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People are getting social, brands aren’t

August 13, 2010

There’s a reluctance amongst brands to ‘engage’ in social media. The reluctance comes from the concept of control.

“We’re not entirely sure we want to open up to all our customers.”

They say.

“Because they might say something bad.”

This is a solid objective. No brand wants to open themselves up to negative commentary.

But here’s the thing: if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re aware that I think people like to share. And they don’t need a brand’s permission to share the bad things. In real life, when we have a bad experience with a brand, we tell a lot of people.

People are sharing and will share on websites that they might even think are a brands.

No matter where you look these days, there’s an article about the new ability to communicate with brands. It used to be that if you had a bad experience, you sent a letter or called a 1-800 number.

Now, people can post on Twitter that they had a bad experience. Even better, they can post on a blog. I once wrote about Dell on this blog and had someone from Dell comment. I also write about Acura (a car I owned), and had someone comment.

It doesn’t always happen, but it happens.

Because the digital world is starting to feel like just part of the brand. Consider the Facebook Group.  This is a page/website/site/landing page for a brand that often isn’t started by them. It will have their logo, and it will appear that people are talking on behalf of the brand. But they aren’t. Facebook Groups can be started by anyone about anything.

So can Ning pages. Blogs. BPGlobalPR Twitter accounts.

The line that consumers make between a brand website and the brand’s social media presence isn’t as split as some people want it to be. In the consumer’s head, they are all part of the brand.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2010 8:24 pm

    You are so right Matt.

    I once told a room full of trailer park owners that they could use social media to build an online community for their residents, and they were SO scared by that idea. They said it would be like handing their residents picket signs. I had to tell them gently that their residents could easily make their own picket signs, and would. If the owners did not host the forum for conversations themselves, it would happen on its own, guaranteed.

    Many companies don’t understand that by giving people a place to vent, they will instantly relieve a large percentage of their customers’ frustration. People do want to share, and when you let them, they start to become less outraged. You might even be able to turn your picketing mob into loyal brand ambassadors.

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