Managing Social Media Crisis – Alice in Arabia


A few weeks ago, on March 17th, ABC Family announced that it was going to order a pilot for a show called “Alice in Arabia” and it was described as follows:

“Alice in Arabia is a high stakes drama series about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian. Alice finds herself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, whom she finds surprisingly diverse in their views on the world and her situation. Now a virtual prisoner in her grandfather’s royal compound, Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil. The pilot was written by Brooke Eikmeier, who previously served in the US Army as a Cryptologic Linguist in the Arabic language, trained to support NSA missions in the Middle East. She left service in September 2013 as a rank E-4 Specialist”

Twitter critic

Once word got out, there was a backlash on Twitter against ABC Family for the way the show was described (girl getting kidnapped by Middle Easterners) and because the writer is a non-Muslim American from the US Army, claiming that she’s giving young Muslims a voice. The hashtag #AliceInArabia was quickly trending as many felt the show would be another in a long list of films and TV shows depicting Muslims and Arabs in a negative light. They feared it would lead to more stereotypes and would be harmful to Muslim youths in the US.


Two organizations, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, asked to have a meeting with ABC Family to discuss their concerns and to get reassurances that the show wouldn’t be harmful or stereotypical. Instead ABC Family released a statement saying, “We hope people will wait to judge this show on its actual merits once it is filmed. The writer is an incredible storyteller and we expect Alice to be a nuanced and character driven show”

It didn’t help that the popular website Buzzfeed managed to get ahold of the script and confirmed the script was “exactly what critics feared”. They basically said that the script is filled with stereotypes and had some inaccuracies regarding life in Saudi Arabia and as a Muslim.

In less than a week from when ABC Family announced the pilot, they announced that they weren’t going forward with the pilot, stating “The current conversation surrounding our pilot was not what we envisioned, and is certainly not conducive to the creative process, so we’ve decided not to move forward with this project.”

Instead of just cancelling the show and announcing that the criticism was affecting their creative process, I would’ve apologized to Arab-Americans and Muslims for not being sensitive towards their concerns of a possible backlash related to the show. That apology would’ve gone on ABC Family’s official website and Twitter account @ABCFamily using the hashtag #AliceInArabia so that everyone taking part in that Twitter conversation could see it.

I also would’ve announced on their Twitter account that they would agree to meet with members of CAIR and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, to listen to their concerns are about the show and if possible to ease their minds by agreeing to make some changes that would not compromise their creative process and at the same time not be offensive and filled with stereotypes. It would also be a good idea if they agreed to have someone other than the writer, a non-Muslim, non-Arab American, help as a consultant. Many TV shows and movies do this such as getting real doctors or military personnel to consult on medical or war related TV shows/movies. This could’ve had a more positive outcome for both sides and perhaps it could’ve been a show that young Muslims and non-Muslims could’ve enjoyed.


I also would’ve taken part in the discussion on Twitter instead of being silent. This would demonstrate that they take the concerns of their viewers seriously and would be willing to create something that their Muslim viewers could be proud of and relate to. They would actually have a voice and not have an “other” speak for them. The hashtag #AliceInArabia proved that they are fully capable of speaking up for themselves and maybe a different show with a more positive representation could’ve come out of it.

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Posted by on April 5, 2014 in Uncategorized


Measurement Tools for Your Social Web Program

There are so many social media measurement tools out there and it might take some time to choose the one that is right for your organization; however, here are four that you may want to look into:


Twit Sprout has a variety of plans available ranging from free to $100 per month; however, it allows you a 15 day free trial. This measurement tool will measure the performance of you Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and it will compare the results to any of your competitors’ page and account performances as well.

·Monitors when you receive followers and fans on an hourly basis allowing to determine when the best time to post your message/content and interact with your followers/fans.
·You can see which of your posts are motivating your followers/fans to engage in discussion. For example, is there more engagement when you post a photo or a status update? If the answer is the photo, then you may consider posting more photos and trying to start a conversation based around it that will also benefit your organization.
·You can also measure your competitor’s activity in order to improve or maintain your activity. You can see what is causing fan/followers to engage in their postings and why they’ve had a steady increase or decreased in fans over the past few months and why you didn’t.


HootSuite is free and manages your social network accounts, measures and analyzes your organization’s activity from a variety of social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, WordPress and more.
·From its dashboard, you can post to multiple accounts; schedule future postings; and monitor all of your activity from one location. You can view the progress of your followers, the number of mentions you receive, and the links and retweets, all without having to sign into each site.
·Multiple people from your organization are able to use Hoot Suite as well, which is especially good if you have multiple people working on different campaigns.
·You’re also able to create reports taken from Facebook Insights (the likes, comments and fans), and from your Twitter profile (followers, mentions, and RTs)


Klout is another free tool you can use to see your impact and influence in social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. All you have to do is connect all of your social media accounts to Klout and based on your activity and the resulting engagement you will get a score between 1-100 representing your influence. Influence is when people respond to whatever you share.
·It allows you to track all of your likes, retweets and what impact you have in the social media world
·It tells you why your score is the way it is. For example, why people keep engaging in the content you post
·While many organizations may feel that having many different social media accounts is a good thing; what matters most with Klout is that you are active and your followers engage. This will increase your Klout score.

social bakers

Social Bakers Pro is a paid analytic tool and there are several options and plans to choose from, and depending on what you select you can pay from $120-$1000. Options include Analytics, Builder, Listening, and Ad Analytics, and you do get a 14-day free trial.
·Analytics allows you to measure and monitor your Facebook, Twitter and Youtube performances as well as the performances of your competitors. You can see what fans/followers find the most engaging and when they are interacting with your content
·Builder will allow you to control the conversation and automatically schedule/publish your content
·Listening monitors the discussions that the influencers are having about yours and your comeptitor’s brand. According to Social bakers, this will allow you to “never worry that you will be caught off-guard with real-time monitoring and alerts”

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Posted by on March 29, 2014 in Uncategorized


Measuring Social Web Activity


In order for a business to thrive and succeed, they need to have a business objective, and today many are turning to social media to achieve their business objectives. Having that objective is key to success; however, they will need to know how to measure whether or not the social web program they’ve decided to use is successful.

The following three concepts (Action, Attitude & Attention), are excellent ways to measure the social web activity, and will help determine if their business objectives have been met by their chosen program.

If your goal is to increase your revenue, then the financial outcome after your social media campaing is complete is probably the best way to find out if your company’s business objectives have been met. To determine if you’ve increased your revenue you can look at the results of your Return On Investment aka ROI = (Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) You will know if you are successful if your answer is positive, meaning you’ve managed to make money back from your initial investment into the campaign. If your result is negative, it means your company has lost money and you may want to re-think how you spend your money the next time.

While attitude isn’t as concrete a measurement as the concept of Action or ROI, it can be used to measure what people think/feel about your organization. Attitude can be measured by adding up all the times people like you on Facebook, follow and retweet you on Twitter. An organization should take notes on exactly what it is that people are liking (customer service, quality of their products), and what they dislike (pricing, location), and they should use the results to make improvements where needed in order to potentially make more sales, gain more clients, donations etc…

They may also want to look at the number of times they get recommended by people, because personal recommendations go a lot further than a company telling people what they do. If the online discussions are positive, and there are more likes vs dislikes you may gain more clients & customers; if not, you do risk losing anyone who was considering spending their money at your place of business.
An example of this may be Yelp (, a site where customers can review and post comments about their experiences at shops and restaurants, and where potential customers can go to get recommendations. Positive comments can lead to further business, while negative reviews may tarnish the reputation of a restauranteur and deter others from going to their restaurant.

The attention your social media program receives can be measured by looking at the amount of followers, retweets and mentions your company receives. Basically it is about examining whether or not your business is on people’s radar, and if it is, is it mentioned consistently? constantly? or is it just a one-off situation based on an unrelated issue.

If there isn’t much discussion on social media about your business, it may mean it’s time to increase your social media presence by improving your social media campaign. If your business objective is to get more customers, then people will first need to know about your existence; so being creative and creating a social media program to introduce what you have to offer may lead to an increase in followers and retweets, putting your business on people’s radar.


Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


Content Strategy

This week’s post is about content strategy and I’m to provide my thoughts on 3 images/infographics that summarize what a content strategy is. Content strategy involves the way you communicate and share your information.


This image provides nice step-by-step instructions on how to create content strategy. I like that it proposes questions to help you format and structure your content.  The inclusion of the yellow brick road brings to mind that if you keep following it, you’ll end up getting what you want.



The decision to use the look of an old candy shop reminds me of Willy Wonka! Most people know that the sight and smell of a candy store is enough to draw customers in, and the fun, bright colours make it really eye-catching too.  The creator of this infograph took a page from candy marketers to get people’s attention, and not only is the look eye-catching, but the use of facts is also done really well and I feel that it thoroughly explains the benefits of using each aspect of the content.  I also like the fact that the theme/look is consistent throughout.



While this one describes the elements of a content strategy, I find this infograph to be quite cluttered.  I think it would be better if the images and fonts were similar in size and style or kept at 1-3 different types the most.  It’s just too busy and kind of dizzying.  I do however think that the information provided is good, instead of explaining everything in long sentences, it just list everything using short words but they all get to the point.



Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


You are Here _____


You are here

I first heard of Foursquare at a previous job.  One day I got to work and the logo was on the door.  When I asked my boss what it was and why it was on the door, he said it was so our clients/members could check in and that was all I knew, and when customers asked, that’s all I told them. We weren’t told to promote it and to me it didn’t make sense because members had a card that they had to scan to check in so it all seemed redundant.   Nobody – staff or members – used it.

This week I used tried out Foursquare as well a QR code reader to test out location-based social media and see how they can work and/or benefit a public relations program.  Location-based social media allows the consumer to do the advertising for your business by providing reviews and checking into the location in the hopes that others will do the same and build up a following.


Foursquare check-in

Foursquare is an app that uses the GPS on your phone to find locations in your vicinity and allows you to click on check-in when you arrive.  Once you check-in, you can read or leave reviews & tips about the place you visited; and you can earn badges and points for checking in as well.

I actually didn’t find any establishments actively using Foursquare and the majority of the reviews I read were from 2012 or before.  To be honest, I felt silly checking in every place I went, sometimes I left comments but I’m not really sure who’s going to read them. I know it won’t be anyone in any of my social networks.  Foursquare lets you search for friends on other networks who also use Foursquare, not a single person was found.  I also personally asked friends if they used it and it was still a no. 


I did like that Foursquare shows you what’s in your area, something that would be useful for someone new to an area or looking for a new restaurant, place to workout or even clinic.   I do question its accuracy though, because I used it in a mall and was able to check-in multiple locations within minutes without ever having to go in or near them. In fact, because I visited 10 locations within 12 hours I was awarded an Overshare badge, though I’m not sure how I benefit from this badge.


I think Foursquare has had it’s time to shine and people have moved on to other location-based social media. 




I also downloaded a QR code reader to test it out, and once upon a time I actually used to see QR codes everywhere; however, when I was searching for them to test, I was only able to find them in a Food & Drink magazine.  I scanned codes and they took me to some very delicious online recipes; which seemed kind of redundant because I was already reading a magazine filled with delicious recipes, so why they didn’t just include it in the magazine?


If businesses don’t provide an incentive for their customers to use Foursquare and QR codes, they won’t use it.  There’s nothing in it for the customer to get their smartphones out and check-in or scan something they’re not going to benefit from.  In turn businesses aren’t going to get the free advertising and marketing data they could be getting.


Personally, I felt like I was just leaving breadcrumbs for someone else to track all my interests; though seeing that not many people were using them I guess I don’t have to worry too much.


Anyways, part of my assignment also includes suggesting 3 possible uses of these platforms for public relations, so here they are:


  1. Public Transportation companies could use Foursquare to determine the amount of commuters that wait at certain stops for their buses and work on improving the service


  1. Clothing stores could use the QR Codes to suggest other pieces of clothing to match what’s in their hands or even if there’s another store that has the same item but at a different colour or size.


  1. Grocery/Food stores could use Foursquare to offer free cooking classes to those who check-in a certain amount of times. Or the QR codes could explain how to cook and store a particular product; something useful for those who are buying things for the first time. Perhaps something President’s Choice could do to complement what they already do with their online videos and booklets. For example how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate or how to cut an artichoke.




Posted by on January 29, 2014 in Uncategorized


Twitter’s Promoted Ads

Twitter bullhornThis week’s topic is all about Twitter, last week I said that I don’t really Tweet but I do follow other people and organizations and after looking into the different types of Promoted Products made available to businesses on Twitter, I have a better understanding of why some of the accounts are on my list of people/groups I follow. It’s due to Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts and Promoted Trends. If you’re a Twitter user, you may be familiar with all 3 of these but may not know them by the official name, so here’s some info on the process:


Promoted Tweet

Allows you to Tweet to your followers, as well as users of Twitter who aren’t following you. It comes at a cost; however, you only pay whenever someone clicks, retweets, favourites or replies to the Tweet.

Promoted Account

You pay to have your account promoted at the top of your targeted group’s “Who to Follow” list and in return it helps increase the number of followers you have, making it easier for you to spread your message. The cost can range from 50¢ to $5 per follower.

Who to follow

Promoted Trend

Your promoted Trend will go at the top of your targeted group’s “Trending List” and it helps to create and increase online discussion about your organization itself and gain more exposure. Twitter recommends that it be used for events and product launches. Clicking on the Trend will take the user to whatever message you wish to communicate. In order to use it, you must pay a flat fee which is rumoured to be thousands of thousands of dollars.

Twitter Trends

For all three options, you can target your audience by gender, location and even keywords allowing you to properly fine-tune your campaign. You can also set a spending budget to avoid paying more than you can afford on your Twitter campaign.

I like the idea of being able to use all three of these promotional options from a business stance; however, I think it tends to favour the larger and well-known organizations because they have a larger spending budget at their disposal and it allows them to reach a larger market, should that be their goal.

For example, a couple of years ago Ciroc started a very successful Twitter campaign called #cirocthenewyear. It’s success was due in part becuase the vodka company is represented by the large beverage alcohol distributor Diageo and it’s backed by celebrity/brand ambassador P. Diddy and others who used Promoted Trends and Tweets to reach their many followers about their campaign. I actually remember when this campaign started and there were TV commercials airing during Breaking Bad, mostly likely because Aaron Paul (one of the stars of the show) was also in the ad and was also a brand ambassador to Ciroc. The commercial used the hashtag #cirocthenewyear leading viewers to Twitter, which led them to more info about the product and eventually increased sales for the New Year. I believe this campaign returns every year and you can still find users using the hashtag in their Tweets.

I feel it would be more difficult for a small not-for-profit organization or mom and pop type of business to benefit from the use of the Promoted Ads. Even if it was a local campaign, they might not get the success they’re seeking, not without having to expand their budget. I’m not saying it would be impossible but they’d probably have to target Twitter users very precisely.

You can click on Twitter’s business site for further info and they include case studies of successful campaigns from Ciroc, Airbnb, etc…

What do you think about all of this? When it comes to using these Promoted Products is there much room for the “little guy” whose on a very small budget to make a dent on Twitter? Or is it only for the big kids to use. Do you think it can be or is there equal opportunity for all interested groups to use?


Posted by on January 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

Getting Beyond Facebook

My name is Aqiyla and I’m originally from Montreal and have lived in several cities across Ontario and have now I currently reside in Toronto.

I studied Communication Studies, Anthropology and documentary filmmaking

I love learning about different cultures; and although I haven’t gone to many locations outside of Canada, I do enjoy the little bit of travelling I’ve managed to do.

I love pop culture, especially film & TV an in the past I’ve worked for a few production companies with a focus on documentary film and I always make sure to attend as many film festivals as possible across the city.

I currently work customer service assisting clients from across Ontario and Quebec. And I’m also on the PR and Marketing committee for a not-for-profit organization and I hope to eventually start my own small business. Before I do that though, I’m trying to get the hang of everything social media has to offer in order to benefit the not for profit organization and my future business endeavours.

I’m currently registered in an online social media course and hope to learn some useful information, and share my thoughts on it over the next few months. I want to go from passive user to active user. I currently use Facebook and I do use Twitter but as a follower only – I don’t tweet– but I’m hoping that it’ll get me to start using my LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest accounts and whatever else is out there. My goal is to become more knowledgeable in these formats.

We were asked to read the following:

Demystifying Social Media by the McKinsey Quarterly

Unlocking Social Media for PR by: Sarah Skerik (a free e-book you can find here):

Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization  by Olivier Blanchard

Based on some of the readings I’ve done so far for the course, I like the idea that you can promote your content (a special fundraising event perhaps) on Twitter by using different angles to draw more people in. For example, instead of just tweeting when and where the event will happen; you can use facts about it in one tweet; list special guests in another; and then post a video related to the event in the next one; and then use quotes from special guests with @mentions.

I already know my biggest challenge with Twitter will be trying to get everything said with 140 characters and I’m sometimes amazed at how easy it is for some to do.

I think Chapter 11 in Sarah Skerik’s e-book titled 10 Tips for Tweeting as a Brand seemed like common sense to me, but one of my old profs once said common sense isn’t always common. And if you follow people on Twitter like I do, you’ve witnessed a meltdown or two and know it could’ve been avoided if they followed these tips; especially when dealing with trolls.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around LinkedIn but I’ll be spending more time on it this weekend and hopefully I’ll get finally get it.

Quora is something I’ve never heard of before, but I do like the idea of it being used to get info and advice. On another note, I forgot how useful visiting a web forum can be to gain answers as well and think I’ll be visiting some new ones and re-visiting the ones I used to frequent years ago.

Also this is the first time I’ve ever blogged (a requirement of the course), so please feel free to comment, I’d appreciate any suggestions or feedback,

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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

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