There Are More Rules to Social Media Than Life


It’s no secret that we live in a media driven society, particularly social media driven. Generally speaking, as a society we have become increasingly impatient and we want information disseminated across all platforms as quickly as possible. With that, companies and institutions have this constant pressure to please their publics with quick, interesting and relevant information.

After a few social media fails within the past few years, we have all seen what that pressure can lead to.

The Social Media Governance website is an extremely beneficial tool in order to gain a better understanding of how a variety of companies, agencies, and even educational institutions manage their social media policies.

I compared Kansas State University (KState) and Coca-Cola’s social media guidelines with one another, and although I did not find the results to be very surprising, I definitely thought the differences were worth addressing.

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As I initially scrolled through both websites, it did not take me long to realize how detailed Coca-Cola’s was compared to KState’s…honestly, probably double in length.

Even though I was tempted to contribute to the laziness of our society and skim through most of the paragraphs on both sites, I actually paid a decent amount of attention to each paragraph…key word: decent.

With that said, even through my “decent” reading, it was very clear how much more restricting Coca-Cola is regarding employee’s online communication.

This didn’t surprise me though.

Obviously, Coca-Cola is a massive company, so any minor mistake throws off their entire reputation…including a single tweet. When working for a company like Coca-Cola, your personal social media is just as much of a representation of the company as your professional involvement is. Even if you may not be Coca-Cola’s online spokesperson, you have to act like one, and abide by all of the rules that the assigned online spokesperson does.

With KState, after reviewing their guidelines (notice that I said guidelines and not principles, which is how Coca-Cola refers to them), as an education institution, they take a more relaxed approach.

Now, of course KState recognizes that they too have a significant reputation on the line as a university, but because of their role as an educational institution, they encourage students and faculty to have a voice within the University.

That said, they are not telling their online users what to say, what not to say, how to say it, what to look for; they simply remind them of the ground rules when using social media, all while maintaining a positive reputation for KState.

When representing any company, agency or institution through social media, you always have to be extremely careful; it’s imperative to know who you work, what they stand for and what regulations they have in place.

If you’re working for extremely large, respected companies or agencies, such as Coca-Cola, you may want to leave any online communication up to the online spokesperson, while educational institutions employees or students should use the lack of restrictions regarding the online communication to their advantage.

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You Really “Butchered” It This Time, KitchenAid

With the extremely fast paced and high pressure social media world that we live in, it is so easy for individuals and even big companies to make an accidental, but like we’ve always been told, “Once you put it out there, it’s out there forever.”

KitchenAid is a perfect example of what NOT to do!

In 2012, when Obama was reelected as President, customers really got a sense for how KitchenAid felt about it.

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Although the tweet was promptly deleted, it was still out there long enough for millions of people to respond, and even worse, screenshot the tweet. When I went to search for the image above on Google, all I had to type was “KitchenAid,” and rather than their different kitchen products coming up as primary suggestions, the first suggestion was, “KitchenAid Obama Tweet.”

This tweet was posted due to the fact that the particular employee, who is normally responsible for KitchenAid’s Twitter handle, accidentally tweeted this off of the company’s Twitter page, rather than their own personal page.

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Personally, I still don’t see that as an excuse because when you are an employee of a company you are representing them 24/7. In some cases, your actions and words are direct representations of your employer and what they stand for as a company. Especially with the lack of grammar in this tweet, in my opinion, I think that an employee should maintain professionalism at all times, especially on their personal Twitter page due to the fact that nothing is truly private on social media no matter how secret you make your settings.

I believe that KitchenAid did handle this situation well. They immediately deleted the tweet and tweeted out their sincerest apologies, and were extremely sensitive to Obama and his family during that time. KitchenAid’s Senior Director of Marketing also immediately released a statement to various media outlets:

“During the debate tonight, a member of our Twitter team mistakenly posted an offensive tweet from the KitchenAid handle instead of a personal handle. The tasteless joke in no way represents our values at KitchenAid, and that person won’t be tweeting for us anymore … I am deeply sorry to President Obama, his family, and the Twitter community for this careless error.”

An easy and inexpensive way that I think companies can avoid the mix of personal and professional lives, especially when it can cause a blow up for the company, would be to provide your employees handling the company’s social media accounts with a company phone. It should be required that the company phone is solely for that particular employee’s work email, as well as any and all social media accounts that they are responsible for.

You’ll get em next time KitchenAid! Hopefully.

 

The Key to Success Behind Content Marketing

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Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG) was recently named the #1 media agency in world. Pretty amazing, right?

Having the opportunity to hear from an employee, a recent Marquette graduate that is (*raising the roof motion*), who works for one of SMG’s many internal brands, LiquidThread, was an eye-opening, and extremely informative experience.

SMG and everything that their agency has to offer is nothing short of a success. I mean why do you think I applied to intern for them this summer? Because they’re amazing!

SMG is committed to their clients and they are constantly applying the latest digital trends to all of their brands just as quickly as the trends are popping up and continuing to evolve.

In regards to the media field and the endless list of global media agencies, SMG is an extremely respected company, and to have the opportunity to work for any of their internal brands is about as good as it gets!

Manager of Brand Content at SMG’s LiquidThread, Joe Buzzelli, introduced our class to a whole new world of brand content, particularly regarding how to understand brands, how to maintain relevance within your brand, and how to be the best brand among your competitors.

“Yes, you absolutely need to understand content, but first, and more importantly, you need to understand people.”

I couldn’t help but quote Joe word for word on that because of how beautiful it was – yes, beautiful. It is such a simple thing to remember, yet so many brands forget this. Too many brands nowadays are so focused on developing the most creative content that they forget about their audience, the sole facet and drive behind why they are creating that content in the first place.

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During the first stages of creating content, brands need to step back and remember why they are doing what they are doing, but more importantly, who are they creating what they’re creating for.

In order to stand out and be the most successful brand, it’s imperative that brands create stuff that people love and will feel immediately attracted to, whether it be physically or emotionally, or both.

Brands need to fully understand the needs, wants and passions of their audience.

When brands are able to identify their target audience as people, rather than consumers, then, and only then, is when they will truly succeed.

“Let’s Get Digital!”-Laughlin Constable

Have you ever walked into a room, sat down, and started listening to what is being said and just felt so unintelligent? Yeah…that’s kind of how I felt at this year’s Digital Summit hosted by the Diederich College of Communication and Laughlin Constable, but in the best way possible, I swear.

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This year, we were able to gather speakers from extremely well-respected companies such as, Google, Spotify, Microsoft, Laughlin Constable and many many more. That said, now do you kind of understand why I didn’t feel like the brightest bulb in the bunch? I mean seriously, these speakers were incredible. Their expertise in everything digitally related was extremely commendable and inspiring, especially for me, a student currently studying and hoping to pursue a career in the digital media field. This year’s speakers taught me so much more than I could have possibly ever learned in a classroom.

Although I gained a tremendous amount of insight from all of the speakers, I would have to say that one of the best speakers was Laura Markewicz, the Vice President of Digital Strategy at Laughlin Constable. Her insight regarding the future of our digital world and the various keys to success was fascinating.

Laura’s Top Five Rules for Success in the Digital Field:

1.) How we use technology is what matters most. By itself, technology means nothing, it’s how we apply it.

2.) Never think like a marketer, think like a human! (This was said more than once throughout the course of the entire Summit, by multiple speakers)

3.) Dare to be different! Do the opposite! Step out of your comfort zone because that’s the only way that changes will continue to evolve.

4.) Disruption happens every single day, and we need to embrace those changes.

5.) Stick to your roots. Never stop telling stories! You need to tell stories that entertain, inform and inspire in order for them to be most effective.

Later in the day, Laura’s boss, Mark Carlson, the EVP of Strategic Planning at Laughlin, really emphasized Laura’s final rule for success. He explained that as humans, we process over 700 words per minute because of the various amounts of thoughts that are running through our head. The only time that we are able to genuinely focus is when we are being told a good story. Good story telling is what marketing needs to be today, especially with all of the outside distractions.

One of the most memorable quotes from Laura’s presentation was actually from Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, he said: “Do something. Either lead, follow or get out of the way.”