Understatement of the day:
Social Media Is A Powerful Thing.
Businesses that utilize social media tools for web marketing strategies have the chance to present their products or services to millions upon millions of potential customers. The sheer visibility offered by social media services like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest is too tempting for any enterprising businessperson or marketing professional to pass up.
But social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it connects entrepreneurs to new business it also exposes them to endless scrutiny of the masses on the web. Any slip up or poorly planned web marketing push through social media outlets could have terrible repercussions. It isn’t pretty when you’re villainized by the web.
Here are a few words of industry wisdom that might help you navigate the hazards of social media usage. Consider them with care!
Vulnerability: the problem with web marketing
There’s a certain risk involved in any type of marketing. When you’re trying to sell a product or a service to someone, there’s always the chance that you could expose yourself to criticism or inadvertently misrepresent your brand. Those challenges are amplified a hundred times over when using social media tools, because the public can directly and immediately challenge, ridicule, warp, and refute just about anything that you post. That’s why you have to play it smart if you want to succeed in the realm of social media.
Exercise caution with crowd sourcing
Certain social media-related web marketing strategies rely on crowd sourcing in order to get people involved with the campaign. A company might ask for customer feedback on Twitter, or maybe they’ll ask for entrants in a company-sponsored contest to win a big prize. But be warned, reader:
The popular soft drink Mountain Dew learned this lesson the hard way just last month. They launched a social media marketing campaign using crowd sourcing to give the soft drink a new name. Users were asked to submit potential names for the soft drink, with the most popular one winning the contest. The results were a disaster, as the naming pool was hijacked by some mischievous pranksters forcing the entire campaign to be shut down.
Anticipate detours and sudden developments
We can all learn something from what happened to Mountain Dew and other companies who failed to see the potential pitfalls of their viral web marketing campaigns. Mountain Dew caters to a young audience, many of whom spend a good deal of time on the internet. The company was just asking for trouble when they proposed users rename the soda—their move was equivalent to a grade school teacher handing the chalk to their kids and expecting them to teach the class maturely and respectfully.
You have to know your audience before you basically give them the keys to your company’s social media campaign. For example, you might want to avoid a crowd sourcing initiative asking for customer feedback if your company has a reputation for bad service and subpar production (even if it’s necessarily not true). Remember the instant PR mess that McDonald’s had on their hands when they took to Twitter for customer feedback?
Here’s a taste of what happened:
“one time I walked into McDonald’s and I could smell Type 2 Diabetes floating in the air and I threw up #McDstories“
— tahrir r. (@tahrir_love) September 7, 2012
So PETA and McDonalds got into it today on Twitter. I was surprised. I didn’t know there was actual meat at McDonalds. #McDStories
— John Garrett (@johngarrettX) January 23, 2012
Went to Mcdonalds and ordered a cheeseburger. They put the cheese on there, but forgot the burger. #mcfail
— Desiderio A Arnaz (@DesiderioAArnaz) September 10, 2012
— Alejandro Mateo (@alemateo87) September 4, 2012
For the non-spanish audience that last one is something like: McDonald’s sweeps the net after social failure.
Roll with the punches
Awareness is the key to success in the social media. Sure, your business’ social media blitz might get trolled from ill-meaning users, but they don’t ultimately control the narrative; you do be aware of your company’s strengths and weaknesses when you’re representing it on Twitter and Facebook, and play to the strengths.
Whenever someone knocks your company, take it in stride and move on. It goes a long way to show good humour on the web. Poking fun at your company or your product in a good-naturedly way can earn you serious brownie points in an atmosphere where humour, irony, and cheekiness drives everything.