Wednesday, 14 March 2012

5 Social Media Lessons for brands from #SomeOneTellCNN.

Social networking has become integral to the lives of many. To zoom in Kenya's Twitter and Facebook users represent the most influential and economically able section of the population. This number continues to grow as access to the Internet’s tool of choice, the mobile phone, makes astronomical inroads even in areas considered remote. A recent research by InMobi showed that the Internet is accessed mostly on ordinary mobile phones, not necessarily smart phones. Brands are slowly but surely becoming aware of this fact and beginning to find ways of selling to this audience. Consumers are spending more time than ever using social media, as demonstrated in the Social Media Report recently published by Nielsen and NM Incite.
There were grenade attacks in Nairobi on Saturday where 6 people died and least 68 injured. Instead of reporting it as such CNN went on to claim that there was violence in Kenya with misleading graphics and implied that the violence was widespread and did not specify that this was an isolated terrorist attack in a specific part of the country. Disappointed, angry and frustrated, Kenyans then stated a twitter hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN which trended worldwide. This was one element of patriotism that really impressed me. Brand Kenya Board and you too can listen to the patriotic Kenyan who called CNN Here. This simply tells brand managers and PR managers/Communication experts that indeed social media can be a nightmare if not well utilised.

Here are 5 lessons to pick from #SomeoneTellCNN
 1    1. Don’t mess with Kenyans.
When you want to promote your brand on twitter please ensure your game is on point. We already have Sunny Bindra’s #TwitterBigStick for companies with poor customer service and TwitterThumbsUp for companies with excellent customer services. Kenyans are using these hash tags to share their customer experiences on Twitter. Please ensure your brand gets less of the Bigstick and bashing from the no nonsense Kenyans! 

2.                                                                                                2.Retain control.
Social media is a notorious vehicle for losing control. As a matter of fact the very definition of social media is that you give up a certain measure of control of your brand to its followers (and hope for the best).
It makes sense to try and create some kind of guidance and scope by controlling what can be discussed. The #MeetTheFarmers hashtag focused the mind upon what was the true message of the McDonald’s Twitter campaign and limited any scope for widening the field to anything beyond the current conversation. Don’t use hash tags that throw the field wide open to anything especially where you know the feedback was bound to be less than positive. The hash tags you choose to use should also help others understand what the discussion is all about. This helps guys to join the conversation easily knowing what hashtag is all about!Mc Donalds got the opposite when they used #McDStories and angry customers used the channel to air their bad experiences

3.     Do not fail to respond.
The social media bandwagon is too sweet to resist, so expect more abject lessons in the next few months. Brands don’t dictate the conversation on social media platforms, the public do.  Safaricom has taken a bold step in setting up a customer care handle on Twitter. You cannot do this if you don’t have the time to respond to customer’s problems in real time and responding immediately. Safaricom has enhanced customer loyalty because of this. The firm simply has a voice on social Media. They Listen!!!The best way to show you are listening is to respond!!

 4.       Be self-aware.
Know your brand. “If your brand is controversial, political, has been getting bad press, has fierce competition, promoting your tweet may not be a good idea. If you set up a hashtag to promote a particular subject area, be sure it’s one your audience wants to talk about as much as you do, and in the same way. Politicians may be tempted to use twitter to promote one’s manifesto but you need a robust online communication team that can push your agenda on Twitter. It’s tricky here, imagine the kind of bashing Anyang Nyong’o got from tweeting Kenyans after his interview with Lilian Muli on Citizen Tv. I don’t want to comment on this issue but such outbursts on Tv are very inappropriate.
5.  
5.Know when to pull the plug.
 
If your promoted item is getting out of hand, pull the plug ASAP and start your damage control. Have a damage-control plan for your social media efforts, Hoping it will go away is not an effective social media marketing strategy. Another recent scenario is when Safaricom got a rude response when they asked individuals to redeem 10000 bonga points and top up with 3K to get a new Huawei Ideos worth 7999. Guys felt cheated.10K points is 100K spent on airtime and reacted angrily to the offer!!!
                                                     Lets get social--- 
                                                       @KenyanMarketer   




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