When social media goes BAD.

After attending our ‘Engage for Social Media’ conference today,I can now wholeheartedly confirm exactly what I’ve been suspecting for some years: that social media is perhaps the most exciting, dynamic, innovative form of advertising ever to exist. That’s until, obviously, someone invents 3D interactiveTVs that enable you to taste new products and smell new perfumes, and hologramatic shop assistants who enter your home upon request,knowing exacly what your likes anddislikes are…. One day people, one day.

It’s a marketing discipline with stories.Alongside the now-obligatory Obama example, who’s clearly made an impact in social media circles, each speaker had a new and interesting tale to tell about how brands such as Pepsi, LG, Orange and Cadbury have used a range of platforms to great effect. Not always necessarily more sales I might add, but in the case of Market Sentinel they were happy to announce that Cadbury created £25 of revenue through monitoring conversations about Wispa.

What was interesting, however, were the questions about what happens (likeone of those late night Channel 5 shows…) when SOCIAL MEDIA GOES BAD. It’s certainly a common concern from brands, what do they do if their social media activityis misintepreted in some way, received badly or achieves negative coverage and generaly just pisses people off (I doubt that would ever be an original campaign objective?) I can understand why, with a lack of experience in the area this may be a worry, however we need to stop thinking about social media in such separate terms, and as a ‘whole new world’, because advertising is advertising, regardless of the channel. How often do you think clients approach the production of a TV ad with caution, in fear of a negative reaction? In my opinion a poor TV ad can be far more harmful to a brand and the resulting public perception can last a lot longer. The fact is, with TV or most traditional media you have very you have very little control over how it is received (going back to thewhole sender-receiver model of communication, etc etc), yet with social media you have more control than ever. You can listen, respond and adapt your marketing to suit your audience, and this activity can be ongoing. As Emily Dent, head of content at St Lukes said in the opening presentation this morning, obviously people often talk about campaigns in advertising, but with social media it’s essential to not think only in these terms, because essentially you’re letting your brand live online. And even making mistakes can provide a valuable lesson!

  • Sky Blue Brown

    love it