Tag: Facebook

Over the past year, the demand for our crisis communications services has been on a considerable rise. Not surprisingly either. With the advances in technology and associated ability to convey issues of consequence through social media, the court of public opinion has become both a ruthless judge and jury within minutes of many issues, grievances and disasters both real and perceived.

If left unattended, perception will always outflank reality and most companies have very little time to respond to a crisis. Every day that passes by without acting to resolve a crisis will negatively impact your brand and often results in significant losses. More often than not the public trust is weakened and, in some cases, irreparable. Sadly, we are seeing these situations in social and earned media on a regular basis.

Most glaring is the amount of time required for companies to respond to a perceived crisis. It is inexcusable. There is no longer room for “no comment” or “next day” strategies. Today, the public expects an immediate response. Failure to do so is usually dealt with a swift blow to the company’s brand.

Given this regular occurrence, more companies are now beginning to evaluate their crisis management plan preparedness for such an event. Moreover, shareholders of publicly traded companies are asking management and board members alike if such plans exist. And yet in a recent Nasdaq poll close to 50% of organizations do not have a crisis communications plan and only 50% felt their companies were “adequately prepared to manage crises effectively” exposing them to serious risk.

While this number is staggering, risk exposure rises even further when one considers the last time many of these companies with a plan in place have had it updated, including vulnerability audits and stress tests to ensure crises readiness.

The harsh reality is that if your company hasn’t updated their plan annually or are not regularly practicing scenarios they are invariably exposed to a wide variety of issues. If you are completely lacking a comprehensive crisis communication management strategy, your level of risk has grown exponentially.

Recently, newer issues have appeared more frequently in the media and public domain and it is probably worthwhile to re-examine the issues that you may be up against. Some of the more frequent issues include:

  • Data breach, identity theft, privacy and security
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Violations of public trust within government
  • Offensive social media transmissions by employees

What can you do to avoid these potential problems?

To begin with, I recommend having an internal team meeting to determine whether or not your company has a current plan in place, and if you do, to carefully evaluate if the plan is sufficient. If there is even the slightest hesitation, bring in an outside expert to review and augment. You may find yourself in the middle of an exercise that requires considerable renovations to your existing plan. If your organization is completely without a strategy you should move quickly to have one built. This is not an exercise that should be taken lightly or handed to someone inexperienced.  Each crisis communications management strategy is unique to each company and while many follow fundamentals, the end strategy can often take between two and three months to assemble.

 What does it cost to hire an outside expert?

 No two plans are alike and therefore careful consideration should be given to the experience and size of undertaking you may be embarking upon. There is no set cost equation or template plan but consider the following to be some numbers to give you a barometer of costs likely to be incurred.

  •  Plan creation – involves multiple meetings with key stakeholders including senior management, legal, tech, frontline staff, etc. Largely depends on size and structure of organization. $25,000 to $50,000+
  • Training – this will include spokesperson training, media training, and mock interview drills to ensure everyone is on the same page and understands the routing when a crisis occurs. $3,500 to $15,000+
  • Stress/vulnerability tests to examine potential problems and create routine response mechanisms. Depends on the size and nature of the company. $10,000 to $25,000+

Keep in mind the scope of your costs will be largely dependent upon the size of your organization, the amount of training involved, and the vulnerability audits and program adjustments required. At the end of the process you should have a manual, a crisis ready communications team and a good understanding of the possible scenarios you may experience and what to do when they happen.

Stock Chart for FB

Facebook (FB) stock plunge on Cambridge Analytica data breach

The cost of not having a plan and reacting poorly to a situation can cost you millions and even billions of dollars within hours. At the end of the day, the money you spend now will be considerably less than the money you will have to spend without one.

The likelihood of a company crisis today is not a matter of “if” vs. “when”. Having a crisis communications management strategy in place will undoubtedly help you mitigate your losses and protect your brand.

Hugh Mansfield (hugh@mansfieldinc.com) has over 25 years of crisis communications management experience. Hugh has handled some landmark cases including data theft, privacy, FDA, FTC and State Attorney investigations, Auditor General enquiries, filing issues with SEC, NASDAQ and TSX, along with major labor disputes, public health and safety, consumer product recalls, and numerous environmental disasters.

Welcome to another Mansfield Thought Leadership post. Our posts our designed to help the C-Suite with Public Relations and Social Media Management.

Should your company’s C-Suite executives be using social media? Even if they should be, chances are they’re not—according to research published in 2016 from CEO.com and Domo, 60 per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever.

Whether or not the company brass should be publicly active on social networks depends largely on who they are as a person and how they want to be perceived within the company and the industry. Do they want to appear more relatable and connect more genuinely with employees and colleagues? Conversely, executives may harm the brand if their social media is done poorly. Just look at United Airline’s Oscar Munoz’ response to the controversy around their forced removal of a passenger earlier this year.

To give you an idea of the pros and the cons, we broke down the simple reasons for and against your company’s leaders engaging on social media.

 

pexels-photo-219003

Reasons for getting your company leaders on social:

• Shaping brand views: any executives on social media will serve as an extension of the company and their social media posts coming from the top will support the larger marketing activities. This can help the brand appear more accessible to a larger audience.

• Being approachable to employees: any efforts to be more accessible to outside audiences are applicable within the company itself. When employees are engaged on social media with their leaders they’re likely more satisfied in their job which will lead to less turnover.

• Improving relationships with customers and stakeholders: active execs help show the public and future customers how much the organization values customer experience. CEOs engaging with real people on social media can enhance brand opinions and loyalty.

• Talent recruitment: being adept on social emphasizes a CEO’s know-how with technology. Organizations searching for recruits who are invested in tech-friendly companies may value a CEO who keeps a strong social media presence.

• Keeping abreast of company or industry issues: social media allows CEOs to proactively monitor and participate in the relevant discussions that arise in regards to their company or industry. This can help company leadership react quickly to key industry developments.

On the other side, basic arguments against CEOs embracing social include:

• It may be too time consuming: sometimes time is a CEO’s most valuable commodity and forcing social media on them can take their attention away from more relevant pieces of business.

• It could be inauthentic: it’s not uncommon for executives to let their PR or communications teams run their accounts. While they’re most likely approving the posts, the words may not feel genuine which largely defeats the purpose of a personal social media account.

• The risk factor: if they are running their own accounts, giving a CEO free rein of their can be risky if they’re known for contentious or provocative commentary.

• It could harm internal productivity: if company leadership is seen as proactively social it may encourage employees to spend more time than necessary socializing online leading to decreased productivity.

However, if your company execs see the value in social media, launching them on it is a multi-step process. Approach it like any other social media campaign—establish goals and objectives, set benchmarks and most importantly, figure out the personality they want to project to the world.

Above all the brand humanizing, thought leadership and company updates from the top, their personal brands should shine through on whatever they put out.

If you need help navigating the Social Media landscape, we can work with you in confidence to improve your online presence.

Welcome to another entry in our Tips & Tricks series. In this post we will be cover tips to help with your digital services.

Every year during the weekend prior to Labour Day, Canada’s largest, and North America’s third largest, pop culture event takes over downtown Toronto. If you are unexpectedly caught in the horde, sometimes literal horde depending on the cosplay, you might think that Toronto has been taken over.

At its heart, FanExpo, which covers nearly every square foot of the north and south buildings of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, combines comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming (video and otherwise).

The event attracts more than 120,000 people. They come to shop for artisan jewelry, original pieces of art for all the genres, collectibles of every form. They come to meet the comic book artists that inspired them. Most of all they come for the celebrities. Autographs of Hollywood celebrity or the sci-fi elites are extremely popular. Between $40 and $100 means about a minute of time while talent pen their names. Want a photo? That will be another $100, more for group shoots. The thousands of dollars an hour celebrities earn is nothing compared to the earned media that brands generate.

This year, Cards Against Humanity who are famous for their Black Friday “deals” had people lined up and taking photos of their booth titled “Apologies from Americans” while other attendees snapped shots of those in the line-up. The upcoming film Thor: Ragnarok featured actor costumes in front of a movie poster wall, which drew the attention of fans who captured the image and shared it. The upcoming TV show of Star Trek: Discovery gave fans the chance to play “phaser Tag” while other shared photos of a wall well-branded with the show’s logo.

Competing for each and every dollar are the independent artists as they hustle to position themselves as the next hot property, but these new talents lack the big budgets of the established players.

Here are four tips for low-budget hustle tactics used by the independents.

1. Know your audience, and know what they like. Artists recognized how popular the video game Overwatch is and recognized how loyal their fans are. When the lone voice actor, Charlet Chung from the game with 30 million players came to sign autographs, artists created prints for her to sign. A majority of artists promoting their own original art also featured many renditions of the popular Overwatch character D.Va. The booths that had prints had line ups of fans eager to buy which drew in potential fans for their original material.

2. Be everywhere. Most brands social media extends to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Independents need to be everywhere and their business cards prove it. The majority had at least five to to 10 social network icons highlighted: Google+, YouTube, Twitch, Tumblr, Behance, Pinterest, Dribble, DeviantArt and Patreon on top of the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

3. Employ a three step approach to acquisition: interest, entice, engage. The real hustle of the art occurs when artists start selling themselves. They have a few square feet to claim as their own, and they lay it all bare to the world, that is step one, gain interest. Once they have a moment of attention they entice. They know they are surrounded by passionate fans, they quickly identify their realm of fandom and sell directly to it and they do it hundreds of times per hour. Thirdly they engage with the soft sell, offering package deals or simply handing out their business card. These artists sell on all platforms and realize that physical sales are not the only source of income.

4. Be the source. Artists don’t only sell art, they sell knowledge and experience. Patreon has made it easier for artists to receive a monthly income from people that appreciate their art as well as share how they make it. YouTube and Twitch partners share revenue with the content creators that populate their networks.

Keep these tips in mind if you’re an artist or even an established brand. If you would like any help with your digital presence, ask us how we can help you.

Whether you are looking to engage an influencer on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or smaller niche sites, influencer marketing is on the rise in 2017. To stay on top of this trend brands must actively change their strategies to capitalize on this seismic marketing shift.

Influencers are paid to sponsor a product or campaign through their blog, social media posts, other video/written content. The benefit is simply that many of their followers will often take the trusted source, in this case the influencer, as being a good motivation to check out a brand, participate in a sale offering and possibly initiate a purchase.

There are five market measurements of Influencers:

  • Micro (<10,000 followers),
  • Mid (10,000- 100,000)
  • Macro (>100,000)
  • Super Macro (100,000+ and some level of celebrity status)
  • Niche (follower counts can vary from 500-1,000,000s depending on category and expertise).

Most campaigns will take on a blend of influencers with each campaign directly involved in achieving a defined goal: Either brand amplification, general awareness, lead generation or a defined sales campaign.

Influencers are keenly aware of their power, and this is likely to increase as more brands continue to invest in them this year and beyond. Some of the things you may want to consider when negotiating with an influencer:

1) Do I possess the skill set to negotiate an influencer contract or should I be outsourcing this to an agency?

If you have no prior experience in negotiating with influencers you should consider the cost benefit of using a company that has knowledge, is process driven and can display results from past campaigns. Don’t get lured into influencer software platforms that will spit out millions of recommendations without a defined strategy. No two tracking software programs are alike and, at the end of the day, a human analysis will be required to legitimize whom you may be pursuing for your campaign. Most companies that have this area of expertise will have the required information and market knowledge to create a strategy that will get you the results you are seeking.

2) Do the influencer’s profile and audience fit with my brand? If not is there a parallel association that might make sense?

Experienced influencers will be very particular about your brand and their core audience. They will need to understand your campaign and how they might fit into their communications schedule without being accused of product pushing. Remember, they got to where they are by carefully curating their personal brand. Not all campaigns will have a direct relationship to your brand. As you build out your campaign look for audiences that may have similar character attributes that would be transferrable to your brand. For instance, could an influencer who has a large following in travel also have an impact in food? Also, look for niche experts in geographic locations. You may be pleasantly surprised by both finite expertise and local loyalty. You will also like the associated cost benefits.

3) How do I determine the Influencer’s track record?

Most influencers will have a media kit with past performances and results. Be sure and ask for it. If not ask for screen shots of Google Analytics or past campaign performances. A quality influencer will want to share this information as most campaigns today can be easily tagged and tracked.

4) Who controls the content?

Content control will largely depend on the influencer you are working with. Most influencers will want to know the campaign direction you are contemplating and make their partnership decision based upon this information. For the most part, they will want to incorporate your product info into their own vernacular that best suits their community. Try and look for longer-term relationships. One-offs don’t create any value at the lower three levels of influencers. Having said that, manage your expectations on what might be the outcome when you first begin the relationship. For this reason, incorporate a few influencers into your campaign and see which ones are the highest performers.

5) What is fair compensation?

Most influencers will be willing to negotiate their compensation. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $100 – $1,000 per post/campaign depending on their past performance and size of their base. Most influencers will prefer to be paid in cash, but some (few) will take product in whole or as part of their compensation. There will be other variables that will influence the cost such as schedule (theirs and yours), the length of campaign and level of endorsement you are seeking.  The greater the track record, the more money you will likely be paying. If you are prepared to engage celebrity or athlete endorsements, your cost multiples will increase substantially. Some influencers may to try and negotiate some value-add for their community. Be prepared to serve up some free product, brand swag or discount to those who ask.

6) Is there a contract?

Yes. Please make sure you have a signed Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before you begin negotiations. This way you are protected from the opportunity being publicly disclosed. From that point on, if you decide to proceed you need to have the terms defined in a written binding contract. A contract is the only way you will be protecting your rights and the content.

7) Should I be concerned about “sponsored” or “paid” labels on the content posted?

Most Influencers’ communities will not be swayed by the tag sponsored or paid. They will consider the merits of the brand and fully understand that the influencer to whom they are following will have made a commitment themselves to your brand.  They must be convinced of your product to take on an endorsement role for it is their community you are trying to penetrate.

8) How do I measure the success of the program?

See point # 1. If you are inexperienced in running these campaigns and seeking help there are a few base ingredients you should be considering such as:

  • What are the business objectives?
  • What portion of the customer journey am I trying to penetrate?
  • Is there a CPA or sales ratio for dollars spent?
  • Are there regional successes that may be transferrable to other geographic areas?
  • Do I have the right mix of influencers in my campaign?
  • Is the audience size right for my brand (Micro, Mid /Niche)?
  • Am I securing the brand affiliations I have identified in my plan?
  • What metrics am I tracking for success?

According to Altimeter’s Traacker report, 71% of marketers rate influencer marketing as a strategic area of their marketing campaign this year. The report also noted that while budgets are currently small, 55% plan to spend more on influencers in 2017.

A survey by IAB in 2016 indicated widespread rise in ad blockers, especially amongst younger demographics. A full 47% of people are using them, and this number will undoubtedly continue to rise, making influencers even a more valuable component of your marketing strategy.

Influencer marketing is big business and bound to increase even more in 2017 and beyond. Be careful with your negotiations and if you are just starting out, manage your program and expectations accordingly.

Personal branding is something that everyone does, whether they realize it or not.

Building a personal brand means optimizing and managing the way that your identity is received online. In this blog post specifically, we will give 12 tips on how to clean up and improve your personal branding using social media. Social media is probably the biggest key to building your brand, since it can be so personalized. more

7 Tips for Branding on Social Platforms.

Building a company brand  is a marketing strategy that is used to differentiate one business from another. This includes recognizable designs, symbols or icons that make your company stand out in a crowd. Social media can help you build your brand in ways you can’t with traditional advertising.

Social media is becoming so vital to company brand growth, that 71 percent of brands plan to invest more heavily in social media in the coming year to get followers and build brand reputation.

Here are some simple tips to get you thinking about your company’s brand and how you can improve your social relevance. more

Timing is Everything.

When marketers develop their social media strategies, their focus is typically on a tier-one, revenue-driving campaign. To drive sales however, an emphasis must be placed on the overall brand narrative, as users seek out authentic and timely interactions.

As Gary Vaynerchuck might say, ‘right hooks’ convert traffic to sales, but your social media ROI is dependent on the quality and context of your content1. Timing is everything.

Google believes so as well. According to ThinkWithGoogle’s recent report on Micro-Moments: more

A Review of Canada’s Digital Future in Focus.

Last week, comScore released their 2015 Canada Digital Future in Focus. The annual report covers usage patterns from the previous year, as well as the future of digital in Canada.

Here are a few highlights that caught my attention. more

Snapchat is Not Just a Social Media Company.

Two weeks ago, Adweek reported that Snapchat was asking major retail brands for $750,000 a day for its new ads. While Snapchat only began to run ads late last year, they have support from major brands, including the likes of McDonald’s, Samsung, Macy’s, and Electronic Arts.

On the surface, three quarters of a million dollars may seem like a lot money for a single day of advertising, but when you’re first-to-market and have a direct line to teenagers, there’s definitely an argument to be made. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel certainly believes so, as he’s raising funds at a $10 billion valuation.

Funding aside, it’s fascinating to watch as Snapchat continues to monetize their app, and compete with established social media players for user’s precious screen minutes.

But it doesn’t stop at social media. more