Social Media Week: YouTube and Viral Videos

February 8, 2011 by  
Filed under All, social media, social media week

Lyn Mettler: “A Powerful Social Media Tool”

I love YouTube for business for a lot of reasons. The first of course is the fact that it’s the second most popular site for search behind Google. That’s a lot of people searching and you want to grab them if they’re typing in something related to your business.

How do you do that? Get up a channel and some video. Sure, it’s fine to put whatever video you’ve got laying around up there: commercials, promo videos, etc. But what will work much better is something informative and entertaining designed in “YouTube style”. What do I mean by this? It shouldn’t be overly polished, as people will take it as being overtly promotional and turn off.

Instead, have fun. Think about how you can turn one of your business’s key services or products upside down. Remember the blender that can blend anything? Take a look at some of the sillier videos we’ve done for some of our clients:

If you just can’t come up with something genuinely funny or crazy, take an educational approach. We do a lot of videos for our client the Charleston Parks Conservancy that are simply helpful tips on gardening. The most popular one is about pruning Sago Palms (almost 7000 views)! Of course, it does help that their executive director has a great personality that translates well to video, but that’s not why the Sago Palms video is getting a lot of views. It’s because people are searching for Sago Palms, looking for information.

And don’t forget that YouTube is a social network. That means you need to pay attention to developing friends, commenting on others’ videos, increasing your subscribers and letting all those people know when you have a new video up.

Happy tubing!!

Laura Angermeier: “YouTube for All Facets of Life”

Pretty much everyone has watched a YouTube video by now, including both my grandmas and my 4 year old. It’s surprising to think that the site started in 2005 and has already become such a huge part of our daily lives. At my house, we use the site for all kinds of reasons, from learning about the latest stats on a new phone from CNET to watching a Dora the Explorer clip in order to make it the extra 15 minutes until bedtime.

Some folks use it just to pass around cute videos of puppies and kittens, but there are some serious rewards to be reaped from YouTube if you do it right! Major companies such as Coca-Cola and Ford Motor Company are on YouTube, reaching out to customers daily. People are watching 2 billion YouTube videos a day, so it’s smart to start your profile and get your message out loud and clear. Oh, and if you were wondering who has the top viewed YouTube video of all time, it’s Justin Bieber, with over 456 million views. WOW!

Holly: “Tips for YouTube Videos”

BP and the Case of Bad PR

June 15, 2010 by  
Filed under PR, social media

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Beyond the horrible images of the Gulf of Mexico drowning in oil, I can’t help but watch yet another disaster hitting BP: a PR nightmare that has ruined its brand. This is a company’s worst fears come true – a disaster impacting an entire nation brought on, it seems, by much of its own doing. Ouch. That PR team has its work cut out for it.

One of the most interesting developments has been the creation of a fake BP Twitter feed, BPGlobalPR, now with more than 163,000 followers and retweets galore thanks to its dry wit (“Investing a lot of time & money into cleaning up our image, but the beaches are next on the to-do list for sure.”) and tweets dripping with sarcasm (“Adopt a BP oil plume! $25 makes you 100% responsible for an oil plume and a ‘bpcares’ shirt!”).

And don’t forget YouTube, home of videos taking BP to task for its reaction to the oil spill. My favorite: BP Spills Coffee.

But BP certainly isn’t the first company to take a beating for its missteps. Lest we not forget Toyota just a few months ago and a bevy of auto executives from Detroit taking a private jet to Washington, D.C., to ask for a government bailout.

Unfortunately, these recent examples won’t be the last. But, today a reputation is destroyed in the time it took me to type this paragraph. (140 characters)

Before your company barely has a chance to catch its breath and craft a statement, blogs are buzzing, Twitter is tweeting and Flip cameras are rolling for a satirical YouTube video. Truly, your only course of action is to be as ahead of the game as you can be. This isn’t the time to say “no comment,” buying a couple hours for the staff to set up a Twitter account and a Facebook page.

In this day of social media and the instantaneous news cycle, you have to stay one – better make that two – steps ahead. If these events teach PR people anything, it’s to cover all your bases and that includes social media.

Do You Like Dominos? Cooking up a new PR Campaign … and a New Pizza

February 1, 2010 by  
Filed under All, PR

So if you remember, Domino’s faced a big PR fiasco last year when two employees made a video of themselves doing unspeakable acts to a pizza before they delivered it to a customer. While they were lucky enough to learn about it from a blogger/friend (not because they were monitoring the Web, please note), they chose to sit on it instead of acting quickly, resulting in nearly 2 million views of the video on YouTube, major media coverage and a public backlash.

Well, Domino’s did respond, but a little too late to repair the damage done. They created a Twitter account to answer people’s questions and also put up a video of the CEO on YouTube apologizing for the incident, noting the employees had been fired and explaining that is not what goes on behind the doors of Domino’s.

Fast forward about 8 months later. Domino’s has taken a hard look at itself in light of what happened last year. They’ve decided to be honest about their failings and are trying to regain consumer confidence in their established brand.

So when you think of Domino’s pizza, do you think yuck or yum? Turns out most people think yuck J. Domino’s took a look at what people were saying about their pizza offline and online and heard things like “your crust tastes like cardboard” and “your sauce tastes like ketchup.” And what do you know, Domino’s actually listened!

They’ve put together a new campaign courtesy of the creative folks at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky (of Burger King’s “king” ads and other very innovative and different campaigns) called “The Pizza Turnaround”. The campaign acknowledges their criticism and shows how they’ve reacted: creating an entirely new pizza from scratch.

The Pizza Turnaround

They’ve put together two great little YouTube videos, one showing the company listening in to focus groups and coming up with a new pizza, and the second, my favorite, with the head chef showing up at the doors of some of the harsher focus group participants and inviting them to try the new pizza. Bold and real.

At the Door of Our Harshest Critics

I LOVE it! I wish I could get more companies to follow in their footsteps. They’ve turned a really negative incident with the employee video into a catalyst for change for the company. People can always identify with you when you acknowledge failings (we all have them) and try to fix them. I think this will be a turnaround for Domino’s … well, so long as the pizza is actually good. I haven’t tried it yet.

Oh, and by the way, I am one of the few people who genuinely liked Domino’s pizza the way it was :). Yea ketchup sauce!

What do you think of Domino’s tactics? Smart or stupid?

Lyn’s Viral Video Picks for 2009

December 29, 2009 by  
Filed under All, social media

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As we close out 2009, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the silliest and most impactful viral videos of the year. Ranging from tragic to ridiculous, here are my picks for the year on my blog post. I’d love to hear your favorites and what you think of mine!

Flying the Friendly Skies of Social Media: One Man and His Guitar

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under social media

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So have you seen the video on YouTube about the guy who says United broke his guitar? Lucky for them (not!), he was in a band and turn the whole fiasco into an instant YouTube hit. Currently, it’s up to 3.8 million views.

Once again, as we have seen other companies flounder who are not watching what’s being said about them online (Dominos’ unpleasant YouTube video, Motrin’s ad that offended moms across the country, etc.), United totally mishandled this situation and got railroaded in the process.

With all companies, sometimes customers get frustrated with your product or service or they have a bad experience. Goodness knows, we’ve all been frustrated with the airlines. I think that’s why this video took off so quickly. We’ve all been through some kind of negative experience with airlines and so the world rallied behind this guy for standing up to them and actually getting attention for doing it.

The problem isn’t that someone was unhappy with your service (that’s going to happen to anyone); the problem is how you handle it. So what should United have done?

1) Been monitoring in real time what was being said about them online, so they could have reacted in a matter of hours at the longest. A day is a LIFETIME in the world of social media.

2) Immediately reached out to this guy, apologized and offer to replace his guitar.

3) Within a day or so (or as quickly as they could possibly get this together), took the stance of laughing at themselves and created a funny video of their own, owning up to and apologizing for the situation, in response.

4) Place both videos on their Web site and share via their social media outlets. Yes, you heard me right! They should put this guy’s video on their site. Why? Because this shows the right kind of attitude social media calls for. They’d be embracing this. And why not? Get a little positive press out of all the PR this guy has already generated for them. Right now, they just look like too little too late (see this YouTube video from the United guitar guy about United’s response).

5) Already have well-working social media vehicles in place, such as a Twitter account, a blog, a YouTube channel, a page on Facebook, etc., where they can address this issue, share their video, etc. Take a nod from Southwest, whose Twitter account matches the quirky tone they are known for, and JetBlue, as well. Both are using Twitter very effectively to serve as customer service tools to solve passenger issues, for fun and for PR. Delta, on the other hand, doesn’t quite get it. But that’s fodder for another blog post. ..

What do you think United should have done after this video? Share!

Skittles: Innocent Candy or Evil Spammer?

March 3, 2009 by  
Filed under All, PR, social media

skittlesAnother week, another blow up in the Twitterverse. And this time it’s all down to a small, sugary treat.

If you haven’t yet visited, do so now. They have replaced a traditional website with a small navigation box which overlays a search for #skittles on Twitter, the Facebook Fan page, Flickr-hosted photos and a Youtube channel. The Social Web’s dream, right? Well, maybe.

I first came across it on Saturday evening and thought it was pretty cool, and more than a little daring too. Giving over complete control to the world? Huge potential for that to backfire. Still, a fun idea, and a lot more interesting than most product websites.

Well, as with so much on the internet, it didn’t take long for the backlash to begin.

  • Many pointed out that the concept was kinda-sorta ‘borrowed’ (wholesale) from Modernista, an advertising agency in Boston who had done the same thing last March.
  • Others complained about having to be an adult to see the site, as Tim Allick puts it, “Can’t believe that #skittles website bans KIDS! Doesn’t send them to a safe page, just tells ‘em to go away. How is this smart marketing?”. (He does have a point. It’s a kids candy after all. )
  • The Wall St Journal chimed in with a round-up of comments, most of them negative.
  • Joanne Jacobs wrote  a blog condemning the whole exercise as a failure – just one day after the site launch – Why the Skittles social media campaign failed’: ” Skittles has failed in its social media campaign because all it has done is hold a mirror up to conversations, without providing any content of its own, any context for remotely valuable conversation, and any rationale for productive engagement.”
  • A poll by PR Sarah Evans, shows that 60% of respondents wouldn’t be swayed by the new site to buy more Skittles.
  • Etc, etc, and etc

Sigh. Sometimes it all seems so predictable. The constant flow of negativity. The need to show that ‘I’m not taken in by their sneaky advertising’. Jumping on the ‘this is just a rip-off’ and ‘besides, it doesn’t work anyway’-bandwagons.

Come on people! Where’s the joy? Where’s the ‘Yes, we can’-spirit we keep reading about!?

My 6 year old has recently begun spotting website addresses on things that I ignore –,, – pretty much *everything* has a website now, and they’re all the same. A nice Flash intro. Maybe a game or something. A code you can enter to unlock the hidden area. Yawn.

At least didn’t do that.

So, personally, I’m sticking with my initial reaction, “It’s kind of cool”.

They may not have been first, but they were the first Big Name Brand to do it, and that’s something. It may not convince 60% of people to buy more, but that still leaves a lot that might. It has generated a ton of publicity, and got them over half a million fans on Facebook. And it’s different and interesting.

Unlike so much of the commentary around it.

The Easy Way to Increase Your Sales by 23,000%

January 26, 2009 by  
Filed under All, social media

pythonAnother ‘Free-conomics’ Success Story

With so many people from author Neil Gaiman to Nine Inch Nails (who released the best selling album of the year on a Creative Commons license ), now giving away free work to generate sales, the idea is no longer the novelty it once was. But for those who continue to doubt the power of the web, Monty Python give us what is surely one of the biggest indicators yet.

Apparently fed up of seeing their clips being pirated all over YouTube, they took an unusal step. They formed the Monty Python channel, collected all their stuff themselves, and simply gave it away. But not solely from the goodness of their hearts,

“We’re letting you see absolutely everything for free. So there! But we want something in return. None of your driveling, mindless comments. Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies & TV shows and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years.”

The channel has been a huge YouTube hit. with most clips having 100,000+ views in the first couple of months alone. The real success though is in how these free videos have led to real sales. Lots and lots of real sales. In fact a 23,000% increase in sales, and moving them to the number 2 spot on the Amazon tv bestsellers list!

I think that this shows us two things. Despite all the hype about pirating of music and movies, people are still willing to pay for what they like. As I was working yesterday I heard a song I liked on Pandora radio, so immediately hopped over to Amazon and bought it. It just needs to be made easy for people to do it, without tying them down to contracts, DRM-locked files and other hindrances.

It also demonstrates the amazing power of Youtube for getting your product seen. It seems such a regular part of daily life that it’s hard to believe YouTube is less than four years old, but in those 4 years great strides have been made. Widescreen, HD videos, with captions, links to buy and so on make Youtube one of the most valuable places to be seen on the web. Just ask the Monty Python guys, who are leading the way in making money by selling products which are available for free.

If that isn’t a web 2.0 success story, then I’m a dead parrot.

Web 2.0: Connecting Us on Election Day

November 6, 2008 by  
Filed under All, social media

This election was one that will go down in history for a multitude of reasons, but the one I’d like to highlight is the role of the Web, not just in campaigning, but on Election Day itself. For the first time, people had access to tools online that allowed them to share in real time their experience and their feelings and emotions, good or bad.

Watching Twitter on Tuesday, I saw people all across the country detailing their experience in line, how long they had to wait, problems that were happening in different districts, and much, much more. Facebook was similar. Status updates expressed people’s frustrations, pride, excitement… People shared videos, articles and news as it appeared about the election.

Personally, by watching locals on Twitter and Facebook, I got a great feel for what I was in store for when I went to vote and how long I could expect to wait. When I stood in line with nothing to do but read a magazine for an hour and a half, I instead chose to “tweet” my experience, even posting a photo taken with my iPhone of the line. Even better, while Twittering, I discovered another Twitterer who was in my line and introduced myself. Very cool.

Did you share your experience online? Please share how!

Folks also posted videos of their experience, with one guy even posting a video with supposed Black Panthers outside a polling booth with a billy club! True or not, this is a perfect example of citizen journalism, people putting the information about their experiences out there for unfiltered consumption, no media to choose what gets through or doesn’t. Course that also means that a lot of junk gets through.

This election brought a lot of people together (and a few people apart, but that’s par for politics) behind a common cause, and the Web and social media helped accelerate that process. It enabled us to connect, explore our common bonds, our shared experiences (waiting hours in line) in real time, connecting us in ways we’ve never experienced before during an election. No matter your politics, that is surely a good thing.

Does Anybody Remember Laughter?

October 11, 2008 by  
Filed under All, social media

Catching up on some RSS feeds (it’s been a busy week!), I came across this Tech Crunch attack on the ‘Team Cyprus Video’ – and I’m so annoyed.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the video (below) was created in Cyprus by some techies on vacation.  Those involved work for some of the biggest names in the industry – Google, Facebook,, etc – and that’s the problem that Techcrunch has with it,

“The video was released just as Silicon Valley really began falling apart and the UnParty began in earnest – eBay’s 10% layoffs, Google’s stock nosedive, Yahoo’s self destruction, VC’s bunkering down, etc. And more than a few people thought the ostentatious partying was a little, ahem, tasteless in light of the meltdown back home.”

Ok, so here’s the video:

I’m not quite sure why Michael Arrington thinks it’s so ‘tasteless’ (he may have said, “more than a few people thought it was tasteless”, but let’s be honest, he’s projecting his own feeling here) – All I’m seeing is a bunch of young people having a good time on vacation. In fact I wish I had been there myself. They’re not bathing in champagne or lighting cigars with $100 bills. Just singing, drinking beer and having fun.

Sure the markets are in meltdown, but are we all supposed to be donning the hairshirts and sitting around watching the talking heads on CNBC tell us how the world is going to end any minute? I’ve already posted this week about optimism, but I think this article goes even beyond that. This isn’t simply being pessimistic, it’s an attack on fun, and includes this ridiculous hyperbole:

“fair or not the video video will always be associated with the end of Web 2.0″

What does that even mean?! If Web 2.0 means the social web, how does a funny Youtube video which has spread virally through blogs prove the end of that?

I’m not sticking my head in the sand over the current financial crisis – I got my daughter’s Future Scholar statement this morning, I know how things are – but can’t we allow a little room for having a good time?

I think if you have to say something about this video, it should be to praise the production values – I mean, really, it’s a single cam tracking shot right up there with the club scene in Goodfellas, the pool party in Boogie Nights or this from Soy Cuba:

Who’d have thought that, from a bunch of tech geeks?

Where Did You See the Palin Skits?

October 5, 2008 by  
Filed under All, social media

Alright, so most of you have probably seen Saturday Night Live’s skits featuring Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. They’ve been a big hit so far. I mean, how could they not? Tina Fey looks SO much like Palin and she does a great impression to boot. But, the question is, where did you see it?

As much as I hate to admit it, because it makes me feel like I am definitely no longer cool (well, not sure I ever was :)), but I never stay up to watch Saturday Night Live any more. OK, I haven’t stayed up to watch it since my first son was born 4 1/2 years ago. I used to love SNL, but Mommy hours just don’t allow for 1 a.m. nights anymore. I’m guessing I’m not alone in my un-coolness.

Thank goodness for the Web. Now, this mom, who, admission No. 2: does not have a DVR either, can watch the funny skits online at my leisure. The best part, I don’t have to suffer through all the un-funny ones either.

A new survey came out recently that confirmed my suspicions: 51% of people who saw at least one of the Palin skits saw it on the Internet. They watched it either on YouTube, or Those of you who don’t know about Hulu should check it out. It’s one of my favorites. They have shows from NBC, FOX, Comedy Central, Bravo, Sci Fi, E!, FX and more on there, including tons of classic SNL skits (see: d%&* in a box with Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg – caution: not family friendly), in a format that is actually appealing to view. Very high quality, not the grainy YouTube look. It’s lovely.

I think this is a turning point for Web video and a real advantage that online can offer over TV. Sure, you can record your shows and watch them later, but for something short like an SNL skit, it’s so much easier just to pull it up on your computer — and even easier to forward it around, share it on Facebook, “tweet” it on Twitter and more.

Where did you see one of the Palin skits? Answer below:

Quizzes by

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