Wednesday, February 24, 2010

7 Sins of Social Media

Reflecting on some recent social media issues highlighted in the press and from a recent focus group I attended, I thought I would set out the seven sins of social media. These are mainly reflecting on legally compliant activities but those which are sinful when committed by service company's on the real time wed. Such activities are linked to serious legal and brand risks.

Wrath - Do not send a sarcastic or dismissive reply if your brand is attacked through derogatory comments made via a social media platform. Take a considered and managed response - do not inflame a situation in public. You might be surprised that your brand advocates will come to your defence.

Sloth - replying slowly to service complaints sent via the social web is a sin. The immediacy of the interaction is causing a shift in consumer expectations. Even a quick "we will look into that for you" is better than nothing.

Pride - never so apt was the saying "pride comes before a fall" with social media. I have seen many businesses become over confident (or oblivious to the risks) that they stop thinking sensibly when they have a small success. This can often set up a brand for a fall so thinking objectively and keeping to structure plans and policies is key.

Lust - hard selling or lusting after people's business via social media is for many unwelcome and against the ethos of web 2.0. Focused advertising may be the price we pay for free services but any hard sales push is likely to lose a brand some followers or fans.

Envy - treating other brands in the way you would like your brand to be treated. Do not have brand envy, or at least not in a public arena.

Gluttony - Having as many contacts and friends may seem like a good idea but there can be friend gluttony. I have heard a story of a businessman that was called up by a journalist as he was a 'friend' of someone via facebook who had been arrested for a pretty serious crime. The 'friend' was only a vague acquaintance also from the business community.

Greed - don't get greedy and try to monetise an offering or services too early. There will simply be no adoption. The real time web is all about participation and collaboration and is almost anti greed.

In addition to avoiding these sins I would add to two tips:

1) Don't have conversations or Tweet when a client is expecting a deliverable from you.

2) Don't Tweet about your clients without them knowing about it. They are likely to be trending their brand and will pick up on it.

Avoiding these sins is relatively straight forward and one of the key pointers is to consider the real time web, and in particular social media, as a customer relationship tool rather than a marketing or business development tool. (Thanks to Olivier Blanchard aka the brandbuilder for that one).

For me, Proper Platform Etiquette (PPE) training and guidelines are as important as awareness of some of the legal implications for businesses and employees.

Although, a recent survey by leading e-moderator, Tempero, showed that 81% of organisations rate their knowledge of social media marketing law as limited or non-existent

What a knowledge gap!