By Benjamin Haslem
A friend shared this image (left) on Facebook yesterday as part of her efforts to fight plans to build three coal export terminals at Abbot Point in Queensland. The development will include the dredging of 3 million cubic metres of sludge, or spoil – which will be dumped in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
I'm not here to take sides in this debate - primarily because I'm not across all the facts.
But what piqued my interest in the above image were what appear to be skyscrapers on the horizon.
The image was originally posted on Facebook with the following text:
"This is as ugly as it gets. Dredging 40km off the Great Barrier Reef occurring NOW just to make money for coal mining. This Government stinks."
The wording implies the photograph is of the actual dredging occurring 40km off the Great Barrier Reef now.
But there is nowhere off the Great Barrier Reef that would have skyscrapers in the distance. The Reef does not extend as far south as the high-rise lined Gold Coast, on the far southern coast of Queensland.
And Port Abbot is near Bowen in North Queensland.
So using Google's search by image function, I was able to quickly determine the photograph is from work being conducted on Palm Island in Dubai.
If you're going to use social media as part of your campaign for change it is crucial you be accurate and honest.
This goes for any communication effort.
If you lose credibility by posting images or making claims that are not backed up by the facts, people will quickly turn off and the people whose attitudes you are trying to change will not engage.
All the original poster of this image needed to write was:
"This is as ugly as it gets. Dredging off the coast of Dubai. This is also what is happening now, 40km off the Great Barrier Reef, just to make money for coal mining. This Government stinks."
Nevertheless, the original post has had over 5000 shares in two days.
By Benjamin Haslem
... sorry seems to be the hardest word*.
Another PR disaster has crossed my desk, courtesy of PR Daily:
"What started with a cancer patient putting on a hat to keep himself warm apparently ended with police arriving at a Morton’s Steakhouse in Nashville to escort him and his entire party out of the restaurant."
There's some confusion about what actually happened but the perception off the bat is that the restaurant's assistant manager put some pedantic rule about headwear ahead of human compassion.
Predictably, Morton's has copped a barrage of social media opprobrium.
But instead of apologising (even for a misunderstanding), the restaurant chain posted this ham-fisted response on its Facebook page:
"Morton's fans: We are aware of the situation that happened at our Nashville location over the weekend. We appreciate you all bringing it to our attention, and we have reached out to the parties involved and can assure you that all facts will be uncovered. Please know that our corporate executives are dedicated to making this right with our customers. We appreciate everyone's concern."
Leaving aside, the term 'fans' (tip, people rushing to your FB page to vent, aren't fans), there's no apology or regret expressed.
And it later emerged the poor fellow with the beanie had not been contacted. I guess "reaching out" doesn't actually mean you've contacted anyone.
I like Facebook commenter, Eloisa Portillo-Morales' alternative statement for Morton’s:
"Dear Morton Customers, we are deeply sorry and sadden by the series of events that happened this weekend. Although, we don't have the whole story at this point what is being said about our restaurant and that night is not a representation of our values. We promise to get to the bottom of this immediately and do everything we can to make this right and prevent it from happening again. Please give us a couple of days to do extensive investigating into this matter and we will respond with the truth and a resolution. Thank you for your patience."
Now that's a great statement.
It offers regret and an apology; it doesn't lay blame solely at the restaurant staff (important stakeholders) as "we don't have the whole story at this point"; states that its values do not reflect that type of behaviour; promises action (an investigation and steps to stop a repeat occurrence); and buys some time.
Not sure what Eloisa does for a crust but she should think about a career in crisis management.
*With apologies to Elton John
By Isabelle Walker
Very rarely do we see an ingenious marketing strategy, intertwined with genuine good will, which restores faith in both humanity and reinforces the ability of successful corporations to act with unadulterated generosity.
Canadian Airline WestJet’s new marketing campaign has gone viral with a nuanced approach to online advertising.
The five and a half minute video – long by viral video standards in the age of the 6 second ‘Vine’ – captivates viewers from start to finish in the feel-good campaign of the festive season.
The clip shows a large decorated Christmas present displaying an interactive St Nick (complete with hidden cameras and - unbeknownst to the travellers - communication to a control room) where travellers scan their boarding passes. St Nick asked travellers what their dream Christmas present would be. Little did the jetsetters know their every wish was being recorded and purchased by the WestJet “elves”, ready to be presented once travellers reach the baggage claim at the end of their journey.
Despite purchasing customers everything from socks and underwear to a snowboard and a flat-screen TV, this was not an expensive campaign as WestJet easily recouped the cost by being smart enough to come-up with a concept that would go going viral and therefore avoided paid advertising. This ‘giving’ approach has undoubtedly improved WestJet’s consumer perception and I wouldn't be surprised to see an increase in its bottom-line.
Perhaps this marketing strategy makes a point that human kindness and generosity can be the making of great business and advertising, rather than cut-throat business decisions and unfettered greed.
By Benjamin Haslem
Belle Beth Cooper at Buffer via fastcompany.com has some interesting facts on social media use.
Here are ten (commentary mine):
1. THE FASTEST GROWING DEMOGRAPHIC ON TWITTER IS THE 55–64 YEAR AGE BRACKET.
No it's not just the kids. So when you're thinking your comms strategy, don't exclude Twitter or other social media channels because your stakeholders are older.
2. 189 MILLION OF FACEBOOK’S USERS ARE "MOBILE ONLY"
It amazes me how many websites aren't geared for smart phones and tablets. I was browsing a high-profile bookstore's website on my iPhone last night and was shocked when it didn't render for mobile. Not to mention they don't have an app. If you're using Facebook to drive traffic to your content, make sure your website renders on mobile, like ours does.
3. YOUTUBE REACHES MORE U.S. ADULTS AGED 18–34 THAN ANY CABLE NETWORK
It's true there are many more videos on YouTube than there are cable or pay TV channels but your comms strategy has to at least consider video, considering the size of the user base.
4. EVERY SECOND TWO NEW MEMBERS JOIN LINKEDIN
For a professional services company like Wells Haslem, talking to other professionals is essential. And remember, by joining LinkedIn Groups relevant to your product and service, you can start conversations or link to content that will drive traffic to your website and/or build your company brand and profile (see #6 below).
5. SOCIAL MEDIA HAS OVERTAKEN P%$N AS THE NO. 1 ACTIVITY ON THE WEB
I couldn't possibly comment.
6. LINKEDIN HAS A LOWER PERCENTAGE OF ACTIVE USERS THAN PINTEREST, GOOGLE+, TWITTER AND FACEBOOK
When someone invites me to connect on LinkedIn or accepts my invitation, I often ask them to meet F2F. It's amazing how many (especially those who contacted me) don't respond. Do people simply connect to boost their connections or are they serious about using LinkedIn as a networking and marketing tool?
7. NINETY-THREE PER CENT OF MARKETERS USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BUSINESS
What are the other seven per cent doing?!
8. TWENTY-FIVE PER CENT OF SMARTPHONE OWNERS AGED 18–44 SAY THEY CAN'T RECALL THE LAST TIME THEIR SMARTPHONE WASN'T NEXT TO THEM
A quarter of smartphone users are connected to the web virtually all the time.
9. EVEN THOUGH 62 PER CENT OF MARKETERS BLOG OR PLAN TO BLOG IN 2013, ONLY NINE PER CENT OF US MARKETING COMPANIES EMPLOY A FULL-TIME BLOGGER
Do you need a full-time blogger? Surely your marketing team can find time to post every day or so?
10. A QUARTER OF FACEBOOK USERS DON'T BOTHER WITH PRIVACY SETTINGS
Belle Beth Cooper has some of her insights HERE
By Benjamin Haslem
Most, if not all of us, are mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela.
Like me, you probably posted something on Facebook or Twitter to express your feelings.
I quoted Shakespeare's Hamlet; others great lines from the man himself.
But predictably, a digital marketing fool thought the death of possibly the greatest man to have walked the Earth in the past 100 years was a good opportunity to spruik their employer's product.
Step up Virgin Active Australia."Sadly Nelson Mandela passed away today. A close friend of Richard Branson, he was pivotal in Virgin Active expanding into South Africa, where we now have over 100 health clubs". (Emphasis added)
How can people be so stupid? You would have to be a sociopath. Yet, it seems with almost every death and tragedy, somewhere a social media manager puts the proverbial in their gob.
Unsurprisingly, the backlash has been swift.
By Benjamin Haslem
Please let this be genuine.
Mashable reports twitter user @Gequeoman tweeted a crayoned letter to Santa that replaced an old-fashioned list of presents with a long URL linking to Amazon.com (the kid obviously hasn't heard of Tiny URL).
Mashable's Neha Prakash writes "the letter's source hasn't been verified".
If this is a cynical piece of fudgery by Amazon, heaven help the goose who thought it up. If it's genuine, then it's a great sign of the times. And a great piece of viral advertising for the on-line giant.
Hope you're on Amazon Santa!
Send in the drones.
1. Is Social Media Stifling Political Debate?