What do government agencies, killer whales and mommies all have in common? Why, social media, of course.
Paul Vogelzang, senior vice president of persuasive technologies at the Washington, D.C.-based public relations firm Porter Novelli, has made the use of social media tools a Web content must for all three.
Take this example from Vogelzang: When the popular killer whale Shamu decided he’d had enough with life in captivity and attacked his trainer, Sea World learned the meaning of viral video. David Letterman lampooned the 2006 incident on his late-night talk show, and the segment became the most watched video on YouTube that week. But instead of becoming a PR nightmare, Sea World used the opportunity to get its feet wet in social media.
Fortunately, the trainer wasn’t hurt in the incident. But Vogelzang says it could have been worse for his company’s client. “A video like this airing on YouTube might have seriously soured Sea World’s image in its community,” says Vogelzang, who recently spoke about the incident to a group of communicators at Ragan’s Social Media Revolution Conference.