A Hearing Aid, Not a Megaphone: Social Media for Business
Maddie Grant is the co-author of Open Community: a little book of big ideas for associations navigating the social web. Maddie is also the lead editor of one of the most visited and respected blogs written for association executives, SocialFishing where she gets to express her viewpoint as a classic Gen-X early adopter and “shiny new toy” addict. As the chief social media strategist for SocialFish, Maddie draws from more than 10 years of experience in marketing, communications, and international business operations to help organizations large and small build capacity for using social media to achieve business results.
Maddie Grant: Motrin is a company, obviously that makes headache medicine and they had a campaign related to carrying babies in a sling, which apparently means that you have headaches or backaches or whatever. And you know mothers are a whole population of bloggers who are very active online and they were not happy with this correlation between carrying your baby in a sling and having body aches or headaches.
So, there was a whole criticizing sort of anti-Motrin campaign that happened over a weekend. But Motrin went home on Friday night and didn’t notice a thing until Monday morning when the story had gone completely viral, it was all over blogs everywhere, it was all over the internet. And they were just a classically, you know, traditionally managed company that just was not able to respond quickly, was not able to even notice all of this conversation happening and negative conversation specifically, happening around this one particular campaign, advertising campaign that they had done.
So when they came in on Monday morning, they had to scramble to figure out, you know, can we pull this campaign, you know, how do we fix this? So of course, you know, that brings in the idea of being more transparent, about being what you the company was trying to do with this campaign, about being transparent about how you are going to fix the problem now that you know that a whole segment of your consumers are not happy with something that you did.
You can’t as a company, not use social media to listen to what people are saying about you. These days, every single company has some kind of consumer base that is talking about them online. And it’s very, very important to have a presence in these social spaces where you can respond to those people where they are.
So established companies looking to start using social media need to at the very beginning figure out how to listen online because that will tell them where they need to be, which social media space they need to focus on. It might tell them what kind of person they need to hire once they get to the point where they realize that they want to add head count and actually hire for social media roles. So, you know, being able to figure out the volume of responding that needs to be done only happens after you’ve started listening.
So these are things that are at a very basic level how you would get started. And just really understanding that social media is about people, so it's about where the people are who care about your brand, who are talking about you or talking about your industry. This is the very first place to start.
Most businesses understand that social media is important, but not necessarily how to use it in their own best interests.
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