Social media is communication, not a game

In the past few days, mistakes in the area of social media could be observed that well-known companies had committed.

In the past few days, mistakes in the area of social media could be observed that well-known companies had committed. I got the impression that although social media is used for marketing purposes, it has not yet been fully integrated into corporate structures. At this point I would like to use two examples to explain that social media is a dialogue and not a children's playground!

Case 1: Social media is communication

A campaign announced a new product that was not available at the announced time. Many people were waiting for this product and understandably wondered when it would be available. In their distress, they turned to the company's Twitter channel with questions, suggestions and suspicions. To no avail, the messages were hardly responded to!

If you manage a social media channel, be it Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any other channel, expect that customers will want to interact with you.

It may be that you only see the Twitter stream as a replacement for your RSS feed and just want to keep customers informed, yet, and I guarantee it, customers will try to contact you through this channel. The worst thing you can do in such a case is to ignore the customer. In such a case, you disappoint the customer and this in turn can shake the customer's trust in you. In the worst case, you lose the customer!

You claim that you are using social media as a communication channel, but you forget the true meaning of "communication". I may quote Wikipedia at this point:

"Communication ... is the exchange or transmission of information. ... By "exchange" is meant a mutual give and take." Source:Wikipedia

You have neglected the exchange, namely the mutual give and take. No dialogue has been established with the customer - rather, you are holding a monologue which you are posting on the Internet.

This is what you can do:

Avoid the monologue - enter into a dialogue with your customers! Answer questions, thank them for tips! It's so easy and it builds trust in you and your brand!

Case 2: Unreliable support

A dialogue with customers naturally means a certain amount of work for you as a company, but surely you have employees who you have assigned to social media activities? If you can answer this in the affirmative, I would like to ask you another question: is your social media account sufficiently looked after? Can you react quickly enough, e.g. at the weekend?

In a concrete case, it recently happened that a Twitter account was hijacked by a well-known association and direct messages were sent to the followers (readers or customers) in their name! The direct messages contained a link to a Facebook page that aimed to read out the access data of the person who followed the link. On the Facebook target page, the customer was asked to confirm the Twitter account by entering their access data in the form. This was a form that corresponded to the Twitter design, but there was a problem with a character that was not displayed correctly. This kind of thing is suspicious based on experiences with other Spm sites! A more detailed investigation then revealed that the form was on a Russian server, which probably did not belong to Twitter.

The attackers chose a very good time for this action: Friday afternoon!

The account holder was not warned until Monday morning. So a malicious link was circulating in the known account for several days!

I don't wish it on you, but such a problem can happen to any of us and in such a case we should be able to react quickly!

If social media is only a channel for you that is not continuously managed, customers can quickly fall into the traps described above or similar ones. You should then be able to react quickly, otherwise you are also putting your customers' trust in you at risk!

This is what you can do:

Don't gamble away trust and continuously monitor your accounts! There will always be a customer who points out such problems to you. Then you can quickly eliminate the problem!

However, this requires employees who are prepared to react quickly and possibly even at the weekend. Such employees strengthen the customers' trust in you, because these employees want to and can quickly fix such problems as the one described above!

These are employees you can rely on!

You see: Social media is communication and not child's play!