It is time to discuss the reality of Social Media which I believe is very misunderstood by many Companies. Here is an example The Company behind Strepsils & Lemsip want you to follow them on Facebook! – In order for them to get you to do that they have to advertise on Broadcast Linear TV (Quite expensive)! So all those brands that try to drive you to individualising your Brand preferences (Rollerball, News Channels etc) have merely increased their OPEX in order to do so. To gain what? Followers and Fans of medicine, a writing instrument, yesterdays stories?
Broadcast TV blasts a 30 second Ad into the subconscious (whether you “like” it or not, in order to plant a seed…”buy my brand”. On the other hand a call to action like “visit” a Facebook or Web page needs a conscious effort from an individual … and quite frankly you have to be pretty strange if you want to be a fan of cough or flu medicine. On a daily basis I am being asked to go to a Facebook page fro something. I have my own promoting a book and it gets NO VISITORS, not because the book is not interesting but because it is a pain in the ass to actually go out of your way to be a Fan of something. Initially novel but the amount of time needed to do all this “following” makes it a full time job! I have blogged 3 articles this morning and its been 3 hours of work!
Therefore certain Brands relying on Social Media will just wither and die from lack of interest. Yes I say it again there are just too many Brands for people to follow on a personal basis this day and age. We are swamped with Companies asking us to go to their Website, Social Media Sites, Newsletters etc. We Will have our favourites for sure but out shopping we fall upon Brands that spark an impulse buy because the Brands have been bombarding us via TV & Print media…
Social Media is not all bad! I am actually a fan of Twitter as it can be (if understood) well used to succintly tailor a tease message. It can surprise and delight with stories that you may never have fallen upon due to the clever use of the enticement in the small amount of words. However the results of some Twitter experiences leave a lot to be desired. The Twitter Feed during the Eurovision song contest (a much maligned competition but loved by billions) highlighted that if you give the common person a voice you might not enjoy what you get. The result of the 2011 Eurovision Twitter Feed was a purile, bigoted, unhealthy diatribe that added nothing to the event. It merely brought out the worst in the simpletons who used it to pour out unfettered racist comments.
Facebook can be as dangerous: I bought a Print Server from DLink it didnt work as it said it would on the box. I tried for several long hours to make it work. No joy! So I thought lets see how good their Social Media game is! I took the Facebook route to get straight to the Company. The entire list of comments were about how bad, dificult and rubbish their products are. There for all to see! Happy customers dont really want to be fans or comment and adore the DLink brand because the purchases are once in a blue moon technology needs and if they work people just get on with life, the Internet and other more fun Facebook stuff with actual friends. What was interesting was the Social Media Monitoring Manager (more OPEX) wrote to me and asked if I had contacted tech support!!! If a brand new product – ‘PlugnPlay’ – needs Instant Tech Support then something is wrong. I suggested they buy it back from me, especially if they are confident enough about their products and their Brand…no answer! DLink is now scratched off my list of Brands.
Its a dangerous game to follow the Facebook bandwagon. Many PR disaters ‘a la Qantas’ are going to happen because for many it is not the professional place it is thought to be! Sure there will be lots of stories of how wonderful it can be and the control is in the hands of the public etc. However you have to assess your place in the market, what you believe you will achieve and not just run blindly into Social Media thining it is going to be the answer to customer loyalty = more revenue = happy people. It might just jump up and bite you on the ass! Social Media is merely the opening of Pandoras box when you allow the public a voice.