Author: Amanda

Convincing Mr(s). FancyPants

aka Getting the C-Suite Buy-In


posted by Amanda


So, you’ve got your whole social media campaign plan put together, huh?  You intend to turn this company around and make the world a better place.  Right?  Well, depending on how you present your idea, you might get a big fat NO from the other side of the table.  So what do you do?

First, this:

Then, this:

Don’t worry!  Be better-prepared next time!

In this HootSuite blog post by Evan LePage, he explains how most executives still are not on the social media bandwagon.  Although most recognize that it is beneficial, they have no idea how, or even how to use it.  LinkedIn is the top platform in use by such professionals but only for recruitment and networking purposes.

DHR International and Modern Survey conducted some research among executives and the results are somewhat shocking.  The customers, the employees and the competition all use social media, but:

  • 60 percent of executives use social media less than one hour per week
  • 90 percent of the polled executives said they would use it “if it were helpful to their business.”
  • 80 per cent said they would use it more “if they thought it was a better use of their time.”

Clearly, there is some form of miscommunication going on!

Our textbook offers (p 349) a list of advice for approaching the top executives.  Your approach and presentation might quite literally make or break the success of your campaign even getting a chance to see the light of day.

Identify with the mindset of these executives
Deliver the broad brushstrokes of the big picture.  NOT the little details about increasing Facebook followers.

Show them the payoff
Bottom line, they want to know about the MONEY!  ROI is why they show up to work, so give them a reason to come back tomorrow.

Present a detailed budget request
Just as much as they want to know about the return, they will also want to know how their money is being spent up-front. And why.

Show them the timetable for reaching milestones
Be specific with the projected time.  They want to know how long they have to wait to see the results of the efforts that they might already be doubting.

Close the deal
Summarize.  Be honest about the risk, but have the crisis plan available.  Proactive measures are always more beneficial than reactive.

What a disaster!

posted by: Amanda

What to pick… What to pick… What to pick…


If you Google “PR disasters”, get ready to do some reading and sorting.  For the sake of just picking one, here are Ten of the Biggest Social Media PR Disasters. Some of these, we have already covered in class. Below are the newbies.

Perhaps this is just a giant advertisement for COMM 4670 Strategic Crisis Communication because each of these situations sound AWFUL for a company to have to handle.  To be honest, I never want to have to deal with any of them.

BTW, Heapes, why isn’t Crisis Comm available in the fall??

Taco Bell
Local news stations received an anonymous tip about rats in a local Taco Bell location.  They responded and so did the consumers.

Whole Foods
A real-life lesson against trolling.  The link above provides some insight but this NY Times article from 2007 goes a little deeper.

Offered to pay people 65 cents for each 100 percent positive review left on review sites.  Because it is authentic and ethical.  Here’s more.

A D.C. man needed some help with his router so he called Comcast to send a technician to his home.  This is what happened:

Well, apparently, Dell Lies and Dell Sucks. After Jeff Jarvis purchased a new Dell laptop, things did not go as they should.  And so he told the world.

Johnson & Johnson and the American Red Cross
This one bores me. Basically, J&J were being big babies.

To generate buzz about their products, Asus created a blog competition.  X amount of bloggers would get a kit of products, blog about them and then voters would pick the best blog.  The writer of said blog would get to keep said products.  Gavyn Britton won by popular vote but Asus suddenly changed the rules after the votes were counted and picked THEIR favorite blogger.  Dumb. But wait! According to this poorly written article:
“Unfortunately, during the voting process, Electric Pig became aware that the voting system had become susceptible to a person (or people) looking to unfairly influence the outcome of the vote,” Asus spinner John Swatton told us. “One of the bloggers received in excess of 800 votes, all generated from the same IP address,” he added, but stopped short of pointing a finger at Gavyn Britton’s mum. And that for compensation for the whole debacle, Asus awarded all the other bloggers an Eee PC 1000H (an upgrade from the original Eee PC 900 prize).

Stalkin’ folks on the ‘ol Facebook

To me, the phrase “social media monitoring” sounds like an official way to say “stalking people on Facebook”.

SOCIAL MEDIA = Facebook, Twitter, Etc.

MONITORING = Watching, observing….STALKING ??

And that might or might not be the case.

Courtesy of the textbook, below is a five-step approach to efficiently and effectively find relevant content on the social web via tracking:  (how to look stuff up well!)

1. Choose Focus Area
It is necessary to track an organization as well as its competitors.

2. Select Target-rich Platforms
Find the platform that the target audience uses.  The data will be richer and more accurate.

3. Identify the Appropriate Keywords and Phrases
Use the proper lingo!  Not everyone uses tech-speak or proper terms.  The Google Adwords Keyword Tool provides a good way to find frequently used search terms.

4. Restrict or Widen the Search
Boolean operators like AND, OR and NOT can be used in a search query to modify the results.

5. Adjust Searches
If a brand or company is new, a marketer can still find valuable information by searching its competitors or even by searching its target audience.  In addition, B2B companies will have little-to-no presence on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, but might be on LinkedIn.

Finding the source is just part of it.  Tools such as Google Alerts and RSS can help a follower monitor the appropriate sources.

Chelsea Varney says in this post on Brandwatch:
Measuring what is happening on your social networks isn’t always about measuring the big numbers.

Sometimes it’s the engagement on a particular post which can be the most precious piece of information.

If you have a small but active fanbase on Facebook, then your profile is arguably far better than that of a big brand with millions of likes yet receives little interactions on their posts.

One million silent, uninterested followers is no better than none at all.




Conan O’Brien Did It and So Can You!

How Conan O’Brien Used Social Media and Location Marketing to Defy the Odds

posted by: Amanda

So here’s what happened:
In 2004, when O’Brien and NBC negotiated his contract with the network, it was agreed that he would take over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno in 2009.  However, executives later met with Leno and O’Brien and proposed moving the show’s time slot to a later time to accommodate Leno’s new show.  O’Brien disagreed with the decision and people began sharing their support for Team Coco (@conanobrien) on Twitter.  He later announced in April 2010 that he would leave NBC.  His plan was to move to TBS and host a brand new show.

Here’s the challenge:
TBS is a much smaller network and mainstream networks such as NBC stilled owned the late-night audience.  O’Brien needed an innovative marketing solution.

And this is what they did:
To generate buzz, the Conan Blimp was born.  It was advertised with YouTube commercials and high-res images on Flickr.  The blimp had its own website which included a live map and livecam.  Users could track its location and use the hashtag #TheConanBlimp on Twitter.  The meat of the strategy was with the use of Foursquare.  During the blimp tour in October 2010, users could check in when they saw it flying overhead which then earned them a Conan Blimpspotter badge, to be displayed on their profile.  Upon check-in, this message would be received:

These were the results:
– The Blimp received more than 21 thousand check-ins and more than 100 comments on Foursquare during the promotion.
– The Conan Blimp received considerable media attention
– Finalist for Location of the Year in the Shorty Awards
– Team Coco reached over 51 thousand followers on Foursquare at the end of the promotion

In this post by Persephone Kazl, I’m with Coco: Is Conan O’Brien the New King of Social Media?, the situation is covered in a little more detail than in our textbook.  Due to legality, the new show could start for eight months.  During the time between his last NBC show in Jan. and the start of the new show in Sept., O’Brien was forced to re-evaulate his whole career.  In Kazl’s post, he is quoted comparing is contractual obligations to “a prisoner in a 14th Century cell writing little things on a piece of paper and throwing them out the window”.  She goes on to say that fortunately, for Conan, those little pieces of paper were actually tweets and they weren’t just going out the window. They were being read by his more than 1.8 million followers.



Discussion Board Netiquette

posted by Amanda





Our book includes a section about this very topic.  I agree that none of the following guidelines are groundbreaking, and many will likely seem obvious.  Most online etiquette issues can be resolved by using a little common sense and by reading the rules of the particular discussion board prior to posting.

The book’s advice includes:

Stick to the Topic
Avoid chit-chat and diversions.  Other people will eventually have a similar question and weeding through the nonsense really gets in the way of finding the answer.

Search Before Posting
Often times, someone else already posted the same question.  Look for it before you start a new thread.

Use Good Grammar and Capitalization
Individual participants in an online discussion can get away with a little looser standards.  Posts on behalf of a professional entity do not have this luxury.  Errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling make an organization seem less credible.

No Feeding the Trolls
Haters gon’ hate!  The most effective response is to ignore them and refuse to give them the attention they seek.  Be nice!

Do Not Post Repetitively (or Double-Post)
Sometimes it takes time for an acceptable answer or response.  Posting your question more than once simply because it was not answered the first time is incredibly pointless.  All this does is split the conversation. Be patient.

No Sock Puppets
The New York Times defines this as “the act of creating a fake online identity to praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one’s self, allies or company”.  It is better to endure a few negative comments than to get caught and look stupid.

Okay, wait a minute.  Go back to the trolls thing.

In this post, 18 types of internet trolls are exposed and explained.  Although a humorous list describing online creepers, many of the examples parallel the advice from our trusted textbook. Feeding trolls, talking in all caps and the grammar police are all mentioned. (Except in this case WE are the grammar police.)

I found another article, Why People Troll and How to Stop Them.  It provides some more insight into the problem of trolling.  It says that Facebook and Google executives argue that we should eliminate anonymity on the web and that they cite trolling as the reason.
One section, How to Stop Them, presents a few plans to save the community’s usefulness from being destroyed by a small minority:

Pre-moderate. Only after a moderator approves comments are they posted. This is very effective with competent moderators but it requires lots of time. It also hampers discussion if it delays postings.

Post-moderate. This eliminates the time lag but still incurs the labor costs. Inappropriate comments may get brief airplay.

Behold! The Power of the Almighty Twitter

posted by: Amanda

This 2009, 248-page, 14-chapter tutorial written by Joel Comm teaches business owners how to use Twitter to network, build a community around their services and to use tweets for viral marketing.

Today, in 2014, a lot of the information might seem redundant to some (such as basic information about setting up an account and defining terms) but it is packed full of tips and tricks from which any Twitter-account-holder could benefit (such as ways to make money and using third-party tools).

Get it on amazon!

In the introduction, Comm says:
That's what Joel Comm said!In Chapter 5: The Art of the Tweet, six tweet styles are discussed.

1. Classic Tweets: “This is what I’m doing now.”

  • Generally informative, one-way communication
  • Used more by personal accounts than by professional accounts because minimal discussion can come from it.

2. Opinion Tweets: “This is what I’m thinking now.”
If you’re marketing a corporate brand rather than a personal brand, it might be a good idea to keep the opinions focused on topics that affect your industry.  People without opinions look impersonal; companies without opinions look impartial

3. Mission accomplished Tweets: “This is what I’ve just done.”
Few things can start a discussion faster than saying something that you know lots of other people feel strongly about.  Telling people what you’ve just done can have the same effect.  These kinds of tweets look like broadcasts.

4. Entertainment Tweets: “I’m making you laugh now.”
If you can come up with tweets that are fun and entertaining to read, as well as being genuinely helpful, then you’ll never struggle to find followers

5. Question Tweets: ” Can you help me do something now?”
One very easy way to turn your followers from readers into contributors is to ask a question.  Twitterers do this often, tossing out requests for help from anyone in their follower list who might have some good advice.  Often, the questions will be very simple. Sometimes, they can be fairly complex and demand expert help from people with specialized knowledge. But questions don’t just have to be requests for information.  They can also be discussion starter

6. Picture Tweets: “Look at what I’ve been doing.”
Show people what you’ve been doing rather than tell them in 140 characters and create new discussion points.

Contact Joel Comm

Find Joel Comm on FacebookFind Joel Comm on Twitter

Find Joel Comm on LinkedIn

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

posted by: Amanda

Although technically I am part of the group classified as “Millennials”, I do, in fact, remember life before the Internet.  I was about 11 years old (c. 1996) when the phone line (the LAND LINE) started getting tied up in my household.

Chat rooms, ICQ and Netscape: Oh, my!

By the way, if you haven’t heard a high-pitch “uh oh” 1,000 times within a four-minute timeframe, you don’t even know what you are missing!

Today we are so used to constantly being connected.  We have everything LITERALLY at our fingertips.  However, once upon a time, this “whole thing” was new…

Before Facebook, LinkedIn and Myspace, there was SixDegrees.

Creator Andrew Weinreich based the service on the concept of “six degrees of separation”.  From 1997 to 2001, SixDegrees members could build profiles, display a list of Friends, and share and compare these lists.  Interactive dating services, virtual communities and message boards already existed and even had some of these features, but SixDegrees was the first to combine them.

In this Time Business & Money post from 2007, a former user explains part of the experience:

Time Business & Money

Here is the transcript of a live chat room/ message board conversation straight out of 1999 between Andrew Bein (SixDegrees general manager), Julie Walker (Washington Post columnist) and Internet users.  Taking place when the Internet was still in its infancy with the general public, the term “super-Rolodex” is used frequently.

Side note: What the hell is a Rolodex, right!?

Here is one example from the conversation of how Bein had to explain, almost defend, SixDegrees’ position and purpose:


Sam Plymale, editor-in-chief for PRSSA at Eastern Michigan University, did a little investigating of his own.  In this post, he discusses a little of SixDegrees’ history and says:

“Six Degrees may have been created a bit before its time.  As the site grew, the world of online advertising was in its infancy and Weinreich was unable to keep the site afloat. Spam problems and revenue issues ultimately doomed the site and it shut down in 2001.  In 2010, the site attempted a rebirth. People that had existing memberships with Six Degrees have been invited back with hopes of recreating the network.”

In his post, Plymale admitted to never having heard of SixDegrees prior to his search on social media history.  Honestly, I hadn’t either.  Unfortunately for Weinreich, Zuckerberg got to me first.

Mama said, “Share!”

by: Amanda

We have all been there.
At 9:30 on a Friday night, you find yourself clicking on a video link that one of your Facebook friends have posted.  You watch it.  You might like it; you might not.  Then it happens.  You get sucked into the time warp that is YouTube.  Before you know it, 62 videos later, it is 3:00am and you have wasted your entire evening staring at your screen.
Clicking.  Watching.  Clicking.  Watching.  Clicking.  Watching.  *Blinking optional.

Videos shared online have three stages through which they can go.

PRIMARY               SECONDARY               TERTIARY

The Primary Stage
This occurs when the video creator simply posts the work online.  YouTube is probably the best.

The Secondary Stage
This occurs when fans, friends and customers begin spreading the video within their own social circles.
share_this_icon These people already have some sort of relationship with the creator.
I’m sure we are all familiar with this little icon (left).  This stage is the most crucial.  According to our textbook, the majority of online videos that fail to spread within the first 48 hours never become popular.

The Tertiary Stage
This occurs when the video is shared and spread across the Web by people who likely do not know or have a direct connection with the creator.  In this stage, video becomes viral.
Here is a list of The 20 Best Viral Videos of All Time by


I do not know that I have a favorite viral video, but The Gregory Brothers are definitely high on my list.  They are responsible for the Songify the News / AutoTune the News videos.





Just a few of my faves:
Backin-Up-Song Bed-Intruder cant-hug-every-cat1




According to this blog post by Sue Rostvold, this is the world’s first viral video.

How to Cast Your Pod

Posted by: Amanda

For roughly ten years, podcasts have been a “thing”.  Prior to that, not so much.  People desire information and entertainment to be available on demand, commercial-free and anywhere.  Podcasts are a perfect fit in that they allow the listener to download the audio file and listen whenever he or she wants.  Well, that is great for the consumer but how does one start producing their own?

Prior to doing a little bit of research, my response to that question would have included a shrug of the shoulders and a blank stare.  I had never considered it.  As it turns out, it is pretty simple and just about anybody can become a podcaster themselves.

In this post from Social Media Today, writer Philip Cohen gives five basic steps for producing a business podcast:

1Get the right equipment

Quality equipment = quality podcast
You need a portable recorder, editing software, a publishing host(such as Libsyn) and a feed (such as FeedBlitz).


Choose a hosting service

Shop for a service with flexibility and customization.
* This step is only for those who do not already have their own website or those whose web hosting does not have sufficient broadband support.

Start a blog

You’ll want to supply your users a place to get your notes from the podcast. Here you can post links to articles and websites you discuss during the podcasts. This also establishes you as an industry expert, which helps drive even more traffic. Some readers will stumble across your blog, even if they aren’t looking for a podcast.

Establish an RSS feed

The feed is how your users will subscribe to your podcast and view them as they become available. Here is a list of free feed readers.

Submit the podcast

You’ll want to make your podcast available on iTunes and in other app stores.  You’ll also want to do your own marketing through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking and media sites.


Posted by Amanda

Before any organization can begin any advertising efforts, it must be determined to whom they are attempting to reach.  It is crucial to the success of any business to have some insight into the lives of the people buying their products.  One effective way to accomplish this task is through personas.


Linda Bustos posted this after she talked to Laura Ballay, User Experience Manager, Elastic Path.  She further defines personas and explains ways in which they are used.  She says that personas are fictional characters based on actual observed behaviors of real users.  Check out their video below.

What a persona is not

A persona is not a demographic profile, a market segment or a summation of survey data. Rather, a persona is a combination of data modeled from ethnographic and behavioral user research, as well as narrative. The term persona often gets clumped together with market research (surveys, focus groups, etc), and though they are not the same thing, market research can certainly complement persona studies. (Personas 101)

ethnography DEFINED

Ethnography observes the world from the point of view of the subject (not the participant ethnographer) and records all observed behavior and describes all symbol-meaning relations using concepts that avoid casual explanations. (Wikipedia)

The use of personas helps to specify the target audience.  If the audience is too broad, one risks missing the target altogether.  As stated in our textbook:

Book Quote



This post by Hamzah Qutub about B2B buyer personas lists 5 essential elements:

  • Role and Responsibilities : The first step to make a buyer persona is to identify your ideal customer by the role and responsibilities she has.
  • Business Goals: What are their business goals and what they are expected to achieve for their organization?
  • Profile: How old is your target buyer persona? What is their role in their organization, how much financial decision making authority they have?
  • Problems they face: What kind of problems they face in their life? This is one of the most important parts of creating a buyer persona and if you nail this right then you’ve won half of the battle.
  • How they measure success: Their definition of success is very important. Your marketing message must be delivered to them in such a way so that they see a direct co-relation between their own success and your product/service.

I think the concept of the persona is a lot more beneficial than simply using demographic information.  Demographics only provide “on paper” details about consumers and can have minimal influence on daily life.  Empirical data is the best way to get to know how people live.



Here is Elastic Path‘s video about personas: