Friday, January 15, 2010

The Friday Breakthrough: Text to Help!

The Friday Breakthrough is Ottawa's weekly roundup of some of the internet's best marketing and social media articles for a less-than-intense day at the office.

This week saw a lot of ups and downs throughout the world. On Tuesday evening in Haiti, a massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, leaving the country in ruins.

As horrific as it is, some good is starting to shine through. Since being established early Wednesday morning, the American Red Cross has initiated an instant messaging campaign to raise money for those in Haiti who need our help. The result has been overwhelming! People from all over have been texting for Haiti, whereby people have been donating money using their mobile phones.

"This instance [using texting to donate] is far more successful than any we've tried," said Gloria Huang, social-media specialist with the Red Cross. "We're definitely going to keep this in mind for the future." As of Thursday night, the American Red Cross has raised over $5-million through individual $10 text messages! Keep those texts coming in!

The American Red Cross is not the only organization helping out with the recovery efforts. Tiger Woods is planning to donate $3-million to the relief effort and sending a mobile hospital cargo plane to Haiti. That's some good P.R., Woods - you need it!

On the other hand, some bad P.R. is hitting UPS, the world's leading courier service. This is a perfect example of the power of social media, and how even incorrect information can spread like wildfire. Some time on Thursday morning, it was announced online that UPS would be providing customers with free shipping to Haiti on January 15, 2010. This news was heard throughout world on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Unfortunately, for UPS, this was merely a rumor and the company has not such plan to provide any free service. So now, UPS must spend the remainder of today trying to shoot down any angry customers trying to get packages to Haiti. Yikes!

Social media rumors have become a reality that every organization should be aware of. Meaning, you need someone monitoring your online chatter to ensure your company is taking part in the massive social conversations, otherwise you may end up with a major mess on your hands - like UPS.

Have a great weekend! #Team Conan