Why Blogging is Important?

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For this week’s assignment we are supposed to present our views on blogging and whether we will continue writing blogs. The first thought that comes to your mind when you think about blogging is tedious and time-consuming. Writing blogs is not as simple as tweeting or posting on Facebook. Blogging requires thorough research, well structured content to support the topic, examples and quotes from other articles or speakers and repeated editing. The blog culture started as diary entry practice, and were supposed to be personal. However, nowadays blogs are one important aspect of your social media profile. You cannot write blogs assuming that no one will read it, as it is a part of your social media identity and when a person search your name on internet, link to your blogs will also appear in the results. Thus, we have to look more closely at the content of the blog as you don’t want General Motors to look at your negative blog about their company in the process of employee background check.

Now the important question is having learned this entire process of careful blogging, do I still want to write blogs? To be honest, blogging is tedious especially when you have three other classes, a job and your left over social life to manage. Sometimes you come across topics on which you instantly feel like writing and presenting your own view, but more often the topics needs to be researched before really writing something on them. Having said that, I also want to point out that blogging helps in developing and evaluating your ow insight on any topic. For example, if we talk about Ford Fiesta campaign or General Motors crisis management topic, both include two automobile companies, but my perspective of approaching them was totally different. Where Ford is one of the social media branding leaders today General Motors is still coming out of the crisis. So, blogging makes you dwell deeper into your mind to really understand how different brands use the power of social media differently and how it impacts their reputation in general.

In conclusion, blogging is important to build an effective and strong social media profile of yourself and must be undertaken by every PR professional. It is not important how often you post, but it is important what do you post. So, my final take on blogging is that I am going to continue building up on my blogging skills and will try to perfect it with every blog I publish.

My advise blog…blog…blog.. its not necessary but its definitely helpful.

 

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Social Media Learnings

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After devoting one entire semester to blogging and tweeting, while using other social media tools such as Pinterest, LinkedIn and measurement tools such Google Alerts and Technorati, I can definitely say I have achieved a designation of social media maven. Its been almost one year since I joined the course of Public Relations and Corporate Communications at NYU, and I have never incorporated social media as much as I did in the last 3 months.

The social media tools, which I never touched upon before such as Tumblr or Google+ became easier to use after I learned from my friends the interesting ways to use them and the difference between them like Tumblr and WordPress or Facebook and Google+. I also became aware of the brands that use social media to its full capacity and are successful doing this such as Coca-Cola (Newsrooms), Best Buy (Employee Community) and General Motors (Crisis Management).

Social media is in itself a very broad topic, which touch upon all the other marketing practices used today. If we debate about who own this new platform, then the conclusion can never be reached as this media has the potential to be used by everyone. The Web 2.0 is a dynamic, user-friendly platform that connects not only B2B or B2C, but also C2C (Yelp and Amazon). Its a form communication that connects many to many. The power of social media is increasing everyday and the interesting thing is the small businesses or the laggards, which were slow in adapting new technology are among the first ones to harness this power truly.

The social media class was enlightening in terms of tools available for use of people (easy website designing and research), topics discussed (British Airways – Inappropriate tweet) and people who can be reached. Its difficult for any one class to cover all the social media platforms or success stories, but it still provided me with great insights into the current standing of social media, and I am definite now that social media is going to turn into traditional marketing tool soon making all the other tools such as newspapers, television or radio anachronistic.

Getting Help from LinkedIn

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LinkedIn is not another social media platform to talk to friends or family and see what’s going on with their personal lives. It is also not a highly professional and regulated network where you don’t post anything and not build relations at all. The matter of fact is LinkedIn is a channel of communication that connects you with friends, colleagues, professors, alumni and employers around engaging and enlightening conversations.

The purpose of LinkedIn is to integrate your personal and professional connections to build a network that is useful and helpful. It encourages you to develop a profile, which combines your extra-curricular activities with your professional work life, resulting in relationships that leads to your growth and may ultimately help you get the dream position or job, the one that you always wanted.

As a social media network, it is not overtly personal like Facebook or Pinterest and thus, people might resist accepting requests from unknown people. However, it honors the same principle of social media or Web 2.0 i.e. connecting people with similar interests or aspirations and building a connection between them through internet. So, LinkedIn allows you to send requests to people you want to connect with, want information from or look up to; all you need to do is write a personalized request telling them why you want to connect with them, and you will build a connection right away.

LinkedIn is not a job portal with postings, but a medium through which you can make your process of job search extensive and easy. It provides you job postings with company’s profile and expectations for the candidates. The social media platform also tells you how many applicants have already applied for this position to give you a heads up. Taking it one step further LinkedIn now also tells you who visited your profile, so you can know who is interested in your professional story and you can reach out to them.

Groups and Q&A section help you target your queries and get specific answers from industry’s experienced professionals, this helps you prepare well for your interviews and provide you with in-depth knowledge of the industry you are approaching. Through LinkedIn you can apply directly to jobs posted and can also use the platform to build your resume on careers website of other companies you are applying to.

So, in short LinkedIn not only saves you time, but also build a profile for your prospective employers, colleagues or friends to know your professional background, congratulate you for your new job and contact you for help, or even better a new job. I would suggest you LinkedIn to its full potential today to utilize your skills and capabilities to its best possible capacity.

 

Social Media – A Gift for Non Profits

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Not for Profit organizations are never seen as a brand or a company. These organizations do not get involved in marketing activities such as running expensive commercials on television or full size print ads in newspapers. Still non-profits have to reach out to people not to sell their products or services, but for the sake of those people it stand for. Non-profit organizations are continuously in a race to win more supporters, volunteers or donors to help the organization in achieving its goal of either providing safe drinking water or nutritional food to poor kids. Social media provides non-profit a platform to communicate its messages in a clear and concise way, in a language its followers will understand and respond, without involving huge sums of money.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest help in targeting the people who are eager to help those suffering from poverty, rare diseases or lack of education. The biggest example of the non-profits’ victory on social media is the “Water is Life” campaign founded by Ken Surritte. The campaign has successfully used hashtags #FirstWorldProblems, #WiL to gather people’s attention and used YouTube videos to start conversations. The organization collected more money than it ever did before using social media and gathered 4.8 million views on YouTube of the following video.

This success teaches us following lessons, which every non-profit should use on social media:

1. Tell an Engaging Story – Social media should be used to tell the story of the people suffering from the problems that your organization addresses. The Facebook pages and Twitter hashtags are not setup just to inform people that organization is accepting donations, but to inform people what is happening around the world and how they can help to combat this problem. The people should be willing to participate in your cause and this can be done by connecting them with the cause emotionally.

2. Organize Events and Fundraisers – Use your Facebook page to organize events to share information with people, gather them in a place to conduct training workshops or raise money using online activities. Organizations can also conduct online webinars or virtual fundraisers to save money on catering and entertaining, and rather contributing to actual cause.

3. Become a Source of Information – The organizations for Alzheimer or Cancer should not just ask people for donation, but also provide valuable information on disease management to families and individuals. The organization should be able to build trust among its audience by providing them latest information i.e. backed by their research scientists or other credible organizations. This will help in building the brand value of the organization and people will reach out for guidance and support.

The not-for-profit organizations are serving a cause and social media act as a medium to reach their goals. So, I hope other organizations will adapt these lessons to modify their social media presence soon, so to reach out to people and help in turning the world a better place.

 

 

As goes GM, so goes the country – True?

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General Motors, a “Too Big to Fail” automobile manufacturing company has not only taken away taxpayers’ money, but also their trust in the brand. The recall of 4.8 million cars in the United States in the first quarter of 2014 has sparked a controversy between GM’s actions and customers’ dissatisfaction. The failure of General Motors to communicate important information a decade ago resulted in 12 deaths, which aggravated people’s anger and caused distress among the company’s top management. A company that filed for bankruptcy in 2009 is now under scrutiny, not just for its operations, but also the quality checks.

GM’s recall fiasco is the current hot topic for both the traditional and social media, and is a case study in becoming on crisis communications. The automobile manufacturer’s new CEO Mary Barra is doing quite a job at communicating with people through videos on YouTube and press releases filled with personal apologies. The marketing division at GM is maintaining the status quo by continuously advertising on television, newspapers and internet, and is doing their best to show the company’s best products forward. However, the biggest challenge of GM is not the recall, but its communication on social media. The Facebook and Twitter accounts of General Motors are filled with complaints from customers whose cars have been recalled. This is particularly the result of company’s mismanagement of the entire crisis situation and inability to meet people’s expectations over traditional crisis helplines such as telephones or emails.

General Motors Current State

Too Big to Drown?

On the other hand the social media team of GM seems to be doing a good job at handling heavy inflow of tweets and posts from frenzied customers by replying to each of them personally and as quickly as possible. This action has encouraged even more people to reach out to the company using social media so as to get what they expect in return for the recall, whether its rental car, free ride back home or a new car.
Now the biggest challenges are: How is GM going to deliver the free rentals it has promised to people on social media and if it fails to do so then what’s going to happen to the reputation of the company? The Facebook and Twitter have made company’s recall process harder or easier will be proven in a short time by the company’s ability to deliver on its promises, as we all know if you promise it on social media you get rewarded by loyal fans, but if you fail you get even more critics. So, in lieu of GM’s preparations for the next round of meeting with the Congressional committees, lets see what role social media plays to GM’s success or failure. Will GM survive the social media test, and if it survives will GM be able to hold its place as one of the biggest auto manufacturers in the country, so big to decide the country’s direction. Lets wait and watch.

Facebook and its War with Privacy

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Facebook, world’s most popular social media platform with highest number of active users has been under a constant scrutiny for its not-so-robust privacy rules ever since it came into existence. The privacy crisis with the social media giant often occurs because it is reactive in its approach rather than being proactive. Facebook does not change any of its privacy policies or rules unless it is forced to do so and then for the data breaches, Facebook simply apologizes and forget it. Facebook has also been cited to share much more information than we believe it does and store even greater amount of information of its 900 million users.

Lets look into some of the glitches of Facebook Privacy Settings –

1. Deleting an account takes a month for Facebook and even then the data can be stored in Facebook’s server for 90 days.

2. When you choose the option of sharing a post with friends of friends, its almost like sharing your posts with everyone.

3. The pages you like are used as bait to get more advertisers and this data can be used to create sponsored content and advertising campaigns on Facebook.

In a survey conducted recently on 300 Facebook quitters, 48.3% said they left Facebook over privacy concerns. On this, Mark Zuckerberg said, “privacy was an outdated concept in today’s even more connected world.”

The sharing and likes on Facebook has also led to exponential increase in ID thefts, security breaches and phishing scams. The data shared on Facebook such as birth date, family information, sexual or racial affiliation and contacts result in data mining by employers, advertisers, thieves, IRS and lawyers. However, the biggest threat is search engines, which use our personal data from Facebook to create sponsored links. So, if your friend tagged you in a picture that can be seen by anyone, then you might be able to appear with that image on Google searches. Now, entire world can see what you buy, like and where you were last night.

Protecting privacy has become really important now as we are under constant supervision of people we don’t know. We also do not want to disclose our personal information for promotional purposes and thus, we should all take control of our profile’s privacy settings and make it as stringent as we can to make our information available to only our target audience and save ourselves from privacy breaches by strangers.

Ford Riding the Social Media Wagon

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In the time when most automakers are trying to keep themselves in business and are on the verge of bankruptcy, one of the biggest automobile manufacturers is going bigger among its public. Ford Motor Company, world’s fifth largest automaker, described by Forbes as “the most important industrial company in the history of the United States” and top 10 of the Fortune 500 list is one of the very few companies which are able to harvest the true energy of social media. The recent era of recession and housing bubble transformed as an urgent need for innovation and customization. Most Fortune 500 companies started re-engineering their marketing and thus selling efforts. At the same time Ford instead of investing hugely in traditional media, revamped its social media efforts.

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Ford Motor Company with its first successful social media campaign, Fiesta Movement in 2009 chose 100 social media agents to promote their new fiesta model through Twitter, blogs and videos without using traditional media. The results were phenomenal:
YouTube Video Views – 6.2 million +
Flickr Views-750, 000 +
Twitter Impressions –40 million +

To top it all Fiesta Movement got more than 50,000 interested customers of which 97% doesn’t own Ford.
Ford’s Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager, Scott Monty, who has 103,000 followers on Twitter, is the strategic advisor to the company and is responsible for re-launch of the Fiesta Movement. He is ranked by Forbes as one of the top 10 influencers in social media. In one of his interviews Scott said, “Ford do not concentrate on creating marketing value for its cars through its social media campaigns but focus on the content creation that adds value to existing social media topics of interest”. Ford has created a unique tool called ConnectFord, which provides content in the form of articles and videos.
ConnectFord also allows interested people to create their accounts on the portal and share their videos, blogs, or pictures with other members. This partnership works for both the parties as Ford has millions of followers so a person who shares the content on their ConnectFord portal can make its content reach millions of followers of Ford.

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Ford and Me

One of the most significant aspects of this entire portal is that you receive points for photos, videos and articles shared or recommendations made to connect to the portal. However, you don’t receive any points if you write just about Ford. This is done on purpose to avoid being part of the pay to share kind of system.

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ConnectFord

Ford through Ford Social has integrated all its social media channels in one and tends to stand out as the leader in social media amongst its competitors, GM and Chrysler. All this also leads way to free giveaway of Ford brand new cars, which is like icing on the cake. Every loyal customer loves to be rewarded. It provides further attention and motivation to social media geeks to follow a particular brand.
In all Ford Motor Company has become a social media giant, specifically in the automakers industry by not just coming out of the recession pretty soon but also making it huge on social media.