04 Jul 2011 3 top corporate social networking mistakes
You get social media – I can tell because you’re using it now. And for those professional people who still don’t get it, they need to catch up soon. Now that Google has entered the fray with Google+, even the die hard cynics are going to realize it’s importance. But knowing it’s important doesn’t mean you understand it and not understanding social media in the corporate world can lead to anything from embarrassment to disaster.
So what are the worst mistakes you can make with corporate social media? We’ve compiled a short list based on real mistakes that real corporates are making today.
1. Confusing your brand with tittle tattle about yourself
This doesn’t just apply to small businesses in fact for smaller businesses, letting your customers in by letting them know the real people behind it gives your business a personality. It can be a good thing – if you do it right. But do it wrong and at best you’ll appear a little silly – at worst, your brand could go up in smoke.
Decide what your social media strategy is going to achieve from a brand perspective and establish your social media persona. Is it the big corporate image or do you want to reveal the human side of your team. Then stay in character.
Remember, no-one gives a fig about what IBM’s favourite ’70s rock band was. (I use the word ‘fig’ advisedly.)
I have my favourite brand of toothpaste but to say I’m a ‘fan’ is over stating it somewhat. Lady Gaga has fans. Toothpaste doesn’t. So why do consumer goods manufacturers set up facebook fan pages? Seriously – what’s the point? I’m seeing it everywhere I go. A saw a bill board the other day advertising dog food asking me to become a fan on facebook. What will my family and friends think if I did – “Pete likes dog food”.
Not understanding it but feeling that you can’t afford not to do something is not a good place to be in. The clues are there. When you can see that your only fans are your staff and their mums, you know that the marketing message isn’t getting through.
3. Be careful what you tweet – especially when animals are involved
One man’s tweet is another man’s twoison and declaring or even implying support of one side or other of an argument can be very dangerous.
According to various reports earlier this year, Bob Parsons, CEO of Godaddy.com fell foul this social media rule when he post video footage of himself killing an elephant. Although he apparently presented a robust defence of his actions explaining that he was doing a great service to impoverished villages whose crops, livelihoods and very existence were threatened by these animals, standing over the dead beast with a grin on his face looking like a Victorian game hunter, as it was reported, didn’t do him any favours.
Just to be safe, keep religion, politics and killing animals in the wild off limits.
It’s easy to criticise so soon we’ll be looking at things in a more positive way and posting some top tips for corporate social media.