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  • Paul Fennemore 12:36 on May 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , family arches, , , paul fennemore, , , , , , social networking, , , viapoint, viapoituk   

    Don’t be corporate with negative posts on social networks 

    Don’t be corporate with negative posts on social networks

    ImageToday, I was asked by an oil company, how to prevent bloggers posting inappropriate comments on their social network pages. They are worried that they cannot control what is being said about their company, This is a major challenge for them that they did not know how to manage.

    The following is my response……………………………………………

    Your company is going on a journey with social media. The issue is that organisations don’t understand what that journey entails or where the destination is going to be.

    Therefore, grounded on extensive research I have done with two leading business schools, I have developed a social media adoption framework. The purpose of the framework is to give organisations a greater understanding of what they need to do to and how to do it.  Here is a link to the framework https://viapointuk.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/its-time-for-corporates-to-stop-playing-with-social-media/

    To your point about negative feedback.  In order for social networks to flourish they have to be open, transparent and honest. This means that you will get negative comments.

    If the comments are fair, then surely you need to know about them and act on them. When you deal with valid negative comments or even wrong perceptions, it’s important not to respond in an official corporate tone. You are dealing with individuals who need to be acknowledged and handled with respect and in the case of social networks, in a conversational manner.

    As social networkers operate in a real-time and interactive ecosystem you have to be resourced to operate in this environment. Delays in responding, if required, can cause further frustration and potentially lead to a social media bushfire of negative posts.

    If the posts are unfair the others members of the online communities are likely to shout them down without you having to do anything.  So when this happens, listen to see what happens. You may well find some advocates this way who you can go onto support and nurture.

    But don’t go down the route of firms like McDonalds who is building a network of fans by gratuitously rewarding them to post positive comments under a scheme called Family Arches. This misguided strategy will surely lead to yet and another backlash for McDonalds because it undermines all the tacit rules of social networks.

    However, there are ‘Trolls’. People who are intent on making unjustified negative comments and ‘social media stalking’ companies or individuals.  These people should not be responded to as you give them credence and great satisfaction by doing so. There are online laws for these people and if they are guilty of slander and harassment they can get legally managed.

    Companies who are adopting social media need to undergo a cultural change and transition to the new paradigm where the consumers, shareholders and employees have more influence over brand or service reputation.  Trying to suppress these vocies will cause a backlash. We have seen plenty of examples of this.  Key strategies are to define your ‘tone of voice, cultural change, set out an employee code of conduct and governance guidelines and even a ‘crisis management’ procedure.

    The issue is that most companies underestimate the resources required to manage their social media operations. It calls for resources including conversation and community management and moderation and good content generation.

    If you set off playing around with social media without a plan you are likely to run into trouble. Once a company has set up social network pages without a plan, skills and resources, the company is leaving itself open to a whole range of issues.   Therefore, formulate a strategy with the appropriate budget , resources and skills and importantly ensure that your board level directors understand it and are bought into it.

    Paul Fennemore is MD of Viapoint a leading social media strategy and services provider. Paul also conducts research with Henley Business School and lectures at Henley and Oxford Brookes University. He also found presenting and on panels at business conferences.



  • Paul Fennemore 12:33 on February 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social networking   

    Meeting with HBOS today re how they tackling getting a single customer view across multiple channels. An issue that is becoming more challenging as a result of online social networks and FSO legistlation .

    Please note that you can call Viapoint a social media agency but we are so much more as social media is so much more than a platform for marketing campaigns. Just check out our blogs.

  • Paul Fennemore 16:37 on June 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: small talk, , social networking   

    A world free of conference chit-chat 

    Findings in a recent Pew Research Centre survey show that “people who use sites like Facebook actually have more close relationships and are more likely to be involved in civic and political activities”.

    According to the study of 2,255 adults, Facebook users who access the site many times a day are 43% more likely than other Internet users to trust others in personal matters. (Information courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times)

    This information is somewhat encouraging, considering the malevolent role that social networking usually plays in the media. From harming children’s brains, causing cancer, or increasing promiscuity amongst groups of friends (for more examples of weird and often incredulous stories on how social networking is ruining the lives of thousands, simply type “social networking Daily Mail” into Google), social media really hasn’t been given the best PR since MySpace launched in 2003.

    Aside from killing or maiming us in some way, social networking has also been viewed as a somewhat solitary endeavour, perhaps with an emphasis on dark lonely nights sat in front of laptops, an M&S meal for one on the coffee table.

    Considering the vast number of people committing their personal details to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and LinkedIn, surely not all users of social networks are predominantly lonely and devoid of social skills?

    Sources cited and Mashable.com

    Of course not. The way we see it, social networking is a direct extension of your real-life relationships. Meeting new people and networking is at the heart of growing a business and learning about what’s out there – why should meeting interesting people online hold any bearing on how you are perceived as a person?

    After all, networking sites, especially the likes of LinkedIn, were created with the notion that networking should be easier and cheaper. It’s 2011 – should we still be relying solely on specialised events to cater for our every mingling need?

    Social media gives you the opportunity to meet people you’re interested in meeting, reach customers and clients who want you to notice them, and enables contacts to be kept closer as a matter of course.

    If you can step over the unsubstantiated health risk claims, social networking can be very good for you. Of course nothing can ever take the place of meeting face-to-face; now you have the opportunity to meet prior to this and cut the conference small talk. And how great would the world be without small talk?

  • Paul Fennemore 15:43 on June 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , social networking, twilderness,   

    Hunting in the Twilderness 

    Free and Easy (or not)

    It’s easy to imagine that for all the coverage social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook receive, that a business would be failing its online marketing strategy by not getting totally immersed. Woah there. Not so hasty.

    Twitter accounts might be free, but that isn’t to say that it’s definitely the social networking site for you. Peer pressure from other companies might draw you in, but after registering and choosing an avatar that best captures your personality and sense of fun (but also your professionalism and endless abounding enthusiasm) there’s a gap.

    0 followers. 0 posts. 0 following. Zero is not your friend. Zero wishes you’d never started this.

    The point here is to take your time and acclimatise to this new way of communicating. Tweeting is simple, but firing off effective and engaging Tweets is a skill that takes time to hone and sharpen. You can throw as many arrows as you like, but like bow-hunting, you’ll only hit your target with a concentrated aim.

    Of course, you could swap the bow and arrow for an AK47 and mow down everything in your path, but as any soldier (or gamer for that matter) will tell you, these aren’t very accurate over long-ranges and tend to scatter wasted bullets everywhere. That’s your information and content there, scattered all over the place. Not exactly an efficient way of working, is it?

    You need a new way of working. You need a sniper (or at least a very accurately-thrown stick). Spewing out information can be damaging as well as ineffectual too – spam is never welcome, no matter what format it comes in.

    Would your company really benefit from updating all day long? Is what you want constant contact with your customers, or are you joining Twitter because you heard that you probably should? Most companies and brands can get a lot out of signing up, but deciding what you want from your Twitter account is vital. Setting one up and updating it for a week before letting it go stale is social networking suicide – likewise, setting up an account and sharing a few asinine comments about the weather or the state of the roads in your area correlates directly with follower decline.

    Think about what you need, and use the tools to make it happen. Adapt them if necessary – use twitter to broadcast your blogs; use blogger to generate content for your Facebook page; use Facebook to entice people to follow you on Twitter. It’s all there; you just have to work out what you stand to gain.

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