Most brands hit a fork in the social media road a long time ago and had two choices—jump on the social bandwagon or dismiss the social movement in business altogether. Some brands leaped into the social atmosphere immediately but their engagement progress slowed over time, causing a loss in audience. Other brands took their time to learn policy, trends and audience behavior, and as a result their social engagement is increasing by leaps and bounds. As public relations professionals, it’s important to step back and heed the enormously useful lessons that come from brands’ online interactions and social engagements.
In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary — we look at five brands that have either found successful opportunity in social engagement or have failed miserably at achieving lasting engagement with their audience.
Viral Chart: Honda Admits It Needs a ‘Hand’ In Rebranding (Ad Age)
Honda released a two-minute video entitled “Hands” which highlights the automaker’s history in an attempt to refresh the brand. With stale advertising and design, Honda decided it was time to remind consumers of their past products, particularly in American and European markets where the automaker has been losing ground to competitors. Ultimately, Honda used this as an opportunity to highlight the history of their product in segments from motorcycles and cars to planes and boats. The video drew 2.5 million views last week, coming in third to Samsung which took first and second place with “Magna Carta Holy Grail” and “Looking 4 Myself” on Visible Measure’s list of viral videos.
How The New York Times Socializes (Forbes)
Forbes contributor Ken Makovsky sat down with Times Media Group head of Core Digital Products Paul Smurl to discuss the paper’s transition from the “Gray Lady,” a nickname that historically reflected the predominance of copy over graphics, to leading the social revolution taking place in media groups today. The two discuss growing social platforms, how social networks act as complimentary distribution platforms and how The New York Times is deepening its relationship with its audience through their use of these platforms. For answers to these questions and more on how The New York Times maintains their social edge, watch Makovsky’s vlog: “How the Times ‘Socializes.’”
Many Retailers Lagging in Social Media Responses to Customers’ Issues (Ragan’s PR Daily)
According to a new study by Conversocial, about 80 percent of the top 100 U.S. online retailers are using Twitter and Facebook to respond to consumers, but customers are not satisfied with the response times. While most consumers expect a response within a two hour window, most retailers’ response time averages 11 hours and 15 minutes. Three companies, Netflix, Amazon and Sony had response rates of more than 90 percent, which is excellent. Most of the retailers surveyed are not using social media to fully resolve customer concerns but will instead redirect customers to other outlets such as phone banks and email. Customer service via social media is public and can have a major impact on what customers are saying about your brand as well as retaining loyal customers and their business.
Storytelling Skills the Secret Ingredient in Coca-Cola’s Digital Formula (PRNews)
PRNews’ Steve Goldstein interviewed Coca-Cola’s Ashley Callahan on how the company has embodied the concept of thinking and acting as a publisher. In November of 2012, Coca-Cola relaunched its corporate website as an online magazine called Coca-Cola journey. The former website contained the same old corporate communication mumbo jumbo that most corporate sites offer. Coca-Cola journey now focuses more on storytelling, with content that keeps the brand’s audience interested and includes direct references to the Coca-Cola Company and its products. During the interview, Callahan discusses why storytelling skills are essential to building audiences in a very crowded digital space.
Angry Business Owners Sue Yelp for Extortion — Again (Entrepreneur)
Yelp is going back to court over an alleged extortion and review manipulating. In 2011, a U.S. District Court ruled that the popular social-review site was protected under the Communications Decency Act from accusations of offering to highlight positive reviews and hide negative ones in exchange for paid advertising because Yelp is not responsible for content written by its users. A group of business owners recently filed an appeal of that ruling, arguing that the law does not protect companies that “manipulate reviews for their own profit.” Yelp has also been accused of lying about user-generated reviews and skewing their rating system. The case is still under review, but Yelp’s vice president of communications has stated that the company is ready to return to the appeals court and explain why the original ruling should stand.
Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.
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