By now we have all seen the jaw-dropping and shocking pictures and videos of the man literally being dragged off a plane.
What did these videos and pictures actually say?
It showed a customer being told by a business; that we don't need you and we only care about ourselves! The fact remains; that customers were being asked to leave the plane so United Airlines staff could be accommodated.
The initial response from the CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz (who ironically was honoured with the title, 'Communicator of the Year' by PRWeek, just a few weeks ago) was to send, an email endorsing and supporting the behaviour of the staff and basically backing them. While staff and a few news outlets were reading this email/statement... The rest of the world via social media, was watching a respected GP being literally being dragged off one his planes; while screaming and shouting, with blood pouring from his face. You can also hear other horrified passengers shrieking and shouting... 'Oh My God!' All this while taking pictures and videos on their smart phones.
It shouldn't and doesn't take a PR genius to work out that this is not going to end well for the airline and they have made a huge mistake. By the way, it should be noted that the CEO sent his email even after seeing these pictures and videos.
What happened next?
We need to remember we are no longer living in the 1990's... We don't have to wait until 6pm, before we get home to turn the TV on to see the news. The news is literally in the palm of our hands and on our desktops. We don't have to search for it either, 'trending' news items and things our friends are talking about are sent to us as alerts. I also have to say this; it takes a rather ignorant CEO & PR team to think that people would back the giant corporate airline over a GP. Have they forgotten marketing basics?
The CEO, after watching his share price plunge approx 4% or dropping by $1bn... eventually got round to doing what he should have done in the first place... He apologised; however it's safe to say damage has been done. Just think, imagine if the CEO had been pictured with the GP and apologised publicly straightaway, rather than waiting 21 hours?
Newspapers, online channels and social media would have seen smiling pictures of Oscar Munoz pictured with the GP, Yes, the videos would still be out there, but at least people would understand that a mistake was made and the CEO himself has acknowledged this and tried to right a wrong.
Instead, twitter has gone into overdrive with more and more people getting involved and hashtags like #BoycottUnited trending. In addition to this, United Airlines have managed to anger China. Once again, it doesn't take a PR genius to tell you that you don't really want to be angering the people of arguably the World's biggest economy.
There are even allegations and confirmed tweets about Twitter actually DELETING negative tweets about United Airlines. This is not what I call good crisis management.
So whichever way you slice it, this whole situation has been a PR nightmare and the United Airlines PR Team & the CEO himself have grossly underestimated the power of social media. Did they really think this was a small incident that would appear as a bit part story in the Chicago local press and were they that naive to think ' a CEO supporting his staff' would come out on top? This is now World news and isn't just on social media.
Whether the CEO understands social media or not, his PR team should. If the CEO doesn't understand social media, then why not??? We are in 2017, a CEO, and for that matter, all members of the C-Suite should have an understanding of social media and how it works. I am not saying they should understand analytics and strategy, but they should know the difference between a tweet and retweet, what followers are, what's a hashtag and reach vs. engagement.
I admire the Director's who book on to my 1-2-1 social media training sessions and I applaud C-Suite representatives who attend my social media peer-to-peer learning workshops. They are forward thinking and understanding of the importance of social media for their respective brands & companies; and also for their own personal branding and how they can use social media .
I would like to add to this point is, what a lot of people forget is that; more than anything, social media is a listening tool. It's not about who can create the most choreographed statement. It's about being part of the conversation and responding.
While writing this article I took a glance to the United Airlines twitter channel, ironically called @United. There are just a couple of tweets in the form of statements regarding this issue. Even within the replies, they are not engaging in the conversation about the issue. You can see someone in the United Airlines Ivory Tower has said, 'make sure we put something out on twitter' and then moved on to the next order of business. Where's the human touch in all this I ask?
They should be using LIVE video via Twitter and Facebook and the CEO appearing to publicly apologise, rather than creating carefully crafted statements and sending them out as a press release or attached to a tweet.. They are simply not getting social media!
However, rather than simply criticising, I would like to offer United Airlines a solution. Yes, I believe they should be using some of my recommendations and I would even be happy to assist them. So Oscar, if you want to resolve this situation, email me or drop me a line on 0792 537 9528.
Finally... This is a parody United Airlines Ad video, currently doing the rounds... This is a YouTube version, however it has already been seen by millions on TV and social media platforms..., Enjoy!
Last night Facebook released some staggering figures that have had the news, business and social media outlets amazed.
This would be the bit where I could bore you all with technical details and stock market figures...
Instead in my own usual way I will break it down into bullet point details:
1. Half of the UK population is on Facebook.
2. Facebook revenue from businesses that spend on advertising on the platform is up 177%!!! That's right, 177%!
3. 65 million Pages exist on Facebook
(these are Business, Company, Brand, Org Pages etc).
4. Facebook introduces recommendations to the UK! The feature will allow friends to recommend and Facebook to suggest businesses to use.
5. Video is the future (For the time being at least)! Facebook will be giving priority to longer videos.
As you can see these are exciting times for Facebook and for businesses that are on Facebook.
Just on Tuesday of this week at my 'Facebook For Business' workshop I was talking to delegates about how Facebook is growing and how we can use video and Facebook LIVE.
The above information also tells us just how important Facebook is to your business and how this will grow! Remember Facebook is only 12 years old and in my opinion will get bigger and bigger. By the year 2020 Facebook expect over 40 million people in the UK to be on Facebook!
If you are not on Facebook as your business/brand/organisation… In my opinion; you should be. It doesn't take long to set up a Facebook Business Page, it is very simple and easy to do…. If you're not sure, here at Soc-Med we offer a Facebook setup package for just £129 +VAT. Call us on 0161 410 4455 to arrange.
I hope you found the above information useful and it underscores the importance of Facebook; now and in the future…
Remember, Facebook is only going to get bigger!
Using Facebook allows you to put your companies own personal billboard underneath the thumb of your customer.
Over the festive period we would all have received emails from most of the companies we engage with....
However, it surprises me; no matter how big these companies, many of them are making the same error.
They are using the old Instagram logo. Instagram (owned by Facebook) updated their logo in May 2016, yet many organisations and companies have failed to update their email footers and websites with the new logo.
Here are just a few examples of emails that I have received (there were many more!). They are from Domino's, Tesco and Debenhams respectively.
Why does it matter?
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media and currently has over 17 million accounts in the UK. It is now only 2nd to Facebook!
Many of you may say that it doesn't really matter, but others would argue to say that this represents the company and reflects the image of a company too. By having the old logo; is the company saying that social media isn't a priority or are they saying, they didn't realise the logo had changed or are they just saying they forgot to change it?
Below, I have included examples from Pizza Hut and M&M Direct respectively, who have updated the instagram logo.
Is your logo updated?
I will leave it up to you to decide, if you believe this is an easy oversight to make and not such a big deal?… Or whether you believe that this is an error that these companies shouldn't be making?
It would be great to hear from you with regards your own websites and email templates… How many of your own companies and organisations are using the old Instagram logo?
If you find that you are currently using the old logo, drop me an email and I'll send you over the HQ version of the new logo.
Finally, I hope everyone is enjoying the festive period and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the New Year!
Any questions, just ask!
ps. I would like to add, that I have contacted a couple of these companies to make them aware of the oversight, in one case I received a couple of replies, neither of which grasped what I was saying and may well have been automated replies.
Works even without a strong network
Early this evening (UK time), Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO, Facebook announced that Whatsapp (owned by Facebook) from today will start to offer a video calling facility. According to Zuckerberg, "video calling has been one of the community's top requests."
Video calling will allow users to communicate through video in addition to the existing message and phone service the platform already offers. To use video chat follow these simple steps:
1. Download the latest Whatsapp update (if not already done so)
2. Open the Whatsapp App and select contact.
3. Tap on the video camera icon to video call in top right corner (iOS see below)
You may ask, what's so new about video conferencing? True, there are many other video calling platforms available, but for me what makes this exciting and that little bit special is; that it has been released by Facebook and they seldom release updates and features unless they are very confident in them.
Mark Zuckerberg went on to say on his Facebook page, "We've been working on it for a while to make sure it works even in places without a strong network"
This will be of interest to us who may use other video calling platforms and are critical of picture and sound quality. Just a word warning, I can imagine many people will be dowlading this new feature, so please be patient when downloading the latest update.
Anyway, have a go and let me know what you think!
Rather than getting all geeky on you and writing a long email about how exciting and momentous this is... I thought I would just explain it simply with bullet points :)
What is Changing?
Why is it Changing?
Back in May, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey told The Verge, "I'm excited to see even more dialogue because of this".
Twitter UK's, Dara Nasr told the Mirror Online:
"But sometimes you write a perfectly crafted 139-character tweet and then add a photo or a video to the tweet and it goes over the character limit, and you have to waste time cutting it down..."
For me the above perfectly summarises why the change is needed and why it will work well.
If you would like to get geeky about the change and discuss further, feel free to drop me an email or give me a call.... Better still, you could tweet me :)
If you ask me, this is the starting pistol for Facebook Vs LinkedIn. What on the outside may seem like a new facebook feature that will add to the facebook experience blah blah blah... In my opinion it's the first real formal step that facebook are taking to compete with LinkedIn.
No matter how you dress it up, conference calling is something that first and foremostly appeals to the business community. Yes, I'm sure it'll be great to speak to family and friends, but in actual fact I believe this is Mark Zuckerberg' subtle way of getting work colleagues and your business contacts to 'friend' you on facebook. This, I also believe will make it easier for facebook to launch more business related updates in the future, as your contacts will already be your friends, thus making the transition easier.
So what does the facility allow you to do?
'Group Calling' was initially announced last Wednesday, and subsequently followed-up by updates later that week after questions and clarifications points were raised by the tech community.
It basically boils down to the following:
If for any reason you miss the call, you can join in at anytime and also message someone who needs to join.
For the time being this is audio, however I'm sure facebook will introduce a visual element to this too and allow video conferencing, as and when the technology and/or opportunity allows.
The whole point of social media is so we can digest snippets of information which allows the sender to get their point across, while the receiver understands the message. Of course, this advances once engagement is established.
Keeping in my mind the same concept, those of us who would like to take in information about social media would also like to do so in a quick and informative way. This is potentially why infographics are so popular and tend to form parts of presentations, proposals and blog posts for that matter :)
I personally love the infographic below, it it gives you snap shot of the main social media networks that are around today. It's compiled by the good people at Leverage.
We will aim to post an updated version of this every six months... so sign up here to get the latest one!
We have all experienced marketing techniques and approaches, some of which are still used today. If we think back over the last 20 years, we will recall things like… Flyers in the local library, competitions on confectionary wrappers, letters with a cheque with your name on it (All you need to do is claim!), telephone sales, being approached in a local mall, email marketing, text messages and more recently… The use of Social Media, PPC, SEO and cookies!
However, have the fundamentals changed? When I think back to University and studying Marketing; it was always about the 4 P's (as proposed by E. Jerome McCarthy in 1960) and occasionally argued by many the 5th P too… The 4 P's are often expanded to the 7 P's, but we'll park that. The four P's as most marketing/business professionals will know are… Product, Price, Promotion, Place; and the 5th P - People.
To put this in a simplistic way; it's about having the RIGHT Product, at the RIGHT Price, with the RIGHT Promotion, in the RIGHT Place. For those who include the 5th P - People, that would include; with the RIGHT People (employees). In my eyes, this is basically what marketing is. How many times have you heard the phrase, 'It's about getting your marketing mix right' or 'What's your marketing mix'
Can the same principles of marketing be used today on social media? Where on platforms such as twitter you have a maximum of 140 characters (for the time being at least!) to get your message across, sometimes even less if you choose to include pictures or a link! You can see how this has changed the landscape of marketing altogether.
I would argue the technological advancements we've seen in the last 15 years and what we are going through now, eclipse any period since the invention of the wheel!
We have to be honest and say in the ever changing world we now live in and with organisations such as Google, Facebook and Twitter making changes to their algorithms and functions as they see fit, that a teenager at school could conceivably know more about a particular social media channels than you or I. But, the question is, does that mean they know marketing, or if you prefer, does that mean they understand social media marketing?
It is important that we understand the tools we have at our disposal and the effect they can have on our businesses. However, that doesn't mean that we have to necessarily be the ones using them?
An example I often use is this. We all know how to make a cup of coffee, but we still go to Costa (or another coffee shop). Why is that?
It's simple; mostly for convenience and secondly to save time. The same with social media marketing, you may understand the basic principles of social media, but does that mean that you're the one who has to do it? Could your time be more effectively used elsewhere and is it cost effective for you to be doing your own social media, when you could be out there securing new accounts/clients/customers?
Imagine, every time you wanted a coffee that you got out from your bag, a thermos, coffee beans, a grinder, sugar and milk, not forgetting your cup and spoon. If you visualise that, it just doesn't sound productive, does it?
To conclude, it's vital to get Social Media Marketing right! We need to implement the Marketing Mix and use it when creating your social media strategy and/or campaign.
I'm sure we've heard of many businesses and organisations that have spent money on so-called social media experts or marketing agencies, only to find that a few months down the line they have not got the promised results and have spent £000's! This is why it's vital to get the right person or Digital Marketing Company. It's also important to know who the individual is, what's their background and experience, and in the case of an agency, who are they and who works for them? I believe a good way to start would be by asking the individual or agency one question… “Have you heard of the 4 P's?”
Founder & Director Soc-Med Ltd
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