Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Public Relations on the Web: a Case in Point

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

The Web in Action: National Pizza Chain Reacts

By: Tiffany Engleman

In my previous article, Power of the Web, we saw there are many different ways that the World Wide Web can become useful for public relations professionals across the board. In the case of Domino’s Pizza and the infamous YouTube video from Conover, North Carolina, we can see just how powerful the Web can be in dispelling false information.

In 2009, Domino’s faced a major setback to it’s brand reputation when two employees decided to create a “prank” YouTube video, while at work, showing them making sandwiches completely violating all health standards. The video attracted 500,000 viewers in just 24 hours. Within 48 hours, the video had reached over a million views and the mainstream media had began to

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pick up the story. With such a blow to the Domino’s brand reputation, their public relations team had to create an impeccable strategy to set the record straight and the Web played a major role in their comeback.

Domino’s used the following tactics on the Web to inform their consumers about what was happening with the company and what they were doing to fix the problem. The first thing Domino’s decided to do was create a Twitter account solely to communicate with their customers about the issue. They then placed a “customer care” link about the incident on their corporate webpage to effectively respond to consumer concerns.

Another public relations tactic used was communicating via email to all employees and franchises to keep them informed about what was happening. Conducting interviews and distributing news releases via electronic news services, blogs, and social media sites were also used extensively to reach their consumers. Finally, using the company’s Facebook page, Domino’s was able to attract and gather “friends” and keep them informed about what they were doing to resolve this issue.

As you can see, the Web was the perfect forum for dismissing the false information that the YouTube video conveyed to the public. It is also simple to notice how advantageous the Web can be for public relations professionals when trying to communicate with mass audiences as quickly as possible. Domino’s was able to get back on its feet and once

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again establish the trust that they held prior with their customers through proper utilization of the Web.

Source: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.

Public Relations and the Power of the Web

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Using the World Wide Web in Public Relations

By Tiffany Engleman

Some might say the growth of the World Wide Web can be attributed to browsers such as Internet Explorer and Google. Both browsers have made information rapidly accessible to billions of people across the globe. Not only do people have a vast array of information to discover on the web, the web is also extremely attractive to public relations professionals because of the ease of distributing messages to a wide variety of audiences. Public relations professionals can easily exploit the power of the web to their advantage, especially when communicating with target audiences. There are several appealing features  the web possesses to public relations personnel.

  1. Interactivity: One of the best features of the web is the interactivity that it provides for viewers. Viewers have the ability to question products and services, download useful information, and provide feedback to organizations.
  2. Updates: Information can be updated swiftly, without the hassle of reprinting materials such as brochures. This feature could come in handy, especially in a crisis situation.
  3. Space: Space for information is infinite on the web. An organization can post as much material as necessary to communicate effectively with an audience.
  4. 24/7: Anyone can access the materials posted by public relations professionals virtually anytime they need, which is an incredible advantage of this resource.

Although these are just four of the advantages that the Web offers for everyone, especially people working in the field of public relations. The growth of the World Wide Web offers astounding resources for public relations professionals. The Web makes communicating with target audiences an extremely easy task and the PR industry can easily benefit from this resource to extend their organizations reach to a variety of people on a much broader scale.

Source: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.


Beer Future: Coming to a Bar Near You

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Technologically advanced beer walls allow customers to be their own bartender

By Andrea Donaldson

Has anyone else experienced the exhausting battle of trying to get a drink in a crowded bar? Initially, the fight is with the crowd. You must deal with the jerks who will push, shoulder, and argue their way to the closest bar opening. And once you’ve finally secured the coveted empty bar location, round two begins. Getting the attention of the bartender. Of course we all have our tricks, whether it be holding out cash to show that we’re ready or desperately trying to force eye-contact. But, aren’t we all just tired of the hassle?!

Fortunately, the newest trend in beer dispensing has arrived. They call them beer walls. These state-of-the-art devices feature up to eight taps that patrons themselves use to pour their own beer. The dispensers have tablet screens that feature information on rotating taps, the ability to hold five full kegs, and computers that keep records of everything. Aside from the customer’s ability to save on tips, here are five reasons why these beer walls will prove to be a major success.

1. Record Keeping: Owners are provided with access to an online database that keeps up-to-date records of all beer wall transactions. Owners can use this information to track consumption habits and create promotions that are specifically tailored to their patrons.

2. Information: Ever wondered more about a beer on tap than the bartender could tell you? The beer wall features tablet screens that provide customers with extensive information on beer choices. The wall also prints the customer a receipt detailing all of the beers they tried. Customers can easily remember which beers they liked and continue to build a loyalty to particular brands.

3. Online features: In a world where everything is going viral, why shouldn’t your beer habits? The beer wall features a “buy a round” option online. This feature allows for patrons to purchase beer online for their friends at the bar. Another online feature alerts patrons when an exclusive brew has been added to the beer wall. Customers can select the “reserve my pint” feature and guarantee a pint of beer before the keg blows out.

4. Advertising: The beer wall opens up an entire new world for advertising beer. Companies will be able to utilize the interactive tablet screens to push new products. They will also be provided with demographic information about their customers. The wall sets up an account by checking a customer’s identification card. Breweries will be able to access information on exactly who is buying their product. The beer wall could potentially offer interactive surveys and other features that could be very beneficial to marketers.

5. No waiting: The beer wall features the ability to allow multiple people to pour beer at the same time. Also, if it is typical for customers to experience lengthy waits at your restaurant, a beer wall just might be the perfect distraction.

Although excitement and curiosity were my first responses to the new device, I received mixed concerns from customers at a local pub in Louisville, Ky. Some people questioned if this type of device would damage the service industry. Would customers tip less, because they are used to doing the work themselves at other bars? Others mentioned how uncomfortable they would be with a bars ability to access their personal information. They also showed concern over the price shock of finally receiving the bill at the end of the night and realizing each taste really added up.

It will be interesting to see how cities around the nation react to these new devices. I know I will be excited to play with the first one I come across.

Work Cited: Innovative Tap Solutions, (2013). Retrieved from

Non Profits and Social Media

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Does your non profit have a strategic social media plan and know how to measure it?

By Joseph John

Congratulations! Your organization is keeping current. You are doing everything necessary in order to keep up with social media trends — all the while promoting your non profit organization. So, what’s your media?

OH. You were one of the first non profits to create a website and blog. That’s fantastic. Do you recall when you last updated your website or freshened up the blog with some new information? Or, let’s look at some other social media that you may be utilizing:

  • Facebook? Check.
  • Twitter? Yep.
  • YouTube? Check.
  • LinkedIn? Uh huh.
  • Pinterest? Maybe.

And possibly other social media platforms of the day — social media dujour. Check!

Ah, yes. You’ve got it all. You’re just beaming and your monthly non profit board meetings are full of “high fives”. “Wow. We are ALL OVER the social media spectrum.”

OK. Like I said, “Congratulations.” Now, step back. Do you know WHY you’re on all (or some) of those sites? Is it because “Well, everyone else is doing it,” or to use an old phrase “We need to be keeping up with the Joneses.” And now the most

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important question: What’s your organization’s strategic plan for using social media? Huh? A strategic plan for social media?

Yes, a strategic plan. What committee was charged with writing the plan and determining what sites are best for YOUR organization?

Are you using social media sites for “friending” and building new followers in the community? Are you using the sites for fundraising? Are you promoting your brand on those sites? Are you using those sites to keep people informed of trends and events in your organization? Or, sadly, are you using the sites merely as a presence, while your site remains very static and hasn’t been updated in a long, long time.

Do you know how many “likes” you have received, or “followers?” Here’s the most important question, before we discuss “metrics” which will be covered in another article: WHO is keeping your social media sites up-to-date, keeping the information fresh, following up on people that are “touching,” “tweeting,” “following,” “liking,” and — the list goes on.

Two firms, Ventureneer and Caliber, joined forces several years ago to develop a survey of non profits’ social media usage. Their final document titled, “Nonprofits and Social Media: It Ain’t Optional,” related the results of the survey.

Let me just share a few of the “ten highly

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successful media habits for nonprofits” that comprised the introduction to their survey findings:*

1. Excel at social media by dedicating the time to it. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it: to do social media well, non profits have to allocate at least 25 staff hours per week.

2. Use social media for more purposes. The more time a non profit puts into social media, the more it gets out of social media. …those who are power users are using it to: boost a non profit’s visibility, drive traffic to websites, and build community.

3. Start slowly, build a foundation, and then add more media

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(and time) to the mix. The longer non profits use social media, the more kinds of media they use.

Here’s the bottom line for non profits engaged in (or wanting to use) social media: Develop a strategic plan so that you’ll know why you’re using social media, how you’re using social media, and how to keep the messages and the site fresh. Then, and only then, will you be able to use metrics to gauge your success and your organization’s visibility in the social media arena.



top social media sites for craft breweries

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

By Andrea Donaldson

Social media websites, like Facebook and Twitter, have been invaluable in promoting brand awareness in recent years. But, as social media continues to expand, it is important for craft breweries to stay current with new social media outlets. Craft breweries may have limited money to spend on advertising, making social media one of the most influential tools they can use to build awareness for their products. Below is a list of the five new social media websites that craft breweries can use to integrate for a stronger web presence. 1.) Pinterest: It only took two years for Pinterest to become one of the fifty most popular websites in the United States. The unique website allows for craft breweries to establish their own business account, create a unique profile, refine brand image through the creation of boards, and highlight special offers. The pin-features encourage users to follow products and share them with the entire Pinterest community. However, Pinterest is best known for exploring product uses. For example, breweries can develop a DIY (do-it-yourself) craft beer tasting board to encourage users to explore the different ways craft beer can enhance a party. 2.) Linkedin: Every second a new person creates a Linkedin login. The website boasts a community of over sixty-five million business professionals, but businesses have just begun to incorporate this website into their marketing strategies. Linkedin allows people to get to know the individuals that make their craft breweries unique. Linkedin is also big on word-of-mouth advertising. The website encourages their members to provide testimonial recommendations, which can be very beneficial to the breweries. 3.) StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon is a great way to encourage traffic to an already established company website. It is unique because it specifically targets those interested in beer. First, breweries must start by registering their website with StumbleUpon. They then may create a profile and interact with other users. Once they have established a profile, all that is left is stumbling their website along with others in the same interest category. StumbleUpon will then lead hundreds of users to the breweries’ websites. 4.) Instagram: Instagram is a social media application that is focused around editing photographs using a variety of filters. The company incorporates the use of hashtags to group photographs by category. A brewery can develop a profile to send any number of photographs to their followers. Followers can then interact through comments and their own picture responses. Pictures can be a useful tool in showcasing new products as well as developing caption contests to encourage an active following. 5.) Yelp: makes the everyday consumer a food and drink critic. The social website allows for customers to rank and review all aspects of a brewery. It is likely that most craft breweries are already established and reviewed on Yelp.

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However, the breweries themselves are not a part of the Yelp conversation. Customers who are dissatisfied with a product will appreciate a conversation with someone from the brewery. Opening the door for community input can only establish a brand image that showcases how the company cares about the opinions of its patrons. If proof that these websites can increase awareness is necessary, breweries can monitor traffic to their website from social media outlets by using Google Analytics. There has never been so many free advertising options for craft breweries to establish brand awareness!

Facebook for Public Relations

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Public Relations: Three Key Elements to Use for Facebook

By Tiffany Engleman

Facebook can be a tricky forum, especially when trying to find a niche for public relations within this social media platform. When creating a public relations profile on Facebook, there are three key elements that should always be included: audience analysis, media relations, and connecting with your target audience.

Audience analysis

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is essential during the initial creation of a Facebook profile to ensure that your page will contain the appropriate information. Questions to be considered when activating a Facebook account for public relations purposes include: Who is your target audience? Is your audience active in any groups? How does your audience use Facebook? By answering these three questions, one can then tailor a Facebook page to appeal to the proper target audience for a company or brand.

Facebook provides an innovative communication channel between media and public relations staffs. A virtual atmosphere tends to forge

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positive relationships between public relations and the media. Creating a Facebook page will open up lines of communication between bloggers and key journalists. By focusing on what bloggers and journalists are reporting online, you can learn what they are interested in and how to counteract any attempts at bad press for clients you may be working with on your public relations Facebook profile.

Connecting with the target audience is the final element that a Facebook page can provide for a public relations team. Facebook can create an intimate connection with a client and its consumer base, as well as stimulate communication between these parties. Facebook also offers a “share” option and this is advantageous for a public relations Facebook profile. The positive stories that are posted on the public relations profile page can be “shared” by viewers and then “shared” with all of that individual’s friends, which will increase positive exposure for a client.

When used in a correct fashion, Facebook can be an advantageous communication channel for public relations purposes. After performing an audience analysis, fostering positive media relations, and connecting with the target audience, Facebook can become a reliable source of information between consumers, the media, and public relations professionals.

Electronic Media and the Dangers of Internet Medical Diagnosis

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

By Dr. Vijay Krishna and Dr. Atul Kalanuria

There is little doubt that internet is a great communication tool. It virtually puts all your information needs at your fingertips from the comfort of your cushy home. There is little doubt that sitting for prolonged periods of time is detrimental to your health. But people with an illness can double down on the negative health effects by engaging in self-diagnosis via the internet.

Here’s how:

  1. Over-Diagnosis: Medicine is a vast area; it takes experts with decades of schooling and experience to master the art of diagnosis. Based on the information and opinion of the professional advice and patient experiences, it is very challenging to distill information and relate it to oneself. While searching for objective information is good – which gives you a little preparation before you see your health care provider – it may not present you with the whole picture.
  2. Under-Diagnosis: There is a general human tendency – especially when it comes to health – for people to be biased toward favorable, positive information. While it’s true that more information reduces uncertainty, it could also be a cause for a self-serving bias in some instances. Therefore, one must be aware that the internet may not present a holistic picture and could lead to a possible under diagnosis, thereby missing a major health condition.
  3. Extreme Cases: In general, we’re in a constant quest to reduce uncertainty in life. A way to reduce uncertainty is by seeking more information – which there is plenty of online in the form of websites, blogs, and other social media. However, beware that the internet is unrestricted and allows anyone to post anything, anytime. Therefore, everybody could profess to be an expert – e.g.: See Stevey Cooksey’s case ( While there are no legitimate way to verify individual opinions, beware that some people are motivated to post when they are at either one extreme of finding success or the other end of
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    misery. These polar opinions could put one in a bind, as a lay person would not be able to calibrate or capture advice that relates to his/her condition.

So, does this mean that you should not go online to seek medical information? No, that’s not what we’re saying. There are merits to understanding medical conditions from credible sources such as Mayo clinic, WebMD, etc. which will prep you with some useful information before you see your healthcare provider. The most important thing to remember is acting on internet-acquired information without consulting a medical practitioner could only create stress and aggravate your present medical condition.

The information on the internet can be very handy to frame the right questions for your doctor. Remember, each clinical scenario is different and your physician should be the one to explain your problem and not some random blogs. In fact, most physicians will appreciate informed questions from patients since this allows development of a mutual treatment plan.

Be wary of the internet medical diagnosis.