Social Media Archive

Praecere in the News

May 25th, 2011

Hope you’re getting ready for the holiday weekend! When you’re sitting on the beach sipping that fancy drink, take in the latest and greatest on PR news and trends:

• Read our interview in Modern Medicine, discussing social media strategies for plastic surgeons. Yes, even they need to think about PR!

• Praecere President Bobby Zafarnia interviewed in PR Daily re: White House PR fallout after Osama bin Laden raid.

• Wondering who’s offering the best commentary on PR and the hottest news items? Sure you are! Check out (listen to) Bobby Zafarnia‘s interview on the Patrick Wiscombe Show, where we discuss the bin Laden raid, crisis PR, social media, QR codes, and much more.

For Parent Companies, Some Kids Just Can’t Leave the House

March 24th, 2011

MySpace’s downward spiral has definitely had its share of train-wreck watchers, but few things could have been more surprising than TechCrunch’s post yesterday about just how rapidly the site’s decline is accelerating.

We’ve written before about what MySpace might have done to save itself, at least with aggressive PR steps.  But, if the site’s numbers are dropping this quickly, all that’s left is what PR playbook News Corporation must run as MySpace’s parent company.

For starters, it’s unlikely News Corp will get caught up publicly on the cost issue.  Yes, $580 million – what News Corp paid for MySpace – could have bought lots of tickets to recent Fox film studio turkeys.  But for a company whose quarterly profits recently doubled to $254 million, it certainly can absorb the loss over time.

So if the numbers aren’t the biggest sting, then maybe the stigma associated with MySpace’s awful and cheesy reputation is what hurts most… right?  Nope, wrong on that account too.  News Corp’s red-headed stepchild Fox certainly isn’t shy about promoting the lowest of low-brown content.  Just look at how Fox Cable Networks’ 75% ownership of the National Geographic Channel has polluted that otherwise globally respected brand.

And of course, c’mon News Corp – calling MySpace the “premier lifestyle and social-networking site” – really??  Ditch this language, please.

Maybe all that’s left is for News Corp simply to own up that the entire transaction was a debacle, revel in the absurdity of the whole thing and move on – such an admission might humanize a notoriously unhumanizable CEO.  And that’s the winning PR strategy.

Praecere in the News

March 22nd, 2011

Our article on “Five Types of PR Agencies to Avoid” was syndicated by PR Daily, and also added as a LinkedIn “Top Headline” on PR topics:

Our work on behalf of our client, the Society of American Travel Writers, was profiled on Travel Industry Wire:

The Stamford Advocate interview where we offer advice on Fairfield University’s crisis management of a sex scandal:

The ABA Journal interview where we offer law firms advice on social media strategies, along with a hard dose of managed expectations:

The Art – and Ugliness – of the Twitter Apology

March 17th, 2011

We’ve recently analyzed the fallout that leads to a Twitter apology, a format that’s growing in popularity.  Presumably we shouldn’t be surprised – after all, who wouldn’t love to escape the principal’s office after ‘fessing up in 140 characters?

The point is that while a 140-character-or-less apology may seem superficial, it’s quickly growing as today’s mea culpa standard.  But, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be treated with the same care and attention one would normally employ when apologizing.

For example, a grown adult wouldn’t shout or sing an apology, right?  After all, yelling “I’M SO SORRY” really comes across as shrill.  That’s why proper tone is essential to crafting a Twitter apology.

Unfortunately for WNBA player Cappie Poindexter, shouting an apology was the best she could muster after she exclaimed on Twitter that the unbelievably tragic Japan earthquake and tsunami were signs that “God was tired of the way [the Japanese] treated their own people in there [sic] own country.”  (Here’s an excellent summary of this PR disaster.)

After the resulting outcry, Poindexter offered her Twitter apology:

Unfortunately, her decision to take to Twitter in such a rambling, incoherent, grammar-nightmare rant – AND IN ALL CAPS – actually makes her come across as insincere and mouthing words because she got caught, not because she feels remorse.

Apologies, an integral part of crisis management, are all about showing true contrition.  If you can’t show real regret in 140 characters, then Twitter’s not the place to repent.

Ryan Air, Buckle up for Crisis PR

March 14th, 2011

The best PR builds narratives, a story-like approach to communications that hooks the media and keeps target audiences wanting more.  The great thing about narratives is they provide a foundation of messaging for PR clients to return to over and over, offering incredible communications utility.

Still, for every action there’s an opposite reaction, and if your company’s narrative is a bad one, good luck escaping that.  Enter Ryan Air.

Few things are more damaging to a company’s reputation than being incredibly tone-deaf and blatantly contemptuous of core customer base.  Ryan Air’s modus operandi has often been that, having publicly toyed with the idea of making travelers stand during entire flights and paying to use the bathroom.  (FYI – the technical process for weighing the fallout from such moves is called the “Bullsh#t Test” in case you’re wondering.)

One might think, “sure, companies make stupid business moves all the time, but the public eventually forgets.”  Sadly this isn’t the case, and a single tweet show why.

The chatterati were up in arms recently about how a Virgin Blue employee placed a baby in the overhead bin (talk about aggressive child management policies).  While the PR crisis might resolve at some point for Virgin, the collateral damage actually affected outside entities.  Take a look at this tweet, and tell us if it would have ever been posted had Ryan Air not failed the Bullsh#t Test so spectacularly:

This is the stuff that should keep C-suites up at night, with or without jetlag.

Inspirational Bacon

March 8th, 2011

What is the other white meat?  The National Pork Board has made sure America’s known the answer since 1987.  But now the NPB has come up with a new slogan: Pork, Be Inspired.  Along with it they are assembling a comprehensive PR package, which of course includes our favorite avenue, social media.

Their package hasn’t fully rolled out yet, but what we’re seeing so far has some promise and we’re here to give our evaluation.  Of course we’ll throw in a few pointers too.

Social media is all about being, well, social.  Thus the website’s use of the recipe page is a great idea, and since it’s linked to their Facebook and Twitter they’re off to a good start.  The pork blog, Knife and Spoon, is also a key part of their strategy linking tasty ideas and videos.  They can bolster their content with something like Pork Facts, which could offer blog posts explaining little known trivia about pork.  Or they could have blog posts with snapshots of exceptional farms.

We know the traditional PR aspect of this campaign will be strong; we’re interested to see how the NPB roll-out on the social media front will ultimately progress.

Extremely Basic Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips You Should Be Doing

March 1st, 2011

Think about when you last needed recommendations for a dentist, dry cleaner, florist, mechanic, plumber… ah, you get the point.  If you’re all 2.0 and everything, we’ll guess you went to a social media platform (probably Facebook) and posted that inquiry for your X number of friends to see and, hopefully, respond.  (Note – you may have checked Yelp, though you’re probably troubled by the allegations of that site shaking down businesses, thus tainting its value as a referral service.)

We know in real life that the best recommendations are from family and friends.  But what about today’s social networks, with less hand shaking but definitely lots of online chatter?  The social media goldmine is waiting for you to harvest the conversation and turn tweets, status updates, and other online praise into dollars.

So businesses of all stripes, listen up!  How about doing some research to see who your biggest fans are, what they’ve been saying, and monitoring online sentiment about your company?  The best social media marketing consultants can certainly get you started, and also plan the larger outreach strategy.  It’s not enough to know what people are saying, you have to act on that information – and ideally in a creative way that puts your business rivals on edge.

We hope this provides a very simple snapshot of the potential that social media marketing has.  Basic, but powerful nonetheless.

A Little Social Media Love for Greek Yogurt

February 18th, 2011

What is love? If you take a look Chobani’s new social media campaign you might be convinced love is yogurt – Greek yogurt, in particular.

Chobani shows how social media marketing can tie together a PR package by kicking off its growing “Love Stories” campaign.  They’re using their website, Facebook, and Twitter to harness all the positive energy from their product and put it on display for potential customers.  KellyOlexa tweets, “Totally down with Chobani now! Mmmmm.”

Chobani is also doing smart digital recycling.  They’ve taken some of the better digital marketing content and made television ads as well.  When you watch the commercials you can tell it’s not an actor right off the bat (no cheesy lab coat – check) and that these people have some real love for this product.  They also put out a standard PR release just to cover all their bases.

But like we mentioned before, the real star here is the social media element, which is the string tying all these elements in one neat little package.   And in the process Chobani is turning a niche market (Greek yogurt) into the market.  Chobani has seen a “225.9 percent” increase from the same 52 week period a year before.  A budding business/client romance…  A competitor like Yoplait is going to have to flex its social media marketing muscles a bit more, if it hopes to compete.

The Social Bite at the Apple

February 15th, 2011

Ever heard of a vicious circle?  It’s not the kind of routine that appeals to a business, particularly one seeking publicity.  We get smiles, instead, by thinking about “social cycles” — that is, how we can use social media business to reinforce traditional media publicity.

One of the hardest parts of public relations is delivering the theme or narrative that entices the media.  The nice thing about interactive marketing is that when it’s done well, the digital strategy translates into a traditional media strategy.  At least that’s how Spot Dessert in New York (ahem) baked their smart social media business strategy.

The bakery recently used social media to boost its sales — and along with that new business activity comes attention from larger media sources.  In this case, the Wall Street Journal profiled the bakery, and we’ll bet the reason why is that the social media business narrative is quick, direct, easy to understand, and applies to basic business fundamentals.

The lesson: Hooray for you if your business succeeds in getting customer traction through social media… but don’t stop there!  Pitch the business growth to traditional media and see how far you can ride the social media wave.