We recently came across an interesting eBook titled ‘Hazardous to Your Social Media Health: 50 Previously Condoned Behaviors We No Longer Recommend’ by Spark Media Solutions. The author, David Spark, got some decent press on this eBook and a long list of comments that either strongly agreed with his sentiments or completely blasted them.
No matter what the feelings of the audience were we felt that some of these were good points IF you consider they are not all encompassing for every single brand in the world. So before you come knocking down the doors of Success Agency please remember that these might not apply to your brand but it is likely that they very well might. Enjoy!
Stop Thinking of Your Social Media Followers as a Community
Spark says that a bad social media habit many brands adapt is thinking of their social media network as a community. True communities, says Spark, exist in places like churches, synagogues or clubs – places where people go because they are passionate about the topics or the activities.
In this sense Spark has a point – people don’t typically form communities around brands; they generally follow brands on social media because they are fans of their products or services. The example Spark uses is Oreo. Social media followers of Oreo are likely not passionate about cookies with cream stuff in between them as much as they are there because they like Oreo as a brand and enjoy the product they offer.
If you are looking at your social media network as a community reconsider if your fans are truly engaged with each other in the true sense of what it means to be a community. While it is likely that brands like Whole Foods would have a passionate social media community it is unlikely that brands like Fig Newtons or Kool-Aid have this type of interactive community.
Yes, we agree that this one is highly controversial especially since the Facebook page of Spark’s company notifies people that they “help companies build industry voice through social media and storytelling.” However, as Spark explains, stories are not critical for all products. Non-profits are a good example of brands that have stories to tell as are health care organizations. Non-thinking products like those mentioned above in the community section – Oreo, Fig Newtons and Kool-Aid – are arguably not benefiting from any story telling on social media. These brands would not necessarily do well explaining to Facebook followers how their products change people’s lives as much as they would showcase how the products can be used to improve one’s moment.
In this regard the definition of storytelling should imply how the end-user has a life that benefits single-handedly from a brand. Product promotion and storytelling on social media are thus two entirely different things.
Stop Ignoring People who Disagree with You
This tip is perhaps one of the easiest to swallow out of the above. Unhappy customers are common to every brand and it is a reality of today that many consumers turn to social media to voice their concerns or complaints so that as many people see them as possible. Rather than ignore these people or disregard their comments, the eBook recommends engaging with the users and looking at the dialogue as an opportunity to inject humanity into what is often regarded as an informal medium.
There are, of course, instances where consumers are completely unreasonable and where they can’t be engaged in a thoughtful dialogue. In the instances where the consumer wants to be heard it gives brands an opportunity to win them over and learn what it is about their product or service that caused displeasure.
Related: How to Handle Blog Comments
Are You Overlooking Your Social Media Habits?
Many brands base their social media habits on what other brands are doing or what industry professionals are saying. Fact is, every brand is different and what might work for one brand might not work for another. Social media communities, story-telling, and humanizing your brand by directly engaging with unhappy customers may or may not work for you. The takeaways here are that we should stop thinking of our brands as integral parts of the day-to-day lives of our followers and instead think of them for what they are and how we can improve the moments we do have to engage with these fans.