3 Tips for Great Customer Service Through Social Media

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This statistic suggests that small acts of kindness and guidance to please customers can create trusted relationships and brand loyalty. Yet, with social media becoming the new way to receive answers and solve problems, companies such as Bank of America, Home Depot and J.P. Morgan are struggling with adapting their customer service to provide appropriate online feedback. Small errors or complaints that are left unaddressed can fester, creating ruinous disasters from seemingly inconsequential beginnings. Silence is no longer an acceptable answer. In fact, 88% of customers who have complaints ignored on Facebook and Twitter are unlikely to buy from the brand in the future. Here are some best practices for avoiding these missteps and creating an engaging and helpful culture:   Take the extra step Recently, CitiBike customer Paul Young ran into an incident that could’ve easily ruined the rest of his day:

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While most companies would’ve tweeted a small message of sympathy, CitiBike took the incident as an opportunity to give Paul a much-needed surprise:

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The personalized message and timely outreach created a memorable and honest effort to help a customer, which reinforced the brand’s image for reliability and responsiveness.

  Be timely With social media, the doors are always open and the lights stay on. Having a presence on a social media platform that never sleeps means that questions are always being asked. Your brand will need to deliver answers – fast. Seamless is an example of a brand that understands the concept of how answers should be conveyed - beyond the capabilities of automatic messaging.

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Maintain helpful troubleshooting More often than not, customers place their questions and concerns on social media platforms, only to be met by silence.

Nordstrom is an example of a brand that creates trusted relationships with users and provides resources when guidance is needed:

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Even if the company can’t solve all problems, providing human support and technical guidance emphasizes a commitment to quality customer service.

Brands should understand that, whether receiving praise or blame, all messages must be handled in a timely, personalized manner. This is the most effective way to maintain a strong brand reputation. Companies should recognize opportunity in all online communication and have the social media savvy to use it. How are you providing answers to your follower’s questions? Check out these Social Media Examiner articles for more tips on how to deliver key responses to your brand’s customers:   **Written by Elise Yancey, Public Relations major at Boston University (Class of 2015).

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Outrageous, Unfiltered, Legendary: Joan Rivers, A Tribute

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Last Friday, the world said goodbye to Joan Rivers, a tenacious comic and unyielding public figure who paved the way for female comedians in a mostly male dominated field. Don’t let her coiffed hair or expressionless face fool you: Joan Rivers’ unabashedly honest remarks left a lasting impact on all who came in contact with them. Whether they made us grin or chagrin, the comments were brazen, yet entirely genuine – they were what we were all thinking, yet too scared to say.

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Despite being met with early career setbacks, Rivers’ undying spirit and unwavering dedication to making others laugh at her scathing remarks led her to grasp the attention of adoring fans and critics for over 50 years. Her death was met with a wave of tributes and mourning that showed that whether you loved her (or loved to hate her), Rivers’ persistent spirit and unfiltered comments provided scathing, entertaining fodder for fans and gossip columns alike. Though much of Rivers’ shallow jokes were at the expense of celebrities’ fashion faux pas and public missteps, the witty comedian spent five decades judiciously building her brand for being known as a clever loudmouth. Joan Rivers’ raspy voice and spontaneous remarks filled the entertainment world with brilliant one-liners and quick comebacks that stung with pain – either from laughing too hard or crying.

Comedienne JOAN RIVERS has died at the age of 81.

Rivers, who had been at Mount Sinai hospital for a minor vocal cord procedure, died on Thursday at the age of 81. The quieting of Rivers’ vivacious and untamed comments were met with a flood of tweets, tributes and remembrances of the icon’s clever and ruthless jokes. Even at her time of death, the comedian was met with admirers taking nostalgic, playful jabs at the icon’s expense: Actor and comedian Chris Rock:
I know people are like, 'Joan Rivers broke down all these barriers for women, blah blah blah… I think it's a disservice to even group her in any — Joan Rivers is one of the greatest stand-up comedians to ever live. She's better than [Don] Rickles. She's one of the best female stand-ups to ever live. No man ever said, 'Yeah, I want to go on after Joan.' No, Joan Rivers closed the show every night… She was the hippest comedian from the time she started to the day she died. So don't put Joan Rivers in a box, because she's like Mount Rushmore.
Girls creator and star, Lena Dunham: “I told Maron I'd have a zinger when Joan died. But I didn't think she ever would. She felt eternal, and anyway, zingers are her territory…that being said, Joan is gone but a piece of her lives on: her nose, because it's made of polyurethane.” Actress Reese Witherspoon: “When Joan Rivers wasn’t nice to me, I still laughed.”

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Rivers was an emblem of personal branding that led to her success and controversial notoriety. Despite her nipped and tucked looks, her reputation for commenting on everyone’s appearance (even her own) led her to be known as an artful insulter who spared no one with her personal views. Her hard work and determined nature paved paths for female comedians that others feared to travel. Though Rivers jokes will be missed, her legacy will never be squelched. The comedian led by example in displaying certain qualities that we can all emulate. andy cohen   **Written by Elise Yancey, Public Relations major at Boston University (Class of 2015).

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Hello Fall! 5 Brand Opportunities from the Changing Seasons

sf It’s that time of year again: the seasons are changing and the summer months are quickly coming to a close. In the next few weeks, school will begin, Instagram feeds will shift from pictures of beach sunsets and fruity cocktails to fall fashion and changing leaves, and stores everywhere will have already started advertising for Halloween and the holiday season. As we enter into the last days of summer, there is no doubt that it can be difficult to focus on work. Last-minute vacations and attempts to savor the final days of warmth and relaxation distract us from what needs to get done, and, along with the prospect of shorter days and colder weather, the thought of ramping up the workload for a busy fall can be daunting. With everyone clinging to the endless sunny days and warm summer nights, it can be hard to find ways to engage the media as they plan impromptu trips and back-to-school preparations. But, as a PR pro, it’s your job to get people excited about this shift from August to September and situate your clients in the midst of this transition. The months of watermelon and ice cream may be fading away, but this leaves room for the apple pie and pumpkin spice lattes. And while the days of the World Cup may be over, who isn’t looking forward to the beginning of football season? Here are some seasonal angles you can use to get even the most die-hard summer fans excited about the start of fall and to integrate your clients into the seasonal transition, along with examples of several brands that have successfully taken advantage of the seasonal shift to build brand awareness and get consumers excited about their products. Beat the heat

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While the hottest day of the year may be behind us, there’s no doubt that early September days can be scorchers. Whether that means suggesting some creative ways to cool off, coming up with some new and refreshing summer drink recipes that fit with your brand, or helping your followers discover the perfect spot to soak up the last of that vitamin D, there are lots of quick and easy ways to chill out even on the hottest days.   Savor the last days of summer relax Everyone has that list of things that represent pure, quintessential summer. And while we all enter June with ambitious plans to hit the beach every weekend and tackle all of the summer DIY projects Pinterest has to offer, the end of August always brings with it the realization that there is still much summer fun to be had. So help consumers take advantage of these last few weeks of sun by suggesting some of Boston’s best outdoor concerts, make a brand-inspired summer bucket list, and savor all of the warmth August has to give. Labor Day may be over, but the summer sun is still burning bright. Why not celebrate with one last barbecue or weekend getaway? Help your brand’s fans take a moment to appreciate the hard workers in their lives, and savor time with friends and family before the hectic autumn months set in.   Football season 

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If there’s anything truly American about the fall, its tailgating season. No matter what your team’s colors are, wear them proudly, and fire up the grill, break out the cooler, and get consumers excited about celebrating the season of sports, friends, family, and a little bit of healthy competition.   Back to school back to school For much of the population, September means one thing: going back to school. And while it may take some coaxing for parents to get their children ready to return to their classes and homework, there are lots of ways for your brand to help make this process fun and exciting for everyone involved. Offer some engaging back-to-school DIY projects for the younger ones, or suggest some of the best deals for rebooting your fall wardrobe. Find brand-relevant solutions that make kids eager to see old friends and learn new things, and don’t forget to plan something fun for mom and dad, especially those new empty nesters!    First day of fall fall Come September 23, there will be no more denying it: summer will officially be over and fall will be here. Instead of letting your brand’s followers slip into a nostalgia for the warmth of August, encourage them instead to reflect on the festivities of fall and all of the exciting ways to celebrate the onset of autumn. Whether it’s apple picking, experiencing the amazing foliage in some of Boston’s best parks, or visiting a notoriously haunted Halloween attraction, fall brings a much-needed break from the sweltering heat and the start of warm sweaters and cozy nights with loved ones gathered around the fireplace.   How are brands doing it? Much like Coca Cola’s “Summer of Sharing” campaign, brands should aim to build tactics that create messages in which everyone can share in the season’s festivities. AM_FAQ_SAC Look to UGG for Men’s “This is UGG” fall campaign, which features Patriot player Tom Brady in a more personal setting with his father and beloved pup, Lua, as an example for integrating this season’s mood. Fall marketing strategies that share in the feeling of family and friends will be able to connect consumers to the communal holiday cheer. So, while consumers and media may still be in a summer state of mind, get a head start on the new season and begin looking forward to what the fall months can offer. As we approach September, make it a priority to position your clients in the conversation about the changing seasons to make it your strongest autumn yet.   **Written by **Written by Consumer PR intern Carly Meyerson, International Comparative Studies at Duke University (Class of 2016).

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Don’t Worry, You Can Still Tweet in the Dark: Twitter’s Rising Role in Crisis Management

Around 3:20 a.m. on August 24th more than 70,000 Californians were affected by a magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck just six miles from Napa, California's famed wine country. The earthquake was the biggest thing to shake the region since a 6.9 magnitude earthquake in 1989.

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Buildings were destroyed, homes lost, roads split, and over 172 people were injured.  Up to 17,000 were left without power and the cost of overall damages accumulated to hundreds of millions.

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Back in 1989, losing power meant having to stumble around in your dark house mumbling under your breath, "where did I put those spare batteries, that old radio I never use, and the emergency flashlight I'm always supposed to have around?"  Most of us are guilty of being ill prepared, especially when it comes to unexpected events. First thing you think about when the power goes out in 2014, "where's my cellphone?"  So that flashlight you used to raid the house looking for, there's a flashlight app ready for you to use in the palm of your hand.  Want to know why your power is out?  Forget finding the batteries for your old radio, social media will get you all the information you need, and fast. stock-footage-beautiful-woman-using-smart-phone-at-home-by-night-dark-light-display

You can still tweet in the dark, at least until your phone battery runs out

When natural disasters and emergencies occur, getting information out to the public as quickly as possible is of the utmost importance.  The recent earthquake in northern California is just one example of how twitter in particular has proven to be a vital tool for emergency workers, news stations, and affected residents to transmit and receive important information. What's most effective at getting information out fast?  Well Twitter is definitely hard to top. People who experienced the rumble definitely knew they were not alone after logging onto their twitter accounts to share their earthquake experience Napa Country Red Cross was able to send out safety information to residents in devastated neighborhoods   Local news stations in Napa Valley utilized twitter for minute by minute updates on the city's earthquake recovery efforts    Celebrities extended their well wishes to those affected These situations can be scary and it's nice to know that resources other than 911 can also be counted on during an emergency.  According to an American Red Cross survey of over 1,000 adults, 18% of people said they would turn to social media if their call to emergency officials failed.  69% of those surveyed believed that emergency response agencies should monitor their social media sites and be able respond to requests for help posted there. So what's in store for the future? Well, twitter has already launched Twitter Alerts which is bound to take off as more public safety organizations begin to jump on board.  This feature puts critical tweets directly in front of subscribers, in push notification or text message form.  Twitter alerts are designed to stand out from other tweets, they can also be retweeted, favorited, and replied to, expanding their reach beyond an individual's direct network of followers.

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So far the United States, among many other countries worldwide, has 13 national organizations participating in Twitter Alerts.  To name a few, the organizations involved include The American Red Cross, Center for Disease Control And Prevention, US Geological Survey, and the US Department of Homeland Security.  In addition are 10 regional FEMA organizations.  Twitter Alerts are intended for crisis, disaster, and emergency communications in the categories of natural disasters, biological diseases, chemical or hazardous emergencies, explosions, agricultural incidents, criminal activity, and acts of terrorism. The twitter alert system is NOT intended to replace official emergency notification systems or services but this up and coming emergency alert system just may be the fastest and easiest way to distribute vital, time-sensitive emergency information.  Mobile is our future and with applications such as the Twitter Alert system I think it's safe to say we can feel a little bit safer.

Social media is a great source of entertainment and is emerging into a fantastic safety tool, but when it comes down to being in the middle of a real emergency, remember safety first and get on twitter LATER!

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  *Written by Marketing intern Kayla Setters, Communication and Consumer Culture majors at University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Class of 2015).

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Client Spotlight: Amelia Rose Earhart

This month on 451 Heat, we’re excited to spotlight a client whose drive to inspire a new generation of aviators and to motivate others to pursue their dreams and passions is not only exceptional, but historical.   Meet the Client: Amelia Rose Earhart 1376340202000-XXX-amelia-earhart-A In 1937, Amelia Mary Earhart famously set out to circumnavigate the globe and disappeared over the South Pacific, becoming one of history’s greatest mysteries. Today, 75 years after her disappearance, Earhart continues to inspire others to explore, push boundaries and question the status quo. It is this legacy that inspires Amelia Rose Earhart each day to chase her own adventures and encourage others to do the same. Amelia Rose Earhart is a passionate aviatrix, philanthropist and former news anchor for the number 1 morning show on the NBC affiliate in Denver, Colorado. Inspired by her namesake, Amelia took her first flying lesson on June 2, 2004, and obtained her pilot's license in a Cessna 172. earhart1 In 2014, Amelia Rose Earhart set off on her mission to complete her namesake’s transcontinental flight – and become the youngest woman to do so in a single-engine aircraft.
When I began flying 10 years ago, Amelia Mary Earhart was not only my namesake, but my inspiration and driving force. She was a trailblazer, and empowered women by example. Retracing her steps throughout my incredible journey has been a dream come true, and my hope is that this modern-day globe-trotting trip will inspire future generations of girls to take to the skies.
  Enter 451 Marketing: Earhart Takes to the Skies and the Press by Storm Amelia Rose Earhart challenged 451 Marketing to make her name, her foundation and her flight into national news in the summer of 2013. The aviatrix needed to gain international media exposure in order to honor her namesake and raise awareness of her non-profit organization Fly With Amelia Foundation, which grants flight-training scholarships to young women, ages 16 to 18, and fosters aviation and aerospace opportunities for people of all ages through aviation-based educational curriculum.

Amelia Rose Earhart

Fueled by the challenges presented and the contagious energy and charisma of the client, 451 Marketing executed a proactive media relations campaign to launch the Amelia Rose Earhart brand among international media. In a little over a year, 451 Marketing secured more than 2,800 hits garnering more than 2 billion impressions for the young aviatrix in both general interest and aviation publications around the globe. Just take a look at some of the great coverage featuring Amelia: On Ellen: In Cosmopolitan:

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Amelia Rose Earhart may have completed her flight around the world, but her journey has only just begun. As third on the speaker bill for this year’s Life is Beautiful Festival, member of the Board of Directors for the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum and emcee for both the CORE Power Yoga conference and MCPN Charity gala, Amelia will continue to make her name and message of empowerment known. Take a look at our case study here>>

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