Sabrina Andreucci, Author at Social Media 101
Social media is just a place for people to complain. [FALSE]

Social media is just a place for people to complain. [FALSE]

We will agree with this statement, yes, social media does in fact expose businesses to negative feedback and customer complaints.

 

The challenge is however that these seemingly bad conversations will happen whether the brand is on social media or not. Ideally you want to be there to address and manage the outrage, or at least be aware of it.

 

In most instances, consumers turn to social media as a last resort. We often-times find that these frustrated customers have already followed traditional protocol and sent an email to some dusty inbox only to be responded with a generic reply. They have called through to the customer care centre only to find themselves in an ongoing carousel of being put on hold. You might find, in some cases that the person had reached out via private message on social media, before… taking it public!

 

Customers are demanding more from brands.

 

They have gained a sort of public power. Anyone with a social media account is a journalist of sorts and with an easy swipe open of their lock screen can direct a complaint to any brand or company for the world to see. Of course, once one complaint has been aired, it gives licence to other complaints to come out into the open. And so one seemingly innocent online complaint could turn into a viral storm of trending hashtag(s). The true reality is that consumers, you and me, just want good service and value for money.

 

Customers want to be heard and ultimately valued.

 

People use social media to level the field between them and big corporate and all businesses should do is turn a kind ear to listen, address and then consider whether maybe they should implement change into their organisation.

 

Yes, its scary. No one, not even big business wants to be exposed to a social media scandal, however rather listen, be active and address concerns before they turn to complaints especially since taking on feedback could make for good business returns.

 

If you as a business owner still find social media too daunting to even consider, reach out to us. CLICK HERE

 

We have many years’ experience in this space while also taking into consideration consumer behaviour, social media trends and human psychology to assist and support our clients in managing their social media strategies and implementing crisis management processes.

 

Get in touch with Social Media 101. CLICK HERE to contact us.

 

Handling, and more importantly, avoiding a social media crisis

Handling, and more importantly, avoiding a social media crisis

Social media has connected the world and has provided a platform for consumers and businesses to engage, publicly and privately on an open platform. This provides great opportunity for all involved, and also great risk.

 

A social media crisis management strategy is critical for businesses of any nature or scale and should be considered very seriously and with high priority. This strategy will assist your company in navigating a potential social media crisis, providing pre-prepared guides and best practices to weather the storm. Effectively anyone is at risk and everyone should be prepared where we should all hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

 

How to mitigate online risk:

 

1. Hire skilled social media managers, whether in-house or outsourced, who are able to identify a potential storm. They will act as your early warning system; however, it is also important to note that not every negative comment is a crisis and so a grading and escalation system should be decided ahead of time.

2. Draft, review and implement social media policies for all employees within your organisation. Education is key, so ensure to upskill your staff to keep themselves safe online and your company free from risk. Your team will also need to know what to do in the event of an online crisis.

3. Implement an employee advocacy program where you upskill and enable your employees to be first line of contact. Equip them to be able to refer potential clients within their network, respond to queries and detect any potential crisis on the horizon.

4. Consider industry scenarios that could expose your business to online scrutiny and prepare for these ahead of time. Ensure your organisation is able to be agile in these instances and implement processes to support this.

5. The best way to mitigate risk is to be transparent and truthful. Clients, customers and consumers want to feel like you have their best interest at heart and know that where they are investing, they feel valued.

It is important to be prepared and recommended to enlist the support of a team of professionals to assist in implementing a robust social media crisis management strategy. Consider your legal team, HR Managers, PR consultants and social media specialists to assist and also ensure that they are agile to respond and support in the event of an online crisis.

Get in touch with Social Media 101. CLICK HERE to contact us.

Handling, and more importantly, avoiding a social media crisis

Handling, and more importantly, avoiding a social media crisis

Social media has connected the world and has provided a platform for consumers and businesses to engage, publicly and privately on an open platform. This provides great opportunity for all involved, and also great risk.

A social media crisis management strategy is critical for businesses of any nature or scale and should be considered very seriously and with high priority. This strategy will assist your company in navigating a potential social media crisis, providing pre-prepared guides and best practices to weather the storm. Effectively anyone is at risk and everyone should be prepared where we should all hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

 

How to mitigate online risk:

>> Hire skilled social media managers, whether in-house or outsourced, who are able to identify a potential storm. They will act as your early warning system; however, it is also important to note that not every negative comment is a crisis and so a grading and escalation system should be decided ahead of time.

>> Draft, review and implement social media policies for all employees within your organisation. Education is key, so ensure to upskill your staff to keep themselves safe online and your company free from risk. Your team will also need to know what to do in the event of an online crisis.

>> Implement an employee advocacy program where you upskill and enable your employees to be first line of contact. Equip them to be able to refer potential clients within their network, respond to queries and detect any potential crisis on the horizon.

>> Consider industry scenarios that could expose your business to online scrutiny and prepare for these ahead of time. Ensure your organisation is able to be agile in these instances and implement processes to support this.

>> The best way to mitigate risk is to be transparent and truthful. Clients, customers and consumers want to feel like you have their best interest at heart and know that where they are investing, they feel valued.

It is important to be prepared, and we recommend that you enlist the support of a team of professionals to assist in implementing a robust social media crisis management strategy. Consider your legal team, HR Managers, PR consultants and social media specialists to assist and also ensure that they are agile to respond and support in the event of an online crisis.

Social media is not all negative and with innovative strategies can truly drive business objectives since the platforms have the ability to support the entire customer journey.

Need assistance setting up a crisis management plan? We can help – CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101

Should Every Brand be on Every Social Media Platform? No, not really.

Should Every Brand be on Every Social Media Platform? No, not really.

Social media, an ever-expanding online universe of tweets and blue ticks, connections and conversations, followers and fallouts. We are all well submerged into social media and there is no denying that it is unlikely to go away any time soon.

 

The Short History of Social Media

In tech terms and lighting speed evolution, social media can express historical progress to what we know it as today. Mostly starting out in university dorm-rooms and presenting itself as a forum for groups to connect online, social media still very much has this same initial vision just with a lot larger groups and a lot more options. In its simplest form, social media provides a platform for all users to search for, connect and engage with niche communities – users being businesses too.

The challenge is with the volume of information, the sheer size of possible audiences and the never-ending need to stay connected. How does a brand decide which platforms to use to connect with their required niche audiences of clients, customers and prospects?

 

A Guide to the Galaxy of Social Media

It is fair to say that in all this enormity, we can drill down on the top 5 social media platforms since these are the most well-known and, more importantly, most widely used. Just to disclaim that last statement, this is not to say that these big 5 will be forever. As mentioned earlier, social media is ever-expanding and there is no guarantee that it could evolve (within our lifetime) to something different, but with the same vision.

While immersed in our online safari, we typically see the big 5 as being Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Let’s look at each of these in more detail in terms of their unique role in this ecosystem and typical behaviors:

 

Facebook

The granddaddy of all social media platforms. Not quite first to market but definitely leveraging off all longevity tactics and currently with the biggest user base of 2 Billion active users worldwide. With one in three humans having an active Facebook account, the same ratio is seen in South Africa with 17 Million active users. People turn to Facebook as a way of keeping abreast of close-knit communities within this global village. Most users frequent the platform to see uploads and updates from their closest friends, family members and acquaintances.

Facebook is by far the most superior of all platforms in terms of its data capturing and targeting abilities meaning for brands there is really little to no wastage when serving content to your specific niche audience. The platform also offers the most innovative and flexible content options supporting a whole host of different ways to get your message across. Because of this extensive data and massive captivated audience, Facebook should always be considered as the primary platform for any business.

 

Twitter

The estranged stepchild of social media has had a chance to be great and we suppose it is, in its own right. Twitter is widely used for news updates, current affairs and customer service. It can be overwhelming with the sheer volume of content and in some cases be quite a dark place to frequent however if for your business customer service is imperative then Twitter is a no brainer. Aggrieved customers are likely to turn to Twitter after frustratingly taking steps to have their concerns addressed and resolved. They do this because of the volume and quick fire response that the platform enables. With the average lifespan of a tweet being 15 minutes, these updates are also the internet tinder that could catch a crisis a send a bush fire expanding out to the rest of the big 5.

Twitter users pride themselves in the news to Twitter first landscape of the platform where most of the others only catch on to newsworthy topics a few hours or even days later. It is not all doom and gloom since the internet tinder can also spread good, like seeds sprayed from a low flying plane to replenish a scorched earth. Live event coverage, influencers and listening campaigns provide opportunities for brands to inform, engage and delight their customers through Twitter. It is a balancing act for businesses, however integrity and transparency are key in keeping out of the Twitter CSI spotlight.

 

Instagram

This platform can be likened to the darling of all platforms with its lustrous flow of never ending Rapunzel-like timelines, dotted with gorgeous sunsets, sublime cuisine and equally stunning influential personalities. Its captured the hearts and cameras of the younger generation and we are keen to see what this platform could evolve and grow up to become. For businesses, it’s a little trickier… Facebook bought out Instagram recently, meaning the same rich data which Facebook holds, is the same for Instagram users.

The challenge here is that the platform relies solely on visual impact where the promotional qualities of the platform really only enable brands to gain post likes and comments. The best news in all of this is that through Facebook, brands are able to promote content onto Instagram without having a set up or active page on the platform. We wouldn’t consider it the go-to social media platform in all industries unless lawyers and accountants can figure out extremely creative ways of presenting their legal cases and balance sheets in photo format. There are however creative ways of expressing a brand on Instagram that could still drive user engagement.

 

LinkedIn

The boss of social media, LinkedIn of late is really stepping up and coming to the party. Their platform was traditionally stuffed into a recruiter paradise where users knew the relevance of having a LinkedIn profile, but only checked into the platform when they happened upon a connection request. In the last six months or so and with the platform’s buy-out by Microsoft, LinkedIn has rapidly started to introduce additional functionality and is definitely the platform to watch. Now, users are likely to peruse LinkedIn for insightful business anecdotes and opinions by their connections. They see this platform as a place that levels the playing field of the hierarchal traditional business structure; now anyone can connect with any CEO of any multi-national and/or blue-chip business – this is power!

Personal brands are becoming more and more required on LinkedIn where now everyone is considering the professionalism of their online persona. For businesses, we are still waiting for equally innovative functionality and targeting abilities like Facebook, but for now if you operate in the B2B space, LinkedIn is a must! That is not to say that B2C businesses and brands should turn their nose up at LinkedIn because relevant messaging could still find its way to those consumers, especially since aren’t we all consumers anyway?

 

YouTube

The wise advisor and also Mr Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, YouTube takes on multiple personalities dependent on what trip the user is after. Effectively a relevant platform to consider with SEO as when users Google a question, they are expecting an answer; where relevant, YouTube could provide a quick and easy-to-follow how to user guide – if this is relevant to your business and/or industry. Being only video content, YouTube can be seen as the big brother to Instagram where users can delve into a long and drawn out rabbit hole in collecting information. It is fair to say, however, that the content does not need to be anything ground breaking or earth shattering on YouTube since there are viral anomalies that pop up all the time. Who knew Justin Bieber got famous out of a YouTube video?

For businesses, YouTube is a great library platform to host informative content and, if necessary, your TV commercials for stakeholder reference. It is important to state at this late stage that snap judgements are hard and cruel on social media and brands should always consider the quality of the content being produced and posted. Video of course comes with a higher price tag, but when done properly can prove fruitful returns for a brand.

Choosing the right platforms for a business can be equally easy and difficult, however it really comes down to knowing your customers. Effectively the same person is on all of these platforms, however they look to each platform to fulfil a different need. It’s the brand’s responsibility to realise that social media provides a platform to speak to the right person, with the right message at the right time. Content is king, context is queen and value reigns above all. In this space quality far outweighs quantity, so when considering your social media strategy, choose platforms where you are confident in delivering quality content consistently to customers as opposed to just posting, everywhere, for the sake of it.

As a social media consultancy, Social Media 101 are skilled in guiding our clients to choosing the right platforms. We are solution minded and driven by results meaning if you win, we win too. Should you wish to talk more on social media and delve deeper into these platforms and how they could work for your business, feel free to reach out. CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101. 

Social Media as an investment

Social Media as an investment

This title may seem unsettling to some since social media is generally seen as an intangible online marketing platform for businesses. Either that or many idle hours spent by employees. The sheer fact that these platforms exist online makes it intangible and furthermore social media being a place, online where people from all around the world connect, post and share is quite an unusual concept when thinking more on it. In the same breath, it is fair to say that social media has disrupted our view of the world and is quite likely to stay. In its intangible force, social media has infiltrated society, media, business and brands and has changed the way we operate as a people in some quite extraordinary ways.

So how do we consider this “social media” as an investment? Let’s unpack this in a little more detail:

 

Platforms:

Specifically referring to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, etc. For a business, having a page on any of these social media platforms is very much the same as having a dedicated radio channel. Your branded station on social media where you are able to broadcast information about your company and its products or services that is widely available to anyone who may happen upon your page. A business’s social media pages should be viewed as assets and investments and should be secured and treated strategically based on what you want the world to know about your business. Your page is a place to express your brand, and let’s face it, snap judgements are eminent.

 

Content:

Social media is a hub of content ranging from articles, posts, videos and flyers to thoughts, stories and comments. All of this content is tangible, it exists and can be printed or converted onto CD or DVD if the need really arose to have a hard copy. All these content assets can and should be viewed as investments. Content takes time, resources and money to produce where in the ever-expanding world of the internet, this content lives on forever (or at least until the internet ceases to exist – another conversation for another day). Content can be revived and repurposed in varying ways, transformed from an inspired blog article to an opt-in data building strategy. It can be built upon to tell a story, educate and inform and should be seen as time and money well spent. Content forms the basis of your business’s personality and persona online, it is those tangible snippets that give customers a sense of what you have to offer. Content should be considered strategically and with a long-term view in mind, even if it may only be relevant or available in the moment of a fast-paced social media environment.

 

Community:

Your online or social media community is an investment. These people (yes, they are real behind the screen), have taken the time to like, follow or connect with your page. They are interested, in varying degrees, in what you have to offer. These collections of likes should be nurtured and managed as they are very likely to be your customers; past, present or future. Online communities require a person or team to manage them, to talk to them, answer questions and queries while speedily escalating or resolving complaints. Companies invest in well-trained customer call centers and well-groomed receptionist, where social media community managers should be as skilled to be front facing, customer centric, problem solvers. Remember, the conversation will happen online whether you are there or not.

 

Crisis:

How can a crisis be an investment you ask? This point is more on crisis management which leads on from the closing remark on the last point. The conversation will happen whether you are there to join in or not. Social media effectively exists, even if your business chooses to not engage in it. Customers and people in general have free access to these platforms and can freely comment about your brand or business as they wish. Ensuring your business is invested in a crisis management process could mean the opportunity to address any negative feedback or scandals that could arise. There are also opportunities in such crises where your business could be made aware to blind spots, improving products, services or processes. Social media should be viewed as an investment in the face of a crisis where it provides your brand a platform to explain.

 

Employees:

Not just for idle time wasted through news feeds, equipping your employees with tactics and techniques to be first to respond to clients and customers on social media could amplify your brand exponentially. Employee advocacy programs could be implemented by provided pre-curated content to your human assets in supporting your business’s online presence. Through this, customers get an insight into your company culture, you tap into your employee networks and this allows an opportunity to humanise your business online. People still do prefer to do business with people, even though a lot of interaction happens online.

 

Influence:

Building relationships with influential people within your business network is imperative. Social media users are still more likely to take recommendations from their network over a brand, meaning that for companies it is an investment to acquire online influence whether through other customers, your employees or paid for influencers relevant in your industry.

 

As a social media consultancy, we look to assist businesses in driving tangible results through the use of their social media, further proving these strategies to be an investment. Feel free to reach out to discuss this further. CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101 – we look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

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