Do Companies Use Social Media Effectively?

We all know how every brand and its dog is jumping on the social media bandwagon right now, whether it is LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr or Twitter. But are they doing it right or does it make you cringe like your uncle dancing at a wedding (badly) trying to be down with ‘da kidz’ as if they are using it simply for the sake of it?We all know and can see the transparency of how brands are using social media as a marketing tool rather than being genuinely interested in engaging with their consumers and their somewhat contrived online community of fans of the brand.

If you’re going to do social media, then do it properly and commit to it as opposed to being a half-arsed attempt at being au fait with contemporary marketing techniques. Bring character and breathe life into your tweets/posts/blogs, otherwise what is the point? To engage means to connect, and to connect in an authentic, people-orientated manner. The personality of the brand should, in my opinion, be a reflection of the brand’s own team, ethos and general identity. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not; a corporate brand whose social media outputs are chatty, generic and banal kind of conflicts with its core values. The team’s characteristics should shine through their social media, but not just to talk about the brand’s latest products or services, but of anything they are experiencing at the time; if your company has Oatcake Friday like Netbiz do (look it up! Stoke-on-Trent’s finest!), then discuss that and open an avenue for queries, discussions, feedback and interaction.

We all realise that to cut through all the yawnsome noise and clutter of brands clambering desperately for our attention, the brand has to do something different, new and fresh in order to differentiate itself from its competitors. A social media persona is a great way for a brand to be more interesting, witty and able to say more close-to-the-bone observations without darkening its company reputation because of its separation from the main brand-to be its own entity as opposed to company/employee.

A brand can too often masquerade as a company that truly cares about their consumers, proven by the relentless amount of garbage put out through their social media channel, just for the sake of it; this manufactured information, including jolly competitions and You Tube videos, cannot fool the social-media savvy consumer of today; more that this falseness can actually have the reverse effect. Human social interaction is made up from all kinds of chat; not just business-to-consumer ‘informative’ spiel. We don’t force day to day conversation (well, not always), so why do brands sometimes patronise their consumers by doing exactly this online?

Brands are constantly evolving in their identity, and how they are perceived by the end user. We too are not perfect…we too are learning on how to keep that genuine rapport with our loyal consumer. We may not be able to recommend a decent Mayfair bistro, but at Netbiz we can certainly point out to our online audience Stoke-on-Trent’s best pubs and curry houses, and even tell you who Mark Hughes’ latest signings are. We do this because we’re interested, and our passion about general ‘stuff’ is authentic, and hopefully open up a two-way channel to really interesting conversations.

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