Expedia to lay off thousands, influencer marketing trends, and TSA clarifies its TikTok stand

Also: Yorkshire Tea is caught in political crossfire, IHOP pushes National Pancake Day, Samsung downplays its data breach, and other stories.

Good morning, PR pros:

 Yorkshire Tea recently shared the downside of being a social media manager: It was heavily criticized by many Twitter users following a picture tweeted (not by Yorkshire Tea, mind you) of United Kingdom’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak enjoying the beverage.

Partisanship reared its ugly head, and Yorkshire bore the brunt of it. In a thread, it asked its followers to “remember there’s a human on the other end”:

Brand managers for KFC UK and Ireland and PG Tips tweeted offers that would brighten any social media team’s day:

Here are today’s top stories:

Expedia Group to lay off 3,000 employees

On Monday, the online travel company announced to employees that it would lay off 12% of its workforce, citing it grew “in an unhealthy and undisciplined way.”

GeekWire published the letter, which read, in part:

After consulting with leaders around the globe, we recognize that we have been pursuing growth in an unhealthy and undisciplined way. The accountability for our results lies with the Travel Leadership Team, and we are committed to fundamental changes in our approach to improve success. Moving forward, we will exert more discipline in setting priorities and allocating resources, simplify our business processes and inter-dependencies, raise the bar on performance standards, and demonstrate and demand accountability for results.

Today, we are announcing our intent to reduce and eliminate certain projects, activities, teams, and roles to streamline and focus our organization. In geographies where we have clarity, we will start implementing these intended changes this week by notifying individuals. In others, we will be initiating consultations with employees and their representatives to discuss our proposals.

Why it matters: Aside from ensuring you tell your employees about job cuts before members of the news media find out, communicators should bolster themselves against potential layoffs by honing their skill sets and staying competitive with trends and cutting-edge tactics as well as foundational strategies. Expedia Group isn’t the only organization that has cut the fat from its workforce—and the trend among tech companies announcing layoffs has been to slim down bloated marketing groups.


 Linqia’s State of Influencer Marketing 2020 report revealed 40% of marketers ran more than six influencer campaigns in 2019, and that number is rising.

More than half (57%) said they plan to increase their influencer relations budget. Forty-three percent of marketers will allot 11-25% of their budgets to influencer partnerships and efforts, with an additional 18% spending 26-50% of their budgets on influencer campaigns.

Image courtesy of Linqia.

Not all influencers are created equal, however. Though 53% of marketers aim to work with social media rock stars and content creators with at least 5 million followers, 64% said they look for influencers with 100,000 to 500,000 followers. Most marketers (77%) want to work with micro-influencers, or those with at least 5,000 followers, but fewer than 100,000.

Image courtesy of Linqia.

Glean additional influencer marketing trends by checking out the full report.


IHOP is celebrating National Pancake Day with a free buttermilk short stack and a sweepstakes that offers diners the chance to win a $500 IHOP gift card as well as branded merchandise, such as an IHOP beret, duffel bag or scooter.

The contest plays to a few longstanding marketing truths: People love free stuff, and free food makes it even sweeter. Syrup optional.

TSA affirms its TikTok ban

The Transportation Security Administration wants the public to know it has barred employees from using the social media app because of concerns over national security. The organization gave an official statement setting the record straight after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced in a press release that TSA was “still using TikTok,” even though the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security had banned the platform.

CNN Politics reported:

“A small number of TSA employees have previously used TikTok on their personal devices to create videos for use in TSA’s social media outreach, but that practice has since been discontinued,” the TSA said in a statement to CNN.

The agency said that while employees have posted from their own devices, it has not had an official TikTok account.

“The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has an active and award-winning presence on several social media platforms. However, TSA has never published any content to TikTok nor has it ever directed viewers to TikTok,” the TSA said in a statement.

Why it’s important: Be prepared to correct misinformation as soon as you can—which means constantly scanning media coverage and social media conversation for potential issues. The situation also serves as a good reminder to go over your employee social media policy, regardless of whether your organization (or employees) are on TikTok.


What’s the career path of a social media communicator?

Ragan Communications and PR Daily, in partnership with the Institute for Public Relations and the University of Florida, will deliver the answer through the inaugural Social Media Career Survey. You can participate by sharing your views about social media’s function and future.

Click here to take the survey, which closes March 6. To thank you for participating, we’ll send you the full findings and enter you in a drawing to win one of three $50 gift cards. We’ll also announce the findings this spring, with a sneak peek at our Social Media Conference at Disney World, March 11-13.


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