Tag Archives: social media northern va

Scary Social Media Stories

Digging a Ditch(Not actually scary…more like big business blunders you want to avoid when using social media for your business)

Halloween is just around the corner, so I thought it would be fun to dedicate this week’s blog to some examples of social media horror stories and how to avoid making these kinds of mistakes as small business owners.

6 Incidents of Poor Judgement and Your Tip to Avoid:

  1. A famous actor was in a fatal Car crash and an reckless insurance company tweeted, including the Twitter handle of the victim, a snarky and self-serving “hope you had car insurance”.  The backlash was swift and powerful in outrage that someone’s tragedy would be used as an opportunity to self-promote. Tip:  Demonstrate positive ethics and good judgement. People generally don’t appreciate businesses who behave like this, even online.
  2. A Pizza company hijacked a trending hashtag (#whyIstayed) about why women stay in violent relationships, using that hashtag combined with “you had pizza”. Meaning all of the people in the conversation were talking about critical and deeply emotional issues and the obtuse pizza folks inserted pizza into the discussion as a reason people tolerate abuse. The company admitted after the colossal fallout, that the didn’t know what the hashtag was about before they jumped on the band wagon.  Tip:  Use hashtags freely, especially on Twitter. They are great for connecting with others around topics and drawing attention to your posts, but make sure you know the context of these conversations so you can use them appropriately.
  3. An athletic clothing company took advantage of an incident involving one World Cup player biting an opposing team member by showing a shirt on a male player and saying it looked so good it was hard not to take a bite. They might have been going for humor, but that is a tricky edge to balance. Tip: When in doubt, err on the side of caution. The thumbs up you get for being funny won’t be worth the judgement of using poor taste.
  4. The family of a girl who had visible facial injuries from a dog attack, were asked to leave a KFC because she was scaring the other customers. The story went viral with outrage over the shameful treatment.  KFC did the right thing and contributed a substantial check to the family for medical bills. Not only did it help that family, but the company’s response restored the brand’s reputation, maybe even elevated it. Tip:  If your company messes something up, don’t be surprised if it ends up on social media. Simply not being present online will not keep your business out of the buzz. People can, will, and do talk about companies that make mistakes, even if they aren’t there to respond.
  5. An employee had a problem with his boss and posted a nasty comment on Facebook about the working conditions and the company. His boss saw the post and promptly fired the disgruntled employee. You may be surprised to know that the tip here isn’t “be careful what you put on Facebook because you may get fired”. It is actually a heads up for the employer. Tip: Make sure you know the law before you take any action against someone for their social media content.  Check with the Fair Labor Standards Act to make sure you are on solid ground. Social media sites may be protected under the act as an employee’s right to organize. Precedence has been set in a number of similar cases where the employers lost in “Wrongful Termination” claims with the argument that employees are allowed to discuss work conditions on Facebook as a right. Here is the verbiage directly from the Act:

It is illegal for employers to fire, demote, or transfer you, or reduce your hours or change your shift, or otherwise take adverse action against you, or threaten to take any of these actions, because you join or support a union, or because you engage in concerted activity for mutual aid and protection, or because you choose not to engage in any such activity.

6. My favorite social media meltdown was the great Applebees Debacle.  A server at the restaurant posted on her personal Facebook page a picture of a check that a customer had written a snide comment on instead of leaving a tip. When the restaurant manager found out about the post, the employee was fired on the grounds of violating customers’ privacy. The story went wild with posts, shares, comments on Applebee’s Facebook page. When you’re in a hole, stop digging, but the restaurant’s PR department must have been absent the day they taught Public Relations. With each interaction, things got worse for Applebees. By responding to negative comments with arguments, defensiveness, denial, counter-attacks, and ultimately deleting threads that had already been made into screenshots, they fueled the attack all through the night. I’m sure when the executives heard about it in the morning, at least one head was rolling. Tip: Never respond to complaints by matching their emotion, even if the comment isn’t justified. I don’t know the recommended action for deflecting a angry mob in person – running the other way, climbing a tree, maybe playing dead. Where the internet is concerned, when faced with negative comments, take it like a human and respond thoughtfully, respectfully, and with the intention to resolve the problem. This will go a long way to mitigating the effects of bad press.

If you would like help avoiding an angry mob online, or just staying on top of your digital presence, give me  a holler and I’ll be happy to help.

Collaborative Social Media Management

Collaborative Social Media ManagementWould you hire a professional painting company to redesign the look of  your home and not tell them what you had in mind? How about having a financial advisor put your money in whatever vehicles they wanted without your input? How much sense would it make to contract a social media manager, or task a employee to manage the company’s online marketing, branding, audience, connections, and image, but give them little material, direction, requests, or feedback to that end? Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

I trust Certapro Painters of Loudoun because I know they are a good company. I have faith that as professional quality painters they will do a good job making my house look great. But I don’t expect them to know the details of what I want –  if I want interior or exterior, the whole  house or just a few rooms, if I like wild colors or subdued, trim painted the same or a different color. As good as they are, they can’t create my perfect look without some collaboration from their client. It makes perfect sense in this context, yet so many business professionals treat their social media and digital marketing efforts just this way. Business owners are usually stretched thin with divergent demands, so it is understandable that they would consider outsourcing or delegating this function to get it off their plates entirely. But this is where the challenge lies – how to engage, how much to engage, what do business owners expect others to do for them and what do they contribute to maximize the benefits?

Unfortunately, with social media, or any other aspect of business for that matter, a totally hands-off approach will likely yield less than stellar results and sometimes cause serious problems. Even employees, if given insufficient direction and information, will struggle with their tasks and the organization will suffer. This is also true when hiring a vendor to manage your online presence – without good collaboration and input from the client, even the most sophisticated and professional social media managers will have trouble crafting and maintaining the best personalized image for the company.

Business owners who don’t understand social media as a business tool, may believe content posted on their sites is the activity; they may not understand the power and importance of reflecting the brand accurately or creating a community of interest around the brand. In this case, a social media campaign in simply content distribution and the business is not getting the full benefit of digital networking. If you are a business owners who has someone else managing your online presence, and you want the to get the most from your social media campaigns, follow these tips and feel free to add your own from what has worked for you:

1. Respond to requests from your social media manager – they will use the information you provide to your benefit on your social media platforms

2. Start with expectations clearly spelled out and agreed upon, for items such as content sources, communication channels, posting/interacting frequency, company social media policy, how to engage the audience, etc.

2. Start to develop a social media mindset (topic for a future blog) – think “I’m going to post this article on Facebook“, “I should Tweet about this event” and “I need to link with that person on Linkedin

3. Send the information from #2 to the person managing your accounts and request specific action – post your item on Facebook, Tweet about your event, and find and request the connection on Linkedin

4. If there is a post on one of your platforms that you question, communicate with your account manager and be specific. Help guide the person’s understanding of your business, brand, and personality. There may have been nothing “wrong” with the post, but if it does not reflect your business the way you would, you have to communicate that effectively

5. Keep in mind that social media is not just about promoting your business. A good social media manager will post articles and links on your platforms that expand your presence, reach, and image. As long as the post is not inappropriate, consider this on the basis of how you audience might benefit from the information

As a business owner, your online presence is as important as any other avenue for promoting and highlighting your company. We encourage you to collaborate with those you have charged with its presentation and together create the perfect social media campaign. Contact us if you would like more information or our free white paper on Social Media for Business.

What is Instagram


Why You May Want to Check Out Instagram

Instagram is a relatively young social media platform, but it has increased popularity recently. Though it has a lot of users, many people in business do not know what it is or how to use it.  It is a great social media platform for businesses with highly visual products and services. Instagram is a photo-sharing app to be used on a smart phone. this is a social media platform in that you have the option to follow people, post pictures and text, and interact with others about their pictures.

Here are a few facts about Instagram: 

  • Launched on October 6, 2010
  • There are 150 million active users each month
  • 60% of the users are outside the U.S.
  • Average of 55 million photos posted daily
  • It reached #1 in the App Store within 24 hours of launch
  • Launched 7 new languages
  • Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion

So why is Instagram so popular?

Easy to Set Up – Go to the app store for your phone, download the app, register by either putting in a username and password or logging in through Facebook. You will want to set up your profile like any other social media platform, with a profile image and basic information.

Sharing Photos:  pictures can be taken through the Instagram app or pulled from your phone’s cameral roll? A caption or description can be added, so your viewers know what you are sharing. The image will go on your page and you can also share it on other main social media platforms.

Photo Enhancement:  The app includes many filters which you can use to change the look of your image. You can use other photo manipulation apps to edit your photos to post on Instagram as well.

Social: Connecting with others is a main feature of this app. Like with Twitter, you follow people and then see the pictures they post in your stream. You can like and comment on their photos too. Because you photos will be public, you may get questions about the picture from anyone. This app is very popular with younger individuals and tends to be a more relaxed community.

Connecting with People: Instagram allows you to follow your current connections on other platforms easily by brining up the list of your connections that are also on Instagram with a “follow” button.  Instagram will also suggest users if you like. The Popular Page shows images that have gotten a lot of likes. which pix currently have the most Likes.  You may want to follow some of the people who post great pictures.

Amazing Pictures –  There are beautiful images presented on this platform. You can also follow people who post images of things that speak to your interests, such as dogs, landscapes, ocean life, etc.

Instagram is easy to use and fun.  Because there are so many people on the platform outside the U.S., you can interact with and learn a great deal about other cultures and countries. Though Instagram is not big on building brands, it is great exposure for your business if you have products and services that present well in images that people want to see. If you have questions or would like help with your social media, please contact us.