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The Latest Trend in Social Media for Cable Communicators
An ACC Online Chat – July 13, 2010
Download .PDF version of the transcript



Welcome to ACC’s latest online chat – The Latest Trends in Social Media for Cable Communicators! During the next hour, we will discuss how your peers are using social media to accomplish business and communications goals.


All are welcome to participate. We only ask that you remember that this is a professional forum and act accordingly.


ACC has lined up six experts to help us dig deeper during this discussion. They are:
Steven Barringer – director of employee communications, Cox Communications
Justin Davy – manager, social media marketing, Scripps Networks
Tara DeGeorges – online content manager, Time Warner Cable
Melissa Sorola – communications director, Time Warner Cable Texas Region
Gary Underwood – vice president of communications, Time Warner Cable
Eric Wagner – public relations manager, Cox Communications

MelissaSorola Hi, this is Melissa with the Texas Region of Time Warner Cable. I’m the regional director of communications responsible for internal and external communications including social media. Follow me on Twitter @melissaTWC_TX for TWC news from Texas.
Justin_Davy I work with Digital Media Buying and Social Media focused mainly on the shelter category for Scripps Networks which includes brands such as HGTV and DIY Network.
Tara_DeGeorges Hi, I’m Tara DeGeorges, Online Content Manager for Time Warner Cable Public Affairs. At TWC, I work on internal and external online communications. My social media experience comes into play primarily in external communications, as I manage the social media strategy for Connect a Million Minds (CAMM), TWC’s philanthropic commitment to connect kids to science, tech, engineering and math. My responsibilities with CAMM have included creating profile pages and handles for CAMM on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, building communities through quality content + conversation and actively recruiting new advocates for our initiative in the social sphere.
Steven_Barringer Good afternoon, I’m Steven Barringer, director of internal communications for Cox Communications. In addition to internal communications strategy and communications counsel duties, I oversee internal communications vehicles which include the company intranet as well as online publications and internal multimedia.
Eric_Wagner Hi, I’m Eric Wagner, manager of product public relations at Cox Communications in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Along with traditional media relations, I’m focused on leveraging online resources to augment our internal and external efforts.
Michelle_Butler Why did you start using social media?
Michelle_Butler Welcome, everyone! Please feel free to ask any question you would like of our experts on social media.
Michelle_Butler Please feel free to share your own experiences with social media as well.
Justin_Davy For us being able to communicate with such a large audience in one place was of value. It allows fans to connect with us in ways that the website or other methods didn't allow and best of all there was no cost.
MelissaSorola We realized that this was a tool that we could incorporate into our communications plans to reach customers quickly. At the same time we can see how people use Twitter for news – personally, I’ve found breaking news on Twitter before it hits broadcast news outlets
Steven_Barringer If we’re honest internal communicators we would have to admit that we are competing with social media for the attention of employees. With that in mind we had to begin to offer social media type experiences to keep employees engaged.
Michelle_Butler How are you using social media to achieve your company’s communications and business goals?
Michelle_Butler Melissa, I've read a lot of breaking news on twitter as well. Kind of an interesting phenomenon.
MelissaSorola Yes- there was a good blog post recently about how Twitter is becoming the new CNN for breaking news
Tara_DeGeorges Re: Why Did We Use Social Media...Social Media was a natural fit for Connect a Million Minds. When we launched the CAMM website last year, we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel by launching our own community functionality, since our target audience of parents and students were already active in pre-existing social spaces like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. By inserting our philanthropic brand into social media outlets that were already popular, we were able to quickly build awareness.
Michelle_Butler Justin - what can you do on social media that you couldn't on the Web site? Does network talent get involved?
MelissaSorola At the region level we use it for media relations, to promote our community initiatives, programming, product launches and some fun promotions. We’re also trying to be more proactive in having actual conversations with our audiences. It’s also been good for monitoring media/news.
Tara_DeGeorges @MelissaSorola, @Michelle_Butler: agreed! Twitter's trending topics are a much quicker news source than some popular news outlets like CNN
Michelle_Butler Steven - Social media helps you engage employees. How so? What works best?
Steven_Barringer Internally it would be tough to use the Facebooks and YouTubes of the world. So we really just started using social media principles. We leverage things found outside the firewall like allowing users the ability to comment on articles, videos and video stories, discussions and more.
Justin_Davy On Facebook and Twitter it allowed us to have 1 on 1 communication which could only be achieved previously by a person calling our customer service line. We do have network talent involvement. For example every Sunday evening on the HGTV Facebook page we have a live chat with a producer or on-air talent.
Michelle_Butler Tara - How did you decide which social media platforms to use for CAMM? popularity alone?
Eric_Wagner We've used social media internally as for the sake of technological ease. Something like Blog Talk Radio is a simple way to record a conversation among remote parties
Michelle_Butler Steven - So, you built your own social media capabilities into the intranet, etc?
gunderwood its proven to be an effective way to engage with media and the community during a rapidly changing situation - like a service outage - or a fast moving event like the nba jam session we did here a few months ago --
Steven_Barringer Pretty much. Employees seem to get into it and we're adding more functionality after the success of our initial push.
Michelle_Butler Eric - do you mostly use social media internally then?

Social Media Platforms, Tools and Use in Crises

Tara_DeGeorges @Michelle_Butler: We chose to insert ourselves into Facebook and Twitter primarily, because that's where our target, active audiences for Connect a Million Minds were -- parents with kids and students. Additionally, we've really made a push for Facebook since it's become easier and easier to integrate with, considering Facebook Connect /OpenGraph.
Michelle_Butler Gary - have you used social media a lot for crisis communications then? How can it help?
Michelle_Butler Can you tell us a little bit about Facebook Connect, Tara?
Michelle_Butler Which platforms do people prefer? Twitter? Facebook Is anyone using Foursquare or Gowalla?
gunderwood we had a major fiber cut one saturday, we were able to keep customers and media updated on the status of repair and estimated restoration time...
Michelle_Butler Please, everyone, feel free to ask any questions you have - and feel free to answer any of them as well. :) I'd love to hear how everyone is using social media.
Michelle_Butler Has social media ever backfired for you, Gary, in a crisis? Or for anyone else?
Justin_Davy We focus most of our efforts on Facebook and Twitter because that’s where the bulk of our particular audiences spend most of their time. It also comes down to a manpower issue and being able to maintain a presence on various platforms.
MelissaSorola re: platform- I think you have to look at what is going to be more effective - 140 characters can be tough to convey your message - or maybe I just talk a lot
Michelle_Butler It is hard to get it down to 140 characters, isn't it?
gunderwood you just have a lot to say....
MelissaSorola yes - plus if you're including links and room for others to reTweet you have to be creative
Michelle_Butler Like Melissa, I'm a fan of twitter. Do you use any of the twitter tools out there? For example, I like - for shortening urls and for tracking what is hit.
MelissaSorola also - I still have a hard time with abbreviating words because I know it's not grammatically correct
MelissaSorola for sure - we use that a lot to condense links and then for monitoring we use Hoot Suite
Eric_Wagner For shortening, we tend to use budurl because we can customize the url extension.
Steven_Barringer We use bit urls to track links we're sharing with employees that we can't track internally.
Michelle_Butler Gary, can you tell us more about your NBA Jams session?
Justin_Davy We're actually looking into creating our own custom urls here which we plan to tie into our analytics package (Omniture)
gunderwood i dont know if this is a backfire necessarily... but recently in el paso we had a television station asking their viewers to use the stations facebook as a forum to discuss service issues....
Tara_DeGeorges @Michelle_Butler, re: Facebook Connect. Sure! Facebook Connect is basically Facebook's original API, but on steroids. It enables websites to integrate successful FB functionality (sharing, "liking") onto their own sites, enabling community without actually building the infrastructure of a new social network. Bookmark this article! 10 Great Uses of FB Connect via Mashable
Michelle_Butler Melissa, can you tell us a little bit more about Hoot Suite?
Tara_DeGeorges I've never used HootSuite myself. I've had a good experience so far with TweetDeck, though. Can anyone weigh in on the advantages of one over the other?
Michelle_Butler What other tools are out there to help with Facebook? Do many of you have Facebook fan or like pages?
josefaMC Justin: Can you explain more about the structure of your facebook chats? How do you execute and measure if it was successful?
Michelle_Butler Tara, tell us more about Tweetdeck.
Michelle_Butler Interesting, Gary, about the El Paso station. I have noticed news stations using tweets, facebook messages, etc. in their news stories more often.
Michelle_Butler Did you do anything to address what the El Paso station did?
MelissaSorola Sure -we use HootSuite to monitor and manage what we send out on Twitter - it allows us to see our news feed, our own profile, our mentions, and then it allows us to customize searches - for example we have it set up to monitor any of Tara's online efforts for Connect A Million Minds so we have a search set up with the #ConnectMinds hashtag
Michelle_Butler Josefa, thank you for asking a question!!!! Everyone else, feel free to copy her example.
Justin_Davy @josefaMC We have a custom tab on our Facebook page which we embed a small html chat - When we have a popular tv host we get many more users vs a producer. We measure our success typically off the number of users as well as how many messages were posted. This is our first year we've had these chats on a weekly basis.
MelissaSorola I think it's graphically easier on my eyes than Tweet Deck
Michelle_Butler Twitter still seems the rage. Do you have to go through any approval process for the messages you post on Twitter? Facebook? etc.?
MelissaSorola It depends on the situation – if its crisis we just run our messages by our RVP; if it’s something fun we usually pass some Twitter posts among each other to maximize that 140 character space
Steven_Barringer Because what we are doing is internal, most items can be approved by me or by my manager.
gunderwood our jam session event was really enhanced by social media... between our corporate, regional and local teams we were able to maintain a high level of activity during a three day event... there was a ton of engagement -- we followed the NBA, they followed us -- i think you’re seeing some of this now from the LA team at the MLB all star game. we tweeted out details on the event, what TWC was doing on site and how they could watch the programming we were producing there.... more than 2700 Twitpic views, more than 360K total social media impressions from the hundreds of tweets we sent out that week....
josefaMC What was the average number of users & messages?
Tara_DeGeorges Like UberTwitter and Hootsuite, Tweetdeck is a platform that makes it easier to use Twitter, because in my opinion, Twitter's IA is a bit...lacking. The platform downloads to your desktop, and makes it quite easy to aggregate lists, retweet content, follow trends etc. But, I agree with Melissa Sorola, it's got a lot of bells and whistles that may make it a bit "uneasy on the eyes."
gunderwood that was not 140 characters.

Responding, Starting Conversations and Monitoring on Social Media

Michelle_Butler When you using Twitter or Facebook? Are you often responding to other people? Participating in Twitter chats? Putting stuff out there trying to start a conversation?
Justin_Davy @josefaMC Our last chat had 1200 messages within an hour. Not sure off hand the number of users.
Tara_DeGeorges Wow! @Justin_Davy: that's great
josefaMC Awesome numbers...congrats!
Eric_Wagner @Michelle_Butler We're doing a bit of everything. Probably the most time-intensive is responding.
Michelle_Butler Justin - who was featured in your last chat? talent?
Justin_Davy Thanks it helps that we have over 600,000 Facebook fans
Tara_DeGeorges I would love to hear about what type of analytics everyone uses to measure Facebook and Twitter success. How useful do you find Facebook Insight?
Michelle_Butler Thanks, Eric! Are you finding that as a communications professional you are called to respond to customer service issues?
MelissaSorola Me too Tara
Justin_Davy @Michelle_Bulter Our last chat was with Kevin Harris - Show Producer
Michelle_Butler Thanks, Justin! Can you tell if any of the chat followers watched the show?
Tara_DeGeorges @JustinDavy: How long has your FB page been live, and what type of resources do you dedicate to it?
Eric_Wagner @Michelle_Butler We have a process in place with the quality team here. Every post is ticketed, and those that clearly fall into the customer service "house" are dealt with there. Other, broader posts, are evaluated and responded to by our PR team.
Eric_Wagner @Justin_Davy Who was your favorite guest?
Michelle_Butler Thanks, Eric! How many of the PR team are involved monitoring social media?
Eric_Wagner Can you name names?
Justin_Davy We run our chat while the show is on so we're able to answer questions about what their seeing at that moment. We typically have a spike in questions during the commercials :)
Tara_DeGeorges Re: approval process: We don't have a day-to-day approval process, but we created a maintenance plan for day-to-day social media activity and a stunt plan for covering conferences and education events from a social media angle. These plans were reviewed by our senior team and have served as the template for our social media operations ever since.
MelissaSorola re: customer service issues - our efforts have evolved since we now have our online care team on Twitter @TWCableHelp - they are doing a great job of helping customers which frees us to concentrate on our efforts
Michelle_Butler Does your company monitor other social media? If so, what do you monitor and how often? What are your goals for monitoring it?
Justin_Davy Our first chat on 6/13 was with Antonio who won Design Star last year. I really enjoyed that one.
Eric_Wagner @Michelle_Butler There are two of us who typically monitor and a rotating cast of quality team members, depending on who is on the clock at any given time.
Justin_Davy We have a person assigned daily to answer questions on our Facebook pages. These come from various groups including on-air, online and customer service.
Tara_DeGeorges @Justin_Davy: Great to have representation from different departments; we've seen that having employees from across our regions & departments participating on Facebook and Twitter really makes a difference & helps build traffic & awareness in an organic way.
gunderwood re customer service issues... the online care team helped identify a very opinionated customer who had started a negative blog about us... we've been able to respond and slow his rhetoric down and resolve his issues...

Changes in Social Media and How It Is Revolutionizing Communications

Michelle_Butler How long have you all been engaged with social media? What kind of changes have you seen in the past year or so?
Steven_Barringer We've been doing it internally and externally for over a year. It's basically revolutionizing how we communicate.
Justin_Davy @Tara Yes tara and it helps because each group has their specialties which helps with the variety of questions
Eric_Wagner I think the biggest change has been broader adoption. There are a lot of grandparents on Facebook that weren't there a year ago, so we have to try and better understand the shifting online audience.
Michelle_Butler Great about the blogger, Gary!
Tara_DeGeorges Re: How long have you been engaged with social media. Three years; it's crazy to think that when I started MySpace was still relevant.
Michelle_Butler Interesting, Eric, about grandparents on Facebook. What are some of the things you've done to address this shifting audience?
gunderwood i still check my Prodigy account every day on my commadore 64
Tara_DeGeorges @gunderwood: HA!
josefaMC Which is more important:: Being re-active to post? Or trying to engage pro-actively to consumers daily? Or is there a right balance?
Eric_Wagner @Tara I recently saw MySpace referred to as "The Abandoned Amusement Park of the Internet"
Michelle_Butler Poor Prodigy - and poor My space.
Tara_DeGeorges @Eric_Wagner: What are your thoughts on that happening to Facebook? My inbox is getting more spammy by the day. Could their use of API be what helps save them?
Michelle_Butler Steven - you mentioned that social media has revolutionized how communications is done. Can you expand upon that? Everyone else?
Steven_Barringer @joefa: You have to find a balance. No need to tap all your resources to respond to someone with 2 followers.
Steven_Barringer It’s truly revolutionized what we do internally and has inspired us to learn new skills that we may not have pursued before. Things like video editing, moderating discussions and more.
MelissaSorola I agree with Steven - you have to gauge the credibility of the blogger/person on Twitter to determine how and when you respond
Eric_Wagner @Tara I think for now Facebook is safe because of that API. But it would never surprise me to see it become irrelevant. Although, they're working hard to become that "landing spot" for your total internet experience.
gunderwood Here’s the thing on early detection of those bloggers... obviously the guy could have eventually generated real media interest had his blog been seen by a larger audience. fortunately he didn't connect his blog to his twitter so there wasn’t much exposure to his rants about us...
Michelle_Butler Steven - Edelman at the communications institute talked about the third way of PR and a lot on social media. He did talk about the need to create content now - kind of what you are doing. You may find the videos interesting on the homepage if you have not seen it.
Tara_DeGeorges @Michelle_Butler re: communications: Social media is definitely changing things up. People are using it as shortcut to avoid customer service and get their answers more quickly.
MelissaSorola and to gary's comment - his credibility was shot because of the tone he used in his postings
Steven_Barringer I'll check it out. I'm always up for a new skill.

How Often Should You Post on Social Media And What’s the Next Big Thing

lorelie_j How often does everyone seem to be posting to Twitter/Facebook? For @Steven, are you sending content to employees daily, weekly, etc?
gunderwood melissa you are being very kind!
Michelle_Butler So, we've talked about what is losing popularity in social media. Any guesses on what is the next big thing?
Steven_Barringer Next big thing: Foursquare
Tara_DeGeorges I hear Friendster is making a comeback.
Michelle_Butler Why Foursquare? I don't like the enabling stalking aspect of it. How do you find it helpful/useful?
Steven_Barringer @lorelie: We post a discussion weekly to employees and they have the ability to comment on any video or article we post on the intranet.
gunderwood steven, how are you using foursquare?"
Eric_Wagner @lorelie_j We try to post promotional items on Twitter and Facebook a couple times a day, but not much more. I really don't want to flood anyone's stream.
Justin_Davy Our posts vary based on the audience. I'd recommend testing and watching your unsubscribe rates closely to determine the best mix.
MelissaSorola I've seen restaurants and small businesses use Foursquare to offer incentives and am not quite sure how we could use it
Steven_Barringer @Michelle: You can disable that. It could really come in handy with leveraging rewards for your customers and discounts on movies or services. @gary: I haven't yet, I'm still trying to come up with the right approach.
Michelle_Butler Do you know of anyone in cable using Foursquare? I think some of the networks are. Rainbow?
Tara_DeGeorges @lorelie_j: On a regular day, we post 6-8 times, and retweet once or twice. For large events and conferences where we're operating in a live blog mode, tweets can approach 25-30.
Susan_W. Steven, what metrics are you using for intranet measurement?
gunderwood mel gibson is not a fan of foursquare i understand. but we have had quite a bit of good luck with promotional tie-ins on twitter -- event tickets / movies on demand, etc...
Justin_Davy Bravo had or is doing something with FourSquare
Prasana Bravo is using Foursquare to promote their reality programming
Steven_Barringer Here's info on Foursquare and brands:
Michelle_Butler Does anyone remember any of the details about Bravo's efforts?
Steven_Barringer @Susan_W: We have a pretty robust analytics tool that allow us to see trends in what employees are reading as well as just basic stats.
Michelle_Butler Anyone tried Gowalla - it's supposed to be similar to foursquare.
MelissaSorola Steven - is it an internal proprietary tool?
MelissaSorola or can you share it :)
Susan_W. Steven, are you using Hit Box or Ultimate Survey?
Steven_Barringer Yes, we are running an Oracle platform with some custom development but the information we have been able to extract from it has been invaluable.
Tara_DeGeorges @Michelle_Butler: I think it's a partnership between Bravo/4SQ where viewers get a badge for visiting certain spots mentioned on shows like Top Chef.
Michelle_Butler Thanks, Tara! I just couldn't remember and I know I read about it.
Steven_Barringer @Susan: The analytics come with the Oracle application.
Prasana ACC's CPR Facts newsletter article on Bravo and Foursquare:

Negative Feedback or Concerns from Senior Management

Michelle_Butler It sounds like there is a lot of enthusiasm about social media out there. Are any of you still getting negative pushback from senior management or other coworkers about the use of social media?
Eric_Wagner Not negative necessarily, but hesitancy. The typical pushback is a concern over saturation.
Justin_Davy We've done a good job of explaining social media to all in the company including social media. The more everyone understands it and uses it themselves the clearer it is to them why we're using it and its benefits.
Michelle_Butler Over saturation - how so?
Justin_Davy sorry meant including senior management
Steven_Barringer @Michelle: For internal communications to employees it hasn’t been that hard. One of the great things about social media tactics is the ability to provide metrics on your tactics almost immediately. We’ve been able to maintain support by showing positive metrics and the connection we’re making with employees.
MelissaSorola They’ve seen what we’ve done and some of the results we’ve generated as a result of our Twitter activities. For example, when we launched Road Runner Mobile in Texas we held several demonstrations in Austin where we used Twitter to drive attendance and awareness of these demo events. We also worked with a tech reporter in Austin and allowed him to demo the product and as a result he wrote a blog about the product and sent the news out via Twitter. That was a good win for us and showed mgmt how it can be effective.
Eric_Wagner @Michelle I think it's the same thing that many people in this chat room are asking themselves often - when does this all become too much?
Tara_DeGeorges Our senior management team is behind social media & sees how useful it is as a comms tool. A few years ago, everyone seemed to be more wary of it but given its effectiveness to promote shows + broadcasters, they understand that it's a beast we have to feed!

Getting Started with Social Media and Twitter

Michelle_Butler It seems like twitter is still the most useful - or one of the most useful applications. How did you get started in using Twitter? I know some people are still asking about how to use it.
MelissaSorola re: How do you get started? The best advice I received was from our corporate social media guru @jeffTWC and when I first signed up on Twitter he said to just follow people for a few weeks and then jump in. You can start following colleagues/peers/competitors and get a good feel for what they are doing and tailor best practices for what will meet your goals
Steven_Barringer RE twitter: My advice would be to play with it personally first and then expand to a business application.
Eric_Wagner @Steven That's good advice for any of these applications.
Tara_DeGeorges Re: Twitter: Content is king. Don't say something unless it's valuable and something that you think could get retweeted.

Reporters and Social Media

Michelle_Butler We've talked about how social media is changing how cable communicators are communicating. Have you seen it change how reporters work?
Michelle_Butler Gary mentioned the El Paso station
Michelle_Butler What else are you seeing?
Eric_Wagner @Michelle Definitely. Reporters are able to get up-to-the-minute news on their area of focus without much digging - it's all sent directly to them. But while there might be less time explaining things to them, I think there's a greater potential for them to mess up the facts.
Steven_Barringer @Michelle: I think anytime you see a reporter quoting someone's Twitter post, you know things have changed.
MelissaSorola We're at a point where there are some reporters who know they can find us on Twitter and ask questions and conversely we've been able to update reporters and/or news stations by sending messages directly to them on Twitter
Eric_Wagner Will bylines someday include the @ symbol?
gunderwood It’s funny how open reporters will be on their twitter / facebook about home service issues. i always respond when i see a complaint - i also love how some reporters will solicit story ideas from their FB. Lazy? Yeah, but beneficial when looking to pitch...

Retweeting Comments

josefaMC Have you ever re-tweeted consumer comments? And if so any negative comments?
Tara_DeGeorges What do you folks think about Google Buzz/Wave?
MelissaSorola Eric - that happened us to in Austin where a reporter quoted my Twitter post
gunderwood how about podcasts? any success stories?
Michelle_Butler Is there some Twitter tool out there that lets you figure out how many of the people you are following are following you and vice versa?
Eric_Wagner @josefaMC We've retweeted positive comments, but never negative. I think even if there was a negative post that merited retweeting, we would probably want to send it out in our own words.
MelissaSorola Eric- Josefa it feels good to reTweet those "thanks TWC" posts
Tara_DeGeorges @josefaMC: We've retweeted several consumer comments through the @ConnectMinds Twitter handle, although all of them positive. I'm happy to say that most of our feedback is positive, although we *are* the philanthropy handle for TWC, so we don't deal directly with service issues/customer feedback.
Justin_Davy @josefaMCA - We actually take positive Facebook and Twitter comments and create short spots that run on our networks calling them out. We change them weekly
Tara_DeGeorges @MelissaSorola: gotta love those feel-good tweets :)
Eric_Wagner @Justin I like that idea.
Michelle_Butler Do you ever get negative feedback when you retweet positive comments? I've seen some pushback about that in social media articles, etc.
josefaMC @Justin_Davy you mean promo spots on linear tv?
Tara_DeGeorges Our lovely intern, miss @MBackon, recently wrote a blog post for our corporate blog Untangled that "thanks" our customers for their great Twitter and FB comments!
Justin_Davy @josefaMC - Yes
Tara_DeGeorges @Justin_Davy: Was that difficult to coordinate with programming?
lorelie_j @michelle, i wouldn't retweet positive comments. I would favorite them instead.
Justin_Davy @Tara_DeGeorges - Our programming department was able to do it no problem and was excited about it. We encourage our users to post comments and they could be used in our promos. We just have to send them a form giving us permission to use them on-air.
Tara_DeGeorges @Michelle_Butler -- on that note, does anyone simply 'delete' or 'remove' content that is negative?
Eric_Wagner @Michelle It's hard to quantify, but there are definitely posts that we have avoided responding due to the assumption that it would only cause more negative posts.
Tara_DeGeorges @Justin_Davy: wow! great synchronicity.

When It Is Best Not to Use Social Media

Michelle_Butler It sounds like there are a lot of fans of social media here. But, when is it best not to use social media? not to respond?
MelissaSorola @Michelle If it’s a crisis situation, you need to evaluate what is going to be the best method to communicate your messages. Sometimes it’s a combination of both social (Twitter) and traditional media. Picking up the phone and talking to a reporter at length about an issue isn’t an art that should be forgotten.
Steven_Barringer @Michelle: I believe social media should be avoided as a primary tool when announcing business changes or when delivering bad news. Sometimes it’s better to use traditional methods to explain complex topics…but supported by social media down the line.

Monitoring Comments

Justin_Davy We are very careful about what we remove. We want our audience to feel like they can be open with us and not censored. Of course there have been very offensive posts which we have had to take down.
Michelle_Butler Face-to-face or phone is still best at times.
josefaMC @lorelie_j where do favorites show up on the page and what is benefit to that over re-tweeting. How do you measure it? Does it collect somewhere?
Eric_Wagner @Justin Do you have an outline of what is and what isn't appropriate that is available to your fans/users?
Michelle_Butler The question of removing negative comments is interesting. How many people monitor their blog comments?
Tara_DeGeorges @MelissaSorola: agreed; I advocate for a mix. Making the announcement through traditional media, and then using your social media outlets to address questions seems to work quite well, and gives users/customers the feeling that they can come to us with concerns.
Justin_Davy @Eric_Wagner - We don't have an outline but the few things we have had to take down have been inappropriate images posted to our wall or things such as that. For the most part we never delete posts.
Steven_Barringer @Michelle: That’s a tough issue. Internally we have the ability to delete posts when necessary but in most cases we try to respond with productive dialogue that educates the source of the post and other employees that may be reading it. I know our media team approaches this on a case by case basis.
lorelie_j @josefaMC -- on twitter, you can favorite a tweet (yellow star) so when people pull your twitter profile up and they're checking you out, they can see the good stuff about you on your favorites. It' things that interest you, etc.

Measuring Results

Michelle_Butler Let's talk some more about measuring results. How do you measure your results? What works best?
Tara_DeGeorges There are lots of traditional analytics that we use to measure our success in the social space – Omniture referrals from social media sites to our main site, the number of Facebook Friends/Twitter followers/YouTube friends we’ve attracted, the number of likes/ratings/comments that are posted to our pages. However, a key metric for us is the type of people that are associated to our pages -- if they are part of our target audience.
Steven_Barringer @Michelle: We have a pretty good analytics tool that gives us tons of information on readership and stats are a good foundation. But we also survey our employees to see if they are retaining and acting on the information we're sharing.
Michelle_Butler Tara, you brought up the target audience question? Who is the target audience for most of your social media efforts? Are there certain audiences with whom social media works best?
Eric_Wagner @Michelle At the top, our target audience is our most loyal and/or vocal customers. But the main idea for us is to communicate with customers in their preferred channels, be that Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Justin_Davy I'd encourage everyone to think about how you can tie in your content to current event or pop culture trends. When we do this, we've been ablTara_DeGeorgese to achieve an instant huge spike in user engagement
Tara_DeGeorges @Michelle_Butler: Our target audience for Connect a Million Minds is parents with kids & students. We've found that we've had more success on Facebook with parents, and greater activity on Twitter with students, particularly high schoolers.
Eric_Wagner @Justin so you've used #bieber?
Michelle_Butler Interesting split, Tara. Thanks!
Michelle_Butler Justin, can you share examples of that?
Justin_Davy @Eric_Wager - No but we've used Twilight :D
Tara_DeGeorges @Justin_Davy: So true. I used to work at MTV and anything tagged #Twilight did gangbusters.
Michelle_Butler There are vampires on HGTV?
gunderwood funny.
Justin_Davy On Facebook we posted "Forget Edward & Jacob! Team David or Team Carter??
Michelle_Butler Cute. #Twilight.
Justin_Davy They are two of our on-air talents
Justin_Davy We received over 700 comments and 210 likes

Social Media Mistakes and Successes

Michelle_Butler Are there any social media mistakes that you would like to have a "do over" on? Any successes you would like to brag about?
Steven_Barringer @Michelle: With our efforts to employees we’ve seen a spike in readership and page views. In fact, some of the social media enhancements we’ve implemented on our intranet resulted in an increase of 1.1 million page views in a 3 month period.
Michelle_Butler Impressive, Steven!
Tara_DeGeorges For facebook/connectamillionminds, I'm happy to say that we have over fifty employees from TWC participating on our page -- from uploading content to interacting directly with users who have questions. That type of consistent engagement is what I had hoped for when we launched the page.
Justin_Davy I think it’s important for each company to determine what a success is. For us success = Interaction, User Generated Content + Pushing On-Air/On-Line.
Michelle_Butler Any final thoughts or advice?
Eric_Wagner @Michelle Our best results were achieved by taking the time to cultivate and grow a small but motivated group. When we launched DOCSIS 3.0, we enlisted several external testers who we knew were active in social media and other online entities. By the end of the testing process, we had a group that was loyal to Cox, and were willing to share their experiences to their own audiences. And we’ve continued to engage this group on future products to maintain that loyalty.
Steven_Barringer Final Thought: It all starts with getting out there and learning the landscape. Get a Facebook account, sign up for some newsletters and be on the alert for discussions and news about new sites and activities. My cautionary advice would be to remember that this is a powerful instrument so go slow. Anything you put into the atmosphere can be viewed all over the world and in some instances positioned against you (and your company negatively).
lorelie_j Be human.
gunderwood we've had some success with media beta testing too... rr mobile for example
MelissaSorola We were proactive with the launch of a new on screen program guide in TX and used our corporate blog Untangled and Twitter to let customers know these changes were happening and as a result have seen very few complaints - which is usually the case when changes like these happen
Justin_Davy I would recommend always being genuine and responsive.
Eric_Wagner @Michelle Don't ever take negative posts personally. Don't do what Dan Gilbert did.
Tara_DeGeorges @Eric_Wagner: Great story, thanks for sharing! That's a goal for us too, developing a set of followers who are loyal to us in the social media space, a mini army of TWC ambassadors.
Steven_Barringer Poor Cleveland.
MelissaSorola Eric- I agree with not taking it personally - it's taken me about a year to realize that!
Michelle_Butler Thanks, everyone, for participating! Please feel free to post your last questions!
gunderwood on the rr mobile thing...we asked our media beta testers to be very honest about how the service worked on their blogs and via twitter..
gunderwood it helped us to find out what was working in advance of the public launch.
gunderwood thank you !
MelissaSorola Thanks everyone! This was fun and I look forward to more information sharing like this
Justin_Davy Thanks everyone. My twitter is @jdavy and my personal email is if you have additional questions
gunderwood and i'm @Gary_twctx
Steven_Barringer Thanks ACC and Michelle for putting this together. For additional questions:
Tara_DeGeorges Thanks for the questions & feedback! Be sure to follow Time Warner Cable's philanthropic initiative Connect a Million Minds on FB and Twitter (, @ConnectMinds).
Michelle_Butler Thank you for participating in ACC’s latest online chat. ACC offers an e-learning opportunity every month. Check for more details. Please feel free to contact me at or 202-222-2372 if you have any suggestions for future topics, feedback on this chat, questions, etc.
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