Social Media PlanningYou need a social media plan. It is no longer an option. It is now a requirement.

There is a company called National Bankcard Monitor. They call me every day, even though I have pressed “1” to be removed form their call list. [That’s a whole other blog post.] The company does not leave me a message from a real person or a call back number, they just keep calling and calling and calling.

So, I was bored on my way downtown today and I Googled the number. (No, I wasn’t driving!) I found lots of negative comments calling the company a scam before I found the website. Now, I have no idea if this is a legitimate company or not, but based on my experience and what I found online, they could offer me a Mercedes and I still wouldn’t do business with them.

Although I cannot fairly debate the merits of this company, I can tell you that my professional opinion is that regardless of their level of integrity, they are being killed by their lack of social media savvy. They may not care, but most companies do.

Here’s the thing: Companies (ethical or otherwise) cannot control what is posted about them online, but if they are doing it right – building widgets or brewing beer – they will have a community of supports in place when negative comments appear. Successful companies will also have trained team members on board who will have developed a relationship with the community and are trusted to respond to negative comments.

Now, this company has a couple of “testimonials” posted by Frank and Tom on their website. That has zero value to most customers. We have no idea who Frank and Tom are. Most people see that and think: Who are Frank and Tom? They are not part of my community. Why would I care?

Testimonials living completely out of context hold little value against real people posting about your company online. This is another area where PR – social media specifically – trumps marketing.

If this company cared about its image, it would take the approach that everything should be communicated via social media, including kudos from Tom and Frank. Any messages that go out can be shared. The company that gets engagement over announcement is the one that wins.

Social media is great at rounding up key community members – Influencers, if you must – and directing them to a preferred online destinations and lots of great awareness, sharing and communicating is happening via social media. Companies or individuals who have even the most basic interest in cultivating their brand, image, or community will hop on board quickly – if only just to monitor what is being said about them.

In this case, lack of response online leads me to believe this company is either unethical or inept. This may or may not be true, but its my opinion. How many customers will they lose because they did not manage their online reputation?

10 thoughts on “Required: A Social Media Plan

  1. I think this company needs not only a social media plan, but also a new management… This is where we come to our limits. We see things going terribly wrong, we’d know how to make things better, but as long as there are managers on board without a minimum of understanding for the public and the markets, no remedy will help.

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    1. Thanks so much for being here, Peter. I often want to contact companies and give them either a piece of my mind or a free consultation – sometimes both. The time has passed where management can play dumb on social media. It is a C-suite issue (from leadership to marketing) and I just cannot support companies who simply refuse to get it. All the best, Jules

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  2. This company is either so far beyond help it should shutter its doors, or it’s a spam operation. Neither of those may be true, but because of mismanagement, that’s now the perception of their company. What people don’t understand is that conversations about their company are already happening whether or not you participate in them.

    Have to have a social media plan in place because, like it or not, people are going to talk about you online. May as well participate in the conversation.

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    1. I agree with your assessment, Matt, and who wants to be excluded from a conversation happening online about them? Thanks for stopping by! ~ Jules

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  3. Hey Jules…another great post. You bring up alot of good points – one of which is the first thing companies must do when engaging in an SM plan – and that is “listen”. Companies have to be open and hear what is being said before they get into the execution stage. While what they hear may not always be pretty – they will at least have a realistic context to build from.

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  4. I am currently a marketing student at CWI and I would have to agree that this company needs a new social media plan. I also think that if they had the right people managing the company they would have responded to the negative postings in a positive way. Everyone knows these days if people want information about a company and its values, they go straight to the internet to see what they find.

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    1. Well, apparently not “everyone.” The CEO of this company might not. But yes, most people – in marketing or otherwise – now unanimously agree that even if you are not getting your social on, you at least need to monitor what is being said about you. I would love to hear of a large, successful company that has no social media. Interesting, I think I’ll do some research. Thanks Sierra. Glad you are enjoying the blog. ~ Jules

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