When I wake up every morning, the first thing I do, after silencing the annoying alarm, is check my phone and go on social media. I’m definitely not the only one, a study from 2013 showed that 79% of people aged 18-44 years old did the exact same thing.
Social media is part of our everyday life, not only is it the first thing we say “hello” to in the morning, it is also the last thing we say “goodnight” to. It has become a key tool to announce anything from engagements and births to which foods are currently being consumed.
It is therefore not surprising that, as consumers, we would choose to engage with brands and public figures through this medium. We may use this to complain, give praise or raise concern, because we have finally been given a platform where we can have our voice heard without being put on hold while we are forced to endure some awful music, and dammit we are going to use it!
What does come as a surprise though, are all the social media faux-pas committed by numerous businesses and public figures.
A perfect example of how not to handle social media is the recent backlash against NSW Premier Mike Baird regarding his Facebook post to defend Sydney’s lock-out laws. Whether you are a supporter of the MP and agree with his views and statistics, or you heavily oppose him and find his statistics to be over-inflated, I think we can all agree that he could improve the way he managed the social media backlash against him. The biggest mistake anyone can make is deleting comments because they do not support your views. Social media is a way to engage with people and try to promote healthy debate. When a business or individual deletes posts, this, more often than not, irate the consumer a lot more than the original misstep.
How this should’ve been handled
First and foremost, unless the post is incredibly offensive, you should not delete a comment. EVER. Instead, you acknowledge the complaint/opposing view, and either offer a solution or politely explain your point of view. Or you can always go to plan D and simply ignore the comments. But you never, ever delete.
The most surprising part is, this is not the first time this has happened. Time and time again we see organisations commit this faux pas, and yet it keeps happening. We need to start learning from other people’s mistakes.
How to use social media in your favour
In contrast, Telstra’s mobile services recently crashed, customers could not send nor receive calls or texts and internet mobile services were also down. Telstra utilised the power of social media to keep its consumers informed and reply to any concerns. A variety of memes and mockery trended on social media, which Telstra embraced so much they even had a dig at it themselves. In the end, they announced it was a human error from one of their engineers, which consumers quickly jumped to defend to ensure they would keep their job. There was no backlash from this, if anything, Telstra got a lot of free positive publicity from this one.
What is the difference between both situations? Telstra being a big company has seen the benefit of investing in social media strategies. More often than not, organisations think they can handle the social media themselves and manage a crisis if and when it comes along. The misconception towards a social media strategy is always “How hard can it be? I post my photos on Instagram every day, I know how to hashtag and I constantly share on social media. Surely I can do it myself!”
A social media strategy is not just about what content you should be posting. It is a big document outlining the Do’s and Don’ts of what to post; which tone of voice you should be using; how to improve your brand’s public perception and equity; and most importantly, what to do in case of a crisis. Agencies like Adelphi Digital use their expertise, research and understanding of your audience to ensure that you can get the most out of social media and thrive in this digital world. You wouldn’t sew your own wound just because you know how to sew a dress, you would go to a professional that will ensure you get the best care possible to avoid losing a limb, so why not do the same with your digital strategies and let us take care of you?