Posted on April 22, 2010. Filed under: Best practices, Social Media | Tags: bad form, bad manners, bad moderation, bad PR, customer service, Facebook, Nestle facebook, nestle facebook fisaco, poor interaction with the public, PR fiasco, Social Media, social media disengagement, Social Networks |
The two-way street of social media offers a more personable way to engage with audiences than traditional marketing avenues.
People can leave comments on your blog, Facebook fan page or Twitter account and you can respond in kind.
It’s a great way to build brand affinity. Consumers have a voice in your online space. This sends a message their opinion matters. You gain valuable feedback, too.
However, beware — the street can be pocked with potholes.
Watch for road hazards on the two-way street of social media
The genesis of this fiasco began when the environmental awareness group Greenpeace called Nestle out for obtaining palm oil from “companies that are trashing Indonesian rainforests, threatening the livelihoods of local people and pushing orangutans towards extinction.” Greenpeace created a video and website campaign to denounce Nestle. The campaign featured a disparaging version of the logo for Nestle’s Kit Kat candy bar with the word “Killer” on it.
The Killer logo and others equally offensive to the company started circulating in cyberspace, prompting Nestle to post not once, but twice, a statement on its Facebook page that they were not going to stand for anyone messing with their stuff.
How NOT to moderate a Facebook page
Nestle soon found itself in one fine mess. Facebook fans took Nestle to task, telling the company they were free to do as they pleased. Here’s the start of the thread to the post:
That’s not even the half of it. Comments came pouring in, fast and furious, a few in favor of Nestle’s stance, but the vast majority taking up verbal arms against the arrogance of the Nestle spokesperson who basically flipped the bird to Facebook fans.
I suspect it goes without saying this is not a good thing to do on a platform that is open to the entire world. Indeed, the spat got picked up by media outlets across the globe.
You can’t control what others say about your brand (and this is not new)
Clearly Nestle missed the memo about how you can’t control what people say about you, and, if you need to respond to negative comments, it’s best to do so in a way that does not alienate or otherwise insult people.
Now lest you think this phenomenon of consumers being able to mess with your brand arose from the openness of social media, rest assured, word of mouth, good or bad, has been around as long as we humans have been talking to one another. There’s also a long history for alteration of corporate logos — MAD magazine loves to do this sort of thing, and you’ve likely seen t-shirts with spoof versions of popular logos, too.
Social media just makes the whole thing a lot more public and a lot more viral.
What can you learn from this?
This is one for the books: Count on the incident being used in case studies about how not to engage in social media. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better example of how to do it wrong.
Meanwhile, there are lessons to be learned here. Such as:
Make sure you understand the ways of social media before you engage in this space. There are lots of do’s and don’ts and if you need some learnin’ here I suggest reading either The New Community Rules, by Tamar Weinberg, or Six Pixels of Separation, by Mitch Joel.
Make sure the person you assign to handle social media tasks knows how to properly interact with the public. Good manners and knowledge of how to appropriately respond to comments of all kinds is imperative.
Be prepared for negative feedback. No matter how wonderful you are, someone somewhere can have a bone to pick. Realize it may wind up in your social space.
If a crises does arise, be quick to put out the fire. Admit your mea culpa.
Don’t let one bad experience sour you on social media. See what you can learn and do it better the next time.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
That’s where there’s a bunch of exceptions and other terms required in the interest of full disclosure, but you likely wouldn’t sign the contract if you read and understood them in full, hence the small print treatment.
It’s only when you have a problem you find out, whoops, there’s something in the fine print about that; and odds are, what it says is not in your favor.
The post’s title implies they’re being transparent. However, if the revised policy is written so that it’s difficult for users to determine the true implications, then it’s the digital equivalent of fine print.
A CYA tactic
The post begins by saying Facebook wants to publicize “all proposed changes to our governing documents before they go into effect and solicit feedback on these proposals from the people who use Facebook.”
FYI, they’re not doing this just to be nice. It’s to avoid another fiasco as happened with the site’s now-deceased Beacon system, which inspired angry member backlash, bad publicity and a lawsuit. In other words, it’s to protect their derrières.
The new policy is to share general data with “select” third parties
Facebook says the change is being made “to offer a more personalized experience at the moment you visit the site.”
So no worries, it’s for your own good.
The changes are automatic opt-in. Should you prefer to keep general info private, you must make the effort to opt-out.
Member discontent over policy change
Based on comments to the blog post, it looks like this new policy is going over like a lead balloon.
That’s not surprising and is another reason the site is telling everyone what’s going to happen. It’s a common tactic: Let people vent so they can feel like they’re heard, and make the change anyway.
If the true beneficiaries of this revised policy are Facebook and its advertisers — well, that’s just how it goes. Facebook is free. If we don’t like it we can just leave, right?
Are the words privacy and web mutually exclusive?
Perhaps this is just another turn along the inevitable path leading to the point where the words privacy and web are mutually exclusive.
Maybe so, but we’re not quite there yet.
And even if it doesn’t ultimately change the outcome, should you care to voice an opinion on the matter to Facebook, feel free to add to the 2,000+ comments already left on the blog post announcing these impending changes.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think? Are Facebook’s latest privacy changes really the equivalent of fine print? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Posted on November 19, 2009. Filed under: Marketing and Public Relations, Social Media | Tags: consumer interaction with brands, consumer response, Facebook, false knowledge, fan pages, Feed: Digital Brand Experience, How Teenagers Comsume Media, impact of social media, market intelligence, market research, Morgan Stanley, Performics, Razorfish, ROI Research, Social Media, Social Networks, teens do tweet, teens don't tweet, The Impact of Social Media, Twitter |
A marketing manager told me his company doesn’t promote its brand on Facebook because, “That’s for personal stuff. People don’t want to be sold to there.”
Then how is it Coca-Cola, Target, Pizza Hut, Sears, Whole Foods, Microsoft, Best Buy, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, Red Bull and a gaggle of other companies are building their brands via Facebook fan pages and groups?
The reality is, people are increasingly visiting Facebook, and other social media platforms, expecting to find favorite brands there. And if the brand is absent, it may have a negative effect.
Facebook, a friend indeed
A study by Performics and ROI Research, titled The Impact of Social Media: A deep dive on how consumers are adopting social networking sites and interacting with brands surveyed 3,000 U.S. consumers and found active Facebook users welcomed messages from marketers. After connecting with a brand on Facebook they were:
- 44% more likely to purchase the product
- 46% more likely to recommend the product
- 46% more likely talk about the product
- 27% more likely to post an ad for the product
In November, Razorfish issued Feed: The Digital Brand Experience Report 2009. Based on an in-depth poll of 1,000 “connected consumers,” its findings determined 40% of those surveyed have “friended” a brand on either Facebook or MySpace. Akin to Performics’ results, that same group indicated befriending a brand plays into their decision to purchase and/or recommend a product.
Teens don’t tweet, right?
This pearl of wisdom was largely fueled by a report titled How Teenagers Consume Media issued in July by Morgan Stanley. The “research” was conducted by a 15 year-old summer intern, who concluded that European teens are down on Twitter. Many media outlets jumped on this juicy nugget. Immediately, people started chirping the “teens don’t tweet” line.
If you bothered to actually read the report, however, you’d note in the second paragraph it states: “Without claiming representation or statistical accuracy, his piece provides one of the clearest and most thought provoking insights we have seen. So we published it.”
Excuse me? There’s no claim of statistical accuracy? So the findings are based on what? The opinions of this young bloke’s chums?
Meanwhile, in September, comScore, a provider of business intelligence that employs rigorous research practice, issued a survey that showed users in the 12-17 and 18-24 age groups are Twitter’s fastest growing audience segments.
Call me crazy, but I’m inclined to trust a company that has a certifiable methodology rather than a report based on anecdotal evidence.
It’s common knowledge (not)
My point is simple: Common knowledge about what kind of people do or do not use a particular social media platform, along with ideas about what type of experience is or is not acceptable on those networks, may be just that — ideas. As in, the “knowledge” can be inaccurate.
If you’re working on a communications plan do your due diligence. Seek out reliable market data. Don’t risk losing out on a great market opportunity by basing your strategy on hearsay.
Then again, maybe it’s not worth the trouble. It won’t make a difference. Everyone knows marketing is just a bunch of b.s.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think about the reliability of market research about social media? Do you know of other inaccuracies that are often cited as fact?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Posted on November 11, 2009. Filed under: Commentary, Social Media | Tags: antisocial behavior, behavior, communication, communications, disconnection, diversity, Facebook, human interaction, Internet, isolation, MySpace, networks, online communication, online communications, Pew Internet and American Life Project, relationships, social influence, Social isolation and New Technology, Social Media, social media issues, social networking, Social Networks, social statistics, social trends, technology and social interaction, Twittter |
Recently, while at a networking event, talk turned to whether social media and other means of online messaging actually makes us antisocial. That is, if we are so busy Tweeting, Facebooking, text messaging, and otherwise communicating through technology, are we then less eager to converse in person?
Does our ability to instantly send photos and videos to friends mean we are less likely to visit them in real life? Are Facebook family reunions in our future?
New technology, same old debate
The notion that technology leads to antisocial behavior is hardly new. It heated up when the internet and email caught fire. The same speculation happened when the telephone picked up in popularity — we didn’t have to visit our neighbors, or anyone else for that matter, to talk to them anymore; we could just give ‘em a ring.
The rise of social media — where a network aspect encourages a sense of community– intensifies the debate. We can feel as though we are all together even though we are all apart. We enjoy exchanges with friends and followers whom we never meet in person. Ever.
Does technology lead to social isolation?
Does our propensity to connect through technology imply we are more isolated as individuals?
“Today, the number of Americans who are truly isolated is no different, or at most is only slightly higher than what it was 30 years ago. Few people have no one with whom they can discuss important matters, and even fewer have no one who is especially significant in their lives. The more pronounced social change, since 1985, has occurred in the size and diversity of Americans’ core networks.”
Social media and diversity
Following up on that last sentence is where it really gets interesting. The study concludes that overall, the number and diversity of people with whom we discuss and confide important matters is declining. However, the opposite is true of those who socialize through technology. The study found:
- People who upload and share photos online are 61% more likely to have discussion partners that cross political lines.
- Frequent at-home internet users are 53% more likely to have a confidant of a different race.
- The diversity of core networks tends to be 25% larger for mobile phone users and 15% larger for internet users.
Online we are more color-blind than in real-life. Perhaps having distance between one another makes us more tolerant of our differences.
Correlation between online communication and in-person interaction
As for the notion that communicating through technology leads to lower face-to-face social contact, the study indicates it ain’t necessarily so. Findings include:
- Internet and mobile phone users are as likely as non-users to talk to their neighbors in-person at least once per month.
- Internet users are 26% less likely to rely on their neighbors for help with small services, such as household chores, repairs, and lending tools, but they remain as likely to help their neighbors with the same activities.
- Owners of a mobile phone, frequent internet users at work, and bloggers are more likely to belong to a local voluntary group, such as a neighborhood association, sports league, youth group, church, or social club.
Online community forums make us even more neighborly:
- 60% of those who use an online neighborhood discussion forum know “all or most” of their neighbors, compared to 40% of Americans.
- 79% who use an online neighborhood discussion forum talk with neighbors in person at least once a month, compared to 61% of the general population.
- 43% of those on a neighborhood discussion forum talk to neighbors on the telephone at least once a month, compared to the average of 25%.
It really is social media
Technology is not a bogeyman turning us into isolated shut-ins. On the contrary, communication via the internet, cell phones and social media encourages in-person interaction. And it may make us more tolerant of our individual differences.
In other words, it really does make us more social.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think of the Pew report on Social Isolation and New Technology? Do the findings surprise or confirm your own opinion on the topic? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
Posted on October 22, 2009. Filed under: Best practices, Social Media | Tags: ban social media, blogging, blogs, business policy, conflict of interest, corporate social media policy, employee policy, Facebook, fear of social media, guidelines, MySpace, prohibit on the job, reputation management, Social Media, social media ban, social media best practices, social media risk, social media training, Social Networks, Twitter |
Did you know more companies are banning employees from using social networks while on the job?
Oh, really? Not one tweet, or a single Facebook comment all the live-long workday? Surely some folks will go into withdrawal. That stuff is addictive, you know.
Meantime, Iran tried to ban use of social media, and that didn’t work, so what chance does an employer have of making the rule stick?
Yet more businesses are adopting a no-if-ands-or-buts stance on the matter.
Robert Half Technology, an agency providing information technology professionals for both part-time and full-time needs recently polled 1,400 CIOs regarding company policy on worker’s visiting social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter while at work. Here are the results:
54% Prohibited completely
19% Permitted for business purposes only
16% Permitted for limited personal use
10% Permitted for any type of personal use
1% Don’t know/no answer
A press release about the survey notes Robert Half Executive Director Dave Willmer’s sensitivity to employers: “Using social networking sites may divert employees’ attention away from more pressing priorities, so it’s understandable that some companies limit access.”
Willmer goes on to state, “For some professions, however, these sites can be leveraged as effective business tools, which may be why about one in five companies allows their use for work-related purposes.”
Why single it out?
Social networking for personal purposes is a diversion from work responsibilities. So is making a personal phone call, replying to personal email, engaging in small talk around the office coffee pot, taking a cigarette break, surfing the Net, and any number of other ways that individuals may not be 100% on the job while on the company clock.
And let’s get real; outright prohibition is impossible to enforce given the prevalence of smartphones, which offer ready access to the Internet, and hence all those social sites.
The trend is only going up
Social media is undeniably an ever-growing mode of communication. For many, it’s as familiar a way to converse and share information as the telephone and email. That goes for personal and business use.
Risks are real
Companies are wise to be cognizant of social media — to promote their own purposes, and as pertains to the potential for it to turn into a time suck on employee productivity. Even if someone intends to jump on just for a quick jolt, it’s easy to get entranced on these platforms.
There are reputation risks. Workers may post comments that reflect badly on their employer, and perhaps themselves. Anyone can do the same offline. Bad judgment isn’t limited to the social media sphere.
Establish a policy
When change happens fast, and with force, it can be difficult to know how to handle the disruption. That’s what’s going on here. Two years ago Twitter’s audience was limited — now, it’s where major news breaks. Facebook has in excess of 300 million users.
Companies do need to devise ways to deal with all that comes with this new circumstance.
But a ban? Well, that’s just plain crazy talk.
The sensible thing to do is to create and publicize a policy that establishes reasonable practical parameters for employee use of, and behavior on, these networks. I wrote a post about this in August. It spells things out nice and simple.
For additional resources and actual examples of social media policies, hit these two links:
Companies are made up of people, not robots.
Bottom line: Organizations must be mindful about what is a realistic solution here.
Employees may be resources, but they are human resources.
- Deni Kasrel
Do you think employers should prohibit personal use of social networks while on the job? Is it even possible to enforce such a policy? What do you think? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
Posted on September 29, 2009. Filed under: Social Media, Trends | Tags: aggregator site, blogging, blogs, digital life, emerging technology, Facebook, FriendFeed, Lifestrea.ms, lifestreaming, microblogging, online convergence, posterous, Profilactic, sharing, Social Media, social media trends, Trends, tumblr, Twitter |
There’s talk about how blogs are soon to be deceased in lieu of lifestreaming.
The Doomsdayers believe the blog scene might as well be hooked up to a respirator: With notable exceptions given to big-shot bloggers and major blog sites that are already heavily entrenched in their respective market niches.
I don’t buy it. I think the prognosis for the persistence of blogs, in general, is excellent.
It’s not an either/or proposition. Still, this business of lifestreaming is intriguing.
What is lifestreaming?
The precise definition of lifestreaming elicits different responses depending on whom you ask.
I favor easy-to-digest explanations; so let’s go with this one from lifestreamblog:
“In it’s simplest form it’s a chronological aggregated view of your life activities both online and offline. It is only limited by the content and sources that you use to define it.”
Well, that sure narrows it down.
Just like life, it’s a lot of things
Let’s start with lifestreaming as a “chronological aggregated view,” big giant window, or however else you choose to describe uploading a bunch of information, in one place, where others can see it.
Next, it’s only limited by “the content and sources that you use to define it.”
So… blog posts, updates to your various social media sites — LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc. — links, tidbits, social bookmarks, emails that you float into the stream – basically it’s like creating a single network for all your different online channels.
Lifestreaming can happen in real-time. Hence, you can send a live video feed of what you’re doing at a given time.
Depending on your outlook, lifestreaming can be really cool, or TMI; as in too much information.
The stream scheme
There are numerous avenues for getting your life into the stream of things — some are more robust than others. Popular lifestreaming applications include FriendFeed, Lifestrea.ms, Posterous, Profilactic and Tumblr.
One obvious advantage to lifesteaming is that your friends and followers don’t need to visit many different sites to see your Tweets, Facebook entries, photos, videos, slideshows and all the rest of it. Now there’s a one-stop shop.
Conversely, a lifestreamer need not go to all those same sites to upload, or respond to comments on, his/her posts.
There’s surely more to come down this particular pike.
To stream, or not?
Inputting and viewing everything all in one place is not for everyone. The stream can look like too much disorganized clutter to certain eyes.
However, if you truly want your life to be an open book, this is an easy way to go for it.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think of lifestreaming? Is it the next greatest thing, or way too much information? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
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