One of the evident marks of our time is social media. It has challenged our definition of friends, community, transparency, corporate accountability and movements. If harnessed properly, it is a tool that can be used to mobilise masses.
Recent history, such as the UK riots, Egyptian uprisings and more, is proof enough. Social media has made leaders, brands and celebrities more accessible.
Social media per se is neither good nor bad. It can be your friend or foe.It is worth thinking about how social media can be your enemy:
Don’t Use It
In this age, any organization, brand and cause that will effectively engage and mobilize people cannot do so effectively without employing this tool. Social media can easily be your enemy if you do not use it at all.
It is not true that everyone is on social media. However, the number of people on social media is too significant it can be corporate suicide to ignore. Organizations that do not use social media at all are crippling themselves.
Overuse (Whatever That Is)
Unless social media is your main focus or work, focusing all your energy on it can work against you when it usurps time and resources you should be using to focus on other areas of productivity.
Some organizations have gone as far as blocking access to social networks from their networks. This is becoming increasingly futile as people use their phones and tablets.
If social media is not your primary focus ensure you have measures in place to protect you productivity where it matters the most.
Another self-defeating thing I’ve noticed is organizations or causes that have Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, blogs etc that they are not active.
Social media platforms can take you where your target people are and those your organization serves can easily get frustrated with you and ditch your product for the lack of interaction with them.
It may be worthwhile for you to start with something simple like a Facebook page or Twitter account. Something you must never do: not interact on any platform at all. For the platforms you are on ensure that you are active.
Your response and how quickly you respond to queries on social media platforms is fast becoming a litmus test on the quality of client service you offer.At the same time, only using your online presence to only “broadcast” messages is uncaring and insensitive.
As you attempt to inform people of your cause ensure that you are engaging people; talk to them not at them. Social media has created what I call “brand personality”.
By this I mean that people are connecting with products as if the product themselves are individuals with personality. Social media has made alive the personality of brands.
If people cannot connect with your cause on social media with your brand’s personality they may not do so where it matters most
Question: What other ways have you seen social media become work against a product, message or cause?
illustration by birgerking (cc)