So James Neal, how did #AskNeal go? #AskNeal

This week we are looking at Public Relations crisis’ in social media. Being a huge hockey fan I decided to use the example of a twitter campaign that the Pittsburgh Penguins launched. They had a twitter take over by James Neal where fans could take to twitter to ask him questions using the hashtag #askNeal. Twitter take overs by professional athletes are a fairly common thing as its a popular tactic for teams to allow their fans to have a chance to have questions answered by the players. However, in this case it became a PR disaster. Ask the PR department of the Penguins thought this would be a good chance for fans to get to know James Neal and ask him questions other NHL fans, in particularly heated rival fans from Philadelphia Flyers, and Boston Bruins were salivating at the chance to stir the pot and troll the twitter world in full force. Why you may ask? It wasn’t just because they are fans of rival teams, its because of the questionable, and cheap shots Neal is known for throughout the league.

His most recent shot was a knee to the head of the Bruins Marchand for which he received a five game suspension. You can see the video the NHL released explaining the suspension here:

I have to admit, I went through all the tweets with the hashtag to the very beginning as I was following it the day it launched, and early on it was going quite well, fans were asking him questions such as his favourite food, what he would do if he wasn’t in the NHL, and common questions fans may want to know. This can simply be attributed to the fact that early on only Pittsburgh fans who follow the Penguins or James Neal on Twitter would have known about it, but as it got bigger word got out and things took a turn for the absolute worst. Tweets began flying in full force mocking Neal for his cheap shots and dangerous play.

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As you can see it got quite hostile towards Neal and hockey fans began to make a complete joke of Neal, even his teammate Simon Depres tweeted at him which has since been deleted asking “Why are you so shy in the shower? #AskNeal”. The twitter campaign obviously became a complete disaster and crisis for Neal as he was faced with the embarrassment of having himself ridiculed by almost everyone who knew about this twitter campaign.

In this type of situation the Penguins need to remedy the situation by acting quickly and efficiently. They should have addressed fans in a positive matter and managed their own players such as Simon Depres who as a public figure had the most retweets and favourites as anyone for mocking his own teammate.

Secondly although it may be to late, it was worth a shot for James Neal to try and address his critics and apologize for his actions. One of the reasons he is disliked so much is because he shows no remorse for his actions and cheap shots he is known for. Shots to the head in the NHL are taken very seriously with the new concussion protocols to protect players and when Neal was suspended for his knee to the head of Marchand instead of apologizing he actually laughed and said “Probably wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve done”. He answered negative tweets in a very sarcastic manner which fueled the fire even further such as this one:

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He also posted a very sarcastic tweet after the fact which shows his complete disregard or worry for the negativity towards him

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The Penguins PR department should have thought this through a lot more then they did. If this was done as an attempt to regain credibility towards Neal and strengthen his reputation then they should have done something else. With a twitter campaign by a player with a bad reputation, putting him somewhere to be ridiculed by the free speech of the internet and NHL fans is a death sentence. They should have used a tactic that would allow them to show who Neal is away from hockey, or express him in a way fans may not know him. Show a video of his charity contributions, he dedication to community building, or other light hearted means that could help strengthen the public opinion of him.

Overall, to say this twitter take over was a disaster would be a complete understatement. And hey, I even got in on the fun after reading through hundreds of tweets, admittedly laughing through most of it…

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What can you get from free social media measurement tools?

For companies that are starting out, or simply don’t have a lot of funds to shell out towards social media measurement there are options available that are free of charge. Looking through google there were a lot of different social media tools but I chose to go with the top three on a list that was developed by brand watch ( The three social media measurement tools on their list I chose were hootsuite, tweet reach, and klout.

Hootsuite is great because it covers almost every one of the popular social networks including twitter, facebook, linkedin, wordpress, foursquare, and google + amongst others. It’s a nice app to use if you are on a variety of platforms and it creates weekly analytic reports which can be seen through its excellent management facilities that allow your entire social media team to monitor them. Brand watch suggests using this as a free tool if you have multiple people who monitor accounts because you can easily download all the documents for everyone to see, you can use it on the go, and it creates charts and reports you can present to management that are easy to understand.

If you are a company who is focused on your twitter activity and reach of your tweets, then Tweetreach is the tool for you. With tweet reach it monitors ow far your tweets have travelled and measures the impact and implication of your social media discussions. It also allows to to find out who your most influential followers are, so you are able to focus on reaching these follows and get them to engage with you and further your brand and spread awareness of what you want to be heard.  

Lastly of these free social media tools is Klout. From brandwatch, and other outlets it seems like the reviews are split on Klout. There are those who hate it and claim that it is completely inaccurate, but then those who find it extremely useful. Like tweet reach it is a application that is focused on twitter, and it allows you to measure your twitter influence. It helps you see and understand what your followers and other on twitter think about your tweets and your organization and from these reports you are able to tailer and tweak your tweets to reach a larger audience, and have a more positive impact and higher levels of engagement. 

Measuring the 3 A’s of Social Media

As we all know, social media is a large contributor to almost every business and organization today. Almost every establishment has a social media prescience because it is an easy and quick way to gain a following, and advertise your business to a large number of people in a setting that so many people interact on.

A lot of misconception comes from social media how ever when it comes to the three A’s of social media: Attention, Attitude, Action. People put far to much stock into how many followers they have, or how many “likes” on facebook they have. The fact is however if these followers or people liking you simple never engage with your organization they are merely numbers that do not matter for much other then they are aware of your organization.

According to Kami Huyse’s blog from Zoetica Media she outlines simple definitions for the 3 A’s of social media:

  • Attention: The overall volume of interest, these include fans, traffic and other analytics
  • Attitude: Overall sentiment and relationship measures
  • Action: Business results of online outreach

When looking at how many followers or likes your pages have that is a form of the attention you are getting. It is a step in the right direction because you need your organize to be recognized and have followers who are interested in the organization before leading to the other steps.

Secondly it is important to judge the attitude towards your organization. This can be done by looking at how people are interacting with your organization. Are the comments primarily positive, negative or neutral on your pages, and posts? It’s important for your organization to have a positive relationship with the public and you can gauge a lot of this through the attitude towards your organization on your social media outlets. If people are commenting on things you should fix, then take their opinions into account and see if you can improve areas that are being suggested. If people are really posting positive opinions on things you are doing well and they approve of then good job, you are gaining a loyal following and building positive relationships that are beneficial to your organization.

Lastly comes action. Going back to Huyse’s blog she says that the most important and least measured part of social media is the action that people take as a result of social media campaigns. “This is where campaigns can be tied to key performance indicators (KPIs) or other organizational goals for action. Return on investment can also be measured in terms of actions.” The measurement of action is taken place in terms of seeing if people are acknowledging things such as event postings, promotions, or customer related posts and interacting and engaging in these posts such as higher attendance at upcoming events then usual, higher profits and most customers coming through their stores, amongst other things.

Overall, you cant simply judge your organization off people who are following and liking your pages. You need to know that the engagement is there, and the ROI is there also. Social Media, although some people think is free advertising is in fact quite a lot of work and money. The people who monitor social media for organizations and measure the effects it is having on their engagement are an extremely vital part to companies, and they are there to make sure that the ROI is positive for the companies they work for.

If you want to read further through Huyse’s blog the link is here:

Content Strategy: What is it?

ImageI never really thought much about content strategy and things such as infographics until reading through the module for this week. 

I’ve always seen content strategy, but I never really understood it fully until reading through the course notes and readings. Like most things in public relations, its broken down, and explained in simple terms for everyone to be able to understand. Through my research I managed to find a lot of different pictures and diagrams to explain just what content strategy is but I narrowed it down to the images you will see in this post.

The one image I really liked was the visualization of content strategy as a burger. I think almost everything has at some point been visualized and laid out as a burger. I can’t count the number of times in school where teacher have broken down things such as essays, or writing style as a burger, and used the parts of a burger in relations to criteria needed to succeed, or in this case, make a good burger.

I think this image does a very good job at explaining exactly how you should lay everything out when it comes to creating valuable content.

For the second picture I chose, I went the route of a simple content checklist. I think this was a good bit of information that lays out the main factors that go into creating valuable content. It gets right to the point in letting you know that your content should be findable, readable, understandable, actionable, and shareable. The fact that it breaks down all these factors into a checklist of what exactly is meant by them gives you a good way of quickly going over your content and deciding whether or not it matches up to the expectations of this check list. For one, I have always like check lists, or getting outlines for assignments in advance because its almost like a cheat sheet to see exactly what is expected. With this check list, you could post it beside your desk, or around your office, and when creating contents it is easy to simply look over the list and check off what you have done, and then see what you have not done and add those pieces in.


The last image I chose is one that really caught my eye right away, which is essentially a good sign that it is a form of good content. I noticed it right away with the animation and comic style look to it, and took the time to read through it without hesitation. I liked this particular image because it really got right to the point of what it takes to create “smart content”. It was something that it quick to read through if you need a rough idea of how to create smart content, which I think is important since a lot of the time people don’t want to spend time reading through long documents or books.

All three images give very clear examples of what good content strategy is, and how to go about achieving valuable content through infographics.


Exploring Foursquare and the QR Code

I used to have foursquare when it first came out, but never really used it, or really explored it what so ever leading to it being a fairly useless app using up storage on my phone. This time around however, it was interesting to explore exactly what its used for from my experience with it, along with looking through the course notes, and doing some research on the side. One surprise how ever was still the very limited amount of people who are using foursquare amongst my friends on facebook. When I “logged in using facebook” as the option prompted it searched my friends who were on foursquare, and of almost 800 friends on facebook only 30 were registered with foursquare. Reading through the course notes I think I may have discovered an answer for this. With new location based systems that are out many people may now be using different spin offs of the originally popular foursquare. To be honest the reason I had originally downloaded foursquare when it was first out was because I had seen so many “check ins” on facebook via foursquare, so I gave into the curiosity and downloaded it for myself. Obviously I didn’t get engulfed by it since I rarely used it and had since deleted it, but I think many other people have either felt the way I did or moved onto more convenient choices such as facebook locations. With facebook locations, as weird and lazy as it may sound, people may just feel they are saving time by “checking in” on facebook locations while on facebook rather then leaving the facebook app, swiping to a new page of apps on their phone, and using foursquare to check in. I personally think that foursquare didn’t succeed because other, bigger organizations took the idea, and spun it in a new way which targeted their already large population of dedicated customers to go with their route of location based apps.

In terms of what I learned however, foursquare is an intriguing way to enhance your public relations. It is just another tool in terms of social media platforms that you can get a somewhat free advertisement out to the network of people on this app. Social media platforms can serve to help organizations because it gives them a wide variety of customers on each of these apps, and the more exposure they get by using these apps as a promotional tactic can benefit them greatly. I found the articles posted by Boyd for this weeks module very interesting on foursquare and how it can help an organization. Using a proactive social media team to monitor social platforms like this can see who is a regular at your restaurant, or venue, or who really likes to spread the word about your company and offer them promotions or discounts to keep them coming back because then they will spread the word further from the incentive you are giving them. I think one of the ways in which you could use location based apps like foursqaure to benefit your organization is by monitoring the other popular places in your area, and seeing what your competition is doing to take advantage of these apps, and making yourself stand out above them.

The second thing I did this week was explore the rise of QR codes in recent years. Personally I thought they were fairly cool and interesting when they first came out with that entire feeling of scanning something with your phone and having it trigger something. The idea of scanning these for reasons such as adding someones BBM pin, or finding a product online was pretty fascinating. However, I think that the idea of Mobile Visual Search (MVS) as laid out in this article, is a more intriguing way of using this point and scan technology.  The article lays out just exactly why the QR code will die out over time, and how MVS will take its place. MVS is a much simpler alternative to QR codes because instead of having a QR code on labels, you simply point your phones camera at the item of interest and it will recognize it and look it up for you right away in the palm of your hand. Not all companies use QR codes, so the recognition of products using MVS which prompt a google search of the product is a much simpler and effective way of getting any information about almost anything you choose to scan with your phone.

Public Relations on Twitter

The question of whether there is value in a public relations program on twitter to invest money into “promoted tweets”, “promoted accounts”, and “promoted trends” is a hot topic. In my mind the answer is simple. Yes, there is value in these promotion tactics. Looking at the article from the wall street journal ( you can see that companies who have invested in advertising on twitter are coming back for more. According to the article many of the companies were given a trial basis to promote their company through trends, tweets, and accounts for free at the beginning, and many have come back and purchased promoted “tweets, accounts, and trends” some at upwards to $100,000.00. These companies such as Coca-Cola and Starbucks are obviously companies who have large amounts of money put into their marketing and market research, so to be spending such large amounts of money to promote themselves on the micro-blogging website twitter must be a valuable asset to them. Also the article points out that almost 5% of people who saw these promotions on twitter interacted with them which is a much greater outcome than most online ad campaigns. With the ever expanding population of twitter, almost 375,000 new users a day, it is becoming a social network where people go to for quick and efficient news, and they engage themselves into the conversation of what is “trending”. These companies may be putting in large amounts of capital to promote themselves on this site, but the fact that many of them are purchasing these promotions on a regular basis seems to say that they are effectively making them money, and driving their marketing in the right direction. 

In terms of placing a dollar figure on the value of these promotions how ever is a very difficult task. I personally don’t think there is ever going to be a set price, since already it seems like it is always on the rise. When rivalling companies such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi are competing for their brand to be featured they will continuously outbid the other for the ad space which drives prices through the roof, but to gain the step up on your competition, sometimes you are going to have to pay more then you initially would like too. For those who aren’t twitter users or are unsure what they look like, I have posted a picture below. It puts companies and tweets and trends right to the top of your twitter so they will be the first thing you see when you go to your twitter page, and you are more likely to click on them thinking they are “catered” to your twitter habits.

(image from:

Another interesting bit of information I found on this blog ( is posted below. It seems to be that a lot more twitter users engage with, and follow companies rather then facebook users. Just an interesting bit of information you may want to look at which may help to understand why twitter is becoming a more popular place to buy up ad space because twitter users are “3 times more likely” to follow and engage with brands on twitter rather then facebook. 






Public Relations Enhanced by Social Media

Coming from a BA in Sociology I have learned a lot about society, and how it works on an every day basis. When it comes to this course I’m really interested in digging deeper into social media in public relations. I took the course because growing up now social media has become such a large part of society, more so then most people think. Public Relations is a lot about communication, and in the present day one of the most efficient and effective ways of communication is through social media due to the fact that there are so many platforms reaching a wide variety of audiences. Like it says in the first module, social media is a compliment to all the traditional forms of public relations, it is not meant to diminish or destroy traditional forms of communication but rather enhance communication. I’ve always been intrigued at how exactly society functions due to my sociology background, and the one thing that always comes up is communication. For society to function there always needs to be a constant flow of communication where the sharing of ideas and opinions are able to create and manage how society functions. I think that this is much the same in social media with public relations. Organizations are able to have a wide spread audience where they can push their messages, but also open up different forms of dialogue. They are able to monitor their organization through social media much easier then traditional forms of media and in doing so respond quickly to a crisis, or clarify any questions or concerns stake holders may have. I don’t want to ramble on to much for my first blog post of the semester so I will finish it up. I personally just believe that social media has greatly enhanced the public relations practice because it has expanded the audiences we can reach, and the connectivity we have through a new form of communication which has really risen over the past decade. I’m personally really looking forward to this course because I am intrigued by how much social media has really changed the world we live in, not just in public relations practices but life in general. Look forward to reading everyone else’s blogs throughout the year, and good luck in the course everyone.



Kelly Clancy