Thursday, 26 August 2010

Manners matter

I'm increasingly puzzled by the behaviour of some businesses that use social media. Why is it that when they enter the online world they leave their manners and customer care on the virtual doorstep?

To get the most out of any form of social media you need to interact. A string of announcements on a Twitter feed may tick a box that says "we do social media" but it's a missed opportunity of gigantic proportions.

I've had a number of businesses come to me lately because they want a Facebook page. When I start to ask questions about how often they want to update it, what their brand guidelines are, what level of access they want to give their "likers", and so on, they are horrified.

"We just want a Facebook page" they say "we don't want to have to do anything to it!"

That's like having a dedicated customer care telephone number and then not bothering to answer it. (Well, ok, some companies seem to do that too!)

Most businesses will plough resources into answering the telephone, emails, letters and web site requests. Why then are they so averse to talking to their customers using social media?

It's all fine and dandy to have customer care slogans slapped all over your marketing literature and on your website, but if you don't have the good manners to take that ethos seriously and carry it across into the virtual world then you'll lose customers.

The clue is in the title - Social Media

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

GIGO is back in town (not that it ever left)

Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Did anyone else have that hammered into their heads while learning to program?

If you mess up what you put in to a system, it doesn't matter how good that system is, the output is simply not as good as it could be.

I've come to believe that social media works on a similar principle. The quality of the content that you become associated with reflects on you and, if you are a business, on your company too.

Plugging a generic business feed into your Twitter account and leaving it to autotweet gives an impression to others of how you interact and work as an individual - or as a company. If that's the impression you wish to give, then there isn't a problem. However, most businesses cite the desire for interactivity and feedback to raise brand awareness when talking about their social media strategy.

Are you just filling your social media presence with "stuff" for the sake of being able to say that your company is "on Twitter" or "using Facebook"? If so, then you're missing a huge business opportunity.

If you use automated feeds to fill up your social media presence, take a long hard look at the content. If you're unsure about it, then imagine it as a series of adverts or leaflets going out to customers. Do you really want this stuff representing you to your contacts and clients? If the answer is no, start being more selective in what you choose to use.

Good quality content for your social media presence is vital.

Does it take more time? Probably. Is it worth it? Definitely!

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that social media works on GOGI: Garbage Out, Garbage In.