How to Measure the Effectiveness of your Social Media Efforts

Should I take a look at that Facebook Insights report? I know. This is the hard to swallow and difficult to understand part; that which no one wants to deal with. However, it’s what will tell you if what you’re doing is paying off. As social media managers, we spend a lot of time daily implementing our strategy; determining where to post, what to post, when, and in what form. However, we must not forget that these efforts should be tied to previously established goals and objectives. We should have established parameters and quantitative results we expect to obtain from our social media strategy. In the end, this translates to return on investment (ROI).

If we want to spend money and resources on social media, we must always look for ways to maximize this investment and get something from it. ROI is your proof of social media success or failure.Here are some resources and tools we can use to measure the effectiveness of a campaign, so you can motivate your clients (or bosses) to continue allocating money for social media:

  1. How to Present your Social Media ROI Report to the Boss provides important data to include in an ROI report. For example, share data analysis, includes presenting how hashtags perform to determine reach and impact of tweets and retweets. This is particularly essential for companies creating their own hashtag campaigns.

    I remember last year, Always launched the #LikeAGirl campaign to help girls keep their confidence high during puberty and beyond. “Like a girl” is an insult, not a compliment. One of the call to action elements of the campaign was to tweet the amazing things you do #LikeAGirl using the hashtag. Here is a look at the first video:

    The hashtag is only one of the elements of the campaign, yet it’s the one that helped build the conversation around the topic. I’m positive the marketing team at Procter & Gamble is keeping track of the hashtag performance. I think its important for companies to determine if people are engaging, not only with content, but spreading the word about a particular topic. Also, finding out if there is conversation around the hashtag tells marketers how effective is the campaign in engaging audiences.

  2. How to Measure Your Social Media ROI Using Google Analytics is written in a more technical language. However, I was able to explore some of the tips presented with my website’s data on Google Analytics. I really like the function in which you can isolate traffic into default social users and social link clickers.

    It’s important for marketers to know whether users came to their website straight from social or because of a link they shared. What about if traffic to the website came from an e-mail campaign? That tells you whether that email campaign, which begins with a compelling subject line, was effective in getting those clicks. This also helps determine if the particular content of that link helps boosts more traffic to the website.

  3. The Top 5 Google Analytics Reports for Social Media Marketers discusses how you can create custom events, so you know how much influence your website has on driving traffic to social channels; what types of customers want to further engage with you on social, rather than thinking they abandoned your website to go somewhere else.

    Also, by using Advanced Segments on Google Analytics, it’s possible to find out user behavior according to the social platform. Why is this helpful? Because based on what you see, you’ll be able to make adjustments to your strategy on those platforms. People visiting your website from social may act different than those coming from other sources, like email campaigns.

  4. Know What’s Working on Social Media: 19 Free Social Media Analytics Tools, such as Collecto. Now that we’ve seen how Instagram is growing, I think it’s important to measure campaign results to determine ROI. What I really liked about Collecto is the most popular photos of all times, meaning that it’s not necessary to go to individual posts to find out which one is the top. By just taking a look at the stats section, you can find out which photos were the most commented, liked, and popular. If you see one photo in two different sections, like most commented and most liked, then you need to aim at continuing to provide that type of content.

    The photo below shows one of the most popular photos of my promotional product’s business Instagram account. The images don’t push a particular product. They portray the situations in which you or your clients could use a beach towel or a coffee mug.

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    On the other hand, I think the Facebook Insights provides detailed information in an easy-to-understand way. This is why I don’t feel I would use a tool like Quintly for analytics. The other tool I liked is TweetReach, because the dashboard is pretty self-explanatory and it had different and relevant information, like the top contributors of Twitter in terms of mentions, impressions and mentions. This is a great way to reach out to these contributors if we want to further extend our relationship with them.

    Tailwind gives you insights about your Pinterest account. With the free version, you can find out if some of your blog posts were shared on that platform, as well as which boards are the most popular and have the most followers.

If you find out what’s working and what’s not, then you will be able to make some adjustments. Managing social media profiles takes a lot of time. This is why I feel it’s very important to devote some time to understand these numbers. There are plenty of tools, most with free versions and easy to use platforms. Don’t be intimidated. What you can get from these numbers will only help you want to do better on social media. If you have specific conversion goals, or email subscription objectives, these analytics will tell you what benefit you’re getting from devoting countless hours and effort.


Building your Personal Brand on Social Media- Tips from the Experts

Personal branding is about how you market yourself. When people look at your social media accounts, do they get what you do and who you are? The way you build your personal brand involves pretty much what product or company brands need to build their own. You need a logo, a voice, an identity, but you also need to provide content on social media on a consistent basis, which will provide value so that people begin to trust you to the point they want to do business with you. When discussing personal branding, think about how celebrities like Kanye West have built their own brand. I bet you can clearly describe who he is, how he acts, and what he stands for, in a positive or negative way, but you get the idea. Think about Suze Orman and you will probably first say she is an expert in personal finance. Last, but not least, think about Gary Vaynerchuk, who I don’t even know personally, but have a clear idea about who he is: a funny, hyperactive, cool dude who is a social media industry expert dedicated to sharing his knowledge with marketers like us so that we can help our clients move forward on social.

Just right before we build a personal brand, there is the fact that we need to follow our passion and believe what we’re doing. In Building a Personal Brand Within the Social Media Landscape, Gary Vaynerchuk discusses how a personal brand is about legacy; about leaving something that “your grandchildren will be proud.”Doing something we love and we’re passionate about will result in a winning formula of brand equity. Once we’re 100% sure about this, we’re ready to be memorable. Here is the clip of the video:

In his book, Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop your Business, Chris Brogan summarizes what building a strong brand on social media is all about: ““You might want to be memorable, and you might want to transfer your real-world reputation to the online world. A strong personal brand is a mix of reputation, trust, attention, and execution.” (Brogran, 234). Building a personal brand is about what makes you different. I think Brogan just hit right on the spot. In order to build a memorable brand, we need to effectively and consistently merge together those elements. I don’t personally know Gary Vaynerchuk, but I’m sure he is the same guy offline and online.

If you want people to remember you as a wine expert, the way you combine all elements of building that brand as a wine expert need to portray just that. If you want to position yourself as a Facebook expert, you need to build your brand around that, not around other social media channels so people understand and know what makes you unique and how your are different? For example, it’s very clear by now that Mari Smith is a Facebook expert. The reason is not solely the visual part of her appearance on different platforms, but take a look at consistency here:

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In the video Building a Personal Brand, Jacob Cass discusses some important elements for building a personal brand, such as the following:

  1. Defining your brand
  2. Creating online presence
  3. Utilizing networks

Within each element, there are some considerations, such as visual identity, giving the brand a voice, and building relationships. Cass is the perfect example of a person who was able to find a job because of how he previously built his foundation on social media. Of the three components he mentions, I would say the visual identity makes a difference because it’s the first impression. If I see a blog which has different colors, font types, and text sizes than the same company’s website, I envision inconsistency. If I visit a company’s website, and the “about” section lacks information and there are no thumbnails of case studies, I will question, “what does this company stand for?”  The opposite happens with Mari Smith. Based on the content she writes and how she has built credibility plus the fact that she is consistent, I can say I’m 100% sure who she is, what she does, and what she stands for.

The tips presented on 17 Advanced Methods for Promoting New Piece of Content  mostly refer to how to build relationships with influencers, joining conversations and communities to enhance our personal brand on social media. This is particularly important when your starting to build your brand. The more you participate on your influencer’s discussions by adding some of your own points and opinion, the more likely you will be noticed, that is if they think you’re contributing by adding value. I really appreciate the advice about sending an email to sources. In addition to establishing communication with them, we are showing some appreciation about what they do and we are letting them know who we are. This increases the chance of doing work together in the future. This doesn’t mean that you have to sit down now and write an email to that someone you admire in your industry with no particular reason. Think about what you’re going to say first. If it’s asking for a quote for your next blog post, please introduce yourself and let him or her know what’s the topic of the post, describe what you need and be thankful in advance!

Taking these pieces of advice from the experts should help you build your own brand. It takes a lot of time, patience, trial and error to reach that point in which people begin to know you, trust you, and hopefully look for you. In the end, this whole discussion is about marketing yourself. If you intend to build relationships with your customers, it all begins with your personal brand. Consistency is key!


Can Social Media Harm your Company’s Reputation?

“These days one witty tweet, one clever blog post, one devastating video forwarded to hundreds of friends at the click of the mouse- can snowball and kill a product or damage a company’s share price.” –Tim Webber- BBC Business Editor

Reputation can be boosted or damaged on social media. In both cases, companies should be able to capitalize on these situations, either by using negative experiences as learning opportunities or by using the positive to develop new relationships and support existing ones. We now live in a world where companies no longer have the absolute power to control content; a world in which individuals are the ones creating, modifying, and discussing information about us, which may potentially affect reputation.

As a result, and according to Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media, companies must be willing to engage, listen, understand, and respond. If companies want to be on social media, they must understand the functionalities of social media, or the seven building blocks, as well as the implications that each one has for the company. This system provides for a better understanding of the different sides of the user experience on social media and what it means for companies. The seven building blocks are identity, conversations, sharing, relationships, reputation, groups, and presence. In order to better understand this, it’s better to look at an example and analyze it from this perspective.

In HMV Backslash on Twitter, we see an example in which a company’s reputation could have been harmed. The company fired the social media team and did not remove them from the Twitter account administrator settings. Since they were fired and had nothing to lose, they decided to use that forum and speak on behalf of the company to disseminate negative information about HMV as an employer. Some tweets were related to how many people they fired and others criticized members of the Marketing team. HMV deleted the messages after 25 minutes.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.38.24 PMThe identity block related to the extent to which users reveal their identity on social media. Even though according to the article, Twitter is more about conversation than identity, in this case I would say that in this case it’s related to both. The source of the original tweets was HMV, but it actually was an ex-representative of that company acting under anonymity. This person used the identity of the company, which is something very valuable, to damage its reputation. We know that later someone named Poppy Rose acknowledged that she was the one posting, but it was done separately and after the damage was done. One of the implications of this block is related to self-promotion. According to HMV Backslash on Twitter, Poppy received a number of job offers following this stunt. In the end, HMV’s reputation is damaged at the expense of someone acting anonymously on its behalf.

Reputation is the extent to which users know the social standing of others and content. With the information we have, it’s safe to assume that the company didn’t act in such a way to communicate that they actually cared about what happened, didn’t act honestly, rapidly, or proactively. Since one of the implications of reputation is that there should be a metric established to monitor the sentiment about the company or brand, I would suggest HMV to put together a comprehensive plan, which considers listening tools like Social Mention. These tools are also good for chasing conversations and user interactions. This is an effective strategy that companies can use after an incident like this one to monitor the aftermath and establish what damage has been done.

Do you think that declining to comment about the Tweets, just erasing them, could worsen the situation in terms of reputation?

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4 Ways to Use Social Proof as Part of Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Picture yourself at home, surfing the Internet and looking at what your friends have posted on social media. You’re hungry at that moment, but don’t want to cook because you’re just exhausted from how much worked that day. One of your best friends just checked-in at a new restaurant near your house. You’ve heard about the place before, but you were waiting for someone else to visit the restaurant first and let you know how it was. You scroll down and you notice that your cousin just posted a photo of a delicious hamburger (remember last week’s post about #foodporn) she was having for dinner at that same place. The caption of the photo was: “How delicious is this hamburger!” At that moment you run to your closet, get dressed and in no time you end up at that restaurant.

That part of you which assumed that the information posted by other people you trust is correct, to the point that it provokes a desire to visit the place is a type of social proof. Your friends validated that the place was good; without doing it at a conscious level, those friends began to spread the word about that place and that was enough reason for you get up and go. Even though social proof in some way is a matter of perception, it’s essential in social media marketing and companies should evaluate its different types and consider these in their digital strategy.

Here are some types of social proof with some ideas about how to use them:

  1. Reviews: This method does not cost you any money because your clients or consumers are the ones writing reviews about you. Others use these reviews when they are in the process of trying out something different. For example, when you are planning a trip, you visit review sites like TripAdvisor and you probably take into consideration what you read there that other people wrote to help you make that decision, or at least provide some direction. Take a look at this image from a review that got 22 helpful votes:


    How can your business capitalize on this? You should monitor and listen to what people are saying about you. In some of these review sites there is the option to reply to these messages. It really does not matter if they wrote something positive or negative, my advice is you should reply. How you answer will be part of the next blog post. You should use this in your favor to let your customers know how much your organization values these comments. Another idea is to invite people to write reviews. If you plan to do this, I don’t recommend offering anything in return. Just gently ask people to do so. One idea is just to include a message on your sales receipt that says: “If you had a great experience with us and feel like sharing it with your friends, go to our TripAdvisor or Yelp! page and write your review.”

  2. User Generated Content (UGC): When you give your audience the opportunity to create and upload content on your social networks you make them feel part of you, to create an emotional connection, while they share the experience with your products; they are your brand enthusiasts. One example is asking your audience to upload a photo or video to a platform like Instagram, using a particular hashtag that relates to your brand. If a mayonaise brand launches a campaign in which people are encouraged to upload a photo of them using the product to make a particular dish, that will create some expectation, generate brand awareness, while possibly encouraging some consumers to use your product. In social proof, the spokesperson is the consumer, not the brand.

    A post like the one below can have different messages. The first one, which is the check-in, makes others wonder which place is that. The other thing it communicates is that in that place they offer wine flights. This also creates curiosity and is enough for a person like myself to try the place. In these types of posts is the client, not the business sharing the information.


    ¿How can your business capitalize on this? If you own a beauty salon, you can ask people to upload photos before and after a makeover or haircut. This way, their friends may ask where they get your hair done and that means a possible phone call to your salon to make an appointment. There are some clients which don’t even need to be asked to post something because they do so voluntarily. Even better…

  3. Share Buttons: Another type of social proof is when someone you trust shares a post or information about a business, product or service because this sharing constitutes dissemination of a message posted by the company. Following the example at the beginning of this post, a week after visiting the place, your same cousin shares a video from the restaurant’s Facebook page and makes a comment about it. People who didn’t know about the place or who didn’t see the post from the previous week will now get a second chance to learn about it. In my blogs, I have share buttons that those who find my posts interesting can use to share with others who may not know about me. Of course, this also means that I have to create valuable content so that people begin to spread the word, but these buttons don’t cost you money and are helpful, as well as beneficial!

    How can your business capitalize on this? By making your information easy to share, as well as sharable in terms of providing value through content.

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  4. Celebrity or expert endorsements: These groups are influencers; your audience trusts them and when they see they use a particular product, this is enough validation to motivate them to try or purchase a product. This option is not free in 100% of the cases, but there are still opportunities to find them.

¿How can your business capitalize on this? If you own a restaurant, invite a food blogger to have dinner there. Sit down with him or her and take them through the whole dinning experience. Explain the process of preparing each one of the plates. Be nice and make him or her feel like your important guest. When that person publishes the post it will create curiosity. This is another type of social proof. If you own a coffee shop, ask an artist to visit you and try your coffee. Without encouraging him or her to upload a photo about your coffee art, who knows if they will do it? If they do, they will create conversation about your place and spread the word. If you will choose a celebrity to endorse you, make sure that person is in line with your buyer persona, or customer profile. Don’t lose yourself in finding someone because he or she is famous. You need to find people who identify with your customers.

Taking into consideration these types of social proof you can know think of different ways in which your business can capitalize on other’s influence on your customer or audience. Remember this could be positive because social proof constitutes social influence. Having others share with their networks information about you, including the positive experience they had at your place may translate in new customers.

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How Reynolds took Food Porn to the Next Level on Instagram

Food porn. Sounds familiar, right? Who doesn’t appreciate a great visual representation of food that’s so appealing it activates our desire to eat? For those not familiar with the term, according to Urban Dictionary, food porn is defined as “close-up images of juicy, delicious food in advertisements.” Plain and simple. The way food is presented in photography usually provokes some type of action, which may include eating or a desire to cook.

Taking a look at the number of posts on Instagram that include #foodporn, the results show close to
64.9 million. The top 24 hashtags on this platform that include the word food total 420 million posts (#food alone has almost 200 million posts). The bottomline is that Instagram is a great platform for conversation about food. The folks at Reynolds have this so clear that they decided to create a new cookbook full of recipes and visually stimulating photos on the platform in which both visual and thinking outside the box are essential: Instagram. In Reynolds targets #foodporn with an Instagram cookbook, Lisa Burns, VP of Marketing at Reynolds explains how the company wanted to capitalize on the nature of this platform to use it to provide value beyond visuals. ““We are trying to create additional usage moments for Reynolds Wrap throughout the year and use Instagram’s layout in an innovative way,” she says.

In order to create value with this campaign, “Endless Tables,” they position the product by making it part of the cooking process. In other words, this is not just tin foil: it’s much more. In terms of communication strategy, the company is not putting the product in your face; it’s positioning it as the ideal companion, while giving consumers great value: recipes. The campaign doesn’t end on the platform. It takes the viewer to Reynold’s website, thus providing additional ways in which the consumer can continue the relationship with the brand. Reynolds is running targeted ads on other platforms, like Facebook and Pinterest. It is also partnering with websites like AllRecipes.com to reach specific interest groups, like foodies.

The integration on Instagram consists of a series of seasonal cookbooks in the @reynoldskitchen account. Each cookbook corresponds to one season, like Back-to-School. In a brilliant effort to make effective use of Instagram’s grid on the profile of the account, the photos we see are interrelated, meaning one photo has a visual element of the one next to it, on top or beneath. The result is continuity, like what happens when we pass from one page to another as we look at cookbook. Each photo is a different recipe of the Back-to-School cookbook, in this case. By clicking on each photo, we have access to more information about that recipe, including its name and a tag that takes you to a third screen: an Instagram account only for that recipe. This is when, in my honest opinion, the execution is confusing.

Here is what we have to far:

  1. We visit the Reynolds Kitchen Instagram account.
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  2. We like the last photo to the right of the top row so we click it.
  3. Which takes us to a screen in which we find out it’s a Strawberry Crumb Bars recipe.Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 4.54.43 PM
  4. We click on the photo and see it has a tag, which we also click.Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 4.54.49 PM
  5. This takes us to another screen which is the tag’s own Instagram account.Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 4.55.21 PM
  6. The photos on this account take us through each step of the recipe, but we have to click on each one individually, read the information, go back to the main screen and click on each of the next ones.Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 4.55.38 PM
  7. If we want to see the recipe in one place, we visit the Reynolds Kitchen website.Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 5.06.07 PM

The photography is beautiful and, honestly, it makes me want to click on it, which is a win situation for Reynolds. While the concept of the campaign is excellent for Instagram and they have successfully positioned the brand as the ideal companion for cooking, I think some parts of its execution are confusing. Once I click on each photo, I have access to some information about the recipe plus instructions regarding where I need to go to find out more about it. After I click on that individual photo, I honestly don’t find a valuable reason to follow an individual Instagram account about the strawberry crumble bars, which essentially has the same recipe that’s on their website.  I can access the recipe on the website with one click, but in order to see each step on Instagram I need to click on each photo. I don’t cook that much, but I think it’s more handy to have the recipe in one screen than on multiple ones, which also makes the process easy to follow. Also, what follows in terms of posts in that account? Will there be variations of strawberry crumble bars? If so, how will people know how to follow those other recipes with so many photos? Is video a better alternative?

This is the part of the execution of the campaign which I’m not sure will work. I also know that with Instagram, they can’t link each photo directly to the website, so I understand that Reynolds is trying to make each recipe the main character by devoting one Instagram account to each, but how useful is this to the audience? New Instagram accounts for each item also adds more costs for those community managers in charge of these accounts. Since yesterday, I have spent time monitoring that strawberry crumble bar account and in a 24-hour period it still has 4 followers.

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Before, During + After the Storm: How Can Brands Turn to Social Media to Provide Value Without Engaging in Hard Selling

If two of the main aspects of social media is providing valuable content to audiences and creating conversation, then some companies in Puerto Rico chose to remain quiet before, during, and after Tropical Storm #Erika. I’m not saying that these natural disasters provide an opportunity to engage in hard selling by putting your product in the face of those who turn to social media for updates about the storm or to promote special discounts, like Gap did during Hurricane Sandy. This is an example of how to use real-time marketing in a way that can potentially be considered insensitive. And it was…


What I mean is there is a way to take a step ahead and provide valuable and useful content, particularly for brands related in one way or another to storm preparedness, like batteries and flashlights, canned food like sausage and “jamonilla” luncheon meat, generators, and even bottled water. You may be asking what exactly would a power generator brand post on its Facebook page other than messages like, “we have the answer to your problems” or “we are very prepared” with product shots in front of you screaming, “take me home with you!” I got news for you. There is a whole lot that we can say without losing sensitivity. All it takes is listening to what our audience is taking about and stepping away from what we do on advertising or branded messages. People who turn to social media expect conversation and different types of messages, not ones they can find on a magazine or newspaper. They want to connect with your brand.

This week, while we prepared for the storm, I took a look at some brands from the categories mentioned above to analyze their messages on social media from a communications standpoint:


This is the post on its Facebook page, on the day before the storm:

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Regarding the message, here are some highlights:

  • Duracell is concerned about their audience’s safety during the storm and encourages them to be safe.
  • They use the hashtag #Erika to make sure the brand is part of the overall conversation.
  • They remind people to use flashlights, but they push their brand name.
  • Provide a link to download a tracking map (meaning they offer additional helpful tools).
  • The link takes you to another Facebook page in which you can find out if you’re prepared for these types of events by answering some questions related to safety and preparedness. In that same page there are tips, as well as discount coupons.

While there is some value in the link to their other Facebook page, the overall message can be seen as self-promo, particularly when the brand is mentioned in the middle of the sentence about flashlights. Some alternatives here are as follows:

  • Join the conversations on Twitter and Facebook with those using the hashtag #Erika or talking about batteries and flashlights. Brands can also find some context in these conversations. For example, here are some people showing some concern because their phone battery will die if there is no power. Even though Duracell Puerto Rico does not have a Twitter account this is a great listening tool to create some content:



Even though the conversation is about cell phones, the idea is to find a way to jump in and add some value.

  • Engage with people by asking them how they are preparing for the storm. Encourage people to participate by uploading their photos and videos with a hashtag. This is another way to answer questions and interact with them, while creating conversation and finding valuable content.

Planet Honda (power generators)

On the day before the storm there were no posts. Two days before, while we were already preparing for the storm and talking about it, here is Planet Honda’s post:

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This is a different way to approach the situation, which considers the following:

  • Not supporting their presence on social media when there are opportunities that are related to the product they sell.
  • Not talking about this storm #Erika. They did post about the storm before, Danny, with an image of one of their generators and a message reading “We’re waiting for Danny, but we are prepared. Get your Honda generator EU300is!” This type of message is self-promo and should be considered for a Facebook ad, not a post.
  • Talking about some of your other products, when people are probably thinking about generators. I must say that the image of the motorcycle makes a good story for a carrousel ad on Facebook or an Instagram campaign.

One idea is to upload a video of a representative of Planet Honda talking about how to be a good neighbor in regards to how to use the generator. We all need to remember generators make some noise and this could annoy those living close to us. The opportunity here is to provide some content, visuals works best, related to how to use it while still be considerate with others. This way, there is less opportunity for people to see a hard-sell message.

Rovira Biscuits (Export Sodas)

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Translation: At Rovira, we care about Puerto Rico. This is why we share some tips about what to do BEFORE  a storm or hurricane. 1) Stock your kitchen with non-perishable items. 2) These could be crackers (HINT!), canned sausage, dry fruit, instant coffee, and nuts. 3) Also remember to have water, batteries, and candles.

Here are some key points regarding this post:

  • Rovira cares about us preparing well for the storm.
  • It gives some tips about how to prepare…and what to buy, because they care.
  • Does not mention the name of the brand when it suggest buying crackers, yet it does at the end with the hashtag.
  • The most used hashtag is #Erika, not #Tormenta Erika. If this is an intent to be part of the discussion, the opportunity may be missed.
  • IMAGE: the message is that the woman is confused. It doesn’t say more than that and it does not drive conversation.

The content of this post and its main message is more about the same efforts others are doing on social media. In this case, in order to provide useful information, Rovira can even provide suggestions regarding what to put on top of those export soda crackers. Remember, people love to eat during the storm or hurricane. They wake up the next day feeling guilty because the only thing they did was eat. If you’re in the food business and your products are part of those that you can use to stock up your kitchen, think about how to create conversation around that on social media. If they provide a list of toppings and step away from a branded message, people will appreciate it.

I would say it’s time to step away from giving advice about how to prepare. That’s everywhere: mainstream media and social media. Think about your product, about your buyer persona and how he or she behaves. Think about what they like and dislike, their pet peeves and how you may approach them on social media during times like this. Before the storm, people prepare and they turn to social media to look for the last updates, but they also appreciate some added value. During the storm, those who are able to stretch that battery on their phones, turn to social media to provide updates about what they are doing, as well as to see what’s up with everyone else. Maybe Duracell can post an image of people playing cards or board game using a flashlight. After the event, they are tired of talking about the storm and may turn to social media looking for a different type of content. This means there are three different instances in which your brand can decide to join that conversation and provide some value to strengthen the relationship with your audience.

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Puerto Rico’s National Doobie Day: How to Use Pop Culture as a Marketing Tool on Social Media

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We all remember this image of Rihanna at the 2013 American Music Awards (AMA). People went straight to social media to comment about the hairdo. Some wondered whether or not it was a hairstyle; others were just confused because it looked like she went to the AMA’s with her hair wrapped up ready to go to bed. Rihanna’s hairstyle has a name: doobie wrap (known as “dubi” in Puerto Rico).

The doobie wrap (dubi) is a popular technique which, for generations, some women use to preserve a straight hairstyle. Some wear it just at home and others have no problem going out to run errands with their doobie. Since it’s something iconic and culturally relatable to Puerto Rico, a group of people decided to organize the first National Doobie Day (Día Nacional del Dubi) today, Friday August 21, 2015. Mahya Veray, the event spokesperson says that this icon is something relatable to a Puerto Rican woman’s beauty and this is why she feels there should be a national day to celebrate it. “On this day we will all go out wearing a dubi, without getting hung up about our appearance and showing some pride in demonstrating how serious we are about our beauty process,” she says in an interview with El Vocero newspaper in Puerto Rico.

The event has been promoted through social media, the event website, an app, and through partnerships with one local influencer related to beauty and fashion, Natalia Lugo, who also interprets one character who wears a doobie: Frenchy. The organizers created an app for the event, a digital Dubi Maker, which people can use to upload their photo to see how they would look wearing it. After users create the photo they can share it on social media:

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On social media, the only official account created has been on YouTube, in which there is only the official event video, which currently has 4,105 views:

Then there’s the official song….

And the hashtags… #DiaNacionaldelDubi #DubiDay


On Facebook, there is a lot of conversation going on about the event. People have responded to posts about the event by some news publications, such as Indice and Primera Hora. The event has generated an online discussion, in which there is one group who considers the event ridiculous. There is another group of people who consider it’s something fun; finally, there are others who support the event because some proceeds to to a local nonprofit organization. Then there’s the debate about social class, as some people judge women who wear the doobie wrap and label them as “yal” or “cafre,” which are slangs for low-class women who act ghetto, according to Urban Dictionary. This debate is regarding whether people who wear the “dubi” belong to this group because some who do wear it,  don’t feel identified with that group. Here are some comments from Primera Hora’s Facebook page today:

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Some comments feature women neglecting to do such a thing to go out, meaning this is something done privately at home, not publicly. Here is a post from a local newspaper yesterday on Facebook, followed by one comment:


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Other reactions include memes. Here is the Governor:

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And people are uploading their own photos…..

Since they announced the event a few weeks ago, it has morphed from what looked like a digital/social experiment to an event with other ramifications on social media, including the following:

  1. Revamping the derogative vision (from the aesthetics point of view)  about women  who wear the doobie wrap.
  2. Supporting local educational institutions, which offer associate degrees and programs in the beauty area.
  3. Benefiting a local nonprofit pediatric cancer organization.
  4. Offering beauty makeovers to high school graduating classes on Senior Prom day.
  5. Companies and brands joining the conversation on social media to announce special offers tied to this event or just to show solidarity.

One local institution, Instituto de Banca y Comercio, which offers hairdressing associate degree programs is supporting this event by collecting bobby pins (used to make a doobie wrap). For each one they collect, they are donating $1 to Fundación CAP, a pediatric cancer nonprofit organization. They have established collection centers throughout their campuses. As sponsors of this event, Instituto de Banca also promotes some of the degrees it offers, while they make a social contribution. This was promoted through their Facebook page. The post on Fundación CAP’s page currently has 82 likes and 218 shares and it was posted one hour ago.

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Other brands decided to join the conversation, including Colgate Puerto Rico, Church’s Chicken, Froyoworld, and Sprite.



I would say the opinion is divided. Some people began to feel different about this event as soon as it was announced that they were collecting money for a good cause. That was the way to appeal to people’s emotions and I think it made people realize that some good was going to come out of something they otherwise considered ridiculous. Others remained the same; strongly believing it was just nonsense. Still, it was interesting to see the discussion that it generated, the engagement through comments, likes and shares, the number of people posting their photos with the doobie today, as well as the one they made with the “Dubi Maker,” as well as how some companies decided to jump into the conversation.

This event, planned just a couple of weeks ago relied mainly on social media to spread the word. It did obtain the coverage on social media from some of the main news outlets in Puerto Rico. This made it possible for the message to spread in a different way and gave a forum for people to express how they felt about it. Whether or not the event is a good idea, it brought some conversation around this iconic hairdo, positive and negative, thus giving marketers one topic to explore: how audiences react to events that many feel are ridiculous. In this case, the conversation was around one thing that’s part of our mainstream culture, el “dubi.”

On a final note, this is also a good moment to stop and think about the timing factor on social media. How much time in advance do we need to promote events like this in order to make an impact? At which point do we say that the event is tied to a social cause? Do we build the buzz first with teasers and leave this for the end? Will this make a difference to the way people respond? Regarding timing, do we make a live streaming campaign on the day of the event?

Further discussion to follow next year….In the meantime, the word dubi is a trending topic on Twitter right now.

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