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 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!



Our 2012 Public Relations Resolutions

As we enter a new year, it’s a great time to evaluate 2011 and set goals for the year ahead. With that in mind, the 451 Marketing public relations team put together a list of their resolutions for 2012.


Say “No” More Often

In a job that’s all about client service it’s extremely difficult to tell clients “no,” even in a nice way, when they ask the team to take on tasks that don’t map directly to their program’s goals. In 2012, I resolve to challenge clients more often to allow my team to stay focused on the actions that produce the results we are measured on. I love my clients and get excited along with them about new opportunities, so this resolution is a tough one for me!

– Karyn Martin, Senior Account Director, @karynmartin


Always Do My Homework 

Who can forget the PR blunder that was “Qwikster”? As Jason Gilbert of the Huffington Post wrote, “It should certainly be a first ballot entrant into the Bad Decision Hall of Fame, enshrined next to New Coke, Prohibition and that time Garth Brooks dyed his hair black and played rock music under the name Chris Gaines.” After a disastrous price hike in July 2011, Netflix went on to announce a way to offer users more convenient way to “Qwickly” receive DVD’s by mail while keeping the “Netflix” name strictly for streaming. Judgments about business decisions aside, the launch of their new Qwikster service may not have been such a PR fail if they’d taken the time to actually do their homework. Even a simple Google search (a seemingly no-brainer move) to see if the term was already in use would have done the trick. Luckily, we in PR squealed with delight as we realized before Netflix did that the @Qwikster handle was owned not by Netflix, but by a marijuana-loving high school student; and thus, hilarity ensued. Although I wound up canceling my Netflix service along with  800,000 fellow subscribers, this PR blunder turned out to be a great reminder for us all and something I’ll take with me into 2012.

– Laura Christo, Account Executive,@LauraChristo


Keep Up With National Trends

My New Year’s resolution is to pay closer attention to national trends in food and hospitality before they hit Boston so that I can help our clients introduce these new ideas to our market. It can be tough to take a step back during our busy day-to-day, so I resolve to make time for this in 2012.

-Nicole Russo, Executive Vice President Public Relations, @NicoleRusso


Help Clients Understand the True Definition of PR

In 2012 I resolve to help clearly define what PR is with our current, new and prospective clients, especially in the beginning of a new project. The term “PR” gets thrown around so loosely (“Charlie Sheen is one big PR disaster!” “Ashton Kutcher’s PR team is now Tweeting for him.” “The BP oil spill was a case of bad PR.”) that I think sometimes the true definition as well as the various components of PR get muddled for those not embedded in the industry. Additionally, I want to help clients understand how the different facets of PR apply to them – every client is different, so each campaign is going to be different, too.

– Meredith D’Agostino, Account Executive, @ladymusic


Pick Up the Phone More Often.

It has become very easy to handle communication with clients and reporters via email, SMS text, and even an occasional direct message on Twitter. While an electronic message is often more efficient, it’s also much less personal. In a business where relationships are paramount, nothing is better for building and strengthening a relationship than a personal conversation. While a face to face conversation is always best, it’s not always possible, so a phone conversation is the next best thing.

-Tom Lee, Partner, @TomLee451


Do you have any PR resolutions for 2012? Share them with us in the comments section below!


From College to the Real World…

A couple of weeks ago, Boston University PRSSA invited me to participate in a panel of recent College of Communication grads to talk about our experiences in the “real world” since graduating.

It was pretty bizarre to be sitting up at the front with my fellow COM grads when just a few months ago we were in those very same seats, unsure and apprehensive about our futures after graduation. We fielded a variety of great questions from students, from how big of a role social media played in our job searches, to how important it is to have a Smartphone in the public relations industry.

It seemed that the most pressing questions the students asked revolved around the job search and tips on how to stand out when applying for entry-level positions, which wasn’t surprising given the current job market.

What did you find most helpful in your job search? Or, if you’re an employer, what advice would you give aspiring public relations professionals on how to stand out in the application pool?

Journalists and Social Media

As PR professionals, we’re constantly looking for ways to connect with reporters and to secure placement for our company and clients in the most relevant publications. It can be difficult (that’s why we have jobs), but the following study gives us some interesting results that could potentially help us do our jobs more efficiently.

Middleberg Communications and the Society for New Communications Research last month released a study titled, “Media in the Wired World.” The research team surveyed U.S. journalists regarding their social media use and the study found some interesting results:

  • Almost 70% of journalists are using social networking sites, which is a 28% increase since the 2008 study
  • 48% are using Twitter or other microblogging sites and tools, a 25% increase since 2008
  • 66% of the surveyed journalists are using blogs
  • 25% of those surveyed are using podcasts
  • 48% of journalists are using online video
  • Over 90% of journalists agree that new media and communications tools and technologies are enhancing journalism to some extent

According to the study, reporters are embracing social media and are active on various social networking sites. This is great for us because we can build relationships with reporters and connect with them in real-time. Here at 451, we use Twitter and LinkedIn to follow media contacts. Both tools are useful to see what reporters are writing about, and to watch for potential opportunities to pitch our company and/or our clients.

Do you connect with reporters and journalists through social networking sites? Have some success stories to share? Let us know!

Are you on the right track?

So why would you use social media to market your products?  Is it because it’s what the cool kids are doing? I hope that’s not your rationale.  If that is your reason, then you’re probably not using it to its full potential.

Granted, the cool kids ARE doing it, but that’s not the point.  Social Media Marketing is an incredibly effective tool with a reach that is ultimately beyond being truly quantifiable.  Nevertheless, there are techniques to track many of the results of a Social Media Marketing campaign and use those results to determine ROI.

It’s not always easy, but it is absolutely essential to running a successful campaign.  More to the point, it’s essential to get your client’s CFO to sign off on that campaign.  We all understand the profound value of Social Media Marketing campaigns, but the reason we’re successful is because we know how to communicate that value to the campaign’s beneficiary.

Here is a quick primer on some of the more basic ways to track a Social Media Campaign:

1. Site Traffic: If the goal of your campaign is to increase brand awareness, then benchmarking and measuring spikes in traffic to your website and blog or numbers of followers on Twitter can serve as a rough indication of how a campaign is driving brand impressions.

2. Conversions: Similar to what you might do with an SEO campaign, having your Social Media Campaign tied to specific conversion goals on your site can provide you with very specific success benchmarks in the form of highly-qualified leads.

3. Backlinks: If the goal of your campaign is to build a general following, then you should be measuring increases in backlinks to your Website, blog, wiki or whatever happens to be the epicenter of that following.  They can be easily tracked with Google and give you a great feel for who’s taking you seriously enough to link to you.

There are much more involved techniques that we use, but these represent some simple ideas to start with.  I’d love to hear feedback and suggestions for other basic techniques!