Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

If you Delete that Tweet…Apology vs. Denial

In case studies, Social media on July 22, 2013 at 9:17 pm

UPDATE:  Since this blog post was published, CNET has reported that the Chipotle hack below was a hoax set up by Chipotle to get people talking. While this blog post is evidence that it worked, It’s just another of the hundreds of reasons why Moe’s is better than Chipotle. However, I still stand by the point I make that apologizing and explaining is better than ignoring hacks, mishaps, or even self-induced mishaps.

Crisis Communications is its own discipline in social media and holds sway over managing organizational crises from a quick outreach, direct to customer, point of view. But we all know social can be the source of its own crisis as well.

The Mis-Tweets

Two events that happened in the past two days from large social accounts (@USOlympic 287,854 followers) & (@ChipotleTweets 228,863 followers). Neither of their tweets could be deemed crisis worthy, but they do raise an issue about deleting tweets.

The chatter about both events is proof enough that NOTHING really ever gets deleted.

USATodaySports grabbed this screen shot of the tweet, claiming that the olympic team loves Nickelback.

USATodaySports grabbed this screen shot of the tweet, claiming that the olympic team “loves Nickleback”

The mistake was deleted afterwards, and I didn’t catch the circumstances under which it was posted. However, an alternate course of action could have been to apologize and explain what happened. Whatever occurred, I’m of the opinion that clarity would have eased this issue, now shroud in mystery. Instead of guessing what happened, we would know from the source. Bonus points if it was cleared up in the tone/personality of the account. 

Sorry versus Hidden

The other adventure in social happened to Chipotle yesterday.

A string of strange tweets came from the @ChipotleTweets account yesterday, followed by some semblance of an explanation.

A string of strange tweets came from the @ChipotleTweets account yesterday, followed by some semblance of an explanation.

Mashable’s coverage states that it hasn’t become clear if the account was hacked or not and their apology tweet doesn’t shed a whole lot of light on the situation either. In my opinion though, it was better to address the situation and not leave it as the elephant in the room.

Situations such as the above happen and will continue to happen to all sorts of social accounts from your personal mishap to a large scale hack. It’s all in how you respond to them. In my opinion a clear explanation or even poking fun at what occurred (if it fits into your organization’s personality and goals of course) is the best approach.

Is it okay to delete (sometimes)?

Time to confess: I’ve deleted personal tweets in the past. Yesterday actually. If I post something too quickly or realize I somehow pinged the wrong twitter handle I will delete, correct a MINOR error such as quick typo or one letter off handle and resend. I think changes like this are okay even at an organizational level. It isn’t changing the meaning of the tweet and if it is caught instantly, the mistake may not reach too far before being corrected. The goal after all is still optimizable, valuable content, right?

What does everyone else think, is it okay to delete? Is it best to delete? Do the rules change at  a personal or organizational level?

Here’s a slideshow some students in my #NewhouseSM4 class put together last spring on Crisis Communications:



Custom Content– How NHL teams responded to schedule announcement from a content creation point of view

In case studies, NHL, Social media on July 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm

News, Sports and even life today all come with breaking news and immediate releases. It’s so common, in fact, that anyone who manages a social account or works for a media company has more than likely internalized immediacy as a standard. I remember attending the 2012 SPJ Regional Conference at Michigan State University, where the M-Live group discussed their structural shift of designing print front pages from digital content instead of building websites in the reverse direction. I think by now, especially for sports organizations, this change is no longer seen as radical but as a well-accepted starting point for content creation.

Today happens to be a huge news day in the NHL. The announcement of the realignment groups and the new schedule. The NHL now has two 7-team western divisions: Pacific & Central, and two 8-team eastern ones: Metropolitan & Atlantic. It’s also a big year for special events with more outdoor games than ever at Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Solider field and more.

Anyone interested in the NHL sphere will soon be hearing this information from hundreds of locations such as local news stations, favorite reporters, sports publications and the teams themselves. If you are in the team’s shoes you now must be immediate, clear and relevant in your introduction of this information.

Here’s a quick look at how different NHL teams instantly shared the content: 

  1. The Team Tone: The LA Kings are known for the tone of voice and different approach of their tweets and social content. They kept consistent with this posting capturing their snarky attitude and edgy consistency:

    Short, sweet and to the tone: The LA Kings stay consistent with their voice releasing the schedule with "It's a beautiful thing," a statement view would disagree with.

    Short, sweet and to the tone: The LA Kings stay consistent with their voice releasing the schedule with “It’s a beautiful thing,” a statement few would disagree with.

2. The Conversation Starter: The Pittsburgh Penguins released the schedule with a question, placing an emphasis and focus on the fans and driving interaction and engagement:

The Pittsburgh Penguins Facebook post asked for user interaction.

The Pittsburgh Penguins Facebook post asked for user interaction.

3. The Graphic Visualization: The Buffalo Sabres page released a calendar with October’s opponents. This gives a quick reference of what’s going on for the team in that month without even clicking the link. Creating graphics on the fly and as a quick response to content and news releases is an important tool to be able to utilize whether you have a morning to think about large trajectory content or whether you have five minutes.

Quick response graphics can aid in visually communicating information.

Quick response graphics can aid in visually communicating information.

4. The Straight Scoop: This post taken from the New Jersey Devils Instagram page shows the actual schedule and details, it conveys the first couple of games and the home opener without needing to spell it out in text form.

Quick shares of information can effectively communicate news in a breaking-news socialsphere.

Quick shares of information can effectively communicate news in a breaking-news socialsphere.

All of the above screen shots were taken from the respective teams Facebook Pages or Official Instagram Feeds. While these are just quick examples of the many ways the same information can be communicated socially, it also makes me think about how important it is to have a strategy in place. If social is just one channel that teams or organizations can chose to utilize in sharing their communications and message, then it should be consistent with the tone and goal of the larger company. For example, if the focus is on players, history, fans, facts or a combination therof and how that focus translates to day-to-day content creation.

The Powers of promoting #Local

In Community Management, Social media, Sports Media on July 17, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Passing through the Syracuse airport about a month ago, a friend of mine began discussing how she liked airports that showed local flavor. Syracuse recently installed local coffee chain, Cafe Kubal  which gives you a Syracuse, NY flavor when coming and going. Event venues, festivals, malls etc. seem to be utilizing local more and more. The Consol Energy Center in my hometown offers the Pittsburgh infamous Primanti Brothers sandwiches and local Nakama Sushi to hockey fans and concert attendees. I think that this trend of having local flavor not only improves the experience, but can play a huge role in social media as well. From strategic partnerships to pulling in more volumes to your event choosing and promoting local is the right way to go.

Local Community Management

The Walden Galleria in Buffalo has a localized LUSH page for their specific store allowing them to do promotions and manage a community of frequent customers.

The Walden Galleria in Buffalo has a localized LUSH page for their specific store allowing them to do promotions and manage a community of frequent customers.

Many global companies nurture local twitter accounts, hashtags, and Facebook pages providing targeted content and scaleable one on one communications with frequenters of a particular store. LUSH Cosmetics is a favorite company of mine with an innovative social presence. I’ve watched them bounce back from social crises gracefully on their international main account based out of Vancouver,B.C. and also am an avid watcher of a number of local community and store pages. I think managing pages like these have many perks not the least of which being a chance to better get to know the customers at one specific store and in turn laser focus your advertising content or even store merchandise.

The Power of Promoting local on main social channels:

Because isn’t it all about fan experience or customer experience anyways?

  1. Unique flavor provides competitive advantages: Whether the name of your game is to pull in an entirely new fan base or continuously please a faithful one, promoting and playing up a local business or food provider can be a game changer. Tweet about that local product or craft that will be on display at your event.
  2. Leave an impression with visitors and passersby: A sunny summer Sunday morning in Pittsburgh can hold many visitors who made the trip to watch their team take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. I saw many New York Mets fans wondering around Station Square yesterday as the teams completed their weekend series. And this is by no means uncommon for any town with pro sports. Incorporating sharability such as badge for your local in-house food vendor, or even an instagrammable photo opp or hashtag can allow visitors to have a memorable social interaction with your event AND that local experience. This can translate to WOM excitement or even just building a loyalty that they will want to return to your city or your event.
  3. Strategic Partnerships, mutually beneficial sponsorships: While it’s clear that corporate partnerships and new business relationships are crucial to the success of any large scale venue, revealing and utilizing these partnerships in the social space can bring new success. Sponsoring or promoting a special of a vendor on a main team’s account is an example of mutually beneficial content creation.

(Brief) Case Study: Mike Wazowski’s Spotify Playlist

In case studies, HSUchat, Social media on July 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Okay, I haven’t seen the movie yet. But Disney & Pixar’s Monsters U is like the NCAA champion of social media. I was just listening to Spotfiy today, a platform that I greatly enjoy but have also been thinking about the uses for recently, when I came across an advertisement for the Monsters U page. In edition to making all of the Randy Newman songs from the movie available in a Spotify playlist, they’ve created inspired playlists for the beloved characters.

Disney & Pixar has created character inspired Spotfiy Playlists.

Disney & Pixar has created character inspired Spotfiy Playlists.

This idea is not only unbelievably cute, but also allows fans to engage in a totally new way. Memorable characters make sequels successful and feeling like you are listening to Sulley’s favorite tunes is enough to make his character even more real and tangible.

If you remember when the news about Monsters U first really took off, they released one of the most unique movie websites I’ve ever seen. Complete with a message from the dean and a MU student store with gear for students with extra appendages, they went the extra mile and made a website that was so fun. I don’t think I’ve ever clicked on every tab and completely browsed a page they way I did that one.

The lesson here, I think, is that its worth the extra time to create something totally new or something thats 100% unique to your brand or entertainment piece. Knowing that their audience would identify, Pixar made some greatly commedable pieces of content that won’t soon be forgotten.

All the leading up hype was worth it when on July 13, opening weekend of the film brought in $82 million making it the second highest in Pixar history after Toy Story 3 according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Thinking of all this in context with today’s #HSUchat on social media and entertainment, It seems like Pixar followed this to a T:

Potential KPIs for Sports Orgs

In Sports Media on July 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

While social can serve as an important reinforcer for sports teams, allowing fans to crave that constant in-the-know feeling while feeling satisfied and connected to their favorite sports stars, it also has the potential to be measured as conversions to sales. Social can be used to push sales not only to tickets to games and merchandise but also sales in an arena or stadium, maximizing the profitability of a game day.

Social scheming in the moment 

Business Insider published this graph last week depicting which social sites are generating revenue:

The graph shows, not unexpectedly, that the largest amount of referrals are coming from Facebook and Twitter. However, e-mail’s share in all this seems to be going down. Just a couple of years ago, and judging by the number of daily emails I get from businesses for many even still, email remained a monstrous push for sales conversation. Twenty-four hour only sales or e-mail coupons worked to drive in revenue and get customers to the page. But I feel as though many people have become just a numb to this as flyers in the mail or telemarketing. While all of the aforementioned forms of marketing still have their value and can absolutely become a push for sales, I think social has a unique opportunity in today’s world, especially in sports and live events.

Applying it to in-game content creation and analytics

Considering this opportunity, there are a number of potential key performance indicators that I think teams could create and measure to see how influential their social channels are and to use them in improving profitability. As always, successful KPIs will absolutely change for each organization based on their needs and specialities, but here are a few scenarios I’ve been thinking it might be cool to watch play out.

  1. Foursquare concession coupons: Whether with a check-in special or a Tweet, prepare a special for say, a free hot dog with a drink purchase. The customer will need to show the coupon or tweet at POS in order to gain the free item. The tracking can then be done in the register system (if its sophisticated to know how many free hot dogs were given away) or by creating some sort of social redemption pull like providing a hashtag to show your free hot dog off. A hashtag like #freehotdogadventures or something more situationally specific can show you enthusiasm for such a campaign and will also help you identify which types of fans are engaging with your content so that you can tailor your next special to their interests and gain even more social traction. When it’s all said and done, your KPI here will be how many free hot dogs redeemed. This can turn into some sort of sponsored content and also give you a gauge of how many people, if any, are checking in and wanting a next step. This can help you decide if its something worth pushing in the future.
  2. Ticket Sales: An obvious KPI is a conversation from a social link to tickets sold. I think the best way to measure this would be to choose one outlet and find a way to distinctly control the sales funnel through basic marketing principles such as attention, interest, desire, action. This could look like this for a team: attention– start with content, a instagram video, a simple twitter image, something with analytical tracking attached to it. interest– Maybe it’s a promo for a big game coming up or big rivalry that hasn’t been sold out yet, use statistics or even an emotional pull in efforts to convince a potential customer that it’s THIS specific game they need to come to. Desire may or may not be created in the steps above, but likely, desire will come inherently from fandom. Lastly action, which can be the most difficult part, but needs to be the most measured part. Devise a system unique to your situation that tests social networks and can have solid data on which attempts are being converted into sales and which should stick to different types of content.

Additional Looks

A classmate of mine at Newhouse created a slideshare presentation for a class getting into her ideas about sports and the sales funnel including looks at relationship building.

Why you’ll wish you were an Oscar Mayer Wiener.

In case studies on July 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Oscar Mayer captured the attention of the New York Times and other media with a campaign that’s bringing Wienermobiles back to the road and has all the ingredients for sizzling summer social success.

Here’s what Oscar Mayer is doing right from a media strategy POV:

1. Bringing Social to life: Seems like a no brainer that a successful strategic campaign would supersede just the digital and burst into the real world, but this aspect is rarely utilized or rarely utilized correctly. Similar to the Blue Skittles campaign which followed a (fictional) truck from the Czech Republic bringing blue skittles to market, live interactive maps and social connections to real events are utilized in the Wienermobile road rally. Teams of real mobiles will race around the country giving fans a chance to submit ideas and earn points by tweeting @wienermobile. This tangible connection to reality (fans could actually see a mobile and instagram it) provides more frequent reenforcements of the message and encourages action.

2. Gamification: If you want fans to be involved, give them a cause to get behind or a reason to frequently check back. Strategic insertion of gamification into the campaign gives fans incentive to not just experience the campaign once and never come back, but provides real reasons for frequent social interactions and eyes on the scoreboard. In order to participate fans must join a team:

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 2.27.16 PMStickers backing teams will be sent to the first 10,000 signers to each group and the winning team will get a T-shirt. Shipping off more tangibles not only encourages fans to push for their team by earning points, but also disseminates branded material that social participators will be proud to show off.

3. Croudsourced Challenges: The section of the website allows users to contribute a large range of ideas for the wienermobiles on the physical journey. From requesting appearances at iconic festivals to suggesting hilarious pranks, this is yet another way that allows the Oscar Mayer fanbase to be part of the campaign and feel a personal connection with the brand. Its also always a smart idea to allows your fanbase to dictate direction. Without a knowledge of who you are communicating to, even the most strategic social media campaign can go unseen. Despite research and other metrics to gauge this ahead of time, it is wise to also open the floor to consumers. McDonalds Canada was able to change perceptions about their food by simply allowing users to ask questions and vowing to answer them completely and honestly.

4. Hashtagged Team Names: May seem like a no-brainer, but not doing this could have led to a number of problems. Each of the participating wienermobiles has a name that is a hashtag, which keeps things simple and separated while also driving traffic into easily monitor-able columns in, say, a HootSuite account.

5. Consistency with conventional Oscar Mayer Branding: Beginning in the late 1800s in Chicago, Oscar Mayer has been known through out my life time for iconic mobiles and commercials such as “I wish I was an Oscar Mayer Wiener”  and “My bologna has a first name.” Not that they are a company I’ve ever known much about, but growing up in a typical American town, its hard to miss their ad messaging and catchy tunes. I think this campaign stays consistent with the image they’ve always seemed to project of families and simple summer fun.

Noticing the campaign in the NYT, I was impressed with a number of the approaches it took. While it’s all just beginning I’ll be interested in watching it unfold and seeing how execution of the strategic approach can lead to fan engagement. It’s also a social campaign that may have easy key performance indicators, meaning I’d love to see how they measure the success of their input.

Does anyone else have any ideas on this campaign? I feel like some of the above things that they are doing right might have universally positive impacts on social campaigns. Has anyone tried any of the above and agree/disagree?

Case Study: Sports & Push Notifications

In Cannes, Mobile, Sports Media on July 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I can remember a time when I would ask friends to text me updates during Penguins Hockey games when I couldn’t watch them. That reliance on someone, something was in place to assure that you knew the score, even when you weren’t at the game or in front of a TV. A lot has changed since then. Twitter’s inception has forced both news organizations and sports entities to constantly communicate in the now. No longer needing a text or the next day’s paper to inform you, you can know the second that anything happens. Play-by-Play and commentary come from the teams themselves but also journalists and anyone, allowing the pool of information to grow. However, even as technology advances all of these required the user, or interested person to go and search for the information.

Enter Push Notifications. Many of us have them for our favorite news organizations or sports teams. Fitting in with the developing Web 3.0 trend of the news and media coming to you, an alert or nice looking text box will appear on your screen and sometimes send you into utter distraction reading whatever article or latest score update has come your way.

Self admittedly, I’m a junkie for push notifications and have allowed them to become an integral and absolutely daily/regular part of my life. I was really excited, then, when I came across Urban Airship at the MMA both at Cannes Lions. Specializing in mobile marketing management, Urban Airship offers management of push notifications from creation to delivery and also houses analytics to study how push notifications are viewed or used.

Their website features several success stories in sports, one of which being the Vancouver Canucks.

The case study says that for the first agency who attempted to institute a push notification program, a scalability problem arose. With over 100,000 downloads and multiple notifications per game and night, size was massive. After utilizing a platform such as the one Urban Airship offers the results were as follows:

“The reaction was astounding – not only did the team exceed their expected downloads by 600%, but over the course of the season the Canucks sent out over 90 million targeted push notifications to fans and grew the opted-in fanbase by 56%.”

This is just one example, but you will be hard pressed to find a professional team in the NHL, MLB, NFL, or European Soccer that doesn’t consider push notifications as a given.  Not all AHL or minor league teams have created such offerings yet, but the notifications have become common place.

The next consideration is how to use them. When downloading the general NHL app or even an ESPN or TSN app, favorite teams can be selected and notifications set up through that platform as well. In this way, you could receive score alert information in the form of push notifications from 4 apps at once. It all comes down to preference, however. You have the option to choose to receive notifications after each period, or in real time, or even just once after the game. This allows for preference for a number of teams, giving the fans the ability to get limited news about some teams and heavily detailed updates about others.

In the land of social TV, sports is one broadcast in which live and timely will never disappear. Post airings of sport games or time shifted information will never be successful when up to the minute remains the priority in this sphere. Push notifications allows for fans to have all of the information at their finger tips and not search for it, it comes to them.

I think this type of information sharing will only increase as digitization continues and the shift towards a web 3.0 goes on. Perhaps will see customizable push notifications being offered such as indepth line up or injury reports, or even fun facts before a game. In this way, it can almost become a form of content creation rather than just statistical notification.