Crisis Management: American Apparel and Super Storm Sandy

Note: Here we are, at my last post. It’s been an interesting term so far and I’ve learned a lot from this experience, so thank you for your readership and comments! To wrap things up, we’re going to discuss the use of social media in crisis management.

Effective crisis management has always been an important facet of public relations and requires constant planning and preparation, allowing organizations to react swiftly as crises arise. Ideally, with this monitoring and planning, crises can be avoided to begin with but the reality is that this isn’t always possible.

Arguably, with socially media now firmly embedded into our daily lives- from personal to organizational use- crisis management has become even more important. Social media helps expand the reach and speed of communication and while we’ve highlighted some of the positive ways this can affect an organization, it can also achieve similar results with negative aspects, which obviously is not beneficial for organizations dealing with a crisis.

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Social Media Monitoring Tools: An Assessment

Much like traditional forms of communications and public relations, social media initiatives need to be regularly monitored and evaluated. Although this task is a bit more difficult to do than with traditional media- new technologies, changing metrics, and a much larger platform- it still needs to be done. Three benefits for doing so are as follow:

1. The social web is a big place and conversations can occur across various platforms. Monitoring your organization’s social media programs allow you to identify where these conversations are happening as well as the key players, and lets you better understand your audience.

2. Social media monitoring is a key component in reputation management and helps your organization track both the good and the bad. What is the general sentiment towards your organization and what can you do to maintain or improve those perceptions?

3. Determining ROI and finding out what works and what doesn’t. Is their value in your current social media program? Are you concentrating on the correct forums?

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Finding the Balance

By now, most people on the social web are familiar with the hashtag symbol (#), which helps tag keywords in a tweet, allowing others to search for and find that content. Hashtags are simple to use and effective for search optimization, helping to improve keyword searches and connecting users with similar interests. They are important. However, in a bid to push content to more viewers, some users have taken the hashtag to a whole new, and very annoying level, by tagging #every #single #word.

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Updating the Conversation Prism and defining the role of Pinterest

via Brian Solis

Brian Solis’s conversation prism is an excellent infographic, illustrating the diversity and availability of platforms on the social web. Although this image, most recently updated in 2010 is still relevant,* it needs to be revised to reflect the growing popularity of sites such as Instagram and Pinterest. These platforms allow for users to upload and share photos, and the success of both sites demonstrates the increasing preference for visual content, as opposed to straight text. However, focusing specifically on the latter of the two platforms, for all of Pinterest’s success, public relations practitioners are still debating the merits of this site. While the marketing potential is fairly evident through Pinterest’s ability to drive ecommerce, public relations professionals are still trying to figure out how to harness the power of this platform and its many users. Though its path isn’t clearly laid out yet, I believe that Pinterest has the ability to be a useful public relations tool but its use and purpose requires a bit more planning and creativity, and as always, context is key! What are your thoughts? Is Pinterest a useful tool for public relations practitioners?

*Brian Solis is updating the prism!

Our food. Your questions. McDonald’s and harnassing the power of the social web

via McDonalds.com

Whether you love or hate McDonald’s as a restaurant, it is difficult to deny that they’re doing an impressive job with their social media campaign. In addition to a well set-up and regularly maintained website and Facebook page, McDonald’s recently launched a program which allows users to submit questions to the fast-food giant online. According to the description in the header, McDonald’s will answer all questions about their food posted on the site and so far, there’s been a lot of interest.

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Lessons in Social Media: Food Trucks and the Toronto Street Food Project

Over the past few weeks, we’ve explored a number of issues in social media focusing on some of the most popular and available platforms, trying to understand the benefits of each. We’ve examined different social media tools, identifying their contributions to the field of public relations and discussed the merits of programs such as Twitter, Foursquare, and infographics. This week we’ll take a slightly different approach and instead of dissecting one particular platform, we’ll focus on how these technologies come together to build a comprehensive social media program using the Toronto Street Food Project/Toronto Food Trucks as our case study.

via Toronto Food Trucks

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A picture is worth a thousand words

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But is that always true?

With the growing popularity of visual based content, an increasing number of public relations and marketing professionals are turning to infographics, photos, and video to help with their content strategy, especially in the realm of social media. However, the truth is that not all visual content is made equal. Some images are too cluttered, others too difficult to read and understand, and worst of all, some just don’t have a story to tell. Without clear visuals and a focused story or issue, the image, be it a photo or infographic, loses its potency and the message becomes diluted, muddled, and lost. However, there are a lot of people who are doing it right and included below are a few examples of what I’ve found to be successful infographics.

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