**Please Note**

Welcome! Please note that this blog was created purely for my college social media course and is no longer updated or associated with my personal brand of “Jennifer Muscat”.


Central Review Social Media Presence

The brand that I chose to develop a social media presence for is Central Michigan University’s student run literary journal, Central Review (at this point I would provide a link to their website but it is currently down). This magazine offers CMU graduate and undergraduate students a chance to publish fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art pieces. It is published once per semester and is produced under Student Publications and Student Publication Board of Directors.

The purpose of this project was to give Central Review a presence on three different social media platforms. Because the journal already had both a Facebook and Twitter page, my goal was to improve on the way these platforms were utilized. For the third platform I chose to create a Tumblr account for Central Review. I currently work as one of the public relations coordinators for Central Review which helped in having a basic understanding of the brand and the target audience.  In the following sections I will provide an analysis of each social media website for this particular brand.

1. Facebook

I used Facebook as a primary way to communicate with the target audience – CMU students. Through my personal experience with social media I concluded that the largest portion of the target audience will have Facebook accounts and will be most apt to pay attention to updates on this page.

Before I began my efforts, this page was updated roughly 10 times per semester about submission deadlines, reading dates, and issue releases – not effective in attracting attention.

I began using the Facebook page to promote the annual reading Central Review puts on each semester. During this event the authors are offered a chance to read the work that was published in that semester’s issue. To get as many attendants as possible I was creating posts approximately twice a day to remind people to attend. As one of the PR coordinators I assisted in putting posters around campus and I created a post with a picture of a bulletin board in Moore covered in the posters.

I also created posts promoting Central Review’s Twitter page which I will mention later.

Once the Tumblr page was created I started taking excerpts of different pieces from the most recent issue and linking to that post on the Tumblr page. I also posted some of the photographs that were submitted. I used the Facebook page as a way to show people specifically what types of writing and photography Central Review publishes. These posts seemed to have gotten the most feedback which was primarily “likes.”

I attempted to create a few interactive posts that asked people to share their experiences or input their opinion on different subjects. Unfortunately my efforts fell a little short and only a few of these posts were created. I found an article from the New York Times discussing the possibility of libraries using e-books. I wanted to know people’s opinions of e-readers so I posted the article and asked which they prefer: e-readers or books. This post got one reply which was exciting. On Thanksgiving I asked fans to share what they were thankful for but sadly did not get any replies. This could be attributed to people being busy with holiday festivities.

I also attempted to build up the number of pages Central Review “likes” on Facebook. This was more difficult because it was hard to find relatable pages to the target audience. I focused on pages relevant to the university such as CM-Life and Grand Central Magazine or local businesses such as Kaya Coffee House. Throughout the course of this project the number of “likes” this page has increased about 15-20 people making a total of 140.

2. Twitter

Like the Facebook page, the already existing Twitter account was rarely used causing Central Review to not have a significant presence on this platform. The first step I took was to create a large selection of novelists, literary magazines, and publishers to follow. I increased to the number of accounts it follows by about 50 accounts.

Promoting the reading was the first thing I did when I received access to this account. I soon realized that many student may not be able to attend so I developed a hashtag “#crreading” and Tweeted live from the event. I chose quotes from most of the pieces read that night and included the hashtag at the end.

Through using this hashtag I was able to easily promote both the event and the Twitter page through Facebook posts. Hopefully those who could not attend took a glance at some of the quotes that were tweeted. I did not ask people to participate in the use of the hashtag during the event because of the serious nature of it and did not want people to be disrespectful to those reading their work.

After the reading was done I focused on re-tweeting some tweets that might be helpful to aspiring authors. I also posted interesting information from the literary world or humorous comments that writers might enjoy.

Once the Tumblr page was up I started including very short but intriguing quotes from different pieces and linking to the corresponding Tumblr post with the full text. I also tweeted links to the Tumblr posts with the photography submissions. One of the tweets was got re-tweeted which was exciting news.

A challenge with the Twitter page was the lack of student followers. Though recently, a few literary accounts did start following us as a result of the increase in posts and our account following theirs. I plan on keeping this page alive and running in the future and hope to live tweet to followers during the Spring reading.

3. Tumblr

For the third platform I created a Tumblr account for Central Review. Because the virtual edition of the journal is a PDF file I wanted a way to post each submission online as a easy way for people to read the work. I also wanted an easy way to link to specific pieces from the Facebook and Twitter.

I anticipated not having a large following base of CMU students so I created a collection of authors and photographers that the account follows. I used the “reblog” feature on Tumblr to repost some pieces of writing or photos that I found interesting and corresponded with the writing from Central Review.

Because this page lacks student followers I strictly focused on getting the poetry, prose, and photography pieces from the fall issue posted. I fully utilized the “tagging” feature on Tumblr to get my posts noticed by other Tumblr users. For example, each prose piece I posed would be always tagged “prose” “writing” “creative writing” and “literary.” By doing this posts got “liked” a significant number of times and a one photo was re-blogged. In about a week and a half the page got 15 followers from the literary community which was exciting.

On the Tumblr page I included a link to the whole PDF edition of the fall issue as well as links to all posts tagged either prose, poetry, or photography so people are able to easily navigate to any type of post.

Creating the Tumblr page was the most challenging because I was starting from scratch and I’ve only used Tumblr for personal use and not from a brand standpoint.  I hope to keep promoting this page in coming semesters to get more people, especially the writers themselves to follow.

Next semester and possibly next fall I will continue to work as a PR coordinator for Central Review and plan to continue managing these social media accounts. In the future I will hope to create a larger fan base for the pages which will help increase awareness for the journal around campus.

This project was a great learning experience for me. All semester we’ve just talked about how brands can use social media as a tool for success but now I can say that I’ve done it as well. Though my pages are new and still gaining their presence, hopefully it is a success waiting to happen!

Netflix apology on YouTube

In spirit of the Netflix company releasing their statement of apology to users for causing a lot of confusion with the new changes, I recorded my own explanation while acting as a spokesperson for Netflix.

Because I was on a very short time constraint the video did not turn out as well as I would have hoped but it was a great learning experience.

In my video I did include a short apology towards the end. I felt that the primary focus on this statement did not need to be on the apology but the fact that Netflix has decided not to change their system and letting the people know that their complaints were heard.

I attempted to make my tone sincere though I was not too successful because I was feeling rushed. I wanted to take a different approach from the apology from the actual Netflix employees and actually talk with the viewers instead of talking at them. While watching the Netflix video I felt as if the spokespeople were talking down to me and it became frustrating towards the end.

I left out the part about Netflix claiming that they are done with price increases forever. I feel that this statement could not possibly be true and I did not want to give false hope to any of the customers.

My explanation was kept short and simple and just wanted to tell Netflix users that the changes are done and that the company will no longer be split in half. This decision came from the complaints received about the new changes announced a few months ago.

Obviously if I had more time my message would have been better and I wouldn’t have appeared as nervous and rushed. I became extremely nervous when my group members were standing there holding the camera and watching me the whole time. Money wouldn’t really be an issue because I would want the setting of my video to put the viewer at ease and not making them feel uncomfortable if I were to be in a suit and sitting in my office.

If I were to repeat this exercise I would try and make my eye contact better. Looking people in the eye while apologizing and explaining something is very important to get the message across.

Chysler missed social media opportunity

Social media can benefit a company in numerous ways, but if not handled carefully it can harm a brand as well.

An employee of Chrysler was terminated this past year for using obscene language in one of his tweets that went out through the company’s twitter account on his phone instead of his personal account. The tweet was also bashing people from Detroit, where Chrysler headquarters is located. This tweet was giving a bad name to the company he works for and the city of Detroit. This was a careless mistake that could have been avoided with paying attention to small details.

Chrysler responded to this mishap by writing a post on their official blog website apologizing for the offensive language used. The post was only about 200 words and lacked any kind of depth on the issue.

Instead of just sending out this little blog post which I’m sure went out via Facebook and Twitter, either a high up executive or a spokesperson should have recorded a live apology. I feel that an apology coming from an actual person instead of just a computer screen will be more memorable. Even though this was just a small and minor incident it still deserved more attention from Chrysler. This video should have been placed on YouTube and shared via Facebook, Twitter, and the company’s website.

Along with a recorded apology Chrsler could have taken the Red Cross approach and turned the incident into a lighthearted matter.

Having a video apology would have made this situation a lot better…but they should not take advice from the Netflix apology…those guys were creepy.

Successful social media campaign

This past August, Ford Motor Company developed the F-150 EcoBoost Challenge that would highlight the aspects of their new EcoBoost engines. This challenge consisted of eight people across the country receiving an F-150 truck for the week and competing to achieve the highest miles per gallon.

Each competitor represented different regions of the United States and brought eight different markets into the competition with varying degrees of social influence in their communities. The drivers included Jason Falls (a Twitter user with over 40,000 followers), the social media manager for American Eagle Outfitters, and a middle school biology teacher.

All of the drivers were on a point system that required them to drive the most fuel efficient way possible. Each driver reported their success on the Ford Facebook page.

The second part of the competition involved getting the local communities of each competitor involved philanthropically. Each driver teamed up with their community for a weekend challenge to promote goodwill and local involvement within the area. The drivers had to use their F-150 trucks to carry supplies that would benefit community improvement project. All drivers had their respective projects posted on the Facebook page and the general public could go online and vote for their favorite.

Winners were determined by which competitor averaged the highest miles per gallon over the course of the week, the number of votes received on Facebook, and how many volunteers participated in the goodwill event. Ford partnered up with Shell to give the winning contestant a year supply of free gas and gave away free gas to the winning community for two hours and 22 minutes.

I got a chance to speak with Craig Daitch, a social media manager at Ford, about this campaign and its success.

Daitch explained that over 1,000 pounds of cat food was donated and relief packages were created in Raleigh for those affected by the hurricane that took place during the competition.

This challenge also produced success rates for Ford’s social media. Because the public was required to “Like” the Ford Facebook page before being able to vote, the page saw a 113% increase in fans. Ford’s Twitter page also reached 7 million followers as a result from this campaign. This challenge also received extensive media coverage about the average miles per gallon the winning driver achieved including coverage from USA Today.

When asked if this challenge helped sales for the trucks at all, Daitch responded that the social media success was not measured in per unit sales but that the company saw a changed paradigm. A more positive sentiment for Ford was seen as a result from the goodwill aspect of this competition.

Daitch also explained that this challenge helped Ford’s social media reach an audience that isn’t as prevalent in the social media world. The voting aspect of the contest forced people to start interacting with Ford’s Facebook page and seeing what it has to offer fans beyond just voting.

One of the competitors, Josh Mishell, created a website to encourage votes in his community and across the country. Information about the contest, himself, and his efforts in blog posts are all on the website. This page got over 14,000 visitors throughout the course of the competition.

This social media campaign was extremely successful in that helped introduce a new product from Ford in a way that caught people’s attention. It also generated goodwill and helped many communities across the nation.

Ford’s social media also benefited in more ways than one. It is evident, just from glancing at Ford’s social media website that the company cares about its customers and wants to interact with them as much as possible. The company definitely reached their goal in generating brand awareness and establishing a sentimental credibility with the public.


Mobile Apps

One news organization that has created an exceptional mobile app for the iPad is CNN. This app offers a fast way to deliver news for young people on the go. The homepage offers a visually appealing set up of the day’s headlines that is easy to scroll through and cleanly organized. There are tabs for the user to choose between either the top stories, featured stories, or streamed video. There is also a place to watch what is playing on CNN live.

This app offers a way for people to build a profile which allows them to save stories, view reading history, or state their preference for US news or international news. A feature that is extremely useful is a way for users to share a specific story or video to Facebook, Twitter, or email it. Having this feature is extremely important for the young generation that is using the iPad. It is also extremely easy to leave a comment either through Facebook or CNN on a news story.

Another great feature of this app is that when a user is on a specific news story to get to the next one all they need to do is swipe to the left and the next one will come up. I find this useful because I do not like having to keep clicking back to get to the next story. This also keeps the user clicking while on the app. There is also a row of stories on the bottom of each story that forces the user to keep clicking on the app and not close it out.

A brand that has a mobile app is Central Michigan University. This app is called CMU Connect. This app allows students and faculty to explore the news and events that are going on at the university. It offers a page for news stories, a calendar of events that are happening each day.

This app is useful in theory but I feel that it needs a lot of work. There are minimal updates to the news stories per day. The events page seems to be fine but I have never seen this app updated in the three years I’ve been here. I think that they need to advertise this app more and the features that it has.

As a CMU student I feel that this app does not particularly draw me because it does not offer me anything that I cannot already get on the internet. More interactive and personalized features is a must. Facebook and Twitter should also be utilized in this app because it is the main way that students in college communicate with one another. An easy way to connect with CM Life would also be a good idea.

It’s great that Central is trying to reach out to students by creating a mobile app but it needs to be updated more and be catered to the students on a better level. While there is already an app for the dorm cafeterias a place to click that would also be a good idea to see what is on the menu each day. Connecting with the athletics department to get updated scores for any game going on.

Legends of the Dark

The SCVNGR trek that my group and I created can be used by either Central Michigan University or the ghost tour that goes around campus, Legends of the Dark.

Though Legends of the Dark already has a tour with a live person speaking, this can allow students to become aware of the brand if they are unable to attend the tour. If they were to make all of the known ghost stories into one big trek they could create a competition for students and offer prizes for the winners. Each year the challenges could be different for a change of pace. Personally, I would feel more motivated to attend this tour if there was a competition and prizes involved.

CMU should also take advantage of the SCVNGR tool and build treks for incoming freshmen. These challenges could offer them a chance to learn the names of the buildings and a little bit about the history of the university. The winners could also be given prizes at the end. One possible day for this to take place is CMU and You day. This trek will help the brand of CMU by helping prospective students become aware of the campus and what the university has to offer.


Paranormal Act-CHIP-ity.

Our group decided to take advantage of the upcoming Halloween season by using the ghost stories on Central’s campus and creating a SCVNGR trek titled, Paranormal Act-CHIP-ity. My group members were Danny Goodwin and Ellen Trudell.

The first task required of the participants is to go to Warriner Hall’s main entrance and find a QR code to scan. This task coincides with the ghost story of Theresa Elizabeth Schumacher who was accidentally killed in the elevator of Warriner Hall. Now, she is said to haunt the building, appearing at random to those who stop by after dark. By scanning this code the person will be directed to an article written in CM-Life about the ghost that died in the elevator shaft in Warriner Hall.

The second task takes the participants to the seal by Warriner Hall. The story says that in the 1950’s, a woman waiting on the love of her life to pick her up from Warriner Seal froze to death in the blistering cold before he could arrive. People are required submit and take a picture of themselves kissing a loved one in front of the seal.

The third task requires them to head over to Sloan Hall where they can find an upside down cross on the chimney of the building. Participants are required to answer what image they see, this is an open ended response.

The fourth task uses the story of Carolyn. Carolyn Corey was a freshman at CMU who died in her dorm room in Bernard Hall, a residence hall in the 50’s when she died. She now reportedly haunts  CMU’s campus and was once seen in the pond across from the library dressed in all white. This challenge requires people to find another QR code under a picnic bench to see the name “Carolyn.”

The fifth task requires the participants to go to the historical school house that is on the corner of Preston and West Campus street. This school house is allegedly haunted. Here people need to take and submit the “scariest” picture they can think of here. We want people to get creative!

Forever Facebook

For this assignment I have chosen the brand Forever 21. This clothing store is able to use the new Facebook changes to interact with consumers. Instead of simply “Liking” the page “Forever 21,” people will now be able to say that they “Wear’ Forever 21.

Each time the user does online shopping at Forever 21’s website they can have the option to connect into Facebook to let their friends know what they recently bought. For example: If I were to buy a sweater from the website my Facebook friends would then know that I recently bought a V-Neck Cardigan from Forever 21. This feature on Facebook will prompt many users to click on the post to view what the article of clothing looks like and will hopefully persuade them to stay on the website and shop.

This app can also give recommendations to a user who has recently purchased or viewed specific clothes from the website. These recommendations can be seen by clicking on the app itself.

If the user wishes, it will be possible for people to say what they are wearing a specific day. There will be some clothing options on the app itself from Forever 21’s collection but more can be seen on their website. All the user has to do is find whatever clothing item they are wearing that day and click a button that says “I am currently wearing this.” Their Facebook friends will then see that they are wearing that particular article of clothing.

Another feature this ab will have is connected to Foursquare and Facebook. If a person is shopping in a Forever 21 store and they check in via Foursquare and have their updates sent to Facebook it will appear that “Jenny Muscat is at 12 Oaks Mall shopping at Forever 21.”

This app will give Forever 21 a great deal of exposure on Facebook. Young adults take recommendations about products from their friends very seriously when deciding to purchase then or not. When Facebook users see that their friends are wearing Forever 21 clothing or shopping at their stores they will then have a more positive idea of this brand in their mind.