Archive for the ‘Social Media Marketing’ 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.

Innovation in Alcohol Marketing

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Heineken demonstrates unparalleled alcohol marketing strategies

By Andrea Donaldson

I don’t always praise beer companies for their alcohol marketing strategies. But when I do it’s Heineken.

Heineken, now the world’s third largest brewer, has spent the last decade innovating their way to the top of the beer industry. The company is now the world’s first and only truly global beer brand. Their extensive portfolio includes huge import brands Newcastle, Amstel, and Dos Equis. But, even more impressive is their brand availability in more than 178 countries. Although the company has made major business moves by acquiring brands and joint partnering with big names like Kingfisher, it is their alcohol marketing strategies that have had the most impact on customers. Their top three have increased Heineken revenues the world over.

1. Guerilla Marketing: Heineken has always been a company that thinks out of the box. In 2011, at a music festival in Poland, Heineken established a sponsored tent that allowed festival attendees to make their own QR codes. Attendees wrote a sentence about themselves and Heineken printed a sticker that other festival participants could scan with their smart phones to access the personalized statement written by

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the wearer. The campaign was an instant hit as it served as an ice breaker to meet other music lovers.

2. Packaging: Heineken’s traditional green bottle has become iconic. However, that doesn’t stop the company from constantly gussying up their bottles. Heineken has experimented with a square bottle design that was introduced to save space in coolers and refrigerators. They have also released bottles that have hidden designs that can only be seen under black light. But, my personal favorite was showcased this week at the Milan Design show. Heineken’s newest bottle innovation, “Ignite,” features LED lights that brighten up social drinking. Experience a flash of light through

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the bottle whenever you take a sip or cheer a friend. The LED lights can also be programmed by a DJ to light up to the beat of a song.

3. Social Media: Heineken has utilized social media to stay current and on the minds of their customers. The company constantly updates in order to drive conversation; the most popular social media conversation for the company being The Most Interesting Man in the World posts. Unless you have been living under a pile of rocks, you have seen the Dos Equis advertisement featuring “The Most Interesting Man in the World” living adventurously and enjoying a Dos Equis. The slogan, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis” has even sparked an internet meme that features individual’s customized slogans, like my very own featured above.

Although Heineken has been criticized for constantly switching alcohol marketing firms, it is clear they are doing something right. Heineken has experienced 14 percent growth and Dos Equis is up an astounding 33 percent in sales this past year.

So, what’s next for the unstoppable beer giant? Heineken international released intentions to take on the senior market. But, that’s an article for a different day.

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.




Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Ground-Breaking Red Bull Content Marketing Creates Brand Personality

By Andrea Donaldson

In 1997, Red Bull introduced the United States to the modern energy drink. The company has since established a ground-breaking content marketing strategy to create a brand personality targeting young adult audiences.

O’Brien, McCoy, Rhodes, Wagoner, and Wolfson released a study for the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, titled Caffeinated Cocktails: Energy Drink Consumption, High-Risk Drinking, and Alcohol-related Consequences among College Students, in March 2008.

The article examined how Red Bull utilizes “student brand managers” and “mobile energy teams” in order to target college students. These teams gather information about specific college cultures in the area as well as distribute free samples to college-aged individuals. The teams also specifically target young adults at events based around extreme sports, in an effort to convey a message of invincibility. These integrated marketing strategies have enabled Red Bull’s brand awareness to skyrocket as though it had wings itself.

Energy drink competitor, Monster, has been tackling the drink market with an entirely different strategy. The company has been engaged in brand extensions since their launch in 2002. According to their website, Monster now boasts up to thirty unique flavor extensions.

The popularity of these options has pressured Red Bull to establish brand extensions of their own. In March of 2013, Red Bull launched three new extensions in the United States. The extensions are labeled the red, blue, and silver editions. Each edition has a unique flavor associated with the beverage. However, the flavors curiously relate to those of traditional bar mixers.

Red Bull’s new red edition is the same Red Bull with essentially the same ingredients. The only difference is the addition of cranberry flavoring. Cranberry juice is a critical mixer to any bartender, due to the popularity of vodka and cranberry drinks.

Red Bull has also released a silver edition. This edition features a lime taste so strong, that puckering is inevitable. Considering lime juice has also been a common staple in bar mixers, it is featured in popular drinks like mojitos, margaritas, and gimlets; the release of these new editions create endless opportunities for new mixed-drink creations.

Although, the mixture of Red Bull and alcohol has been heavily criticized by the media, internet webpages feature over 65 different cocktail recipes for the popular drink. The use of Red Bull as a mixer for alcohol has been growing in popularity for the last several years. In the same article previously cited, Caffeinated Cocktails: Energy Drink Consumption, High-Risk Drinking, and Alcohol-related Consequences among College students, researchers published statistics suggesting that a quarter of all college students in America engage in mixing alcohol with energy drinks.

Mixed Messages: Alcohol and Energy Drinks, published by the organization Alcohol Concern, in June 2011, cites Red Bull’s own website noting they encourage young adults to mix alcohol and Red Bull. The website says, “Having maximum fun at a long lasting club session or a house party requires robust physical endurance. That’s why a whole generation swears by the boost of Red Bull to fly through the night.”

It is clear Red Bull has utilized their marketing strategies to encourage energy drinks and alcohol consumption. Red Bull’s new brand extensions further suggest that the company is willing to risk the ethical implications associated with marketing their product with alcohol. As concerns are raised about the potential health hazards of these products on young adults, it will be interesting to track how Red Bull addresses that media predicament.

Integrating Public Relations into Social Media

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

By Tiffany Engleman

Public relations professionals consistently work to communicate with the public through means of corporate communications, community relations, media relations, event planning, and writing. Here are a few suggestions of social media strategies that can be combined with traditional public relations practices to amplify reach on target audiences.

A question that is often asked within public relations firms is: “How can social media be used as a tactic in managing a company’s public relations program and how

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effective will it prove to be?” The answers are: Hire an “expert” in social media to help guide this transition. And, it’s extremely effective!

As of 2012, over 500 million people have registered on Twitter. With that said, if a crisis situation were to occur with a client’s company, creating a hashtag campaign on Twitter would be an effective and cost-efficient means to promote a positive view on the issue and begin minimizing the negative impact of the crisis. By addressing the issue instantly and through an interactive medium like Twitter, stakeholders and key publics will feel assured that the situation is being handled immediately and responsibly.

Another way that PR firms can integrate social media is by creating a Facebook page for a client’s events. Public Relations professionals work closely with event planning and what better way to advertise an event than through a Facebook page that has the potential to reach over one billion active users? Creating a Facebook page will also provide clients and consumers the opportunity for direct communication, as they can post comments and questions on the page itself. Facebook also offers the option to “share” events and stories, which will only increase reach and frequency for the event and the company simultaneously.

Social media has the potential to reach a wide variety of audiences and best of all—it’s free! PR professionals could benefit extensively by encompassing traditional and social media to create the ultimate PR campaign for any client.

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.