Feb 28, 2011

Groundswell Ch. 4-6

I used to hate the word "research".

Every time I hear it, I think of long essays, boredom, and tedious work.

However, like almost everything else, things change and the word "research" now doesn't make me think of nothing but negative things.

Companies and their presence on the internet is crucial now more than ever. If your company doesn't have a website, chances are, it's not as successful as a company with a website. Interesting how the success of a company can come from whether or not they have a website, but there is one reason that leads this accusation to be true.
When I am looking to make a purchase, especially if it is a rather expensive one, I go online to the website of the product, and read all the reviews on the product.
It is very rare that I find a company that doesn't have a website or even a review section for their product. With how the economy has been, to me, it is crucial that my money gets its worth.
For example, I bought a CHI straightener a couple of years back because that's what my best friend used. It lasted me about 6 years before it finally couldn't fire up anymore. I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue with using the same brand or try something new so it led to me doing some research. ULTA, Sally's Beauty Supply, Target, and just about any store that carried hair straightening tools, I read review after review on all brands of straighteners.
Of course, it only led me to be brand loyal, and stick with the CHI line.

People look to other people when they don't know the answer to something; it's just a part of our human nature. Reviews on companies' websites can be a good or bad thing for them, but it definitely does nothing but benefit us and provide us with more knowledge.

Feb 27, 2011

Four Square, Gowalla, & Whrrl oh my!

Who would have thought social media would be able to get us discounts at some of our favorite places?

Just when we think social media can’t help us anymore, it does. Four Square, Gowalla, and Whrrl (just to name a few) are social media tools that allow users to “check-in” at the place they are currently at, and depending on the number of times the user has “checked in”, they could receive a discount or better yet, something free! Friends of the user who also have accounts are able to see where the user has checked in or even look through where other people using the tool recommend going.
When I first heard about this, I thought, how creepy and I definitely don’t want everyone knowing where I am at every single second. I then learned you can set your privacy settings so only certain people see it or even nobody at all. What really won me over with this idea was that it can truly benefit me if I religiously use it. Even though not every single place agrees to these special deals if you use certain social media tools, it still can help out your pocket.

I actually think these tools are a good investment on both sides; the user and the provider of the goods. The user of course, gets discounts and free things, while the provider gets an army of mini-advertisers for free. By people “checking-in” and other people being able to see where they go, it can stimulate more business for the providers because people tend to go where they’re friends have been (especially if they’ve had a good experience) and if the user talks about how they received free chips and queso at their favorite Mexican restaurant, then everyone will want to head there for the free food. You could even say these tools digitize the old punch cards business would give out to their customers. If that doesn’t sell you, this should; downloading the tool is free.

Without a doubt in my mind, there are more pros than cons to these type of tools, and once again I’m impressed with social media.

Feb 20, 2011

Athletes' Twitter

Ah the beauty of social media: bringing people together one social network at a time.

Of everyone I know who has a Twitter account, they primarily use it to follow celebrities. The reason behind following a celebrity? To actually feel like you are a part of their life. You went with Justin Bieber to the grocery store. You helped Kim Kardashian pick out her outfit for the day. You even congratulated Blake Griffin on that dunk he made in the game last night.

All we want is to feel like we personally know our celeb favorites because it just makes us feel oh so special.

As the social media world is constantly changing so are the “rules” for how celebrities can use them. However, for the sake of your eyes, we’re focusing on Professional Athletes and the rules that are placed on them for their Twitter account updates.

I read an interesting blog post on Mashable by sportscaster Len Berman that helped me gather a specific example of when an athlete has gotten in trouble in the name of Twitter.
In December of 2009, Brandon Jennings, a then-rookie on the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team posted a tweet that said “Back to 500. Yes!!! “500 means” where doing good. Way to Play Hard Guys” after beating Portland in overtime. The excited athlete got slapped with a $7,500 fine because of his tweet. The reason? Players are not allowed to tweet during games and 45 minutes before and after the game as well! This is because this helps the other forms of media, such as the TV or radio, get first dibs on the athletes’ first-take on their games.
Personally, I think the fine was way more for what the “damage” was worth. I mean $7,500 just for being excited over your team’s win in overtime? There are definitely worse things than that on Twitter. Professional athletes now have a “Twitter rule book” but it doesn’t stop just there. Now, even college athletes have rules about their Twitter postings.

I actually like the fact that there are rules to protect the athletes, their teams, and of course, their image. Without rules, there would be chaos, mass Twitter chaos. Social media provides an outlet for people to express their feelings and who they are, but it’s not always done in a positive way. With the amount of people having access to this, it’s almost as if people are waiting for someone to say something wrong so a Twitter storm can form! People seem to love talking about other peoples’ mistakes.

Hmmm….must be a new social trend?

Feb 13, 2011

What's so delicious about Delicious?

I like to think of myself as a "tech-savy" type of person and that I know what there is to know out there in the internet.
However, my Social Media for PR class has taught me that I'm not a know-it-all when it comes to social media tools. That there are tools out there that can make my life a whole lot easier then I ever could have imagined it to be.

Delicious is a wonderful example of a social media tool invention that can be used for a multitude of things on the internet. This website is a "social bookmarking service" which means it allows users to store, share, and even discover other users' bookmarks on their websites! For those who don't understand what a "bookmark" is, it's basically does what a bookmark does for a book, saves the spot where you were so you can come back to it at another time. "Bookmarking" on the internet is the same concept and with Delicious making it easy for users to come back to spots they were at on the internet!

Such a wonderful tool right? Kind of makes you want to use it next time you plan on bookmarking a website, looking for other similar bookmarks, or even sharing your own to others right? Well it's actually being bought by Yahoo and according to the Read Write Web website, it will end up being sold by the major company. Why must all good things come to an end? The answer: money. In my opinion, a tool like this will or probably already has been re-incarnated.

Delicious had a lot of things it offered users which made it so delicious to people who wanted to be tech-savy and even make their lives easier.
I can only wonder what tool will be created next that will make my life on the internet a whole lot easier........

How to get "Likes" on your Facebook Business Page

Facebook’s understanding of not wanting to be a "fad of the moment" website has led them to constantly update the social media tool.From Profile view changes, to endless security options, I thought Facebook did about everything they could but then came the “Like” button. The “Like” button gave users the option to give a virtual thumbs-up to a photo, comment, or status someone left as a funny way to let people know what they posted was “Liked” by somebody. Before I knew it, companies and celebrities left and right were creating pages for themselves to be represented on Facebook in hopes of catching some attention from users. Pages started featuring “like” buttons that the Facebooker would have to click on in order to leave comments on the page.

But how do you get Facebookers to “like” your page unless they do some investigative research for it, fueled by their own curiosity? My own Yahoo & David Beckham example is the answer to this very question.

I have “David Beckham” listed as one of my “Interests” on Facebook and since marketers and companies are now able to tell what you like and are able to advertise something of your own interest to you, I see ads all the time about David Beckham. The first thing I noticed on my sidebar last year was “Win a Chance to meet David Beckham!”--& since I am convinced I will meet my beloved soccer player, I clicked on the ad in hopes to being that much closer to my dream. Right away I read the about the contest and was left with one clear understanding; all I had to do was “Like” the page and I was entered to win a chance to meet Mr. Beckham. I thought it was way too easy but “liked” the page anyways.

No, I didn’t win the chance to meet Becks, but Yahoo got me to “Like” them even though never in a million years would I have done such a thing. To this very day I “like” Yahoo---even though they conned me into “Liking” their page.
The more people “Like” your business page, the better you are perceived to other onlookers. In this case, Yahoo just wanted a creative way to gain “Likers” and did so by coming up with a creative way to get peoples’ attention and look popular on Facebook because appearances are everything. I thought it was all about David Beckham, but really the “like” was all for Yahoo. Well done Yahoo, well done.

Feb 6, 2011

Power to the People [of the internet]

After reading the first chapter of Groundswell, there was a part that will forever be engraved in my head because of the powerful message behind it; the people of internet have power.
As explained in Groundswell, blogger Jennifer Laycock created shirts with the slogan, “Breast Milk: The Other White Milk” to raise money for her breast-feeding charity. Before Laycock even began to “make her fortune” for the charity off the shirts, the National Pork Board sent her a letter saying she was tarnishing their slogan “The Other White Meat” with her own version and demanded she stop the making and selling of the shirts.
Laycock’s background in Internet Marketing lead her to document the entire ordeal on her blog, causing over two-hundred other blogs to link their blogs to her story, and gave the National Pork Board a PR disaster. The Board immediately jumped in to a settlement with Laycock and even took up a collection among its employees to help donate money for the charity.

The people of the internet have power and are able to do as they please with it. Situations can get out-of-hand quick because of word-of-mouth and is true now more than ever in the internet world. Social media websites allow for people to be able to express themselves as well as their feelings towards just about anything. Whether it’s in a good or bad way, the peoples’ voices have the ability to possibly influence major business decisions.
So let’s get this straight…
The people of the internet can be > not = to big companies with big legal teams?
That’s one equation I’ll be happy to remember for the rest of my life.