Archive for April, 2010

Nestle Facebook Lesson In Social Media Disengagement

Posted on April 22, 2010. Filed under: Best practices, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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

Case in point: Nestle’s recent kerfluffle on Facebook.

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.

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Is Your Content Really Truly King?

Posted on April 6, 2010. Filed under: Communications Strategy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Tell me if you’ve heard this before: Content is king.

It’s a popular catch-phrase of many a marketer.

But how many actually practice what they preach?

Talking the talk and walking the walk are two different things. From what I can tell, there’s a heck of a lot more talking than walking.

Generic content abounds

Case in point: I’m working on a consulting job where I recently completed a competitive analysis of approximately two-dozen websites belonging to organizations all operating in the same field of business. The analysis considered a variety of factors including website design, information architecture, branding, content and use of social media.

I observed discernable differences in design, user friendliness and overall site organization. Certain sites had more videos and podcasts. This seemed mainly a sign of financial standing — the well-off places can afford more of these assets.

The character and tone of web text ranged from technical to institutional to consumer-friendly. Meanwhile, the messages and information contained in text and videos for nearly all sites was so similar as to be interchangeable. “We have innovative cutting-edge technology, teams of experts, personalized service.” Blah, blah. Yadda, Yadda.

Content is often created in a vacuum

When everyone’s saying pretty much the same thing you’re not making a case for why to choose your product or service over someone else’s.

All too often organizations create content in a vacuum. Their goal is to meet business objectives and state their offering.

But really, that’s the least you can do. For content to be king you must present compelling distinctions that make someone think, “Ah, now there’s a difference that matters to me. I’ll go with this one.”

It isn’t just about you, or even your customers. It’s also about your competitors.

It’s the difference between being a commodity and being a preferred choice.

Put your website to the test

Surely this is not news. Still odds are if you conduct a competitive analysis of websites for businesses operating in your industry you’ll notice a lot of repetition.

In fact why not do it? Visit the websites of your competitors. Read the text, view the videos and listen to the podcasts. See if you can pick out even a handful of differences in content and messaging. I mean real points of singularity, not simply using other words to say essentially the same thing. Be sure to include your own site in the analysis.

If your content stands out, more power to you. If not, start planning for how to make it so.

– Deni Kasrel

What do YOU think? Comments welcome.

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