The rise of social media brought a lot of changes to organizations’ PR practices and presented new risks for their reputation. Recent scandals raised by employees’ misuse of social media show the importance of having a proper social media policy in place.
Here are some of the social media misuse stories:
- HMV Twitter criticizes Head Office
“We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired!Exciting!!”
After the announcement about staff reduction, rogue employees took over the company’s Twitter account. Read the whole story.
- Governor and an earthworm
“that’s an original way to show that the lettuce leaf is fresh”
Russian regional governor Dmitry Zelenin discovered a live earthworm in a salad he’d been served at a Kremlin state dinner and tweeted about it. Read the whole story.
- Domino’s Pizza on YouTube
A pair of employees filmed themselves doing various disgusting things to Domino’s sandwiches before serving them and posted this video on YouTube. Learn more about it.
“Folk recipe: If you draw the word ‘Sberbank’ on a wall, a queue of 30 old retired women will turn up. Ever tried? Does it work?”
PR manager of largest Russian bank published a joke about queues of elderly citizens (frequent in many offices of the bank) using corporate Twitter account. Read the whole story.
It was quite difficult to choose the cases for this post as in reality there are a lot of good social media campaigns, and we can learn from all of them.
However, the ones presented in this post are exceptional, pioneering or one of a kind. They push the boundaries of traditional social media marketing.
They say, forewarned is forearmed, so I created this list in order to show a variety of situations brands may encounter when communicating in Social Media. In this post you will also find some useful advices for corporate social media management.
Wise men learn by other men’s mistakes, fools by their own.
– H.G. Brown
- ‘Dell Hell
Posted in CC, Epic fail, social media
- Tagged American Airlines, Corporate communication, Dell, fail, greenpeace, honda, Kenneth Cole, McDonalds, nestle, siemens, Susan Boyle, united airlines, Volkswagen
It can be tricky to start with social media activities in B2B companies if the traditional communication strategies work fine, and also taking into consideration the specifics of communication in this environment mentioned in my previous post. You will have to overcome the management skepticism and prepare yourself for a challenging strategic planning.
At the same time, even though you can be very positive about this channel of communication, you should not drop all the existing communication activities in favor of social media, no matter how attractive this may seem to you.
Image Credit: Cakehead Loves (cc)
If you are only in the beginning of your social media path, here are the 4 simple ways for B2B companies to start with Social Media:
(source: Jeffrey L. Cohen “4 Ways to Integrate B2B Social Media into Marketing Plans”)
- Create a Social Website
A B2B website is the most likely destination for the prospects and customers with any campaign. A call-to-action from any source drives a visitor to the website for more information, to download a white paper or ebook, or even to contact a sales rep. The first thing you need to make sure is that your website supports the marketing campaign. Whether you have a landing page for the specific offer, or just a clear path from the home page, make sure they can find what they are looking for. Making your website social includes providing other remarkable content, usually on a blog, allowing visitors to share and spread your content, and links to your social profiles, along with what visitors can expect when they follow or like your company.
Business-to-business and business-to-customer communication strategies are different. Some say that communication is communication and whether you are targeting with your communication end consumers or business decision makers, you are still simply communicating to people, and that’s it.
However, people buying a product for personal use vs. purchasing for their company are very different types of customer. The purchase motivation is different and they need different information in order to make the decision to buy. Using customer-focused strategies in B2B environment will make the company lose money, and in the worst case, – lose customers.
Image credit: B2B Marketing
Laura Lake writes: “when you market to a B2B you will realize these businesses work hard to streamline the buying process in order to save time and money. This often explains why a B2B purchase is based more on logic and why a consumer’s purchase is based more on emotion.”
As I mentioned here, external communication helps companies to connect with stakeholders outside of the organization. Companies transmit messages in order to influence external stakeholder’s opinions about a brand and its products or services. What is important, they use a different communication strategy for B2C (communication with retail customers) compared to B2B customers (communication with other businesses).
Main characteristics of B2C marketing are:
(source: Debra Murphy “Marketing for B2B vs. B2C – Similar but Different”)
- Product driven
- Maximize the value of the transaction
- Large target market
- Single step buying process, shorter sales cycle
- Brand identity created through repetition and imagery
- Merchandising and point of purchase activities
- Emotional buying decision based on status, desire, or price
Here is the quick overview of the current situation with social media which will help us to understand the ongoing shift in corporate communication strategies better.
Internal communication is the function responsible for effective communication or trade among participants within an organization (source: Wikipedia).
Lee Hopkins in his blog define internal communication as “a subset of effective business communication, which is built around this simple foundation: communication is a dialogue, not a monologue… Internal Communication, in a business context, is the dialogic process between employees and employer, and employees and employees.” (Source: Lee Hopkins “What is Internal Communication”)
Principles of internal communication in B2B and B2C environment are pretty the same; the complexity of the topic is the only difference. B2C companies are building both on their brand and the image of their products, while B2B companies are more about their brand and reputation (compare the hotness of such communication topics as steam turbine service vs. super car service).
photo credit: Krishna De (cc)
Companies сan be divided by the nature of their business and selling process into business-to-business (usually called B2B) companies, which provide products and services to other companies, and business-to-customer (B2C) companies, which deal with the end users.
A corporate communicator should always keep in mind the nature and specifics of company’s business as the B2B corporate communications’ approaches could be very different from the B2C’s, especially taking into consideration Social Media, which corporate use is in the focus of my research. For example, looking at the lead generation in B2B and B2C, it is clear that different approach to communication strategies should be used in each case, depending on the business’ specifics.
Corporate communication is the set of activities involved in managing and orchestrating all internal and external communications aimed at creating favorable point-of-view among stakeholders on which the company depends. The concept of corporate communication could be seen as an integrative communication structure linking stakeholders to the organization (source: Wikipedia).
“We used to be the tail on the dog, but now, communication is the organizing principle behind many business decisions.”
Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman
The concept of stakeholders is central for corporate communication. One of the tasks of corporate communication is to deliver to different stakeholders the messages that reflect the same corporate identity (image, values, reputation, etc.) in order to ensure the consistent perception of the company among all these various groups.