Tag Archive | twitter

Maintaining Control in Social Media – How to Learn from CVS

For a company, deciding to go social and begin using or expanding the use of social media is a big step.  One of the challenges described in digital communications and social media today is the loss of control that companies face when moving to social media marketing.  In the Watson-Helsby Report, loss of control refers to the loss, or perceived loss, of control by the company of its communication message.  Once the message is live, people can comment on it, copy it, forward it, etc.  Companies have to deal with the reality that they will need to constantly monitor to be sure their message is clear.

Loss of control may be a great challenge, but it can also serve to be a great strength for certain organizations.  Companies with loyal consumers and followers can count on those followers to stand up for the company when the message is relayed incorrectly.  Have you ever experienced a consumer jumping in on behalf of a company when someone posts or tweets a negative message?

CVS and Twitter

CVS is a pharmacy retail store across the country.  According to Sprung (2012) and Fenwick (2011), when CVS launched a Twitter account @CVS_Cares, it decided to protect its tweets.  This meant that consumers wishing to follow the feed had to request approval to do so.

Privacy and control are important, but when a company decides to use social media it must commit to doing so to take full advantage of a particular tool.  CVS may have maintained some control by approving those who could follow it, but lost a great benefit of social media:  transparent connections that develop into meaningful relationships.

Would you follow a brand which protected its tweets or otherwise tried to control access to its social media networks?  Why or why not?  Is your response different for an individual?

Learning from CVS

The lesson we can learn from CVS is that a company needs to commit to social media if it decides to start using it.  It is usually worse to have a social media presence but overly control and restrict content users can post than to have no presence at all.  The point of social media is to allow transparency in order to build meaningful, long-lasting relationships.  Companies must be willing to give up some control in order to achieve the benefit.  Even though CVS tried to restrict access to its Twitter feed and thus gain some control over the discussion, CVS cannot control the rest of the social media world and what people are doing and saying about CVS outside the realm of an official-CVS site.

@CVS_Cares Twitter was officially closed in June 2010.

What do you think?

Was CVS’ attempt to control its social media presence helpful or harmful to spreading the word about CVS?

In terms of control, there are certainly better ways for a brand to maintain control.  The first, and most important, should be to develop a plan for what to do in the event of a loss of control – a social media crisis plan.  What are some other suggestions you as a consumer have for brands? 

CVS now has a Twitter handle @CVS_Extra, and no approval is needed to follow these Tweets.  The messages are personable and reflect transparent conversations with consumers.  CVS appears to have changed its perspective on control, and the dialogue is much more positive.


Fenwick, I.  (7 March 2011).  Marketing in Social Networks.  Retrieved from http://blog.digiaindra.com/2011/03/marketing-in-social-networks/.

Sprung, R.  (16 February 2012).  7 Rookie Social Media Mistakes by Big Brands.  Retrieved from http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31310/7-Rookie-Social-Media-Mistakes-From-Big-Brands.aspx.

The Watson-Helsby Report.  (2010).  Digital communications and social media:  The challenges facing the PR industry.  Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/31722606/Digital-Communications-and-Social-Media-the-Challenges-Facing-the-PR-Industry.


7 Social Media Tools you may not think are connected but really are!

Overloaded by the prolific number of social media tools available today?  Some seem to play well with others, but do they all have anything in common?  If you answered yes to question one or were intrigued by question two, keep reading!

What is the overarching common thread between all social media tools?

Li and Bernoff write in their book groundswell:  winning in a world transformed by social technologies that the groundswell is the transformation of how people get information.  Prior to social media, people tended to get information directly from corporations.  With social media, people can get information directly from each other.  Effective use of social media is all about developing relationships and engaging your audience.  The seven tools evaluated in this blog all have this in common!

So why should you keep reading now that you know the commonality of all social media?  To learn to discern commonalities among subgroups of social media tools, as well as differentiate between subgroups.

Seven Social Media Tools

The seven tools that I have considered are:

 Consumer Focused

The first four tools are consumer-focused.  Meetup allows individuals to connect with groups and groups to get organized for get-togethers.  Yelp allows consumers to rate local businesses.  Turntable creates an online space for individuals to congregate and listen to music.  Finally, Doodle is an easy way to poll and schedule groups to mutually select good dates and times for activities.

These four tools are all consumer-focused, but what else do they have in common?  They allow consumers to interact with each other and make some element of life easier and enjoyable.  Meetup and Doodle are activity based, while Yelp can help make decisions based on reviews and feedback.  Turntable is a bit different from the others in that it is more about enjoyment and learning about new music, but it still allows interaction between individuals to create an online space that is “safe” for self-expression.  People may want to expand their music listening horizons but their close friends do not appreciate their taste in music; Turntable is an option for them because it allows people to connect who otherwise do not interact in life.  The same could be true with Meetup, except with Meetup the goal is that the people do actually get to interact.  Meetup and Doodle encourage real interaction, while Turntable focuses on online interaction only.  Yelp is a way for people to get information to make informed decisions about where to connect.

Can you think of any social media applications which are used only by consumers and not by business?  Do you think this will change in the future and business will start taking advantage of the applications as well?

Consumer and Business Joint Focused

The other three tools are used by both consumers and businesses.  Twitter enables people and businesses to share information in short text-message like communications.  With Digg, people can “digg” or “like” a piece of media (story, photo, video, etc) and the most popular media are highlighted on Digg’s website and app.  Finally, LinkedIn is a way for individuals and businesses to professionally network.  Although all three have consumer-to-consumer uses, I will focus on the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) applications here.

Twitter is a constant stream of information, and from a business perspective, it can be used to keep up with industry trends and customer habits.  Business professionals enjoy the short nature of the messages both in composing and in reading.  Digg allows bloggers and businesses to rally their engaged consumer bases to “vote” in support of their news or media in order to generate further publicity.  LinkedIn is a digital network space where businesses can keep prospective employees as well as other businesses up to date on current happenings.  Businesses can also use LinkedIn to use shared connections to find potential candidates as well as check references.  All three social media tools encourage constant feedback and chatter between businesses and their consumers (which may be other businesses) to stay connected and updated.

The tools discussed here can be used by both consumers and businesses.  Are there any social media tools you use that are designed to be used primarily for business-to-business applications only?


I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how distinct and dissimilar social media tools are all connected by the common thread of building and maintaining social relationships and interactions.  In all 7 tools, users need to be engaged in order for the social media tool to be successful.

What other tools do you see as interconnected?  How are they similar or dissimilar from the 7 discussed in this post?

I welcome your feedback and comments, please leave them below!  Stay tuned for my next post about social media within the food manufacturing industry.

Digg.  (n.d.)  Welcome to Digg.  Retrieved from http://about.digg.com/
Doodle.  (n.d.)  About Doodle.  Retrieved from http://www.doodle.com/about/about.html
Li and Bernoff.  (2008).  Groundswell.  Boston, MA:  Harvard Business Press.
LinkedIn.  (n.d.)  About Us.  Retrieved from http://press.linkedin.com/about
Meetup.  (n.d.) Help.  Retrieved from http://www.meetup.com/help/
Turner, J. (2010 April 9).  Top 52 Social Media Platforms Every Marketer Should Know.  Retrieved from http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2010/04/09/top-52-social-media-platforms/
Turntable.  (n.d.)  About Us.  Retrieved from http://turntable.fm/about
Twitter.  (n.d.)  About.  Retrieved from http://twitter.com/about
Yelp.  (n.d.) About Us.  Retrieved from http://www.yelp.com/about