Social media have all of the attributes and faults of a teenager. Like teenagers, social media are testing our patience and resolve, as any parent of a teenager will attest.
You now sit at the crossroads, in which you must admit that what you perceived as a shiny and new communication tool 10 years ago is now possibly the bane of your existence.
Experts came from all corners of the earth telling you that social media would allow you to engage with customers and employees. You were asking your stakeholders to “join the conversation,” and “be heard.” Admit it. Aren’t there days when you wish you could just tell the many voices on social media to just shut the heck up?
Organizations that adopted social media for only sales and marketing, and not for strategic communication, were foolish. Why? Well, when something goes wrong, where do people go to complain? They go to social media. If your social media channels are filled with marketing, then no one on the strategic communication side of the organization has a means to listen and engage.
While organizations were focused on social media as a selling tool, they failed to recognize it as their primary “un-selling” tool. When a customer has a complaint, they vent and rant on social media, where other customers get to see that complaint, and then share their own bad experiences. When a crisis happens, big or small, social media amplify that crisis. Communicators must be prepared to rapidly respond to the crisis. Yet in responding to the crisis, you must use expert judgment to determine if responding on social media will quell the crisis, or if it is more akin to pouring gasoline on the crisis.
At the social media crossroads,...
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