TARGET! – Managing the Social Media Crises!



This assignment couldn’t have come more at a perfect time!  I work in IT and at our Town Hall on Monday our CTO was talking about how we all have to be more digital and more into social media.  He was also talking about some crises’s that has happened with some companies, one of which was Target.  Security is something that my company takes very seriously.  With what happened with Target could have happened at any retailer, it’s eye opening and something that we all can learn from!

This weeks assignment was to pick a crises that happened in mainstream media within the last 6 months.  I decided to use Target as my subject, as they just had a huge security breach that fell in between November 27 to December 15th which hit the Target stores in the U.S, where as many as 40 million debit and credit cards were affected.  The hackers tried to get the customers personal information, SIN numbers, PIN numbers etc.  This hack was supposedly one of the worst in U.S retailer history!  How did this happen you might ask?  Well, In the days leading up to the U.S Thanksgiving, someone installed Malware in Targets security and payment system which was designed to steal every credit card used at the company’s 1,797 U.S. stores. At the critical moment—when the Christmas gifts had been scanned and bagged and the cashier asked for a swipe—the malware would step in, capture the shopper’s credit card number, and store it on a Target server commandeered by the hackers.

Something like that can tarnish the companies reputation and will make the customers quickly lose their confidence and trust, especially since is the second time this has happened!  Target has also been hacked back in 2005 along with two other companies! How does a company regain confidence in their customers?

There would be three ways where I convince the companies customers, constituents or clients that the store took their concerns seriously and would act to resolve the issue.

The first thing I would do is take to twitter.  As already stated in previous blog posts, Twitter is the quickest way to get your messaging out to your clients, customer and constituents.  Looking at Targets Twitter handle, they have 1.11M followers!  That is a lot of reach!  I would address the issue promptly.  As you only have 140 characters per post, I would try to make my messaging clear and straight to the point.  I will direct them to a FAQ site which would have quickly been created on the Target website that would address any questions or concerns that they may have.  I will also have paid promotion tweet that will list the FAQ Website and the Youtube video.  A closer look at Targets website showed that they actually did have an FAQ section strictly for the data breach.  As their twitter were busy firing off tweets to all of their customers, the post to the URL must have been lost in the shuffle as I couldn’t find it. This URL should have been either posted at the top of their Twitter page and splashed over their Facebook page.

As stated by Christian Faller, what a company can also do is to “use #hashtags related to the incident so your information is presented in the same frame used by others online to share news (Twitter/Facebook).” An example of a hashtag that could be used that is clear is #Targetbreach.  When I was browsing Targets Twitter as they were responding to customer’s tweets, I noticed that not one tweet had a hashtag.  Customers could do a search for #targetbreach and a lot of their questions would have been answered.  I’m sure the person who handles Targets Social Media probably kept answering the same 10 questions from their customers over and over!  They also could have put it in the info that is displayed at the top of their twitter page as to their FAQs, Youtube Video and Customer Service Hotline which would help answer the questions that the customers had.

Another idea is to have the CEO, Gregg W. Steinhafelo do a live Q & A session on twitter for an hour.  This will be the time where he can be in front of his customers, on the front line and can read their opinions and questions and will be able to provide answers immediately, while the wound is still fresh.  The media relations team will have to brief Gregg beforehand, but I think he should make resolving this crises a priority.

As this was the largest breach in U.S Retail History,  I ended up finding a Youtube video from Gregg W. Stienhafelo where he was thanking the customers and apologizing to Targets customers as to what happened and will provide the next steps on what they are going to do to resolve this issue.  This video definitely needed to be longer and should have addressed the issues!


Once the Youtube video is posted, I will then use Facebook and Twitter to roll it out to my followers.  I think having a Youtube video and seeing the emotional, sympathetic face of Gregg W. Steinhafel, may dilute the customers frustration at the company.  Having posts or tweets are fine but sometimes to hear a voice express their apology and to say that they are doing everything in their power to resolve this issue means a lot to customers.. They want to know that the company doesn’t just think of them as dollar signs or sale figures, that they are people and their needs are fully met.  Hearing a voice makes it more personable.

For a large company, they should have a crises procedure in place, a step by step guideline on how to proceed and react to the customers outburst.  With more and more companies embracing the digital age, I think there will be more accounts being hacked in the future.  Hopefully this hack is something that the company and other companies have learned from.

Also as a side note, I listened to a presentation last night about security breaches and the presenter was saying how we should be very careful now with QR codes, how mobile hacks are now on the rise!  Something to keep in mind if we decide to use QR codes for any of our promotions/messaging in the future.  The public may think it is too risk to use it – another reason why QR codes, I think, are on the decline!


Faller, Christian, “Twelve Principals to Managing Crises Management on the Web”, Module 10.

Riley, Michael. Elgin, Ben. Lawrence, Dune and Matlack, Carol.  Target Missed Alarms in epic Hack of Credit Card Data. Business Week. 13 Mar. 2014. Web. 2  Apr. 2014










Week 10 – Taking the Mystery Out of Monitoring and Measurement

Wow!  Week 10!  Can’t believe this course is almost over.  This week our assignment is to discuss three free analytic / measurement tools and one paid analytic tool and give three reasons as to why the tools provide value to measuring a social web program.

The free social web analytic tools won’t be as powerful as tools that you pay for, however if someone is starting out and breaking through into the social media world then these free tools which I will list can do the trick!


Hootsuite is one of the best social media analytic tools out there as it covers a broad range of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+.  What’s so great about Hoosuite as it allows you to view many different mentions and all at once! (Screenshot is below)

“In a survey from monitoring tool Pingdom, Hootsuite came up as the top Social Media Management System, with over 20% of companies using it to manage their social media empires. TweetDeck was second and SocialEngage third.”

Here are 3 reasons as to why Hootsuite may be right for you and your business:

  1. As mentioned you can monitor many different platforms in ONE place!
  2. You can have a team responsible for monitoring the social media.  In other words you can have multiple accounts, however there is a cost to it.. $9.99 a month allows 2 accounts, each extra team member gets more expensive.. If you have more then 10 then you will have to upgrade to an Enterprise account.  The cost isn’t listed, however it can be up in the thousands.
  3. Get free reports by e-mail.  I think this is a great feature.  It only works if you use Hootsuite.  Each week you will get an e-mail with a PDF that will outline the following:
  • Number of clicks per day
  • Geographical information on the people clicking through
  • Top referrers
  • Most popular links




Social Mention is probably one of the best free monitoring tools on the market as it  analysis data in more depth and measures influence with 4 categories: Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach.

For a start up company, social mention is a really good tool to use!  You can target your searches identified identified in video, blogs, microblogs, events, bookmarks, comments, news, Q&A format, and audio media.  Another great feature is it’s sentiment.  It allows you to view the data as positive, negative or neutral.  You can see how your brand is viewed across the board!

Social Mention is a great way to grab what’s fresh and new on your topic from all across the Web, organized into one tidy stream of information. Plus, you can track your topic easily by setting up a Social Mention breaking news alert or RSS feed, which could be very helpful if you’re looking for up to the minute chatter or information on a subject that interests you.

Below is a screen shot of the Social Mention media tool which I just discussed!



As defined on Wikipedia, Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. In determining the user score, Klout measures the size of a user’s social media network and correlates the content created to measure how other users interact with that content.  When I was using Twitter a lot a few years ago, I would get a notice that would say *input friends name here* gives you 1 Klout for example.  I had no idea what that was about and so I pretty much just ignored it until I took this course and saw this program come up in my search feed when I typed in ‘media monitoring tools!’

Klout also measures influence by using data points from Twitter, such as following count, follower count, retweets, list memberships, how many spam/dead accounts are following you, how influential the people who retweet you are and unique mentions. This information is blended with data from a number of other social network followings and interactions to come up with the Klout Score.  The social networks that influence a user’s Klout Score are Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram andKlout itself, as well as Wikipedia.

As this is a free tool I think that a small company can benefit using this tool paired with another free tool (Hootsuite or Social Mention as listed above, to do media monitoring..)  Too solely use this tool on it’s own I dont think you would be able to get a lot of benefit from it.

Attached below is a KLOUT screenshot from Bill Gates!




Vocus PR Software was actually a program that I used back in 2009 when I worked as a Communications Coorindator in an insurance agency.  It was the first social media monitoring tool that we heard of.  Our department thought it was the best thing since slice bread! I know there are other paid sites out there, however I wanted to talk about this one as I haven’t heard it being used from any social media site that I’ve been on while taking this course!  When I used Vocus I thought it was pretty neat.  You could easily view what was mentioned in the news, or on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, just by typing a sentence in the search function.  It was easy to learn and you didn’t’ have to be a computer whizz to find your way around the platform.  LIie any paid social media monitor platform.. you had to pay for licenses.. so the more employees that you wanted to have an account, the more expensive it became.  This was a monitoring tool that would be used for a corporation not for a small company.  The cost to use Vocus is anywhere from $300 per month to $2,500 per month.

Attached is a youtube video that shows how Vocus can help you engage with your influencers.


The media monitoring tools I listed were not listed at all in the documents that were provided.  There are so many tools out there and I wanted to do some research on tools that were not mentioned.  The tool that is right for your company depends on what you are looking for, and depends on if you want to spend money or not.  If you do not want to break the bank then you can clearly see that the free tools can do the job just as well.. you just may need to use a few of the free tools, instead of using only ONE of the paid ones!!


Have a great night!




3, 2, 1 ACTION (.. Attitude, Attention..)

It’s been a few weeks since i’ve made a blog post (32 days to be exact!)  My last blog post was about Infographs!  As you saw on my blog postings, the Olympics made good use of this form of visualization through the use of Facebook which I found to be fantastic!

This week we discussed ROI and different types of measurement tools for social media!  ROI stands for return on investment.  The equation for ROI is (investment – cost of investment) / cost of investment.  As we will be measuring social media tools, the equation is the same!  You can’t use the above equation and sub your investment in for number of twitter followers.  It just doesn’t work.

I will be discussing the concepts of action, attitude and attention and how it can help drive activity and mentions in social media!


Regardless of the platform—blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.—posts will receive better success rates if they contain calls to action, compared to ones without them. So, all the more reason to use them!  Examples of calls to action include: click here, sign up today, get your ticket, join us at, RSVP here, buy now, enroll here, check this out, click, and comment.  When you present your followers or ‘friends’ a ‘call to action’ the chances are they will share your tweet or post to their friends/followers and the reach to your product or information will keep expanding.  The image below is an example of a call to action.



Social networkers differ in their attitudes to social networking sites and in their behaviour while using them.  Social networkers tend to fall in the groups listed below:

• Alpha Socialisers – (a minority) people who used sites in intense short bursts to flirt, meet new people, and be entertained.
• Attention Seekers – (some) people who craved attention and comments from others, often by posting photos and customising their profiles.
• Followers – (many) people who joined sites to keep up with what their peers were doing.
• Faithfuls – (many) people who typically used social networking sites to rekindle old friendships, often from school or university.
• Functionals – (a minority) people who tended to be single-minded in using sites for a particular purpose.

Non-users also appear to fall into distinct groups; these groups are based on their reasons for not using social networking sites:

• Concerned about safety – people concerned about safety online, in particular making personal details available online.
• Technically inexperienced – people who lack confidence in using the internet and computers.
• Intellectual rejecters – people who have no interest in social networking sites and see them as a waste of time.


As I said in the first paragraph of this blog, Infographs seem to be the rage now a days!!  Attached below is a quick infograph taken from the folks over at Whoishostingthis, who prepared this great infograph on how to grab a readers attention in a few easy steps.



#wearewinter – Figure Skating Infograph

The Olympics started a few days ago and today is Figure Skating.  The Canadian Olympic Team have posted an Infograph on Facebook that I wanted to share.  Seems very fitting as Week 4 we learned about Infographs.

I found this Infograph to be very easy to follow.  Figure Skating is an Olympic sport that doesn’t really interest me.  I don’t really know much about their techniques or how they’re judged other then the fact is if they take a spill, then obviously their ratings will drop.  Below is an infograph that I found to be very easy to follow and to read.  The images were attractive and I liked the little figure skating design.


Week 4: What are Infographs?

Infographs are a good way for public relations practitioners to visually tell a story.  I look at Infographs like I do at mannequins in a retail store. I am a lazy shopper.  I can’t stand it.  When I go shopping I pretty much walk in a store look at the manniquins displayed and walk out.  If something catches my eye then it peaks my interest and I zoom in for a closer work.  That is infographs.  Infographs as defined by Oxford Dictionary is a visual representation of information or data, e.g. as a chart or diagram:a good infographic is worth a thousand words.  Infographs are a good way to catch a potential buyers attention.

Below are some visual images of infographs which I have come across on the web.

Example 1)


The above infograph shows that different oils have different’ smoking points.  The advantages of this diagram is that you can easily compare what oil works for you with what you are making.  You will also know what kind of oil to use based on the temperature that you must cook at.  An example is that you are never to cook butter at a temperature of 400 to 500f as it can easily ignite. Now I never knew this until I was researching infographs and came across this infograph showing the different types of oils and their smoking points.  The disadvantage of this diagram is the fact that it took me a while to figure this out.  I had to read the article from to fully understand this diagram.  An infograph should be a visual that the user should be able to understand clearly without having to read into it.

Example 2.


Attached above is a seasonal fruit and vegetable calendar.  This is mainly good bc you should buy your fruits and vegetables in season.  There are a few reasons.  The main one right now is because more and more people are becoming health conscience.  If you live in a cold climate and you purchase fruits or vegetables that come from a hot climate such as strawberries or oranges then how do you think they are produced?  Another factor is the cost.  When fruits and vegetables are purchased out of season then the cost ends up skyrocketing.  $3.99 for a pint of blueberries?  Might as well stick to the frozen aisle until June.

What I do not like about this chart is that it is just images of vegetables and fruits.  I was having a hard time picking out what was what.  Who here has ever put together Ikea furniture?  Yes you know what i mean..  Just images can help but sometimes you need some words to help describe what you are trying to visually represent.  I think they should have listed the name of the fruit/vegetable below the image.

Example 3)


The above infograph shows staistics, calories and symptoms due to sugar.  It is a growing trend among Canada and the United States.  Sugar is in everything.  I have limited my sugar intake for example.  I don’t eat gluten or have any processed sugar during the week.  The lack of gluten makes me crave sugar.  Gluten turns into sugar when it hits your blood stream.  It’s in everything.  What I like about this poster is that it is visually striking.  I got attracted to it before I read the content.  What I do not like about this is that it has way too much information. It’s information overload.  I dont know where to start reading.  I think they should focus on one part of sugar instead of everything.  It is too busy in my opinion.

What are your thoughts? I ‘d love to hear them!

QR Codes continued!

I found this hilarious clip on QR Codes that I wanted to share.  Wish I found it yesterday to include in my original blog post, but this separate post will have to do!

This clip is a bit of a stand up comedy act!  The comedian jokes about all the issues that I have with the QR Codes.   If you have time, check this out.  It’s 11 minutes long but hilarious!  He hits the nail on the head with so many of his points! Enjoy 🙂