Category Archives: Marketing

“Safety in Numbers: How to Fight Brand Hijacking on Twitter”

Last week a reporter asked my opinion on the state of brands on Twitter after the Exxon Twitter-jacking debacle.

“As more companies move on to Twitter, how are we to know who is real and who is a fake?” she asked.  “How can a reporter or a consumer know that this person can be a trusted source?”

With Exxon, someone named Janet had claimed to be the Exxon Mobil community manager.  Forrester Research’s Jeremiah Owyang got excited that Exxon was getting involved with Twitter–3 days later, it turned out Janet was a fake.  She hadn’t said anything negative about Exxon, and actually did a great job of addressing people’s questions…but she’d hijacked the brand.  Other big companies might not be so lucky.

Back in the old 1.0 days of the Internet, you could be pretty much anyone–a 40 year old man pretending to be a 13 year old girl–and no one would know otherwise.  In the Web 2.0 world, however, our identities are built on and confirmed by our relationships.

Using Facebook as an example, my identity is more-or-less confirmed by my friends.  Not that it can’t be forged, but by checking my profile, my friends, my work network, etc., you’d be able to make a fairly good guess as to whether I was real or not.

Nope, Twitter doesn’t confirm your identity–but you can still use the network to validate someone.  Jeremiah could have easily searched on Twellow for other Exxon employees on Twitter.  Had their been any Exxon employees (there aren’t), he would have been able to ask them about Janet.  Did they know her? Exxon is a big company, so maybe not…but I bet they have a directory in Outlook.

Companies like Dell, IBM, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft all have tons o’ employees on Twitter, making it easy to find a spokesperson. (Click links for Twellow searches).

A couple of steps any company can take to ensure their brand is protected:

  • Don’t just create a XYZCo generic Twitter account, get as many employees on Twitter as possible
  • Add any official Twitter names to the company’s main contact page
  • Encourage employees to mention company name in Twitter profile
  • Create a directory of employees in the company on Twitter and distribute internally
  • Encourage employees to add each other.  Even if they may not work together, Twitter can help strengthen the camaraderie within a company
  • Encourage employees to respond to any Tweets about the company they see — bonus if they search for the company’s name or industry keywords

There you go. Now whenever a reporter, blogger or consumer is looking for a company rep, they can find many to whom they can turn!  Oh, and it might not hurt to claim your company’s name–if it isn’t already taken!

What systems does your company have in place to validate Twitter screen names?  Do you have just a generic name? Do you let employees actively Tweet?

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[The above photo, “Kids at zebra crossing” by fiskfisk on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Community Relations, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Social Networking

“You Are Doing Your Clients a Horrible Disservice”

…if you don’t monitor for them on Twitter.

How would your clients take it if you didn’t respond to a negative article in a smaller daily, say the Oakland Tribune? You wouldn’t want to miss the chance to respond to a potentially harmful blog post, so why miss a Tweet?

Use Summize. It finds all Tweets about your client or from your customers–even deleted ones! When Twitter’s “reply” function is working, it can also track conversation around said Tweet! And now, it’s embedded in my favorite Twitter Client, Twhirl.

Our clients love it when we send them a Tweet to which they should respond. We’ve been using it for several months now.

Check out this search for Yoono.

When a person firsts install Yoono, it sends a Tweet to their Twitterstream saying “I’m testing Yoono.”

(Click to Enlarge)

Yoono also has someone manning a Twitter account. They catch the negative comments and respond. Note the elegance of Summize’s inline conversation tracking!

(Click to Enlarge)

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But it also looks as though they didn’t see all the negative comments. Maybe they should use Summize 😉 (UPDATE: They do! See the comments below!)

How do you track your client and customer conversations effectively? Leave us tips in the comments!

BTW: Stay tuned for Marie’s comprehensive review of Yoono next week!

[UPDATE: On July 15, 2008, Twitter buys Summize.]

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Filed under Best Practices, How To, Marketing, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“With Our Powers Combined:Xobni and LinkedIn Join Forces”

A couple months ago, we reviewed Xobni’s Outlook tool, and it has proved an invaluable tool for day-to-day work. Since its already a killer app for us marketing and PR folk who make a living by the volume and management of our contacts, it’s no surprise that Xobni has become even more useful with a LinkedIn integration.

A simple, yet significant, improvement

We also put LinkedIn’s Outlook toolbar to the test. While we still think LinkedIn’s Outlook app is worth it for the grab function alone (makes creating new vCards a breeze), Xobni has engineered a seamless integration that enhances usefulness with the addition of pictures, current job information, and other pertinent tidbits that help make the most of your network.

As a PR pro, I already trust LinkedIn as one way to make sure I have all the right info on my contact, including their geographic location, job title, and place of employment. The volatile nature of the media industry requires that you do your homework before you hit send, and Xobni makes it all the more simple with the addition of LinkedIn’s data.

One thing Chris and I noticed when looking at the toolbar is that sometimes the contact information pulled directly from e-mail conversations isn’t 100% accurate. These inaccuracies have been consistent with Xobni since day one, which is why I tend to ignore the contact field, saving the nuts and bolts contact info for my vCards in Outlook. That said, it would be nice to have a greater level of trust for the information automatically generated by the program.

Another problem is that many people don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet (I know, collective gasp!) and even if they do, they probably don’t take advantage of features such as picture additions. While the integration is clearly useful, it’s not evident on a large scale yet. As LinkedIn and Xobni grow in popularity and scope, these kinds of issues should improve, making an already useful service completely indispensable.

If Xobni, for one reason or another, doesn’t boot up with my Outlook, it’s a crisis. It’s just so easy to find what I need quickly and easily. I really don’t think I could live without it after experiencing its utility.

So GO, download it now if you haven’t already, and join the other savvy marketers and PR pros who are using it to streamline their communications. You won’t regret it

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Contributing writer Marie Williams also blogs at www.flackette.com about PR and agency life. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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Filed under Beta breakers, Marketing, Product Review, productivity, Public Relations 2.0

“3Q’s in 3Min: Joel Postman, Socialized”

A little late–technical difficulties–but still equally full of content, it’s last Thursday’s “3Q’s in 3Min.”

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. The videos are meant to encourage dialog between PR/communications practitioners, journalists and marketers on the future of media.

On a particularly sunny afternoon last week, we met with Joel Postman, Principle at Socialized. In today’s “3Q’s in 3Min,” Joel talks about obstacles publicly traded companies meet when trying to launch a social media campaign and how to defeat them.

When I first met Joel at a Social Media Club event last fall, we discussed the valuable possibilities social media presents for internal communications within large companies. As Director of Executive and Internal Communications at Hewlett Packard, Joel was exposed to the special problems large corporations encounter trying to maintain relations between employees and management.

This week Joel and I chatted about external communications. Being a publicly traded company, you are beholden to your share holders. You’re also closely monitored by the SEC. That means all outward-facing information has to be passed to legal teams for approval.

Such stringent controls might hinder or deter corporations looking to launch a social media campaign. It shouldn’t. It might be a delicate balance to strike, but corporations don’t have to compromise conservatism to engage with their customers, let go of their brand and institute social media campaigns. Key element: educating your employees about what they can and can’t speak about.

Fun Facts about Joel

  • Launched Socialized in January 2008
  • Spent four years as Senior Speechwriter for Sun’s Chairman, Scott McNeally
  • Working on a book to be published in November, SocialCorp, to help corporations walk the delicate line
  • We’re both fans of legendary SF house music DJ and producer, Mark Farina

Watch as Joel offers his top tips to corporate spokespeople trying to get involved in social media and helps corporations figure out what they can’t talk about!

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How does social media strategy differ for a publicly traded company? Do you work with or in a corporation? What are some of the challenges you or you’re clients have experienced? How did you overcome them? Let us know in the comments!

No time to watch the video at work? Get “3Q’s in 3Min” free from iTunes and watch it on the go!

Also, don’t miss out: Got RSS? [what’s that?]. Or, start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox!

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Citizen Reporter, corporate communications, Internal Public Relations, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video Interview

“3Q’s in 3Min: Geoff Livingston, The Buzz Bin”

It’s May Day, and people all around the world are marching towards better rights for workers. That’s right, people everywhere are chanting for more time on Facebook and the ability to watch “3Q’s in 3Min” at their desks.

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. The videos are meant to encourage dialog between PR/communications practitioners, journalists and marketers on the future of media.

Last week while at Web 2.0, we caught up with Geoff Livingston from the Buzz Bin. From media relations to branding and online marketing, Geoff’s fifteen-year career has covered the full gamut of communications. Geoff’s blog is a must-read for anyone pursuing new media marketing and PR, and his book, “Now is Gone” should be required reading for marketing executives. In today’s “3Q’s in 3Min,” Geoff breaks out his crystal ball to look into the future of marketing and PR, and gives some practical advice on strategy.

In the age of new media, the same principles for marketing and PR strategies remain, it’s just the tools that have changed. Instead of trying to force the strategy to fit the tools (blog, twitter, video, etc), Geoff reminds us that it’s important to choose the tools that best work with the strategy we implement.

One of the first steps to developing any strategy is knowing your audience. With social media we have more chances to form conversations and relationships with our audience. Geoff stresses that we have to meet them on their turf, using the tools and platforms they use. It’s part of Geoff’s theory of learning to “think liquid”–move with the community without getting hung up on one particular tool.

In the video below (probably sTNT’s most raw video to date), Geoff postulates the future of communications and the steady march towards humanization of marketing. Oh, and he’s tired of talking about blogs.

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So how do you perceive the future of PR and marketing? Is it more humanized? Let us know in the comments!

No time to watch the video at work? Get “3Q’s in 3Min” free from iTunes and watch it on the go!

Also, don’t miss out: Got RSS? [what’s that?]. Or, start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox!

[The above photo, “You Da Man” by CC Chapman used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Blogging, Future of Media, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video Interview

“Web 2.0 Expo, Day 2: Marshall Kirkpatrick, Loic LeMeur, Simeon Margolis”

Web 2.0 Expo LogoWeb 2.0 Expo marches on, and socialTNT has been there day and night. On Thursday, Day 2 at Moscone Center, socialTNT ran into ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick , Loic LeMeur from Seesmic, Simeon Margolis from Utterz, the Seybold Report’s Chuck Lenatti and BlogTalkRadio’s Hilary Leewong.

In today’s short video montage, we talk with folks on the floor about monetization and marketing strategies, explore the collaborative aspects of social media, and even learn a little French. You’ll also see how all the VC-funded open bars and late night geek-out chats have finally caught up with me.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

No time to watch the video at work? Get “3Q’s in 3Min” free from iTunes and watch it on the go!

Also, don’t miss a post: Drop socialTNT into your RSS reader [what’s that?]. Better yet, subscribe to socialTNT by email!

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Citizen Reporter, Future of Media, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Social Media, Social Networking, Video Interview

“Web 2.0 Expo, Day 1: Kristen Nicole, Dave McClure, Josh Bernoff”

Web 2.0 LogoAs part of what seems to be a conference marathon month, socialTNT is at Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco this week. Instead of our usual “3Q’s in 3Min,” we will be doing short video interviews throughout the conference. On Wednesday, Day 1 of the Expo, socialTNT chats with Mashable’s Kristen Nicole, Web 2.0 Expo organizer Dave McClure and Forrester’s Josh Bernoff.

Check out the video as we talk about the state of Web 2.0, find out what to do with VC money and analyze the marketing messages on the floor. Oh yeah, and we talk about the parties.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

After some feedback from friends and mentors, socialTNT is changing up the way we do videos to reflect our personality and voice–more fun, less stuffy. Let us know what you think!

No time to watch the video at work? Get “3Q’s in 3Min” free from iTunes and watch it on the go!

Also, don’t miss a post: Drop socialTNT into your RSS reader [what’s that?]. Better yet, subscribe to socialTNT by email!

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Marketing, New Media, Social Media, Video Interview