McDonald's Launches Social Media Site To Answer Customer's Food Questions

If you’ve ever wanted to ask McDonald’s a question about their food, now is your chance! The fast-food giant has just launched a social media based site that allows people to connect through Facebook or Twitter and post their question publicly on the site. Each question shows details including the person’s photo, their location and once the question has been responded to by McDonald’s, the answer is easily accessible. If the question has yet to be answered, you have the option to “follow” it so you can be notified when the answer is provided.

McDonalds social media food questions

There have been a lot of questions about the quality and cut of beef they use for their burgers, some questions about their eggs, size portions etc. Some questions are answered with videos or photos and others with just a simple paragraph of text that, fortunately, doesn’t read like an automated bot.

So far we’re really impressed with the speedy response time and the overall look and feel of this new site. Seeing a big brand like McDonald’s integrate social media into a project like this is exciting. It’s always great to see companies using social media to help solve different problems or gaps in their marketing campaign. This is an instance where other mediums simply could not offer what social media brings to the table. Check it out if you get a chance and let us know what you think. Would you like to see more companies using a social media based Q&A service?

Open Up Your World With Social Discovery Apps

We are surrounded by people we don’t know on a daily basis, but what if those ‘strangers’ really aren’t as unfamiliar as we thought? A new breed of apps, categorized as “social discovery’ or ‘ambient awareness’ apps, has been generating a lot of interest. These apps enable you to connect with people based on your current location, relationships and/or common interests.

Apps such as Highlight, Sonar, Glancee, Banjo and Kismet work across social networks by combining check-ins and geotracking with social media platforms like Facebook to provide profile information of people within a close proximity. Keeping in mind that all apps work slightly different than one another, their main objective is to connect you with people based on location, relationships and similarities. Depending on the app used, locations are tracked either by the app itself (using gps tracking) or through check-ins and status updates. When a connection and/or friend is close by or within a set perimeter, your app will notify you with a ping or alert. You are then able to view their profile and connect with them through the app.

Let’s say I stop at my local coffee shop and check-in. My app will notify me if a friend, connection or someone with similar interests is at the same coffee shop or within the area. Let’s just say a classmate of mine is at that same coffee shop, my app will ping me with a notification that they are at the same location as me. This information is retrieved based on their check-in (Ex: Foursquare) and their profile relation to me (Ex: Facebook friends). I can then choose to engage in conversation with them via the app or find them and strike up a conversation in person.
What are the benefits for users?
1. Tells you what your relationship is with someone at the same location, event or check-in spot (ex: you follow them on Twitter, you have a mutual Facebook friend, etc)

2. Helps you find like-minded people to connect with at the same location, event or check-in spot (ex: you both like a certain band, or both share the same religious beliefs, etc)

3. It’s a virtual venue to meet and engage with people similar to you

The current debate is whether or not these apps will catch on or become accepted by social media and smart phone users. Some people may not be ready to accept this new form of locating, meeting and engaging with strangers. The other factor to consider is the issue with safety or security. Is an app of this nature safe for people to opt-in to and is it invading your privacy? We assume only time will tell as the app grows in use and popularity. Will you be checking out social discovery apps?

Social Booking Site Pinterest Gains Momentum

Jessica was immediately addicted. She spent hours pouring over recipes and ogling adorable pet photos. It took some convincing, but she finally encouraged me to check out the social bookmarking site for myself and since joining I haven’t looked back.

Pinterest prides itself on connecting people all over the world through things they find interesting. It’s a social bookmarking site focused entirely on visuals. Users create a profile with as many custom “boards” as they want. These boards help them organize their interests (pins). To simplify things, your profile is essentially like a bunch of bulletin boards and whenever you come across something of interest online, you can “pin it” to the board of your choice and keep all your favourite things organized. After using the service I can honestly say that bookmarking based on visuals is a lot more appealing and fun than simply dropping a link on your toolbar or in your online folders and finding it months later buried in the clutter.


As a marketing tool Pinterest offers value for a variety of reasons. When users join and create a profile, they are given the option to add a “Pin-It” bookmarklet to their toolbar which allows them to add pins to their boards without even browsing the Pinterest site. This bookmark allows users to grab any photo from any site and attach it to a board on their profile. Anytime someone “pins” something from your site, you can gain thousands of potential new site visitors depending on the size of the users Pinterest network. It all comes back to positive word of mouth!

Local Windsor business Intimate Weddings has found some serious value in Pinterest. The husband and wife duo maintain an abundant source of all things wedding related on their website and are extremely impressed with Pinterest as a marketing tool. The platform allows them to share photos and wedding inspiration with hundreds of women online. It’s a place for them, as a business, to interact with brides-to-be and it promotes transparency. People like knowing that a business is made up of real people with real opinions and Pinterest helps Intimate Weddings connect with women on that personal level.

Just as Facebook offers “like it” buttons and Google+ offers “+1” buttons, Pinterest offers a “Pin-It” button that can be placed on any website so visitors can pin the content and share it with their network on Pinterest. Naturally the site can’t come close to Facebook or Google in terms of the number of users, but it’s a growing trend that will take the web by storm sometime soon. The site has already garnered interest from industry professionals and is sure to make a big splash in 2012. Check out the site for yourself and see what all the hype is about but don’t forget you’ll need an invite from a current user in order to join!

The Future of Social Media: Top 5 Predictions for Social Media in 2012

Social Media played a prominent role in 2011 – not only proving its worth from a business and marketing prospective, but also emerging as a driving force in worldwide social and political movements. Social Media promises exciting new changes and even more success in 2012!

5. Social Goes Mobile
Nearly 50% of consumers now equipped with Smartphones, making it impossible to deny that these devices will prove to be the next phase of social networking activities. The power behind the mobile social movement lies in the capacity for smartphones to track where consumers are, who their friends with, and what’s nearby. Social mobile efforts in 2012 will focus on tracking what and where consumers are purchasing.

4. Twitter Supports Brand Marketing
Twitter’s release of business-friendly features will continue to drive this medium as a pivotal tool for brand advertising. Twitter continues to prove its ability to spark viral movements, increase word-of-mouth, and promote link sharing, making it a highly effective platform for spreading brand messages to consumers. Simplicity and effectiveness are the key strengths driving the increased integration of Twitter into traditional advertising campaigns. In 2012, brand advertising methods such as television commercials, will begin to integrate Twitter tags to push consumers to the site.

3. Television Programming Integrates Social Networking
Television viewing has naturally adopted social media activities, with many viewers already tweeting, texting, or calling their friends to discuss the shows they are watching.

In 2012, expect more shows that ask viewers to vote and interactive through their social networks, adding a whole new layer of content to traditional media. The launch of the new network, Get Glue, the TV equivalent of Foursquare, allows users to “Check In” to their favorite shows in order to collect stickers that tell the world what programs they like. Social media integration into our TV viewing habits will continue to gain popularity as the ratings for fully integrated programing becomes available.

2. Social Feedback Sparks Global Change
The Occupy Wall Street movement shed significant light on social media’s capacity for rallying the masses. Consumer reactions to political, social, environmental, and economic challenges are felt in real-time through the social feedback and link-sharing ability of site such as YouTube.

Be prepared for the major political campaigns of 2012 to depend heavily on social networks and the power of social feedback. Political candidates will turn their attention towards building their political platform from their social platforms, meaning we’ll be forced to sit through less annoying television commercials, while our personal opinions will be considered more valuable than ever before.

1. Google+ Gains Clout
Although most people still aren’t sure if Google+ resembles the social structure of Facebook or the idea-driven architecture of Twitter, the New Year promises to see a rise in popularity of this particular form of social media.

More users are already signing up for Google+ and the term is officially the second-fastest rising search term of 2011, proving that the future is bright for this part-social network and part-social search initiative. Get ready to watch Google continue to blend the Plus platform into its other offerings, particularly through Gmail and toolbars, in the effort to help users incorporate Google+ into their daily social networking habit.

The Top Five Social Media Epic Fails Of 2011

5) Ashton Kutcher Supports Paterno
In November of 2011, there was a media uproar over the Penn State sexual abuse case involving long time head coach Joe Paterno. When Ashton received news of Joe Paterno’s termination, he was quick to fire the tweet “How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #no class as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste” without the full knowledge of the situation. Kutcher was attacked via twitter for his tweet and later deleted his post once he realized the full extent of the controversial mishap. Unfortunately, even after apologizing for his uneducated comment, the damage had already been done and the viral backlash was too much to handle. Soon after, Ashton posted a blog announcing that due to the recent events, he would be turning over his social networking presence to his management team.

Word to the wise: When you are a prominent figure in the public eye, social media posts can be crucial. Know before you post!

4) Chrysler Disses Detroit Drivers
A New Media Strategies employee in charge of Chrysler’s social media mistakenly posted ““I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f*#!ing drive” on the companies twitter account @ChryslerAutos. Although the employee’s intent was to post on his own personal account, the results were damaging. Consequently, the employee was fired for the mishap and New Media Strategies was also let go from further working with Chrysler.

Word to the wise: When you are large scale company, it’s vital that you investigate who it is you hire to run your social media. The destruction of one mistake can have a huge impact on your company.

social media epic fails 2011

3) Alec Baldwin’s Twitter Tantrum
Alec Baldwin was recently kicked of an American Airlines flight for playing on his smartphone while waiting for departure. He turned to twitter to vent and posted such tweets as “’Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing “Words With Friends” while we sat at the gate, not moving” and used the hash tag #theresalwaysunited. Alec additionally vented his frustration on a guest appearance on SNL, where he further poked fun at the incident. Numerous comments and media blasts were sent out in reference to Baldwin’s inappropriate behaviour on the air craft by fellow travelers. Alec Baldwin’s Twitter account has since been deactivated.

Word to the wise: Inappropriate or controversial social media content can be damaging to your reputation, so be careful when it comes to venting on your Twitter or Facebook accounts; it just may come back to haunt you.

2) Weinergate
In May of this year, Democratic United States Congressman Anthony Weiner was caught up in a sexting scandal, in which he sent a sexually suggestive picture to a 21-year old college student who was following his account. The link was deleted short after it was posted, but it had already been captured by fellow tweeters. Although he denied it was him in the photos and claimed his account was hacked, he was still pressured to resign from his position as congressman.

Word to the wise: It’s crucial that when someone holds a prominent public role or position, they should be ethically conscious of their online personal activities.

1) Charlie Sheen Not Winning
We were all bombarded at the beginning of 2011 with Charlie Sheen and his public sanity breakdown. As a result of a radio interview with The Alex Jones Show where Sheen lashed out at producer Chuck Lorre, he was later dismissed from his spot on the hit television series Two and Half Men. Sheen further fired back by posting a malicious Youtube video directed at Chuck Lorre, along with many other public displays of hatred towards the Two and a Half Men crew. He additionally took his insanity to Twitter and Youtube where he continued to post various bizarre, threatening and in-your-face content.

Word to the wise: It is likely that your employers are either watching or are aware of your social media activity. Be aware of the appropriateness of your posts and who they are directed at, because material on your personal accounts can be extremely damaging when it comes to your job and future career.

Louisville Slugger Hosts Social Media Scavenger Hunt

To honour the 2011 World Series Champs, The St. Louis Cardinals, Louisville Slugger shipped out 48 commemorative bats and hid them around St. Louis landmarks on Saturday. Throughout the course of the day updates and clues were provided via Facebook to help guide Cardinals fans in the right direction. The hunt brought out baseball fans of all ages and had the entire city if St Louis in a frenzy to uncover the location of the special edition bats.

Hundreds of people waited with bated breathe around the city, staring at their cell phones and crossing their fingers that lady luck was on their side. People were digging through bushes, overturning objects and running as fast as they could in hopes of getting their hands on some baseball history. It was a site to behold and the city’s passion for its team was evident.

Louisville Slugger logoAs an iconic baseball symbol, Louisville Slugger was excited to give back to the city. Throughout the hunt, fans posted pictures as bats were found and commented on the Louisville Facebook page thanking the brand for uniting the entire city of St Louis.

I love how much energy and excitement this bat drop brought to St Louis and it was only possible because of social networks like Facebook. It would be amazing to see more local businesses using social media to power fun projects and bring the community together!

Zynga Set To Launch Its Own Social Network

Popular game developer and publisher Zynga has announced its plans to launch a social network of its own in the next few months; Zynga Direct. It’s a website that will allow them to create an online community separate from all social media sites and is a part of their overall direct-to-consumer strategy. The concept is that you can play Zynga games outside of Facebook and across multiple platforms.

Interestingly enough, Zynga is almost entirely owned by Facebook and therefore has to provide Facebook with a cut of all it’s virtual goods revenue. For this reason Zynga is reaching out and attempting to create its own social platform so it can control and own it’s users rather than consistently relying on Facebook to succeed. That being said, Zynga isn’t planning to ditch Facebook entirely and still plans to utilize Facebook Connect. The benefit of creating a separate community is that Zynga will no longer be tethered by the rules and regulations of social sites which means they are free to send out notifications as often as they please. Another big change will be the credit system. If Zynga disconnects from Facebook, users will have to buy Zynga money instead of Facebook credits.

This social network is two years in the making so the launch later this year is sure to turn some heads. It will be interesting to see how their relationship with Facebook fares throughout this process and if gamers will be happy with the changes that are eminent. Do you think Zynga’s value will increase if they distance themselves from Facebook?

Steve Jobs' Legacy Lives On

Last night Steve Jobs, former CEO and co-founder of Apple, passed away at the age of 56. Today it is clear that the world has lost a brilliant mind and a passionate entrepreneur that revolutionized technology through his design, marketing and creation of personal computers and mobile devices.

In 2005 Steve Jobs addressed the graduates at Stanford University. He shared with them his life story and his advice as they move forward and progress through life. It was a moment that I’m sure many of them won’t soon forget. His message was simple, “stay hungry, stay foolish.”

Thanks to Steve’s innovative designs, businesses like mine exist and thrive. I can run my business using only an iPhone and a Macbook computer. I can listen to my music, update all my social networks, keep up to date on industry news, manage invoices, share files and do an infinite amount of other things at any given time. The technology that he dedicated his life to has helped make mine easier and the same goes for many businesses. There are jobs that exist today because of his desire to push the world forward and these technological advancements will continue to create jobs far into the future.

Steve Jobs Quote

In the past 30 years, Steve Jobs managed to build an empire out of a garage based business. He grew Apple into the powerhouse brand that it is today and along the way he shaped the way people listen to music, share information and view the world around them. There is no doubt that his passion for technology and his drive to succeed has opened up a world of possibilities. His desire to change the world has blossomed into a legacy and it is certain that not many business men manage to make such dramatic and positive changes to human civilization. Let’s celebrate the life of an icon whose imagination knew no boundaries and whose creativity shaped our future.

NHL Announces New Social Media Policy

Just last week the National Hockey League announced it’s new policy that will regulate how players, coaches and other league stakeholders will use social media. Because of the complexity of professional sports and all the speculation riding on each game, the NHL has implemented some strict new rules within this policy that will allow them to better control things from within the organization.

NHL Ice HockeyOne of the most-talked about updates is the implementation of the “social media blackout.” This period will take place from two hours before game time until all post-game interviews are completed. This means that all NHL affiliates won’t be allowed to post on any social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, whether it’s about hockey or not. This blackout period may seem strange and unnecessary but in reality it’s very similar to quiet periods that companies must adhere to around financial announcements etc. The NHL is taking this policy very seriously. Last year multiple players and franchise personnel were fined for tweeting during blackout periods.

The document states that players will be held accountable for posts they make on social networks to a similar standard that they would be for any other public statement. The premise behind the policy is to prevent players from putting their teams at a disadvantage or trying to win an advantage with information that’s false. It also prevents people that are betting on the game from receiving any non-approved information that could contradict the NHL’s league rules.

Traditional media outlets are no doubt happy about these changes because this gives them the advantage. It allows them to pick up the stories before they get broadcasted digitally on platforms like Twitter so expect to see a change in how/when information is shared online.

The implementation of this policy will no doubt make for a difficult transition but there is a lesson here for business of all sizes. It’s important to implement a social media policy so your employees are clear on the guidelines and the consequences should they choose to stray from those guidelines. It’s an easy way to keep everyone on track and eliminate any possible confusion. If things are laid out clearly from the beginning, there are no excuses in the long run for misconduct. Take the necessary steps to ensure your company is protected. The information is available, you just need to find it. Take time to research policies and best practices and compile something that works for your business. In the long run it’s all about creating a policy that suits your needs and can grow with your business in the future.

"Tweet" And "Social Media" Added To Merriam-Webster Dictionary

It’s official, social media has integrated itself into our everyday lives! Merriam-Webster has added the words “tweet” and “social media” to it’s Collegiate dictionary further proving that this is no fad. Just last week The Oxford English Dictionary also added “tweet,” “retweet,” and even “sext”! Surprisingly though, both are a little late in the game considering that Collins English Dictionary added “Twitter” as a verb and a noun in 2009!

The words “Tweet” and “Social Media” were two of 150 words that were added to the best-selling dictionary. This was the first time Merriam-Webster added new terms since 2009 when they included “vlog,” “webisode,” “flash mob,” and “pdf.” New words are added based on how frequently they are used and how many different sources are using them.

In the years to come, dictionaries could be full of social media terms. It’ll be interesting to see what’s incorporated in the future!

What other social media terms do you think should be added to dictionaries?