Sunday, February 27, 2011

Handling Social Media Mishaps - the Good, Bad & the Ugly

A scary part of social media sites dominating communication channels today is that brands no longer have control over their products or the messages surrounding them. There are 2 fantastic examples of brand faux pas’s within social media recently - one the good and one the bad & very very ugly. @BPglobalPR is a twitter account mocking BP through very ‘official like’ messages. This handle has 177, 360 followers and is listed over 8,000 times meaning that the reach and WOM of this handle is out of control and yet BP has no control over the messages released by this handle. On the other hand, there’s the recent Red Cross Twitter faux pas, which is an excellent example of how a brand successful handled an ‘oops’ moment online.

Let’s talk about these examples and hopefully you will learn some things NOT to do with your brand online & then a few tips on what to DO when something goes wrong (which is bound to happen when this many people are talking about you online).

@BPglobalPR is a twitter handle created on May 19, 2010 mocking BP’s handling of the gulf oil crisis. In my opinion, it is the most professional case of newsjacking to date. BP tried to have the account shut down but twitter essentially quoted freedom of speech and took no action. As a result, the account turned up the mock factor by 10 as seen in this response. “BP wants Twitter to shut down a fake account mocking the oil company. Twitter wants BP to shut down the oil leak that’s ruining the ocean.”  BP had no control over its message and the ‘fake’ account soon had greater reach than BP’s official news releases. People were drawn to the satirical comments and the ‘real’ truths being shared mocking BP’s efforts versus the canned message BP was offering. It’s a pretty scary place for a company when a handle is set up on a social media site and you have absolutely no authority to shut it down or influence the message.

Let’s talk about a good example of a brand owning up to a mistake. Recently the @RedCross account mistakenly tweeted something that should have come from the tweeter’s personal account via a mishap on hootsuite. The tweet read:
Oops – not exactly the message you expect from a 130 year old humanitarian organization. What the American Red Cross did well was own the issue, apologize and move forward. The discussions across twitter no longer mocked the mistake but complimented the Red Cross for owning it.  The Red Cross responded on their website with: “We realized our honest mistake (the Tweeter was not drunk) and deleted the above Tweet. We all know that it’s impossible to really delete a tweet like this, so we acknowledged our mistake:”

They turned this blooper into a powerful social media moment showcasing that the organization is run by “real” people. The twitterverse’s respect only increased for the organization. If only more companies were like the Red Cross and confident to show their human side and have a little laugh at their expense.

Ensure you don’t wait for messages about your brand to go through a thousand and one PR official channels; remember you have to be timely in using social media as if you aren’t someone else will!

Red Cross Twitter Faux Pas:
@BPglobalPR on Twitter:
Read more about BP asking twitter to shut down the “fake” BPglobalPR account:
Interesting article about the man claiming to be behind the @BPglobalPR handle and his motives:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How Smart Phones are Changing Everything - Are You Ready?

The internet is currently going through a revolution and it’s largely happening because of the growth of smart phones. The days of surfing the internet are over; most people are now accessing the internet via a mobile device seeking specific information. You have to drive people to access your brand directly versus hoping they might come across you via an internet search. Using a mobile device is “expected to take over the PC as the most popular way to get on the Web within five years.” Not only is mobile web usage growing but so are the number of apps available to drive specific destinations or information. Scared? Does your marketing plan take into account that your target audience has the web in their hands…literally? Are you thinking about the most used apps and how you can be on those sites because they are where your candidates/consumers are spending time?  Strategy Analytics in March 2010 forecasted that over 1 billion people will browse the mobile web via a smart phone by 2015 – not so far away!

Here are some amazing statistics from Mobi Thinking: Over 300,000 mobile apps have been developed in 3 years and have been downloaded 10.9 billion times. This should peak in 2013. So what are people downloading? Most used mobile apps in the US are “games; news, maps, social networking & music. Facebook, Google Maps and The Weather Channel rule.” Mobile use is only going to get bigger as mobile phone penetration outnumbers fixed internet users 5:2.

Some other interesting facts: 35% of mobile users are now using a media service that connects to the network (other than SMS, MMS, or voice), and the number of ‘just voice’ mobile users has fallen 18% year on year, and is now 35% or less. Also, people who access Facebook from their mobile devices spend approximately 68 more minutes there compared to people who access Facebook from their desktop. Don't you want to be mobile friendly?

So what does this mean for employment branding? A few things to think about are: Do you have a mobile friendly website? Can candidates apply on their smart phone? Are you using social media platforms? Are you available on those apps that your candidates are already spending time – especially Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare etc… How are you ensuring that you are not just keeping up with the trends but stay ahead of the curve to differentiate yourself from your competitors?

What are you doing to plan for the future and prepare your marketing and employment branding campaigns to be mobile friendly?

Want to scare yourself further about mobile internet use? Check out amazing statistics from Mobi Thinking at: &

Monday, February 21, 2011

Series 1: Post 6: Do’s & Don’ts Using YouTube to Find Top Millennials

This is my last post within Series #1 about key tips and tricks in using social media sites to help set you up for success recruiting the RIGHT students/new grads for your company.   Today’s focus is YouTube! Check out some relevant statistics here:

YouTube DO’s:

-     Use it! Create a profile. Video’s fun and it showcases your company culture better than any other medium. You likely have a recruiting video you show on campus & feature on your website. Put all of your recruiting videos on YouTube to extend your reach and get free exposure to YouTube’s millions of users.
-     Choose a YouTube channel to aggregate your video content. Come on – even the Pope uses YouTube and the Vatican has its own YouTube channel! ... So why aren’t you?
-     Be creative in how you can use it; think training, recruiting, and overall employment branding…
o   I have a friend who interviewed for a company in Asia and she had to make a YouTube video on why they should hire her. Love this as it creates great employment branding as future candidate’s can search out these video and the employers can get to know a candidate’s personality. This is a very creative way about using this channel in the interview process.
-     Candidates want the “real” story so encourage use of video in internal employment engagement campaigns & then post videos on the channel and have a film fest with votes to extend the reach/WOM of the campaign.
o   Deloitte did a great campaign called “My Deloitte” doing just this and made it into a film showcase with voting. Employees created word of mouth and shared their videos with their networks as they were incented to win the film fest. Some of these videos (which cost the company ZERO dollars to make) have over a thousand views – now that’s viral employment branding!
o   Use videos to showcase your company culture & candidate’s potential future colleagues. In the LinkedIn Group I run, I asked the students what their top 3 reasons for choosing a company are and every single one of them mentioned company culture! Give them what they want!
-     Focus your user’s attention and ensure YouTube video is embedded into your own website. You got them to your Facebook page or your employment website – don’t lose them!
-     Remove the “suggest other videos” when embedding YouTube videos into your site as you don’t want candidates to click onto unrelated content and the likely hood of them coming back is small.
-     Listen – see what other’s are doing and take the best ideas and twist them to suit your own culture. See what your competitors are doing out there and then differentiate yourself!
-     Add keyword tags that reflect your video’s content; take advantage of search engine optimization (SEO)
-     Take advantage of YouTube’s analytics. YouTube now provides feedback on uploads by providing statistics on: Views, Popularity, Demographics & Discovery. See if your videos are hitting the right target market & tweak as needed.


-     Don’t use it if you are scared of user generated content
-     Don’t Forget to brand it consistently with your other marketing (website, blog etc)
-     Don’t forgot to link your Channel and videos everywhere possible to maximize visibility
-     Don’t build a list via YouTube/build subscribers. When someone views your video on YouTube, a list of “suggested” videos tempts your view away from your content.
-     Don’t create only scripted/staged videos. These have a place but when recruiting millennials they want to see the real deal. Put the camera in your employee’s hands

Are you using YouTube? What companies do you think are doing a great job with this medium?

Link to photo credit/YouTube statistics:

Great employment branding using YouTube - My Deloitte:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Series 1: Post 5: Foursquare Do's & Don'ts for Millennial Recruiting

Building on my last post of an overview of Foursquare, here are some tips and tricks for really being cutting edge by using Foursquare in your millennial recruiting efforts. Be sure to read the previous post on Foursquare prior to digging into these ideas!

Here are some Foursquare DO’s:
-    Ensure your company office is a location within Foursquare
-    Encourage existing employees to “check-in” and leave tips about why they like working at your company or  add general info like where reception is located etc to help candidates coming in for an interview
-    Have a sign at your reception or recruiting event reminding people to check into Foursquare – if the user chooses to connect this update to Facebook & Twitter, you can reach a wide audience with your brand name.  Remember birds of a feather flock together so you are likely reaching a very targeted audience by candidates pushing their update to their networks.
-    Leave simple tips targeted to an audience in relevant locations & people may actually check your tips/click the links within to see the jobs or learn about your employment brand.  Ensure recruiters on campus for events or interviews of student Ambassadors are checking in across campus. Some ideas are:
o    Check in at key locations throughout campus that your target students might check in at and write tips about your opportunities encouraging students to check out your company’s jobs or industry relevant tips that peak their interest to find out more about you (locations: Career center, industry relevant club meeting locations/offices, faculty buildings etc)
o    Leave tips at the university career fair driving people to your booth and making sure your specific booth is set up  as a check-in location on foursquare
o    Do candidates get a giveaway by showing their “check-in” to a recruiter at a campus recruiting event? Make sure you answer “what’s in it for me” when asking someone to do something. They should be rewarded for sharing information about their experience with you with their networks.
-    Ensure if you are using Foursquare you also have a company Facebook profile & Twitter account. As users can push their foursquare updates to these other sites, you want to be sure you have profiles on these websites as candidates may click through to see more information about your company when seeing a friend’s update in their Twitter or Facebook newsfeed. You better be on there if they are looking! Ensure you have an active profile on these sites or you will be left behind.
-    Capitalize on the growing “check-in culture:” At an information session, have a call to action within your presentation for attendees to “check-in” to Foursquare. Make it interactive by asking them to read out a tip, find a photo, write a tip, ask a question about your company, or provide feedback about the presentation to win prizes or have the opportunity to meet the speaker after the presentation before other attendees.
-    Work with Foursquare to create "specials" as these are PUSHED to users versus tips, which users have to click on to see the content within a tip.  According to Foursquare Business Platforms help you “attract new customers or reward your most loyal ones by offering … mobile coupons, prizes or discounts – which are presented to users when they check in at or near your venue. Specials create extra enticement to get customers to stop by – think 20% off a meal, a free dessert, or even a reserved parking spot for your most loyal customers. Specials can be tailored to fit your needs."
o    Set up recruiting “specials” – do people who unlock this special at an event automatically get a phone interview with a recruiter? Can they come and get a day in the life experience working in your office? Do they get to attend a special recruiting event?

-     Don’t be afraid of this medium because it is REALLY growing and you don’t want to be left behind
-     Don’t trash your competitor on this medium as you don’t want to start that battle/ Don’t check in at your competitors office or leave tips about your company as they will just do the same to you
-     Don’t forget to check out what your competition is doing on this platform. Check into their company and see what people are saying

This is the year I am really challenging my employment branding team to use this medium due to its huge growth and for the simple fact that millennials love being rewarded for everyday behaviour. I see future posts on this topic as I learn more about the medium by challenging the status quo and have learnings to share with you – hopefully creating some big wins but also learning from those mistakes that are bound to happen when trailblazing.

Are you using Foursquare as part of your recruiting strategy or overall brand marketing? If YES, what are you doing? If NO, do I tempt you to start!?

Cool IT Foursquare Recruitment Experiment
Learn more about Foursquare Business Platforms
Photo Credit

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Series 1: Post 4: Overview of Foursquare

Foursquare usage is growing by the minute. It is a geolocation social network that you, as a marketer or recruiter, need to know about! Read on to find out more in this 2 part post about what Foursquare is and in part 2 learn the Do's and Don'ts of using Foursquare, which, as a true trend setter should be a part of your millennial recruiting strategy.

Foursquare is one of the fastest growing geolocation social networks. Geolocation is the practice of determining the GPS location of a person and this site allows users to “check-in” at locations, earn badges for multiple check-ins, see where friends have checked-in, and leave tips/photos about certain locations.  2010 represented a year of 3400% growth for Foursquare and it now finds itself with 5 million current users and 381,576,305 checkins and counting. Crazy! Not many Brand Marketers and Recruiters are not fully using this technology.  Some notable brands utilizing Foursquare to build brand awareness and encourage consumer loyalty include Starbucks, InStyle, and People.

Few recruiters are taking advantage of this medium as part of their employment branding strategy.  There isn’t a lot of research or case studies on this topic so it’s an opportunity for recruiters to be real trend setters.  Foursquare is best used in combination with Twitter & Facebook as it can push “updates/check-ins/tips/photos” associated with a check-in to these other social mediums and thus has WOM (word of mouth) potential.   Check in culture extends your message when someone tries to check in, approximately 30% of their network immediately sees that message.

Getting badges and being rewarded for everyday activities is a true 2011 trend and it will continue to grow.  See some cool examples below.  A badge I don’t have but think is pretty cool is the Starbucks Barista badge. Starbucks has worked closely with foursquare to reward local users with the special badge, which is earned by checking into 5 separate Starbucks. By showing this Foursquare badge at the counter, “baristas” get discounts on their purchase – essentially like an old school stamp card; however, this information is held on your smart phone and doesn’t clog up your wallet. This badge rewards current loyal customers, fosters new ones, and allows Starbucks to differentiate itself in a crowded market. Remember there is always a flip side as bad news always travels faster than good news so ensure you have an active listening strategy on these social media sites and address negative tips or feedback ASAP.  Companies can work together with foursquare to create unique badges or have “specials” associated with a check-in at their store, restaurant, or site. Foursquare has amazing tracking abilities for brands to see the number of users checking in and other habits so company’s can better understand their users and target tips/offerings.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post containing Do's and Don'ts of Foursquare that build onto your new knowledge of this platform coming on Wedneseday February 9, 2011! I just had so many ideas after a ton of research that I had to break my post into 2 to keep your attention!

Photos Credits