The crazy, uncontrolled explosion of social in business

There have been incredible amounts of discussion and activity surrounding the commercialisation of social networking websites. Yet it is fairly common for senior management teams to have no clear end goal to such activity.

What is powerful?

When plumbing in your Hootsuite scheduled tweets or setting up your next Facebook advertising campaign, think about what power these sites bring people.

Prior to this digital age, if you lost someone’s address or phone number then you might not see them again. By connecting with people that you want to be in touch with, you will never be in that position.

Now that is power.

Hot air

Constantly chatting like you are a person when you are a business isn’t good. It’s digital hot air. I can’t abide companies that get all spammy with Facebook page updates – most Facebookers would agree.

That’s not to say that a company cannot benefit from having a voice that breaks down the barriers a little – this can be used to add personality to your company’s brand. It is simply that you must realise that your communications could be viewed as an intrusion on a user’s social environment.

A purpose

What you really need is a purpose. Whilst attracting following can be advantageous, this is not a numbers game. As a consumer, one of my favourite uses of social media when it comes to organisations is the help desk. I recently conducted some very quick research, contacting domain registrants 123-reg, Natwest and Sky for various customer services issues. All three companies were contacted via email and social media simultaneously. In this position, you’re looking for two things – speed and quality of response.

Email response would all get ‘nul points’. Auto-response template emails and then nothing after does not enhance customer service. Perhaps 5 years ago the result may have been marginally better but you can’t help but feel that there is a big pile of emails somewhere that could lead to someone eventually opening yours.

Social media wise, specifically Twitter – I totally was overwhelmed with the quality of the response from all 3 companies. I talked to individuals via direct messaging all within 2 hours and then had telephone calls with well trained, efficient customer services agents that will all have had the same reason for acting in such a way. To broadcast customer care.

Now that’s a purpose. Car manufacturers like Ford in the US on Twitter have adopted this strategy. You can see that the Ford team all have different signatures to identify members of the team (using a system like Cotweet – which I can highly recommend), the string of tweets shows true dedication to solving problems – real customer care.

This has to be planned and takes a little bit of time to get truly integrated. Once you have the set up – training, dedicated customer service agents – you might not get the response initially – check out Vauxhall’s recent tweet:


The verdict

Good guys and bad guys get what they deserve in social. Being really confident in your car dealership in every single capacity is key.

We all know that corporate social media cannot be played at; you need to immerse yourself in the communities and accept that everyone has an equal voice.

The real message is have a measured but qualitative purpose.

This post was brought to you by Duncan Colman, Digital Marketing Consultant at Spike Digital, who managed not to say ‘social media is all about…’ in this article!