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Social Media: Approach with Caution June 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gillespieka @ 3:37 am

Social media is a booming industry for organizations to get involved with. It is essential for an organization to have some sort of social media incorporated with it because it seems to be changing the way of communication in the business world. Social media is being used for purposes including promotion, customer service and crisis communication. Some organizations seem to be headed in the right direction with the management of its social media pages while others have failed.

One organization that does an excellent job with managing its social media sites is NBC’s Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. The group of people who run the Twitter and Facebook groups for the organization keeps both sites up to date by the minute. The sites are used for interaction between the viewers and the topics talked about on the show. The timing the organization has with the updates are perfectly timed with the airing of the show. This results in great audience participation and feedback.

An organization that hasn’t quite gotten the hang of social media is AMP Energy Drink. Its Facebook page purpose is to update the “fans” in order to get people to come to planned events to receive free energy drinks. The only problem is that the page is updated shortly before the event is occurring. This gives the consumers no time to plan to come to the event and results in no one showing up to AMP sponsored events.

The organizations doing things right have taken 5 things into consideration before launching and choosing the social media sites it is apart of.

What’s the Purpose?

The first thing an organization should be thinking about is what the purpose and specific uses of its social media will be. What exactly will the organization be using this channel for? It could range from communication with its different publics to promotional efforts for events and products. By answering this question it can help narrow down which site will be the best fit for an organization.

Leading edge

Social media is relatively new to the business world. No one really knows where it will be going in the next five to ten years. This is where research must be done. Look up the sites history and possible future plans it has. A smart organization wants to be a part of a social media outlet that is going to be doing big things and has a large amount of followers for years to come.

Wait, Who is going to do all of this?

Incorporating social media into an organization means someone’s got to manage it. Time, resources and cost play a role into this category. Since it’s a communication tool the PR department should probably manage the account(s). Whoever is in charge of it needs to stay on top of the updates to the page. All of this is crucial to the organizations credibility.

Push v. Pull

The push and pull tactics of social media will determine exactly how and who the organization wants to reach out to. By having more than one site the organization can manage to have the best of both worlds. One site with push technologies and the other with pull. This gives the audience a choice, which makes the company look flexible.


The organization should be cautious of social media because there are certain risks associated with having an account. Most sites allow the followers of the organization to leave comments about it on the web page. This could potentially ruin its reputation.

What’s your take on all of this?


Selfish Volunteers June 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gillespieka @ 4:21 pm

Many people are looking for ways to contribute to their community, but often don’t contribute because they don’t know where to start to get involved. PR practitioners should use this knowledge to get information to these people in order to recruit them as volunteers.

It would be a great world if there were true altruistic acts. True selfless acts cannot happen because as soon as a person feels good for doing something, he or she has received something in return. Even though some people will strive to do something and expect nothing in return, this is not true for all.

The majority of people, before they sign up to do something, think what is in it for me? Society has molded people to think of themselves before they think of others. This information is paramount for a non-profit organization to understand when trying to recruit volunteers.

One organization, for example, that can apply this theory is the YMCA.

The YMCA, or the Young Men’s Christian Association, is a non-profit community service organization that is open to children and adults of all ages, races, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels. The YMCA’s mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

The YMCA offers many options for those who want to volunteer for its non-profit organization. Some options include:

·      leading an exercise class

·      reading to a preschool class

·      coaching a basketball team

·      cooking for a bake sale

·      helping out in the office or at a special event

·      being a part of a group working on a neighborhood problem

The Goal

The YMCA is one of the largest community service oriented organizations in the United States. All 2,663 YMCAs are volunteer-founded, volunteer-based, and volunteer-led. It is always in search of more volunteersthis is the goal  for its organization so it can continue to expand and provide it services to more people.

ObjectiveI’m expecting you to follow the formatting of objectives from the notes on planning. 

By implementing the tactics provided for this plan, the recruiter should meet the objective of increasing the amount of  volunteers between the ages of 16-22, that are high-school and college students who play sports, at the YMCA by 20% by September 31st, 2010.

Tacticsyour tactic should be specific and relate to your objective 

One excellent approach to achieve its goal is to find those most interested in volunteering that are between the ages of 16-22 attending high school or college. A recruiter should approach those people with the most appealing scenario, while keeping the “what’s in it for me” mentality in mind. The high-school and college students involved with clubs and/or sports could be actively targeted as potential recruits by explaining what activities they could do as a volunteer that revolved around the sports they are in. As an example, the recruiter talking to a high school basketball player would let him know he can get involved by teaching children how to play basketball or that he could even coach a youth team. The recruiter would also mention the importance of volunteering when it comes to college and job applications to the high-school basketball player. 

Some tools to actually touch base with an audience would be social networking. Using sites like Facebook to form groups for people to join from each public. For this specific example, a group would be made called “Basketball Experts Needed at the Y.” The person in charge of the social media page would find these people within the age range of 16-22 who are interested in basketball. Then, those people found would be added to this group and more information about volunteering would be on this page. Another option would be to set up an information table at an open house for a high-school or college so the recruiter could talk to people that stop by the table. The budget estimate for this campaign would be $3,000.


As all good PR practitioners know, there are many communication theories but the uses and gratifications theory influenced this idea. The uses and gratifications theory lets a targeted public guide what the media tells it. It’s as simple as not listening because of a loss in interest. The media has done nothing if the person it is trying to reach is not listening. Therefore, the media tailors its messages to the specific audience it is trying to reach.

What do you think about this?


Oil Spill June 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gillespieka @ 11:56 pm

Courtesy of zert.rohstoffe_2008 at

More than a month ago, an economic and environmental calamity fell into the hands of the energy giant BP after a co-owned oil rig exploded off the gulf coast. The explosion caused oil to spill into the ocean. To date, the oil has spread across an area rivaling the size of the state of Virginia. Despite efforts to contain the spill, there is currently no end in sight as the black muck spills into the pristine gulf water and coastline.

In the energy industry, it is paramount for each oil organization to retain a positive image associated with the name of its organization. This is where the rubber meets the road for the company’s public relations team. For BP, it is now struggling to display a positive image of the organization because of this disaster. It has become an ongoing public relations nightmare with potential criminal and civil penalties.

The PR people of the organization are facing an ethical dilemma between trying to satisfy the privacy requirements of their organization, while accommodating the transparency expectations of the stakeholder publics.

Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, has stated in several interviews that, “this is not our accident, but it our responsibility to deal with it.” This should have been a way to win over the stakeholders but that’s not quite how things are playing out.

Public Opinion

The public opinion of BP is not positive anymore. This is ironic because the organization had just spent millions of dollars on a campaign revamping its image. It changed its logo and slogan, “beyond petroleum,” to show it was a petroleum organization that was environmentally conscious.

What Made this Bad Situation Worse?

Most of it comes from self-inflicted damage. The organization has been accused of a slow start and not taking helpful courses of action in the latest crisis. It has also told “half truths” claiming the oil spewing into the ocean was five times less than what it actually is.

Other self inflicted damage includes when the organization was said to have paid off local fisherman to keep their mouths closed about the catastrophe to journalists.

Lawyers vs. Journalists

The PR people of BP seem to be acting more like lawyers than journalists. This is where the company’s image becomes susceptible to stains.

If BP took more of the initial responsibility for the incident then its image might not be as tarnished today. Now, the organization looks like a bunch of sneaky liars who are trying to cover up anything that might taint their new “green” image that it has worked so hard for and spent so much money on.

Learning from Others Mistakes

The result of trying to make everyone happy turns out with making no one happy at all. The solution to this problem should be by learning from examples. When Exxon Valdez had a similar but smaller incident it seemed to make some of the same mistakes that BP is making now. BP should be using Exxon as an example and fixing what it did wrong.

Johnson & Johnson also had a brand tarnishing event but it seemed to be successful with how it managed the crisis. BP could also use this organization as an example of how to manage its own crisis, in the correct way.

What do you think about this?


Hello world! May 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gillespieka @ 1:52 am

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!