Meeting: What’s *Your* Style Statement?

As Mark Zuckerberg turns 28 and gears up for Facebook’s initial public offering, he is also making headlines for another reason – his hoodie.

The Facebook co-creator and chief executive caused quite an uproar last week when he donned a hooded sweatshirt to meet with potential investors on Wall Street. News and opinions about the now infamous hoodie spread like wildfire, and it even has its own Twitter handle. Some say it was a lack of respect, a mark of immaturity, an act of rebellion. Others say it was sign of strength for the Facebook brand, a steadfast statement of individuality, a testimony to youthful self-confidence.

Zuckerberg hasn’t made a public statement about his fashion choice, and I am sure he won’t, but you have to believe that the billionaire knew exactly what he was doing when he got dressed that morning.

Branding matters, and that rings true for both companies and individuals. The way you present yourself can have a profound impact on the message you are trying to communicate. Make sure your personal appearance matches the image you want to project regardless of if it’s one of rebellion or one of respect.

After all, there is a lot of truth to the statement “image is everything.”