30 MORE Examples of Corporate Social Media in Action

I wrote a post for Mashable awhile back looking at 35 Examples of Corporate Social Media in Action. Since some time has passed and more companies have risen to the challenge of creating innovative social media campaigns, I thought it was time to revisit this with an expanded list of social media for business case studies from a growing number of industries:

Dominos Pizza credits Foursquare with its UK sales growth.

Monique’s Chocolates in Palo Alto used Foursquare to acquire 50 new customers.

Highland Brewing, a microbrewery in North Carolina, turned to social media to build stronger relationships with beer drinkers. Sounds tough :-)

Old Spice creates personal videos for its Facebook fans and posts them on YouTube.

Norman Regional Health System in Oklahoma spends 30 minutes a day on Twitter and Facebook.

The Red Cross uses tools like Flickr and blogs to connect directly with their supporters.

red cross twitter page

Colgate used social media to drive engagement and purchases worldwide.

Land of Nod uses online customer reviews to strengthen its community and product offerings (VIDEO).

Cisco continues to evolve its social media practice, creating snackable content internally for its employees.

Vitamin Water let its fans create a new flavor on Facebook.

Dreyer’s leveraged characters from their “Share the Love” campaign to create a mobile game for the iPhone.

HP’s viral video campaign has some solid social media metrics behind it.

The Asia Foundation of San Francisco used Facebook for its recent Books for Asia campaign.

The NBA used social media (Twitter, Facebook, Gowalla) during the NBA Finals.

JetBlue uses Twitter very successfully for customer service support.

Xerox uses social media as part of a product launch (VIDEO – start watching about 2:30 in).

The Brooklyn Museum created a page to connect its Foursquare community.

brooklyn museum on foursquare

Leo Burnett’s use of Twitter during Cannes garnered more publicity for the firm than any other stunt in company history.

Spanish shoe company Munich uses its social media presence on Facebook to bring together its community in the real world.

Wells-Fargo uses social media during a financial crisis (VIDEO).

Pb Elemental Design is an architecture firm in Seattle that focused on buildings its social media presence on Facebook.

Intel explains how it has leveraged Facebook to grow their fan base to more than 115,000 fans.

Sharpie has some nice examples of how to make social media work on a small budget (VIDEO).

A luxury hotel in Greece used social media to increase all of its web marketing goals.

Rapper Snoop Dogg made over $200K selling branded clothing in virtual worlds.

Warner Brothers provides a case study of how NOT to engage bloggers and how NOT to react when your strategy misses the mark.

NPR shows how and when their listeners access their content on mobile platforms with lots of numbers.

Air Canada learned a tough lesson about monitoring Twitter and how a crisis can easily escalate.

Omo Laundry Detergent in Brazil hid GPS devices in 50 detergent boxes and then visits the winner’s houses to award the prizes.

Mazda launched a Facebook game to promote its new car.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. uses a host of social media tools to stay closer to its customers.

Punch Pizza in The Twin Cities uses Flickr, Facebook and Twitter to sell more pizza.

Einstein Bagels used Facebook to distribute a coupon, and to keep their fans abreast of updates when the coupon link didn’t work.

To follow the conversation and discover even more corporate social media case studies, click here.

Borrow My Blog: charity:water

This is the first post in a new series titled, “Borrow My Blog.” I’m inviting non-profits to harness the collective brainpower of DISRUPTology readers like you to tackle a specific communications challenge.

It’s an easy way for you to participate with just a few moments of your time and help organizations without big PR and marketing budgets generate some new ideas.

Trolls, regular commenters, newbies…all ideas are welcome. Seriously, even negative reactions can sometimes lead to new ways of thinking about old problems.

First up is Paull Young from charity:water.

Organization: charity:water

Website: http://www.charitywater.org/

What They Do: charity: water is a non-profit bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.


Communications Challenge: charity: water was born in September. Each year for our birthday, we team up with September babies and other supporters to take on something really big.

This year’s September Campaign will bring clean and safe drinking water to the Bayaka people in Central African Republic – one of the poorest and most remote countries in the world. Our goal is to raise $1.7 million with the help of individual fundraisers. 100% of the money raised will directly fund sustainable water projects.

We need to get 1,700 people to donate their September birthdays, and each of them to run a fundraising campaign worth an average $1,000 on mycharitywater.org

On Monday we launched some great video footage and a great story. I’d love to get ideas on how we can extend it – both for recruitment and to extend the campaigns.

Here’s the video:

My ideas: I figure it would be remiss of me not to contribute a couple of my own thoughts to get the ball rolling:

- Find more celebrities with birthdays in September and have them face-off online in NCAA bracket style against some of their fans to see who can raise the most money.

- Look for a sponsor to match donations for the month so that each individual needs to raise $500 and the sponsor kicks in the rest.

- Search for pro baseball players born in September and see if the ball club will make a donation at a home game and announce it on the diamond vision (thereby raising money AND awareness).

- It looks like you’ve got a lot of media and other corporate sponsors already. Maybe each of them can run one campaign for all the birthdays in their respective offices.

- September is also the beginning of a new school year, so it might be a fun way to get high school kids involved in doing charity work and “fun-raising”

If you’d like to participate, please offer your ideas and suggestions in the comments and Paull from charity:water will monitor and respond as appropriate.

If you would like your organization featured in an upcoming ‘Borrow My Blog’ series post, get in touch.

Visualizing Foursquare Data

There’s a sleek new data visualization tool from WeePlaces that lets you map your Foursquare check-ins over a certain period of time. I recorded mine for you:

I could see this being a great tool to use in presentations about the value of social data and how companies might find this information valuable.

Let me know the next time you see someone use it live!

David Perez is Disruptive

David Perez is a Chicago based recruiter for Leo Burnett. He convinced his bosses to let him go to the Cannes Film Festival under one condition: he had to wear a webcam attached to his glasses the entire time and do anything (yes, anything) that his Twitter followers request. Thus, David on Demand was born.

So far, he’s had to get a tattoo of the Twitter fail whale, buy balloons for children, pole dance and generally make a fool of himself in public, all the while talking to his Twitter followers.

David (or rather, by the sound of it, David’s PR people) was kind enough to answer a couple of questions before his trip via email:

Q: Tell us a little about how this idea went from a scheme for a free trip to a legitimate ticket to Cannes.

It is widely known that I have always wanted to go to Cannes. So when I learned about this social media adventure, I quickly volunteered and helped sell it into my boss.

David on Demand is a social media experiment that takes living vicariously to the next level. It is created by Leo Burnett and combines three very important elements in modern marketing – spontaneity, creativity and real-time technology. For 24 hours a day, six days straight, I will be your eyes and ears at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

Q: What I like about this PR stunt is that you are not an actor or an intern, but a creative recruiter. How do you think this will help with recruitment?

It will help recruitment tremendously! Cannes is all about creative talent and networking, and I am the guy who can help people connect the dots. Always wanted to work in advertising? I can show the world not at Cannes what it’s really like and my followers can direct me to talk to people they have always looked up to or want to learn from. Or, people can send me a link to their portfolio and it just may end up in front of key decision makers at Cannes.

Q: Do you have a budget for what you can spend on activities people request on Twitter? What do you want to do the most?

I’m hoping that both advertising enthusiasts and inquisitive consumers take the opportunity to Tweet me to attend the most sought after seminars, meet with creative luminaries, and participate in the award ceremonies. But let’s be honest here, I’m sure people will tell me to jump in a fountain or yell something spontaneously in the middle of a speech. And then you’ll have your crazy boundary-pushing requests that I won’t do. I have limits.

But again, I hope people seize the opportunity to tell me to interview people they want to hear and learn from, send them their portfolios so I can check them out, or help me chart his journey at Cannes so I can deliver what’s going on to the folks back home.

Q: Tell us a bit about what technology you’re using to pull this off.

I am sporting web-enabled glasses, a backpack with a mobile live streaming device, around the clock access to my Twitter feed and a dedicated “on-demand” crew. I will be the most connected man at Cannes! I am wearing a backpack that essentially holds six 3G phones connected to 11 antennas that will grab signals and broadcast his experiences live to David on Demand. I am wearing a camera on my glasses that will take and record everything I do for 24 hours a day for six days. The live feed will be sent to Justin.tv for the world to see. The site actually has three channels – the main screen and two additional angles of David on Demand. Viewers will be able to view the different channels and even see what I experienced earlier in the day.

Thanks, Dave!

I love this stunt. David isn’t a paid actor, nor is he an intern. He’s a fearless recruiter and he’s really entertaining to watch! And if a recruiter is willing to pull a bold, attention getting stunt like this, what does it say about the company? Would you want to work someplace like this? I would.

Tools You Can Use: Current

Current: A News Project is a data visualization tool launched last month to give editors and writers a new way to determine which stories have the best chance of being read online. Seeing the potential for communicators to leverage this program to better understand the news cycle, I interviewed Current’s creator and my classmate from ITP, Zoe Fraade-Blanar about her project:

Q: What does the Current stream represent in non-technical terms?
A: This particular tool is pulling the top news stories from Google, which does us the favor of condensing them for us into general topics.  And to find out how the human population is responding it’s using the Google Hot Topics tool, surveying the fastest rising searches in the US every hour.  But there’s no reason any Trending Topics data wouldn’t work here – Twitter would be a favorite.

Q: Explain a bit about how using Current helps a journalist determine “news that matters.”

A: Ah, not even the smartest computer algorithm can replace an editor when it comes to placing value on a story.  What it can do is help one balance their soft and hard coverage.  In a world where a struggling editor might choose to raise their traffic by covering every celebrity scandal, Current lets them identify, say, the two that are most likely to give them the same amount of traffic.  Of course, Current is morally neutral – if you wanted to use a tool like this to generate the most sensational newspaper ever, that’s certainly a completely legitimate use as well!

Q: Although you built Current with news editors in mind, what features might be of interest to PR?

A: One of the interesting observations here is that there are two ways for a news item to make it into the interest stream: they can cause a big enough stir that they spawn their own meme, but they can also piggyback off of an existing meme.  For someone with PR in mind, hitching your topic behind a growing meme is a completely legitimate way to get noticed for companies without the resources to spawn their own.  When PR is pinpointed to what people actually want to know, it’s no longer advertising.  That PR turns into real honest-to-goodness relevant information.  Which is a beautiful thing.

Q: How does Current address a gap in the way we currently perceive news?

A: If Current, and projects like it, are successful, they should actually change the way the News sees news.  Right now it seems like there are two extremes – News media that wants to protect the perfect news coverage on some kind of idealistic pedestal, and News media that wants to use News to drive advertising dollars no matter what the content.  There’s a bit of a grey area in the middle as the pedestal people are forced by the economy to prune coverage areas they don’t excel in, and at the same time there exists an inevitable backlash against the more mercenary model, but the idea here is to give them another alternative.  The survival of News as an industry lies somewhere in the middle.

Q: You spent some time working with the New York Times analytic group before you built this project. What changes are you seeing in the way we value news at a technical level?

A: Of course, the real value for a story is how it changes what people think about a topic, but that’s a tough one to quantify (and of course, impossible to monetize).  A more Machiavellian metric would be the amount of conversions it results in for advertisers, one less so would be general clickthroughs, or clickthroughs from the story to another in-site story.

But I think all these miss the point, which is that some of the most important news is the most boring.  The most successful metric will take into account that some of the most necessary stories will be complete flops when measured by the numbers.  Those stories are what keeps the reader’s trust, even if they don’t keep the reader’s interest.  Like the blank whitespace in a drawing, replace too much of it and the whole becomes unreadable.  So perhaps it might be better to judge the traffic of a section as a whole, than on a story-by-story basis.

Thanks so much to Zoe for her time. You can download Current and try it out for yourself.

If you have any ideas on how Current could be a useful communications tool, please leave a comment.

The iPhone 4 is a Joke

I know this post probably means I won’t be working with Apple anytime soon, but I’ve come to terms with that. I’m not buying the next generation iPhone, and here’s why:

1. I can’t place a normal voice call on ATT from the middle of Manhattan, and Steve Jobs wants me to believe I can make a bandwidth hogging video call. It’s impossible right now.

2. iMovie crashes on my Macbook twice a month and it takes hours to render video. I have a hard time believing it will be any easier on a smaller screen with less processing power.

3. The screen is around six inches wide in landscape mode. I can’t type a text message without predictive text coming to the rescue now, so I imagine precision editing will be impossible.

4. HD video and images sound great, but it can sometimes take several minutes to get a 1 megapixel image to upload on ATT, who, incidentally, timed their bandwidth cap announcement to provide a major counter-bummer to the excitement of iPhone week.

I’m sure that many of you will disagree and that Apple will still sell millions of them this month alone. But I won’t be one of the people in line. Instead, I’ll just check another day off my calendar until my ATT contract expires.

UPDATE (7/16): Yeah, I think I was right on this one.

As a communicator, how do you envision using the new features to improve your work flow?

Communicators, Read This Book!

Internet genius (a phrase I use with sincerity here) Clay Shirky released his new book this week, titled Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age (affiliate link). I have heard Clay speak many times over the last several years on this topic in addition to taking his class at NYU, and there are few people who can explain the social community phenomenon better than he.

Communicators – this book will give you valuable insight into why people share as much information as they do online, provide case studies that explain how and where people connect and educate you about online group behavior.

Here’s Cory Doctorow’s review on Boing Boing, which concludes:

The last chapter of the book is a kind of roadmap for building your own structures for enabling participation, drawn from Clay’s long history of teaching and consulting, and it’s as practical as the rest is theoretical.

Cognitive Surplus continues to prove that Clay Shirky is one of the best thinkers and advocates the net has. It’s a delight to read and will change how you think about the future.

Want to know where Clay copes with information overload? Check out this recent feature from the Atlantic.

10 Risks for Corporate Social Media Early Adopters

In my last post, I discussed 10 rewards for companies that are early adopters of social media. There’s another side to this that I want to address separately: the biggest risks companies face when jumping into an unknown community.

Of course this is the big one, but it’s easily avoided. Failure means that the brand comes in and behaves like it does on other platforms instead of understanding what the community wants. Don’t regurgitate. Innovate.

Or better put, not learning from mistakes. Your brand will make mistakes. But the inability to learn and adapt is where the risk is.

Many social networks are communities of friends, whether they know each other in real life or just virtually. To have these trust networks overwhelmed by brands trying to market or sell them products often feels like an invasion of privacy.

Platform Never Gains Popularity
One of the biggest risks in a young social network is that it might not take off in the way you expect. It’s not as much of an issue for individuals. But for companies, there’s a lot of time and effort invested in building a new presence (and integrating that presence across multiple places).

Audience Not Ready
Or rather, your audience isn’t. Maybe the people you care about communicating with aren’t part of this group yet. It’s likely that the demographic makeup of the new platform is not in sync with your brand’s audience.

No strategy
In the rush to be “first,” did you forget to determine your objective for being there in the first place? This happened time and again with Second Life, Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages, which now lay dormant.

Small Audience
A nascent social network consists of people that like to be the first to try something, people that sign in once and then don’t come back, and friends of founders. If you get in too early, you risk spending too much time building relationships with too few people. That time might be better spent on a larger, more established platform.

Measuring ROI
You can’t at first. What you can do, however, is determine what is important to your organization and begin by measuring that. You can help co-create tools that others can use to evaluate what success might look like, as Hubspot has done for Twitter.

Losing Your Star Employee(s)
This is one of those inevitable risks that I think is worth it. We’ve watched some of the brightest early adopters move on from the companies they once championed to other ventures. Giving employees the opportunity to experiment, grow and share your brand socially has the added effect of creating valuable employees that are sought after by your competitors. And sometimes, they will move on.

No Precedent
What are the rules governing your employees’ use of new platforms? Some companies, so eager to be first, forget to set rules for use that their employees can follow, and as a result, end up with more trouble than they anticipated.

What do you think? Are the rewards worth the risks? More important, what are some other big risks companies need to consider?

10 Rewards for Corporate Social Media Early Adopters

One of the best parts about going to social media conferences is seeing which case studies the “experts” draw from. In the beginning, many pulled from the same four or five case studies (Dell, Starbucks, Blendtec, Comcast…).

Now, the gates have opened up and it’s more interesting, in many cases, to look at the companies who AREN’T using social media. But here’s a short list I put together of the 10 biggest rewards for getting involved with social media early:

Mainstream Media Attention
If your brand is among the first to establish a presence on a new media platform, you can be sure it’s going to generate a bit of mainstream press. Of course this is beneficial, but it can also work against a brand when this is its sole purpose.

Community Goodwill
On most platforms, community members are happy to see the brands they interact with on a daily basis join their community. I have had many positive experiences interacting with @JetBlue on Twitter, so much so that I will look for customer service there before I try a phone call or airport desk.

Early adopters earn a reputation as forward thinkers. I haven’t read much about Starbucks actually employing any of the recommendations from MyStarbucksIdea, but their reputation among marketers and PR people is strong based on the establishment of this feedback platform.

One brand has to make the first foray, and in doing so, it will probably make some mistakes. Those that aren’t yet participants will seize the opportunity to lambast the brand for its mistake but community members are much more forgiving for those who at least try.

New Communications Channel
In this era of evolving social networks, first mover advantage allows those that jump in to capture the interest and attention of its customers and partners before the competition.

Determining ROI is a challenge regardless of when one enters a new arena where measurement is still untested. I would argue that the first brands in can help set establish these standards and many others will join.

Thought Leadership
New social media platforms offer a new theme for executives, a new audience for presentations and a new opportunity to communicate directly with stakeholders.

Popularity Within Company
Social media provides those employees who spearhead related programs a more visible role within the company. I’ve seen this take shape in many ways: more face time with the CEO, a more prominent role at events and a seat at the table on initiatives spanning many departments (HR, Legal, Communications, etc.)

Ability to Experiment
With the right attitude, every new social media platform allows companies to experiment with new ways to engage key audiences. Some will work and some won’t, but trying something new before a competitor offers many brand managers to push the envelope.

Fun Party Trick
While this may sound tongue in cheek, do not underestimate the value of being able to say, “You’re not on Foursquare?” or “We used QR Codes in our latest campaign” before the journalists, marketers or competitors know what that actually means.

What would you add/subtract from this list?

Stay tuned for my next post on the 10 Risks for Social Media Early Adopters.