Getting into the PR Biz

I’ve been searching for a new job recently and none of the retailers in my area are hiring at the moment. At one point when I was handing in a resume to an employee at EB Games (for the millionth time) I tried to push for an interview. I told the manager that I plan on getting into the Public Relations department after receiving my diploma in another year; meaning I intend to stay with EB Games for as long as possible. He didn’t seem to impressed, in fact he told me to not even bother applying. He said to me to just try for the head office anyway. Was he trying to just brush me off? EB Games is probably based in the United States, so not something I can do when I still have school. Whatever his intentions were, it got me thinking of PR related jobs instead of retail (which I enjoy, but not what I want to do forever). Read more of this post

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Annoying DMs

Lately I have been following a lot of “content” people on Twitter. By that I mean they want to be a source of information; a “go-to” person for a certain subject. In my case it would be games. These accounts usually have numerous followers already — we’re talking over 500 here — so the direct message may not be bothering anybody.

It bothers me. Why is an automated direct message viable when the account receives a new follower? It’s not like it’s personal, I can very well tell it’s automated. I wish I kept a few of these DMs to give an example, but I deleted them all out of spite.

The DMs I’m talking about usually thank the new friend for following the account and then spam their web site. Nine times out of 10 you are following these accounts from the web site itself, so why do they feel the need to annoy users with it some more?

What do you think? Are you one of these Twitter accounts that auto-DM new followers? Why do you do it?

Keeping it Social in Beta Testing

I have never been apart of a Beta phase of a game. This may destroy my credibility on the subject but I believe it is best to be honest.

I have, however, been playing shooters since Doom (oh, the good ol’ days) and games in general since I got a hold of a floppy of Ghost Busters for the Commodore 64. The Alpha, Beta, Demo, Release  cycle of an online game is familiar to me.

Izzie Bytes has some well written posts about Beta testing. Izzie explains that Beta testing may be dying out or instead developers may be calling a demo ‘Beta testing’ for the glamour title and to just work out potential server load. It has become more of bragging right than a phase to work out the bugs.

One point she made — and what intrigued me to comment and post this entry — was about sharing to much during the Beta phase.

It’s a crying shame, too, because with technology and social networking being what it is, there has never been a better time to test out games and help developers dig up the sorts of bugs only players have the magic ability to find.

Ding, ding, ding! If Beta testing is being phased out, why hasn’t any developer caught on to social networking?

Read more of this post

Molson Keeps It Cool In Social Media

molson presentation

Molson's Tonia Hammer and Graeme Switzer and that short guy, Jeff Duff

It was (unfortunately) not beer but my social media class at Humber received something else equally smooth and satisfying.

Molson’s own Tonia Hammer (@MolsonTonia), a graduate from Humber no less, and Graeme Switzer (@MolsonGraeme) gave us an inside scoop on how they keep the beer company’s brand positive and connected via social media.

A cool technique used is the branded Twitter accounts with the prefix @Molson. Every employee involved with communication has their own branded Twitter account. The is a great way to keep Molson active with different aspects of their business from community relations to government relations.

Tonia and Graeme gave us an insight on different ways Molson has used social media marketing. There where two campaigns that stood out to me. The first helped to define the Molson brand online and the last showed the power of complaining online.

#Rickardsdark tweet up

Molson invited food bloggers, by Twitter only, to an O’Noir experience.  Dinner and beer would be served in the dark or, in this case, blindfolded.

An interesting and unique idea to get the dinner guests blogging and tweeting about a new brand of beer. The event got 34 photos on flickr as well as more online exposure to Molson Coors Canada rich portfolio.

Coors Light Billboard in B.C.

The sign read “Colder Than Most People From Toronto”.

Molson received 1800 calls, emails and online reactions complaining about this sign. It even caught mainstream media.

A great example of a public concern and the PR teams coming together to calm nerves. Within hours key messages where made and interviews where set up with @MolsonMoffat, who takes care of the brand public relations. Through a brand monitoring program called Radian6, Tonia and Graeme where able to respond to blogs around the internet mentioning this billboard.

It worked. Molson realized comments and posts started to stop since an apology had been made. As well, positive feedback came to 16.2%. compared to 7.8% negative after the apology.

Overall

Molson has proved how fun and exciting social media can be. From using Radian6 to watch the brand to just using Twitter, it is fun to get people involved in a brand.

Although the first step to get people to come out or comment on a blog, is to listen first. Molson was monitoring, via TruCast,  for one full year before they ventured into social media.

Molson planned out each tactic with the POST analysis; what people to target, what is the objective of the campaign, the strategy to complete the objective and the tools or technology that will be used to convey the message.

Then it was off to get more people drinking beer and having a good time.

Big Companies Ready For Twitter?

In my social media class, we had a presentation from Molson’s community relations team. They gave out loads of information on how they use social media to gain feedback  and, more importantly, reach out to the community. From using tracking tools like Radian 6 to blogging releases that traditional news would not carry, Molson definatly is paving the way in social media. From what I am told, the stuff Molson is doing is being published into textbooks. Crazy.

I’ll get more in-depth on what they taught us for another post, alas I have something else on my mind.

Up late a couple nights ago, I was checking my Twitter feed and I got curious: how many of the big companies are using Twitter?

The reason I brought up Molson, was to, primarily, give a big shout out to Tonia Hammer (@MolsonTonia) and Graeme Switzer (@MolsonGraeme) for an amazing insight to corporate social media but also because they told us about a problem that I hadn’t thought of: they had trouble with a name they wanted on Twitter but another Tweeter had already been using it.

Great, I thought. So now we’ll see people registering many Twitter names, just like many do for domain names, and sell them on eBay? Well, no.

The micro-blogging site does have name squatting and impersonation policies to help companies gain their names back; however, both base infringement on the fake account’s tweets. In other words, if the account stays quiet, no harm and no foul — until the company wants the name.

Molson did end up securing that account but it was the user who had agreed to give the handle over and, apparently, got quite a bit of recognition from the company for his good deed.

Join the revolution.

It is not like 20, or even 10, years ago where the only place to vent was through letters-to-the-editor in your local newspaper. Even then you where lucky to be published.

In this day and age, everyone’s opinions matter. Twitter is a site where people can let their thoughts be known in quick 140-character sentences. It is just an amazing tool for big or small companies to monitor how their brand is fairing in the market.

With that I give you the list of giant corporations that have have a twitter account, but are not using it for some odd reason:

  • @Walmart (The account already has over 1,000 followers, think people want to hear from them?)
  • @Target (This could be owned by the company since it displays the logo – 18 followers)
  • @Zellers (Canadian competition for Walmart, it is very similar to Target in the U.S. – six followers)
  • @Loblaws (I work at this grocery store – 27 followers who want to see the company do better)
  • @FutureShop (Canadian electronic store, similar to BestBuy. The account is suspended, I guess someone got caught for one of the reasons above. Why hasn’t the company contacted Twitter to use it?) [Correction: FutureShop holds the @FS_Deals, @FS_GetItFirst and @FS_Connect Twiiter accounts]
  • @Bell & @BellCanada (This giant phone company advertises the use of Twitter on their phones, but don’t use their Twitter account. Unless it is not Bell)
  • @DLink (A networking company that doesn’t network. Another suspended account)
  • @LinkSys (Only one tweet – “coding…”, may not be the actual competitor to DLink – 39 followers that probably think it is)

There are probably many, many more companies out there that do not fully understand what social media can bring. Twitter as already launched it’s tips and tricks for businesses to adapt the site for customer contact. It is, also, why I am here. I intend on (learning how to) breaking down social media to the corporate suits — it is not just Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, it is a tool to gain trust among your customers.