RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Social Media

Animal Shelters & Social Media: The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship

Photo Courtesy of chenected.aiche.org

This year’s October issue of DOGFANCY had a great article by Kim Campbell Thornton about how marketing and social media can empower shelters. As a public relations specialist and a supporter of animal shelters, I was glad to see that the use of social media within a shelter’s marketing plan is finally going main stream.  In my opinion, social media has been overlooked far too long in the animal shelter world and it’s exciting to see it being used more and more. The whole point of the article in DOGFANCY was to showcase how shelters are getting creative with their community relations plan to draw in more potential adopters while gaining community support.

Some of the creative marketing ideas that Thornton listed were:

  • “senior citizen discounts

    A child’s birthday party at the Humane Society of Huron Valley

  • fundraisers featuring bingo night
  • birthday parties for kids
  • furry speed dating
  • money-back guarantees
  • attractive professional photos
  • clever copy”(Thornton, 31)

Thornton went on to say that “outside-the-kennel” thinking is what will ultimately help shelters achieve their goals.

The Nevada Humane Society in Reno was highlighted in this article as their Executive Director Bonney Brown has come up with some very clever events. Some of those events are:

  • “a Valentine’s Day promotion including a three-hour Furry Speed Dating event
  • a 10-day Mardi Gras adoption promotion with a “Mardi Paws” parade featuring animals who had been in the shelter the longest and came with reduced adoption fees
  • a Presidents Day adoption promotion
  • an Arbor Day promotion where adopters received a free tree from a local nursery and light bulbs from the local energy company
  • a car dealership pays for Pet of the Week ads and people who test-drive a car get discounted pet adoptions
  • Moms get a special deal on adoptions on Mother’s Day
  • an Independence Day ice cream social
  • having the shelter stay open late on Halloween so families can come trick-or-treat” (Thornton, 32).

As for the use of social media, Thornton gave great real-world examples of how shelters are utilizing these free tools.

The Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Colorado utilizes Facebook to:

  • “announce events
  • post information about specific animals
  • request donations of needed items
  • remind pet owners of seasonal concerns” (Thornton, 32)

The Baltimore Humane Society uses Twitter to:

  • “call for foster homes and volunteers
  • feature pets for adoption
  • post YouTube videos of available pets
  • announce events and media coverage” (Thornton, 32)

Destroying the stereotype of a dark, damp, poorly-kept kennel is something social media and creative marketing strategies can accomplish for shelters.  As Brown said in this article, “Make the shelter a fun place instead of a place people dread” (Thornton, 32). If animal shelters will continue to embrace the new possibilities that social media and marketing can bring, I truly believe that more animals would find “fur-ever” homes-and isn’t that what it’s all about? 🙂

***If you’d like to read the article I received this information from, here’s the data for the DOGFANCY magazine the article was in:

DOGFANCY, OCT. 2012, Volume 43/Number 10***

Advertisements

The Conversation Prism: A Map for the Ever-changing World of Social Media

Photo Courtesy of theconversationprism.com

Chapter 18 of Engage! by Brian Solis focused on the Conversation Prism. To be honest, before reading this chapter, I’ve never even heard of the conversation prism. So, what is it you say? In 2007, Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas (of JESS3) created the Conversation Prism-the map of the social media “world” (Solis, 160). “What it offered initially, besides an organized view of the new web, was to demonstrate the sheer magnitude of the Social Web’s potential, activity, and overall reach” (Solis, 160).

The Conversation Prism contains 32 different categories of social media. They are as follows:

  • Social bookmarks
  • Comment and reputation
  • Wisdom of the crowds
  • Questions and answers
  • Collaboration
  • Social commerce
  • Blog platforms
  • Blogs and conversations
  • Social curation
  • Crowdsourced news and content
  • Streams
  • Nicheworking
  • Do-it-yourself and customer social networks
  • Blog communities
  • Micromedia
  • Discussion boards and forums
  • Social networks
  • Listening and targeting
  • Mobile devices
  • Attention dashboards
  • Business networking
  • Reviews and ratings
  • Location
  • Video
  • sCRM
  • Documents and content
  • Events
  • Music
  • Wiki
  • Virtual worlds
  • Livecasting
  • Pictures (Solis, 162-164)

As you can see, there are A LOT of categories. Most businesses don’t have the time needed to go through all of them to find out what areas they need to focus on. The Conversation Prism is a great tool! It can help companies get started with exploring what social media outlets there are besides Facebook and Twitter (which can ultimately lead the company to expanding their consumer audience). I am quite shocked that there aren’t very well-known tools such as this because it’s such a great resource!

Click here for more information about the Conversation Prism.

You Like Us! You Really Like Us! What To Do After Your Company Gets “Liked” on Facebook

Photo Courtesy of beonpage1blog.com

While browsing the Web the other day, I found a great article called “What Happens After the Facebook Like? 20 Tips to Engage Your Audience After the Like” by Pam Moore.  As the post’s title suggests, Moore gives readers 20 tips to help them engage with their Facebook fans. This post will outline what tips I thought were especially important for companies to know.

Accept a Facebook “like” as the start of a brand new relationship

  • A lot of companies see “likes” on Facebook as the main indicator of success with the social media platform. Companies who think like this are wrong! As Moore put it, “It is the first step the visitor has made in engaging with your brand. It’s up to you what happens next.” Don’t think that gaining “likes” is the only goal companies have on Facebook-this popular communication medium is used for much more than that!

Develop an editorial calendar

  • Staying organized and focused is key when it comes to successful social media usage. Moore suggests making a weekly editorial calendar to help plan out what you’re going to talk about with your fans and when. Moore goes on to say that “The editorial calendar and content should obviously support your plan inclusive of goals and objectives.”

Focus on value

  • What can your status updates offer that other similar companies don’t? Why should people “like” your brand? Moore asks, “How can you connect with the public personally and professionally?”  Making your content fun and unique will retain your company’s current fans and also help to gain new ones.

One size does not fit all

  • A “like” on Facebook can mean a lot of different things for the people involved. Moore said it best when she wrote, “By varying the types of content you post, you will increase your chances of engagement and action by your audience.” Diversify and your page will be on the path of success!

Overall, this article offered some great tips! You can read the rest of Moore’s article here.

The Rules of Engagement: How Companies and Their Employees Define Online Interactions

Photo Courtesy of socialmediadaily.com.au

Chapter 17 of Engage! by Brian Solis was very interesting because the chapter discussed what companies should and can do to make sure that the online interactions between employees and the public are positive.

Solis started out by saying, “With access to social tools, we are more influential than we realize, and that works both for us and against us. Without realizing the impact of a single update, employees are jeopardizing brand stature, reputation, and competitive edge” (Solis, 133).  How can companies help prevent both intentional and unintentional social media mishaps? By planning ahead and offering training to employees, no one is left out of the loop and the chance of an online crisis occurring is lowered.

Solis gave 23 tips for defining a company’s rules of online engagement. They are:

  • Discover what audiences have influence and find out how they function and what they need and want.
  • Participate with a purpose-not just anywhere.
  • Consistently create, contribute to, and reinforce service and value.
  • Focus on participating where everyone –both you and your audience- can gain from it.
  • Establish emotional connections to create deeper relationships.
  • Determine the brand identity, character, and personality you wish to portray – and match it to the individual persona of who’s in front of it when online.
  • Adapt the organization’s personality to the voice of the community in which you’re engaging.
  • Be aware of the behavioral cultures of the community and adjust your outreach accordingly.
  • Be a participant in the community you wish to connect with.
  • Don’t speak at audiences through messages.
  • Dig deeper to understand how the Social Web affects your business objectives.
  • Learn from each engagement.
  • Ensure that any external activities are supported by a comprehensive infrastructure to address situations and adapt to market conditions and demands.
  • Establish the go-to member of the company that will be responsible for identifying, trafficking, or responding to anything that can affect brand perception.
  • Do something! Don’t just listen.
  • Collaborate and earn connections.
  • Empower advocacy.
  • Embody the attributes you wish to portray and instill.
  • Don’t get lost in conversation or translation; ensure your involvement strategically maps to objectives specifically created for the Social Web.
  • Establish and nurture beneficial relationships both online and in the real world.
  • Un-campaign programs and ensure they’re part of a day-to-day cause.
  • Become a resource to your communities!
  • Give back, reciprocate, acknowledge, add value, and contribute where it makes sense.

(Solis, 151-152)

Following these points will give your company a strong start to a great social media policy and online presence.

A company that has social media policies and guidelines in place is going in the right direction. Giving employees an idea of what proper online interactions are is an important step in prevention.  “One might believe that common sense is pervasive and prevailing; I believe that common sense, however, is mostly uncommon” (Solis, 133). This quote really stood out to me in this chapter. Think about it, in today’s world, a lot of crises happen online and most of which could’ve been easily prevented if the persons involved had gotten knowledge about what to not do online.

Job Searching with Social Media

Photo Courtesy of libn.com

In the Jobs section of today’s Detroit Free Press there was a great article about boosting your job search with social media. Author Kaitlin Madden, from CareerBuilder.com, gave five tips for getting the most out of social media when it comes to searching for that perfect job.

1. Use each platform correctly.

This might sound like commonsense but many do not know that they should treat their social media accounts (such as Facebook and LinkedIn) differently. Madden wrote, “Using Facebook to network can actually backfire if you inadvertently give professional contacts access to unprofessional pictures or posts on your accounts.” She went on to say that using sites, such as Facebook, for researching companies before interviews can be very beneficial. Using a company’s social media to see what the company is or has been doing, is a great way to show that you took time before the interview to understand the company better. What a great way to impress potential employers!

2. Grow your network.

As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you do, it’s who you know that counts” and Madden said that LinkedIn is a great way to expand your professional network. She wrote, “Adding colleagues (past and present), friends and relatives will help you see the potential ‘ins’ you have at certain companies.”

3. Follow companies.

As stated in point 1, following or “liking” a company’s Facebook or Twitter account can give you a leg up on your job competition in an interview. In this article, Jonathan Riedel, owner of Forword Translations (a translation services company), said, “If you get an interview with a company, mention a specific point about the blog, Facebook page or website, and allude to their mission statement directly and how it fits with your objectives for the future.”

4. Become a resource.

Madden wrote that you can become a resource for others in your industry by posting industry-related information and links. Steve Webb, an Internet marketing consultant at Web Gnomes, said, “Think of your social media presence as one large resume that shows potential employers that you are quite knowledgeable about and actively involved in your industry.”

5. Monitor your online presence.

It is critical for any job seeker to present themselves in a positive light online. Just because you think your photos are private, doesn’t mean that others cannot see them. There are ways around security settings, so do not let your guard down! Madden said, “It’s important to make sure you don’t post anything that would embarrass you or cause a potential employer to question your employability. Nothing can hurt a job search more than making people think you’re a liability.”

Remember social media is a tool and if used correctly, it can be a great asset to your resume.

If you’re using social media as a way to boost your job search and would like to get some more helpful tips from Madden, please click here.

Business Videos: Turn Off the Hard Pitch to Connect and Potentially Make More Money!

One area that is discussed in chapter 9 of Engage! by Brian Solis is video broadcast networks. Video is a great medium for companies to utilize. It allows the company to connect to their audiences through a channel of communication that is widely used. As Solis pointed out though, this is not as easy to do as it sounds. Solis wrote, “Obviously the opportunity for finding online video audiences is tremendous. Getting and holding their attention, however, is different. Anyone can shoot and upload a video. Our brand’s perception is defined through the content we produce and share. Quality, professionalism, creativity, and context speak volumes. Otherwise anyone, including your competitors, could win market share through the creation of amateur video” (Solis, 65).  When companies produce poorly-made videos just to try and get attention, they will lose their credibility in their field. How could they lose credibility just by producing a lousy video? Well, if they did not care enough to put the effort and time into the production of their own movie, how do consumers know that they don’t do the same thing with their product or service? In order to gain trust from their viewers, a company MUST produce videos that are relevant, informative and of good quality!

Photo Courtesy of e-maniacs.com

Videos are used for storytelling, entertainment and education (Solis, 67). These three areas are crucial for businesses to keep in mind when producing videos. If the videos do not meet a need of the viewers (as listed above), it won’t keep their attention (thus the desired result from the video will be a flop)!

Companies, also, need to remember to keep the content of their videos unique. Videos that stand out from the status quo will be more likely to succeed. Solis listed quite a few ideas for interesting videos. They are:

  • short demos
  • screencasts
  • event footage
  • “day in the life of” snippets
  • collages
  • customer or hero interviews
  • original episodes related to your value proposition
  • behind-the-scenes footage
  • helpful guides
  • did-you-know segments (Solis, 67)

As you can see from Solis’ list, there are quite a few things a company may do while utilizing this medium of communication. They’re only limited by their imagination when it comes to producing meaningful yet entertaining videos for the company.

The businesses that are mindful of the meaning behind videos, the importance of quality and are original with how they supply their information will be successful with connecting to their customers and thus, will increase their chances of making more capital.

***Here is the works cited information for Engage!:

Solis, B. Engage!: the complete guide for brands and businesses to build, cultivate, and measure success in the new web. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011.

Blogs: How Can Companies Make the Most of this Social Media Platform?

Chapter 4 of Engage! by Brian Solis discussed blogs, podcasts, and livecasts. For this post, I am going to focus on discussing what was said about blogs.

Blogs can be a great tool for an organization to communicate with its public. It’s a way to develop a bond with the consumer of their product or service. Blogs allow the company and consumer to have a deep, two-way conversation that most other social media platforms cannot support (ex. Twitter).

Photo Courtesy of ecommercechangetheworld.blogspot.com

That being said, it is a shame that some companies completely misuse their blog. Instead of having a two-way conversation with their public, they are using the blog as a way to post press releases and their marketing campaigns (which makes consumers leery of company blogs’ sincerity) (Solis, 26).

What should companies do to prevent misusing their blog and losing the public’s approval? Solis listed five questions that companies should ask while developing their blog. They are:

  • What’s the cause?
  • What’s the intent?
  • How can we fill a void and, more importantly, how can we help solve problems?
  • What should readers take away from the blog?
  • Why should anyone link back to the blog?

(Solis, 27)

Solis goes on to say that when a company is writing a blog post, they need to frequently reference outside sources that inspired their post (Solis, 29). Not only is this method a way to avoid plagiarism but linking out to other sources shows the public that the company isn’t just putting themselves in the spotlight (since they’re referencing others who are knowledgeable in the field).

***Here is the works cited information for Engage!:

Solis, B. Engage!: the complete guide for brands and businesses to build, cultivate, and measure success in the new web. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011.