4 Guidelines to Great Social Media
Change is stressful and it can add tension to any office setting. Throw the word “computer” or “upgrade” or “Internet” into this equation, and stress can skyrocket. Introducing a new technology or new online applications can intimidate even the most seasoned employees. So what should an agency do to combat this wave of new ideas and technologies? Embrace the new world of social media by following these 4 guidelines to create a positive social media presence.
The consumer owns the brand now. Coca-Cola’s fan page wasn’t started by an employee at their headquarters. Instead, it was launched by two consumers in Los Angeles as an authentic expression of how they felt about the popular soft drink. Normally a company might send a “cease and desist” letter. Instead, they chose to partner with them to create new content, and now their Facebook page is growing by about 100,000 fans every week. Consumers now control what is said about your brand. No longer do we look at advertisements and take them for face value, many of us will search out reviews from others to see how well a particular product or service works.
Consumers now generate the message. If done correctly, this is not an intimidating concept. Try to nourish the comments by feeding users content that touch areas of passion like sports, music and popular culture. For example, more video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the three major US networks create in 60 days. Millions of these videos are parodies of commercials and songs. Many companies will use these feeds and videos as their own reviews now. When a consumer can hear other consumers praise a product, the emotion drives more people to trust the brand and purchase their products.
Develop authentic and relevant content. Authentic and culturally relevant information is a great way to have your topics and articles shared throughout the online community. Look at company pages like Forbes. Many times when you read any particular article on their site, before you choose to share it on Facebook or Tweet it out, you can see how many times it’s already been shared. In most cases any article on Forbes.com has already been shared hundreds of times.
Trial and error will gain you success. Increasing consumer expressions requires experimentation. Some will scceed, and some will fail. Build a pipeline so you can quickly replicate your successes in other markets and share the lessons from any failures. General Motors is currently going though this experimentation process. Facebook every year makes billions from advertising. Recent reports claim that the popular GM brand has instead pulled their advertisements from Facebook as they seemed to be ineffective. If this were the case, however, I believe many companies would have pulled their advertising by now. It’s a matter of trial and error. When you get something that works, stick with it. If it doesn’t, than it will be forgotten while you experiment with something new.
Some of the best companies listen to what consumers say about them. Whether it is positive or negative, a great company will speak up to set the record straight, but give their raving fans a chance to do so first.