For most of us—even us more “seasoned” monkeyz—it’s tough to remember a time when social media wasn’t front and center to our lives. The reality, of course, is that social media as we know and practice it nowadays is a relative newcomer. LinkedIn became part of the social landscape in 2003; Facebook came on to the scene in 2004/2005; Twitter joined us in 2006; and so on.
Even then, it took a few years for these social media giants (and others) to really take off and become part of everyday life—and even a little longer than that for businesses to realize the powerful role social media could play in their marketing and consumer outreach efforts.
Social media is more than just posting an update to Facebook or Instagram or sending out a slew of daily Tweets. To be most successful, Social Media needs to be part of an overall inbound marketing strategy that leverages valuable content through blogs, articles, brochures, videos, web sites, and relevant social media platforms for maximum impact across multiple channels.
Through Social Media, customers and potential customers become part of the conversation about your brand, part of a community that is attracted and loyal to your product or service. As brand devotees, they interact with you, talk about your brand, tell others, and share your content, spreading the word (both good and bad) more quickly and effectively than was ever thought possible just 15 years ago.
For All the World to See
With such power and high visibility, there’s a certain responsibility incumbent upon users of social media, whether you’re a business or an individual. It’s not difficult to imagine how quickly things can go awry if you post or share what others perceive to be the wrong thing, or if someone posts or shares something “bad” about your brand.
Some recent examples include . . .
- United Airlines passengers sharing via social media a video of a passenger being dragged off a plane after he was arbitrarily chosen to give up his seat for airline workers. He declined to leave, forcing security to act, and a social media uproar ensued. Up until that point, United had little control over how the incident reflected upon their brand on social media. What came next, however, was completely with their control. In the airline’s public apology, United CEO Oscar Munoz seemed to blame the passenger for the incident while he praised his employees for doing their jobs. United was roundly criticized for being heartless and unsympathetic.
- After the 2017 Boston Marathon, Adidas tweeted “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” Even though it was four years removed from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, it was, as com put it, “a very poor choice of words.” The tweet came down fast, Adidas apologized, but it still resulted in some unnecessarily self-inflicted damage.
To protect against such social media gaffes, organizations should adopt a list of guidelines or best practices that govern how they engage with consumers through social media. Doing so can go a long way toward protecting your brand from unwanted negative publicity or the unintended backlash of saying, posting, or sharing something publicly that doesn’t sit quite right with the public.
Some Monkeyz Social Media Best Practices
- Pick social media platforms that are most relevant to your brand and to your target audience. There are just too many out there to participate on them all.
- Play nice with others and make the content all about what you can do for your target audience.
- Your brand has a “personality.” Stay true to it in your social media interactions and remember that you are talking to real people.
- Give more than you take. Don’t just use social media as camouflage for advertising your brand. Provide value.
- Define what content is appropriate for your company to post or share (and what isn’t).
- Stick to topics that are relevant to your target audience. Don’t stray from your brand message just to jump on a timely topic. You might get some short-term visibility, while in the long run you damage your brand.
- Participate frequently and routinely. Don’t simply ramp up your social media efforts around the holidays and then disappear for long stretches at a time. Your audience needs to know they can depend on you for new and interesting content on a regular basis.
- Do not criticize competitors or put down their products. Be gracious.
- Define guidelines for commenting and replying to posts from consumers. Most importantly, don’t ignore questions and comments. Your audience is trying to engage with you—engage them back!
- Develop a process for handling disparaging or negative posts about your brand (whether deserved or not).
- Don’t chastise consumers for posting negative reviews or comments about your brand. Be empathetic. Be understanding. Offer solutions.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP
Let Barrel O’ Monkeyz provide a free assessment of your current online presence and/or social media strategy to help you answer the question, “Are my social media efforts contributing to my success?”
You can also check out Barrel O’Monkeyz white papers on a range of topics, from social media and inbound marketing and website development, to digital marketing, brand development, and design. Each white paper is full of ideas and steps you need to take to turn your ideas into reality.
LET’S GET CREATIVE
Barrel O’Monkeyz is a San Diego-based strategic marketing agency specializing in Sports and Active Lifestyle markets. We serve as a seasoned, outsourced marketing team for companies looking to ramp up sales and launch new products. Our barrel is full of talent and creative arms ready to prove we don’t just monkey around!