There is a fine line between engaging a consumer and spamming him or her. Many brands seem to be jumping onto the bandwagon of social media without truly understanding its purpose, and not only is it highly obnoxious for the people regularly using these platforms, but the companies are losing potential customers due to their lack of understanding. Social media is first and foremost a method of immediate communication between two or more human beings without the traditional limitations of distance.
As a student of Public Relations I understand the importance of utilizing these tools to promote an organization’s desired image. In no way am I advising companies to disconnect from those platforms, but they should have more respect.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this up-and-coming generation is beginning to live out the majority of its social interactions online.
So think of it this way: when an organization distributes strictly (or even, mostly) informational, promotional, and unresponsive content online, it’s the equivalent of running up to a group of people on the street or at a party, interrupting their conversation and yelling “Hey! Stop talking to your friends! Did you know that I’m amazing? Look at this article about how great I am!”
The group might stare at you for a second, one or two might even look at the article you handed them, but then they’ll turn away from the rude, crazy person who interrupted them and go back to their business.
This is fine every once and a while, but imagine this happens several times over the same week…day…hours? That group of people will soon try to get as far away from that crazy person as possible, and tell all of their friends to avoid you if they can.
When people bother to find your company on Facebook, or Twitter etc… they’re agreeing to try you out as a friend (or at least someone to interact with on a daily basis). So whether their search was due to the fact that they already love your brand or they have an issue they want resolved, it is crucial that the organization proceed with caution. Start conversations; come up with something interesting to contribute to existing conversations; be a little more human.
Too often I’ll “follow” a brand on Twitter, or “like” a company on Facebook, and their content will be nothing but advertising. They never tweet at people, they barely ask engaging questions, and worst of all, they ignore or delete any complaints or concerns their accounts receive.
I understand that it’s unpleasant to deal with angry people, but if I were the owner of a company I’d want to get as many bugs out of my system as possible. Any weakness I have is strength for my competition. And here are people giving you the exact problem they’re having with your company, and giving you a chance to fix it, change their mind, and keep their loyalty.
My question to those companies is: What is the point of even having social media if you choose to completely ignore the social aspect?
Companies need to learn how to connect with the fan base they have in this new world we’re starting to live in. Consider this: if you don’t, your competitors will.