Today so many companies are in the midst of a social media frenzy. They’re desperately trying to play catch-up with the latest technologies. And at the same time they’re terrified about losing control over their brand. I wonder how many could actually claim to have control of their communications at all? Shouldn’t that be put right before they dive into social media and give customers a mouth piece?
Car manufacturers and dealerships are a classic example. Their business model lends itself to communications creep, overzealous sales teams mail their customers and local residents weekly, communicating little but second hand car prices and discount offers. And this will eventually, irritate customers who have their hands on the perfect tool to vent their frustration.
Having bought a Land Rover I became part of their database. The customer service at the dealership has a five-star rating. Their follow up satisfaction surveys were prompt and incisive. But then things began to creak. Within four weeks of buying the car I’d received three surveys, two welcome packs, four emails and a cold acquisition piece asking me if I fancied buying a new Land Rover. It did become irritating.
It is vastly important for companies to put themselves in the place of their customers and their brand experience. Many large companies still need to further co-ordinate their “traditional” channels without throwing in the unexpected fluidity of an unregulated social media platform. Because a social media platform built on a dysfunctional general communications strategy is dangerous. You’ve just given your customers a ready way of telling the world how disorganised you are.
So, with this in mind, is the worryingly half measured embracing of social media by companies today really serving as a distraction from business as usual? Perhaps most companies today are failing to get a social media strategy off the ground because they are already failing with the consumer experience as a whole?