Well, it happened again. We experienced another unfortunate national tragedy Monday that completely overtook Twitter and other social networks. And right on queue, there were brands that tried to capitalize on the trending topics. One in particular was Epicurious. The image posted below, which was posted Tuesday morning, shows a few tweets it used regarding Boston and the tragedy the city faced.

It’s pretty obvious this was probably not the right approach when offering condolences. The right move is to not “sell.” In fact, the right strategy might just be to say nothing at all.

Epicurious wasn’t the only one feeling pressure. Wendy’s was found atop the Twitter search feed for “Boston Marathon” as a Promoted Account and that didn’t make a lot of people very happy. Sometimes, things happens and brands are caught off guard on social media. It’s impossible to be prepared for everything, but there ARE ways to plan and react when moments like this happen. Here are a few tips:

1. Pause Posts – When a major tragedy or event happens that overtakes social media, you should immediately pause your scheduled posts. Stop everything. You never know if a post could offend someone and lead to a PR crisis of your own.

2. Suspend Ads – If you are running ads or a campaign of some kind on a social network, stop them immediately. We saw when Wendy’s paid to have their Twitter account promoted, it was bad timing and placement. I’m not sure if their “promoted account” was sitting atop all trending topic searches or specific topics, but it was there for “Boston Marathon” and that was just bad timing. It was likely set up long before the incident, which is why you must be prepared to suspend ads in an instant. When you’re reading about a tragedy, you don’t want to be fed ads from every direction.

3. Stay Silent – Sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all. There were many brands that posted condolences–and that’s just fine. But even that can still be a touchy subject. Tread carefully.

This is one of those times when selling and marketing need to come to a halt. Let people have this moment. The tough part is tragedies are impossible to predict. The people in charge of your social media need to be paying attention and be ready and able to make proper adjustments. Be sure to get a plan in place now, so you’re not paying for it after it’s too late.

April 16, 2013 · Posted by in social media  

The Tweeting Copier

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Z2 Copier

Here at Z2 we happen to have a color printer/copier/scanner that is constantly kicking out amazing work (thanks to the efforts of our design team) but every now and then the old workhorse gets a little confused, and when it does, you’ll know about it because our copier has joined the Internet of Things and is tweeting at @z2copier over on the Twitters.

What’s that you say? Not a fan of the Twitters? We’ve got you covered. Check out z2copier.posterous.com for an alternate view of the data. You’ll never miss an empty paper drawer or jam in the bypass tray again!


So how is this magic accomplished? Well, the copier already has the ability to send an email when something goes wrong, so coupling that with IFTTT (If This, Then That) we just whipped up a simple recipe to post to Twitter and Posterous when an email is sent.

IFTTT has a lot of tricks up its sleeve, and isn’t limited to email, but it is a great way to add some functionality to something beyond what comes out of the box with some products or services.

So now all @z2copier needs is more followers. I mean, with tweets like [Information] Paper Empty – Drawer 1. [July 05, 2012 at 09:33AM] it’s just a matter of time before the followers and faves start stacking up.

July 5, 2012 · Posted by in misc  

Happy Friday everyone! I just wanted to share an interesting infographic about social media in small businesses and the potential for business growth.

The State of Social Media in Small Business

November 18, 2011 · Posted by in branding, social media  

Last week, University of Wisconsin—Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Association launched a social media challenge aimed to not only increase the visibility of the organizations’ public profile, but also to raise money for UW’s needs-based scholarship fund, Great People Scholarship.

For every new Facebook “like” and Twitter follower the two organizations receive, the university will receive $1 toward Great People Scholarship. The effort is being undertaken by Wisconsin alumnus Will Hsu, his wife Jenny, and his parents, Paul and Sharon. The Hsu family will donate $1 to the Great People Scholarship for every follower or like, up to $50,000. The campaign ends Monday, Oct. 3, 2011.

“We’re trying to make sure people stay connected,” says Will Hsu, who majored in finance, Chinese languages and literature, and East Asian Studies and graduated from UW-Madison in 2000. He is a senior finance manager at General Mills in Minneapolis and a frequent blogger who makes good use of Twitter.

“The growth of social media has really changed the world,” he says. “In the last few years, Jenny and I have watched Facebook and Twitter and some of these other types of social media take off. I think it’s a powerful way for younger alums and current students to get connected and stay connected with the university.”

Social media campaigns like this one have the potential to be extremely successful. They require almost no financial investment and can spread like crazy through social media outlets. However, UW does have a definite advantage over your typical business. Its already high profile gives it a larger platform in which to spread the word. Media outlets are much more likely to pick up on a story like this from a major university, rather than from a small car dealership, or the like.

That said, I’d say the relatively simple Bucky Challenge has already been successful. As I write, it has already raised $12,682 and counting.

UW—Madison: facebook.com/UWMadison; @uwmadison

WAA: facebook.com/buckybadger; @buckybadger

September 23, 2011 · Posted by in marketing, social media  

Santa Monica Airlines

Check out this interesting story about how a small skateboard company ended up “spending” $7,000 on their first tweet.

In the end, they made a lot of friends and fans, as well as supported a cause they believe in.

July 22, 2011 · Posted by in misc, social media  

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