Social Media is not a one way street
Given my Twitter addiction I have the opportunity of seeing how different brands engage with their clients in this particular space. Many brands that I come across do a fairly passable job of the task, but very few get it completely right. Here are my thoughts why they are not getting it right.
A number of brands have “done the social media thing” they have several social media presences. These include a Twitter account, perhaps several different profiles, representing different brand positioning. They have a FACEBOOK page, a Fan page, several of these for good measure. They employ someone or several people to manage these, because they know that a brand must engage first hand in this arena or face the “unmasking” of the plant.
Fundamentally though many of these brands and the rest entering or contemplating entering this space has not clearly defined what they want to achieve by being here. They appear to be entering this space more out of a fear of not being there, “because our competitors are there”. They have completely missed the point of Social Media and that is in fact SOCIAL.
Smaller businesses use it as a conduit to potential clients and many reports talk about the various influencers in this field. There are businesses built entirely on extracting the value out of or maximising your return on the businesses Social Media investment. All of this is relevant and important and the businesses that guide their clients through the process are really critical. Brands attempting to navigate this terrain by themselves do so at extreme peril.
However, the point that I want to make is that of the being Social in your approach. The few brands that get it right engage effectively with their clients / followers. They take issues and deal with them in an open forum. They are prepared to take and deal with criticism and positive comments in the same vein. Sure they may boast about the positive ones more than they shout about the negative one’s but talk they do.
If you as a brand desire to be successful in this arena, you need to seek the correct advice before you roll up your sleeves and plunge in. I do want to though encourage you to plunge in, get as many of you organisation involved, sure control the “official” line, but let the conversation around your brand be robust. This after all a social environment and this requires debate, input and the whole range of emotions.
Delivering content into this medium is simply only one part of the equation. Open, honest and robust discussion is what differentiates the brands that are successful here. Beware of organisations that say things like, we help you exploit the social media space. The key here is the word exploit. If your audience feel that they are been exploited or ignored you face the risk of being crucified. Crucify you they (excuse me we) will do, nothing says this more than a disengaged brand.
Go forth and be Social, embrace these platforms and reap the rewards of unparalleled loyalty and devotion, but be wary of not doing this with the correct strategy and guidance.