Boston Bombings: Ethical Approaches

Social media managers have to constantly make ethical decisions on what to post, how to post it and how will it effect the public. Content on crises and tragedies are usually those in which what is published has to be in the best taste possible. This is especially important when visuals come into play. Social media is a branch of journalism; therefore you are required as a professional to present the news to the public as it happens.

In the Boston Bombings, we were presented with numerous amounts of information and pictures of the tragedy, so much so that news networks worldwide were showing the video of the actual bomb. The victims of this tragedy are merely innocent in the conflict, which brings up the notion of whether or not their faces/names should be published. News media are there to get reactions, people want to know what occurred, and the best way for these networks to show that is to present all information, photos and videos of the event.

This brings up the ethical side of the argument in which whether or not the posting of a bloody victim should be shown. I like to say that these types of situations should be done only at the consent of the victim. Personally, if I had been in the horrific situation the victim was in, I’d be adamant that my picture not be publicized. I feel when you get down to these tough situations; a good journalist should get approval. It’s not right to paint this victim as anything that he or she wouldn’t be comfortable with.

At the same time, you have to realize that some followers of your network will not want to see these images. The key behind this is to present a warning—graphic content disclaimer—to ensure that you properly notified your audience of what they might see. I think networks have done a great job of this, but sometimes they focus more onto making an “impact” with their audience, over being ethically correct.

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The Boston Bombings was the most engagement I had seen on social media, even more than the Superbowl. I think this is one of the rare situations where social media managers have to keep in mind that even though they are solely responsible for presenting the news as it happens, they have to make sure to not offend or scare any of their audience. My solution to any sort of graphic photos is to make sure you warn your audience. It protects the brand and assures that anyone who has a negative effect towards the posting can’t say they weren’t warned about it. I have nothing against these images coming out, under 2 conditions:

  • The victim or person in the picture gives consent for it to be published.
  • Audiences should be warned if they are seeing graphic situations.
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Social Media IS Changing Journalism (Week 12 Readings)

Social media is changing the way of journalistic practices everywhere. What used to have to be created, approved and published is now instantaneously given to you via social media. You’ve been on social media and saw a tweet, post, status update, etc. that was huge news. You never had to wait for a newspaper or broadcast, you were told of it first hand on social media. The news needs to be given to the people as fast as humanly possible and the element of social media is enabling this to happen

Courtesy: Anatolii Babii

Alyssa Kritsch presents four ways in that social media is changing journalism.

1) Source From the Street – the firsthand witnesses (everyday people) are equipped with devices that easily allow them to share content that is news.

2) Master the Art of Listening – audiences are fully capable of producing good content nowadays, so find it and listen to it.

3) Amplify Your Story – schedule your posts to target your specific geographical location.

4) Analyze the Results – keep tabs on the content that is current, relevant and informational and use free tools, like Hootsuite, to filter out what fits your brand best.

As we see, there is most certainly a shift in journalism. So much so that Jayson DeMers, CEO of AudienceBloom, believes we could possibly see the extinction of print journalismCourtesy: pretoperola in the near future. One of the main reasons behind this is the general timeliness of content. There is no more time to wait for content to be produced, we want it now! That’s the power social media has over traditional journalism. Lisa Barone feels the elimination of the “middle man” is one reason for the rise in social media uses for brands. They no longer have to go through any barrier to communicate efficiently with audiences. Social media allows brands to become personal and human in the way in which they interact with other users of a particular platform.

Do you feel that “print” journalism is on the path to becoming obsolete?

Is social media your primary outlet for attaining news stories and current events?

Social Media and ROI (Week 11 Readings)

We are seeing more and more companies rely heavily on social media as part of their brand strategy. This is because brands now realize that social media can actually increase a company’s profit margins. It’s not an easy task, given how new social media is, to be successful at this. Relationship building is a big part of social media, and Deloitte Insights has come up with a system based on values which they have named R.E.A.L Relationships: Reciprocal ,Empathetic, Authentic , Long Lasting. These relationships involve engagement with your consumers that allow each party to mutually benefit. It is a way of establishing trust with your customers and enforcing credibility with your brand.

Courtesy: Dusit Panyakhom

Since purchases and financial income for brands cannot come directly from a social media outlet, brands need to relay their audience from social media to their website. These websites are vital for brands, and social media gives them a great outlet to bring people to the website. Adam Popescu has come up with a 5-step formula to assist with this:

1) Engagement – brands must effectively communicate and engage with their audience, it helps build brand awareness and invaluable relationships.

2) Authenticity – There is no faking it anymore. Social media brings out honest comments, and brands must actively reply to both good and bad comments.

3) Premium Content – Content is king! Take brand testimonials and positive reviews and promote it. Brands have to ensure there content is always brining positivity to their name.

4) Incorporating Real-Time Apps – These are necessary tools to keep the name of your brand on top of the product it is pushing. Stay social and acknowledge your audience.

5) Experiment – Brands aren’t going to get it perfect, trial and error. Take what you know and run with it and make the necessary changes to continuously benefit your brand.

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Bringing finances into a brand via social media can also extend to fundraising. Social media has become a major player in donated funds and with the right strategy, brands have found great success. Jason Boies offers 5 tips for brands when pushing for fundraising:

1) Tell Your Story – Don’t just ask for money, show the cause. Give people insight into what their actually donating to and let them know of the impact their donation makes.

2) Recruit You Brand Influencers – Get experts in the social media field on board with your cause and have them promote the fundraiser efficiently.

3) Add You Call to Action – After establishing motives, make it easy for people to donate. They are going out of their way to help your cause and they should be able to make smooth transactions.

4) Brand You Initiative – Create an initiative, a strategy for creating a campaign that bases what and how you donate.

5) Thank People – Always appreciate the ones who appreciated you.

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What other methods do you find necessary to increase brands ROI via social media?

How do you feel about fundraising campaigns on social media? Have you ever participated it one?

Make It or Break It with SEO! (Week 10 Readings)

Search Engine Optimization or SEO’s are crucial to the success of any brand. It’s amazing the drastic difference off traffic hits from search engines websites receive based on where they rank via SEO. According to Chitika Insights,  a website with the first position in Google results receives 33% of the search traffic for a keyword or phrase, compared to 18% for the second position. This graph exemplifies just how important it is to rank atop of search engines:

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So the question is, how do you build up your SEO presence to keep your brand prominent via search? Cognito, a PR and Marketing Firm, suggests:

Content – good, consistent content that is updated regularly.

Keywords – the right keywords are important and Google Analytics assists in telling you which phrases receive the most goal conversions.

Text Styling – incorporating italics and bold font increases hit chances.

Images/Videos – optimize images/videos by using keywords in the title and alt tag.Courtesy: Arcady31

Hyperlinks – use hyperlink phrases that contain your keywords.

Analytics – one of the most important parts of SEO, analytics should be thoroughly monitored.

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One very helpful way for people to have content rank higher is to post with Google+. You are substantially more likely to yield higher search engine results when content is published to your G+ account. If you share content out on Google+ and people indicate they like it by clicking on the “Google +”button, this will help with ranking content, according to Ian Cleary.

Courtesy: stevanzzThere is no better time than now to incorporate positive SEO into your brand’s online campaign. Take advantage of what is on the internet that assists with your SEO strategy. Google Webmaster tools can also be highly beneficial because it informs you of problems it identifies when indexing your site.

Do you currently use Google Analytics or Google Webmaster with your site, if so, do you feel it’s effective?

What else do you feel is important to SEO that isn’t listed above?

Do you regularly post your external content on Google + to increase search traffic opportunities?

Analytics: The Social Media “IT” Factor (Week 9 Readings)

Interaction is the foundation of social media. It’s great to know that we have the option to check how our profiles do on various social media platforms when it comes to interaction. The use of analytics gives us this wonderful information on how we perform on various social networks. To assist we are given several social media analytics tools such as: Klout, Sprout Social and Hootsuite. These programs track your profile content and give you detailed feedback on their performance. The more interaction you receive from your content, the better.

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One of the best ways to obtain positive interaction from your social media content is not just providing good content, but to listen to your audience and cater to their needs. Peter Odryna, CEO of Social Ears, suggests 4 social media techniques for conversion:

1) Learn the Lingo – weeding out invaluable information to find snippets of useful information

2) See the Trend – know what topics are trending at the time, and use it to your advantage.

3) Become an Expert – thoroughly know and learn the ins-and-outs of analytics

4) Land the Client – provide them with a plan, not an empty promise

Analytics can be a brand or persons best friend. You have to understand the concept of what is the best and most efficient way to get yield positive brand content to your Courtesy: Syda Productionsaudience. When you stay atop of the social media realm, you build trust and credibility, which is increasingly important in the continual competitiveness in today’s markets.

A 5-step plan social media analytics plan created by Araceli Perez can also be of assistance. It shows you the best way to measure results of a social media strategy. This is crucial to any brand on social media because you want to know where you are succeeding the most. For instance, if you are receiving more interaction from Twitter and less from Facebook, you should adjust your strategy to where you market is. That’s the great thing about analytics, they provide you with necessary information on your social standing on each platform.

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Brands will increasingly realize the massive value they can unlock from this data in terms of understanding motivations, trends, and behavior of the people, according to Nils Mork Ulnes. Once you gain consumer insights, you then have the power to adapt your strategy to accompany their wants and needs. Consumers will then realize brands are listening to them and it will provide them incentive to share, which benefits both parties. Analytics is the backbone to social media success for any brand or entity trying to promote their agendas. Utilizing these analytics correctly can be the determining factor between failure and success.

What social media analytic tool do you prefer to use, if you do?

What social platform do you experience the most interaction from based off of your analytics?

How personally important are analytics to you and your social media account(s)?

Let’s Get Viral! (Week 8 Readings)

Viral Content—we’ve all heard of it, we all love it, we all want it—but how do we create it? Well let’s first start out by noting, it’s NOT easy! Viral content spreads fast, it creates a sensation for people who begin to share it to people who share it, and that basically keeps continuing until a mass audience has viewed it. Content that goes viral needs to have that special something that gives it that certain “viral edge.” Popular themes for viral content are: humor, controversy, surprises, interesting, practically useful etc.

Courtesy: Ivelin Radkov

According to Digital Strategist Mark Smiciklas, the five key elements of viral content are: share buttons scarcity, skimability, practical utility, and consistency.

Share Buttons: share buttons are links below or above content that easily lets viewers share the content to other people on the net

Scarcity: when content isn’t common and people feel the urge to make it common.

Skimability: people don’t have time to read everything nowadays; there must be something that quickly catches the viewers’ attention.

Practical Utility: a viral theme that approaches a strategy for completing something so users can easily follow along and put into practice.

Consistency: content that is consistent builds trust and credibility. This keeps viewers intrigued into your content.

Viral content really is like a virus, it has to spread to people and trigger some sort of effect. Derek Halpern talks about getting “contagious” in relation to creating viral content, and that is exactly what it is. For instance, Coca Cola created a viral video and you can see how quickly emotions played into it for those involved and those viewing.

So it all comes down to the original question, how do we create this viral content? According to Dorie Clark, there is a specific “science” to it. The best way to go about it is to try and hit the trigger effects that actually impacts viewers enough into spreading the video. Viral content has to make that separation between normality and incredibleness. Remember, it’s all about attracting an audience, and you have to ensure whatever you create will have enough effect for people to spread it on amass scale, thus making it viral.

What specific theme or emotion do you feel is the most important when creating a viral video?

What is your favorite viral video, and why do you think it was so successful?