When Does a Brand Have the Right to Post?

I am amazed at times at what brands feel appropriate to post about and engage in on social channels.

A solid strategy should outline what you should be posting about. That should be places you can make emotional connections to an already-active social community in and around your product, offering or service. Anything outside of that is strategically off base.

Holidays seem to be the times where every brand feels they need to give a shout out. Because everyone appreciates a good “Happy Holidays” from a hotel chain or a clothing company. We all know this comes from a sincere spot in the company’s heart, right?

Even more interesting are the times that a tragedy defines a day. #BostonStrong was a social movement that most everyone remembers. For many it made them, personally, feel better to engage in it by using the hashtag. It made the country smaller. We all cared about that city and wanted Bostonians to know we were behind them and proud of how they acted. How does a brand feel that way? A brand that may have a store or few in the city. A brand that may sell things there. But really? Is that the right time or place for a company that is obviously in social channels for marketing to make a statement? I say no way.

The trend extends into the urge for brands to be relevant in the moment. Twitter is where most of this happens. Community managers cannot fight the urge to dive in on Trending Topics. Many times not knowing what they stand for or who “should” be engaging in conversation.

Case in point is #WhyIStayed. When the spotlight was pointed to the issue of domestic violence many use this as a platform to help themselves and others. To help them have a discussion about what happened to them and why they stayed. The point I am trying to make is not anything about how that played out but the fact that mistakes were made by brands trying to engage. Below is the DiGiorno mistake. The brand manager had no idea what it stood for and dove in. Crazy-bad mistake. But this is a trend.

#WhyIStayed – Digiorno http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/digiorno-whyistayed-you-had-pizza#cgwnf2

So I ask all of you brands to stay in your lane. Talk about what is relevant to you AND your consumer. Stay in the place where you have expertise and can be of use to them. That is not in #BostonStrong or 9/11 or breast cancer. The only caveat is if you are DIRECTLY tied to those causes.

When Does a Brand Have the Right to Post?

Keeping Up With Social Platform Changes

So many times I am asked by coworkers and clients about the best way to keep up on the platforms and their ever-changing ways. The way to do it is through their blog.

Every major platform has a blog and they update it frequently with their updates and improvements. Below are the links. I suggest you add them to your favorites and check them regularly.

You can use these to learn and be the hero when updating clients.

#ProTip: many of them are Tumblr based. Use the +follow to have them show up in your Tumblr feed.

Twitter
Twitter has many. This is the Advertising version.

Vine

Facebook

Instagram

Tumblr

Pinterest

YouTube

Snapchat

LinkedIn

Google

Keeping Up With Social Platform Changes

Transparency in Social Media

Transparency is very often talked about in the context of social media but rarely is it present in brand activity and community management. 

So what is the right level of transparency? That has been the big question lately. In the beginning of social, brands ignored the bad chatter and unwanted questions. Now that is not acceptable. There are too many ways for that message to be found. You all have been there or, at least, seen it happen.

Take a look at a service-industry brand’s Twitter feed. It is nauseating how many times they say “sorry.” But that doesn’t correct the problem or make the consumer feel better.

True transparency is telling them exactly what happened and then working towards a solution that works for both sides. Rarely will you get perfection but most every time you will get respect. Respect of the consumer as a person is the critical concept here. The consumer understands that perfection is not an option. They want to be heard and feel they are important enough to engage in conversation. Also, consider the idea that if one person has this problem odds are that hundreds of others have too. You addressing it with them shows the others you are a responsive and “human” brand. This, over time, creates advocates that will come to your defense in the social world.

Brands too often act as if they are perfect. We know this is never the case. They are assembled with humans and in that humans trying to impress their boss and make everything seem perfect. So for them to suggest guilt or fault is tough.

There are brands who use transparency as a core value. One of them is Zappos.com. The concept comes easy to them. Company culture facilitates honesty and human relationships. They are a customer-service brand that happens to sell shoes and apparel. If you are ever in Downtown Las Vegas you need to take the cultural tour. I say it’s worth planning a trip specifically for it if you are a manager of people or a brand.

At the end of my rant I am not suggesting we can all be 100% transparent right now. There are business situations where this will not be possible. However, small steps now can lead to that potential catastrophe being dealt with in a different way a year or 2 from now. And those small steps without a doubt will build customer loyalty now.

Transparency in Social Media