Burger King: Case Study (Extra Credit)

Burger King is a burger chain known to many around the United States and the world. In terms of profit, it has been second to McDonald’s for quite some time and has recently lost it’s #2 place to Wendy’s. Since social media is becoming more and more important each day, I believe their decreasing popularity may be due, in part, to some of their weak social media. Although Burger King is a worldwide chain with restaurants in all 52 states and over 72 countries, their Twitter presence does not reflect this.

Of all of Burger King’s fairly weak social media, I feel that their Twitter is the area that needs the most work. Their only strongpoint is Facebook, which has over 4.5 million followers. This is a definite contrast from their Twitter which clocks in at just about 50,000 followers, about 1/80th of their following on Facebook. There is definitely something wrong here. Twitter is the second largest social network following Facebook, and it is crucial that they have a strong positive presence on here. Their competitor, Wendy’s has them beat on Twitter by about 20,000 followers. This may be linked to the higher popularity of Wendy’s.

Note the difference in popularity between the Twitter and Facebook



Burger King’s Twitter (note lack of conversation, hashtags)

In regards Burger King’s activity on Twitter, they Tweet very inconsistently. Some days they will have three Tweets, and then they will drop off the map for a few days. They never Tweet outside of the workday, and by doing this, they are missing a huge amount of their audience. In order to increase their effectiveness on Twitter, Burger King needs to change these things, which shouldn’t be hard for them. Their restaurants are open for almost 24 hours and they could train trusted employees to work on the Twitter while they are at work to increase the activity.

I think that they have high potential for becoming more of a social business because they have so much room for growth on their Twitter. Their following is so small and there is a huge amount of consumers that they have yet to reach. In order to become more of a social business, Burger King needs to build their Twitter audience by using a variety of strategies. Currently, they have no use of a hashtag and they rarely communicate with their audience. For starters, they could begin doing these two things. They could also offer deals or coupons via their Twitter or begin a hashtag campaign. (However they must be careful doing these to avoid a McDonalds mishap).

Overall, Burger King has huge room for improvement. I believe that improving their social media can help them climb the charts again and once again compete with McDonalds in the #2 spot for Burger Chains.

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Southwest Airlines: Case Study

Southwest Airlines was incorporated in March 15th of 1967 and since then has expanded their flights from just Texas, to all over the world. In terms of social media, Southwest Airlines is probably one of the top dogs in airlines. With over 1.25 million followers, their  Twitter is quite impressive. They have round-the-clock interaction with their audience and respond to each and every one of their customers. Whenever a customer Tweets at them with a negative experience, Southwest Airlines responds promptly and offers help. They even respond to negative Tweets directed at other airlines and offer assistance. However, this case study does not focus on their Twitter, which is well known to many, it will focus on their Facebook. Their Facebook has also been extremely successful, but by the use of a different strategy, which is the campaign I am about to describe. Example of Tweet interaction of Southwest Airlines Screenshot of Southwest Airline’s Twitter Believe it or not, at 2,185,234 likes, Southwest Airlines Facebook tops the Twitter. They also have almost 9,000 people talking about them and 204, 042 check-ins. Over 300 people like almost every post they make. This is most likely due to the fact that the content they post is not only related to the airline, but more importantly, related to their consumers. However, their Facebook has not always been this way, when they noticed they were lagging in this area, they decided to develop a campaign to strengthen this area. Ad that they used around various airports Much of the support that they receive on Facebook is due to a campaign partnered with the Make a Wish Foundation. As of November 2010, Southwest Airlines decided that they would donate 1 dollar to the Make a Wish Foundation for each person that checks in to Southwest Airlines on Facebook. This has had extraordinary success and has earned  them over 1 million new fans on this social network (that’s nearly half of their fans!).  After the campaign was over, in the beginning of 2011, over 300,000 was raised for the Make a Wish Foundation and Southwest Airlines’s Facebook had improved significantly. Screenshot of Facebook  Screenshot of activity on Facebook page, note positivity of costumers

Unlike many other brands, which choose to give money away to fans who like their page, Southwest Airline chooses to give it to a charity. This strategy proves to be very effective and makes it very simple to donate to a good cause. This strategy gives the consumers more incentive to check in and like the page because at the same time, they are also giving to a charity. I cannot believe the success that Southwest has had with this campaign. One million new fans is kind of a big deal and the way that they did it is something to be proud of. Through this case study, I have learned the importance of incorporating multiple aspects to a social media, and doing it in the right way. It is important for a company to excel on several platforms of social media, not just one. Southwest Airlines not only has a successful Twitter, but also a blog and now, Facebook. This makes Southwest very well rounded in terms of social media and allows them to reach the largest possible audience.

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Sharpie: Case Study

Sharpie was launched in the U.S. in 1964 by Sanford Ink Company, but can now be found in more than 20 countries around the world. Although Sharpie is a relatively limited company, producing mostly only permanent markers and pens, their social media is one that people should take notes on. They use a variety of tactics to gather and retain their audience. These tactics range from usage on their Twitter, to their Facebook to their Instagram, which they use to share their customer’s Sharpie-made artwork. They also use their “Sharpie Blog” extraordinarily well by giving their audience new crafts and uses for Sharpie markers. Through this Case Study, I am going to focus on their social media success on Twitter.

ImageSharpie Instagram

ImageSharpie Blog

Currently, Sharpie’s Twitter has about 230,000 followers and 8,230 tweets. They have a high engagement with their audience and Tweet multiple times each day. Many of their tweets are replying to their consumers, which shows how focused they are on their audience. They also Tweet outside of normal work hours, which is crucial to reach the audience. Many companies make the mistake of not doing this. However, I am a little surprised that with all they are doing, and with the campaign I am about to describe, they do not have a higher amount of followers.

Sharpie’s Current Twitter (notice the background):


At the beginning of the 2011 school year, Sharpie decided that it wanted to raise product awareness by starting a campaign that was aimed towards teenagers interested in self expression. It urged those who wanted to “uncap what’s inside” to associate with them to discuss their interests in music, writing, etc. They encouraged the teenagers to share projects that they created with Sharpies and in turn, Sharpie would share them to their audience. They did all of this with the help of a Promoted Account and Promoted Tweets campaign targeted at the certain creative teenager population. The audience eventually began tagging their conversations involving creativity with #Sharpie, which shows how well this campaign worked.

Through their campaign, Twitter was able to increase their followers by 6x. During the time of the campaign, they acquired about 1,000 new followers each day. I feel that they did a great job of picking their target audience. Teenagers today are very active on most social media accounts, especially Twitter and Facebook. They like to express themselves through these outlets and Sharpie was there to help them do that. They also targeted a group that is a huge consumer of Sharpie markers. They use them for their classes and also for recreational purposes.


An example of a promoted tweet done in their campaign

The post above shows how Sharpie interacts with it’s audience: during the campaign and currently

Sharpie has not only utilized the communication part of Twitter, but also the creative side of it as well. They change the background of their Twitter almost weekly to showcase their product or projects that can be done with their product. This is reason enough alone for many customers to navigate themselves to the Twitter page. When those teenagers heard about the campaign and explored the Twitter page, they most likely noticed the graphics and were interested in the brand almost instantly.


Example of Sharpie’s changing Twitter background

Overall, I think that Sharpie does an amazing job on incorporating their audience and meeting their needs. By focusing older teenagers with their campaign, they were able to hit a large number of both their consumers and those that are on social media. Through this case study, I have learned the importance of targeting your audience and creating a campaign that will coincide with their interests. This way, they are more likely to interact and promote your brand.

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Mayo Clinic Social Media Policy


As with all healthcare and hospital social media, it can get a bit tricky deciding what employees can and cannot post. Mayo Clinic is no different. However, I feel that they do an effective job in their Social Media Policy for employees in clearly stating what is okay for their employees to share.

This document is one of a few that the hospital has for social media. Their other documents include a Comment Policy and Participation Guidelines. These can all be found at different places on their site and are directed towards different audiences (patients, staff, the organization as a whole).

Some highlights of their document are that I believe it states very clearly what employees can and cannot do on their own personal accounts; there is no grey area. It also says that when the employee speaks about Mayo Clinic, they must make it clear that it is their opinion and not the opinion of the organization as a whole. This is crucial in maintaining Mayo Clinic’s reputation. Another thing I found very positive about the document is that it also states that you cannot partake in social media while working. I think this is also very important in a healthcare setting.

An area I think they should include, although it may be a given, is not to share what occurs in the hospital and with patients, as this may be infringing on privacy. They may not have put this in there because their employees already know this, but I still think an extra bullet could be added that includes this. They mention it very briefly in the beginning, but it could be emphasized.

In terms of changing the plan, I wouldn’t take anything out, but I would add a section specifying what you can and cannot share from your experiences working at the hospital. Some employees may feel it is okay to complain about certain things they must do, or patients, and the hospital should draw clear lines that this is not okay.

Overall, I feel social media policies are a must for all organizations even if the company itself is not on a social media channel.  One reason for this is that their employees may be on social media talking about the company in a negative way, which could give it a bad reputation. Social Media Policies are a must for all organizations-big or small. It helps to keep employees accountable and sets guidelines to help the company’s social media be as effective as possible. When someone takes on work at a company they should be accountable for respecting that company, both in person and on social media. If they are not, it could mean serious consequences for the business.

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Social Media can what?!

That’s right, social media can help you land a new job. How you ask? Well, an article on mashable stated that, “In 2012, companies are projected to use social media to recruit for more than four out of five job openings. Some 95% of recruiters have already successfully hired candidates found through LinkedIn, while Twitter and Facebook help connect job-seekers with employers as well.”

They are using it for several reasons, whether it be that they are looking to save money on recruiting, they want to target people who are social-media savvy, or they want to target people with specific skills. Studies have shown that when they are looking at candidate’s profiles, they only take about 6 seconds and tend to narrow in on job titles and profile photos. If you are looking to improve your page, start there.


This infographic shows some more key things to keep in mind when preparing your Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook page for future employers. Make sure that you follow recruiters and companies that you are interviewing with. If they see this, it will show that you have genuine interest in the position and went a step further than most by looking into the company’s social media presence.

You can also see that they use social media tools for the majority of hiring in non-managerial salary positions, which is the kind of jobs that we are looking for. The infographic also stated that recruiters spend more time sourcing applicants than they even do posting job opportunities, which is why it is so important all of your pages are top-notch

Chance are, it is safe to assume that the company you are applying for is checking you out on Linkedin. They know that as younger individuals, we probably have accounts on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. They are going to want to check them out. I myself have noticed this, oftentimes the people who view my profile on Linkedin are from companies that I have just applied to, or from people that I am about to interview with. It’s a little scary, but this just shows how crucial it is that you are representing yourself as best as you can on these sites.

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The Foursquare Experience

When I was given the assignment to create a foursquare account, I had no idea what to expect. To be honest, I didn’t even really know what foursquare was at the time. I was pleasantly surprised, I actually liked the social media outlet. I found most of the information to be extremely informative and useful.

I had no problem writing 10 tips for the assignment we were given, I found it quite easy, even maybe a little enjoyable. I liked that you didn’t have to check in to the establishment to write a tip, this made it much easier. After this experience, Foursquare is one tool that I intend to continue using, even if I am just reading the tips for a location I am visiting.

When it comes to checking in to places, I never actually did it, though the site gives you plenty of incentives to do so. By checking in to several places that are related to one another, you can acquire a variety of badges. The image below is an example of some of the badges that you could unlock through checking in. Some locations even offer deals for checking in to their establishment.


In regards to facebook vs. foursquare. I found it much more convenient to just check in on facebook. All of your friend are already on there and connected. On foursquare you have to go through and find all of your friends all over again. However, on Foursquare, it is much easier to find important tips for each location. By reading the tips, you can find out what to order, what the hours are, when it’s busy and where the best place to sit is. It’s a little harder to find this type of information on Facebook.

However, there is always the issue of privacy and security. This issue is especially heightened when broadcasting to everyone what your current location is.  If you keep your settings and information where you are comfortable, and are only friends with people you trust, you should be able to avoid this problem.

Overall, I enjoyed Foursquare more than I thought I would. The resources that it offers and peer reviews are invaluable resources. If you are a newbie like I am, watch this video, it helped a lot!

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Must read for soon-to-be grads

We all know the main rules for social networking and work. Don’t put anything incriminating on facebook, don’t facebook at work, and as long as you keep everything private you won’t have to worry about your future employer seeing anything. Right? Wrong

An article I found, “Social Media and Employment Law: Six things you need to know, ” definitely scared some sense into me. The article goes through six important points most people are unaware of:

1. Your company most likely monitors every single page that you click on throughout the day. Every single page. Make sure you are positive of a source before you click on a link or you may get into some serious trouble.

2. Posts aren’t Private. Even if you have fixed your settings to make your profile private, chances are, your employer or future will be able to see everything. Even those pictures from freshmen you carefully tucked away.

3. If you claim to have a false disability (say, not being able to stand for long periods of time) don’t post photos or make your status about running a marathon.

4. Business Events. If you go to a business sponsored event, be careful what pictures you post. If you put up pictures with you sitting on a coworkers lap or dancing a little too closely, you could be cited for sexual harassment.

5. No insulting your boss on social media. This may be a given, but some people who are not friends with their boss may think this is okay. It’s not, there have been several cases where this has happened and the person was fired. You can find one of the cases here.

6. Free speech does not exist. Only government employees have certain free speech rights. This means that if you post your views on religion, politics, etc and you work for a private company that feels you are giving their company a bad name, there could be serious consequences.

7. (my own rule) creating a name in which you think no one knows will not save you from these 6 problems. Chances are, sooner or later, one of your coworkers or boss will figure out who you are.

Happy job hunting!

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The next big thing

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest……. what’s next? This past week while on Spring Break I couldn’t help but think why in the world there wasn’t a social media website dedicated to travel, weekend trips. and vacationing. I mean on Pinterest you can make a “travel” board, but that only touches the surface on what could possibly be done.

When I got home I decided to look into it and sure enough, there are actually quite a few. One of the sites that I found is called TripBirds. This relatively new site (opened just this past Tuesday) allows you to turn your friend’s social media posts into your very own travel guide. For example, you can type in a destination that you wish to travel to and it pulls up all of your friends that have been to the destination, their pictures, comments, and dialogue about the location. However, as with many social media sites, one downfall is it only works if all of your friends use it also. If not, it is pretty useless. It can only gather data that belongs to members of the site. For the site’s sake, I do hope that it becomes the next big thing so that its content can be useful.

After visiting and exploring the site a bit, I found the layout and format to be extremely easy to use and quite simplistic. Another downfall of this site though is that they don’t really offer a tutorial or explanation on the homepage unless you sign up. Nevertheless, I think that this is a great idea and a key travel tool that should be utilized. I can definitely see it catching on amongst those that enjoy traveling.

I also found some other social media travel sites that are just starting up but haven’t really caught on yet. Some of these include Wanderfly, Gtrot, Gogobot and Trippy.  After exploring and reading about all of these sites, I found that they all offer something a little different and are extremely helpful when thinking of places to travel. You don’t even need a membership to use some of these sites, which I think is great. I urge you all to click on at least one of these outlets to see where it may take you!

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Social Media & the Medical Field

While in social media classes,my public relations minor classes, I am always looking for ways these subjects relate to the medical field, which is what I hope to go in to. I found an interesting article that integrates these two areas in a very surprising way.

Titled, How a Team of Doctors Uses Social Media to Drive Awareness and Save Lives, this article points out the unfortunate fact that the medical field hasn’t embraced Social Media as warmly as most other industries have. This could partly be due to privacy or liability, but they should be able to find strategies to avoid this.

This article portrays how the non profit medical program, Floating Doctors, is using Social Media to spread awareness and get aid to keep the organization running. It seems as if they may even be using it more effectively than many well known hospitals in the U.S.

Floating Doctors, which was founded in 2008, “serves along the coasts of the Eastern Caribbean and Central America by boat — setting up mobile clinics in impoverished communities that are battling tropical disease.” The main outlet they use it Twitter, but they make some use of Facebook as well.

They use social media in three ways:

1. Tweeting for Aid – the organization has found that tweeting at large research institutes or hospitals has a much greater benefit and faster response then sending them an email which they may never read. It is an easy way to get directly to the source

2. Digital Diagnoses – when the team comes a cross a situation or condition they do not know how to treat, they are limited on resources due to their location. By posting a video of the condition on Twitter, they get thousands of responses, many from doctors. Through this tool, they are able to recruit help and treat the situation.

3. Unmasking Tropical Disease – Floating Doctors says that the main thing they do on Twitter is to give glimpses of the people they treat and what they are dealing with. Most people are unaware of the rare tropical diseases that exist and have eradicated some countries. It is important to inform people that this is a serious threat to these countries and that what the team is doing is crucial to the area’s future

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Before reading this post, please watch this video.

I cannot remember if this is the exact video we were shown the first day of class, or one that is just extremely similar. Either way, I just watched it again and had a completely different perspective on it from just a few weeks ago. Weird, right?

In the very beginning of the video, it said the social media may just be the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution. At first, I didn’t know what to think of this. Now I realize just how powerful this statement is. In just the past few years, we have created completely new outlets for hiring, marketing, connecting, etc. These outlets haven’t jsut been created, they have caught on like wildfire.

Some facts to consider:

-50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old, 96% of these people have joined some type of social network.

-Social media has taken the #1 spot on the web over any other internet activity.

-Social media sites such as Facebook, grew at a pace incomparable to TV, radio, and internet usage when they first came out.

-80% of companies use social media for recruitment, 95% of these companies use Linkedin

-Some universities have even gone on to stop distributing email accounts

-People now trust peer recommendations on the web than advertisements

-An astonishing 90% of people don’t even watch ads anymore thanks to TiVo and DVR

-24 of 25 top newspapers are experiencing dramatic declines in circulation

-“Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.”

Watching this video again has hit me in a whole new way. Social media is changing the way everything runs. It will put some companies out of business, while creating new opportunities. Not only professionally, but in education, family,  and relationships as well. It’s extremely scary, yet extremely exciting at the same time. Thankfully, we have been able to adapt to all of this change during our schooling and it’s not as strange a concept to us.

One of the quotes that influenced me the most in this video was, ” We don’t have a choice whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.” With the way social media is growing, pretty soon, we will not be able to avoid it.


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