Edelman generously hosted a conference at New York University for public relations professors to explore recent case studies and trends in how digital media are transforming public relations practices. This conference was co-hosted by New York University and Syracuse University.
Many thanks goes to Edelman’s extraordinary event planners: Latraviette Smith, Caitlin Prentice, Terri Peterson and Christopher Contompasis, as well as the Syracuse University team, headed by Brenda Wrigley, who put together the teaching roundtable discussion.
Richard Edelman kicked off the conference with an engaging presentation titled “The Digital Reset: Communicating in an Era of Engagement.” I suggest watching this presentation online.
I’ve noted some fresh social media examples from the conference below.
Ben and Jerry’s asked people to create a new flavor. Facebook fans went from 300,000 to a million in a few weeks.
BlackBerry asked questions of fans on Facebook, such as what their ringtone was. A popular post asked users to put their devices on silent for a minute to observe Memorial Day.
RIM has five full-time staff – not enough people to respond to 27,000 daily tweets, so the team engages and rewards the most active fans.
During the roundtable teaching discussion, Hilary Fussell Sisco from Quinnipiac University shared a story about how TOMS Shoes used a facebook campaign to inspire fans to go barefoot for a day to raise awareness for others’ needs. (Also note that TOMS Shoes donates a pair of shoes for every pair purchased.)
Response to Fan Page Spam and Profanity
Sharpie experienced a problem and asked fans if spam and derogatory comments should be eliminated. Fans said yes, so the company has dedicated efforts to keeping the page clean. (Remember the importance of having a social media policy for explaining what will be deleted). The Facebook fan page has been growing by about a thousand fans a day.
Response to Sharply Mixed Product Reviews
(Disclosure: My brother-in-law works for Rubbermaid.) Rubbermaid has a storage container that keeps fruits and vegetables fresh for a longer period of time than they would otherwise stay fresh. The container received excellent and terrible reviews. The company realized that the people who posted bad reviews had not used the product correctly because they pre-washed the food. The company then contacted people who had posted the poor reviews and explained the reason why the storage container had not worked well.
During the teaching roundtable discussion, an author and professor from a leading university in Washington, D.C., told my group a story about a radio broadcaster who asked listeners to give the lowest ranking to his book on Amazon. The book was a sympathetic treatment of the sixties generation. The author and professor contacted Amazon and was able to get the ratings posted from that day removed because people didn’t appear to have read the book.
One of the best parts of the conference was getting to catch up with colleagues and meet new people. There was an abundance of information at this conference — it would be great to hear one of your favorite take-home lessons in the comments section for those who attended.