Posts Tagged ‘PR’

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It has definitely been a while since I have updated my blog. With that I bring you a longer than normal post!

There is no better spot to witness the armchair quarterback in business than on social media. Currently you have many “experts” willing to give their advice to companies that have stumbled in their efforts, and we all fall in this category. Yes I am including myself in this. I find myself being a little too cynical of what is going on.

Of course with national flubs like Lowe’s, GoDaddy, Ocean Marketing, and countless others have experienced lately it is no wonder we all decide to hang out on the sidelines and declare “what we would have done.”

As many have pointed out, it is very beneficial to have a disaster recovery plan in place. It is also important to have someone knowledgable in place to handle the backlash. The thing that each of these companies have forgotten to do is to remember what they stand for. Lowe’s is a company that stood for the American Dream, home ownership. It wasn’t solely the Christian or Jewish Dream. It was about the diversity that we have in America but we all want the same thing. We want a place of our own. Lowe’s is able to help people make their house a home but the company forgot its primary purpose.

GoDaddy is in the same boat. It thrives off of people being able to do what they want online without fear of most repercussion and the legislation that GoDaddy helped create by sponsoring it went against the values of its customers. Ocean Marketing was a service company. It provided a service and if part of that includes customer service, which apparently it did, you must remain professional with the customer at all times. The customer does not care whether or not you have had a bad day or week. They write your paycheck and need to be treated like that.

There are many examples of companies “doing it wrong” but if you look hard enough there are many more of those that do it right. You must understand what you stand for before making any decisions and then decide if your next campaign falls within those standards. Make sure you stick to your guns and follow through. Be strong and do not second guess your ideas if they truly go along with your brand.

What companies do you see that stick to their brand, no matter what?

So I want to preface this post by saying that this is not how everyone acts. This is just an observation on PR and Marketing professionals and how I see many of them use social media. I am a marketer by trade and hope I do not slip into these stereotypes. With that out-of-the-way, if you get offended, chances are you fall into one of these categories.

There has been much debate over which department in a large company should take care of the social media duties. Many believe Marketing should be in charge, while others believe PR should lead the way (there is also a subset of people who believe customer service should be in charge but for the purposes of this post I am leaving it out). While a lot of this depends on what the company’s end goal is with social media, you can many times tell which portion of the company has control over the account.

Let’s start with PR. PR professionals are known for making their professional (i.e. stuffy) press releases. They are corporate documents and that is just how they go out for most companies. Unfortunately this also carries over into the social media aspect. When every tweet sounds like a press release, there is something wrong. You wouldn’t talk to the customer in person that way so why do you talk to them online like that? Talk to them genuinely. Try to not compose a tweet that hashtags every word YOU think people are searching for. Chances are if they are searching, they may not be looking for a specific hashtag. Create something that sounds like you are speaking with friends, not with your board of directors.

Marketing is not without its foibles in the social media realm. Have you ever seen the Twitter account that only tweets links to the company’s products and services? How about the company that never responds to their consumers? That is usually the work of marketing/sales. This is the social media equivalent of a used car salesman (and everyone loves talking to the salesman). Being pushy or purely pushing your message is not what consumers want.

Of course these tactics don’t work in a world of transparency. People want to know there is a personality behind the account. They do not care to see your corporate message. Marketing and PR messages have their place and can even be very useful in a social media setting, just not to the extent people push them. If you have a community event, don’t push it out like a press release. Mention it, show pictures but as if you were sharing it with a friend. If you have a great sale going on, do not push out a quick billboard style message to your followers. Most will ignore it (kind of like billboards themselves).

Talk to people as you would want to be spoken to. Be genuine and you will see some traction. If you are not an established brand, social media can be an uphill battle but you can gain exposure. In all, see what works for you. Just don’t be a Marketing or PR professional online.

Time for you to sound off, have you seen any companies exhibit these traits within social media? Have you seen companies where these traits have actually paid off for them?