Have you left a five-year-old kid in charge of your social media campaign?BY WAYNE CHIA
With a growth rate of over 80% in 2011, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube are now the new world’s marketing giants. Singapore is one of the most “evolved” social media markets around the world, according to market research firm Firefly Milward Brown.
Today, with an audience of 1.2 billion social media users worldwide, it seems rather obvious that businesses, local or global should choose their posts and ‘tweets’ carefully. However, surveys still show that many companies continue to belittle the effects of social media echo on everything that is being posted online. The ‘my five-year-old niece could run my fan page’ belief can cost companies more than temporary stain on their image.
"In 10 years, over 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies will no longer be here.(...) Companies are disappearing because they fail to adapt", says Carlos Dominguez, technology evangelist at Cisco, when explaining the impact of social media and new technologies on world economies.
One does not have to look far to find consequences of badly managed Social Media campaigns: The Internet is full of dissatisfied customer comments, and brands ignore their fans on their own pages, either failing to address their concerns or simply shut down inconvenient threats that will just resurface in other areas.
Understanding its importance in business, but driven by cost savings, many businesses delegate their social media management to interns or part-time employees, and try to ignore the fact that they possess a sheer lack of professional maturity in handling online crisis.
"They don’t seem to take care of their existing customer. Why do I bother being loyal?", said an ignored fan in a Facebook page of a major telecommunications firm in Singapore. In the same fan page, we found another comment stating, "It’s just mind-boggling to me, that businesses would treat their customer base like they’re unworthy to be spoken to. And honestly, having a rude social media presence is worse than not having one at all.”
Poorly handled social media can directly cause loss of loyal consumers. Taking into account that the cost of acquiring a new client is six times higher than the cost of selling additional products to an existing one, hiring these “social media five-year-olds” could turn-out to be a more expensive move than gaining professional help.
Social media makes messages go viral, whether good or bad. Considering the wide scope of audiences that could potentially read and be influenced by these messages, it is no wonder that social media expert Techsailor Group advises businesses that it is better for them not to have a social media presence at all, instead of having a bad one.
“There are so many opportunities that a business could tap on with social media, that includes gaining new product ideas and developing mobile sales channels. We advise businesses to plan their social media strategy based on where they currently are in their product lifecycle and to develop appropriate action plans to implement them. Businesses should not have a social media presence just because their competitors have one. It must be clearly thought out to be effective.” says Juliet Low, Director of Techsailor Group.
Adapted from Leon (C.K.) Leong's presentation for SoLoMo Thursday - "Bad Social Media Management & How You Can Avoid It". Leon (C.K.) Leong, Business Relations Director, Techsailor Group" under Wayne Chia, Business Development Director, Techsailor Group