Thursday, 15 December 2016

Common Mistakes Companies Make With Messaging

Every social media user has a very clear idea of what social media means to them, and how they want to be approached by companies on social media. Most companies don‟t realize that the way they approach social media sends its own message to consumers. Here are some of the most common mistakes companies make with messaging:

Creating impersonal accounts

Users don‟t follow companies; they follow engaging people who work at companies. Unless the tool is meant specifically for companies to use (i.e.: Facebook fan pages), every account should be an actual person who has a name and a title that clearly signifies him or her as a face of the company. This person should write with a conversational tone and respond to other participants in the conversation. Automated accounts or accounts that are updated with a stream of links do not produce results.

Controlling the message

Social media is not about controlling a message. In fact, the very nature of social media is such that no one person or organization can control the message. Because social media is a medium to share information through a network, companies must realize that
 once they put the message out there, they have no control anymore. Users can choose to edit the message, inject their own opinions into the message, share the message, or ignore the message. Furthermore, companies can‟t even control where the message starts: a user can also create a message about a company without having any affiliation to them. Because of the nature of social media, companies that try to control the message will have difficulty reaping any of the benefits of the medium.

Not controlling the message

While companies should be careful about trying to exercise too much control over the message, there is also the opposite end of the spectrum to avoid. Companies often cite

“control over message” as a reason not to participate in social media, but the truth is that companies have lost control of the message whether they participate or not. This is because, as mentioned earlier, users can create a message and drive the conversation surrounding that message.

So how can companies exercise some control over a message and still reap the benefits of social media (rapid diffusion of information through people sharing messages with their networks)? The answer is that companies need to participate in the conversation. Responding to complaints and stressing the benefits and what the company does well; these are all ways for companies to control the end-consumer‟s perception of its products.

Abusing permission

Abusing permission is by far one of the worst mistakes a company can make with messaging. An example would be if a company collected emails from various blogs in a
certain niche and started sending weekly newsletters. While this seems harmless on the surface, none of these bloggers signed up for the company‟s weekly emails, and thus have not requested the information.

Abusing permission is a fast way for companies to lose credibility, damage relationships, and generally make a bad name for themselves in social media. So where do you draw the line with abusing permission? Unfortunately, this question is similar to asking where comedians draw the line with potentially offensive jokes. The truth is that different users have different levels of tolerance. Just like a comedian might experiment with messaging based on the feedback he or she is receiving from the audience, your company must experiment with the right level of communication, erring on the side of unobtrusive.
Worried about making these mistakes? As long as you follow along with this book, you can rest easy that you‟re doing everything right with social media.