Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Common Failures in Social Media.

Anyone that understands marketing will know that nothing beats word of mouth.  Given that Twitter is effectively the word of mouth mechanism on steroids, it's not surprising that it's used for marketing.  This is especially important, given that people actually choose to listen to other people (follow them), so what comes out of their mouth is amplified to often hundreds or thousands of people simultaneously.

There's another side to this mechanism that I want to point out:  Word of mouth recommendations and information are a result that occurs as a result of a bigger thing happening - which is two way communications.  So, for Twitter to really be of value, it needs to be a two-way process.  

Having established that it needs to be two-way, we can identify two social media strategies that fail:
1)  The "broadcast" strategy is what you see from the likes of @GMCanada.  There's no interaction, and no way for people to interact socially.  This is why despite having multiple big name brands, it's got a paltry 14,000 followers.  Whomever is responsible for their social media strategy needs to be fired.

2)  The "deflect" strategy is what you see from large corporate accounts like @McD_Canada.  Here, there is interaction, but rather than escalate questions and communications to find the answer to customer queries, they deflect you to somewhere else where public accountability and transparency is not so obvious.  In the case of @McD_Canada, one place they deflect people to says that they may not even respond to you anyway.  This leaves the customer questioning what the point is with trying to communicate with them anyway?  I say fire their social media people, too.

Conclusion:  If you're going to run a corporate social media account, you need to do the following:
1)  Escalate, or answer.  Don't deflect.
2)  Listen and answer.  Don't "broadcast".
3)  Be mixed - put out product recall's, not just "look at our latest award".
4)  Treat each account as a proper person - not a mass audience.