Two-Way Street

PR, social media, events and incentives – Collaboration & communication ideas for demanding businesses from The Castle Group's Mark O'Toole

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Social Tuesday: With a little help from my friends

Posted by thecastlegroup on March 16, 2011

Social media is becoming the number one crisis communication device. Not only is it used for fixing a damaged image or restarting a career, it also serves as a much-needed platform for gathering information and mobilizing volunteers, as in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake and the Brisbane floods.

Currently, Facebook, Twitter etc. promote and support relief efforts in Japan and help the population reconnect. Many organizations and companies like the Red Cross or Groupon use social media to make support for Japan as easy as possible – some as easy as a mouse click. Spark Energy is adding an additional dollar to its donation to Japan for every person that “likes” one of the company’s Facebook pages by the end of the month. So instead of putting your hands in your pockets, all you have to do is give a thumbs up online.

But social networkers may use all ten fingers to help. Facebook’s online games FarmVille and Café World currently include purchases benefiting Japan. FarmVille players can buy Japanese radish crop and the chefs at Café World can buy Japanese décor. All proceeds go to Save the Children.

As for other information and reconnecting people, social media is in high demand in both Japan and the U.S. Despite blackouts, Japan’s Internet availability fortunately is relatively stable and, without a working phone system, an unmatched device to stay in touch with loved ones. Shortly after the quake, 1,200 tweets per minute were sent from Tokyo alone. Google published a Japanese version of its People Finder (see also last week’s blog entry). Within the U.S., the tsunami’s estimated times of arrival on U.S. shores were available on Twitter before the official government warning. And one of Japan’s top social media companies, Mixi, raised more than $1.5 million dollars for relief efforts in only two days.

Stay social.

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Social Tuesday: Social media boosts fame, helps in crisis

Posted by thecastlegroup on March 10, 2011

Social media and fashion are apparently a match made in heaven. Social media devices like live streaming, Facebook pages, blogs and videos fuel online discussions on brands and designers and result in thousands of new fans and followers. Curve ID jeans, for instance, “cheekily” uses YouTube to demonstrate their product’s effectiveness. Result: Nearly seven million views. Bebe’s new blog earned the fashion brand 66,428 new fans and a sixth-place ranking on fans and followers-surveying Victoria’s Secret invites brides to view – and purchase – the new collection of whites at an online shop, resulting in 69,000 new fans. And Burberry’s fashion show live stream attracted more than 100,000 fans. First place on Famecount goes to Converse, with more than 175,000 new fans. not only lets visitors watch videos or shop online, they can also create their own sneakers. Together with its All Star sneaker line, Converse to date has 23 million + fans.

Finding lost persons is the idea behind Google’s Person Finder. Originally created with the U.S. Department of State to find lost persons in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, the website is presently used to help victims of the Christchurch Earthquake. The Person Finder can be found on a website launched by New Zealand’s Earthquake Commission. The site further features reports, videos and information on accommodation, alerts and volunteers. Its users can easily submit important information via Twitter.

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Social Tuesday: Tag the dog – Facebook, Twitter, social media campaign

Posted by thecastlegroup on February 16, 2011

Social media connects friends, coworkers…and pets. To find a home for the cats and dogs that needed it the most, the Oregon Humane Society featured them on Facebook and Twitter. Employing social media yet again turned out to be the right strategy. The pets found a new home, and the OHS Facebook page has presently nearly 13,000 fans.

More than puppy love was shared this Valentine’s Day by the world’s most famous dolls Barbie and Ken. After their divorce in 2004, the couple was “voted back together” in a genius social media campaign by Mattel including Barbie on Twitter (presently 34,227 followers), a Barbie and Ken website and (back then) individual Facebook pages (since their reunion, Barbie and Ken are “on the same page” again, and share 1,738,557 fans!) Least surprised by the revived romance is Mattel. With the Valentine’s Day reunion, the Barbie and Ken Gift Set went on sale, and Barbie’s (and Ken’s) Facebook page turned into an online store. Can’t buy me love?

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Social Tuesday: Social media for the people, by the people

Posted by thecastlegroup on January 26, 2011

President Barrack Obama successfully used social media as part of his election campaign in 2008. Consequently, the White House is now using social media for political interactions with the public. Last night’s State of the Union Address was live streamed on several online portals. After the address, a series of live online events took place to answer questions submitted via Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.


Along with the White House, the U.S State Department increasingly uses social media to reach out to the public and is using Twitter to communicate and announce U.S. policy decisions.


And last but not least, New York City proudly presents its first Chief Digital Officer. In an effort to boost transparency and communication with the public and businesses, Digital Officer Rachel Sterne is working with Twitter and Facebook to reach out to residents and to make the city’s website more user-friendly.

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Social Tuesday: Twitter, meme, social enterprise

Posted by thecastlegroup on January 18, 2011

Today we discuss “social” social media.

Social media sometimes has a life of its own – and from time to time, it even has the power to begin a new one: Twitter followers of this year’s Golden Globe Awards witnessed the birth of both a mini-meme and a social media star when CNN’s Piers Morgan started a hashtag around the Globes’ shrinking screen time for host Ricky Gervais. It didn’t hurt that Morgan made magic just ahead of the launch of his new Piers Morgan Tonight.

Social media is not only beneficial when it comes to creating a fan base; it enables you to mobilize support for your good cause. After the flooding in Brisbane, Australia, Facebook and Twitter networks successfully rallied volunteers to help the community recover. According to a local social media expert, social media was “invaluable” to inform and connect the residents during and after the disaster.

A great example of target group specific social media use for educational purposes: The British health information provider NHS Choice uses the accessibility of social media to by using an interactive YouTube video to encourage teenagers to use condoms.

Social media is a great tool for reaching out to hard-to-reach groups or communities. Read more on how to use social media for social enterprises.

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BlogWorld observations

Posted by thecastlegroup on November 1, 2010

Castle VP Hilary Allard was a panelist at last month’s BlogWorld. Below are her observations from the event.

I was honored to be asked to present on a PR panel at last month’s BlogWorld event, a blogging and social media conference that attracts more than 3,500 people. There were many inspiring, thought-provoking and surprising insights shared about how the intersection of technology and communication has changed our world.

Here are a few observations from the event:

The impact that technology and social media has made on the lives of military members and their families is profound. In a video introduction, General Petraeus spoke of how the ability to communicate with their families via Facebook, email and Skype has helped military members through the challenges of their separation. A website,, provides troops with a place to share their look at Army life. Here’s a post on the site about the Army experience at BlogWorld.

While thought leaders have high-level discussions about social media and the future of communications, the fact is that many individuals – and organizations – don’t know what to do or where to start. The prospect of adding to already full to-do lists is daunting. (More on that in this space at another time.)

Everyone is willing to share. Just as I experienced during the TechMunch summer event in New York, media, brands and bloggers are all willing to share their experience, insights and challenges, putting the “social” in social media. It’s no longer “us against them,” it’s “we’re all in this together.”

Social media has given everyone a voice – and they’re not afraid to use it. Audience members politely yet aggressively (“Pardon me for saying so…”) challenged well-known speakers during one keynote session on politics. My favorite was an elderly woman who stood up and talked about her blogging and participation on Twitter. She clearly was energized by this aspect of her life and the new doors it had opened for her.

Are you involved in social media? If so, has it changed your life, personally or professionally? If not, what obstacles are in your way that are preventing you from engaging online?

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Promoted Tweets: Is it worth managing your reputation?

Posted by thecastlegroup on April 15, 2010

Twitter announced its initial advertising platform this week. Promoted Tweets give advertisers the capability to place ads over Tweets in real-time, based on key words; ads will hover over the Tweet to stand out.

The ad guy in me loves it. Real-time reminders and brand-building whenever someone mentions “coffee,” for instance. The PR/brand guy in me — well, he’s a little nervous.

Pundits and strategists are burning up the Internet talking about this new reputation management tool. Think of the possibilities, they say — what if Toyota could apologize via a Promoted Tweet to everyone who complained about a technical issue? That’s gold, right?

I’m not so sure. As media consumers, we will get used to advertising on social networks, and we will see additional creative platforms like this one from Twitter as these networks evolve.

As social consumers, we are even starting to welcome targeted advertising — if it’s relevant to my interests or my geography,  I’m cool with the sponsorship. Companies like Shortbord are even thinking of ways to pay me to act as a conduit for sponsors.

But who will drive the reputation management side of Promoted Tweets? The ad folks? Will we see a string of brand-reinforcing but otherwise empty messages in response to a crisis or other negative incident? Will the sponsor Tweets turn into viral fodder — in a bad way?

The issue will be how brands maintain authenticity through a sponsored Tweet in response to a reputation management issue. This opens a whole new path for the public relations world to operate in social media. PR most often is the marketing discipline behind reputation management and crisis communications. Communications firms are used to acting and responding in real-time.

This will be an interesting development to watch. Brands — be aware that your reputation cannot simply be wrapped up in a nice Twitter ad. The public wants some meat on that bone.

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Social Tuesday: search, blog, e-mail, NutshellMail

Posted by thecastlegroup on December 2, 2009

What is the best way to get ranked in the search engines? Should you simply repeat a key term over and over again? This tactic may initially drive traffic to the site, but if the content is not interesting or relevant, readers driven to your site via search will not be back. So what’s the key to striking a healthy balance? Joseph Kiefer offers his advice.

“What goes around comes around” is a saying that most of us know and use when describing karmic situations. This credo, according to Brian Solis, is “the undercurrent of social media and the currency of the social economy.” A retweet on Twitter, a “like” on Facebook or any type of “following,” are ways to show support, and in return increase your opportunity to receive reciprocal recognition.

Why should a company blog? At Castle, we have found that our blog is a great way to share client news, internal updates, thoughts on social media, PR, events, and really just about anything that’s on our minds (and we mean anything: please see our blog posting on the game show “Wipeout”). Blogging allows you to connect in a different way by using a more conversational tone, thus humanizing your brand. In case you needed yet another reason why you should be blogging, check out B.L. Ochman’s blog.

Although Twitter and Facebook continue to grow, neither site has bumped e-mail from its #1 ranking to communicate and share information. So how do you keep from neglecting these sites while never leaving your inbox? NutshellMail is a new service that sends Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace updates right to your email. In a nutshell (sorry, we couldn’t resist), it’s a huge time saver and a great way to organize and manage your different social media pages.

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Social Tuesday: Twitter, Thoora, blogs

Posted by thecastlegroup on October 27, 2009

In an increasingly digital world, success is more relationship-driven than numbers-driven. But when you’re interacting virtually, how do you create real connections? From creating custom Twitter backgrounds to choosing interesting topics for conversation, success lies in the personal details.

Research on Twitter trends is emerging. One of these trends, retweeting, is a way to share/forward information that you find useful and interesting from a fellow poster, and serves to validate the original twitterer. If you believe you are putting out great content, but are disappointed with the amount of times you get retweeted, it could be that you are simply “LOL’ing” too much. Read Brian Solis’s posting here.

Get all your media news, social and traditional, in one place: that’s what Thoora is aiming to offer consumers. Thoora recently publicly launched their free service that offers their perspective on breaking news based on Twitter, 81 million blogs and 4,500 traditional media sources. Check out Andy Merrett’s take on the new service.

If you are a novice blogger and are questioning your site’s success, you’re not alone: most blogs don’t live to see six months. Although people measure blog success differently –  ad revenue, visitors, reader retention – you may be looking for a basic way to gauge how you’re doing. Darren Rowse helps keep you and your blog on the right track.

Common sense might tell you that the more you tweet, the more link click-throughs you are going to get. But think about it: on Twitter, most people can only read a fraction of their friends’ total activity and all of those fantastic links that you’re trying to share may be getting lost in the Twitter avalanche. So what is an avid link-sharer to do? Dan Zarella advises you to tweet less.

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Social Tuesday: video blogs, Twitter, social media policy

Posted by thecastlegroup on October 13, 2009

Although video blogging has been around for a while, it is still a novel idea to many people. Video blogging is a great equalizer, as it puts people on the same platform as broadcast media. Video blogging also allows for direct feedback from viewers. With popular, user-friendly channels such as YouTube and affordable video equipment and software available, now may be the time to expand your blog to become more dynamic. Leah Betancourt offers her guide to video blogging.

While utilizing social media can do great things for your company, it can also cause severe damage. B.L. Ochman describes the top three mistakes that companies make over and over again.

Twitter allows you only 140 characters for each update – this can cause some difficulty when trying to define your brand. So what’s the key? Transparency. From expressing personality to admitting when your company is wrong, being open allows customers to get to know you, and more importantly, trust you. Michelle Bowles offers suggestions on how you can both keep tweeting and keep it honest.

If your company is still hesitant to immerse in social media and you want your team to participate, convincing them may be harder than you think. Make sure you are prepared and are able to offer your company’s decision-makers both research and a plan of action. Chris Brogan offers his suggested plan of attack.

Recently, major news organizations have issued social media policies. Are these policies a smart way to protect themselves, or are these organizations closing themselves off from great opportunities? JD Lasica is leaning toward the latter.

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