When businesses use social media they must remember to be personal. People don’t want generic responses or posts. They want to talk to real people and get a real response. It’s similar to when you were a child and writing letters to Santa. Personally I was heartbroken when I read the return letter that felt generic and didn’t answer anything I had asked. Even at 5 years old I knew when I wasn’t talking to the REAL Santa. People need to talk to the “real” Santa.
Matthew Peneycad from PR Daily News suggests initiating dialogue. He also suggests talking to your consumers or audience on their preferred social media site. This way a company can to get to know their consumers and understand their needs and wants.
Likewise a communication plan should always include the particular social media site used and why. Not everyone uses Twitter and not everyone uses Facebook. How do you find out which to use? Simple, we learned this the first day of class (or so) ANALYTICS.
- 18-25 year olds make up the largest age group on Facebook with a 29% share of users
- 26-34 year olds make up the largest age group on Twitter with a 30% share of users
Another tip would be to include pictures of real people for the profile picture. Maybe of the person that actually responds to the audience. It’s all about humanizing the profile and company. Social media allows the small guy to be heard. When in the past email or even letters could be lost or ignored. Social media can’t be ignored. Face it.
For Public Relations professionals, social media allows them to reach audiences they wouldn’t be able to reach before. During a crisis they can react in a timely fashion. So use it. Respond to complaints, compliments and questions. No one can be ignored.
However, Nichole Kelly a writer for Social Media Explorer writes, “Social media can essentially take a PR issue and basically feed it steroids.” This means a company must keep up with their social media sites at all costs. No comment, question or concern can be left behind. Just a response puts people more at ease during a crisis.
Bottom Line: Keep it real. People should be able to rely on social media to get their voice heard in a large company. Use social media as an opportunity not a giant cliff you are determining to bungee jump off of.