Online Reputation Management Blog

Marriott and Other Corporations Tracking Customers’ Social Media to Improve Service

tracking peopleAn increasing number of companies are tracking customers’ social media posts as a better method for engaging with them while increasing brand awareness.

CNBC visited Marriott’s headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland where employees gather in what they call “M Live,” a control room in which they scan Twitter feeds, Instagram photos, and Facebook posts from customers all over the globe.

Marriott is one of several companies using a special technology called geo-fencing, which allows them to see every social media post uploaded from within their properties. If a wedding engagement photo, for instance, is captured on the grounds of a Marriott hotel and posted online, the M Live team will contact the front desk. The hotel will then reach out to those customers to offer them complimentary champagne or a room upgrade in order to demonstrate that Marriott values their patronage.

“It’s really about creating a personal relationship with our customers,” said Karin Timpone, Marriott’s chief global marketing officer.

Marriott also uses social media to provide superior customer service. If a guest writes a status on Facebook or Twitter about an issue during their stay, the hotel will reach out to the customer directly. That’s a pretty smart move, considering 77% of Twitter users feel more positive about a brand if their Tweet is replied to or acknowledged directly.

The company is also taking full advantage of social media in order to watch out for trends and join the conversation while a topic is hot. Recently, a man announced on Twitter that he was the first Pokemon Go player to catch all of the Pokemon. Marriot quickly contacted him, offering him free lodging around the world.

“We’re putting our brands in real conversation,” said Timpone. “It’s not to say other forms of advertising don’t work. This is that very intimate conversation that our brand is having with an individual poster.”

By having that conversation, Marriott is getting their name out there and showing the world how much its values its customers.

While many Internet users may feel uncomfortable with the idea that big corporations are monitoring their conversations, geo-fence technology creators assure the public that the program is only being used for their own benefit.

CEO of the geo-fence platform HYP3R, Carlos Garcia, said, “We are only engaging and interacting with people who are publicly sharing. We are only using delightful engagement. We’re not trying to sell them something, but we’re trying to enhance their experience.”

Victoria’s Secret is Out: Anonymous Photo Editor Comes Forward, Reveals Industry Practices

victoriassecretOnline advertising rakes in approximately $149 billion as an industry, and it’s no secret that Victoria’s Secret is one of the bigger companies advertising. However, there are some secrets that shouldn’t be kept.

A former Victoria’s Secret photo editor, who chose to remain anonymous, has come forward with trade secrets about the company’s photoshop and photo shoot practices.

“I know what I’m doing is wrong and that’s a huge part of why I’m not doing it full-time anymore,” she said. She wants consumers, especially those purchasing products and media from Victoria’s Secret and companies like it, to understand just how unreal the bodies in catalogs are.

At the same time, she urges consumers to understand their own roles in propagating these images.

“As a society,” she says, “we’re the ones who choose this.”

Photoshop existed long before the Victoria’s Secret angels were being retouched, but the anonymous photo editor explained in an interview with Refinery 29 how it spun “out of control.”

“Just for it to print out properly, you would have to retouch it so that you could see the photo clearly, and it would be bright enough, and all those things,” she explained. “That is really what retouching is essentially about, and should be about.” But at some point, someone realized, “You can manipulate the background, so why not manipulate the body? And then this thing just spiraled out of control.”

She went on to discuss the on-set process, in which models were fitted with hair extensions, swimsuit inserts to alter their curves, and even push-up bras inside of their swimsuit tops.

“I don’t think I ever was on a shoot with a model that had real hair,” she said.

Not only that, but she was consistently told to make models curvier. On curvier models, she said “they didn’t sell anything and so they stopped using those girls.”

The one biggest and brightest exception to this rule is Aerie.

In 2014, the company launched the “Aerie Real” campaign, in which they stopped all photo editing of their models. Unfortunately, the campaign was a sales strategy, but consumer support has turned it into a larger movement.

Iskra Lawrence, an Aerie model who was told by countless modeling agencies that she was “too big,” has taken the campaign to heart and used it to promote body positivity in young women around the world.

“When you’re happy and at one with yourself and have come to peace with who you are, that radiates,” she said in an interview with StyleLikeU. “To me that’s beauty. That’s what people are attracted to.”

The supermodel has become a role model for young people everywhere, spreading messages of positivity through her work with Aerie as well as through her own personal social media accounts and interviews.

Lawrence even serves as an ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), and coordinated a successful campaign to acquire the NEDA seal of approval for Aerie.

On the “Aerie Real” campaign, Jen Foyle, Aerie’s global brand president, said “No retouching is not just a campaign for us anymore. It’s become our mindset and the message behind all we do.”

“When you see things like that pop up, you should vote your money towards it, because then they see it as a money-making thing and they’ll continue to do it,” said the former Victoria’s Secret editor. “Then, hopefully, other companies will say, ‘Aerie is doing really well. Maybe we’ll start doing that, too. Maybe people will want to buy more stuff from us.'”

Social Media Fails as Platform For Pokemon Go

English_Pokémon_logo.svgAlmost all of Internet experiences — 95% — start with a search engine. And once a millennial finds something notable, they head straight to social media to share it with their friends.

That goes for the recent hype around the new mobile app, Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go is an incredibly popular game in which the user has to catch Pokemon characters lurking in their own neighborhoods. This augmented reality game has gotten millennials out of their houses and into the streets, local restaurants, and even churches.

But not without problems. Players of the game, 83% of whom are between ages 18 and 34, are getting caught up doing unsafe things in attempts to master the game, then documenting them online.

Some moments have even gone viral and landed on the national news. Americans have seen teens crash their cars into trees and police cars, fall off of bikes and skateboards, trip over cinder blocks, and abandon their cars in the middle of the street in a quest to catch them all.

Millennials have even rushed the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C, and the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to find as many as they can.

These encounters have even become dangerous, as Missouri police arrested a group of teenagers for armed robbery. The teens supposedly lured others to their location using the app and are suspects in eight different criminal cases.

The Missouri police warn that since the app does give away your location, it has the potential to be a safety threat. As reported on People, the force used their Facebook account to warn users, saying “If you use this app [or other similar type apps] or have children that do we ask you to please use caution when alerting strangers of your future location.”

Known as the cellphone generation, Millennials use social media as an essential part of their social lives. But at least Pokemon Go is getting them out of the house, as well as promoting many health benefits to its worldwide players.

But check a Millennial’s Facebook account and you will already have known that.

Australian Airport Employee Fired For Facebook Posts Supporting ISIS

Computer hacker stealing information with laptopAn employee of Perth Airport in Australia was fired last month after his Facebook page showed multiple posts supporting the terrorist group ISIS.

Nirmal Singh is contesting his termination, calling it “wrongful dismissal” and claiming that he never supported the Islamic state. He is also seeking $7,000 in lost wages.

Singh was an airline service agent for Aerocare Flight Support but lost his job after management discovered Facebook posts written by Singh under a pseudonym. Aerocare justified the firing of the employee, claiming that the content of the posts was in support of a terrorist organization and raised issues of national security as well as air safety.

Singh contends that the posts were “political in nature and therefore did not breach the company’s social media policy.” Furthermore, he argues that because the posts were written under a different name, no one reading his statements would have been able to identify his place of employment.

Sing also told the Fair Work Commission that at least one of his messages was “sarcastic” and should not have been taken seriously. He also allegedly wrote several other posts under his alias, Sherry Solus Singh, and used a real photo of himself.

An investigation has discovered three messages, including two that featured information about radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which promotes the upset of Western governments and the instatement of a global Islamic state. Singh also “liked” the group’s Facebook page.

Though Singh has stated that he understands that even “jokes” must be taken seriously by airport security, “There is no post that threatens anyone or names anyone,” he argued.

“There were concerns I understood and I addressed those concerns by offering to delete the posts and the profile but how they breached the social media policy, I don’t understand,” he said.

Tensions in the Middle East have rendered a state of high anxiety and sensitivity across the globe, thus forcing airport security to be on high alert at all times. Airport employees especially must be careful about what they post to social media, and management must be meticulous in their background checks and hiring practices. As many as 35% of CEOs of small and midsize businesses report that staffing is the most significant business issue they currently face.