Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

John Tedesco explains government cookies and politicians on Twitter

September 28, 2009

Jason Davis asked Dr. John Tedesco a couple of burning questions about government social media. Here’s how he answered:


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.

Social Media Diva Talks About Integration – Toby Bloomberg

September 19, 2009

Even though Toby Bloomberg said there were “no experts in social media,” she did provide some valuable advice for business and industry to integrate social media into their current plans. Bloomberg began by stating that it’s important to start with a plan, establish goals and objectives, and get to know the audience. She said that once an organization establishes that broad brush strategy, then they can start the process of incorporating the tactics.


Toby makes a point

Toby makes a point

Bloomberg discussed engagement in social media as bringing back the corner store relationships. She described the building of trust which allows organizations to take the conversation to a new level. The emphasis is not just on sales anymore, it’s about building relationships and communities. Also, businesses have to get away from just sending out messages and taking from consumers and move toward creating good will and understanding their publics. Bloomberg described this process as “ripping down that Wizard of Oz curtain.”


In addition to providing informative advice on how organizations can integrate social media into their existing plans, Bloomberg provided some examples of how some organizations who are succeeding at integrating social media.

Naked Pizza   This little pizza shop from New Orleans who experimented with Twitter used it to get to a small radius within their neighborhood. They found that 15% of all new business came from Twitter.

Donors Choose   Another great example of how an organization can drive their publics from offline to online and back. Someone can hand you a card, you go the Web site, experience the different projects, choose which project to donate, and then you get a response instantly from that organization. Depending on your donation level, you get anything from a post to your Twitterfeed or a widget on Facebook to a hard copy thank you letter mailed to you.

Dell Dell used integrative online strategy  to drive people to other online vehicles and drove their sales up.

Ultimately, the focus comes from the company and each individual business culture. The level of authenticity comes back to the person and the organization. Within each culture, how social media is personalized to convey the organization communication is decided and adapted based on the audience and message.

Toby Bloomberg is a widely recognized for her expertise in combining social media with traditional marketing values (strategy, customer insights, segmentation, etc.) while maintaining the authenticity of digital conversations. She speaks regularly on the topic to organizations and at industry events. Combining 20-years of traditional strategic marketing and with the lessons learned from her adventures in over 5 years with social media, Toby’s company, Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing, works with (the people in) organizations to join-in on the new conversation, from blogs, to social networking to widgets to blogger relations and beyond, without getting blown-up.

Sara Valkova on Integrating Social Media in Non-Profits: Engage, Don’t Promote

September 19, 2009

3934459406_b0d295e1e7When non-profit organizations step into the social media world, they must first know their audience and have a particular goal in mind for reaching that audience, according to Sara Valkova of Emory Healthcare’s Web Marketing Team.

“Some non-profits are in the social media world because they feel like they should and don’t know how to use social media effectively. They are not engaging and not having a dialogue,” Valkova said. “Social media should be about initiating two-way communication between a non-profit organization and their audience, and not all about brand reputation management.”

An example of using social media as a way to connect with publics can be found in Emory’s February Heart Month initiative.  Emory created an online calendar with heart-related tips for each day of the month and also provided a newsletter full of heart-healthy tips. Emory promoted this initiative with a Facebook ad that targeted the desired audience, those at risk for heart disease. Not only is this an example of using social media tools to engage with your publics, but it also shows how traditional and social media can go hand-in-hand.

Emory also uses social media for direct and timely customer service. For example, some patients are more comfortable going to a public forum like Facebook or Twitter to complain about a bad experience at the hospital than directly telling their nurse. When Valkova and her team sees complaints like this in the social media sphere, they contact the nurse in the unit responsible for the complaint and directly address the problem.

“Our target is very defined, so we target that group and we go where they are,” Valkova said.

When asked about the future of integrating social media in non-profit organizations, Valkova replied: “Non-profits have to see what’s important to their audience in order for social media to work for them.” Just like the old adage says, you have to know where you are in order to know where you are going.

Sara Valkova is a web development specialist for Emory Healthcare and co-chair of the Emory Social Media Advisory Board. She is the driving voice behind Emory Healthcare’s social media initiatives and responsible for developing and implementing Emory’s social media tactical plan. You can follow Emory on Twitter @emoryhealthcare.

Is Social Media Transformational? “The Jury Is Still Out”

September 19, 2009


Aaron, Dan and (via Skype) Melanie

Aaron, Dan and (via Skype) Melanie

Although Aaron DeLucia, senior vice president of Porter Novelli, Austin, and Dan Greenfield, principal at BernaiseSource Media agreed that social media is transformational in the field of public relations, Melanie James, a public relations lecturer at the University of Newscastle, didn’t agree.


Greenfield believed that social media transformed the way organizations work in public relations. Back when he worked for MCI he would say “there’s this thing called the Internet and you have to use it.” It allows departments to collaborate in ways that they haven’t in the past.

“I think social media conveys the organization and the way it is organized, the authority,” Greenfield said. “All of the rules are being turned upside down. It is making PR and marketing work in ways it has never worked before.”

When responding to PR’s use (or over use) of great metrics brought up by Melanie James, he further used an example of how he created, organized and promoted PR Camp Atlanta, a workshop to bring public relations practitioners in Atlanta together to discuss pertinent issues in the industry such as social media, solely online. He said that although he sent two press releases about the event, not a single reporter covered it.

“If I didn’t have Twitter, it [PR Camp Atlanta] would have never happened. Twitter was responsible for getting people involved and creating a buzz about it. It was through non-traditional [PR] tools that I was able to make this happen. It was made possible because it didn’t cost me a dime to publicize the event, and that is a far cry from the PR when I first started.”

Aaron DeLucia thinks that Twitter has been the biggest transformation for PR and how corporations and organizations look at communication with their different publics, whether it is with journalists, customers, etc. DeLucia also believes that social media has created new relationships through its existence.

“You’re always connected and you always have to be available,” DeLucia said. “We’re interacting with people at different levels. You need to have a support person/technical person that will interact with the customer [that has the answers to the questions that PR practitioners can’t answer].”

However, James does not agree. She believes that it is transformational in terms of where public relations will be in the future but that it also comes down to the micro level in terms of what should PR practitioners actually do as opposed to the other departments within an organization or other industries in general.

“I have seen numerous turf wars in PR and marketing,” James said. “In Sydney, Australia, turf wars are tough between social media agencies, advertising agencies, and certainly social media has driven a lot of that. ”

However, they all agreed that PR practitioners still need to be responsive regardless of how organizations respond and need to take into account their online presence, relationship management and branding of their organizations.

United Airlines and the mishandling of one man’s guitar was discussed at length and because of this, Southwest Airlines is capitalizing on this mistake through mass media about the care they take in handling bags. The question became does having this online public outcry have an actual, bottom-line effect on the company. Have they lost customers? Do people remember? The case study is always accessible via search.

Furthermore, the panel discussed if the terms new media or social media are productive or interchangeable. The terms ‘horseless carriages’ and ‘information superhighway’ were replaced. Although terms do not matter as much, people have more control over content this content making everyone a spokesperson with the power and capability to shape or change a brand and its reputation.

Finally, students and social media were discussed with the fact that people around 21 years of age have a more personal relationship with the media. The panel believes that students must be taught skills to leverage their day-to-day use of social media.