Posts Tagged ‘Social Convergence and the Enterprise’

Using Social Media in a Fast Paced World Requires That You Slowdown and Plan

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

by Tom Kowalski*

I recently attended the Social Convergence and The Enterprise conference held at The Graduate Center of CUNY.  I listened to more than a half dozen speakers discuss the importance of social media in their organizations.  There was one underlying message that everyone seemed to get across:  companies who try and jump on the bandwagon of social media without a concrete plan will ultimately BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas: Using Social Media in a Fast paced World Requires That You Slow Down and Plan, Tom Kowalskiend up failing with this initiative. 

There’s been a 230 percent increase in social media since 2007.  The growth is staggering. Yet, the question remains – how are companies engaging in social media successfully?  Brian Renny, CMO, Harvard Business School says we need to understand the sociology of engaging social media to connect with our audience; otherwise we’ll fall short of success.  Just because a company tweets or has a Facebook fan page, doesn’t mean the organization is successful.  It’s all how the organization is using the social media tools available to them and how they’re leveraging them to connect with the community. 

Conversations, good and bad, are happening everywhere.  As we all know, a successful public relations campaign is always well thought out and planned.  So why should this be any different with the way we handle social media?  Matt Peters, creative director, Pandemic Labs, says building a solid social media platform is essential to the organization’s success of future initiatives. Although social media has certainly changed the way we do our jobs, the core concept is still the same.  We still must identify how we communicate with our audience.

Some of the most successful PR campaigns and crisis communication resolutions in recent times were well-thought out plans that connected with the audience via social media.  As my colleague Denise Giacin points out in a recent post on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog, Jet Blue is a great example of a company using social media to manage PR communications and engagement.  When the Valentine’s Day brand disaster occurred in 2007, the company quickly turned to YouTube to connect with their customers.  Founder and former CEO, David Neeleman, went on the Internet first apologizing to the employees of Jet Blue and then to their customers for going against everything the company stands for.  He ensured something like this will never happen again.  The quick response and admittance of fault allowed the public to forgive the airline and move on. 

Jenny Dervin, director of corporate communications stated that the company built the brand on goodwill through daily engagement and cashed in on that when the disaster occurred.  Dervin said it’s important that you’re proactive with social media on daily basis and people will be more forgiving, should a crisis occur.  Another important point Dervin made is that social media allowed the company to directly speak with their audience, rather than using traditional media channels as a middle man.  People perceive the company as being more genuine and sincere when the message is direct.

So before you send that tweet, or create a fan page, have a concrete method that parallels the goals of your business and/or your campaign or crisis and do your research. Once you have the appropriate channels in place remain sincere and proactive when connect with constituents.  Otherwise, if you jump in too soon without thinking, the chances of your success with social media or handling crisis communication will diminish.


*Bio: As a Senior Account Manager at BurrellesLuce, Tom Kowalski works closely with New York-based clients and PR agencies. Tom brings extensive knowledge of the PR industry with more than 7 years of agency experience. He hopes to stimulate readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas by sharing useful information related to the communications industry and business in general, as well as different perspectives on customer service. LinkedIn: Tom Kowalski Twitter: @BurrellesLuce Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Social Media: The New Solitaire?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

by Denise Giacin*

Flickr Image: The Progressive

Flickr Image: The Progressive

Lately I’ve been struggling with the social media paradox – is it good or is it bad? I use social media because it encourages me to be, well, social. You can keep in touch with your aunt halfway across the country, you can check out photos of your recently married ex-boyfriend (ah-hem), you can stay on top of current news stories, and you can even rant or rave about practically anything and cyberspace is forced to “listen.” Networking is also another plus for social media. One of my friends recently told me how he actually used Facebook to help out a friend who was laid off. The news came up in his Facebook feed, he contacted his friend for a resume and emailed it to a PR firm he knew was hiring. His friend was rewarded with an interview and an opportunity that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

All of this sounds good, so what’s the bad? Well, there is a lot of question and doubt regarding social media in the professional world. For one, some companies are hesitant to learn about these tools and apply them to their strategies. Instead, they are blocked, strictly forbidden, and grounds to send you packing in the event that you’re caught sneaking a peek at your Twitter feed.   

I recently attended a BDI conference called “Social Convergence and The Enterprise” and my mind is overflowing with all these thoughts on social media. Paul Hernacki, chief technology officer from Definition 6, boggled my mind with his perspective on social media in the workplace. He advised that we “stop blocking things internally.” Whoa! Wait, there’s more. Hernacki pointed out that while public relations, marketing, and communications departments should guide your company as your “official voice” this alone won’t be as successful as getting your organization involved as a whole.

This, my friends, is genius. Case and point: I tried to explain to my dad, who isn’t familiar with social media, what “liking” something is on Facebook. You should have seen the blank stare on his face.  My point is, how can you expect your employees to understand the power and impact of social media if they are not allowed to be actively involved?

At the same conference I also had the pleasure of listening to Jenny Dervin, director of corporate communications for JetBlue Airways. When speaking of social media, her words “you are being watched” hovered over the conference room. After all, the conference was being broadcast live over the web and we were all watching a live Twitter feed (#BDI) of our comments.  Dervin went on to further explain JetBlue’s use of YouTube and their blog “Blue Tales” as part of their strategy for taking a crisis situation head on. How much more authentic can you get than having the founder and former CEO of JetBlue Airways, David Neeleman, deliver an apology over YouTube? Kudos to JetBlue for picking up on the fact that consumers are involved in social media and for using this medium as a way to interact.

When your employees know what is being said on social media sites or how this medium is being used to promote a product, service, or idea it can only help your company. For example, if I worked at a major automobile manufacturer I might find it interesting to know that Ford is promoting the 2011 Explorer by unveiling it first on Facebook. In fact, the Ford Explorer fan page reached their goal of 30,000 “likes” so Ford will now give away a brand new Explorer! Clearly, Ford understands Facebook and the users who frequently use it.

I’m not suggesting that your employees should do nothing but surf the web all day, but there should be a balance. Encouraging your employees to understand social media and to use it wisely is an important tactic for any business plan. There are a lot of studies discussing whether or not social media decreases productivity at work. In my opinion, before social media it was Solitaire, before Solitaire it was “the water cooler.” There are always going to be distractions. If an employee is consistently not doing their job they shouldn’t be an employee of yours.  Not doing your work is a choice you make, regardless of how easily accessible any distractions are.

Social media gets people talking. If you want to be a part of the chatter, don’t block social media, incorporate it.  I’m sure you have many thoughts on this controversial topic and we’d love to hear them. Share your thoughts with the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. How does your company feel about using social media internally? What ways have you utilized this social media phenomenon? How do you monitor social media?


*Bio: Prior to joining the BurrellesLuce Client Service team in 2008, Denise worked in the marketing industry for three years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Connecticut, where she gained experience interning in PR and working for student organizations. By engaging readers on the Fresh Ideas blog Denise hopes to further her understanding of client needs. In her spare time, she is passionate about Team in Training (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s charity sports training program) and baking cupcakes. Her claim to fame: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. LinkedIn: dgiacin Twitter: @denise10283 Facebook: BurrellesLuce