Tag Archive for social media

An Intern’s Insight into Acceleris

Hania Thompson, Intern at Acceleris

From The Pool to the Board Room – an Intern’s Insight

Work two jobs, it will be easy! That is what I told myself as I woke up at 5am to lifeguard for two hours before embarking on a two week internship at Acceleris. As I power walked up the Ripon Road that morning I nervously kept thinking about what I was going to be doing and what will everyone be like? However, as I walked into the foyer, over the quaint wooden bridge and up the winding stairs into the reception area I was quickly put at ease.

After being warmly greeted and given a brief tour I was promptly introduced to my ‘buddy’ Katie who quickly made sure I was put to work right away. There is nothing worse than starting somewhere new and not knowing what you are doing or supposed to be doing; however, I am pleased to say that this was not the case – thanks to my buddy. My first task was to read through the Yorkshire Post and pick out relevant stories and at 10:30 I felt very important as I attended my first meeting in the board room (thankfully I wasn’t fired!).

After graduating from Northumbria University in 2015 with a degree in Sport Management, the one question which many graduates ask is ‘shall I take a gap year?’ My answer to this was yes. After a ski season in the Swiss Alps, working in the USA and travelling around Western Australia I finally decided to ‘settle down’ and think about my future.

I had been interested in the marketing and PR side of my degree, which led me to exploring this area further – although I wasn’t entirely sure what this would involve. I was fortunate enough to be offered an internship after hearing about Acceleris from a friend – and the rest is history!

The last two weeks spent at Acceleris have flown by – the old saying ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ comes to mind! I was given a variety of tasks which ranged from designing social media graphics for various events and clients, writing press releases, blog writing, researching potential clients and constructing (many) spreadsheets.

My favourite job was designing social media graphics for different clients. I thoroughly enjoyed being creative and imaginative throughout the process. The last two weeks have really given me a flavour of what it is like to work in the world of PR. To make the experience even better I was made to feel welcomed and valued from the moment I stepped through the door and I could tell that the staff at Acceleris are an incredibly hard working and dedicate team.

At the end of my time here I found that PR is not so dissimilar from being a lifeguard after all. You complete all the training needed for your role; however, when you’re thrown in at the deep end on your first day, you never truly know how you’re going to react until the situation presents itself – whether this is trying to save someone’s life or handling a crisis on social media! As I impart my knowledge onto the next intern, the most important thing to say is to fling yourself into it, learn as much as you can whilst you have the chance and say yes to everything!

To see more on the opportunities Acceleris has for students and graduates, read about the Acceleris Academy here.

Heroes and Zeros: managing your brand reputation

Nadia Ahmed who joined Acceleris on work experience

Nadia Ahmed, who joined Acceleris on work experience

Even as someone new to the world of PR, I can recognise the impact PR campaigns can have, whether for better or for worse.

During my two weeks of work experience at Acceleris I have learnt the significance of brands protecting their reputations. There have been lots of examples in the media recently where brands have triumphed in marketing themselves and some at the opposite end of the scale.

Here we take a look at some examples which have sparked criticism from the not-so-adoring public, as well as the championing of some brands for their success.

 

 

Neither hopeful nor glorious festival

Hope and Glory PR Disaster Liverpool

The ironically named ‘Hope and Glory Festival’ in Liverpool was cancelled in early August, just as acts were ready to go on stage. The worst part however, is that it was cancelled with one disastrous tweet simply saying, ‘No festival today’. Overcrowding at the 12,500 capacity St George’s Quarter led to the event being scrapped, with thousands of ticket holders left disappointed. Day-ticket holders lost out on both a highly anticipated festival and £55, while those who had bought a weekend ticket and paid out £89 were left confused and angry.

Although some posts on the Facebook page pointed the blame at the production manager, who was even named and shamed, the PR company behind the event were ultimately responsible for dealing with all the publicity and social media for the event. The agency continued to point the blame at anyone but themselves, and the director added fuel to the fire of public outrage when he bungled his interview on talkRadio and only offered to refund the one ticket to a listener who called in. In such a modern, technology dependent era, PR disasters like this spread like wildfire and can easily destroy a company’s reputation. There is no doubt that this event was a disaster and the PR company have been placed at the centre of it.

 

Social media Mum 1, V&A Museum nil

A breastfeeding mum took to social media after she was asked to ‘cover up’ when she accidentally flashed her nipple whilst breastfeeding at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Kensington. However, the mother did not passively accept this disapproval, and she took to Twitter to express her outrage.

Using her Twitter account the mother tweeted: “Flashed a nanosecond of nipple while #breastfeeding and was asked to cover up in @V_and_A courtyard. Am perplexed…” Then continued with, “On the upside, I had a lovely day at the V&A exploring depictions of breasts through the ages and making lovely mammaries. I mean memories”. Ironically, the incident occurred within World Breastfeeding Week, which works to dispel the sense of disapproval some women feel while breastfeeding in public. Using hashtags such as #normalisebreastfeeding , #empoweredbirthproject and #breastisbest.

The V&A’s director apologised after the tweet went viral, saying “@vaguechera V sorry. Our policy is clear: women may breastfeed wherever they like, wherever they feel comfortable & shld not be disturbed.”

Easy access to social media allows people to share perceived injustices and also allowed the V&A to publicly apologise. Ultimately, it all ended well.

 

Swede dreams

In a glorious attempt to boost tourism, the organisation Visit Sweden has listed the entire country on Airbnb to try and appeal to young travellers. The Swedish tourist board is trying to encourage and educate people in the concept of Allesmansrätten, or ‘the freedom to roam’.

Allesmansrätten refers to the general public’s right to camp, hike, explore and use the country’s natural resources at will. The campaign boasts that, “Sweden has no Eiffel Towers. No Niagara Falls or Big Bens. Not even a little Sphinx. Sweden has something else- the freedom to roam. This is our monument” conveying that Sweden’s natural landscape is the jewel in its crown and a great reason to visit. The weirdly wonderful campaign promotes the country’s own unique offerings and the Airbnb stunt helped them gain publicity and drive traffic to both Visit Sweden’s and Airbnb’s websites.Visit Sweden Listed on Airbnb

Visit Sweden Listed on Airbnb

Heroes and zeros awards

Each of these events gained recognition across various media channels and one in particular reignited the discussion on the issue of breastfeeding in public. It is becoming increasingly clear how crucial the effectiveness and speed of responses from companies is, in order to prevent the destruction of a certain brand.

For a successful PR campaign which is current, unique and exciting, Visit Sweden has to win my hero award.

As the biggest failure, the Hope and Glory Festival PR catastrophe is doubtlessly the winner of my zero award. Hopefully the lesson of ‘not cancelling a huge event with a three word tweet’ has been learnt.

Here at Acceleris we have a vested interest in the reputations of our clients. We believe it’s not what you say that defines you. It’s what you do and how you do it that creates your reputation. What we do is protect and promote the brands of our clients. To find out more about our work for other clients, take a look at: http://www.acceleris-mc.com/pr-portfolio-case-studies.html

Top Tips: How To Avoid A Social Media #Fail

Katie Wadsworth Senior Account Executive Acceleris

Katie Wadsworth, Senior Account Executive

All too often companies are worried about ‘looking boring’, or being overshadowed in their sectors, but this doesn’t mean you should necessarily jump on the latest trend or shoehorn your product into whatever hashtag is currently circling the internet. You don’t want to be forgotten about, but it’s important that you get noticed for the right reasons.

From the Kendall Jenner Pepsi debacle, to Crocs tweeting about David Bowie’s passing, the internet is full of examples of how brands can humiliate themselves, or worse, with just one ill-advised post.

 

1. Beware the hashtag

#nowthatchersdead

A clever hashtag can be a great way to encourage consumers to engage with your brand or share memories, thoughts or even suggestions, but you need to be careful about your choice of wording. Hashtags don’t have any spaces, which can lead to miscommunication or inappropriate interpretations.

Following the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, people began using #nowthatchersdead – a lack of capitalisation and with no room for spaces meant that many people thought pop icon Cher had died – leading to lots of confusion online. While this wasn’t connected to one brand, it shows how careful you have to be – there are also several not safe for work examples we could have used to show just how things can go wrong…

While there are pitfalls to creating your own tag, it’s equally important that you’re careful if you’re going to use someone else’s. Check the context! While the Thatcher/Cher dilemma left people confused, sticking your brand messaging onto a hashtag without researching it can cause offence and damage to your reputation.

Frozen pizza brand DiGiorno made a fundamental blunder back in 2014 when it failed to look into #WhyIStayed before putting out a ‘witty’ tweet.

DiGiorno Pizza Tweet

The tag was in fact being used by domestic violence survivors and campaigners to raise awareness. While the brand did not intend to cause offence, within minutes it had been inundated with comments from those who were outraged by the tweet. DiGiorno swiftly removed the post and issued personal apologies to everyone who tweeted them, but the damage was already done. Even three years later, a simple Google of the brand’s name brings up news stories about the debacle – it was a hard lesson to learn, but they will certainly be doing their homework before jumping on any hashtags in the future.

 

2. Be sensitive to your surroundings

Kendall Jenner Pepsi advert

What seems like a good idea in a creative meeting may rapidly fall apart when put in the real world. The news agenda is constantly changing so be careful that you read the room properly before issuing your advert.

Pepsi fell foul of a poorly thought out advert which showed Kendall Jenner stepping away from a modelling shoot to join a protest, she then passes a police officer a Pepsi and he smiles. The advert was widely criticised as it appeared to trivialise social justice demonstrations taking place in America at the time, suggesting that a fizzy drink could help restore peace between protesters and the authorities.

Unsurprisingly, many took to social media to express their outrage, with prominent figures satirising the video including Bernice King, daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr who tweeted:

Bernice King Pepsi Tweet

The advert was eventually removed from YouTube and Pepsi was forced to issue a statement saying: “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologise. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue.”

 

3. Make sure your activity is ‘on-brand’

David Bowie Crocs Tweet

Practical shoe brand Crocs decided to tweet about the sad passing of David Bowie in 2016.

While in itself this isn’t a bad thing, the decision to use a croc with a lightening bulb across it – echoing the lightning bolt painted over the face of Bowie’s alter-ego Ziggy Stardust – caused an immediate reaction on social media.

Although this act didn’t cause an angry backlash like Kendall and Pepsi, it did lead to a lot of people poking fun at the brand, long after the tweet was removed from Crocs’ social channels.

A number of brands paid tribute to Bowie, however their messaging and choice of imagery was more appropriate.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a brand sharing memories of a beloved celebrity who has passed away – perhaps the person who controls the Crocs social media account was a big Bowie fan and meant well by the message – but the choice of image suggested that Crocs was trying to capitalise on the popularity of the tag. So even if you’re trying to be respectful, ask yourself, should we be commenting on this? If the answer is yes, make sure you really think about what you’re going to post so you don’t become a laughing stock.

One brand who did manage to walk the line between topical posts and sensitivity is American car manufacturer Chevrolet who put out this tweet following the death of beloved singer Prince.

 

chevrolet little red corvett Prince tweet

The reason this post was embraced by social media is because the brand had a genuine link to the singer and is the maker of the ‘little red corvette’, the title of one of Prince’s most well-known songs. The post is also simple, classy and respectful.

If you’re stuck for ideas, don’t worry, that’s our job! We’ve got lots of experience creating award-winning campaigns for clients in various sectors and we’ll make sure your brand reputation keeps growing and everything works smoothly. Take a look at our work for other clients to see what we can do: http://www.acceleris-mc.com/pr-portfolio-case-studies.html

At Acceleris we do a lot of work on issues and reputation management for clients in a variety of sectors and our focus is always on championing your reputation, because ultimately it is the thing which makes or breaks you.

 

Brand Ethics: Is It All Just A Waste Of Time?

Emily Atkinson, who joined Acceleris for a work experience placement

Emily Atkinson, who joined Acceleris for a work experience placement

Did you know that 300,000 tonnes of clothing was sent to landfill sites in the UK last year; seven million coffee cups are disposed of each day, and by 2050, the ocean is set to contain more plastic than fish? In a recent article from The Guardian, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation expressed its concern over the perennial question: ‘Who will halt this tidal wave of waste?’

 

Indeed, each year sees an increase in the number of UK and worldwide businesses that are prepared to jump onto the eco-friendly band wagon with the aim of attaining a brand image that evokes transparency, sustainability and ethical behaviour. To mention only a few; Coca-Cola, Tesco, H&M, and Stella McCartney are all companies which, in the last couple of years, have made a significant attempt to refresh their reputation by working towards a more renewable world.

 

Businesses are recognising the increase in consumer demand for more ethical and sustainable products – a revolution that is taking social media by storm. For instance, NARS cosmetics recently took to Instagram to announce that they wanted to put an end to animal testing, stating: “We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen.”

 

Social media has become a platform on which anyone, anywhere can have their say. The likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube not only allow people to criticise but also for businesses to respond to criticism and relaunch their brand as one which satisfies consumer demands.

 

Coca-Cola

Take Coca-Cola for instance, its most recent campaign shows an epic love story between Coke and Fanta; the idea that they are both contained in recyclable plastic bottles means that they are able to meet over and over again, and eventually fall in love (how sweet!). Lucy Barry, a Berlin-based artist, used ALL recyclable materials, including 1,500 bottles, to create the masterpiece. Accompanying the ad is a short YouTube video showing ‘A Timeline Tour’ of change in the production of Coca-Cola bottles.

Coca-Cola has high hopes for its campaign, with a similar piece last year generating around 37,000 pledges.

H&M

Both high street and high end fashion labels have also joined forces to save our planet. As a self-confessed shopaholic and fashion enthusiast, I think it’s great that clothing brands have entered into this craze. Last year, H&M launched its first eco-friendly campaign, collaborating with singer M.I.A to create a song and video called ‘Rewear It’. The campaign secured 500,000 views within a week of being released and, since the launch of its garment collecting initiative in 2013, H&M has acquired over 32,000 tonnes of recyclable clothing.

And H&M aren’t the only ones! Stella McCartney recently chose a landfill site in Scotland as the backdrop for her fall 2017 collection launch. The lead image of the campaign features a model surrounded by a mass of cast-off clothing, accessories and so-called ‘rubbish’. Again, McCartney proves that a great picture/ video never fails when it comes to making your brand stand out.

stella mccartney model in landfill

 

But does it work?

The answer is YES! As an agency, we are no strangers to the process of brand rejuvenation and the promotion of environmental sustainability as a less commercial way of building a relationship with consumers. Back in 2015, we were tasked with launching the UK’s first website dedicated solely to upcycling: Remade in Britain. The company focuses on the restoration of furniture, home accessories and gifts, targeting those who seek, ‘ethical, sustainable, and waste-reducing products’. We even created our own recycling stunt, creating room in a skip using furniture from the site.

Remade in Britain Founder Donna Fenn in the 'Skip Room' - press

Remade in Britain Founder Donna Fenn in the ‘Skip Room’

To read more about this campaign and find out more about what we do, head to http://www.acceleris-mc.com/.

Election Fever!

Ellie St George-Yorke, Account Director at Acceleris

Another week, another election. I know I’m running the risk of sounding like Brenda from Bristol but it does seem like we are having a lot of politics at the moment. You can’t walk into a coffee shop or sit on the train without overhearing a conversation about who said what or who forgot which figures. As we all head to the local school or community centre to cast our vote once again, here’s a quick look at how brands have jumped on election fever over the years.

This year, craft beer enthusiasts and marketing wizards, BrewDog has launched a campaign to create their own exit poll. It is encouraging voters to post a selfie of themselves outside their polling station and show their snap at BrewDog bars around the country for a free pint (who doesn’t love free booze!)

As ever, it’s crucial in what appears to be becoming a closer and closer election for young people to turn out to vote. Let’s face it, this election is one in particular that could be won or lost based on the youth vote. With this in mind, for a brand marketed at young people to be mobilising the youth vote has received a bit thumbs up on social media as well as appealing to its core demographic, driving them into its pubs and bars.

Elsewhere in election news, Banksy has got himself into trouble this week promising to send free prints to anyone voting against the Conservatives. Unfortunately for Banksy it turns out that bribery is frowned upon by the powers that be, no matter how much you are frustrated by the status quo and the Electoral Commission stepped in. In a rather sarcastic and aptly appropriate U-turn Banksy caved and retracted the offer via his website.

What’s interesting is to look at the spike this stunt has created in terms of Google searches for Banksy over the past week. As you can see while the great man himself calls the stunt ‘ill-conceived and legally dubious’, it certainly made an impact with keywords ‘Banksy vote’, ‘Banksy election’ and ‘Banksy website’ all appearing as rising searches over the last seven days.

When it comes to jumping on the interest around the election our clients are no exception. For maritime professionals’ trade union, Nautilus International, we have created an animation showing the UK’s reliance of seafaring and seafarers and have used this to encourage election candidates to support the maritime industries first in their manifestos and hopefully, once elected, in reality.

The animation forms part of the Union’s Jobs, Skills and the Future campaign which calls on the UK government and maritime industry to deliver decent work and training opportunities for British seafarers now before our seafaring skills and fleet are lost forever. By using the election as a hook to spread the word of the animation, the campaign has allowed the Union to shine a light on the issues facing those working at sea.

No matter the outcome on Friday morning, it will certainly have been an interesting period in our country’s history and there are opportunities for brands to piggy back or influence (maybe subtly) the outcome and aftermath of the election to encourage voters, who of course are consumers as well, to vote with their feet as well as their hearts come Thursday and beyond.

Adidas Can’t Run From This Epic Marketing Mistake

Phillip Portman – Account Executive

Just four years after three people were killed and over 260 more were injured when bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, clothing company Adidas found itself at the centre of a social media storm following a poorly-worded marketing email that was sent to competitors of this year’s event.

Some 26,492 runners who crossed the line of the gruelling sports challenge were sent a message that read: “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon.” Some of the racers were people who were badly injured but survived the tragic events in 2013.

Because this is 2017, recipients of the email quickly began uploading screenshots of the message they had received to social media. Most notable was racer Mike Denison, who called Adidas out for what he clearly believed to be a poor choice of words. “You may want to rethink the subject line,” he hinted, being sure that his 21,000 followers saw the message. They did. Many began throwing their support behind Mike and hurling insults at Adidas. Gifs of face palms and confused memes began flooding the micro-blogging site, before journalists from major online news outlets began catching wind.

Source: Adidas

“Can we use your photo on all forms of NBC platforms with courtesy of you?” asked one reporter.

Another tweet read: “I’m a reporter from AOL and would love to ask you a few questions about this tweet for our coverage,” while others from publications including ABC and Business Insider also sent requests. Other racers began uploading screenshots of the email they received and before we knew it, opinions were flying on whether Adidas was right or wrong for sending the email. It made headlines around the globe and was splashed across homepages of news websites with readerships in their millions. How, in the wake of a Pepsi debacle and United Airlines blunder did Adidas get it so wrong? Were they even wrong? Did it matter either way?

Hitting the headlines: how one mistake on social media can leave you running for cover

Adidas had been a major sponsor of the 2017 event and before their unfortunate fiasco outraged the internet, had done everything right in terms of promoting their involvement in the event. They released a specific sports collection for the race including singlets, tights and t-shirts and even ran a successful social media campaign. #WhyIRunBoston encouraged participants to upload photos and to tell their own Boston story. According to the campaign, “everyone has a Boston story” and it was up to competitors to “make history and inspire others to do the same”.

Adidas was quick to issue an apology over the email when it started making international press. They took full responsibility for the hurt they caused and said:

Source: Adidas

Because PR blunders like this seem to be a common occurrence (seriously, we’re not even half way through 2017 and we’ve lost count of how many there have been this year), here are our tips when it comes to a mass-marketing email.

  1. Know world events – Having a strong PR campaign is one thing, but you need to be aware of key events, major news stories and what’s happening in the world. In the case of Adidas, the fact that the Boston Marathon was rocked by a terrorist attack just four years earlier should have been on someone’s radar. Although well intended, the message of congratulations upset a large number of people, undid a lot of hard work that went into the campaign and potentially tarnished the reputation of Adidas. Something as simple as keeping a calendar of key events or dates or a skim over the day’s news could prevent a “PR disaster” from happening in the first place.
  2. Proof check – While it may be one person’s job to send an email, it’s vital to work as a team and get feedback to ensure mistakes don’t happen. This could be something as simple as a spelling error or something as major as the Adidas conundrum. A second or third pair of eyes usually does the trick. If you’re unsure, ask. Once you click send, there’s no going back.
  3. If something can go wrong, it probably will – If there’s even a slight chance that someone could be offended by the way you phrase something or the way you string a sentence together, they probably will be (this is the age of social media after all). With Adidas, removing the word survived could have saved a great deal of embarrassment for the brand. At the end of the day, the purpose of the email was to push more product, and the company could have found a better way of grabbing their customer’s attention.
  4. Know your worth and your subject – Whether your company has hundreds of years of experience or is a new start up, know that everything you send out into the world is a reflection of your brand. In the case of Adidas, their whole campaign positioned itself around Boston Pride, but it came across like Adidas didn’t know an awful lot about the Boston people or the city’s history. You need to know what you’re preaching if you want it to be believable.
  5. Swift and sincere apology – If the worse happens, be prepared to apologise – even if you don’t think you’re in the wrong. Don’t let pride get in the way of your brand’s reputation. Adidas were actually pretty good at this, issuing a statement nearly immediately and pinning it to their social profiles. Mistakes happen, but you need to be prepared for any onslaught that might happen as a result.

If you want to chat to us more about avoiding a crisis like Adidas, don’t hesitate to get in contact on 0845 4567 251 or visit our website.    

Trading Places: Swapping the Office for the Showroom Floor at the CV Show

Dan Stead – Digital Account Executive

This year, Acceleris attended The Commercial Vehicle Show (CV Show) at the famous NEC in Birmingham. As specialists in motor sector communications, we were there to support our exhibiting clients and to see what opportunities there were to bring their brands to new audiences.

With over 20,000 business in attendance last year, 2017 was set to be the biggest in The CV Show’s 16 year history. From trucks to tyres, telematics to trailers and tow bars to temperature controlled transportation solutions, we descended on the show to help our clients stand out from the crowd.

Our CV Show clients

Our clients exhibiting this year included Nexus Vehicle Rental, which was launching its unique HGV rental solution and Radius Payment Solutions, there to demo its brand new vehicle checker app.

Nexus – adding weight to the HGV market

Radius reveals its vehicle checker app

Part of our role on the day was using the event to create media ‘noise’ around the launches to trade media, arranging interviews and selling in the stories across client and partner social media channels.

While ultimately our clients were there to push sales, trade shows present a number of ways for businesses to promote their services to new and existing audiences. There are a variety of tactics which should be deployed by anyone attending a show.

Social networking

Growing online audiences should be an ongoing objective for every business and trade shows present the perfect arena to do this. There may be tens of thousands of potential customers at the show itself, but there may be hundreds of thousands following online.

For example, the hashtag #CVShow was used over 700 times in just 24 hours on Twitter during the last day of The CV Show alone, reaching almost 850,000 different accounts! To make the most of this ‘free’ publicity, sound social media strategies must be in place to ensure there is a constant stream of scheduled and reactive posts. This will not only grab the attention of those not attending a show but it may encourage customers on the show floor to swing by your stand in search of the latest live launches

When drafting social media posts, be mindful of which key terms people may be searching for. Similarly, to optimise your copy online for search engines (SEO), you can drop keywords into your social media posts to push people through to your own channels. Use of imagery is also imperative – Twitter spans 140 characters but a picture says a thousand words and gives people a taste of what they’re missing!

While focusing on perfecting your own posts is important, you should be following progress of trade shows throughout their duration via other accounts too. For example, on Twitter, a retweet or reply goes a long way. It’s an easy way to interact with others and presents your business as friendly and open to conversation online.   

A social nexus

Radius reels in the punters

Hit the headlines   

Building good relationships with existing customers is essential but many businesses attend trade shows to drum up new business. One useful tip is to see which representatives from your sector’s trade press may be attending and seek them out prior to a show. Journalists work to tight deadlines and have hectic schedules and it’s all too easy to be ignored. It’s always worth seeking the advice of a PR agency which can help put you pole position in the race to secure media coverage, allowing you to contribute to conversations ahead of competitors.

   

Nexus Vehicle Rental – HGV launch coverage

So there’s only one thing left, and that’s to share our top tips for social media use during trade shows.

Top Trade Show Tips for Shining on Social

  1. Pre-arrange your meetings – While it’s fantastic to stumble across a golden contact it’s always best to try and arrange a time and place to meet your chosen contacts before the show. Connecting through LinkedIn is a good way to introduce yourself to prospects and following key journalists on social media is advised
  2. Prepare, plan, react – Schedule social media posts throughout the duration of the show but be sure to keep an eye on live social streams before, during and after, responding to trends  and  engaging with others. Posting photos from any event is a must
  3. Tool up! – There is a plethora of free social media tools out there. Hootsuite allows posts to be scheduled from multiple social media platforms with surgical precision while Keyhole enables users to track hashtags, keywords and mentions in real-time allowing you to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not
  4. Get Creative – Canva is another great tool for bringing your posts to life through use of creative imagery

At Acceleris, we are constantly on the move. In fact, we are back in Birmingham as early as next week to promote another automotive client, Trusted Dealers, and its roadshows to increase awareness of Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs).

Follow us on Twitter to keep track of what we’re up to and visit our website to see how we could help boost your business’ profile in the automotive arena.

‘Weird Freak Omelette’: When a Customer Service Blunder Hits the Nationals

Lisa McGauley, Senior Account Manager

Lisa McGauley, Senior Account Manager

Once upon a time, you’d have had to pen a strongly-worded letter or pick up a phone and join a seemingly endless queue to make a customer complaint.

 

How times have changed. According to Clicky (2016), 25 per cent of social media users in the UK now make complaints via social channels.

 

Social media is VERY public and if someone posts negatively about your brand you are judged on several criteria: how quickly you respond, the tone of your reply and the ultimate outcome.

 

With the rise of social media making everyone a publisher in their own right and in such a public arena, brands big and small have to tread carefully. Even the simplest customer service blunder can hit the national headlines.

Weetons Harrogate Reciept

Case in point, last week, a local independent cafe deli became the subject of a Twitter storm in a teacup that quickly escalated into a tsunami.

 

When Steve Dempster, his wife and their 11-month-old-child got their receipt at Weetons of Harrogate they were shocked to see what the staff had added to it.

 

Steve shared a copy of the offending article which featured a message reading ‘small egg and tomato omelette for weird freak’ on his Twitter and Facebook.

 

They had simply wanted a smaller omelette for the baby who they were just starting to introduce to different foods. No big deal, right? Wrong, apparently. At least for one person who is probably currently looking for a new job, P45 in hand.

 

A new starter was being shown the ropes by a manager, who thought it would be funny (yes it’s just so hilarious) to add the note to the receipt before sending it to the kitchen. Little did they realise a copy of that receipt would end up in the Independent, the Daily Mail, The Sun, The Mirror, The Star, The Telegraph and Jeremy Vine’s Twitter feed to name a few.

 

Weetons is actually a great local indie and does a mean eggs Benedict but this case highlights how the silly actions of one individual can spiral out of control. That said, Weetons handled the situation well and issued an apology.

 

Its general manager, Keren Shaw said: “Unfortunately today one of our staff acted in an incredibly unprofessional way and we are extremely sorry.

 

“It is not the high level of service that we know our customers expect from us and which we expect from our staff.

 

“We have made a direct apology to the customer concerned and will be taking up the matter internally with the staff involved.” (Wouldn’t want to be in their shoes!)

 

As a social media storm could strike at any time, here are my top tips for dealing with negativity against your brand:

 

  1. Have one person dedicated to looking after social media complaints otherwise you run the risk of them slipping through the net and not being responded to which is the worst possible thing you can do!
  2. Respond quickly. Within 15 minutes is a good timeframe. Any longer and you’ll look like you don’t care. According to Lithium, 78 per cent of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour.
  3. Be sincere and polite, never confrontational. Denial and taking it personally are also definite no nos. Remember the customer is always right 😉
  4. Thank them, apologise and try to take the conversation offline into a direct message.
  5. Never ever delete the complaint!

 

I think Weetons came off quite well out of this. They shouldn’t be giving jobs to people who can’t spell omelette in any case! But, on a more serious note, this example perfectly illustrates how one seemingly small customer service blunder can escalate from a single social media post to being picked up by a raft of national newspapers, and why it’s important to handle social media complaints carefully and quickly.

 

Weetons Harrogate

Mayday: Handling social media during a crisis

Alex Whitaker, Senior Account Executive

Alex Whitaker, Senior Account Executive

On 3 August 2016, Emirates Flight 521, a Boeing 777-300, crash landed and caught fire at the airline’s home base and primary hub, Dubai International Airport. Thankfully, all 282 passengers and 18 crew survived the impact with only 14 people requiring hospitalisation for minor injuries (however, an Emirati fireman unfortunately did lose his life). Clearly, the accident presented a crisis for the company.

While an incident involving an aircraft could wreak havoc for an airline’s reputation, Emirates managed to completely preserve theirs. In the immediate 24 hours following the crash, the airline delivered a textbook example of how to respond to a crisis situation.

As with any incident of this ilk played out in the modern arena, the world knew within minutes. Breaking news alerts lit up phones across the world as the incident quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, with many tweets also featuring near-live video of the aircraft ablaze. When anyone with a smartphone (around two billion people[1]) can instantly provide raw footage of an incident to millions of people, companies have to be on perpetual guard – and ready and able to react quickly.

In order to respond appropriately and within an acceptable time frame, organisations need to have a pre-agreed crisis plan in place. Clearly, with Emirates’ first tweet acknowledging the situation being sent only twenty minutes after the incident occurred, this had been done. This first tweet set the tone for the exemplary PR response that followed.

Emirates were quick to make people aware of the incident

Emirates were quick to make people aware of the incident

Over the next 90 minutes, the company pulled off an important balancing act, providing new information quickly and regularly but without taking the risk of tweeting anything unconfirmed. The drip feeding of information in real time as confirmation was received showed the airline was well on top of the situation while also serving to inform the company’s most important stakeholders in the crisis – existing and potential customers. Within two hours of the incident taking place, the company confirmed all passengers and crew were safe.

In the 24 hours following the incident, the airline tweeted 31 times, maintaining a constant reassuring presence to those following its social media channels. The company’s activity in this timeframe handled a series of issues. While the initial incident was over fairly quickly, the airline then had to deal with a long delay to many flights departing from its key hub. Emirates deftly melded these crucial travel updates with messages expressing apologies and reassuring customers it was doing everything it could to resolve a difficult situation.

The airline provided as much information as possible on the crew and passengers

The airline provided as much information as possible on the crew and passengers

During this time, the airline also provided links to full statements (in both English and Arabic), pages with more information on expected delays and to a video of a press conference held by the company’s Chairman. In particular, this video was extremely well received. By putting the most senior figurehead of the company in front of the cameras, the airline showed how seriously they were taking the situation. That the Chairman was clearly well versed in giving statements only served to improve upon the video’s reception.

Emirates quickly called a press conference in both English and Arabic

Emirates quickly called a press conference in both English and Arabic

Many users posted replies to the company’s posts praising their response and highlighting the fact they are not concerned about flying with Emirates in the future – showing the airline’s already strong reputation remains intact.

Emirates’ response embodied the key tenets of crisis management. The company stuck to the mantra of ‘first, fast and frank’ and took control of the situation at an early stage, preventing the spread of any misinformation or unhelpful rumours. It provided timely and useful information on the issue while still showing it genuinely cared. Also, quick responses to customer questions on social media not only directly helped people worried about family members, but showed to the wider public that the company could be relied on.

Handling a crisis as it unfolds is never an easy task. Crises are by nature unpredictable, both in terms of when they first occur and how they may develop as the situation progresses. A pre-agreed crisis plan is a necessity, but companies also need to remain flexible enough to react to whatever may happen during the course of dealing with the situation. At Acceleris, we’re experts in both managing crises and developing robust plans ahead of time. A crisis can hit at any time, in almost any industry, so why not give us a call today to find out how we can help you?

[1] http://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/