Dunkin’ Donuts Drama Proves the Power of Social Media

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Social media experts have seen brands of all sizes rise and fall when it comes to dealing with crazy customers, employee drama and company politics on sites like Facebook and Twitter. In our era of instant information, every triumph or mistake can be spread and posted in a moment’s notice. Last weekend, an altercation at a Florida Dunkin’ Donuts confirmed just how powerful social media and viral video really are.

Two teenagers behind the counter at Dunkin Donuts had no idea that the racist rant of 27-year-old Taylor Chapman would turn them into heroes. Chapman unleashed an 8-minute explosion on the teens after claiming she didn’t receive her receipt from the night before. Chapman filmed her abusive tongue lashing and promised to post it to Facebook. The employees stayed cool and gave Chapman her free food as dictated by company policy when a guest doesn’t receive a receipt. What Chapman didn’t anticipate was how social media would be on the side of the beleaguered and berated employees. Facebook and Twitter were soon populated with messages of support for the teens for coolly handling the situation. The Dunkin’ Donuts Facebook page was soon filled with messages from followers who just wanted to commend the employees and the brand.

Even Dunkin’ Donuts bigwigs stood by their employees.

“We are aware of the video and the situation that occurred at the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant located in Fort Lauderdale,” Jessica Gioglio, a spokesperson for the company, said. “We commend the franchisee’s crew members for handling this difficult situation with grace and patience. We believe this is a powerful example of great customer service and the respect our crew members have for our guests.”

The lessons here are good ones to remember. First off, video is forever, so it’s important for brands and businesses to always be on their best behavior. Secondly, branded Facebook pages are powerful places for customers to show their support and disdain. Lastly, treating people with respect — whether they deserve it or not — is something that never goes out of style.

Should Advertisers Join Feminists in the Fight Against Facebook?

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There’s a storm brewing between feminists and the social networking site Facebook — and advertisers and social media marketing experts have found themselves smack dab in the middle of it. Previously, Facebook has been commended for acting quickly to dismantle hate group pages. Yet feminists say when it comes to violence among women, the site treats the issues as a joke. With several advertisers poised to pull out ad dollars on Facebook in protest, however, none of this is anything to laugh about.

Women, Action & the Media, the Everyday Sexism Project and author Soraya Chemaly have led the charge against Facebook.

“It appears that Facebook considers violence against women to be less offensive than non-violent images of women’s bodies, and that the only acceptable representation of women’s nudity are those in which women appear as sex objects or the victims of abuse,” the groups’ open letter to the website reads. “Your common practice of allowing this content by appending a [humor] disclaimer to said content literally treats violence targeting women as a joke.”

According to ThinkProgress.org, “Facebook currently allows pages on its site called ‘Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus,’ ‘Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs,’ ‘This is why Indian girls are raped’ and ‘Punching your girlfriend in the face cuz you’re Chris Brown.’ The social media site also permits pictures of battered women who are bleeding, bruised, tied up, or drugged alongside captions like ‘This bitch didn’t know when to shut up.’ Using the hashtag #FBRape, the campaign has called for companies like Dove, American Express and Sky to pull their advertisements from Facebook until the anti-woman pages are taken down. Facebook, for its part, says, ‘There is no place on Facebook for hate speech or content that is threatening, or incites violence, and we will not tolerate material deemed to be genuinely or directly harmful. We try to react quickly to remove reported language or images that violate our terms and we try to make it very easy for people to report questionable content using links located throughout the site. However, as you may expect in any diverse community of more than a billion people, we occasionally see people post distasteful or disturbing content, or make crude attempts at humor. While it may be vulgar and offensive, distasteful content on its own does not violate our policies. We do require that any such page be clearly marked — so users are aware that the content may be in poor taste. In many instances, we may also require a page administrator to display their real name on the page, or the page will be removed.'”

This complicated issue is bound to get even more so as corporations are forced to pick sides. So, readers, you tell us. What’s the difference between hateful and humorous Facebook content? And as marketers, how do you deal with social media controversy? Sound off below!

Five Things You Might Have Missed!

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Which brand is headed back to the drawing board? And who’s turning to their fans for hot online video creation We’ve got the answers to these questions and so, so much more in today’s Five Things You Might Have Missed!

1.) Original Recipe: We’ll never know what the Colonel would think about KFC’s new boneless chicken… but thanks to a new video campaign, we’ll soon know how fans feel about it. #IAteTheBones is the chain’s new campaign which calls for fan-created videos that show reactions to the new boneless chicken. Video entries are posted on Facebook until June 8; weekly winners will be chosen to receive prizes like t-shirts and gift cards. Five grand prize winners will also be selected to receive $1,000 and a chance to be included in an online or social media advertisement within the next year, KFC says.

2.) Curves Ahead: If you missed the hubbub over H&M’s new swimsuit campaign, don’t worry. We’ve got a feeling we’ll be talking about this photo shoot featuring a normal-sized girl for quite some time. Size 12 model Jennie Runk became an accidental hero this week when her campaign for the global clothing brand was released, drawing applause and accolades from fashion industry and marketing insiders alike.

3.) The Facebook PR 411: Lisa Buyer at Search Engine Watch published a fascinating blog post this week entitled “22 Facebook PR Secrets Every Community Manager Should Know.” Must-read tips include why you should market on Saturdays, the benefits of a positive attitude and why less is more.

4.) Watch What Happens: Sci-fi films and tech gurus alike have long predicted a super smart watch that acts like a phone, computer and social network. But according to Read Write Web, the smartwatch revolution might not happen for a while. Still, with big brands like Apple, Microsoft and Google toying with the idea, the smartwatch might be the next tech branding story to keep our eyes on.

5.) Social Media Meh: Is social media marketing lost and no longer valuable? Are we wasting our time? What brands are doing it all wrong? Kipp Bodnar ponders these concerns in a fantastic article on social media marketing that you may have missed.

Celebrating 10 Years of LinkedIn!

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“Relationships matter.” Not only is this a motto social media experts tend to live by, but it’s also the original tagline for LinkedIn. Launched a decade ago this week, LinkedIn had 4,500 members at the end of its first month. According to co-founder Reid Hoffman, “Today, hundreds of millions of professionals around the world are turning to LinkedIn to connect with each other, manage their identities, get insights they need to be great at what they do, and find their dream jobs.” LinkedIn is the original professional social network, and at ten years old, it continues to be a terrific place to market our small businesses, brands and ideas. Here’s just a few reasons why LinkedIn is a social media marketing must.

It’s a great place for blogs and articles: Worried your company blog is too heady, too technical or just too business-like to find an audience among regular blog readers? Post that sucker on LinkedIn and watch the schmoozy professional set gobble up your content. LinkedIn’s audience reads and responds to more serious and specific blogs and articles than, say, the kids over on Facebook.

It’s like giving your business card to millions of people: LinkedIn boasts more than 200 million active users from millions of companies and organizations in every possible field imaginable. Having your company active on the site, therefore, introduces you to millions you might not otherwise have met.

It’s a great place to see what your competitors are up to: From the ice cream place in the mall to the Fortune 500 investment firm, they’re all here on LinkedIn — and for users, this is great news. Not only do job searchers get a more creative way to widen their nets, but companies using the site for marketing get a front row seat to see how their contemporaries and competitors are using the site, too.

It’s drama-free: Tired of the blubbering and griping on Facebook? Over Twitter meltdowns? LinkedIn is the place for you and your company. For a social network, the site is delightfully free of most of the personal BS found on other platforms. It’s a mature exchange of information, for the most part, and is largely free of baby mama drama, cat videos and unsolicited political opinions. And for that we’re extremely grateful.

Google+ Marketing is Easy Marketing

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166678900Google+_Marketing_Is_easy_marketingWe’ll admit that when Google released its social media platform, Google+, awhile back, we weren’t thrilled. I mean, another social network to market on — and an untested one at that? The whole prospect seemed exhausting… especially considering that Google had tried and failed before at the social game. Besides, how many more networks do we need? Even the most nimble marketers have reached their limit. Yet something strange has happened since Google+ was released in 2011: Google+ has become really cool, relevant and super simple to use.

In terms of registering and getting started on a social network, no platform is easier than Google+. If you have a Gmail account, this process takes about two minutes; if not, it’s still easier than getting started on Facebook (and a lot more fun). Google+ wisely wants its users to get in the action right away, so “start screens” take new members through the best of the sites features and how to use them. Setting up a branded page is just as easy and can be done in a matter of moments. Once a company is ready to go and get schmoozing, a great place to start is the Communities section. Every possible interest and topic is covered in these groups and they are a great place to meet followers, promote your brand and explore how Google+ really works. Like any new social media account, it takes some time to find people and make connections, but Google+ is truly unique and well worth the little investment it takes.

Social media marketing on Google+ means your brand gets all the benefits of Google, including the search engine, YouTube, Calendar, Chrome, Wallet, Maps and Hangouts — to name just a few. Yes, by marketing on Google+, your posts stretch to all of Google products. Powered by the most-visited site on the planet gives every social move you make longer-lasting power than it would have anywhere else.

Writer for Copyblogger Demian Farnworth says there’s another powerful reason to consider Google+.

“Where a tweet or a Facebook post has a shelf life of 30 minutes at the most, a Google+ post can be found during a search by someone in your network … no matter how old it is,” he writes.

But these are not the only reason to consider Google+. It also has dozens of unique features and is incredibly image and video friendly. And all you need to get started is to visit Google. Does it get any easier?

Spring Social Media Strategy Sessions #1: Twitter

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Spring Social_media_strategy_sessions_1_Twitter

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
– Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Far be it from us to dispute the above logic stated so eloquently by Mr. Tolstoy. Whether you’re gardening, cleaning out a garage or just plotting a warm weather getaway, spring certainly seems like a good time to start anew. We figured we could apply this same seasonal “get ‘er done” spirit to social media marketing — thus, the Social Media Strategy Sessions were born. Using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and all of the other social media channels to reach new audiences is, of course, a great idea. But if you don’t have a strategy, you’re liable to open these various accounts, tinker with them for a few weeks and move on. The first of our three-part series looks at creating a fast and easy Twitter marketing strategy that can help any brand start tweeting with purpose and playfulness.

Why Tweet: Before you even start down the road of Twitter-for-business marketing, you should really figure out if it’s right for your brand. Yes, you’ve heard that Twitter has worked wonders for your friend’s bakery and for some professional swimming star, but is it likely to work for you? To find out, spend time reading tweets and articles about Twitter marketing (we have a few nifty ones right here, by the way). Are the people you want to reach on Twitter? Can your brand have a fun and spirited conversation with Twitter users? Is the limited character format of Twitter perfect for what your brand wants to say? If you answered “yes,” then start tweeting!

What to Tweet: This age-old question is the Achilles heel of many a well-intentioned Twitter marketing campaign. Not having a plan of what to tweet or what you want to talk about with followers is a huge mistake. Again, look at how the big brands do it. Get inspired to create your own language that you can use on Twitter. Your Twitter posts should read like a mini-biography of your brand, broadcasting who you are and what you hold important. Jot down some notes for a week’s worth of tweets before you even log on. This way, you have a clear and concise vision of how what you want your Twitterfeed to look like.

How to Tweet: Are you tweeting live every day with your followers? Are you planning on using a dashboard to schedule out tweets? Are you doing it personally, or are you having an agency or an employee tweet for you? These are the vitals to figure out with tweeting. Having no schedule or no plan and only tweeting sporadically won’t help you gain followers or get your brand noticed.

In the end, Twitter (and all other social media sites) should bounce followers back to your site and whatever it is you’re selling. A great strategy can help you do just that while making it less stressful and more fun.

Tomorrow: We talk Pinterest planning!