Questionable Stock Photos: Halloween Roundup 2013

This week’s Questionable Stock Photos roundup is a special Halloween edition.   After all, when you start a photo series born out of  the strange, ill-conceived photographs that surface in a standard stock photo site search, it’s only natural that some of those will apply rather nicely to Halloween.

This week’s collection has one Marketing use case each that may or may not justify the energy it took to produce them.


Yes, I will murder you while you sleep. Just kidding! I have no lower arms. But I’m friends with the evil clown puppet, so… well, just sayin’.


American Girl Halloween Limited Edition: Clementine Bates, 1935.

Once the beloved doll of a Midwestern farmer’s child , Clementine went missing when her family evacuated their homestead during the Dust Bowl.  Can she travel through time and find the great-great-great-grandchild of her original owner?

There’s more to Clementine’s story… discover it all in her 5-book series!



Thank heavens Obamacare covers mummies! We come with our own bandages, yet insurance companies have considered our post-mortem state of being a “pre-existing condition” for years.


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I know, I know: you didn’t expect me to go with white on my wedding day. Look, just because this is my job doesn’t mean I’m not a traditionalist.


SCREAM 5 | Desert Doomsday –

It was just a typical day at Burning Man… until people started dying!



This mask is not nearly as warm as I’d like it to be.  Can someone please call my agent for me?  My extremities are frozen.


Den Norske Opera & Ballett presenterer: Phantom of the Tundra

En ny opera av Olav Anton Thommessen

(The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet Presents: Phantom of the Tundra
A new opera by Olav Anton Thomessen)



I didn’t realize that the guy was so serious…


Does Your Marriage Need Help?

Learn How to Transform Conflict into Connection!


Feel free to submit your own marketing scenarios via the blog comments.

If you’ve run across a questionable stock photo and would like us to think of marketing use cases, or would like to share your own, please tweet a link to the pic @meltwater with the hashtag #stockpic and we’ll be sure to give it a gander.  If its questionability isn’t in question, we’ll enthusiastically feature it here on the blog.

See more from this series on Pinterest:

Follow Meltwater Group’s board Questionable Stock Photos on Pinterest.

This Week’s Overwhelmingly Magnificent PR Blog Posts (10/25/13)

Hello, PR world, and happy Friday! There were lots of great blog posts published this week, but we narrowed it down to our 4 favorites – check them out below!

5 Massive Ways Social Media Has Changed the Face of Traditional PR

from our friends at Memeburn

Social media has changed the way we communicate and, as a result, has created the need for Digital PR. This blog post explains the changes that have taken place so that you can begin to think in terms of a digital PR strategy that can be integrated with social media marketing.

Are Journalists Becoming Obsolete?

from our friends at High Talk

As brands take more and more control over the distribution of their content through owned media channels, journalist jobs are dwindling – and many of those journalists are filling the very roles that are putting them out of business! This blog post is an interesting read on the decline of the journalist profession.

Getting Press: Here’s 14 Public Relations Tips For Brands & Small Business

from our friends at Media Leaders

While this article is geared toward business owners that don’t have the luxury of working with a PR professional, it has some great tips that you may not have thought of, or that you maybe just needed to be reminded of. Definitely worth a gander!

PR ‘Success’ – And Why Most of It Just Doesn’t Matter

from our friends at PR Examples

This article explores the types of PR coverage that are coveted and celebrated and argues that they are rarely the things that actually make a difference in ROI. Read this blog post for some insights on whether you might be focusing on the wrong goals and outcomes.

What are your favorite PR blog posts from this week? Let us know with a comment, or tweet it to us @Meltwater.

Think Outside the Marketing Department: Social Listening Strategy

Social listening strategy isn’t just a marketing initiative: this business intelligence can inform business decisions across the organization

Social listening strategy is something we usually discuss with regards to social media marketing: the most obvious use case for social media monitoring is listening for what your customers are saying about your brand in the moment, and brand reputation falls pretty squarely in the marketing department.

There are plenty of examples as to how social listening strategy can assist in the traditional marketing C’s (Company, Customer, Competition).  Those examples and a host of tips, tricks and practical examples can be found in our most recent (and free!) social listening guide: “Listen Up!  The Definitive Guide to Social Listening for Smarter Business.”

However, marketing isn’t the only department that can benefit from a solid social listening strategy.

Click to tweet

Social media monitoring can service most initiatives that might have once required focus groups, consumer research or polls, with the advantage of being real-time.  With that in mind, there are several business scenarios outside marketing in which getting a quick read on your reputation is a good idea.


Customer Service | Social Listening Strategy

As @ComcastCares has shown us, Twitter and Facebook can be used very effectively as customer service channels.  After all, a social media customer service program is simply monitoring taken one step further to focused, channel-specific engagement.

TIP: Set expectations with your customers on your social channels.  Something as simple as a note in your Twitter bio that says “We respond to tweets within 24 hours, M-F” will help you set expectations about response time.


Human Resources | Social Listening Strategy

Corporate reputation sites like Glassdoor tend to cater to the detractor and, with static content, they don’t tell the whole story.

  • What are your current employees saying about you?
  • What are your ex-employees saying about you?
  • What are your prospects saying about you?
  • Who are the main influencers or detractors?


Investor Relations | Social Listening Strategy

Hey, investors are people too – and people talk.  Frame your brand name searches with filters specific to investor relations: terms like “IPO” and “stock price” and “shares” and “Q4 earnings call” will turn a general brand sentiment search into a social media effort that your CFO can support.

  • Are your shareholders happy?
  • Did that Q3 earnings call go well?
  • Are your talking points being heard?
  • What are the thematic trends around your brand among industry analysts?
  • What are folks saying about your IPO?
  • Who are the main influencers or detractors?


Products & Services | Social Listening Strategy

Listening to your customers before you launch a new product or service is a great way to find out what they think before you’ve spent a fortune on R&D.  It’s also a way to spot industry trends that can lead to a new product idea.

  • What sort of positioning will resonate for a new product?
  • Is chatter around your brand and product more prevalent on one channel, as opposed to another?  Perhaps Twitter is better than LinkedIn or Facebook for spreading the word.
  • Is there a target community out there that might be good for a pilot program?
  • Are there any key influencers you might engage?
  • Are you seeing any sort of geographical trends that might lead to a new market?  A good social media monitoring tools breaks down chatter geographically


If you’re looking to learn more about social listening strategy and how you can use social media monitoring to make more informed business decisions, check out our free social media monitoring guide.

Social Listening Strategy in Action: Urban Planning for the Olympics

Meltwater has a client in the form of a British municipality, who used the Buzz social monitoring tool to listen to their constituents during the Olympics in order to determine whether there were any logistical issues that needed attention.  As they listened, they discovered that people were having trouble getting to the viewing spots for the torch running: the park-and-ride lots were full and the bus lines were very long.  The municipality dispatched extra buses and were able to then engage via Twitter to let people know where and when the buses were coming, and to offer parking alternatives.

Cool, right?

As this example shows, social listening is a key business intelligence effort that can inform decisions across an organization.  Any time you want to know what people are saying about… well, anything… social media monitoring is a great way to find out.

Hey, did I mention that I just wrote a comprehensive social listening guide?  Click on the lovely yellow cover up there to the right, and you can download it for free.

Social Listening and PR | Listen Up, a Free E-book!

In my last post, Is this PR or Social Media?, I wrote about how PR and social media are becoming closer and closer in the business world. As I further explore the convergence of the two disciplines the parallels are hard to ignore. A perfect example: monitoring. In PR we call it media monitoring, in social media it’s social listening; they are quite similar.

Every PR pro monitors the media for their brand or client. In PR, media monitoring is used to track press coverage, understand brand perception, aid strategy, help with ad hoc research and to keep an eye on your industry and competition. Social Media pros do the same thing; the tools and channels are just different.

Yesterday we launched a new e-book, Listen Up – The Definitive Guide to Social Listening for Smarter Business that explores the depths of social media monitoring, or social listening.

As the author, Leslie Nuccio, points out:

“These days, the valuable customer and industry insights that used to be expensive, time-consuming and immediately historical is now real-time and easy. Social media monitoring isn’t just for marketing: you can listen for industry trends, competitive analysis, product insight, and a host of other use cases. Any time you want to know what other people are saying about something that has to do with your business, social listening is a quick and easy way to find out.”

Sounds, familiar, right?

I’m not positive, but I think everyone who reads this blogs has a few things in common. We have:

  1. An interest in PR
  2. An interest in social media and how it works/fits with PR
  3. A love of free things

If those three things are true for you, you’ll love our new e-book. OK, number 3 is a no brainer; I don’t know ANYONE who doesn’t love free things.

Newsjacking, Social Monitoring, and Three Other Ways to Generate Story Ideas – by Allie Gray Freeland

Ideas for a story can come most anywhere!

Brands these days need to become content powerhouses to survive in a world where everyone is a publisher. As a marketer, you’re likely writing blog posts, webinars, press releases, and hundreds of social media messages per week: At what point does your brain become depleted of new content ideas?

You may say: “I have nothing more to say.” Wrong. You have far more to communicate than you realize. Sometimes it’s just a matter of tapping into the right tools to find content for your brand. From newsjacking to brand monitoring, here are five ways to never have writer’s block again and generate relevant and catchy story ideas for your brand:

1. Newsjacking:

Newsjacking is the act of redirecting the momentum from breaking news into your company’s favor by injecting a fresh perspective in real time. Popularized by David Meerman Scott’s book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage, newsjacking leverages the opportunity to ride the “popularity wave” of breaking news to benefit your business. You can research trending stories through the following ways:

  • Twitter’s trending hashtags
  • Trendsmap, which shows hashtags trending by geographic area
  • RSS feed with major news outlets and industry publications
  • IceRocket, which shows popular trends in social media

Once you have selected a specific trending topic to “newsjack”, then create a natural tie-in to your business through a blog post, supported by social media.

2. Competitive Analysis:

Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Who says you can’t look at your competitor’s website, join their email list, monitor their media coverage, review blog posts, and crash their webinars? Don’t cross the lines of copyright or intellectual property infringement, but use competitors as a case study to learn from.

Dive into:

  • What type of emotional pulls are they using?
  • Are they using more evergreen or more trending content? Which is more successful?
  • What persuasive things do they say, and how do they say them? Does it seem to be working?
  • How do they persuade the reader?
  • How often do they announce company news?
  • How can you adapt what their doing right to what you’re doing as a content brand?

Then, create copy that mimics the best of the best of all of these areas.

3. Brand Monitoring Tools:

Brand monitoring is not only used for gauging the public sentiment of your company: it can also be used for generating story ideas. Utilize tools like Meltwater Buzz or Meltwater News to not only gain new insights about your company, industry or competition, but also to tap into more than 300 million social media conversations with its social media monitoring module. Are there common conversation themes? Are there grievances from your customers that could be answered? Track social conversation volume and sentiment, and utilize content that speaks to common themes to influence your audience. These insights can lead to interesting ideas for stories.

4. Ask Your Audience:

Let the audience be in the drivers seat: Ask your social fans what type of content they’d like hearing about. Crowdsource to find trends, then create that content accordingly. If you want a more quantitative option, create an online survey to collect ideas directly from your readers. By turning the table to your target audience and creating relevant content, you can resonate better with your customers. Sometimes, Tweeting or creating a Facebook update that with an open-ended comment like, “What kind of problems are you having with <niche>?” can provide incredible insight and ideas for your next blog post, campaign, or press release.

5. Ask the Media:

If you’re a PR pro whose goal is to generate media coverage for your business, utilize tools like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to monitor common themes you see reporters are in need of. Write down common topics and create media material that supports those areas. This inbound form of marketing can get your business ahead of the curve — so you are an inbound source rather than an outbound.

About the Author:

Allie Gray Freeland is the PR director at iAcquire a digital marketing agency based in New York City and Phoenix. For more information on the agency, visit the iAcquire company page.