Social networking sites such as
Facebook and MySpace have become
the party lines of this young century.
They are inviting and intriguing and a
powerful communication tool. Learning
how to use them wisely for marketing
can increase your business profile.
New York Times’ AllBusiness.com
Published: December 24, 2008
The Power of Less
Social Media Strategy
It is not an answer, it is a journey in relation
Two-way Symmetric Model
A model of public relations that
emphasizes the profession as a system
of managing relationships between
organizations and individuals and their
many publics, internal and external.
Emphasis is on building mutual
understanding, trust and relationships.
Two-way Symmetric Model
“Although conceptually the 2-way symmetric
model of public relations is the ideal, it's not
usually the practice. PR people like to be in
control and get messages out and see the
messages resonate and the audience
respond accordingly… The new [social]
media, Web 2.0, is disrupting everything.
Web 2.0 is not just adding to the
communication mix. It requires a completely
new way of thinking.”
Peter Debreceny, chair of the Institute for Public Relations Board of Trustees
Two-way Symmetric Model
Too much control can backfire when the public
has access to information.
2006, the public relations firm Edelman and their client Wal-Mart were
publicly lambasted for creating a blog about the experiences of a couple
travel in their RV and writing about their wonderful experiences and
happy encounters with Wal-Mart employees.
2004, CBS anchor steps down following controversy of a purported
1970s era document, criticizing George W. Bush’s Alabama Guard
service, was shown to be a forgery by a blogger.
Two-way Symmetric Model
Social media now requires organizations
and PR professionals to engage in a two-way
conversation or risk being left on the sidelines
while the “public” controls the communication.
Web 2.0 gives people the tools to access
and publish content quickly and inexpensively
like never before.
Organizations have had their reputations
and brands tarnished because of this online
In 2006, a YouTube video was posted of a Comcast
technician sleeping for an hour at a customer’s home while
he was placed on hold.
Dissatisfied customers created a website,
http://comcastmustdie.com/ and blog,
And the conversation spreads to the blogosphere, “PR
Nightmare: "Comcast Must Die" Blog Unifies Angry
An integrated, on going social
media strategy can help
develop and maintain a
healthy organization / public
There are various tools, both free and paid, to search
for online mentions of your organization.
Google Alerts, http://www.google.com/alerts
Just remember, your competitor is following your
online mentions as well.
Monitor: Comcast’s Lesson
By monitoring the comments posted on blogs, emails, tweeter, etc.
Comcast was able to begin addressing the negative feedback it was
Though it takes them about three years to begin to rebuild there
Sept. 7th, 2009
Dear Friend and/or Fellow Traveler,
ComcastMustDie.com has now evolved. This is partly because we have declared victory
against Comcast, a vast, greedy, blundering, tone-deaf corporate colossus which, in less than
two short years, has finally seen the light.
But tone deaf no more.
As both The New York Times and Washington Post have reported, Comcast has heard our
angry voices and taken concrete steps in the process of putting customers first. Meantime, it
has used ComcastMustDie and now, Customer-Circus.com to specifically resolve many
hundreds of customer complaints. There is a long way for Comcast to go, but there is also no
question that it has been forced by us to reckon with us. Now we will employ the same formula
to other serial customer-abusers.
Turn the bull horn around and begin to listen to the
Create venues for internal and external feedback and
Create a blog for user feedback.
Create a blog for employees to communicate with
Create a Twitter site for near instantaneous two-way
Listen to your public.
Respond to feedback. Remember, even if it’s
negative it isn’t personal. It is an opportunity to turn a
non-supporter into an enthusiast.
Respond, even if your answer is no.
Respond, be sincere and genuine.
Learn by Comcast’s mistake, don’t ignore the
Respond: Comcast’s Lesson
In 2006, Comcast would regularly ignore 2/3
our their customer’s blog comments and
Twitter posts and their customer service
problems became an online uncontrolled
By 2009, Comcast had dedicated personnel to
monitor and reply to comments and feedback.
Think people, not social media.
Think happy customers, not marketing.
Think enthusiast, not influencer.
Think learning cycles, not campaigns.
Raise whuffie*, go deeper than trust.
Be concerned about existing
Be less concerned with influencers
more concerned with how to make
* The Whuffie Factor by Tara Hunt,
building social capital with your public
through your actions.
What is whuffie?
Reputation. Trust. Reach
People you know / who know you
People you count on
Access to ideas, talents, resources
Saved up favors
Make members of your public feel they are respected
members of your team.
Give incentives, not pay.
Invite them into the inner sanctum.
If only setting up a Facebook
page or Twitter account would be
it takes an integrated
communication strategy that
requires a commitment
of time and resources to build
Whuffie is about listening,
relationships and caring:
Social media use is important and should be
implemented into overall strategy.
Social media raise the bar, empowers your public
and help contribute to better organizational image.
If we are doing the good job, those connections,
conversations and sharing will lead to success.
Southwest Airlines: A Success
Twitter - over one million followers. Customers can use Twitter to post complaints,
thoughts, or suggestions, and Southwest will then tweet back to the customer. The company
also uses Twitter for internship recruitment, and contests or discounts. Additionally they send
out travel advisories such as cancellations, delays, or weather issues.
Blog - Nuts About Southwest, awarded 2009’s “Best Blog” for the third year in a row at
the PR News Platinum Awards. Features current events related to Southwest as a company
and also information about employees. They have different polls to get customer feedback,
as well as videos, podcasts, and guest posts from customers. These guest posts are
reviewed by Southwest and they will do their best to resolve any issue or answer any
questions. The blog itself acts as a sort of hub that ties in all of Southwest’s social media
efforts. The bottom of the page has links to YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
YouTube - a variety of entertaining videos including singing or rapping flight attendants,
and a humorous game they call toilet paper racing which must be seen to be understood.
Besides this they have informative videos that deal with customer relations, informing
customers about policies and procedures, and videos about the ways in which the company
is advertising throughout their airports.
Flickr - a discussion forum for suggestions, thoughts, and complaints, but also has photo
groups where anyone can add photos. Southwest then takes these photos and will use them
in their other social media platforms. It seems that this page is a popular site for plane
enthusiasts and has over a thousand members.
Facebook - almost one million friends. The page has contests and sweepstakes to win
free travel and other prizes such as hotel stays, restaurant gift cards, and even cars. The
company uses Facebook to promote their bags fly free campaign
Excepts from CalliBabcock's Blog
David Shanks, Assistant Professor
Tara Hunt, author of The Whuffie Factor