Corporate Lessons to be learned from Social Media

I’m indebted to Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group for the supporting material. His recent post Social Media Crises On Rise: Be Prepared by Climbing the Social Business Hierarchy of Needs shows that crises brought about by the pervasive nature of social media is increasing. There’s a nice chart to show this.

His report links to a list of the events involved.  There are some howlers in there, so beware what you do if you live in corporate life!

  1. GoDaddy CEO gets trampled by the (social media) crowd after killing an elephant (my take…”boasting” while in the public eye – beware of the effect on your brand)
  2. CookSource steals a recipe (…plagiarism – just because you can doesn’t mean you should)
  3. Apple removes iPhone problems from community forums (…I’ll deny it and hope it goes away)
  4. Nestl√© gets corporate on FaceBook (…how to make friends and influence people – not!)

Online, social media users look for transparency and authenticity [stage whisper “actually offline customers like this, too”]. Companies that can deliver this will do well, and be popular.

Being popular comes in two flavours:

  • On-the-outside popular – shortlived, the moment something goes wrong you really find out who your friends are. Based on portrayed values, this amounts to sugar coating.
  • From-within popular – enduring, because it’s not just a veneer, and forgivable, because everyone makes a mistake at some point, don’t they? Based on held values, the goodness oozes out.

Everything has to be aligned, starting from the core with held values and working out through attitudes and behaviour to the “full display”. In the past, full display was controllable and, through PR, different light effects used, making even the most ugly company look somewhat attractive.

When social media reveals, it’s warts and all. We can see that manipulation doesn’t work too well. Neither does denying (Apple and the grip of death?). Being corporate stirs up anger.

But saying ‘mea culpa’, asking for forgiveness, doing what’s right seems to work pretty well.

What’s the relevance to Customer Service through Social Media or The Customer Experience? Consumer expectations are shifting. It’s time to be wise and develop an approach that works.

Helpfully, one of Jeremiah’s colleagues provides some guidance as to what you can do if a problem arises…

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