140 characters too many

7John Oliver nails it (again) with a scathing attack on corporations who consistently insist on appearing on their social media profiles to comment on matters that are at best left unmentioned in the course of day to day business.

What triggered the discourse this time around, was DiGiorno Pizza’s use of the domestic abuse tagline #WhyIStayed that popped up in relation to the recent domestic abuse scandal that rocked the NFL. Without properly understanding use of the trending hashtag, some social media intern likely got a bit too keen to jump on the trending bandwagon to position the frozen pizza brand and boom – a social media travesty (again!)

To be honest, as social media managers ourselves, the whole industry is overwrought with gurus, tips, tricks and inflated price tags when the same rules that have led to successful business are the same rules that should apply to social media. In short, with business, business communication and social media:

  • Be Honest
  • Be Fair and Smart
  • Be Conversational
  • Be Transparent
  • Be Consistent
  • Create Avenues for Two-Way Communication and
  • Follow-up on ALL concerns, queries, comments or complaints.

Finally, stay off the trending platforms unless its an exact and perfect fit. It is ok to be conversational in tone and even to be funny – but whenever we are asked to create ‘memes’ for clients, we know right away that we’re in for a long new learning curve on showing what works and what doesn’t on social media. Jumping onto to a social media bandwagon, especially with regard to hashtags, can sometimes do more harm than good.

As John Oliver points out, Twitter and some Facebook Pages are a bit like cocktail parties, where people are talking about the things that are important to them. Hopping in to hawk your wares using their conversation is exactly a hijacking of the conversation and can result in negative sentiments about your brand. If you need to say something, then we encourage making use of the brand ambassadors that are real people in your organisation (hint: employees!) Have them approach the topic and weigh in constructively as real people.

And marketers, we know that your brand may require all your attention everyday, keep you up late at night with worry over growth and development and that it may consume all of your finances, but at the end of the day, your ‘work-baby’ isn’t actually a real baby, or real person.

Sometimes being silent on social media as a brand may just be the right thing to do. Or not do, as the case may be.

See the full John Oliver rant here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG_7xur1iRc
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