Tag Archive for: Social Media

Corporate Trolls

We are all familiar with the recent case of Charlotte Dawson who used her large online presence to bring to the fore the issue of trolls. Unfortunately, this gave the offenders the public recognition they undeniably crave and we saw every troll come out from under their metaphorical bridges and poor Dawson wound up in hospital.

While this example was a personal attack, the issue with trolls extends to the corporate world and businesses need to be prepared to handle them.

There is a rise in “Corporate trolling” and we are not talking about healthy online banter where people share opinions and views about a product or an opinion. Troll comments are usually unwarranted negativity that is personal, defamatory and generally anonymous.

The perception is that because the comments are made online they are somehow easier to ignore or “block”, but taking it from public view does not eliminate the problem and at times can add fuel to the fire.

Social media is the forefront for trolls and unfortunately victims are not able to confront their faceless attackers thanks to privacy policies that many online platforms have. These policies that exist to protect our online information from being shared is now the “mask” for these online predators.

Earlier this year Commonwealth Bank Australia was the victim of a troll who impersonated one of its senior Bankwest executives. The troll created a fake account under the guise of the staff member and posted inflammatory material about the company. Uncovering the identity of the troll was a costly and unsuccessful exercise because of privacy policies set up by Twitter.          

Social media risk management is fast becoming a profession in itself with businesses looking to their protect brands online and prevent them from becoming prey to these kinds of attacks.

While it’s important your brand is using social media as part of its online strategy, equally imperative is identifying risks of online networking and implementing a plan to deal with issues quickly and effectively.


Remind staff of their responsibilities online. Employees are able to associate themselves with your brand via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. In doing so they have a responsibility to ensure these connections do not reflect negatively on your brand. Develop a staff policy that covers posts both personally and on behalf of your brand.

Intellectual property

Company trolls are fast becoming an issue. Staff should be warned about the consequence of anyone found leaking sensitive or confidential information online or using “inside” information against their employers.

She said what?!

Trolls like to attack the vulnerable. Keep messaging in post’s clear and concise. Don’t be left apologising for a comment that was misconstrued or taken the wrong way by a user. Online faux pas spread quicker than wildfire, so always proofread. .


Hashtags are an excellent way to comment on trending topics. However creating your own can result in what is called a hashtag hijack. Be wary of personalised tags especially in a crisis.

Customer relations

Indentifying genuine customer concerns from a troll can be difficult. A real issue left by a customer will provide a means of contacting the user, content will have information that is related to a store, time or place and they will be able to provide evidence of the incident. Trolls are usually anonymous and leave little information.

Social media provides a large opportunity for businesses to engage online with a broad audience. Trolls are a minority of that audience and with the right policy you will be able to handle issues and negativity quickly and effectively before they become a trending topic on twitter.

Maximise award wins in the media

PR tips for award winners

Many of the key business and franchise awards are being announced and if you have been successful the win provides an excellent platform for PR exposure, especially in your local area. A lot of time and perhaps money was no doubt spent on preparing your submission so make sure you get the most out of your award win.  

Business achievements are well worth talking about and an excellent way to engage with your local customer base.

The success of a local business is generally of interest to the media but if you don’t share your news, you can’t enjoy the benefits of PR, so here are a few tips to prepare and maximise the opportunity for media interest in an award win.

Spokesperson and key messages:

Make sure you have nominated a brand spokesperson who is happy to talk to media and has a sound knowledge of the business. Whatever the criteria was for the award be willing to share detail with the media to prove why you deserved the win. Sales and growth figures aren’t always necessary but a % growth figure is always good to prove the financial success of your business, without giving away too much to competitors. Highlight any key initiatives or community programs that you participated in. Basically let the media know the five top reasons you received the award.

Preparation is the key: 

Preparing a release in anticipation of a win is sensible, as media hate old news so be ready to go with a professional release. If there were a lot of categories it is important to make clear your point of difference and have a strong lead. Once you have pitched your story the follow up is just as important, keep on top of your contact or your story might get lost in the hundreds of emails journalists receive each day. 


Low resolution, dated branding, closed eyes or wardrobe malfunctions are all common photo mistakes. Having a great photo is just as important as the story itself. Make sure you have a nice professional shot of the award acceptance or try a great shot in front of your store with clear branding.

Social Media:

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are perfect ways to talk to both consumers and industry peers about your success. Always include a #tags with Twitter or Instagram (e.g. #ignitepr #businessawards etc…) or the best way to get your post noticed on Facebook is an excellent photo.

Give the win life:

Apart from PR you can spread the word about your win by marketing it through a range of other mediums. Many awards come with a special logo that you can use so maximise it as much as possible. For example: put a news item about the win on your website homepage; include details in your email signature and on collateral i.e. brochures, letterhead etc; put a poster or sticker of the win in your shopfront; include details about it in a customer newsletter or letter to clients.

You’ve got to be in it to win in it and talking to a PR agency about the process can alleviate a lot of the stress in preparing a submission and harnessing the right coverage afterwards. Entering awards isn’t just about winning but also about being seen amongst the best in your industry, community or category. It also provides a great opportunity for you to review your business and processes and provide you with ideas to improve it.  If you want further advice on how to maximise a recent win or you are thinking about entering any awards Ignite PR can guide you through the process.



Social Media Age


If you haven’t already noticed social media looks like it’s around to stay. Choosing to ignore it could mean you are missing out on golden opportunities to communicate with customers, gain valuable exposure for your brand and keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Whilst I am sure you don’t doubt the importance of social media it is time consuming, at times stressful and involves a whole hearted approach. So if you are considering tackling the world of social media here are a few good reasons to look at involving an agency.


Whilst it’s ok to sometimes post fun irrelevant updates too many businesses make the mistake of making these post’s the core of their content. The flip side to this is don’t want to flood your followers/friends etc. with all business and no pleasure either. It is all about balance and finding that balance is easier when you have a strategy. This involves planning content, knowing your audience and having social media guidelines for your business to follow.


These three letter acronyms are on everyone’s lips. If we had a dollar for every time we heard “I want to be the first listing on Google” we probably wouldn’t be writing this blog. Social Media Optimisation, Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing all go hand in hand when increasing your Google ranking. Social media plays an important role in keeping up to date information about your company online and accessible to potential customers, while assisting in flushing out negative sentiment that may be online about your brand. Social media enables you to utilise links and content that works with Google’s search algorithms. Remember, if Google rankings are your goal it should always be coupled with a SEM and SEO plan.

Rules of engagement

The experts in social media will be able to give you tips and techniques on handling social media engagement, good and bad. The potential for negativity is a real risk for any brand but it is not a bad thing if it is handled well and never ignored. Proper engagement and management is just as important as being on the platform. Followers of your page never want blatant advertising, narcissistic self promotion or constant pictures of your two pugs, not matter how cute they are. Keep it real always engaging and remember who you are talking to and why.

Choose your platforms wisely

While it’s great to be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, have a blog and YouTube channel, unless you’re managing social media 24/7 – and let’s be serious who has the time- the result will be stagnant pages. Maintaining quality consistent content is imperative for social media success. An agency will be able to give you expert advice on what platforms your business should be focussing on and assisting in creating quality content for you.

Social media should be treated with as much care and scrutiny as any other form of marketing you decide to invest in. This is why you want to start it off on the right foot. Treat it like any relationship with your customers, and remember you don’t have a second chance at a first impression.

If you are looking at Social Media as part of your PR and Marketing strategy for 2012 contact Ignite PR & Marketing for more tips.

Image Source – Mashable Comics

Hashtag Highjack – Lessons from the #Qantasluxury Fiasco

You’ve heard the story of Pandora’s Box: Zeus gives the trinket to Pandora as a gift and tells her never to open it, but curiosity gets the best of Pandora and she does anyway.  In doing so she unleashes untold evils into the world, which can never be put back in the box.

Enter #Qantasluxury, stage left.

Just in case you missed it here’s how it went down. On Tuesday November 22 Qantas kicked off a competition on Twitter to win a set of its first-class pyjamas:

It wasn’t long before #QantasLuxury was the top Twitter trending topic in Australia with over 14,700 mentions. Unfortunately for Qantas almost all of them came with a double helping of either sarcasm or outright anger:

#QantasLuxury is getting from A to B without the plane being grounded or an engine catching fire

#QantasLuxury is a complimentary cheap hotel room because your airline left you stranded in Adelaide, of all places. Adelaide.

#QantasLuxury is a massive executive bonus while your workers starve and your former customers choke

#QantasLuxury is more than 3mins notice that the whole service has been grounded

My #QantasLuxury experience would be no matter what time or duration of the flight a proper meal is served a cookie is not a meal it’s a joke

#QantasLuxury is flights that leave on schedule because Management doesn’t arbitrarily shut down the airline

#QantasLuxury is planes that arrive intact and on time because they’re staffed and maintained by properly paid, Australia-based personnel.

#Qantasluxury is not being told you can apply for refund online & finding out they only refund via a phone that no one answers for 4hrs

And my personal favourite

#Qantasluxury Somewhere inside Qantas HQ a middle aged manager is yelling at a Gen Y social media “expert” to make it stop

So what went wrong and what can we learn from the Qantas Luxury fail.

Like comedy, in social media timing is everything

What’s puzzling is that a consensus could be reached in the Qantas marketing ranks that this was a good idea. Qantas simply should have known to be more cautious about dipping their toe in the murky waters of social media so soon after the grounding of the Qantas fleet in October. Alicia Kennedy of online monitoring service Meltwater puts it beautifully.

Had the thousands of people who were inconvenienced by the recent lock out moved past the issue?  Were the public ready to talk about the positives of the company yet again? Judging from a social media analysis, the answer is a resounding no .In the three days after the Qantas grounding, the brand received over 37,000 negative social media mentions and that alone should have sent warning signals to Qantas’ social media team.”

Should have, but didn’t.

Any publicity is NOT good publicity

Some observers will swear this was a deliberate ploy from Qantas to re-engage with customers.

Make no mistake, the grounding of the Qantas fleet has tarnished the brand significantly and this gaffe has rubbed salt into an open wound. The once untouchable flying kangaroo has battled a string of issues that have affected customers, then turned around and given them a public platform to publish their grievances for all to see, share and compare. There’s just no up-side to it.

Bad campaigns = bad news

How is it that Australia’s largest airline, with its multimillion dollar marketing budget, couldn’t come up with a better social media campaign than a pair of pyjamas and a self-serving hashtag. The fact is #QantasLuxury was ill conceived to begin with. Toss in the existing negative sentiment and it goes from being a poor campaign to a nightmare one that achieved nothing beyond highlighting a company out of touch with customers.

Respond – especially if you started it

Twitter facilitates conversations which don’t occur in our day-to-day lives and these are often between customers and brands. As in a real-life chat, you can’t always control the direction of the conversation. It’s a two way street, but you can respond, and you must respond if you initiated the dialogue in the first place.

After announcing the competition and being hounded with complaints, Qantas tweeted the following – “Some very creative tweeps out there. Keep the entries coming”, along with the hashtag “QantasWeHearYou”.

They deserve to be commended for this at least.

Even if it will probably be ignored, a considered, empathetic response which reaffirms your core brand values is always best.

Don’t despair and don’t give up

Whether Qantas handled the saga appropriately is an open question, but ultimately what #QantasLuxury does is highlight the importance of taking full ownership of your brand presence online.

If your brand is being trashed on social media, you must address it. If, instead, you disconnected from your social media platforms and simply choose “not to get involved” you will be viewed as silent and uncaring.

Giving up on social media after bad feedback, or even a campaign as poor as #QantasLuxury, is the worst thing you can do.

If you find yourself totally overwhelmed I recommend revisiting Pandora. Re-read the story and you’ll find that after the contents had escaped, one thing remained in the bottom of the box – Hope!

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Adding value to your brand through Facebook

Just this month Commonwealth Bank became one of the first Australian banks to start using location-based marketing through Facebook giving away a year’s worth of free movie tickets to anyone who opened an account with the bank after “checking in”. The offer was available to the first 2,200 customers and expired within weeks.

Gone are the days of broadcasting through Facebook – raving about new products, pushing news stories. Just as our friends don’t care when we boast, we’ve come to realise our Facebook fans don’t either.

Facebook has developed into an important communication tool for businesses and the better we understand its fundaments the better we can utilise it.

The opportunity Facebook presents to connect with our customers is enormous. With just the click of a button we can engage a new audience and interact with existing customers in new and exciting ways.

But with the amount of posts generated each day we need to produce engaging content to be noticed. We need to use Facebook as added value to have consumers create a connection with the brand – customers won’t react if we don’t excite them. We need to be fun, creative and respond to their needs.

Here are some things that show you’re doing it right:

Content is key. Build a resource, be creative

Think about what your customers are interesting in. We should be offering our customers something extra that they can’t get elsewhere.

Creating a resource is a great way for customers to engage with our brands – providing information and tips on how to use our products and services, for example. Understanding that small business owners buy computers Dell created a social media resource so small business owners interested in social media keep Dell top of mind.

Give fans teasers in the lead up to a product launch, exclusive information or a sneak peek. We’re not all good writers so be fun and creative. Use engaging materials like video blogs, photos and interesting links. Offer contests and coupons exclusively to Facebook users.

Two-way communication

Invoke responses by asking questions (questions at the end of posts are likely to generate a better response). Utilise the opportunity to listen and interact with customers. Listen and learn about your product, how customers use it and how it’s perceived.

Try to respond to all customer questions and comments and facilitate conversation but remember you can’t change what they think. We only have to go back a year to Nestlé’s palm oil social media debacle to see why.


Source: http://socialmediainfluence.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/jpg-Nestle-Facebook.jpg

Fun and casual tone to match the medium

Keep messages clear and concise – shorter posts have a higher engagement rate. Words like “winner”, “win”, “event”, “special”, and “offer” will resonate well if running a promotion. Requests to “like”, “post”, “comment”, or “tell” us something improve our chances of engagement.

Snapshot of the best

Coca-cola  runs innovative promotions and fun, interactive features and has been great at encouraging its 33+ million fans to leave comments, photos and videos on its page.

When a non-fan lands on Red Bull’s page, they’re encouraged to “Like” it with an attention-grabbing image straight away. The team behind the page is extremely in tune with Red Bull’s target audience and creates custom apps and unique content.

Competitions and games are a great way to engage fans and Skittles does this well.  “Fame the Rainbow”, which puts a fans face as the profile pic for a week, does this well and is consistent with the brand. 

Creating a Facebook fan page for your business is simple, but getting it well established with customers takes time and planning. You can’t expect to have a huge following overnight. Content is key – be creative and interesting and make it easy to share or participate in.

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The Power of WOM

Word of mouth (or WOM) is one of those true marketing mysteries.

It’s also a topic that can easily bamboozle business owners into believing it can only be doled out by highly paid WOM gurus (closely related to social media gurus) and that the ensuing buzz will be a magic bullet to business success.

So what is WOM-marketing and how can you cut through the hype and use it drive your business?

To get started let’s get some WOM marketing buzzwords out of the way. Word of mouth marketing encompasses a variety of subcategories including buzz, blog, viral, grassroots, brand advocates, cause influencers social media marketing and ambassador programs to name but a few.

Ultimately all of the above concepts hinge on the idea that the personal nature of the communications between people is more credible than advertising and that people are therefore more likely to apply information received via word of mouth.

Think about the last time someone recommended a great restaurant to you and you tried it out based on that recommendation. That communication and subsequent action is one complete word of mouth transaction.

These referrals are given to us, and handed out by us, almost subconsciously all the time.

Here’s the kicker though – the success or failure of word-of-mouth marketing depends on two crucial factors:

1. The extent of customer satisfaction with the product or service, and

2. The perceived value of the product or service

Below are two case studies covering the largest and the smallest ends of the business spectrum, followed by some important questions to ask yourself before jumping into the wonderful world of WOM.

1.     Amazon.com 

In 2003 online retail giant Amazon scrapped its television  advertising strategy (US $100M) and used the money it saved to invest in its now famous free shipping policy (purchases over $25 are eligible for free shipping anywhere in the world).

Amazon still loses money on shipping, but this is more than made up for by the incredible word of mouth support generated by the decision.

Amazon also spent a great deal of money ensuring they had an unbeatable range of stock, including over one million books, many of which are not best sellers, simply to ensure customers can always find what they are looking for.

Further, when Amazon launched its Kindle E-Reader it relied on word of mouth marketing in order to sell units. The website invested in its “See a Kindle in your area” message board where customers interested in purchasing could locate existing Kindle owners in their area, meet with them, and try out the product for themselves.

Today Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer and is expected to announce $9.37 billion in revenue this quarter.

2.     Chompers

But it’s not just the big end of town getting in on the WOM act. This month local Brisbane independent fast food outlet ‘Chompers’ launched its OMG Double Double Burger: Two meat patties, two slices of cheese, bacon and lettuce, and two Krispy Kreme doughnuts instead of burger buns.

Chompers Owner Chris Bowe admits the burger was created for the sole purpose of generating WOM interest.

‘‘At first, we aimed to get attention via social media including Facebook,’’ he said.

‘‘We had people come in and take photos of it on their mobile phones and that’s how word spread initially.

‘‘We obviously don’t have the marketing budget of a bigger chain … and people always want to try something different.’’

So size is no barrier to successful WOM marketing. But before you start masterminding your own 6000 calorie burger, ask yourself these five word of mouth questions – and good luck!

1. Are you doing something dramatically different in your market or do you have a truly original product? For Amazon it’s a service: free shipping. For Chompers it’s a product: the OMG Double Double Burger

2. Does your product or service appeal to a relatively wide audience (are you WOM-able)? Amazon and Chompers are general consumer businesses. If you’re business is niche or business-to-business WOM may not the most effective option

3. Is your customer service and delivery experience top shelf? If Amazon’s products did not arrive on time or in perfect condition all of their hard WOM work would be undone. The Chompers’ burger must be tasty as well as attention grabbing.

4. Are you ready to WOM? If Amazon did not have the capacity to deliver, or if Chompers ran out of Krispy Krème donuts every time someone asked for the burger, their WOM could easily turn negative. You need the capacity to deliver on your WOM promises.

5. Do you have a plan beyond WOM? Like all marketing, WOM should be part of broader strategy. It is not a marketing plan on its own, but as seen in the case studies, WOM can be a powerful and cost effective tool in your marketing arsenal.

Images courtesy of www.chompers.com.au and www.amazon.com

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A brief guide to the social media landscape

Trying to sort out your social media policy but can’t decide whether you should be tweeting or posting or digging? Well, thanks to this handy infographic from CMO.com you can tell your Flickr from your Facebook and all the other key social media sites. It assesses the benefits of getting involved in each of the platforms and grades them on four criteria.

Social Media Landscape 2011. Copyright: CMO.com

We found this infographic via Ragan’s PR Daily.

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Media storm of the month – June 2011

One of the previous month’s biggest stories has been a tragic one – the murder of a Gold Coast police officer Damian Leeding. Shot in the head late in the evening on Sunday May 29, his family then had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support machine.

The media coverage of the murder and subsequent funeral was extensive with all mainstream print and broadcast media covering the initial reports, the following progress of the officer and then his state funeral on the Gold Coast, attended by thousands.

The sheer scale of the response was huge. The power of the media was used for good as all the major TV stations were asking the public to donate to the Damian Leeding Remembrance Fund for his young family left behind – more than $150,000 has been raised so far, a huge amount for what might have been a small local charitable fund.

Damian had one of the biggest state funerals ever with the public moved to show their support. The event was broadcast live and online and was a topic of much interest on the social networking site Twitter. The Catholic Leader printed the homily delivered at the funeral.

And other brands got in on the act to help out – the police officer’s young son even got to meet the Queensland State of Origin team.

The murder itself exposed issues of police protection – a new taskforce was announced following Damian’s death. There has been a spate of violent crime in the Gold Coast so far in 2011, predominantly linked to drugs and biker gangs. In fact, Damian’s boss was himself injured following a drug raid just weeks after his death.

Trying to make some sense of the increase in crime, the Queensland Police Union has linked it to the global financial crisis.

But as well as the heartbreak for Damian’s family and the tragic loss for his police colleagues, the media storm surrounding the current crime spree on the Gold Coast has further negative implications.

Local politicians have claimed it’s having an effect on education with foreign students cancelling their courses after seeing the recent stories in the news.

The evaluating committee for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, for which the Gold Coast is a contender, have had to make a statement saying that the crimes won’t affect Gold Coast’s chances of hosting, but it’s hard to see how it won’t.

And there are some indications that tourists are cancelling trips. The new CEO of Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd has even said that selling his destination as a safe place to holiday could help them attract the tourists now not visiting the Gold Coast.

If we want to help the Gold Coast now to try and stop these crimes happening we shouldn’t be deserting the area in its hour of need but keep visiting in our droves to keep the tourism and surrounding industry buoyant so that people can have gainful employment and less need for the drugs as a result of despair. It’s a simplistic viewpoint, but something worth considering. The media are doing their job in reporting the facts, but it would be good if they can help with the recovery as well.

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Motivational speech from a child learning to ride a bike

If you haven’t seen this yet then I defy you not to smile at this child’s words of encouragement to other children who  might be trying to learn how to do something new. Thumbs up for rock and roll everyone!

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What is crowdsourcing?

An interesting infographic from oBizMedia.com giving a visual representation of crowdsourcing.

A talk at the recent Ideas Festival 2011 at the State Library of Queensland talked about ‘Crowdsourcing: how do you engage those on the edge?’. It was an interesting look at the history of crowdsourcing and how to unlock its potential. It was presented by Tom Hulme from OpenIDEO, which also ran a workshop to actively demonstrate the power of crowdsourcing.

How can you get others involved in your business challenges? And how can you incorporate the techniques used to encourage innovation within your own ranks?

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