Help My Mom!

Mother'sDay_BlogPost

We love our moms and we know you do too. BUT, don’t you sometimes wish you could put your mom’s social media usage on timeout? Us too. We’ve seen everything from accidental Facebook shares, to tweets that should be @replies. Hashtags? Don’t even bother! So, in honor of Mother’s Day and to show how much we care about all the wonderful mothers in our lives, Digital Royalty University is offering a helping hand through our “Help My Mom!” campaign.

We’re awarding three lucky moms a personal online session with a Digital Royalty University instructor to help them get their social media presence dialed in. Additionally, we will be selecting 30 additional moms to participate in an upcoming Digital Royalty University live social communications webinar and thanks to our friends at FlowerShop.com, those 30 mom’s will also receive a $30 gift voucher to FlowerShop.com.

Whether it’s to help with understanding the difference between a public tweet or an @Reply, how to use Google Hangouts or FaceTime, or just some best practices on what to post and what not to post on Facebook (emphasis on what NOT to post), your mom will go through the same social communication training exercises that we’ve put Digital Royalty University graduates through for the past five years. Included with the one-on-one session is a Team Renegades toolkit: a Digital Royalty t-shirt, an autographed copy of The New York Times Bestseller Renegades Write The Rulescomplimentary access to the suite of our online social communication classes and a $100 gift voucher for a flower arrangement from FlowerShop.com. 

So, how can you nominate your mom? Use our hashtag, #RoyalHelp on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and include an example, a quick sentence, or if you’re really brave, a screenshot of a funny social media blunder your mom has made. Here’s some examples.

Help My Mom Learn Social Media

The winners will be selected and announced on Thursday, May 8. Lastly, we’re hooking you all up with a 50%-off promotion code for our Digital Royalty University classes and a $15 gift voucher to FlowerShop.com so that you can give the gift of education (and pretty flowers) to your mom this Mother’s Day. Use the code “HelpMyMom” at checkout on Digital Royalty University and FlowerShop.com to redeem. Offer expires on May 11.

Together we can turn your mom from a social newbie into a social rockstar.

#RoyalHelp 

The Government is Listening… and That’s a Good Thing

Post by Nate Ludens

It stands to reason that the biggest and oldest organizations adapt the slowest. Sometimes it’s a matter of scale, sometimes tradition, sometimes all that’s missing is effort. Government, for example, has layers of bureaucracy that can sometimes grind things to a halt – or at least a slow crawl. I’m here to tell you that this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

Last summer, Digital Royalty partnered with the City of Las Vegas Government to deliver social media best-practices training for their key communicators, among other items related to social communications. What they’ve done since has been fun to be a part of.

In a recent interview for KCLV Channel 2 in Las Vegas, I answered some questions about social media skepticism in general and the role of social in government. The segment shares some of their recent progress in the social space. For example, @CityOfLasVegas is leveraging live social chats to discuss hot topics, and utilizing online polls by Wedgies for helping to get real-time feedback, among other Las Vegas tech startups.

Government’s role isn’t necessarily changing, but communication tools sure are. So while Americans express concern over the NSA overstepping their bounds by allegedly reading our email or listening in on private conversations, this government entity is excelling – moving at the speed of their community. They’re sharing important safety, policy and meeting information real-time, and listening to those who want to be heard, when they want to be heard.

“If we’re going to be an effective government, we have to be able to communicate with people in the way they want.” David Riggleman, Las Vegas Communication Director told the Review-Journal’s Kristy Totten in a recent interview.

What do you think? If government sectors can shift the way they communicate real-time, shouldn’t any company be able to kick those Innovation Allergies and do the same?

 

Instagrammers: The New Generation of Bloggers

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Post by @AlanaGolob

Remember MTV’s reality show The Hills? Yep, I admittedly have seen every single episode. For those of you who aren’t approaching your “30-something” birthday in a few days, it was a hit show where the main character Lauren Conrad “LC” had an internship with Teen Vogue. Smart move by Teen Vogue back in 2007 to amplify their reach/awareness and attract the teen audience that watched the show (or twenty-somethings like myself). Well, Teen Vogue strikes again with an innovating partnership to target teen fans and provide added value for the publication’s advertisers.

Just recently, Teen Vogue announced their new Instalist campaign that has selected 10 “bloggers” and influential younger personalities who are given a $1,500 prize package which includes a shopping spree featuring their top advertisers, DKNY, 7 For All Mankind among others. They will be asked to host events and participate in a live Instagram fashion show on Feb. 19. The sponsorship also includes digital and print components.

There’s also an open application to become the next member of the Instalist on the Teen Vogue website. According to their official rules, the Instagrammer will be selected based on the following criteria: “Instagram feed social influence and engagement (20%), creativity of photos (30%), sense of style (20%), appropriateness for Teen Vogue’s fashion look and aesthetic (20%) and quality of the photo (10%).”

The key components that make this campaign brilliant are the following:

  • Expanded reach: The combined and total reach of all the personalities extended exceeds 1.6 million Instagram followers, which is nearly double the current reach of the Teen Vogue account. By leveraging the influence of these Instagrammers Teen Vogue has nearly doubled their reach and have expanded into other audiences.
  • Added value to advertisers: Each Instagrammer will be given a shopping spree which will include the clothing items of their advertisers. This is a win-win for Teen Vogue and for the brands advertising. They are able to organically integrate their product and reach a new audience (times 10), beyond a traditional ad buy.
  • Unique experience for teens: These teens are given the opportunity to make a statement for themselves both online and print through Teen Vogues promotion. See how personal online brands are important, even for teens? That’s why we created a dRU Parent/Teen class. It looks as if one of the featured Instagrammers has knocked her personal brand out of the park with more than 400,000 followers at 14.
  • Data acquisition: By opening up the submission process to anyone who wants to apply that is over the age of 13, they are also acquiring new email addresses which leads to more subscriptions. #Winning.
  • Cross-promotional campaign: The Instagrammer photos won’t solely live on Instagram, they will be promoted on the Teen Vogue website, in print and digital campaigns throughout the year. Keeping Teen Vogue’s content fresh and organic.

Nice work on seeing an opportunity and capitalizing, Teen Vogue. Excited to see how this plays out for the publication.

Super Bowl Social MVPs

Post by @MereMcCaskill

Social communications was a game changer this year for Super Bowl XLVIII. Admittedly I’m not your Chevy driving, Budweiser drinking kinda girl, but even Ellen DeGeneres as Goldilocks and David Beckham naked in the city didn’t do it for me.

With an early Seahawks’ lead, the online conversation became much more entertaining than the blowout that was unfolding on our screens. Here’s a shout out to the brands that scored more touchdowns than Peyton Manning and kept a blowout enjoyable.

@JCPenneyWell, they had me fooled. I was convinced their community manager had a toggle fail and community managers across the globe would be glad it wasn’t them today. Instead their seemingly drunken tweets turned into a brilliant scheme that only happens when you throw the playbook out the window. Once they let us in on their trick everyone wanted in on the fun including Good Morning America. It was a well-played content strategy, JCPenney. Now if they had only given mittens away! Oh, wait… they thought of that, too. Kudos.

@DoritosDoritos kept it witty the entire game. They photo bombed the kickoff with a giant human Dorito chip and set a world record while doing it. They offered JCPenney Doritos to sober up and made origami from Dorito bags when the game got boring. Their words, not mine. Doritos is the perfect example of a brand that heavily promoted their product, but didn’t annoy us while doing it. Some of their content was thought-out and some crafted on a whim. It’s the mix of strategy, wit and relevance that made me a fan.

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@DiGiornoPizzaNormally, I would unfollow an account that types in all caps, but I could not get enough of DiGiornio last night. Personally, I favorited almost every one of their tweets. I appreciate a brand that talks like the rest of the human race. At Digital Royalty, we preach how important it is that a brand’s fan or followers feel like they’re interacting with humans, not logos. DiGiornio nailed it. If DiGiornio was a person, I wanted to be at his/her Super Bowl party. Talk about humanizing a brand! Huge brands that aren’t afraid to come out of their corporate shell and have fun with the rest of us are always the game MVP. And can I just say… #DiGiorNOYOUDIDNT.

digornio

@TheMuppetsWitty at just the right time. (In reference to GoDaddy commercial) Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 12.03.14 PM

@AudiAudi took a different approach this year. They started pre gaming early on Snapchat with the Onion and sent funny, creative Snapchats to anyone who added them. I loved that they utilized another social platform other than Twitter, especially since it can sometimes become oversaturated with big events. Their Snapchats were about as unexpected and bizarre as Joe Namath’s coat, but that’s what made them so great.

Snapchat

@PepsiOur last shout out goes to Pepsi, who like Audi, used a different social platform in a big way. They recruited popular Vine personalities like Logan Paul and Marcus Johns to create Pepsi halftime teasers using the GetHyped hashtag. Vine is an often forgotten about platform and Pepsi did an excellent job of covering all bases and all demographics.

Brands are learning they don’t necessarily have to pay to play in order to get some attention but they do have to be willing to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The people behind the logos, who hold the key(board)s, have to be empowered to react quickly to opportunities and speak on behalf of the brand. If they don’t have the authority to do so, the time will come and go. This space is alive, it’s moving real time. There’s no time to email your boss who then emails their boss to get a tweet approved. By that time, Oreo has already scooped you.

Facebook Isn’t Dead.

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Post by @ChelseaHartling

I’ve been noticing a trend amongst quite a few different traditional media outlets. There’s been a ton of articles published lately claiming that Facebook is dead. It’s dying. It’s on the verge of becoming a complete cyber-space wasteland like Myspace.  Prepare yourselves for the social media apocalypse where the largest social network in the history of EVER becomes a thing of the past when 800 million users jump ship. It’s coming, guys – they all swear it’s coming.

But is this actually true? Let’s think about the facts. There’s over 1.19 BILLION people on Facebook (according to their last earnings report in Q3 of 2013 – probably even more now). That’s 1/7th of the entire population of the world, and far more than any other social network. Some sources are painting an image of some type of eventual mass exodus which I feel is pretty far from the truth.

Erinn and I paid a visit to our partners at Hilton Worldwide a couple weeks ago to talk about millennials and social communications. We took a show of hands to see how many people think Facebook is “on it’s way out,” and we were surprised to see how many said yes. This, presumably, is based on these individuals reading a few bold articles recently. However, a recent Pew study shows that 94% of teens are regularly using the platform – up from 71% just a few years ago. That’s only teens, not to mention everyone else who isn’t a millennial (although, not surprising, they are the fastest growing segment on social). The point is, Facebook is still dominating social usage among younger generations.

I think a more accurate claim would be that our relationship with Facebook is evolving, rather than dying. Sure, we all got really excited and switched over from Myspace a few years ago (for me, it was when I graduated high school because Facebook just felt SO much more sophisticated), but that was when social networks were still on the cusp of really exploding and we hadn’t quite fully embraced them or realized their potential yet. Our parents weren’t on Myspace. Our Grandmas weren’t on Myspace. Our co-workers, favorite brands, and future employers weren’t on Myspace. Those of us who actually used Myspace may have migrated once, but it wasn’t 1.19 billion of us, and it’s highly improbable that such a mass amount of people will collectively do that again. Instead, we are changing the way we use the platform. We’re definitely not sharing every intimate detail of our lives or uploading hundreds of photos after each night on the town anymore (well, some people still are). People are naturally becoming more guarded and aware of Facebook’s ever-changing privacy policy, but we’re dealing with it. And you know why? Because there’s 1.19 billion people on Facebook, including everyone you know, knew, or probably will meet in the near future.

I love this quote I read in a TIME Tech article: “Facebook is by now a much more complex ecosystem than MySpace ever was, with strong bonds to publishers, advertisers and other services across the Internet. Facebook’s code is all over the web, even on this very page, giving it heft that’ll help it endure and thrive on the constantly evolving Web. Facebook has also had a long pattern of year-over-year growth, now boasting more than 1.19 billon monthly active users per its last earnings report. 800 million of those users just aren’t about to get up and go….” TRUE DAT.

Don’t lie – we all have a bad case of social FOMO (a.k.a. Fear Of Missing Out). We’ve all tried deleting our profiles at one time or another to take a stance against that stupid ex-boyfriend who’s now in a new “Facebook Official” relationship, or their timeline design changes that drive us crazy, or our parent’s who are clearly just there to spy on our every move and judge us on our life choices (hi, mom). But we all come crawling back eventually so as not to miss out on the important things – like when our friends who live too far away to see regularly share their wedding photos or announce the birth of their 1st child. Or when our favorite brand does something really cool and announces it first on our feed. We realize that we’d rather put up with the annoying Candy Crush invites, frequent design changes, and people who share way too much info because we don’t want to miss out on being a part of the things that actually do matter to us that are shared on Facebook every single day.

So while traditional media might be making pretty bold exaggerations about Facebook dying, there’s been not a lot of substance behind the proof of that happening. It’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. And you know you aren’t either, so you might as well just learn to “like” it. (Pun intended.)

And if you happen to be one of the very few people who actually aren’t on Facebook (yet), might we recommend our Facebook Uncovered class?

Australia’s Olympic Social Media Ban

Post by @MeganPura

The Australian Olympic committee announced this week that they are putting a partial ban on the social communication activities of their athletes during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next month. This follows a disappointing showing by Australian athletes competing in the last Summer Olympics that a recent report by NPR suggests was due to a “lack of focus” due to excessive drinking, bullying, and social media use during the games.

Several Australian athletes took to Twitter to voice their opinion about the new restriction:

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One of the concerns of the Australian Olympic committee is that Athletes are using social during times that they should be focusing on their competition – like in transit to their respective Olympic venue. Social communication is not the paparazzi and it doesn’t have a due date. Athletes (like everyone) have the ability to control what they share online and when they share it. Yes, there have been many stories about athletes posting inappropriate photos on their Facebook pages or tweeting something just minutes before their competition begins. But instead of banning athletes from using social communications altogether, why not invest in social media training just like the traditional media training they receive? Educate the athletes and give them the tools and resources to use social responsibly and everyone wins.

A lot of Olympic athletes compete in sports that are only truly relevant on a global scale once every four years. Social communication has allowed so many of these athletes to transcend the confines of their individual sport and reach a much larger fan base than they could achieve organically. Fans have been given more access to behind-the-scenes content than ever before through the various social media channels, which in turn moves fans up the loyalty latter. For example, Norwegen Kayaker Eirik Veras Larsen gave his fans a behind-the-scenes look at how he celebrated (responsibly) after winning a Gold Medal at the games in London. He didn’t post a photo of himself taking shots at a bar, but instead posted a photo from an exclusive athlete-only safe house provided by one of his sponsors, Oakley. When the Olympics are over, athletes who have built relationships with their fans through authentic social interactions earn the right to continue influencing after their Olympic glory.

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In addition, social communication allows athletes the opportunity to help grow their sport and to represent their country outside of the playing field, ice rink, half pipe, etc. Just think, if more countries were willing invest in social communication training for their Athletes, PR nightmares could turn into win-win situations for the athlete, the country, the individual sports, and sponsors.

Customer Service: Tweet or Pick Up the Phone?

Post by @MereMcCaskill

It’s no surprise that social communication is changing the face of customer service. More and more companies are shifting org charts to ensure they have a team of employees who can provide guest assistance beyond email and telephone. Nowadays the need for social customer service is a no-brainer. So now what? Well, a recent positive experience I had with American Airlines (AA) got me thinking about how social customer service can be a problem child far beyond sentiment.

What was supposed to be a 3.5 hour direct flight home for the holidays turned into a 15 hour trek. In a nutshell, my original flight was canceled, so I booked a new, same-day flight with AA. As a courtesy for choosing to book with them they covered my entire flight (too cool). I was back on track until I got news that freezing rain was heading toward my final stop. So I paid $75 dollars for a flight change with AA so I could get home earlier. Literally, 2 minutes after landing on my layover I got a phone call from AA letting me know that my connecting flight was now delayed (not cool). I was back to facing freezing rain and now pointlessly out $75. The AA reps were amazing at each airport and I was assured that I could get a refund on the $75.

A rep told me I could get a refund by visiting AA’s refund website and kindly wrote the address on the back of my ticket. The website said the following: “If you climb Mt. Everest, survive, and then beat the current Guinness World Record for most-time-spent-trying-to-get-a-refund we’d be happy to help you get that refund.” When I finally figured out the steps to take, the website wasn’t working. Of course.

I managed to find a customer service phone number and was able to speak to a rep, but after a 14 minute phone call, I was told I would have to wait until the website was working again to put in a “ticket” to get refunded. At this point, I was over it. So, naturally, I tweet @AmericanAir.

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Within minutes my problem was resolved. I was fully refunded in just a few tweets, direct messages, and one photo of my receipt later. It was so easy, and it made my day. That’s when it hit me: What if I never attempted to resolve an issue starting with the traditional route of customer service again?

What happens when a company’s social service outshines its traditional customer service?
Hard to navigate websites, buried phone numbers, and long call wait times are being replaced by 140 characters written in five seconds flat. Companies need to work to match traditional and social experiences.

What will companies do when more complaints are issued via social communication than through phone or email?
Don’t think it’s not a possibility. Millennials are here – the generation of instant gratification who haven’t known a life without Facebook or Twitter. They aren’t idiots either. A dissatisfied tweet has more reach and weight in the presence of 550 million Twitter users than it does with one customer service rep who may or may not be having a bad day. Look up an account number in a database and that somebody on the line could be a nobody, but one glance at a Twitter user’s following and suddenly they ARE a somebody.

Will companies need to reorganize their customer service team and add more bodies to their social customer service team?
It could be a solution, but maybe the answer isn’t reorganizing, but instead, retraining. Companies need to study the difference in how their social service team is resolving issues compared to their customer service team. I’d be interested to see if a brand has conducted a case study on how many of their patrons went to Twitter or Facebook for help AFTER calling or emailing for help.

When it’s all said and done, kudos to AA. Thanks for your exceptional social customer service. And don’t forget, Digital Royalty University has a Social Media Customer Service class to make sure your brand is armed and ready to effectively tackle any customer service complaints and praises thrown your way. Check it out!

Personality Pays Off For Zappos

Post by @natevegas

This week, our good friends across the street at Zappos didn’t just cleverly react to a podcast interview smack-down from Kanye West, they took an opportunity to spotlight their fun, helpful and – in this case – hilarious personality. If you were on a plane with no wifi all day Wednesday and didn’t catch it, here’s the skinny: When the rapper called out the online retailer’s CEO Tony Hsieh by name and claimed that they sell “Sh-t Product,” the Zappos.com team sprung into action by listing this new $100,000.00 toilet plunger.

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You may ask, what’s the upside of a brand showing some skin? (See Royal Rule #2) Impressions? Sure. About 35 Million in 48 hours. Sales? Eventually. Trust? Priceless.

35 Million Total Possible Twitter Impressions in 48 hours.

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Google Launches Helpouts

Post by @erinnray

Google continues to expand their empire. Think about all of their product offerings – from Search, Gmail, Chrome, Maps, YouTube, Google+, Google Hangouts and now their latest is Google Helpouts. When you see it listed out like this you realize they’ve got us covered and continue to create a useful experience through all of their offerings working together to make our lives easier.

Helpouts is a unique way to get real help from real people in real time. They’ve created a video chat platform similar to Hangouts to connect with individuals who are experts in their interests – doctors, counselors, personal trainers, mechanics, foodies, you name it. You can choose who to seek help from based on qualifications, availability, rates and reviews. Some of the Helpouts will have a charge, but guess what? They’ve got an easy tool to handle your payment too, through Google Wallet. Some Helpouts will be provided at no cost but the idea is that it’s a paid platform to connect with other experts and exchange knowledge, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. It’s getting that answer as quickly as possible, on demand.

At the launch, they have more than a thousand brands and individuals across a variety of interests and needs to kick it off. Interest categories range from arts and music, computers & electronics, cooking, education & careers, fashion & beauty, fitness & nutrition, health, home & garden. Right now Google is reviewing and approving every provider to ensure their platform launches with quality experts.

And of course this is integrated with search. Think of how many times you jump online to search for “How to…” or ask a question. The Helpouts video content will appear in search results to link you to these experts.

Brands can utilize this platform to further humanize the people behind their brand and offer a unique value to their customers and potential customers alike to grow loyalty and increase trial of their product or service. From previewing the functionality and hands on experience of a new product to offering access to a charismatic CEO. Hey Richard Branson, want to jump on a Helpout and teach me some brilliant business tips as the mogul of Virgin Group.

Think you are qualified to be an ‘expert’? Think about it, if you are knowledgeable on certain subjects and comfortable on camera why not make a few extra bucks and apply to become an expert provider for Google Helpouts. You can request a code here to be invited to provide Helpouts after their review process.

For my fellow hypochondriacs out there I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing as it gives us access to connect with Doctors to drill them on every little symptom in real time. So long WebMD, hello Helpouts!

The exchange of knowledge continues to accelerate and it’s great to see companies like Google out there bridging this exchange. Oh Google, what will you think of next to make my life easier. What do you think of this new platform offering? Would you pay to get a quick answer…

 

Virtual Gifting

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Post by @ChelseaHartling

You’ve probably heard us talk before about the powerful collision that happens when you bridge the virtual and physical worlds. From virtual autographs to the #SoxPhone, it’s a concept we get excited about. We believe closing this virtual-to-physical-world gap helps humanize a brand and builds loyalty among your fan base. With that said, there’s a couple of rad apps for virtual gifting that we’ve been experimenting with lately – because they do just that: bridge the virtual and physical world. And we’re obviously loving them.

The first is an app called Bond. With this app, you can send actual gifts and handwritten notes directly from your iPhone. Their core message is “You type it, we write it” while aiming to bring back the power of the handwritten note. You can’t deny that there’s an immense difference between receiving an email or a text message vs. a personalized handwritten note that someone took the time to craft and send. With Bond, you can type the note from your phone, and they’ll do the rest by writing it out on really nice paper with a fountain pen, stamping it, styling it up with a wax seal, and taking it to the post office for delivery. They do all the work, and you get all the credit! Pretty cool.

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Bond also has a wide range of gifts to choose from to include with your note if you choose. Need to send someone a birthday gift but don’t have time to go find one? Bond has gifts ranging from under $50 to over $250 – everything from flowers and candles to jewelry and high-end accessories. Send a physical gift, virtually without even leaving your home. How awesome is that?

The other app we’re loving was created by some local friends of Digital Royalty here in Las Vegas – Drinkboard. Their mission is to support local communities by curating the coolest places to have a drink or a bite to eat by allowing you to “gift” someone who’s there. It’s an easy way to say thanks, congratulations, or even “wish I was there” to someone you know. Let’s say your friend is out at a local bar celebrating a big promotion, but you’re out of town. You can send your friend their favorite drink through the app, and the local merchant gets new business. Win-win for everyone involved. Right now this app is usable at select locations in Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, and New York, with expansion plans rapidly in the works.

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 5.22.48 PMThese apps are totally innovating the gift giving process by creating a physical connection out of a virtual action. Of course, “virtual gifting” isn’t exactly a new concept, but I definitely think we’re going to start seeing a lot more of this type of business model through iPhone and Android apps. Know of any other cool apps with a similar premise? Tweet us @DigitalRoyalty and we’ll be sure to check them out!