Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Pepper’

Jeremy Pepper on “social media experts”

September 28, 2009

Calling yourself a social media expert is not only limiting but pointless. Here’s why:


Lieutenant Connie Braesch on the Coast Guard’s Social Media Participation

September 19, 2009


Lt. Braesch via Skype

Lt. Braesch via Skype

“When it comes to social media we are definitely in the lead” (relative to its service’s size) —a bold statement made by Lieutenant Connie Braesch, the Social Media Tactical Action Officer for Coast Guard Public Affairs.


And rightly so—even though the Coast Guard only composes 2% of the U.S. Armed Forces, they have an encompassing presence in the social media world. Among other platforms, the Coast Guard has a service-wide blog, the Coast Guard Compass, and official Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr accounts.

According to Lt. Braesch, the purpose of utilizing these platforms is to educate and inform the public about what the Coast Guard does every day, which includes more than just rescue missions. The Coast Guard is also responsible for navigations law enforcement, ice operations in the Arctic, homeland security roles, drug and immigrant interdiction and maritime law enforcement.

“Every Coast Guard member (Guardian) is a spokesperson for the service. Everybody is considered a voice,” Lt. Braesch said. As a result, the Coast Guard has roughly 100 separate official social media sites, and those are only the ones known to Lt. Braesch.

In order to establish a more collaborative voice among the separate voices representing the Coast Guard, Lt. Braesch shared with Connect participants the Coast Guard’s criteria for social media participation:

1. Full disclosure is required. Contributors to social media from within the Coast Guard must identify who they are, their position and for whom they work.

2. Always provide a short disclaimer. When engaging on unofficial Coast Guard sites, a disclaimer is included to establish that the Coast Guard does not endorse the site or any links on the site.

3. General comment policy. The Coast Guard does not allow anonymous comments.

For a one-stop shop for Coast Guard news, people can go to the Coast Guard Twitter, which is a live RSS feed of Coast Guard press releases. After measuring the click-through rate of this tactic, Lt. Braesch continues to employ this because she knows the Coast Guard’s publics use and enjoy it. Lt. Braesch is able to freely and quickly disseminate this information because the Coast Guard trusts her team to do their own social media without approvals. Since the blog is 100% her voice, it helps to build credibility and authenticity to the posts.

Social media also played a large role in how the Coast Guard responded to the recent 9/11/09 incident, where a Coast Guard training exercise was mistaken as a potential threat to the presidential motorcade crossing the Potomac River Bridge. The Coast Guard is now conducting a content analysis investigation of Twitter streams and blog comments to assess public opinion on the incident.

As for the future of the Coast Guard’s involvement in social media, they want to find the balance between more engagement and less security risks—and continue to be the leader in social media in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Lieutenant Connie L. Braesch assumed her duties as the Social Media Tactical Action Officer for Coast Guard Public Affairs on June 1, 2009.  In her current assignment, she is the voice behind the Coast Guard’s social media participation. She also produces and distributes Coast Guard policy and procedures for the use and application of social media as well as provides consultation for service communicators.

NOTE: The original post was edited for factual information.

“I hate social media.” – Jeremy Pepper on Integrating Social Media into Business & Industry

September 19, 2009


Jeremy tells it like he sees it

Jeremy tells it like he sees it

The crowd gasped. Our PR world stopped spinning. I think I felt a tiny earthquake. Did Jeremy Pepper, director of communications and social media for Palisades Systems, just say he hated social media at a social media conference? Yes, he did, and he had one heck of a good reason:

“The term ‘social media’ ignores what we’ve been doing in PR for the last 50 years. It’s a new term for things we’ve been doing forever; it’s just another way of engaging people.”

Public relations is all about using engagement to get  people excited about your brand, and social media is just one of the ways we as PR practitioners can do this. Pepper gave great examples of how companies are using social media to drive engagement from online to offline. Chick-Fil-A, for instance, holds tweet-ups to get mommy bloggers to come to their family story times. Pepper himself uses Twitter to find people that hate the competitors of his company. He then offers these people help or advice, and in doing so, creates fans and praise for his company.

Pepper says we need to step outside of our own little worlds and start seeing the endless options we have for engagement. Twitter is often seen as a purely Business to Consumer medium, but Pepper revealed that it actually works wonderfully for Business to Business communication. In fact, Twitter is where Pepper reaches most of his stakeholders.

While Pepper is not a fan of stunt PR, he admits that creating a buzz online drives buzz offline, and traditional journalism will jump in here. Journalists will write about an online hit, but that is not to say that social media is the end-all-be-all in communications. “Social media creates cowards,” Pepper said, “Even CEOs complain on Twitter about other companies. Is this really appropriate?”  He also thinks it creates unequal treatment and raises a good question: Do people with more followers deserve more attention or more respect?

One particular mommy blogger received a phone call from Maytag almost immediately after complaining about the company on Twitter. Is that fair? Shouldn’t social media be used to respond to all customer concerns? Isn’t the ability to interact with all consumers the point? Pepper thinks s0, and this mantra is what has made him an expert in the very term he hates. He shocked us, made some valid points and got us talking. Yep, sounds like Jeremy Pepper has this whole “social media” thing figured out.