The Simple Things in Social Go a Long Way

This year my wife and I are headed back to the amazing Hawaiian Islands to visit the beautiful Island of Maui.  This will be my first time to Maui so I am pretty excited.  I have been doing a lot of researching and reserving fun things we will be doing, but I have also been paying attention to what businesses are doing things right online and who could use some improvement.

Everyone loves to over share on social media.  We let everyone know exactly where we are at all times. I am probably the most guilty man in the world. I love sharing images of where I am and what I am doing. It is almost like I use social media as my modern day journal.  My Mom & Dad and other family members love seeing the pictures we post.  It helps us all feel connected, even if we have not seen each other for a period of time.  They also love to know what we are doing while away.  I know many times my Mom has mentioned something about something I did, and I asked her how she knew and she said that I “Facebooked it” … heh, oh yea.

That leads me to the reason for this simple post.  I booked a snorkeling trip,  got the confirmation page and was super disappointed that I couldn’t Tweet or Facebook directly from the page.  This may seem simple, but if you care anything about social (or know the power of it) you would do everything you could to WELCOME these kind of social mentions.  They do amazing things for your brand and help spread the word and reach.  Who knows, it is Hawaii after all, and these guys may be booked solid ALL OF THE TIME for all I know. The advice is still the same for anyone selling anything online that takes them to a confirmation page,  MAKE SURE PEOPLE CAN SHARE!

Here is the screenshot I took to give you an example of what you should be doing (see below image).  I know it is 2014, and this kind of stuff should be second nature by now, but I come across it so much I figured I needed to share it again.  If it helps just ONE business owner do a better job (or give them an idea) to get those social mentions that help their branding, then I have done my job.

social media done right

Best of PubCon for PR Pros

This was my first year at PubCon (an internet marketing and social media conference), though several of our team are regular speakers. Matt Siltala is a bit of a PubCon celeb (he’s famous for his beard and seo/social street cred). Here’s the team in Vegas.

Avalaunch Media executive team

I went to most of the PR-related sessions, most of which were exceptional from both a PR and an SEO/social perspective. Here are my best tips from the top sessions for PR pros.

1. Easily buy SEO and do PR without Breaking the Rules.

PR is content: links, likes, pluses, traffic, media, and blogger mentions. Marty Weintraub showed us how he copies the direct link to a Google+ post.  It’s in a dropdown menu:

Google Plus direct link
How to find the direct link to a Google+ post.

Here’s a direct link for a report from our yeti on how to do social media right:

After you have the direct link, tweet about it using the Google+ link. Next promote the tweet for the hashtag #pubcon (Marty notes on this one he links directly to a blog post). He also posts on his personal Facebook page where he has many friends/followers and pays to boost the post so more of them see it. On his brand page he uses the power editor and creates many versions of the ad to show in the newsfeed. He targets his trade/industry people, in this case to places like Search Engine Journal, Pubcon and SMX. He creates another version of his ad for PR – places like Mashable, producers, show hosts, and local ad agencies. In addition, you can buy LinkedIn ads, Bing ads, and even run Google AdWords to the post.

While there may not be a direct correlation between Google+ interactions, there is a correlation. If you share and someone engages, then their connections see your content. Then your content rises when that person and their friends do related Google searches.

2. Press Outreach Secrets

Rob Woods along with moderator Warren Whitlock talked about creating press and Rob introduced me to a few new PR tools that I can’t wait to try.

  • Do a keyword search in Google News to find who is writing on the topic you want to cover. In Google News there is a link next to the author’s name and that takes you to their Google+ page. Some people put their email address on their “About” page or there is an icon to email them directly without knowing their email address (some have this disabled). If that fails you can tag them. Scraperr will scrape the top 500 results from any search term. From there you can pay someone on oDesk or Mechanical Turk to find contact info for the articles written that fit what you’re trying to pitch. Or you can do research to find contact information yourself.


  • Subscribe to Muckrack to build a list of journalists on Twitter related to your topic.
  • Search Followerwonk profiles for journalists from publications or blogs you want to do outreach to. For example you could search “tech reporter” or “sports reporter” or even search the URL field for the publication itself, such as “,, etc. You can export the results to a csv file. You can even download a file of only your followers and see if there are people from blogs or news organizations who follow you that you could reach out to.
  • Search to find the newspapers and TV stations for every city, state and many countries in the world. Or find the 15 most popular news websites here.
  • Check out Pitchbox to do research and keep track of your outreach efforts and results.

 3. Pinterest Marketing – How to Leverage the Fastest Growing Social Network

You know you truly love a subject when you’ve studied it for hours and still want to learn all you can about it. That’s how I am about Pinterest marketing. John Rampton shared a simple Pinterest marketing plan.

  • Spend 30 mins. on to see what is trending and to get ideas for your business niche. Breaking news, seasonal or pins for the holidays do well.
  • Go to the “popular” category on Pinterest and comment on the top 30 or so pins in your niche. I’d add that you could repin or like their pins.
  • Use auto-follow tool ninjapinner to auto follow back people who follow you.
  • Plan out your pins with ideas you had.
  • Use Viral Tag to schedule out your pins.

Vince Blackham shared some great case studies of pins that killed it on Pinterest. Check out his slides here. In the Q&A Vince gave advice to a vacation rental company that applies to other businesses too:  “don’t promote yourself, promote the experiences”. So for this company based in Park City, Utah, I picture boards with the best places to eat, the festivals, the farmer’s markets, the events, places to stay (with their properties), skiing, and outdoor activities in Park City, Utah.

For additional Pinterest marketing tips see my slides from Bend WebCAM: 10 Tips for Marketing on Pinterest.

Not only were these sessions incredibly helpful for those of us in public relations or blogger outreach, it was also a pleasure to reconnect with or meet the presenters. Thank you to all who shared their expertise at PubCon. I was inspired to fine tune my pitching and introduced to new ideas and tools to use.

If you were at PubCon, did I miss any great PR insights? Please let me know in the comments.

Now I SEE It – The Future of Social Media = Images

Last month I was invited to speak in downtown Salt Lake City at the local Utah Social Media Club event, thanks for the invite Doc and team.  The topic for the evening was Past, Present, and Future of social media.  I spent most of my time looking to the future of social media where I think images are going to continue to pull much more weight.

Images are so much quicker and easier to interpret than text and links that they really do share much better and get much more exposure via social media.  As part of my presentation I shared some amazing stats from Krista Neher’s latest book, Visual Social Media Marketing.

So here is my presentation and I hope you enjoy it.

Respond to My Social Media Faux Pas? #Bqhatevwr!

Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts Senator, had a pretty interesting weekend…and for the rest of us, we still don’t know what happened.

Before the elections last year, it was quite apparent that most of Brown’s tweets were crafted and sent out by his staffers. However, after he lost the election to Elizabeth Warren, it seemed Brown’s twitter handlers moved behind the scenes and Brown was unfettered in sharing some of his personal pursuits. He let the world know he was at the gym, asked if anyone knew where “Petey’s” was, and let us know about his culinary delights at “Mul’s Diner.” There was really nothing of note that came out of Brown’s tweets from his personal activities…until last weekend.

On Friday evening around 6:00pm,Brown tweeted, “Yes. Get Ready” supposedly in response to the Democrat’s slogan, “Are you ready?” It was a cryptic tweet, which some construed to mean that he was going to go after the Senate slot made vacant by John Kerry’s appointment to Secretary of State. This caused the Twitter critics to come out against Brown, digging up old bones related to his campaign tactics.

Shortly after midnight Brown responded with this tweet: “Bqhatevwr” (and other short responses…see below)

ScottBrownTweets (1)

Shortly after this late night (early morning) exchange, Brown then deleted these responses and his Twitter page has been eerily silent with no explanation for what happened. This has led to many speculations as to what happened, with some going so far as saying Brown was a little tipsy and it was the alcohol speaking. Whether that is true or not, it seems that many anxiously await an answer on what Brown was doing and why he didn’t respond.

In a world where it is very difficult to “delete” any of your internet activities (especially if you are in the limelight), the worst thing to do is exactly what Brown did, which was delete and go silent. This, included with what was destined to become a meme and an instant hashtag (#Bqhatevwr), was a recipe for a PR disaster.

Scott Brown Bqhatevwr-large

There are many lesson that can be learned from this experience, but I would like to highlight two here.

The FIRST is that if your image or brand is important to what you are trying to accomplish on a business, political, or any other level make sure your tweets and posts are vetted by someone who has a clue about image and brand management. I addressed this more in depth when discussing the Staffers Gone Wild (

The SECOND is if you do commit a faux pas on your social media account, have a plan in place to address it and do it as quickly as possible. People are usually more forgiving if you ‘fess up and admit your mistakes. If you delete and go dark, people are more likely to speculate, give more attention to what would have been a non-story, and wonder what you’re trying to hide. Mr. Brown could have easily made this story go away with a quick explanation that he may have been a little tired and responded from a quick late-night emotion. A good example of how a faux pas was addressed was KitchenAid’s recent social media blunder (

It will be interesting to see if Mr. Brown gives a response sometime soon, but if he doesn’t…bqhatevwr.

At Avalaunch Media we are experts in helping to protect your company from the pitfalls of social media misuse. For more information and to find out how you can start protecting your business, visit us at:

KitchenAid Whips Up a Good Social Media Crisis Response

Last week, while the Presidential candidates were duking it out on stage in Colorado, another battle was waging behind the scenes on Twitter. During the debate, President Obama attempted to rebut Romney’s healthcare voucher program by analogizing a story from his dear, sweet grandmother’s life. Immediately, amongst the many people exercising their free speech rights on Twitter, someone posted:

What normally would have been passed off as a tasteless joke by some rude Tweeter, received immediate attention from all. Why?? Because of the small detail that the tweet came from a well known brand that many mothers and grandmothers use on a daily basis….KitchenAid. Uh Oh.

It was quickly discovered that the person writing the tweet accidentally did so from the KitchenAid account and not from their own personal account. While the tweet was only up for a short time, it was there long enough for others to see, respond, and even page capture the image (as seen above). I am assuming that this employee is no longer with KitchenAid and definitely should not be anywhere near social media. The reality is that issues similar to these can happen with any company at any time.

In this situation, it appears that for the sake of KitchenAid’s brand name, there was a happy ending. As shown below KithchenAid’s response was timely, appropriate, and a model for how a social media crisis should be handled.

Cynthia Soledad, Senior Director of KitchenAid Brand immediately took the reins, accepted full responsibility, explained the situation and apologized to everyone and the offended (Mr. Obama) personally. She then sent numerous tweets to news outlets and invited them to contact her for further information and a statement. I am not sure if KitchenAid had a formal Social Media Crisis Response Plan in place, but it appears that they had planned for and discussed what they would do if a situation such as this arose.

How would your company respond if something like this occurred? Have you discussed social media crisis situations with your managers and employees? What type of Social Media Policy do you have in place to help prevent something like this from happening? Have you provided safeguards and educated your employees sufficiently to deter these types of social media faux pas?

Remember the old adage, if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. At Avalaunch Media we are experts in helping to protect your company from the pitfalls of social media misuse. For more information and to find out how you can start protecting your business, visit us at:



Five Lessons in Successful Rebranding

What’s in a name?  Nothing that can’t be changed. Almost daily, companies shed old identities in place of newer distinctions.  Rebranding, however,  isn’t always as drastic as a new name, logo, and tagline, it may simply involve updating a logo, changing a tagline, or highlighting a new offering to customers.

Rebranding company identity is a strategy that, if used well, keeps business relevant for its customers. Here’s a look at 5  lessons in successful rebranding.

Lesson 1:  Simplify.

Rebranding, especially with a simplified logo, creates a fresh, updated look for a clear identity. Logo  recognition is big business and the simpler a logo is to recognize, the better. It’s like the difference between a short, catchy name and a name that sticks to the roof of your mouth.  Compare “IBM” with “International Business Machines Corporation.”  Modern logos contain less visual clutter, combating the barrage of daily advertising messages confronting consumers.

While most companies require a tagline, institutions like Apple and Twitter can make a statement without saying a word.

Apple’s iconic logo is a classic example of using the language of symbols.  Apple made a major change in it’s logo in 1977, and the apple with a bite has become a universal symbol of how Apple products have changed our lives with portable IT products for the new millennium in distinctive packages.

 Apple Logo RebrandingIMG SRC:

Twitter’s logo change early this year keeps its avian identity while unifying its symbol across the web.  Guidelines for using the Twitter logo include replacing outdated logos with the new, sleek logo, creating one consistent identity for the home of everyone’s favorite social bird..

Twitter Logo No-Nos

Twitter Bird Logo

Lesson 2:  Have spectacular products and service to go with the shiny new name and logo.

If rebranding is in your company’s future, don’t slap on a new label, hoping to fix old problems. Less-than-glowing customer service reviews continue to cloud Comcast’s silver lining that could have been Xfinity. Comcast’s shift to Xfinity was intended to shed its image of poor customer service and high prices. The futuristic name, Xfinity, was intended to give the impression of lightning fast connections, but continues to leave customers nonplussed with service and value.

Comcast to Xfinity RebrandIMG SRC:

Rebranding doesn’t always bring the desired success.  Another example: in November of last year, Microsoft announced it was changing Bing Daily Deals to MSN Offers in order to clear up confusion with Today, sits unused with a lone notice that “The new MSN Offers is coming soon.” In a market flooded with Groupon and other daily specials, MSN struggles to distinguish itself.

Rebranding should be done judiciously. Rebranding companies don’t usually come from the Microsoft’s position of large budgets and a lion’s share of the market. Each unsuccessful rebrand decreases a company’s credibility—not to mention its bank account.

Lesson 3: Chart your course.

Rebranding allows companies to redefine their strengths and direction—both for their customers and themselves.  Often, rebranding is a natural result of a company’s growth.  Renaming the company or changing the tagline, allows companies to create a new impression in the customer’s mind, while focusing on corporate strengths.

Xerox’s logo redesign is an effort to update Xerox as a document company.  The recent acquisition of Lateral Data, an e-discovery software company, is an attempt to pair Xerox’s essential office equipment with electronic documents and carry Xerox into a new generation of document processing.

Xerox Log RebrandIMG SRC:

Microsoft has a history of rebranding its products (think MSN Search, Live, and now Bing), and they are at it again. In early 2012, Microsoft’s Bing search engine dropped the “Decision Engine” tagline in favor of “Bing is for Doing,”  focusing on Bing’s success with serious users who search with credit card in hand.

Bing is for Doing RebrandIMG SRC:

Lesson 4: Align yourself with what works.

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced its Hotmail email platform will become  Boasting a cleaner look and social integration, this change is meant to give the aging email standby a fresh image while coordinating with Microsoft’s Outlook software. While the results of rebranding Hotmail are yet to be seen, aligning a classic, but aging product with a highly successful product, like Outlook is bound to create positive results.

Another example of combining forces is Adobe’s 2010 acquisition of Omniture.  Combining the ubiquitous recognition of Adobe with the expertise of Omniture creates an online marketing suite that integrates analytics and optimization while easily allowing users to coordinate campaigns from one platform.

Adobe Omniture RebrandIMG SRC:

Watch for another example of rebranding as Apple considers adding The Fancy.  An e-commerce site with the visual appeal of Pintrest, The Fancy offers users the ability to “Fancy It” and purchase on one site.  Because customers are used to spending money online with Apple, The Fancy appears promising.

The Fancy LogoIMG SRC:

Lesson 5:  Mark the path for customers.

Facebook also engaged in a rebranding by updating the newsfeed to include Featured Stories, a move to increase advertising exposure for its advertisers while continuing the social media experience with more opportunities for engagement for its users. With nearly a billion Facebook users, Facebook is here to stay both as a social media site and an advertising outlet.

Facebook Icon LogoIMG SRC:

In May 2012, Microsoft combined Microsoft Advertising with Bing under the tagline “manage your search campaigns with Microsoft and Bing.”  Aligning the two brands offers a more streamlined path for Small and Medium Businesses who previously found Microsoft Advertising on an “Advertise Here” link on Bing. Combining the two logos creates a unified impression of two complementary brands.

Microsoft AdvertisingIMG SRC:

Rebranding, when done right, is all about reaching the customer and meeting their needs…all while giving them a positive experience.

Twitter Is Still An Amazing Marketing Channel

My Dad on Twitter - Twitter Marketing
My Dad - The Twitter Lover

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to go camping & fishing with my Dad, and two sons.  It was a wonderful weekend to disconnect and just have some good times with those I love.  If you are wondering how any of this has anything to do with Twitter, I am getting to it!   I learned a lesson about Twitter that I never thought possible.

My Dad, a retired Boilermaker (Welder) of 50+ years has never been one I would call “technical”.  He could care less about iPads and computers and technology in general, but he shared something with me that every business owner should pay attention to.

We were talking about gas prices, he was telling me how he remembers paying .15 cents or something like that a gallon, and how hard it is to pay almost $4.00 these days.  He then began to tell me about a local gas station in his town where he can get up to .25 cents off a gallon most times he fills up.  I was interested as to how, and he told me …. “by following them on Twitter and finding the word of the day before I go and fill up”.   All I had to do is just got to Twitter and sign up and follow them.  (He admitted he didn’t even know his username, and I informed him that he could see their Twitter account without having to follow them – they are not private)

This absolutely FLOORED me.  If there was anything I knew about marketing on Twitter, it was that my 70 year old Father would NEVER be using it.   Never.  EVER ….. How wrong I was.   I am dead serious, I didn’t even know that my Father knew what Twitter was!

We got to talking about it, and he told me how he signed up and followed this particular gas station’s account because they share “words of the day” to save gas, as well as other discounts to food items and sodas etc.  He was telling me how much he loved it, and this is where he goes for everything (gas, snacks, sodas etc.)  oh, and how he FAITHFULLY CHECKS IT EVERY DAY.  Smart.

If you are a business owner reading this, reverse engineer the point of this.  Give people a reason to sign up, and come back, no matter the age – and they will.  Now I know there are probably plenty of 70 year olds that are on Twitter, but that is not the point of this post.  The point is that Twitter can work on people you never thought it could work on, (like my Father) when you nail down the perfect reason for THEM to follow.


Social Media Monitoring – Killed the #SocialMedia Star

Social Media Score… What does it meeaaan?

Social Media Score... What does it meeaaan?
Disclaimer: This image is a fake. Not to be taken seriously.

Social Media meets SEM

Internet Marketers are competitive by nature. Clearly if you are wanting to rank 1st on the search engine you have to compete.  SEO’s wish to rule the Social Media world as well. Why? Traffic equals money. Going viral can mean a lot of traffic and a lot of money.  To those that want to profit from the online world they must find ways to slice and dice data to see what activities carry a monetary value. So what do these SEO minded people do? They create measurement and scoring to see how well they do in the Social Media arena. Attach a game to it, make it fun, and gamble a bit.

Does your local market carry a good audience for Social Media?

Check it out, right now you can go find which U.S. cities are the most social media savvy. Social Media Rankings .

And apparently:

“The average New Yorker has nearly twice as many total friends across all social networking sites as business people in Houston.

Also noted that Phoenix ranks #5 for Twitter use. Props to the home town. …. and #9 for being the rudest city in the US. It is unclear if those are related. Cool survey. Great info. But don’t let over analyzing your potential to make a buck off someone make you a jerk. Looking at people as dollar signs makes you a soulless individual. Granted if you are a marketer you have to be honest about marketing value. And yes there is value to marketing via social media.

Your Pout Score:

Perhaps this is a bit cynical, but what does a social media score really mean? Is that a pat on the back because you have impressed a computer program? If you want to beat yet another computer game then go download angry birds. Your true reach?… Does that count the number of DMs that run through twitter? Entire conversations happen on twitter behind closed doors. Granted, it is cool to put a ticker on how far your voice travels. But are you twittering just to get noticed? Are you gaming for influence? What happened to just keeping it real? Clearly extremes in either direction are bad.

What’s your take?

Do social media scoring systems destroy the social media platform or do they help people realize “hey, I am a big doofus so I need to chill on the twitter-thon”?