Always Keep Learning for Social Media

Time flies! As a PR practitioner and a student of social media class, I have been struggling my way on social media platforms for almost three months. At the beginning, I even had no idea about how to make a concise structure of my blogs.

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Blog Still Works Well
As a matter of fact, nowadays in China, the blog is a little bit out-of-date. People focus more on other social media platforms and become accustomed to short contents rather than to read lot articles. After composing six blogs on different topics of social media, like Learning from Successful Campaign – Mercedes-Benz #MBPHOTOPASS and Really A Crisis for Facebook, not only do I master basic skills of writing a blog, I also have learned the process of social media development here in the United States. Moreover, writing blogs let me cultivate the habit to always keep up with social media trends. Only in this way can my blog be readable and engaging.
With the professional guide and continuing practice, I finally realize that writing blogs have gradually become one of my weekly habits, and I will keep on writing blogs. The first reason is that blog still works quite well in delivering information as a social media channel. More importantly, I regard my blog site as a free land for me to express and share my thinking with people with same interest. Although sometimes I will receive different views from comments, I can learn more from them, and I always think that having the comprehensive lens to see this world is a really important quality for a PR professional.

Memorable Social Media Class
Through the whole semester of learning social media with professor Benjamin, I really feel full in each class. Learning from knowing little about social media in America, I can feel my own progress and find confidence for further study of Public Relations. From the NYU Film Festival project, I and my group members gradually understand the importance of managing different social media platforms for different goals. Also, the social media listening tools we learned from the course bring us many benefits not only help a lot in the assignment of this course, but also for our other related courses.
Other unforgettable memories are the three guest speaker speeches. All the professional and passionate guest speakers broadened my horizon of the practical PR world with their work experience. On the one hand, each time listening to the speech made me feel that I need to work harder in social media learning, and later everything will turn out to be a wonderful result. All the speeches teach me one same thing that the very first thing to make a good performance in the social media industry is to be passionate about social media.

Ahead of me is still a long way to go, but I have gained the confidence from this course to walk further.

Really A Crisis for Facebook

September has been a bruising month for Facebook. Reports that Facebook’s self-service ad-buying tool may have been used by Russian agents to undermine the 2016 election—as well as allowed anti-Semitic groups to target like-minded individuals—has damaged the brand’s reputation and raised questions about federal regulation of social media ads. Under growing pressure from Congress and the public to reveal more about the spread of covert Russian propaganda on Facebook, the company said on 21st, Sep. that it was turning over more than 3,000 Russia-linked ads to congressional committees investigating the Kremlin’s influence operation during the 2016 presidential campaign. Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, made the response on Facebook Live and said, “I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity.”


Apparently, the big issue can be a real disaster to Facebook’s reputation. The revelations have undoubtedly raised questions about transparency, integrity and crisis management. When should a company withhold information it knows will damage its brand, and for how long? At what point does it become dangerous to keep that information to itself? Where is that tipping point, when the act of withholding damaging information becomes worse than the information itself? Although Facebook used the platform itself to make the announcement and cited Federal privacy laws which limits their ability to disclose account information, it seemed to be passive. In this digital age, there isn’t a lot of time to get your arms around an issue before you start grappling with the fallout. But it’s absolutely necessary to react as quickly as possible.

Mr. Zuckerberg’s live video was a good point, however, showed the sincerity and authenticity. Since the issue was related to the politics, Zuckerberg’s standpoint must be clear that can maintain the beneficial figure among the public. Compared with other social media, like Twitter, which has kept a low profile since Facebook’s disclosure of the Russian intrusion, has initiative announced that it will brief the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. Here is the point, besides the transparency, which is the most important requirement for today’s social media platforms, proactive reaction shows the sincerity more effectively and will turn out to be a big win.



To begin with, the first step for Facebook to solve the problem is to rebuild a transparent figure. It needs to plan the actions Facebook will take to make political advertising more transparent, and post the plan on its own platform as soon as possible.

In addition, Facebook can invest more heavily in its security teams, expand its coordination with global election commissions, and work closely with other tech companies to share threat information as it arises.

In the future, Facebook should learn from this fall and continue to strengthen the platform against bots and other forms of manipulation. As Mr. Zuckerberg reinforced that Facebook’s status is a transnational global behemoth whose power reaches into every corner of contemporary life, we hope it can take the real actions to realize the words. Never be passive, and always think a step earlier and further is quite important in such a highly informative society.

Also, from other aspects, regulation will be needed to ensure that voters know more about who is behind ads on social media.

Learning from Successful Campaign – Mercedes-Benz #MBPHOTOPASS


If you ask me which social media campaign is the most impressive and worth-learning to me, Mercedes-Benz USA immediately comes in my mind. It really did a phenomenal job packing a punch through their social media campaign in 2016, #MBPhotoPass.

The #MBPhotoPass campaign began in 2014 and laid a foundation, but with 2016’s inclusion of YouTube’s 360-degree video technology, it has become even better! The company relies on user-generated content as a way to get audiences engaged. Instead of putting out the same pictures and short videos of their vehicles, Mercedes-Benz gives control of their social media to select individuals.

The company “passes” access to their Instagram feed to social influencers, journalists, photographers and team members to curate content for the account for certain periods, which is a great way to keep the content fresh and keep audiences looking forward to upcoming editions. As opposed to advertising their cars by spamming their social media outlets with car model pictures, they let the influencers tell a story using their vehicles. Along with access to the Instagram account, these influencers were given the keys to a Benz to drive around while they are taking pictures and curating the company’s Instagram account.

Take for instance this video using YouTube’s 360-degree video technology featuring Insta-famous pup Loki the Wolf Dog and his ever-adventurous owner Kelly Lund. The dog accompanies his owner on travels around the world that are documented on social. The content generated tells a unique and sincere story and does not revolve around the cars.

The result? Pretty remarkable! Instagram alone generated 173 million impressions, 2.3 million likes and comments, and $4 million worth of earned media. In addition, these influencer-led stories created around 1,700 brand assets that are still being used across the Mercedes Benz website.

Actually, With Instagram implementing an algorithm, a part of marketers are worried about still being able to gain that kind of traction on the platform. However, from the wise campaign, we can say that Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services at Mercedes-Benz USA, isn’t among them.


What can we learn from Mercedes-Benz USA?

First, it’s important to create original content and not recycle images and videos. Dedicated contents are the key motivation for a successful campaign, because everything updated so fast on today’s social media that only creative and sincere messages can catch people’s attention.

Second, using social media as branding platforms instead of just direct-response channels. Mercedes bolsters its social content with paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, supporting posts with dedicated pushes. In other words, one day, the brand may run ads solely on Instagram, and the next day a campaign may be live only on Facebook.

Also, social media campaigns should be planned in the long term. As Aikman says, “It’s a multiday, multimonth, multiyear journey with consumers.”





Problem with Facebook Live You Cannot Ignore


Since users can make live videos on Facebook, it is not difficult to see that violent things keep happening on Facebook Live, the most recent being the kidnapping and brutal beating of a mentally handicapped man by four people in Chicago. However, towards this trend, we cannot tell whether Facebook, or social media in general, is prepared to reap what it has sown in attempting to make Facebook Live a hit feature.


So, have you ever thought about why does this trend become increasingly worsening?

To begin with, personally, as a PR practitioner in study, I think the biggest problem with trying to manage live streaming videos is that they’re used in so many ways that are good, educational, and advisable. Even in some cases, them can provide vital evidence to a court of law.

As a matter of fact, we can also see that Facebook Live has been used to broadcast demonstrations against police brutality, government dictatorships, and even examples of corporations treating their customers with disdain. These are all the positive sides. Moreover, take a look at our life, users can really have the fun aspects of Facebook Live, with vacation moments captured in time, or interesting discoveries during daily experience. Nevertheless, we should not ignore that the “normal uses” can hardly outweigh the depraved and harmful ones.

In addition, monitoring and taking down live broadcasts of violent incidents takes time and resources. Facebook says it has “a team on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week” that responds to user-flagged content, and that it monitors videos reaching “a certain level of popularity, even if they haven’t been reported.” Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has himself admitted it’s a huge problem and one that’s almost impossible to manage given the amount of content uploaded to Facebook every day.


Then another problem comes, given the difficulty of managing the medium, and the damage that can be caused because of that difficulty, is it time to consider how Facebook Live and others like it is approved?

Actually, the tool itself is not the issue, and social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram will can the trend to focus on video content. The fundamental solution is that we need a mechanism to stop quickly. To keep the developing trend, as social networks continue to try to outdo each other with new features, it is effective for agencies and companies to share events in real time to promote their products and service. However, other daily videos really need to be filtered, and more reasonable limitations should be set.

Zuckerberg said his company will hire the additional community operations people over the next year, so presumably the team is not yet at full strength.

With encouraging signs, we hope the worrying problem to be alleviated.