Social media minefield
Brands that use social media can be either highly successful or just downright annoying, according to Ali Sinaei, head of online advertising at Bayt.com. Here’s how to get it right.
November 16, 2010 10:02 by Samuel Potter
Don’t: Unsolicited = Bad
Again, you need to think about why your prospect or consumer is on that particular social media site. It’s OK to connect to a user on LinkedIn even if you don’t know them, if you are trying to create a business link or perhaps offer them a job. It is not OK to connect to strangers on Facebook to tell them why they should buy your magazine or come to your store.
Don’t: Social media sites are not a dumping ground for your press releases.
Use your social media profile to have dynamic conversations with your prospects or consumers. Remember that your community manager, or whoever is speaking on your behalf, is speaking with the brand-values’ hat on and that every interaction could potentially be make or break. Do not bore consumers with your latest wonderful piece of PR. Listen to what they are saying and respond to them personally. Remember – it’s better to create one new strong bond with a consumer every day than to drive away 100 bored customers.
Do: Monitor, monitor, monitor
Finally, remember that the maintenance of your social media profile is not a 9-5 job. Conversations about your brand, or at least your product or service, will be happening at all times whether you are there to hear them or not. If you’re there, you at least give yourself a chance to be a part of that conversation, and firefight if needed.
A great analogy I once heard was: “How does Batman sleep at night?” In short, there will always be conversations to be had, and fires to be put out, so devote as much resource as you can spare at all times.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Now that doesn’t sound too hard, does it? Here are three examples of companies that have had varying experiences with social media.
This campaign did what I like best: It made me laugh while discovering more about something I’m interested in. Hiroshi and Osamu is a wonderfully thought-out initiative by Chevrolet. Supremely simple in concept, the tongue-in-cheek factor as well as excellent execution ensured that the campaign was a great success. The basic story is that Kenshin, a high ranking official in the Japanese auto industry, sends two loyal employees — Hiroshi and Osamu — to the Middle East to find out why Chevrolet cars are outselling their Japanese counterparts. Their findings ultimately focused on the main strengths of the American behemoth: Low cost of ownership, peace-of-mind, safety, and quality, reliability and durability. Although the campaign was launched across multiple media, the real litmus test of its success was the incredible virality and interactivity of its Facebook profile. It collected more than 24,000 fans – and still growing – and received a huge amount of positive press.
The lesson: the Facebook page was manned at all times, all questions were answered, and the theme – a humorous look at an important buying decision – remained true throughout.