In this digital age, any company needs a strategy to monitor and respond to any Social Media actions BEFORE they snowball into a PR disaster.
On September 22nd a story broke on Facebook regarding a teenager with Down Syndrome being refused entry to a Queensland JB HiFi store as he was ‘blacklisted’.
It soon became apparent that it was a case of mistaken identity when the Security Guard produced a photo of the ‘offending’ teen who clearly only had DS in common.
When the Store Manager became involved he still refused entry, retorted “They all look the same” and promised to “never ever apologise”.
What followed was a PR disaster, with thousands of outraged consumers promising to boycott the chain on Social Media, a petition on Change.org reaching close to 40,000 signatures in 24 hours & most of the mainstream media picking up the story.
Since the story began trending there has been little response from management … a post saying that they were investigating & a statement from the CEO claiming that they ‘will learn from the incident & are reviewing customer policies’
Have to say I’m pleased with the progress of a number of ‘side-projects’ … One in particular https://www.islandbodies.com.au/ – a website I’m developing with my eldest daughter Alycia is starting to fire!
Partly, I’m sure, due to her understanding of Social Media & the need to combine all available avenues into a coordinated marketing plan.
Whilst I have tried to at least maintain a Facebook & Google + presence, engagement has not been my strong point – and that is the primary goal of developing a strong social community who follow your posts – comment, like & follow links without being PUSHED to buy at every opportunity.
Instagram is a perfect example
– whilst it appears to be a narcissistic avenue for celebrities and unknowns to post semi-nude selfies in order to achieve of loyal followers, salivating for the next glimpse of butt cheek – it is so much more!
Clever marketers are posting regular inspirational & brand related images that engage their audience – without trying to sell or pushing a ‘call to action’ at every point. Some Internet gurus would see that as missed opportunities – but every opportunity to subtly put your brand in front of prospective customers is a chance to build trust & engagement – in short a relationship that may lead to sales, referrals and a measure of goodwill down the track.
The beauty of using simple imagery is that they can be liked, shared, re-posted by your followers building subtle little paths back to your main business endeavour – your website. The push for ‘instant sales’ is non-existent … you can reference your product at times but the overall goal is brand awareness within your target audience.
Of course you cannot discount the Social giant that is Facebook – in one way or another you MUST have a presence.
For most businesses this can be a simple page that lists the various events & milestones in your business life which, hopefully, your customers, business associates and anyone who stumbles across it will like – building another customer community that you can interact with to build a relationship.
The BIG question with Facebook is whether to take part in any of the marketing ‘opportunities’ that, as a business owner, you are bombarded with?
My initial thoughts are to ‘tread carefully’ – for most people Facebook is a fun activity and most are not looking for unsolicited posts & sponsored posts to appear in their timeline – Facebook offers the ability to block posts from individuals, so if you come on too heavy, you may be blocked before you can develop that important relationship.
Lots of pictures, links to items of interest to your target audience, the occasional product mention is my recommended tactic.
Then there is Twitter, Pininterest, Linked In, Google + & an endless list of start-up, has been & yet to come Social Hangouts … I’ll leave that to Alycia – Once she finishes exams for her Marketing & Business Management degrees I expect there will be concentrated movement on all fronts!