Posts tagged ‘social media’

February 16, 2011

Is Coke’s Secret Out!? Dun dun dunnnnnn.

Photo Credit: Voteprime, Flickr

 

How was that for dramatic?

Clutch your pearls and hold your breath, but the NPR Radio show “This American Life” may have uncovered the exact recipe for that bubbly cup of magic we all know lovingly as Coke.

The show’s staff recently stumbled across the February 8, 1979 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which published an article on page 28 about a leather-bound notebook that once belonged to Pemberton’s best friend, another pharmacist in the Atlanta area named R. R. Evans. The notebook contained a number of pharmacological recipes–but the main entry, for students of commercial history, was what’s believed to be the exact recipe for the soft drink: all of the ingredients listed with the exact amounts needed to whip up a batch. The Journal-Constitution piece also featured a photo of the page in Evans’ notebook detailing Coke recipe–essentially revealing the recipe to the world. But since 1979 well antedated the explosion of digital media, the photograph of the recipe didn’t travel far beyond the Atlanta area. (“Did ‘This American Life’ Discover Coke’s Secret Formula“, Brett Michael Dykes)

Why is this the first anyone has paid to the photo? It’s believed news about the photo never traveled far beyond the Atlanta area, that is until the explosion of…you guessed it, social media!

For those who aren’t aware, Coke has kept its recipe under wraps with great effort and mystique. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, but, if for no other reason, maybe for a little intrigue. According to the article:

Coke’s recipe is one of the most closely guarded secrets in American commerce, steeped in cloak-and-dagger lore. After businessman Asa Griggs Candler bought out Pemberton–who also conjured up cough medicines and blood purifiers, among other things–in 1887 for $2,300, the exact recipe for 7X was placed in the vault in an Atlanta bank. It’s been reported that only two company employees are privy to its ingredients and how they’re mixed at any given time–and that those two aren’t allowed to travel together out of fear that a traveling accident might take both of their lives.

According to company historian Mark Pendergrast, Candler was so paranoid about the recipe leaking out of his proprietary control that he would go through the company mail himself to prevent any employees from seeing invoices that might tip off its ingredients. (“Did ‘This American Life’ Discover Coke’s Secret Formula“, Brett Michael Dykes)

The two people who know the recipe can’t travel together?! Really?! That makes me suspect that maybe the rumors are true and cocaine is a main ingredient. I’m kidding. Sort of. Or am I?

You see, the story behind Coke is this:

Pemberton had reportedly hit upon the formula for Coke in an attempt to overcome the addiction to morphine he contracted after the Civil War, so it’s perhaps not surprising that, in addition to alcohol, the drink originally contained Coca leaves laced with cocaine. After Atlanta passed a local prohibition ordinance in the 1890s, the company took the booze out of the formula, and the company has used cocaine-free coca leaves since 1904.

Yup, that’s right. Coke was meant to heal, being coined at its debut as a remedy for pain, impotence and headaches. For those avid Jersey Shore viewers, some may even call the drink a blast in a glass.

Coke denies the validity and accuracy of the recent discovery, but what kind of hard-hitting journalist would I be if I didn’t give you the rumored recipe for Coke? Let me know if anyone decides to give it a try:

The recipe:

Fluid extract of Coca: 3 drams USP
Citric acid: 3 oz
Caffeine: 1 oz
Sugar: 30 (unclear quantity)
Water: 2.5 gal
Lime juice: 2 pints, 1 quart
Vanilla: 1 oz
Caramel: 1.5 oz or more for color

The secret 7X flavor (use 2 oz of flavor to 5 gals syrup):
Alcohol: 8 oz
Orange oil: 20 drops
Lemon oil: 30 drops
Nutmeg oil: 10 drops
Coriander: 5 drops
Neroli: 10 drops
Cinnamon: 10 drops

February 16, 2011

Social Media Statistics: You May Be Surprised

I find social media research entirely intriguing, so when I stumbled upon the following report, I was almost giddy. Check some of these out and tell me your heart rate doesn’t increase even a little:

 

Facebook

  • Chicago was the fastest growing city on Facebook in terms of usage in 2010. Houston was a close second. (AllFacebook.com)
  • During the average 20-minute period in 2010, there were: 1,5870,000 wall posts, 2,716,000 photos uploaded and 10,208,000 comments posted. (AllFacebook.com)
  • Indonesia has the second largest population on Facebook.

 

Twitter

 

All Social Media

  • The change in social media use among Baby Boomers 55-64 rose from 9% in Dec. 2008 to 43% in Dec. 2010 (Marketingcharts.com via David Erickson)
  • Social networking site usage grew 88 percent among Internet users aged 55-64 between April 2009 and May 2010 (Pew Research)

Source: 16 Social Media Statistics that May Surprise You, Arik Hanson

February 15, 2011

Oreos: Looking to be Liked

Exactly how well liked are Oreos? We’ll soon find out. The organization is on a mission to secure the most ‘likes’ on Facebook, in hopes of securing a Guinness World Record title.

The brand started pursuing this goal at 9 a.m. ET today and hopes to establish a new record since no current one exists. Guinness World Records people, however, set the bar at 45,000 likes within a 24-hour period. This morning, the Kraft-owned brand started the ball rolling with a post asking the brand’s 16.6 million fans to set the “likes” record. An hour or so later, Oreo seemed well on its way with more than 30,000 likes. (“Oreo Tries to Set Guinness Record for Facebook Likes“, Mashable, Todd Wasserman)

Oreo hopes to utilize publicity generated by the Guinness efforts to increase global brand awareness. It is already one of the five most engaged brands in social media, according to a recent study.

Could failing to reach the record be harmful to the brand image? Could the black and white cookie we all know and love be less lovable than we think? Time will tell.

December 14, 2010

Tory Johnson’s 50 Ways to Generate Social Media Content

Though graduate school has surely been challenging, one of its greatest rewards is allowing me to sleep in far later than I ever have in my life. I’m an early bird, functioning best early in the morning. Perhaps more impressive, I can probably count the number of mornings I’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed on one hand. And with graduation closing in, I’ll surely miss staying in bed until lunchtime. That said, this morning I was abruptly awakened by the snow plows, just in time for Good Morning America, a guilty pleasure television show I haven’t seen in months.

Tory Johnson, a Good Morning America contributor, author, life coach and founder and CEO of Women for Hire—a recruiting and educational resource for connecting professional women with leading employers in the country— spoke about the challenge women face in breaking through the cliche glass ceiling.

I’ve followed Tory Johnson for quite some time, most recently connecting with her through LinkedIn. Her practical advice covers the gamut, from networking and career advice, to how to strengthen your resume and cover letter, to how to negotiate with employers or start a business.

She also poses 50 tips for generate web content, seen below. I’ve underlined a few tips I found most intriguing and thought-provoking, all of which I plan on implementing in my own use of social media:

Comment. The easiest form of content is to comment on other people’s content. Answer their questions, ask them something, chime in with feedback, or simply let them know you appreciated their post.
Congratulate. Offer kudos and praise when people in your social media circles share their own successes. Think of it as a virtual high- five.
Recommend. Let your fans, followers, friends and connections know why you recommend a particular product or service. Include a link to it.
Review. Offer your candid opinion on a current event, book, product or movie that’s closely connected to your field.
Reveal. Get personal. When I speak about small business success, I’m very candid that my interest in entrepreneurship started when I was coldly and unexpectedly fire from a job I loved. The scar from that pink slip forced me to never want one person or one organization to have the ability to strip me of my financial security or self-esteem, so I ventured out on my own.
Report. Conferences and events offer rich material to share through social media. You can post quotes, tips, takeaways and photos from the speakers and sessions. Allow others to participate vicariously through you.
Promote. Promote something you’re working on—a book, a product, an article, an event, you name it—and let people know where to learn more. This is also true for your blog posts and stuff on your website. Promote it through social media to bring people directly to your site.
Share. When you read an article in the morning paper, find a link to the piece online and share it with your networks. The same is true for any great content or phenomenal resource you find online. Anytime I read a magazine, I dog-ear pages to share tidbits online.
Give. Give a special offer to your fans and followers. For example, this document you’re reading is something I offered to give away—no strings attached. You can create something similar for your target market or even give a special discount or bonus offer for a limited- time on a product or service.
Tips. This is especially relevant for experts—coaches, consultants, trainers, authors, speakers—to share their expertise regularly by posting a tip of the day or tip of the week. Choose tips that are actionable and avoid being generic. For example, if you’re talking to jobseekers, “Join and participate in a discussion group in your field on LinkedIn” is a better tip than “Use social networks for your job search.” It also works for product manufacturers. For example, if you make brownies, share cooking tips. Someone who sells an organizer can offer tips on, you guessed it, staying organized.
Quotes. Please tell me you bought a copy of the incredible tips book from the Women’s Conference! It’s filled with nearly 400 quick tips from some of the most successful people in America. (If not, you can easily find quotes online.) Post one tip per day—or even two per day— and you’ll see that your audience responds and re-tweets.
Re-post. Re-tweet or re-post tips, thoughts, articles or other material other people post online. Be sure to acknowledge where you saw it first.
Highlight. Highlight a blog that you follow and tell your audience exactly why you believe they’d like it too.
Educate. Teach a smart lesson in a tidbit and then be sure to follow up with additional details if and when someone asks for more.
Inspire. Let everyone know how you’ve overcome a challenge and share how they can do it too.
Ask. Pose a question that relates to your field and is likely to generate strong reaction. This can be very wide-ranging. For example, on my Facebook.com/Tory wall, I posted this: A woman just told me she’s changing her hair color to “look smarter.” Do you think hair color impacts our perception of intelligence? (As you can imagine, that got a lot of reaction.) On Twitter I ask viewers to submit questions to use on JOB CLUB, a program I host on ABC News Now, a 24-hour digital news channel.
Invite. Create an event—a MeetUp, TwitterChat, teleclass, etc—and invite everyone to join in on the conversation.
Exploit. Have a pet peeve? Exploit it. One of mine is this notion of “business conference as usual,” which leads to a feeling of let down once you get home and realize that you paid for something that wasn’t delivered, wasn’t made actionable or didn’t help your bottom line. This is a reminder to me when I promote my own events that I need to be even bolder with acknowledging this “conference let down” scenario and explaining why my programs are different.
Showcase. If you have a great client success, feature it. When someone I work with gets a new job or has a big win in her business, I showcase those successes online. It also serves as a testimonial for your work and your expertise.
Solicit. Ask for feedback on a trend in your line of work or feedback on an element of something you’re working on. Everyone loves to offer an opinion.
Brag. Did you receive some media coverage? Did you hit a social media milestone? Did you win an award? Did you sign a new client? Share your good fortune with your audience.
Gratitude. Thank new clients or partners (when appropriate) and others who are part of your success or who have served you well.
Prove. Include a brief “case study” showing where a client started, what you did, how you did it, and the results that were experienced. You can also do the same as an employee or jobseeker based on the works you do.
Guests. Use your social media platform to invite others to guest post on your blog or website, if applicable. Be clear on what you’re looking for so potential respondents can self-select.
Stalk. Bet this one caught your attention. Stalk strategically. By that I mean pick one rockstar in your industry each week and give a shout out to that person about why he or she should want to know who you are. Since it’s fashionable to respond to everyone on Twitter, you may just get a response.
Contribute. Join relevant groups on LinkedIn and contribute your expertise to the discussion boards. Make a habit of it so you’ll build a profile for yourself as the go-to person on this topic.
Morning. Consider posting a morning greeting each day that is relevant, fun, interesting or challenging. It may be connected to current events—Did you watch X show last night? Are you going to the polls to vote today? Do you know what happened this day in history?— instead of directly related to your work.
Save. Share great practical resources or tips that make life better by saving someone time or money.
Forecast. Let everyone know about changes in your industry and what you believe it means for your target market.
Laugh. A clean (non-offensive) joke is always a welcome form of comic relief.
Announce. Announce changes in your company, product introductions, or new developments in your work.
Complain. Share a customer service complaint and how it was handled impeccably. Explain how that problem will be avoided in the future. Being candid and authentic is a welcome trait.
Personalize. While most of your content will be professional, give some personal details to share another side of you. I got an enormous reaction when I shared my husband’s foot injury that left him in pain— and me exhausted from being ordered around! I talk about my kids. I stressed over turning 40. All of that allows my audience to know me better—and hopefully feel a stronger connection to me.
Theme. Use daily, weekly or monthly themes to inspire regular content. A car mechanic might implement a 30-day “Make Your Friends Green With Envy” campaign with tips on keeping their car in enviable condition. Or maybe it’s Motivational Mondays to kick off the week. Or Wellness Wednesday, which can encompass a range of content. Having a theme allows you to build out the content in advance to fit the days.
Seasons. Similarly, use changing seasons to generate content and discussion. For example, a dating coach could do a FALLing in love campaign in September, while a marriage therapist may begin by asking if you’ve FALLen out of marital bliss, followed by tips on how to reheat your marriage as the temperature drops.
Controversy. Rather than polarizing your connections with your own personal rant, consider simply posting a question about a controversial hot topic. I recently did this on the Oklahoma governor’s race between two female 50-something candidates – one married with six kids, the other single and no kids. The married mom made a point to say she was more qualified because of her marital and parenting status, so I asked my followers to chime in.
Contest. Ask everyone to submit something. A staffing firm asked fans to submit the most challenging interview question they ever faced. A purse company asked women to submit photos of the inside of their bag. Combine and share the content in a clever way.
Spy. When all else fails, spy on your competition. What are they writing, tweeting, and blogging about? How can you use their best content to inspire your own?
Feedback. Ask for resources such as a great bookkeeper, fabulous virtual assistant, exceptional resume writer or wonderful web designer.
Challenge. Issue a challenge to your audience. I’ve challenged my followers to make cold calls to 5 people within 24 hours that they’ve held back on reaching out to—and I’ve encouraged them to share the feedback.
Gift. Send a book or promotional item to the first five people who respond to a specific call to action.
Health. Even if it has nothing to do with your field, remind women every so often about mammograms, heart health and other important life-saving matters.
Wish. Offer special wishes to fans and friends on their birthdays or anniversaries. Everyone loves to be remembered.
Photos. Poke around other people’s pages and profiles and study the ones that use many photos. Force yourself to capture moments with your cell phone or digital camera at work that others will enjoy. Once you get in the habit, it becomes easier to find stuff to share.
Video. Even more powerful that photos, create original videos for your outreach. The popularity of YouTube should be enough to convince you that video is an extraordinary way to get your message across. Many of the elements above can be recorded by you on video and shared, especially if you have a build in recorder on your computer or phone. (Hint: If you’re truly camera-shy and not too convincing in video, skip this.)
Wildcard. Sometimes you’ll just write about the most random stuff. And that’s ok—you don’t have to follow a standard script every day.
Teach. Teach your audience a tech trick that someone else taught you.
Like. Click the “like” button on Facebook to acknowledge your appreciation for someone else’s page or wall content. And don’t be shy about telling them why you liked it.
Holidays. Use holidays for blogging content, tweets, wall posts, discussion group comments and e-newsletter content. They represent a goldmine of opportunity if you’re clever.
YOU. Above all, be yourself. Use your authentic, true voice in all you write. Don’t wait for people to find you and your brilliant content—work the system to generate followers too. Have fun doing it while always keeping your strategic purpose in mind. (Spark & Hustle)

Each of the tips offered by Johnson range in applicability, but it’s likely every blogger can benefit from implementing even a handful of her suggestions. This week, I’ll specifically be challenging myself to congratulate and recommend.

What Do You Think: What tips will you challenge yourself to adopt in your own use of social media?

Sources: Spark & Hustle, Social Networking Content Creation- Getting Started; Good Morning America, “What Women Need to Know to Get Ahead“, (December 13, 2010); Women For Hire

November 21, 2010

The Write Stuff: Hoosier PRSA Writing Workshop

Today I had the pleasure of attending The Write Stuff: Hoosier PRSA Writing Workshop, organized by the Continuing Education committee of Hoosier PRSA. The workshop featured presentations from area professionals, with a focus on writing for media relations, internal communications, social media, and speeches and scripts.

Photo Credit: Chigmaroff, Flickr

Two sessions were being held simultaneously, thus participants were forced to select only two of the four presentations to attend. I selected the social media and media relations presentation, hoping to obtain a firmer understanding of social media (I may be a little late to this party, but I’m getting there!), and given my interest in pursuing media relations job opportunities.

Writing for Social Media

Robby Slaughter of Slaughter Development, LLC lead this workshop, which focused heavily on key social media concepts. He discussed several challenges associated with social media. He asserted that social media and internet users read only 20 percent of content in front of them.

Slaughter discussed several social media concepts, all of which were entirely new to me. The first, the Dunbar number, he described as the maximum number of stable relationships one can maintain with other individuals. The Dunbar number for online relationships (i.e. blogs, message boards, etc.) is far smaller than the Dunbar number for “real life” relationships. Next, he highlighted the “90-9-1 rule”, pertaining to social media participation. Under this premise, 90 percent of users are lurkers, 9 percent of users contribute from time to time, and only 1 percent of users frequently and actively use social media, accounting for the highest portion of contribution.

Writing for Media Relations

Chad Mertz and Angela Tuell of Borshoff lead this workshop, which focused heavily on the art of the media pitch. In a very clear and concise presentation they outlined the basics of all things media relations, including what reporters look for, what motivates reporters, and how to improve relationships with key media.

Workshop participants were able to practice pitching to media, who attended the event to offer their words of encouragement, best advice, and worst pet peeves. Elizabeth J. Musgrave, freelance blogger of Gotta Go and arts/entertainment editor, Tony Rehagen, Senior Editor of Indianapolis Monthly, Dave Brinkers, Assignments Manager of Indy WRTV-6, and Cory Schouten, Indianapolis Business Journal Real Estate Reporter participated in a round-robin exercise, allowing groups of five to pitch their individual ideas or stories to each professional, and receive honest and constructive critique of techniques and topics.

The entire afternoon was extremely educational and informative. It was nice to interact with other professionals and expand my knowledge of topics of increasing interest to me. I’ve already reached out to many of the speakers and attendants on LinkedIn, and will continue to do so over the next few days.

I’d like to thank Hoosier PRSA for organizing the event, and commend the the Continuing Education committee (especially my friend and fellow graduate student, Steven Cooke) for doing a stellar job at accommodating all of the participants so comfortably and professionally.