The Power of the Hashtag

Written by Cory Adamczak on . Posted in News

With the Super bowl still fresh in the back of our minds, think back to the advertisements.  One distinguishing feature that almost every advertisement had was a hashtag.  Whether it is #clydesdales or #betterwithmms or #infinateanswers.  These tags were everywhere!

These hashtags are more than a mere blurb at the end of the commercial; they are a gateway into a conversation between the company and the customer.  They allow customers to tweet thoughts about the company, the product, and even the commercial.  Many of the hashtags sponsored in the commercials were meant to prompt a conversation, between customers and with the company.

For anyone foreign to Twitter, this post might sound like a jumble of made up jargon and crazy symbols.  To advertisers and companies, however, it is a bridge into a whole new style of communication.  Never before have companies been able to send and receive such instant feedback with customers.  It allows them to take suggestions, make changes, and deal with any crisis situations, almost immediately.

One way customers can take advantage of the hashtag is by simply using it with the company’s name when they tweet about the company.  Any tech savvy company will have a communications team on hand to reply and interact with these customers.  I know on multiple occasions I have voiced my displeasure over a product via twitter and kindly hash tagged the company’s name within the tweet.

One unique example I can provide on how powerful the hashtag really is, is this summer, while on a road trip with some friends.  We were driving through Pennsylvania and stopped off at the gas station chain Sheetz.  After realizing how expansive and truly incredible the options this gas station provided with not only petrol, but food and other conveniences, my friend decided to tweet about it.  He had no intentions beyond letting his followers know how satisfied he was, he did however provide a #sheetz hashtag when he tweeted it out.  Within an hour or two he had a personal reply from the company twitter handle thanking him for his business and saying how glad they were to serve him.  A simple act of great customer service, but upon reading it, he stated how truly blown away he was that a company would do that.  Sheetz just earned themselves not only a new fan, but a great customer service story that has been retold dozens of times already.

Now my personal anecdote may seem like a very small example, yet without a reply, my friend may have just passed the next Sheetz without another thought.  Their simple act earned them a great reputation not only with my friend but also with many of the people to whom the story has been told.  Companies who take advantage of this have a huge opportunity to spread free word of mouth publicity from the satisfied customers.  So next time you see one of these hashtags at the end of the commercial, tweet it out, you never know who might see it, and what the response will be.  As for companies, start a company hashtag, or even search your company name.  A simple “thank you” reply can go a long way in the eyes of a customer.


Written by Cory Adamczak

Cory Adamczak is a Senior at Canisius College majoring in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations. He is also an intern at Nichols School. @adamcza2 on Twitter

Handling Negative Feedback on Social Media

Written by Sarah Burke on . Posted in News

Don’t fear the occasional negative comment on social media from a consumer — if handled properly, it can even improve your relationships and reputation.

When a company makes the (smart) decision to begin utilizing social media for their organization, they are opening themselves up for positive dialogue with their consumers, an increase in reach, engagement – and inevitable negative feedback and comments from consumers. After all, you can’t please everyone. What you can do, however, is turn this negativity into a positive with the right steps.

Do not ignore it.

While it can be scary to be faced with an unhappy consumer posting their unfavorable experience on your company’s social media pages for all to see, the worst possible thing you can do is ignore it or delete it. This just shows that you are avoiding interaction with your consumers — the opposite of what social media is all about — and making the problem worse by not trying to solve it. This would be the same as a customer calling your company’s customer service line and the representative hanging up the phone. The process has just shifted online and should therefore be handled in the same manner.

What you CAN do.

Reply to the post in a timely manner. In today’s world of immediate gratification, people are looking for a response quickly, or they may get even more upset. Start by apologizing for the consumer’s negative experience with your company, using the person’s first name. Then, offer some type of solution and an email address or phone number where they can contact your company to receive their offer.

Wegmans Does it Right.

A local company that successfully uses this approach is Wegmans. If you take a look at their Twitter feed, you will see several personalized replies to people who have tweeted at them with positive or negative comments. In response to a tweet showing an expired red pepper that a customer purchased, Wegmans replied by saying, “That’s not good Patrice, we’re very sorry! Pls DM us w/ your contact info and we will send you a refund; again, our apologies.” Wegmans utilized each step in handling negative feedback: replying quickly, personalizing the message with the consumer’s name, apologizing, and offering an easy solution.”

Take Advantage of It.

Responding to negative feedback or comments in an appropriate manner may reap even more positive results than receiving no unfavorable comments at all. This shows the complaining consumer, as well as other consumers browsing your pages, that your company cares about their patronage enough to handle their situation and maintain their happiness with your product or service.

Written by Sarah Burke

Sarah Burke is a Senior at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY majoring in Communication Studies. @Sarahh716 on Twitter.

Social Media FAILS

Written by Taylor Wienke on . Posted in News

How to prevent your own social media fails

Social media marketing can be great for a company allowing them to reach millions of customers in seconds. However, this can also be disastrous. There have been many accounts of companies misusing social media, getting them in serious trouble.

One common incident is that tweets have been sent by company Twitter accounts meant for personal accounts. For example in February 2011 American Red Cross had an incident where an inappropriate tweet was sent talking about drinking. The company later explained that this tweet meant to be sent on a private account by an intern.

American Red Cross handled the situation very well and should be a model for companies dealing with bad situations in the future. First, they deleted the tweet originally posted. Next they sent out another tweet apologizing but in a way that they were able to poke fun at themselves. It is very important that companies use humor in their apology to stay on good terms with their customers.

This is the great thing about social media websites; companies can have a more personal relationship with their customers. Users are not looking for something formal and legal, they want something interesting and fun. American Red Cross was able to use this disaster and team up with another company in the original tweet and start a fundraiser, turning what could have been a disaster into a great success.

This points out some actions that American Red Cross should take to prevent another incident. Most importantly they should have some sort of safety check to make sure whoever is using the Twitter handle is sending from the right account. One way to do this is to separate the accounts to two different platforms such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. This will make sure the wrong tweet can’t be sent.

This was contributed by Taylor Wienke, a marketing student at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

LinkedIn Isn’t the only way to get a job with Social Media

Written by Sarah Burke on . Posted in News

While LinkedIn is the most commonly used social network in the modern job search, other social media sites can be just as successful if used properly.

Anyone trying to launch or further their career in today’s technology-driven job market has most likely been given the advice to join LinkedIn and “network, network, network!” But what about all of the other social media sites out there in cyberspace? They have to be good for more than flipping through vacation photos and scrolling through play-by-plays of your friends’ day. Turns out, they are. Blog sites, Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube can be used to get your name out there, connect with the right people, and help you land your next job. Here’s how:

Get Yourself Noticed
Aliah Wright, Online editor and manager for Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), states that job seekers need to make their presence known in areas of social media that employers reside. This includes “reading and responding to the blogs of those companies you’re interested in, ‘liking’ and posting comments on their Facebook pages, tweeting about and tagging companies that are relevant to the type of position or experience you have, and retweeting relevant items from Twitter conversations.” All of these methods encourage you to become more than a mere follower to the company and actually attempt to create an interaction and potential relationship with someone from the company. These are the types of actions that get your name noticed and also give you a chance to express your interest and knowledge in a particular field.

Create a Personal Brand
Creating a personal brand for yourself is another important aspect of making a successful online presence. This means keeping your different accounts generally consistent in your default photos and personal “mission statement” – a couple sentences describing your core values and what you want to accomplish – this makes it easier for potential employers to recognize you on different social media sites. As always, make sure you do some housekeeping on your profiles in order to present yourself in the best light to potential employers. Rid your profiles of embarrassing photos and being careful not to say offensive things, use inappropriate language, or complain too much!

Differentiate Yourself
There are several ways to stand out on the web, which not only increases your chances of being noticed, but also expresses how creative and innovate you are. There are several websites out there to create interactive resumes and portfolios where you can include hyperlinks, photos and videos. Not only is this a more fun and aesthetically pleasing way for employers to learn about you rather than being another white piece of paper, but you can also include this link on your social media profiles. Another option is utilizing a video website like YouTube to create a video resume. This is a new trend that is just starting to catch on, but it can be an effective way to stand out and get your efforts noticed.


Written by Sarah Burke

Sarah Burke is a Senior at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY majoring in Communication Studies. @Sarahh716 on Twitter.

Social Media Netiquette

Written by Chelsea Giannantonio on . Posted in News

The Do’s and Don’t’s for Businesses Using Social Media

Social media is a force to be reckoned with, and more and more businesses are getting involved.  Facebook, Twitter,  Linked In, and the like, are great ways to connect with your market directly, but many businesses have made fatal mistakes while using social media…. here are some general “Do’s and Don’t’s”:

twitter netiquettePhoto by

DON’T make the conversation all about you!  Advertisements are completely ignored on social media and if someone does comment or retweet, it’s not positive attention.

DO keep the conversation going.  Give your followers or fans something to talk about with your business and with other customers.  Social media allows for companies to have instant feedback about a product or service…. all you have to do is ask!

DON’T ignore tweets/comments: positive or negative.  Getting positive comments and attention is great, but don’t leave it unacknowledged.  No one likes being taken for granted.  Negative comments certainly need to be addressed as well; while no one likes to be the one dealing with an angry customer, if you don’t take care of it the problem will only get worse.

DO give praise to your followers.  Followers and fans who are constantly liking, commenting, or retweeting are doing you a great service!  Small rewards like recognition on the page and shout outs are wonderful ways to let everyone know that you value their feedback (discounts and events never hurt either!).  When a company is willing to reward loyal customers, good news only spreads faster.

DON’T put your pages on the back burner.  Social media allows for instant feedback and conversation…. why would businesses only set aside time to maintain it once or twice a week?  Followers and customers don’t want to wait DAYS to get a response, so don’t make them!  Get involved and stay in touch with your pages and customers; it’s an everyday job, not just a side project.

DO learn how to use social media properly.  Without the proper knowledge, a tool like social media is a huge opportunity that is gone, and potential lost profit.  There are online guides and conferences (like Social Media Biz Summit!) that teach professionals how to use these tools to create effective marketing campaigns.


This was contributed by Chelsea Giannantonio, a marketing student at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

Is Facebook’s Advertising too Intrusive?

Written by Cory Adamczak on . Posted in News

Has Facebook gone too far with it’s data gathering process? Some may argue that it’s getting too intrusive with its ad targeting.

Facebook advertisingWhen you update your Facebook with new personal interests, new relationship statuses, or simply post some sort of link, the company catalogues this and changes your “ad experience”.  For example, Facebook can find out through a significant other if you’re pregnant and use this information to promote ads for Pampers and other baby products on your page.  This sort of pinpointing of users raises the question to whether or not this is ethical or ok for companies to do.  When a user gives Facebook information through “likes” and other posts, it allows marketers to break through clutter to reach people who may be interested in a certain product.  The intrusiveness of this marketing raises privacy questions, but at the same time is beneficial to both marketers and consumers.

However, for many, that sort of connection is too intrusive; when a user puts information out on their own, then it’s different, but a backdoor approach, like that, is crossing a lot of personal privacy boundaries.  Facebooks targeting takes every bit of information that a user posts and analyzes it to give an ad to their users.  Many a times this has been referred to as too intrusive and even creepy.  Many users have even resorted to posting less or less personal information just to decrease the personalization of these ads.

Facebook is not alone in their drive to mine data from their users.  Google tracks and stores information from all web searches made from its engine.  It also tracks where you go from its page, how long you stay on these pages, and where you go from there.  There are instances where people have found information from Google that they didn’t even realize they had revealed.

Twitter also does this data mining, in their own unique sense.  They track your followers and who you follow, along with the hash tags you use.  This sort of information allows them to personalize which sponsored tweets or hash tags they place on your page.

The main questions this raises is are these practices too intrusive?  Do these companies know too much information about us? Or is all of this our fault for putting it out there for everyone to see?


Written by Cory Adamczak

Cory Adamczak is a Senior at Canisius College majoring in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations. He is also an intern at Nichols School. @adamcza2 on Twitter

#SMBS12 Twitter Basics by @Josepf

Written by Josepf on . Posted in News

Resource & Tips for Twitter Basics

Social Media Venn Diagram During networking conversations at the Buffalo, NY Social Media Business Summit Feb 15th & 16th, several people discussed with me how they either were not using Twitter yet or simply did not get Twitter! So here are some Twitter basics:

I used the diagram to the left to illustrate a humorous point of view on Social Media.  The fact, however, is that Twitter is a very powerful tool when used correctly!

Since people had various levels of experience with Twitter I’m posting various levels of Pro tips here for people to check-out.


Social Media is, um, Social!

The key to Social Media is to lead with the old adage of “Be a friend, make a friend, bring that friend to (your community) ((in the South they’d say “Jesus”)). Study after study shows that basic contact and social grooming (hellos, virtual coffee shares, RT or retweets) are critical to success. There are also some things to flat out avoid. I wrote a 12most post called “Irritating to most people I know on Twitter” <– click for information on behaviors to avoid!

Social Media is about Relationships

You can make real, deep, significant relationships through Social Media! My personal story attests to this. I’m working for people I met on Social Media. I’m living with the love of my life whom I met on Social Media. All of my clients have come to me through Social Media! Here is a #140Conf presentation, short video on why Social Media is Personal Relationship Media. I’d advise you to start here, with relationship building, and then worry about Marketing through Social Media.

To Understand Marketing go Medieval!

While we’re talking marketing… There are so many misconception about marketing that I felt compelled to write a post called “Medieval Marketing: master the basic marketing concepts before Social Media“. Please, please, please, do not jump willy nilly into Social Media to do marketing without a plan…

How does one use Twitter then?

The best way to learn Twitter is to join a Chat or two. Here is a publicly curated spreadsheet of Twitter chats. By last count there were a little over 600 scheduled Twitter chats. Twitter chats all revolve around a Hashtag. Using hashtags is the single most effective way to use Twitter, period. When I crossed the 2,000 or so follower mark I was struggling with why people were following me. My interests are and were very diverse, and someone who followed me for Poetry would not like SEO posts for example. I wrote “Please stop following me on Twitter” to help educate people on more effective ways to use Tools and Hashtags.

Of course, one of the fast track ways to learn anything is to find a good mentor :). If you want, Tweet me here @Josepf, I’m always willing to take a question or two. Who knows, you might even inspire my next Blog Post or Video. :)

Get Social or Die : Final Presentation

Was so much fun meeting many of you and presenting. Have posted links to deep dive article, a copy of the slideshare, and a customized video of the complete presentation on the DragonSearch Blog. Please feel free to comment and ask questions!

Social Media Video Tools

Written by reneem on . Posted in News

Utilizing social media video platforms to increase viewership

Sprinkle a little grass roots advertising along with some social media marketing and together you get a delicious show called Come Dine With Me – WNY. This approach has really pushed our creative team to new heights in getting the word out about the restaurant treasures here in the Western New York area.

This year we decided to air our show on two separate stations to get the maximum amount of eyeballs watching the program. The first airing is on Thursdays nights at 6PM on WBBZ and then that same show is repeated on Sunday mornings at 10:30AM on WNYO. We also have multiple promos running throughout the week to steer viewers to the program.

We created bookmark advertising that was inserted into check holders at many of our partner restaurants. This gave a few hundred impressions every night to potential viewers weeks prior to a during the airing of the show.

Giving back segment of the show is called a “Home Invasion”.

Youtube, Twitter and Facebook are the three avenues we have used to get the word out.

These avenues have helped our company over the past few years on multiple platforms.


Key Video Productions has been providing video solutions for the communications needs of businesses in WNY and around the world for over 20 years. We are dedicated to assisting clients every step of the way, from concept to completion. Our award winning staff includes some of the most respected writers and producers in the business that have the ability to create a production that will make the presentation effective. #Yourbestchoiceforvideoproduction

How News Stations Use Social Media

Written by reneem on . Posted in News

Currently, newsrooms, like 2 On Your Side, mainly use Facebook and Twitter to send out information and get feedback from viewers. These platforms are currently the most popular among those who are on the internet. They allow viewers the opportunity to not only give their opinion on what they think of a story, they’re also able to tell the news station what they want to see and hear.

Newsrooms use Facebook, a social networking site, to share stories and create a dialogue with their viewers. With Facebook, it gives viewers the opportunity to give feedback, or ask news stations to investigate a story. Newsrooms can also use Facebook to “crowd source” viewers to find out if they are experiencing a certain situation that could be part of a bigger story. This type of communication helps viewers feel connected and build trust with your news staff. They’ll feel that your station is listening to them and that their opinion matters.

Twitter is another social networking service that allows folks to get their message out in 140 characters or less.

Both news stations and viewers can share pictures and update a situation in just seconds. This tool is great for newsrooms to get the word out on breaking news fast. It’s also a great way to find out what people are experiencing in a breaking news situation, like an earthquake or the sale of a city’s beloved hockey team. Newsrooms can also use Twitter in updating an on- going story like a court case or school board meeting… when the average person can’t attend those events.

There are other platforms of social media that many news organizations are utilizing as they gain popularity: Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, FourSquare, to name a few. However, Facebook and Twitter remain the most popular to use.


Women’s Business Center Success Story

Written by reneem on . Posted in News

The Canisius College Women’s Business Center  is helping local residents gain the tools to grow their businesses. The mission of Canisius’s WBC is to provide entrepreneurs and small business owners, with a focus on women, the critical skills, knowledge, tools and support network to increase their successes and positively impact the economic development in their communities.

Donna Scalfaro
Carpet Care Services, Inc

If you ask Donna Scalfaro to tell you the key to being a successful small business owner, she’s likely to tell you, “multitasking.” It a simple secret, but how else could she get it all done?

As a working mom, Donna made the difficult transition from being an employee to a business owner in 2006 when she purchased a carpet cleaning business, Carpet Care Services, Inc. This move, she says, was her biggest challenge. “Dealing with employees, financial statements and budgets, business development, and marketing to a target group of prospective customers were instantly my daily activities to make my business a success.” Her attention to detail and organization skills, traits cultivated in her family life, helped her to run a business like she runs her family. Dealing with issues, accommodating needs and scheduling appropriately to service them, as well as team building to keep everyone focused were all top priorities for Donna. Without question, she is a mom on top of her game.

When you meet Donna, it’s clear that she likes working with people. Donna is a star networker at the Women’s Business Center, having been a member of the Women-In-Networking program (WIN) since 2007, and recently transitioning to our new advanced networking program, Double WIN.

Beyond that, she has leveraged the power of social networking to great success, far beyond what most small businesses have been able to do. On Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, Donna uses these various platforms to build relationships with current and potential clients. This speaks to Donna’s adaptability and strength as a quick learner and problem solver.

Donna is a certified woman business owner (WMBE) with the County of Erie and the State of New York and she is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Donna was also honored as the WBC’s “2010 Woman Entrepreneur.” As a long time WBC client, she credits the WBC as a huge resource for her. Not having any business experience, there were so many areas she needed to learn and implement into her business. Having the WBC there to ask for advice has been invaluable to her. She believes the WBC has given her the tools to build her business.

Donna offers this helpful advice for other women business owners: “Always look for opportunities, not necessarily customers, but for opportunities.”