Thursday, February 4, 2010

Don’t Use Social Media If You Don’t Know How

In today’s digital world, online presence has become a necessity in order for companies to survive and to reach out to their customers and clients. Social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter has provided everyone with a platform to do just that. As with everything else, there is always a tendency for companies to want to use these tools, simply because it’s the current “in thing” and that everybody is doing it.

Based on my personal experiences, many companies here come to me to ask if I can incorporate these tools as part of their online marketing strategy, but they have no clue whatsoever on how these tools function. My job is to educate them on how these tools work and how it will benefit their company. The first question I always ask my clients, “Who is going to maintain it?” Often times, I will get blank stares from them as though that I’m speaking in some foreign language. But the truth is, unless there is an appointed PR company or a qualified spokesperson from within the company to manage and maintain the use of these tools, I wouldn’t recommend companies venturing into them as yet. Here are 3 reasons why:

  1. Tools such as Facebook pages and Twitter require constant interaction between companies and their customers. The whole idea of using these tools is to add a “human touch” to the company or brand. Unless of course you have an automated robot intelligent enough to answer questions and respond to each customer directly.
  2. Updates. One major use of Facebook pages and Twitter is to push promotions and updates to your followers. If the page is just there for the sake of being there, followers will get disinterested very quickly just like how no one likes visiting a website that hasn’t been updated in a long time.
  3. Being professional. I have personally seen some companies on Twitter that often times respond to their customers with lame jokes and casual conversations totally irrelevant to the nature of business. In my opinion, while I agree that companies need to provide a “human” response rather than a template one, they also need to know where to draw the line. Responding to questions casually is still acceptable, but it’s totally unacceptable if it’s got nothing to do with the company product, service or whatever they are set out to achieve. Companies need to know their boundaries on how they respond as it represents the company or their brand as a whole. Which is why I highlighted that it’s very important that these tools are managed by a qualified person who understands clearly of what the company’s objectives are and how they want the public to perceive them.
To sum it all up, my advice is not to venture into social media just because everyone else is doing it. I think companies who are serious into social media must first know how to use it and understand the mechanics of how it works. Only then, social media will be beneficial to the company, otherwise few months down the road, they will be wondering why is there no ROI or participation from the public even after using these social media tools.

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