Employee Engagement and Social Media- Best Buy

After watching a YouTube video (below) about Best Buy and employee engagement with Jennifer Rock, director of employee communications for Best Buy, I realized the importance of employee engagement.  Jennifer explained that instead of just communicating AT your employees, now organizations are communicating WITH their employees.  With two-way communication, employees become more involved with the company because they can share their ideas, information, and problems.  Jennifer explained that Best Buy engages employees in many different ways.  Employees are engaging on discussion boards, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and are ranking and commenting on stories that Best Buy submits to the public.

To me, the most interesting part of Jennifer’s video interview was when she was asked how Best Buy deals with negativity from employees.  Jennifer said that when communicating with employees, the first things that usually come out of employees mouths (or fingers via the web) are complaints.  After working out the kinks and communicating on a regular basis, employees start contributing more constructive ideas.         

“‘One Store, One Team’ at Best Buy” shows how engaging employees and taking their feedback into consideration helped unite a Best Buy in Manchester Connecticut.

Employee Guidelines for Social Media

This week in Lauren Vargas’ public relations course, we were asked to watch this presentation on how to use social media and employees.  After doing more research on employees and social media, I found a few guidelines that experts say employees should follow while joining in the social media conversation. 

In the Chicago Tribune times story, “Employees linking work, social media“, three rules were given:

1. Don’t tell secrets.- I think that it’s important to keep new ideas, products, and services that are private to yourself until it is officially released to the public.  If an organization knows that its employees spill everything online, they won’t let employees in on as many “secrets”.

2. Don’t pick fights, be the first to correct your own mistakes, and don’t alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so.- Picking a fight while representing your organization can get your organization negative publicity.  I think that people are also more forgiving when you own up to your mistakes.  Letting people know that you’re changing information on a post will hopefully make readers realize that you’re not trying to trick them.

3. Don’t be a mole.- Be transparent.  I think that it’s important for people to know who is the person behind the avatar.  When people know exactly who is blogging or tweeting, it is easier to contact that person with specific questions about the organization.  


REEF Sandals- Corporate Social Responsibility

My neighbors, Sam and Alex are addicted to their REEF sandals.  They wear them year-round and have multiple pairs of them.  Sam even sports a bumper sticker on the back of his truck to show his love for the brand. 

After researching REEF Sandals, I found out that they have a program called Reef Redemption.  This is their form of Corporate Social Responsibility.  The Reef Redemption Program is categorized into three components: Product Series, Culture of Giving, and In House Efforts.  All of these components are practiced in order to help the environment. 

REEF has brought out new products that use recycled and organic materials in order to help the environment.

REEF also gives 1% of the sales of their new products to non-profit environmental foundations.

REEF employees have jumped on board and introduced environmentally savvy ways to reduce the use of energy and materials.

What’s interesting is that REEF has appointed 3 “Team Ambassadors” to help raise awareness of Reef Redemption.  These ambassadors are  well-known surfers that travel to surf in exotic locations and spread the word about making the environment a better place. 

It makes sense that REEF has targeted environmental issues using CSR because their customers are ones that usually spend their time outside enjoying the environment.


Public Relations Practitioner’s Role in Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the way that organizations operate when they take into consideration their publics with the practices that they implement.  A public relations practitioner’s role in corporate social responsibility is to make sure that the practices of the organization are well-communicated between the organization and its publics.

It is also a practitioner’s job to make sure that the communication between and organization and its publics is one that makes sense.  For instance, part of  Ben and Jerry’s mission statement  is “To make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.”   It makes sense that they focus on the environment because that is where their products come from.  They also donate money to children’s organizations… what child DOESN’T love ice cream!?  It would not make sense if Ben and Jerry’s focused its practices on something that was not relatable to their corporation. 

Another role that public relations practitioners in CSR play is making sure that publics not directly related to the company, take an interest in the company.  For example, if Ben and Jerry’s donates money to a children’s charity, they should also donate free coupons for the children to have a scoop of ice cream.  That way, parents who usually take their children to Bruster’s or Baskin Robbins may be more inclined to buy from Ben and Jerry’s. 

Ben & Jerry's Mission Statement

Social Media Ethic Guidelines

 David Meerman Scott, an online leader, strategist, and author of five marketing books formulated a list of 5 different guidelines for ethical Social Media Marketing.  The list below was gathered from this post from Marcom Professional.

 1. Transparency– If you aren’t open with your consumer on exactly who you are, it can come back to bite you.  Consumer’s don’t like to be lied to and with social media, it could be easy to hide your identity.  Showing the real person behind the ideas coming from the computer screen is key.

2. Privacy– If you’re given inside information, don’t let the whole world know through social media.  Once a secret’s let out… a whole campaign could be ruined!

3. Disclosure– Let people know truthful information that they may find trouble with in the future.

4. Truthfulness– Always, always, always tell the truth.  Don’t fabricate or elaborate anything.

5. Credit– Give recognition to those who help out or contribute to your ideas.  Giving others credit makes your ideas seem more like a team rather than a single opinion.  Teamwork makes the dream work.   

To give you more insight on David Meerman Scott, I’ve posted a video where he explains his path into social media.

World Wide Raves vs. World Wide Rants

This week in our public relations class, we learned all about public relations and the law.  After reading this blog post  about 3M from Marcom Professional, I understood the need for social media ethics.  In this post, the author David Meerman Scott, explained that as a joke, a man named Scott Ableman and his colleagues covered their friend’s car in 4,000 colored post-its from 3M.  The photos were viral and were viewed by millions on Flickr.  Because of all of the free publicity that it attracted, 3M decided to use it in its back to school campaign- without giving credit to Ableman.  3M mimicked the idea, took their own pictures, and used them in their back to school marketing campaign.  3M should have paid Ableman and his colleagues or at least put their names somewhere on the marketing campaign to give them credit.  As the David, put it… This campaign turned a “World Wide Rave” into a “World Wide Rant” .

Bad Things Happen to Good People- Crisis Communication

I’m a sports fan.  I like watching Clemson football, basketball, and baseball, but I rarely watch ESPN unless my team is playing.  But more than a sports fan, I am a celebrity fan.  I enjoy watching E! and reading any trashy gossip magazines that I can get my hands on. 

While thinking of crisis communication, athletes and celebrities come to my mind first.  We all know about the Rihanna and Chris Brown abusive scandal that flooded the news over the past year and the horribly negative press that Chris Brown attracted after the incident.  While this is a key case that public relations practitioners can learn from, I feel as though it’s been over-analyzed and publicized. 

I wanted to find out more about a crisis that I was unfamiliar with, so I asked my friend, JD Burgess, to fill me in on some current athletic crises.  After telling me the background information on the Oakland Raider’s coach, Tom Cable, I decided to look into it more. 

I read a few articles that explained that Cable was accused of hitting assistant coach, Randy Hanson and breaking his jaw.  After the accusations, Cable’s ex-wife and ex-girlfriend both announced that he had abused them as well.  Cable confirmed that he slapped his ex-wife with an open hand after he found out that she committed adultery.  He admitted that it was the wrong thing to do and promised that he has regretted it ever since.  He publicly denied both allegations of battery on Hanson and his ex-girlfriend. 

Other assistant coaches stated that there was an argument between Cable and Hanson, but it was stopped by another coach pushing them apart.  That other coach pushed Hanson into a chair, which broke his jaw.      

The Raider’s organization is currently looking into what to do with the coach after the season is over.  A coach with domestic violence history doesn’t bring a positive image to the NFL or the Raiders.    

Do you think that Cable should do anything else to show that he regrets hitting his wife so long ago?  Do you think that Cable should be fired from coaching after the season? Why or why not? I want to hear your comments…

Crisis Communication and the Importance of Social Media

This week, in my public relations class, we were asked to view a presentation by Jim Rettew of the American Red Cross .  In his presentation, he explained that it is important to know what is being said about your organization on social media network sites  for three reasons: it can start a crisis, it can fuel a crisis, and it’s effective at informing people of a crisis. 

After viewing the slide about social media’s effectiveness on informing people of a crisis, I immediately thought of the New York plane crash into the Hudson River.  I read multiple stories back in January 2009 that praised Twitter for informing the public about the crash and giving constant updates through tweets and twitpics (like the one below!).  These tweets and twitpics came before the media even had time to send reporters out to the scene.


Jim also mentioned that the benefits of social media decrease the demand from the media, help the organization manage communications remotely, allow citizens to influence the message without a media filter, and allow for quick implementation.

Another section of Jim’s presentation that I thought was interesting was the part about googling negative comments about your organization.  For example, if you’re the Public Relations manager for Forever21 and you’re tracking stories and thoughts online for  Forever21, Google “I Hate Forever21” and see what comes up.  When I searched that phrase, I found over 15 million entries that came up!  Knowing why people dislike your organization or product gives you insight to what changes need to be made in order to turn haters into lovers. 🙂

Public Relations and Viral Videos

Communicating with an organization’s publics has grown from the traditional way of shaking hands with a smile to a more savvy way with cyber-relations.  While shaking hands and meeting people is still a great way to make connections, it has become easier to make connections over the Internet.  Chapter 11 of our book mentions viral videos and how they are quickly becoming part of public relations.  A specific viral video creator, Jessica Rose, was featured in our book as someone who filled others in on her life via YouTube.  Here is an example of one of her videos which reached over 6 million views!  Jessica (Bree) talks about her 1st kiss.  This video is informative, funny, and cute because it shows the inside scoop of a young girl.  It’s amazing to me how a 16-year-old girl interested and drew so many people into her life by simply talking about everyday issues. 

Viral videos can also be used to help in an organization’s public relations efforts.  For example, last year in Stakeholder Communication, we studied the YouTube video below from Verizon Wireless.  While most everyone knows that Verizon Wireless’ main theme is that the network is with you wherever you go, I doubt anyone took that meaning literally.  This video took the meaning of the “most reliable network” to another level.  Although it does not have as many views as Jessica Rose’s, this video has been viewed by over 150,000 YouTubers.  This video could have made an impression on those viewers to switch to the Verizon Wireless network.  And the best part about this viral video… it was FREE to publish.  Take a look:

Tactics and Traditional Publics

After reading chapter 9 in our public relations book, I learned the differences between controlled and uncontrolled media.  I liked that our authors spelled out the advantages and disadvantages of controlled and uncontrolled media.  The fact that organizations control what text and images are being sent to the media is an advantage of controlled media.  A couple disadvantages of controlled media include: the loss of credibility and it may cost the organization money.  An advantage of uncontrolled media is that it costs less.  A disadvantage of uncontrolled media is that it is not controllable.  Organizations that have public relations departments have little to do with the information that is leaked through uncontrolled media.  I read a blog post by Heather Smith about controlled and uncontrolled communications.  In her post, she explains more in depth the advantages and disadvantages of controlled and uncontrolled media.

When our book talked about tactics and traditional publics in news media, many of the ideas that they talked about rang a bell for me.  While working at Jeff Dezen Public Relations, I was given the chance to help draft and distribute news releases, put together media kits, and draft and distribute media advisories.  Although I didn’t personally contribute to interviews, news conferences, or actualities, I’m familiar with these terms because I was around PR professionals.  I was lucky to learn these terms from PRo’s who constantly participated in these activities along with social media. Professor Vargas provided us with a Web site that explains social media terms that may be unfamiliar.  Check it out!