Energizer was practically launched by the Energizer Bunny spots. In between the Little Caesar’s guy, kooky VW ads and the Energizer Bunny, it really seemed that advertising could polish up anything. Try doing that in any of the other communications with the common AA battery and you might find some resistance.
Lots of companies resist social media forums like Twitter for the reason that they don’t think what they sell can be interesting enough to people gathered around the virtual water cooler. And I’m going to say something that may shock some: they’re often probably right.
Consumer products are an easy win on social media. A little more difficult, but still killer, are entrepreneurial informational products and tools. Then comes the rest of the unwashed hordes. Don’t get me wrong, we need big companies in every industry to be on social media. We even need politicians to be on social media (as unseemly as it is to see the House majority leader tweeting his grumblings during the state of the union address). But batteries…batteries will never be sexy, will never be interesting, will never be worth much of a conversation.
It takes complexity to make a conversation. It takes consequences. Batteries and Drano just don’t have what it takes to provide that complexity.
So what is an advantageous reason to employ social media as a company? Well, the communications function most crucially–namely public relations. Even if your product isn’t sexy enough to talk about, chances are your company IS…to someone. An IPO has obvious reasons to employ social media to help get out their company updates for stock holders. Company news for an IPO always has something to talk about. Whether or not to make a conversation out of it isn’t actually an option usually.
Crisis management via social media means countering disinformation that can serve the best interest of your company. Failing to do so in a timely manner can ouch if the attack comes from an influential or respectable source. Often it does not. But if the critique comes from a typical customer of your company, or from someone who could register with political opposition and be used as fuel for a meme, then again it pays to treat every grumble with some polite deference and a reasoned degree of response.
If you’re not sure about where social media fits into your organization’s priorities, it may be wise to research thoroughly before jumping in. Using tools to search for brand mentions and to gauge popular opinion expressed on social media is a good first step.
It’s not true that every company belongs on Twitter or should maintain a Facebook fan page. It is true, however, that social media affects most companies and entrepreneurs in the new economy going forward. Small is the new big. Way big. So strap on your social media crash helmets and be cautious what and how you tweet in an official role. What resonates in the mind of the popular psyche is what will be remembered best.
Mark Brimm is Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Marcana.com and is author of AdWords University: The Complete Guide to AdWords and other previous related books on search marketing. He is currently working on a forthcoming book on social media strategy.
Mark consults on SEO & SEM, general web marketing and social media at Interface Communications Group where he is Partner and Director of Digital Marketing. Some of his specialties include SEO (search engine optimization), social media optimization (SMO), as well as PR campaign concepts, marketing plans and general web marketing related project management.