Learning social media from the big boys

One of the things in business is that sometimes there is pressure to look at the ‘big’ players and learn from what they are doing.  Often, that leads to the thought that we need to be more like them.

I found this old article in my bookmarks: http://www.news.com.au/business/your-business/nine-companies-that-should-change-their-facebook-page/story-fn9evb64-1226362288431, which talked about the big businesses that shouldn’t be involved in social media.  It pointed to the fact that there are some large businesses who are using social media as another form of advertising and have totally missed its point.  As a result, they’re not engaging with their customers or communicating with them.  In some cases, they’re actually putting them off.

A couple of those instances included Telstra who, unsurprisingly, are using social media tools as another way of throwing their ads in front of people.  Telstra is one of those organisations that thinks that every contact with their customer is a chance to advertise – print, offline and online.  They seem to think that communication is only one-way traffic.

Which brings me back to the point – should we learn from big business?  The answer … of course.  But we shouldn’t just blindly follow them.  Some of the criticisms of these businesses in this article include:

  • Advertising – for example, Telstra.  Telstra uses its social media as another way to advertise to people.  The fact they’re in breach of Facebook guidelines, which might have legal ramifications, is irrelevant.  It’s more a vision of how little they understand social media.
  • Responding to posts – Red Rooster wins the gong here, for leaving a post up on their Facebook page that said, ‘what is going on with your hot chips?  I am about to give up on you for good …’
  • Posting ads – like Vodafone, who try to hide advertising in their posts.  Stop insulting people by thinking they can’t tell the difference.
  • Not being personal – Jenny Craig, come on down.  When their sponsorship of Kyle Sandilands was under question, people went to Jenny’s Facebook page to complain.  Their response?  Paste the same generic response to each complaint and asking people to send their view in by email.  Too late Jenny Craig folk.  They’ve already complained.  And now you look disinterested because you couldn’t be bothered talking to people.

So there you have it.  Four large businesses each with massive social media resources and making basic, basic mistakes.

So can we learn from the big players?  Absolutely.  Should we follow everything they do?  Absolutely not.


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