Ice Cream Party!


A few weeks ago, Nicole wrote about the fantastic social media and on-the-ground efforts of American Airlines when she left her wallet on a plane. I thought I would follow her awesome social media effort post with one of my own.

On April 16th a coworker told some of my team about the Ben & Jerry’s truck that was roaming around San Diego delivering free ice cream until the end of April. Obviously, getting this truck to stop by our office became my live’s priority at the time and I started Tweeting my pleas.

Begging for free ice cream on TwitterFriend Sarah also heard of the awesome ice cream giveaway and we teamed up to get the truck to Downtown San Diego, figuring it could hit both our offices in one day. You can image my intense excitement when only 3 days after my first tweet  (ok, I admit I posted a few more tweets & retweets in that period) I received this message:

I'm getting free ice cream!At this point I’m thinking free ice cream from a fun mini delivery truck is a 100% sure thing. Sadly, April came and went with no little blue truck pulling up to our office. Sarah, unfortunately, also missed out on the frozen, creamy goodness and let me know on Twitter.Complaining on Social MediaYes, yes, my last Tweet there may have been a little over the top but…it got the job done. Within minutes I had a DM waiting for me asking for my company’s address and how many people we had in our office.

Ben & Jerry's RocksA few days after that and Sarah and I both had 10 – oh yes, 10 coupons for free pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Do you know what that lead to? AN ICE CREAM PARTY! I went and redeemed every one of those coupons for a variety of flavors, including some of their delish frozen greek yogurt flavors, and had a little party in the office. It may not have been as fun as delivery truck pulling up (and definitely more messy) but in the end Ben & Jerry’s made me a super happy-camper.

Yummy Ben & Jerry's

And, FYI, if you’re in the Los Angeles area @BenJerrysWest will be serving your area through the end of May – get Tweeting!

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My Jet-Setting Wallet


On March 10, I was flying home from Miami where I attended the International Public Relations Research Conference. I was tired and hungry, so I decided to order some food. I gave the American Airlines flight attendant my credit card and then put it back in my wallet when she returned it. At that point, I believe I left my wallet on my lap, unable to maneuver around my food, drink and tray table to return it safely to my purse. After my sandwich, I took a nap and woke up in San Diego. I didn’t think about my wallet until the next morning when I was getting ready for work and panic set in. I knew exactly what happened.

Over the next few weeks I made a lot of calls and online requests to the lost and found and baggage claim at Lindbergh Field and Dallas Fort Worth (where my plane had headed back to). Also, like any PR practitioner I know, I tweeted about it and included American Airlines’ handle. Now, let me tell you, the social media team at AA is awesome (or they were to me). They responded immediately and made me feel like someone was doing something to help.

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And then the DM conversation went like this…

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Weeks passed by and I replaced my credit cards and driver’s license and lost hope of ever seeing my wallet again. But, I felt like my concerns were heard and I didn’t harbor any feelings of ill will toward AA. I mean, it wasn’t their fault I left my wallet behind and they did try to locate it. Then, on Tuesday (as in 50 days later), I received a package in the mail from AA. It was my wallet and a handwritten note from Mac in baggage claim at DFW: “Please call me when you get this.” My gift cards were stolen, but most everything else was intact. I let Mac know and of course, I tweeted about it. And of course, AA replied.

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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}.

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So,

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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.

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!