Brands must practice “social” media, not “anti-social” media
By Matthew Bishop, Social Media Director for Y&R ANZ
The capacity to conduct two-way communication between a brand and its audience is what differentiates social media from (nearly) all other channels. Despite this, many brands are turning social media into anti-social media.
It wasn’t long ago that marketers solely relied on surveys and focus groups to get insights into their customers’ needs, wants, and pain points. All that changed with the advent of social media, and with it an open forum for brands to communicate directly with their target audience.
You’d think that collectively, marketers would try to nurture and protect this sacred space from the cannibalisation that every new channel is subjected to. Evidently not.
As I thumb through my social feeds every morning, I can’t help but roll my eyes at all the brands churning out content that makes no effort to interact with the viewer whatsoever. As marketers, we have a plethora of channels to push one-way messages out to our intended audiences; social media shouldn’t be one of them.
Not all the blame should be placed on the offending brands or marketers either. I constantly read articles from reputable sources that coax marketers into posting two times per day on Facebook, and scarier still 15 tweets per day on Twitter – that’s over 5,000 tweets per year! In an effort to reach these levels, marketers are resorting to curating and reposting anything that remotely relates to their brand or industry, with little regard to whether it benefits their followers.
But posting frequently is being “social” isn’t it? It depends on your definition of “social” but posting for the sake of posting actually hurts brands on two fronts: (1) subconsciously, followers are less likely to take notice of a brand’s future posts if they find they’re not getting any value; and (2) the algorithms that govern what is displayed in our feeds are becoming less and less likely to deliver unengaging content, even to a brand’s followers.
It’s a bit like how society handles loud narcissistic personalities: after a while people stop paying attention to them.
Renowned social psychology author Kathleen Stassen Berger defines anti-social behaviour as “actions that harm or lack consideration for the well-being of others”.
By applying this definition to a brand’s social media actions, deciding what content to post (and more importantly what not to post) should be a pretty straight-forward task: always consider the audience’s interests and well-being. In other words, don’t post outdated or unrelated content, don’t post content that is boring and doesn’t merit interaction, and definitely don’t post potentially offensive content.
Brands should attempt to respond to as many DMs, mentions, and comments as possible (and in a timely manner). If someone goes to the trouble of asking a question or providing feedback, there is an expectation that they will receive a response.
If a brand doesn’t respond or responds poorly (and therefore doesn’t consider the interests and well-being of the individual), they risk losing an existing or potential customer.
On the flipside, a considered response could turn a brand detractor into a brand promoter, as well as encouraging further communication. After all, DMs, mentions, and comments are indeed customer touchpoints and should be treated as such.
Don’t be anti-social; make sure your social posts consider your followers first and foremost.