This week’s post is from Sydney Graduate, Erin Stace, who writes of her experiences managing social media for clients and learning to engage with a passionate consumer base. During her time in the programme, Erin has rotated through Clemenger BBDO Sydney as well as Porter Novelli Sydney.
Having just spent 3 months working at Porter Novelli (Clemenger Group’s public relations agency), I have worked on a number of social media strategies and have been responsible for managing one of our brand’s social media pages. It has definitely been a learning curve and below is… well, a bit of a rant really.
In an ideal yet naïve world, social media gives brands the opportunity to interact with their consumers, to engage in conversations and share a common opinion or ‘like’ for a brand. However, working on the community management of a client’s Twitter and Facebook page has taught me that opinion and ‘like’ aren’t necessarily linked.
In reality, social media provides consumers with a public forum to express their opinions of the brand, both positive and negative – but mostly negative.
It’s not that consumers never thought negatively about a brand before the Internet, but these brand conversations occurred in the private sphere. Say you had a bad experience with a brand, you might tell your closest five friends or perhaps send a strongly worded letter to their head office. But with social media at the click of a button you tell this story to all 500 of your closest friends, then share the post on the brands Facebook page for all 400,000 brand ‘likers’ to read as well.
Don’t get me wrong there are still a significant number of positive comments in the brand space and these are the posts that solidify our position in social media. However, it’s the human truth that ‘dislike’ provides a stronger motivator than ‘like’ which drives so much negative feedback.
But if we encourage consumers to share their opinions we have to be in a position to deal with it and this is where the challenge lies. The hardest part is that there is no definitive answer, no correct response. It’s simply about taking each opinion as it comes and hopefully not pissing off too many people in the process.
So for those of you that will be entering the ever changing world of branded social media I leave you with this advice. Relish those positive opinions, the ones that put a smile on your face, because they make it all worthwhile.
The best of luck to everyone with their applications!