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Social Media Experts do not exist! Now what?

January 18, 2011

A favourite expression of mine is: Social Media Experts do not exist (At least, not yet). And to be completely honest with you, maybe there will never be a true Social Media Expert.

The reason why I think this, is based on the history of our field. Because you probably noticed it to, Social Media is relatively new. Every day (and especially this coming year), Social Media will become even more mainstream. It is finding a place in the minds of business owners and they find it useful for practically every department they have. It can support your sales team, your marketing department, your PR division and it has its use in finding new employees with the HR department.

So your are a successful company, (or at least you have a plan to be successful) and your a waking up to a 5 year slumber in which you kept every idea of making your company more available to interaction of your consumers to a absolute minimum and you wake up and find out that in 2011 Social Media is ruling the world. What to do?

What to do:

Media in definition are not social. And creating Media that are asks more than just some adjustments to the channels. It asks for a different mindset. First you have to accept the fact that you are falling behind, fast. When you’ve accepted this notion, you must remember: do not do anything rash or suddenly. You are already behind, so you better can take the time to discover what you need to do and what you can do. There are a lot of companies out there thinking they have to act fast and so they hire a so called “Social Media Expert” or as most people like to call themselves in this business “Guru’s”. These so called experts can be found in the freelance enlistments but also with the communication and marketing companies you already trust to run your business, and support you in these ‘special requests’.

Rule nr 1

So rule number one if you are new to this game, field, world: Stop and listen.

You can take the time to discover where you should invest, and what this means for your business. Listen on the different Social Media where they are talking about your brand and what people are saying about you, your products or clients. There will be a lot of companies offering their services to you. They will say that they will be able to make your money, create more “buzz” or “brand awareness” and even promises you that your viral video will reach millions. This could well be true, but in most cases it isn’t.

Why? The reason is simple; you have to discover where your consumers, clients and products are discussed. What your target group wants to discuss with you, and even if they want to talk about your company and products at all. If you have a decent company making decent products, try to find what people are saying about you, where they do this and what they are saying about your competition. If you are not aware of this, it will really pay of to discover this first and than find money to engage with your target group.

Rule nr 2

So concluding rule number 1 = Listen. Rule number two is: Be Prepared.

It is so simple; it is almost as these rules where written for Cub Scouts.

So what do I mean with, be prepared? In this fast moving, ever changing world you need to be prepared for something you probably never thought that could happen. Your customers complain about you. They complain about your company, your service or products and you need to be prepared to respond. There are loads of examples: http://bit.ly/fYdFaB. And most of the companies that are using twitter to help them with customer care are doing so because of failure in the past. So if this happens to great companies like Dell, Southwest Airlines and BP, why would it not happen to you?

So it is safe to say, you would be wise to be prepared for an online customer service war against your company. Of course this will not stop the blows from hitting, but it will cushion the blow. The plan you must create must revolve around reputation management. An essential part of your communication strategy is probably built around reputation management, and you probably are served well by your communication company in this subject. Still, at the next meeting ask them if they have an immediate response team ready if something like this might occur.

For more information on the reputation crisis management look here: http://bit.ly/dWguyl

More ideas and rules will follow. Please comment or ask question I will be happy to respond to them.

 

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