Sunday, 19 February 2012

What are they saying about us?

This week we looked at the social network monitoring software  that help organizations determine who is saying what and know when to jump in or change gears with their strategies. We were asked to look at two free services and one paid.

Comes in both a free and inexpensive model (at $5.99 a month, I’m going to consider Hootsuite a free option.) Through Hootsuite, users can keep rack of their Twitter follower growth, track Twitter mentions and gain insights into who “likes” them on Facebook.

According to their website, you can:

  • create custom reports from over 30 individual reports
  • track brand sentiment, follower growth
  • incorporate Facebook Insights and Google analytics all without leaving the dashboard
“The dashboard allows you to create a tab for each of your accounts and allows you to do things like schedule and send multiple tweets from different accounts at the same time. A Hootlet Bookmarklet allows you to tweet from anypage you are reading.”
(source: Michael Grey)

Adam Troudart likes the fact that it is easy to get information on any of your contacts, that you can see the number of retweets of any of your tweets.

Pulls content from a variety of sources:
Social mention pulls content from approximately 80 user generated content like blogs, FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and YouTube.

Provides details on what is being said about your term:
Type in a term and, if you like, specify which sites you'd like information from, and SocialMention curates a dashboard showing all kinds of information regarding what's being said about it.

Provides a score of your term based on four factors: strength (frequency), sentiment (ratio of positive to negative mentions), passion (likelihood that people mentioning the term will use it more than once), and reach (unique number of users mentioning the term divided by the total number of mentions found). read more
Provides a daily email alert service

See its dashboard

A service you can pay for....
Scoutlabs $249/month
According to Jason Falls, Scout Labs is a self-serve, web-based tool priced for small to mid-sized business and brands  It is comparable to Radian6, but half the price.

 “scans blogs, forums, Twitter, news, photos, videos, open social networks and more,
Scout Labs takes all of that data, counts it, trends it, analyzes it, scores it for sentiment and extracts interesting customer quotes and emotions to present what customers love, hate, want, wish, think, and feel about a brand right now.”
Ways the product benefits social media campaigns:
  • Brand Mentions: you can measure the number of mentions in key channels going back six months and compare data sets.
  • Visualization: generate quick graphs for comparison to industry and other brands. Identify areas of success and for development.
  • Collaboration: Workflow features allowing assignment of post to anyone on the team for quick action. Also, quick save of items of note.
User profile
Scout Labs is designed for use by extended teams across an organization – Everyone can tune in, collaborate and jump into conversations with customers

For a comprehensive overview, see Demain La Veille

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

PR Disaster

This week we were asked to look at Public Relations dilemmas and how social media could be used as a potential solution.  There are a few disasters to choose from, but one that is so charged, I can’t forget about it is the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s  decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood (PP) .
The Foundation has pulled at least a couple of beauts recently, actually, and I feel compelled to touch on both.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the Foundation funds breast cancer screening (look at mandate) and appears to be one of the heavies behind the ubiquitous pink ribbon.  "As the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists, we’re working together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures.” The most recent and famous blunder – pulling $ from Planned Parenthood (PP) –is thought to have potentially affected poor women who depended PP for breast cancer screening. 
January 31, The AP reported that Komen for the Cure has decided to halt grants to Planned Parenthood that were used for breast cancer screening for low-income women. According to the reports, this decision was made in December and communicated to Planned Parenthood, which urged Komen to reconsider. Komen, citing a new policy that prevents grants to organizations under investigation, said because Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-FL, is investigating whether government money was improperly spent on abortions, the decision to pull the funding was final.
On top of the unfolding public relations calamity, the rationale didn’t even make sense. They were still funding organizations whose programs were under investigation
Immediately, Planned Parenthood swept into action. They posted this compelling piece and rallied their supporters to replace what they said that Komen had denied those most in need.
The results were swift and spectacular. NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg immediately tweeted his intentions to donate $250,000 and supporters rallied.
Komen, somehow, had not anticipated the negative response. They were silent as their supporters and those of PP raged on among themselves and the world.  An awkward justification appeared on You Tube , facebook posts were deleted (!!)before Komen retreated and returned the funding to PP. What a mess!
Komen had not considered the potential fallout from the situation. Someone was not talking to their communications team!
The point is, that Komen was completely unprepared and blundered in their communications strategy. 1) they had none 2) they were silent 3) they deleted FB posts , etc.
Underlying all of this of course, is the tension in the US between pro-lifers and pro-choicers, which we may not be so aware of here, but I doubt we would forget for a moment if we were living in the U.S.
PP on the other hand, was ready and did everything right to get the people on their side.
I feel compelled to mention another puzzling strategy of the foundation because it involves an atrocious contributor to ill health among North Americans, (not to mention chickens). The Komen Foundation invited Kentucky Fried Chicken  (KFC) to sponsor their fight against cancer.  What an odd choice KFC is full of hormones that are implicated in breast cancer,it is fried, which is also associated with poor health and cancer,  and that it is  not generally in any way connected to wellness.  
I think the Foundation needs help.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Trick or Tweet

I love Twitter, but for me, here comes the ugly:

If you don’t already know, there are a  number of aps that allows tweeters to preload their account and send the tweets out during peak following times.  Buffer, SocialBro and IFTT are mentioned in the attached article by Jeff Haden.

According to Haden, users can just use Buffer to “make announcements at a specific time, to send time-sensitive tweets like for limited-time offers, to communicate when your followers are most likely to notice.”

Using SocialBro, along with Buffer, you can see who is online, monitor a specific group of users via Twitter lists and monitor search terms. Ultimately, according to Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich, you can “boost click through rates up to 200 percent,” by sending tweets during high peak periods.

Installing Buffer with a browser extension and you can choose a buffer option to schedule your retweets. 

Using IFTT (If  This, Then That) connects two Web services together. IFTT also works with a variety of services, including Google Reader, texts and Instagram. According to Haden, you can “Take a lot of photos in a short period of time and you’ll machine-gun your tweets.”

Okay, I love this from a marketing perspective. I can see how  it could improve my future professional life, should we move into Twitter at work, but my heart sinks at the automation, nonetheless.  No more real time, a little less real. 

Somewhere in the world I am sure that aps are tweeting aps with some sort of tweet monitor analyzing the data to feed back content with a filtering algorithm  - no humans involved!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Community Managers

This week's topic is community managers, a customer-service/public relations type of role dedicated to supporting the growth of online communities attached to the product or service.

The online communities themselves may spring up independently as fans, or be consciously developed by the company.  Much of the literature supports the idea that the community manager err on the side of the public and create trust, rather than transparently towing the company line. For example, a good community manager may recommend another company’s product, if that ultimately builds the trust of the community.

I found the following article by Terry Rachwalski, a consultant in beautiful Victoria, BC. She offers a simple description of what she considers the attributes of a good community manager. Unlike some of the other writers, Rachwalski doesn't see the role as independent of the company agenda.

Two examples of Canadian companies who have demonstrated effective community management:


This company is all over available social media sites and hosts forums on its own site.

From the website: “What truly makes us fantastic is our community. Our team isn't stacked with corporate suits but PC enthusiasts just like our customers. We have very knowledgeable and helpful customers like you who contribute daily to our forums, Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Twitter. Their enthusiasm and support, and yours, helps set us apart from everyone else.”

NCIX has almost  80,000 Facebook members and aside from communities it is involved in listed above, has its own user forum and distributes weekly e-newsletters.

NCIX uses Facebook to host contests, liking gets you the flyer and there is an option to recommend it to friends.

According to the NCIX Facebook page: ”We strongly believe that our success is determined by the experience our customers and partners receive. We thank everyone who supported us over the years and appreciate the continued support as we continue to grow.”


An online bookstore naturally has a huge online community managed on their site as well as a Facebook page, a Youtube channel and Twitter.

Their onsite community offers members a variety of activities including networking with other members, joining or beginning a book club, building a virtual bookshelf, posting reviews and creating top 10 lists.
The Indigo Facebook has almost 240,000 fans and includes a game you can play, an Indigo  Ideas section for customer feedback.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012