What Brands Ought NOT To Do On Social Media

by Paul Joseph on February 25, 2013 · 0 comments

If social media was a person it would be characterized as all-consuming, temperamental and addictive. If brands on social media were to be personified, most would fall under the eager-to-please, politically correct and unabashedly narcissist category. No, this article is not about the ills of social media and it certainly won’t admonish the tactics brands resort to on social media. This article looks to address the symbiotic relationship between the two – of how social media is not just a tool of communication but a medium of building a dialogue with consumers and how brands, sometimes due to negligence and some other times due to sheer stupidity, tend to wrongly use social media, thus in-turn damaging their reputation. Selective Preferences? Like I said earlier, social media is an apt tool to build a dialogue with consumers and to engage with them. It then goes without saying that brands wouldn’t (and don’t) miss a chance to blow their horn and to show-off their on-ground success online. Take the example of Applebee , a casual dining chain in the US. On January 12, 2013 the bar and grill place posted the photo displayed below on their FB page. This note from a customer lavishly praises Applebee for its service and its food. At the end of the same month, a waitress with Applebee’s St.Louis franchisee posted the photo shown below on Reddit. The photo became an instant hit and internet users created a furor over the pastor’s decision to not tip and to write what he did. In response to this, Applebee fired the waitress – Chelsea Welch – and issue the following “apology”. What followed has been touted as many as social media suicide. People were enraged that the dining chain which uploaded a positive note from a customer would take the shelter of norms to fire a waitress for uploading a picture of a receipt. The response from Applebee was confusing, all-over-the-place, not dignified and outright puerile. Tip : This event is a clear example of how selective preferences and policies don’t work on social media. If as a brand, you are opening up to consumers and sharing information with them in addition to building a rapport, you cannot act stupid or take the diplomatic road when things turn ugly. Most importantly, no brand must delete or manipulate stories; because one, the consumer is not stupid and two, what goes on the web ALWAYS stays on the web. For more on the Applebee story, click here . If you’re on it, you better be good at it One basic thing that brands need to get right is that simply having a Facebook/Twitter page is not enough. In fact, I’d say if you don’t have the resources to manage your social media presence effectively then you’d be better off not having a social media page at all. Take the example of redBus.in , a bus booking site operational in India. Given that redBus.in exclusively offers bus ticket booking services, many people make use of their service. However, going by the comments written on their social media page, not many are happy with the company and their service. A quick review of the page shows that the comments on all and every update by the company are primarily negative and travellers are freely criticizing the service provider for its shoddy customer service and urging others to not use redBus. A couple of posts even have spam comments! To all this negativity, the company has only just started to respond. Even then, the responses are few and far in-between. Tip : The bottom line is, if you are present on social media then have to make an attempt to be good at it. You have to participate (along with initiating) in a dialogue with your consumers and you have to be responsive. Remember, all publicity is NOT good publicity. Don’t be stupid! Brands often use Twitter to run contests to promote their services and to lure customers to their products. But what happens when the same brand loses it, goes off the hook and starts to behave stupid on the same platform it generally uses to promote its offerings? A major moment of embarrassment, of course! In October 2012, the social media manager of Cool Chef Café in Worli lost it. Quite literally. In response to an irresponsible practise engaged in by Cool Chef Café, a particular twitterati posted the Café’s unfair demands on Twitter. On seeing this, Cool Chef Café lost their cool and went all crazy! Right from taking pot-shots at influencers to tweeting gibberish, the brand stopped at nothing to make a fool of themselves. It almost felt like they wanted to mess things up and they were, perhaps, being paid for it! To know more about the story, click here . Tip: The rule about fundamental social media behaviour is simple. No matter what, you don’t act stupid. No matter what, you don’t insult your consumers and no matter what, you don’t make a complete idiot of yourself. I am going to save you the time by not harping about the importance of social media ; we all know just how important the medium is. What most of us – brands, in particular – need to figure out that social media is not to be messed with. You cannot take a cool, casual approach and manage your brand online thinking everything goes. The medium will not help you further your reputation or build customer loyalty or push your business if you act irresponsibly or worst, don’t give the medium the time/effort it deserves. A sincere effort must be made to build a relationship and to sustain it with customers. Grievances must be addressed without much delay, criticism must be deftly tackled and users respected. To get your act right on social media is not tough, what is tough is to stay clear from making a fool of yourself. If you can manage that, you’re good to go. Image Courtesy |   socialmouths Looking For A Social Media Agency?? – Contact WATConsult – India’s Leading Social Media Agency

[via WATBlog.com – Web, Advertising and Technology Blog in India]

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