I Have a Valentine!


I got a Valentine! Did you? Ok – it wasn’t from some hot stud muffin but instead, my tried-and-true bestie, Nicole! And to sweeten the offer she sent it via social media – look how she makes my heart melt 😉

If you didn’t know yet, you can send REAL gifts via Facebook. None of this virtual or poking nonsense but real-life goodies!

Facebook Gift 1

So, one day I was happy to see a little notification on my Facebook (I always get excited when I get a notification because it means I have received virtual attention – which is what Gen Y thrives off of). When I clicked on it I was lead through the process of redeeming my gift!

One aspect that was interesting was that you could make tiny changes to the present. Nicole picked these milk chocolate salted caramels for me, but since she obviously doesn’t know me well (and all of the health benefits from dark choco) I switched it up and got the dark chocolate.

facebook-gift-swap

Although she spaced on my love of dark chocolate she knew me well enough to know I wouldn’t turn down candy. Not sure if your recipient will love your gift? No worries, I was given the option to TOTALLY swap out my gift! I’m not sure if the sender would be notified if you do swap out your gift (Nicole assures me she did not get the notification that I changed my chocolate choice).

Has your Valentine sent you a gift? What’d ya get? Do you think you will be sending any gifts on Facebook? I ventured and sent Nicole a gift. I settled on a gift card after passing up the $50 bottles of wine you could ship!

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Getting to know the RDI Team through Graph Search


As you may or may not know, Blake spends part of her time working at Red Door Interactive. This past week she wrote this fun post for their company blog about Facebook Graph Search. Check it out:

pic-4

As you’ve probably heard, unless you’re living under a rock with no wi-fi, Facebook recently launched its Graph Search. Our own Social Media Strategist, Anne Buehner, even wrote up a piece a few days ago outlining the “Next Steps” for brands (you can read the post here).

So now that the business-side has been taken care of and we all have a plan to either update our privacy settings or enhance the visibility of our brands, the fun can begin. Read more…

The Social Bowl


Everyone is talking about the Super Bowl and will be for the next week and a half. Will Jim or John win the “Harbowl”? Who will their parents root for? Jim Harbaugh made the right choice by choosing Kaepernick over Smith and Ray Lewis is emotional…. Well, we don’t have commentary on any of that. We will stick to what we know, and that is social media. Yes, the big question is, who wins the SOCIAL BOWL? The San Francisco 49ers or the Baltimore Ravens?

To keep things simple, we decided to assess only Facebook and Twitter. To help us in our Twitter assessment, we used Visual.ly to create this useful infographic:


create infographics with visual.ly

The main things that stand out here are the number of followers each team has (Niners win) and the number of mentions each team gets per tweet (Ravens win). One thing that may be a fumble for both of them is following so few people. While there are other ways to monitor conversation on Twitter, they could probably learn something by following relevant sports writers, other teams and their own players. Taking into account the Follower: Following ratio and the mentions per Tweet, a Hail Mary is thrown and the RAVENS WIN THE SOCIALBOWL (at least on Twitter)!

Now on to Facebook where we assessed their pages the old fashioned way.

49ers Facebook

1,658,796 likes ¡ 796,178 talking about this ¡ 47,654 were here

VS

Ravens Facebook

1,315,644 likes ¡ 518,590 talking about this ¡ 52,156 were here

There was a lot to look at on these pages, but lets start with the obvious numbers: likes (Niners win), talking about this (Niners win), and visitors (Ravens win). Okay, but what about the content and design?

  • Both have updated cover and profile photos to reflect their trip to the Super Bowl and they have similar “about us” sections (Tie).
  • In our opinion, the Niners use the highlighted post feature too often and it breaks up the visual of their timeline. On the other hand, the Ravens haven’t utilized this feature since their win against the Patriots and it really highlights that accomplishment (Ravens win). However, highlighting more posts wouldn’t hurt.
  • The Ravens’ posts were more focused on the Super Bowl, while the Niners had a few posts that didn’t mention the upcoming game. One may think that non-stop Super Bowl for two weeks would get exhausting, but since their audience is their excited fan base, and it is the biggest game of the year, we say pour it on (Ravens win).
  • Overall, the Ravens posted in a more conversational way with more opportunities for fans to interact beyond commenting on articles. They asked fans to post questions for players, enter contests, etc. For the most part, the Niners posted headlines with a link to a story or video on their site and a photo. Because of the tone and types of posts, we felt that the Niners were disseminating information and the Ravens were inviting conversation (Ravens win).

At the end of the day, these teams are tough both online and on the gridiron. They have both faced a lot of adversity, but only one team can be named Social Bowl Champions, and that is the Baltimore Ravens!*

Will the winner of the Social Bowl dictate the winner of the big game? We’ll have to wait until Feb. 3 to find out! Do you have big Super Bowl party plans? Tell us which team you’re routing for!

*That said, these teams both obviously have professional communication staffs that are doing a great job. These are just our casual observations and if you disagree, we would love to battle it out 🙂

BlogWell LA Recap


On Dec. 5, I attended an awesome gathering of some of the most brilliant social media minds in the country at BlogWell Los blogwellAngeles. BlogWell is something I had heard of, but didn’t want to spend the $250 on registration. However, I am extremely lucky lately and happen to win online contests a lot and I won admission from PRSA San Diego.

While at BlogWell, I felt like I was totally out of my league among social media managers from some of the biggest brands in the world, but that also meant I got to learn a lot. I attended presentations by representatives from McDonalds, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, and Life Technologies. Plus, the CEO of SocialMedia.org gave an ethics presentation.

Here are some of my favorite takeaways:

Want more? Read what was blogged live here.

Social Media Self-Assessment


As I typically do on any given night, a few evenings ago I was virtually stalking connecting with people via Facebook. One of my friends posted a link to a site called Zeebly that scans ALL of your activity and “analyzes your life on Facebook.” Obviously, I immediately HAD to see my stats and went to the site and ran the Social Me application.

I was extremely excited as I watched my data be crunched and all of my old Facebook posts scanned across the screen. Of course I sent my results to Nicole and within minutes she had sent me hers. So now let’s compare our results:

Blake:

Personality Traits:

  • Ambitious & extroverted

Interests:

  • Education, beverages, social media, the internet, marketing, travel, food

Fun Facts:

  • I use more words per sentence than 95% of people
  • I am more spatial than 88% of people

{Click on the images to see our full results & run your Social Me}.

Blake's Zeebly

Nicole:

Personality Traits:

  • Ambitious & optimistic

Interests:

  • Fashion, travel, community, shopping, education, research, movies

Fun Facts:

  • Nicole uses more words per sentence than 93% of people
  • Nicole uses less punctuation in her writing than 86% of people
  • Nicole is more optimistic than 87% of people

{Click on the images to see our full results & run your Social Me}.

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 7.47.07 AM

So,

20121206-111809.jpg

This is what happens when you give a Beagle French-bread. She won’t leave.

Now we’re confused. Nicole is on her way to get a Ph.D. in Public Relations, an area incredibly focused on writing and language, but she uses less punctuation than 86% of people? Also, if she talked about these specified “interests” as much as this program says it would take up 102% of her posting content….I mean, I know I’ve seen a good amount of posts about food, but that’s not even mentioned! My “interests” also add up to 102% (suspicious) but I know I have divulged an exorbitant amount of information about my incredibly cute dog, Brooke (see picture!)

Being social media obsessed, Nicole and I, often use the “latest-and-greatest” in social media scores and we’re often left perplexed at the outcomes. I mean I’m currently listed on Klout as being Influential about Republicans and money – as a broke Democrat it makes me laugh. MUCH more accurate is Nicole being an Influencer about cookies and drugs…yup sounds about right.

Basically, we know these sites can’t predict our personalities or how incredibly awesome we are to follow and friend on social media, but it does teach us valuable lessons on how our sarcasm doesn’t come across online. I mean one Tweet about Girl Scouts being the drug-dealers of cookies or a sarcastic rant on how you would frivolously spend money if you had it, brands your identity on online ranking sites.

OMG, Really?!

Coming soon to Zeebly? A “Friend Matcher” tool which will show you “how compatible you are with your friends.” SOOOOOOO excited to see if Nicole and my 20+ year relationship will be verified by this online tool.

From the Field to Social Media, Chargers Fans Can’t Win


As if losing to the Broncos on the field wasn’t bad enough this past Sunday, Facebook has been particularly insensitive to Chargers fans this week. Fans of a particular sports team may seem like a great audience for brands to tap into (being known to be intensely brand-loyal), but like any group, it is vitally important to know what is important to them and be aware of what is going on in that subculture. A few brands failed miserably at this in the past week while trying to market to Chargers fans.

The first example comes from Sprinkles Cupcakes La Jolla (which I hate calling out because I love their cupcakes). Sprinkles often posts specials on Facebook where customers are given a certain password to say at checkout and they will receive a BOGO deal. You can see how that worked out for them this time…

Friday before a devastating loss on Sunday:

Monday after the devastating loss:

Now I was lucky enough to catch this “epic fail” before they deleted it. Yes, they simply deleted the post along with these scathing comments. And no, they didn’t do anything to right their wrong. A simple Google search would have told whomever runs their Facebook that the Chargers lost and that this post would upset fans, but even after the mistake, they had the opportunity to give away consolation cupcakes or SOMETHING (even one of the upset commenters had an idea of a new “password”)! But no, they just pretended that you can erase things from the Internet. Wrong.

The next example illustrates once again how stupid it is to schedule posts. The people over at Funky Garcia’s got lucky because apparently their fans have had enough margaritas to ignore the fact that this post popped up a day AFTER the big game. “Even if the Chargers lose” huh? Yea, we’d have no idea how that’d feel.

The final OOPSIE of the week goes straight to the Chargers fan page and their team store who is having a 15% off Black Friday sale. Now, if these people were remotely in-tune with their frustrated fans, it would be clear that this could have some negative backlash. It did. Enough so that UT San Diego covered it.

For sports fans, the successes and failures of their teams are a very real and important part of their lives. So, social media types, don’t be stupid. Know who you are talking to, and please, know what you are talking about.

Blake’s hacking note on Nicole’s post: Yes, this post had us reliving horrible Chargers game-day memories. But we have a love for our hometown-team. Even though Nicole is a Niners fan (if an NFL fan at all) we both enjoy game-day fun. Especially if it involves painting our faces! If you’re a diehard fan and will still be supporting the bolts this weekend at the Q, Tweet me at @blakedelhoyo, I’ll be there! #BoltUp

Stop These Social Media Practices! (PLEASE)


Being young professionals in the PR and marketing worlds, we are basically FORCED to keep a constant eye on social media and the emerging trends. With our continuous scanning of various social media platforms we have developed our “social media pet peeves.” This post is to plead all of you out there in the online world to help us lead the charge to stamp out the following social media practices:

  • Om Nom Nom, #OmNomNom: I don’t care how you insert this, you don’t say it in real-life (Oh God, please don’t tell me you say it in real-life), so don’t put it online. All I can imagine when I read this is that you are currently shoveling that meal you just shot with the Toaster filter in Instagram into your face and are talking with your mouth open.
  • Linking posts to all your outlets: (Thanks to LinkedIn for already doing their part to stop this!) All social media outlets are different, people! I don’t want to see your hashtag on Facebook. Write different content and stop announcing to the world that you’re social-media-lazy.
  • YOLO: Give it up people, this trend has outlived its welcome.
  • Notes to self: I am not your virtual post-it note. I will not keep your diet on track or give you kudos for your 1,590 mile run that you completed in 1.5 hours.
  • Rambling multi-part tweets: I’m following hundreds of peeps, your first segment probably got lost as I’m scrolling through my feed and now I think you are spurting out incomplete thoughts. If you must do this, PLEASE include some indication that the Tweet is either the first or second or third part.
  • #FF: Really, we’re not over this yet? If I can’t figure out how to follow interesting people through their interesting connections, I don’t deserve their insights.
  • Linking to your blog…that’s about a year old, with no new relevancy or reason: If I didn’t read a year ago, I don’t want this old info now! Update! Make it applicable to a current trend or at least tell me why you are sharing it now!
  • Liking every picture someone posts on Facebook:  You have the ability to like the album. I don’t need 1,000,084 notifications on my Newsfeed that you like Stan’s last trip to Vegas.

If you do any of these, we don’t hate you. Some of the things we do on social media might be just as annoying to some people. What are some of the social media practices you think must end?

The Social Media Olympics


Since the world has Olympic fever, we’ve decided to join the craze. We don’t know much about sports, but why should athletes get all the glory anyway? Below are our Social Media Olympians! Unlike the actual Olympics, we chose the winners simply because we like them and think they are doing a good job in the social realm (basically, it’s like if we were awarding Olympic medals based on how we felt about the male swimmers’ abs). Could there be better pages, blogs and tweeps out there? Of course! But, maybe we don’t know or follow them.

Best Facebook Page

Gold: Burger Lounge‘s Facebook page isn’t just about their delicious food, it’s about their culture. You can tell that community and healthy ingredients are two things that Burger Lounge cares about. Plus, they get extra points because we’re addicted to their chicken fingers.

Silver: Beneful seems to get the whole online community thing and they definitely host a community of dog-lovers. Plus, they post a lot of cute dog pictures and videos that you can’t help but share.

Bronze: Starbucks posts mostly promo information and delicious-looking photos, but it seems to work. They get people to crave their beverages and even create discussions about them.

Best Twitter Handle (Brands)

Gold: @VirginAmerica  just gets it with their social media approach, at least in our opinion. Their Twitter handle embraces both fun and function.

Silver: @StoneBrewingCo is really a leader in the social realm. Not only is their voice consistent with the cool factor of their brand, but they often speak at social media events to share their approach and successes.

Bronze: @ClifBar just created some buzz in the social realm by launching a geo-location Twitter campaign. We like them because they somehow connect social media to being active and outdoors.

Best Twitter Handle (Communication Pros)

Gold: @petershankman Okay, so this one might be really obvious, but we like him because he doesn’t just regurgitate social media articles and self-promote. Even though he’s an author and keynote speaker, Peter tweets like he’s talking to his friends.

Silver: @PRCouture Not only does she have some great insights to PR and social media, she keeps our Twitter feeds lively with mentions of glitter and unicorns. No need to feel intimidated by Crosby, shoot her a question and she’ll respond!

Bronze: @tylerjanderson is a great aggregator of information. If there is social media news that you need to know, you’ll probably hear it from him.

Best Communication Blog

Gold: Ragan.com is one of the big blog sites for all types of communication. They have a lot of writers that cover a lot of topics, so you’re sure to find a tip that is useful to you.

Silver: PR Squared may have PR in the name, but anyone interested in social media will enjoy Todd’s posts. They are relevant and relatable.

Bronze: Beach Betty Creative This is a smaller blog that Nicole recently discovered and it is a great mix of good tips, excellent writing and a likable personality.

If you’ve spotted some medal-worthy social media peeps out there share them with us! We love to expand our network and learn from the pros. (If you’ve seen some medal-worthy abs out there we’d like to see those as well)!

Hee hee, couldn’t help it 😉

How to Win Stuff on Social Media


As a PR practitioner, I have implemented a few social media contests in my day. During these contests you can tell which people are actually fans of your brand and who just goes around trying to win free stuff. I won’t lie, in my personal life, I fall into the latter category. I will whore out likes, comments and retweets all in the hopes of a freebie. My shameless behavior has proven to be profitable though! Here are some of the things I have won:

  • Coachella tickets and shuttle passes ($670 value)*
  • Best of San Diego tickets ($100 value)
  • Movie tickets ($24)
  • MP3 player (that’s right, not an iPod– $40)
  • Lipstick ($8)
  • Tickets to Taste of Hillcrest ($50)
  • Fancy earbuds ($50)
  • In-n-out gift card ($15)
  • Eden gift card ($20)
  • Fancy Christmas ornaments ($50)
  • Bath set ($50)
  • Aztec basketball tickets ($40)
  • Starbucks giftcard ($10)

*Prices are just estimates.

I know it seems like I must spend a ton of time doing this, but I really don’t. Usually I will just enter a contest that I see on Facebook or Twitter when I’m doing my usual scanning. Other times, I’m watching TV and feel like doing something mindless so I actually seek out these contests and “like” brands I’ve never heard of.

Do you like free stuff too? You can do the same thing! On Facebook, you find opportunities by going to the sweepstakes app where you can search for contests based on all sorts of criteria. Some have restrictions based on state or age, so  pay attention to that. On Twitter, you can seek out contests by searching certain hashtags like #contest or #giveaway or the phrase “RT to win”. The problem with Twitter contests, however, is that you can piss off your followers and look really spammy if you RT too many promos. I tend to only enter one if it comes up on my feed and is from a reputable company.

As you can see, most of my prizes are fairly small. That’s because far fewer people enter giveaways for smaller prizes – it’s all a game of stats. Another tip is to enter local contests rather than national ones, again the pool of entrants is usually much smaller making it more likely for me to win! If I measured my ROI on contests, I think I’d come up on top.

A Recap of Social Media Day San Diego


Cities around the world celebrated Social Media Day with meetups this past Saturday. Social Media Day aims to bring the online community together offline and celebrate, “the revolution of media becoming a social dialogue,” at least according the San Diego chapter website.

The Masters enjoying Social Media Day with Young-Professional-Friend-Sarah

The coolest thing about Social Media Day (and the deciding factor as to why The Masters decided to attend) is that the event is FREE. It’s not everyday that you get to attend a cool networking event for free, and have amazing free swag dangled in your face (take a look at the fun sponsors the SD event had here). With the free entrance, the swag bags offered to the first 100 entrants, free prizes being announced all night, and free tasty treats, we were sold!

We got to the event just minutes after it started, but unfortunately, the swag bags had already been snatched up. I guess that is the downside to a free event open to the public. It was even rumored that hotel employees snatched them up – oh the drama us social media types can create! However, we didn’t totally miss out on the freebies.

Best free stuff we got? Food and booze. Yup, that’s right, free drinks. In addition to the free wine tastings and Magners Irish Cider samples, we were hooked up with an incredibly strong vodka drink from Cirrus. We got it just because we were fascinated with their pretty ice orbs that aren’t supped to melt (or at least melt very slowly). The ice balls were very cool-looking (pun intended), but they melted just like their lowly cube cousins.

Overall, it was great to meet some new people, especially the ones we already have some sort of relationship with online. “So great to finally meet you in person” was probably the phrase of the night. We also got to hang out with some of the cool peeps from NBC San Diego, such as our good friend and web producer, Sarah Grieco (center of photos). Just to put a little frosting on this networking cake we each received some new Twitter followers so we were content!