Turn Marketing Negatives into Positives


Stuff happens. We can’t control it, and even when everything has been planned out, things will still go wrong at times. And we can use these situations to our advantage.

Negative Comments

People will have negative things to say from time to time, whether it be because a student got a parking ticket, or a student wanted to give feedback about programs at the university, you will hear opinions. Turn these negative comments into positive ones by helping your audience members understand things and fix situations.

A student who feels they’re not represented well on campus provides the chance to set that student up with a meeting with the president to make sure he’s heard. By helping each individual person who tweets or posts, you are changing their relationship with the university, and once you do that, they’ll feel more connected. The bigger the brand advocate, the more they’ll sing your praises.


We’re all human, and we make mistakes, so when they happen, own up to it. Apologize, and make the situation right. As the social media or community manager, a lot of times these mistakes may have nothing to do with you, but your audience member doesn’t care if it was your department or another one. They just want a solution, and to know that someone cares about making it right. So do just that. Make it your problem, find the solution and make it right, even though you didn’t have anything to do with the original issue.

Negatives Turn Into Positives

It’s amazing how the smallest things can make negatives turn into positives. Fixing situations, understanding and listening to your audience members can have just that effect.

Retweet After Me: Week of Jan. 7, 2014

How to Use Google+ Hangouts for Your Business by Phyllis Khare

Are you using the Google+ video hangout feature? Are you looking for some creative ideas to use hangouts? Keep reading to discover how your business can connect in a personal way with your customers using this face-to-face video conferencing tool. [Read More]

How Morton’s Steakhouse Won Over Social Media After Cancer Patient Controversy by Kim LaCapria

Popular chain Morton’s Steakhouse found itself on the losing side of the power of social reviewing this week, when a situation at their Nashville branch was described in a Yelp review that later went viral and caused big headaches for the chain. [Read More]

The Complete Guide to Tumblr Etiquette by Sara Roncero-Menendez

Tumblr, like most social media platforms, has a world all its own, complete with a specific etiquette. It can be a bit confusing for users just starting out on the site, and although Tumblr has plenty of users who are willing to help, not everyone knows how to find them. [Read More]

Are Twitter Ads Useless? by Larry Kim

Twitter rocked markets this week with a spectacular initial showing. But how do Twitter ads measure up against Facebook ads? Is it worth spending your ad dollars on Twitter? [Read More]

Authorities issue confusing social media policy for Sochi Olympics by Fran Berkman

The International Olympic Committee is confusing journalists. First, reporters scheduled to cover the 2014 Sochi Olympics were led to believe that they would lose press access if they used Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest or any social media to post photos from their phone. [Read More]

Retweet After Me: Week of Oct. 22, 2013

Use Images on Twitter to Get More ReTweets by Dan Zarrella

I collected a dataset of more than 400,000 randomly selected Tweets and the number of times each tweet received a “new school” (native) ReTweet. I then compared 4 of the most popular ways to send images to Twitter: Facebook image links (images hosted on Facebook’s CDN, fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net), Instagram, Twitpic and Twitter’s own, native image uploading service (shown in Tweets as pic.Twitter.com). [Read More]

You Are a Source: How to Reach and Influence Journalists with Social Media by Ian Greenleigh

Facebook ads are one interesting tool in the outreach kit, and especially useful when you have a fresh, informed angle on a hot story the media already cares about. I worked with my publisher on the infographic you see below to promote my just-released book, The Social Media Side Door: How to Bypass the Gatekeepers to Gain Greater Access and Influence. [Read More]

How Duplicate Content Fits Into Your Social Strategy by Elizabeth Harper

We’ve all seen instances of businesses repeating themselves on social networks — reposting a morning message in the evening for a new audience, perhaps. Sometimes this cross-posting can be a social win, helping more viewers see your messages, but other times it takes a nose-dive into spam territory, which is likely to drive your follower counts down. [Read More]

Social Listening: Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t by Jae Baer

“Listen” is the dogma of social media. Every social media consultant since the dawn of Friendster has a slide (or 23) about listening in every presentation. It’s the axiom that power the entire social media value proposition for brands. Eavesdropping on customers conversations yields positive outcomes, period. Or does it? [Read More]

The Beginner’s Guide to HootSuite by Marissa Cetin

Juggling multiple social media accounts across several networks can get hectic, especially when there’s a fine line between a manageable number of browser tabs and a terrible guessing game. [Read More]

#SocialFresh Key Takeaways in 140 Characters

#SocialFresh is a perfect description of how I’m feeling right now. I just returned from sunny San Diego and the Social Fresh West conference. Every speaker was fantastic, and was obviously passionate about what they’re topic. I definitely left this morning feeling re-energized to hit the road running. If you’re looking for a conference in the future, this would be an excellent option to explore.

Here are some of my key takeaways, in tweet form. Not all of them were a perfect fit for a higher education scenario, but the idea is still there, and still applicable in some way or another.

There was a huge emphasis on images and visuals in the conference, but I think @PRSarahEvans said it best. Don’t ignore the image, it’s powerful, and not just on Facebook any more.

So in higher education we don’t necessarily have a C-suite in the traditional sense, but we do have administrators who should be interested in what is being done in communications, which includes social media. Every aspect of communications and marketing you do counts. Make sure others know that, too.

We have to treat students like people, because that’s what they are. As community managers and social media managers we have a large opportunity to make our universities real to our students. We get to tell them we care. Feel empowered to do just that. This is actually one of my favorite parts of my job, helping students when there are issues, encouraging them when needed, and celebrating with them throughout the process of earning a degree and starting a career.

When I think mobile, I always think of smartphones and then responsive and mobile websites. Both technologies. Those days are gone. Think about how your user interacts with your content in a mobile-environment, and you’ll start on the right path.

Again: visual, visual, visual. Audiences interact with images, and it’s the first thing that will draw a reader in, so don’t skimp, and use pretty images to tell the story.

A tale as old as time. You will never be successful if you’re always behind the eight ball. Set yourself up for success, whether it be committing to a social content calendar, using your editorial calendar more, or just organizing your thoughts. There’s no silver bullet, do what works for you.

A personal montra of mine, so I was happy to hear it said. Social media in some ways is your brand’s window to the world. Why would you just throw whatever content up you could find without thinking of how it represents your brand?

I think we all know this. But sometimes it’s just nice to hear that you’re not the only one whose marketing campaign gets stomped on every now and again.

I’ll admit, sometimes I’m the first person to jump to saying no to a request for social media. But I’m getting better at quickly reevaluating that initial thought, and finding a better solution: I don’t think that piece of content is appropriate for that social media channel, but it would be a great fit on this one. Work with the many different areas of the university to make the content and the communications work for you.

Lead your own conversations, don’t follow. The conversation is happening all around you, so make sure you steer it where you want it.

Another huge theme of #socialfresh was repurpose, and I love how Jason Miller from LinkedIn said this. Evergreen content isn’t old since it’s been posted for a bit, just pre-loved. So why don’t we repurpose that content and give it another round of love.

Retweet After Me: Week of Feb. 21, 2013

Here’s this week’s roundup of need to know social media news, and some new ideas for improving your social media presences. Enjoy!

Getting the Most Out of Graduations with Social Media by Cameron Pegg

In many ways, graduations are the ultimate social event. Thousands of people gather on your campus simultaneously to celebrate the achievements of their friends and family members, happily producing and sharing photos, video and other content. [ Read More ]

Neiman Marcus: Making Fashion Social Through Strategy and Execution by Lin Humphrey

When considering the social media approach for an upscale retailer, it is hard not to draw comparisons with couture design. Appealing to a design-conscious fashionable consumer requires a well-constructed, custom approach where content, not short-term promotions, rules. As with clothing, timeless style trumps fleeting fads in a flawless social media execution. [ Read More ]

MTV and BET’s fake Twitter hack PR stunt wasn’t funny and raises serious questions by Taylor Soper

MTV and BET just fooled us all, and I’m not sure if it was funny, stupid or scary. Yesterday, Burger King’s Twitter account was hacked and the same hackers did it to Jeep today. Then, just an hour ago, it appeared the @MTV and @BET accounts — both are owned by Viacom — were also victim to the same intrusion. [ Read More ]

Police Informed Mother About Son’s Death Over Facebook by Kevin Morris

Anna Lamb-Creasey’s son had disappeared without a trace. She called hospitals and jails. She waited for days and then weeks and then a month, desperate for a sign of life. She posted to his Facebook page: “Rickie where are you? Love mom.” [ Read More ]

Twitter Launches Ads API, So Marketers Can Run Campaigns Through Adobe, Salesforce, Others by Anthony Ha

Twitter just announced via blog post that it has launched an advertising API, which will allow brands to run ad campaigns through the company’s API partners, rather than having to buy them through Twitter itself. [ Read More ]

What a Whopper: Burger King Twitter Falls to Hacking

As many of you have noticed, the King has fallen to a hacking. This is a situation that could happen to anyone, especially if your password is an easy one to guess. Tweets from the hacked account ranged from everything from promoting rival McDonalds, to talking about drug use and other harmful topics. Some people have mentioned that Burger King isn’t normally getting this kind of publicity, but is it worth it?

burger king twitter hacking
Burger King’s Twitter Account Mid-hacking

The Situation

This is one of those times when people start asking, “Is all publicity good publicity?” And the answer is no. Seeing tweets that could offend customers coming from a brand is never going to go over well with your entire audience. While this may cause a surge in followers and engagement for today and maybe this week, it won’t remain long term, and it isn’t from loyal customers. The new followers are people who wanted to watch the train wreck, and the engagement is the residual smoke. Also, you might think that Burger King might not get hit too hard, since they were innocent in this case, which might be true. But a hacking situation still does not give your team credibility, or make them look knowledgeable.

Avoiding and Protecting

So now that we all know we’d like to avoid this situation, how do we go about protecting our social accounts, whether it belongs to a brand, or a individual. Not all of these solutions apply directly to the Burger King situation, but they are good rules of thumb.

  • Change your password every few months, and especially after a staff member leaves
  • Avoid writing down passwords, for obvious reasons
  • Don’t use words in your passwords, instead use a series of letters that only means something to you. For example: make a sentence in which the first letters could be used as the password. My dog is black would be Mdib is a password.
  • Use both numbers and letters in your passwords
  • Report hacked accounts immediately
  • Change passwords on all other accounts after one has been compromised


I’d guess there is some apologizing in Burger King’s future, simply for the things the hackers said on their account. The account has since been suspended, so at least no more damage is being done. I’m sure there will be a conversation about Twitter security within their communications team, too. I think we’ll know more as we learn how their account was hacked.

I feel for this social media team, and know that they will be dealing with cleaning up a huge mess. I think the social media specialist at Wendy’s put it best:


Retweet After Me: Week of Feb. 13, 2013

Here’s this week’s roundup of need to know social media news. Enjoy!

Understanding Facebook’s EdgeRank by Cara Tarbaj

A recent controversy over average Facebook Page reach led Facebook to publicly announce the four main factors it uses to determine the reach each Page post gets. Reach refers to the number of your Facebook fans (users who Like your Page) who see each of your posts in their News Feed. [ Read More ]

How Vine Is Beating Cinemagram by Chris Taylor

GIF creation app Cinemagram has seen a significant uptick in interest — but is losing the battle of the buzz to its upstart rival, Twitter’s six-second video app Vine. [ Read More ]

Are You in the 1 Percent? LinkedIn Congratulates Its Elite Members by Todd Wasserman

LinkedIn has tapped into the inherent narcissism of social media communication for a very successful program notifying its elite members of their eliteness. [ Read More ]

5 Social Media Service Tips by Ernan Roman

The Challenge: In the past, brands addressed customer service issues by way of a primary channel — the ‘call center.’ But now, companies must also monitor, respond, and engage in a variety of social channels. [ Read More ]

Doctors treating patients for social media addiction

Are you addicted to social media? It may be a real problem! Doctors are treating patients for it. A study by the University of Chicago last year found social media can be even more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol! [ Read More ]

Retweet After Me: Week of Jan. 29, 2013

This week is focused on improving social media listening, SEO and taking a look at social media ethics.

Omni Hotels: The Power of Social Listening by Lin Humphrey

One afternoon, a tweet addressed to @OmniHotels said simply, “Dear Omni Hotel: Key lime pie: Win. Wi-Fi: Fail.” The eCommerce team, who monitors and responds in social channels, responded to the tweet and contacted the hotel to rectify the situation. What the team did not realize at the time was that the tweeter was actually the keynote speaker of a PR, marketing and social media conference at their Jacksonville location. They had deployed the GM of the hotel to alert the tweeter that the issue had been resolved (along with a slice of key-lime pie as a tongue-in-cheek goodwill gesture). While this was only one tweet of many that Omni Hotels saw and answered that day, the results of the action Omni took perfectly illustrates the power of social listening. The end result was a resolved issue for an influential customer that resulted in word of mouth about the exceptional service due to social listening from the other participants at the conference. [ Read More ]

Google Author Rank and Your Personal Brand by Maria Elena Duron

Google is renowned for its ability to find and share the information users want to see, and now it has taken it a step further. It has provided a recent addition to optimizing search engine results. The addition of Author Rank allows those that generate material in the online world to be found in a new way. [ Read More ]

Did CNN editor cross the line with tweet to Lone Star student? by Anthony Cave

Freshman Amanda Vasquez was sitting in room 163 of the Academic Building at Lone Star College – North Harris when she heard shots ring out in the hallway. [ Read More ]

6 Reasons Not To Create a Facebook Fan Page by Nichole Kelly

Many companies are rushing to try and jump into social media because they feel tremendous pressure to prevent being left behind. Most of us have moved past the need to make a business case for social media and into the era of “needing” social media as part of our overall marketing mix. The statistics on social media adoption are astounding. A recent study found that over 90% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business. This is a drastic shift from where we were even just a short 2 years ago. In the same study, more than half of the respondents had less than 1 year of experience in social media. [ Read More ]

5 Tips for Using Google+ to Boost Your Marketing by Jason Miller

Are you wondering how to best use Google+ to enhance your marketing?Google+ is quickly becoming an essential part of any business’s social media strategy. [ Read More ]