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Online Backlash to SOPA and Samuel Adams ‘Hops’ Into Social

Top Story: SOPA/PIPA and the Online Protest

Image via Google

By now, you’ve seen the infographic above and are aware of SOPA/PIPA and the rather voal calls to action from many prominent online companies.  Just in case, here’s a rundown on why many are outraged by the proposed legislation

  • What do they stand for? SOPA is the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and PIPA stands for (deep breath) Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act.
  • SOPA, in the House of Representatives, and PIPA, in the US Senate are both targeting foreign websites that infringe on copyrighted materials
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), one of the major opponents to the bills, argue that “The standard for immunity is incredibly low and the potential for abuse is off the charts.  Basically, sites can be cut off based on “reasonable belief of infringement” – so, event if the claims made against a site end up being false, the site suffers.
  • Supporters of the legislation, mainly in the entertainment industry, feel that the charges brought on by SOPA/PIPA opponents have been blown out of proportion, the definition of infringement is clearly defined, and that the legislation is crucial in protecting their digital assets.

What we found most compelling about the reaction to the two pieces of legislation were the “protests” and banding together of many of the major social and search platforms in the US.  We’ve featured some of the most prominent below (click on images to enlarge):

   

  

   

Under the Radar: Super Bowl XLVI Will Have a Social Media Command Center

If you’re a social media user, chances are you’re posting to your Twitter feed and updating your Facebook status every time you’re watching a football game. And come Sunday, February 5, millions of users will be talking about the Super Bowl via social media, about everything from the players to the score to the commercials to the parking. Parking? Well, yes. The city of Indianapolis is expecting 150,000 visitors for Super Bowl weekend and they’ll be using social media to assist visitors with everything from finding parking to discovering the best the city has to offer.

The city will be setting up a Super Bowl Social Media Command Center today and it will remain in place until after the big game on February 5. The digital marketing agency managing the command center will set up advanced search tools and analytics to determine what fans need help and then will jump in and offer assistance where needed.

We can’t wait to see how the Social Media Command Center will manage to help people during the Super Bowl weekend and if it will set precedence for events in the future. Will all large-scale events begin to follow in suit and work to assist visitors and patrons? While we can see this working really well, we can also see people taking advantage of the increased customer service and getting extra upset when they can’t be helped. You know, like when there isn’t any close-by parking and they do have to walk a mile to get to the stadium.

 

Tool of the Week: Facebook Launches Timeline App Integration Platform

When the Spotify’s Facebook integration first launched, people either loved it or hated it. Some users thought it was fabulous that they could see what all their friends were listening to. And others were not happy that their Facebook friends could get such an up-close-and-personal look at their taste in music (perhaps they were a bit embarrassed?). Well, as of last week, there’s even more activity for you to see across your Facebook timeline. Facebook is now using the “open graph” API to allow developers to create apps that share user activitis on Facebook. From Pinterest to RunKeeper to TicketMaster, there are now close to 80 apps that you and your friends can integrate with your Facebook timeline.

Is this a good thing? Well, it depends on how you use Facebook. If you don’t care what articles your friends are reading, how many miles they’re running, what artists they’re listening to, or what food photos they’re taking, then this app integration will likely just annoy you and clog your newsfeed. But if you do care, or want to share your every move on the Internet with your own Facebook friends, you’ll find yourself loving the app integration. Luckily, Facebook makes it pretty easy to keep the integration shut off and to decide who you actually want to share details with. So, unlike the Spotify integration, you won’t find yourself unknowingly sharing your Justin Bieber obsession with all of your Facebook friends. Phew.

Of course, this is only the start with Facebook’s app integration and it’s likely we’ll be seeing more and more apps join in on the Facebook fun in the future. Before long, we might never have to leave Facebook.com. Which is exactly what they want.

 

Around The Hub: Samuel Adams Beer ‘Hops’ into Social

The Samuel Adams beer company has been the subject of social media scrutiny in the past because of its social media presence, or lack thereof. But that all changed in January, with the brewer launching a Twitter account, blog and crowd-sourced beer creation contest on Facebook.

Twitter: The account was officially launched on January 19th, and between then and the morning of January 23rd they had accumulated over 2500 followers and tweeted nearly 350 times. Almost every single one of their tweets is a response to someone who had engaged them. It looks like they were waiting to get their strategy in line before entering the space knowing they would be inundated and needed to be prepared for it. This was smart because if they had joined without a plan in action they may have ruined their chance at a strong account from the get-go. And as they said themselves…

Blog: Along with a Twitter account came a brand new Samuel Adams Blog. What is extremely interesting about this is the choice of content for the first ever blog post, that was written by founder Jim Koch. For the introductory post on the blog, Koch defended harsh words about Sam Calagione and his brewery Dogfish Head written in a Beer Advocate thread recently.

This demonstrates the tight-knit bond of the beer community, where they value their craft over rivalries with competing breweries. This also shows how fully invested in the social space the company now is, and that they are willing to push out original and possibly controversial topics.

Facebook: Samuel Adams has a decent size fan page (about 134,000 fans) with a fairly strong amount of engagement, but in the past had been lacking any really unique content. This changed when they partnered with Guy Kawasaki to create the ‘Crowd Craft Project’ – a beautifully designed and executed Facebook app that lets beer drinkers help create the next Sam Adams beer.

The app lets you choose different settings for types of yeast, hops, malt, body, clarity and color to create your ideal beer. The app lets each person submit one brew, with the top beer will be announced on February 5th and it being debuted in Austin and Boston in March.

What do you think of the SOPA/PIPA online backlash? Do you have your Facebook timeline yet? Will you be tweeting during Super Bowl XLVI? Tell us what you think of the Sam Adams social strategy? Follow the feedback with #451Labs hashtag and tweet us at @451heat.

Thank’s to @maxesilver, @susie, @halleyalice for contributing to this week’s #451Labs post!

 

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SCVNGR’s Hunt – The Importance of Inter-Brand Association


It is a well-known, if unfortunate fact that a product’s quality and usefulness does not necessarily guarantee it success.  Far more important for brand growth and awareness is market saturation, and for that, one of the best methods is integration with established products.  For example, Blu-Ray won against HD-DVD due largely to being packaged with the Playstation 3.  Early on, Twitter used the SXSW (South by Southwest) festival to triple its user base.  Almost a century ago, Thomas Burberry’s iconic ‘trench coat’ was issued to officers during World War One and afterwards became immensely popular as a civilian fashion item.  The point I make here is that the most successful products are the ones we see being used day-to-day, reinforcing their value in our minds.  Every brand dreams of such a solid cultural foothold.

Enter SCVNGR, an app-based service which combines GPS, check-ins, and community-created scavenger hunts, which is working with hundreds of colleges to create interactive campus experiences for students.  Orientation sessions include an introduction to SCVNGR and new students are encouraged to take part in university-created ‘treks’ or even make their own. They also partner up with sports teams and local businesses to promote customer interactivity.

The college-aged demographic has always been a driving force behind media technology and the advent of social media is no exception.  SCVNGR hopes to join the ranks of Facebook, Twitter, and Craigslist by providing maximum exposure to their largest potential user base.  By starting students on SCVNGR early, they will entrench the service within the social paradigm.
Plenty of companies have tried to piggyback their brand and failed (when was the last time you tuned in to watch the XFL?) due to poor targeting, bad quality, and sometimes just dumb luck.  SCVNGR has the potential to become a standard tool for businesses and institutions around the world.  Do you think SCVNGR and other GPS-centric apps like Foursquare are the next level of social media to cement themselves in our daily lives, or are they a fad which will fade as the titans of the industry adopt their own similar services? What are your thoughts on the practice of tying in a product with an established brand?  Is it manipulative or good business practice?

 

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!
-Sam Winkler, 451 Marketing Intern
Sam is a senior majoring in Marketing at Harvard University

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451 Marketing’s Six Best Tips for Giving a Great Press Interview

Lie. Feel free to embellish to make yourself or your company look good. Don’t ever let the truth get in the way of a good story. When in doubt, misinform, mislead, and exaggerate!
Speak quickly and/or mumble. Use short, choppy sentences. Generally be as incoherent as possible. It’s the reporter’s problem if they can’t understand you.
Go completely silent occasionally. This helps to ensure the reporter is actually paying attention. When they ask if you’re still there (if it’s a phone interview), say “I’m just messing with you.” Use pointless analogies to help keep the conversation lively.
Stir up controversy. Disagree often using statements including: “That’s just stupid,” “Of course not,” and “Are you crazy.” It’s a great way to guarantee you are quoted while being both defensive and accusatory.
“Sorry, you’re breaking up.” Always call from a cell phone. Even if you have a great connection, pretend you’re breaking up. It shows just how important you are and it really keeps the reporter on their toes.
Of course you can approve the story. Always ask. If the reporter says “no,” tell them that they can no longer run the story and if they do, you’re going to have your “friend” pay them a visit.

Do you have any tips to add? Please leave your comments in the section below!

-451 PR Team

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LinkedIn: Why you should be using it for “Expert Positioning”

The professional networking site LinkedIn has over 40 million users in more than 200 countries. If you join LinkedIn and create a profile, you can expand your network by connecting with friends, co-workers, and former colleagues. As a professional social networking site, LinkedIn enables individuals to build and extend their “professional brand,” by showcasing their job experience, references, education, and awards. Not surprisingly, the site has become a go-to resource for recruiters, HR personnel, and job seekers alike.

But, when LinkedIn comes up amidst a conversation about social media marketing tools, many are left with only a limited understanding of the site’s potential. From our experience, we have found that LinkedIn is most effective for positioning yourself (or your client) as an expert resource in your industry and network.

Here’s how it works:

To successfully position yourself as an expert, you need to discover and join groups related to your industry and ones that your prospective clients are in. Life sciences consultant? You should join the “Life Sciences Professional Network” group, and if you’re following the latest trends, should also be an active member of “Life Sciences 2.0” (to name just a few relevant groups). LinkedIn groups are places for likeminded professionals to connect, ask questions, post articles, solve problems, and share best practices. If you offer group members valuable information by initiating and participating in discussions, or answering questions, you’ll effectively brand yourself as a knowledgeable expert.

Even better, develop and share informative content (e.g. whitepapers, wikis, webinars, blog posts) that directly addresses your prospective clients’ needs and pain points. Users who view your content will notice your name because they’ll want to learn who authored the resources. It’s likely that they’ll view your LinkedIn profile to see your job title and the company you work for to confirm you are a reliable source. By driving users to your LinkedIn profile, you brand yourself as a thought leader and increase awareness of your company, as well as your other active social media channels (i.e. your blog, Twitter feed, etc). LinkedIn users will make the connection that you and your company are experts in your field, and they’ll reach out to you directly to seek your advice.

The best way to share content on LinkedIn? Follow these steps:

1. To add the LinkedIn bookmark to your Firefox browser, click-and-drag the below “Share on LinkedIn” link to your tool bar.

http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=browser_bookmarklet

2. Once the link appears on your toolbar, pull up the content you would like to share (i.e. a blog post, news article, podcast), and click on it

3. Choose the connections or groups you want to share with on LinkedIn

4. Your content will be posted to the “news” section of the LinkedIn groups you selected and distributed in the groups’ weekly digest e-mails

There you have it. Remember, when used properly, you’ll brand yourself as an expert. As with all social media channels, the ultimate goal here is to engage your target audiences and help your firm or your client to identify and nurture qualified business leads.

So have you had success using LinkedIn or another social media platform to position yourself as an expert? Please, share your experience! What worked? What didn’t?

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