Finweek English Edition - - BUSINESS -

As ‘Face­book fa­tigue’ ap­pears to be set­ting in, and the ini­tial fix­a­tions on so­cial me­dia be­gin to ta­per off, busi­nesses are be­ing forced to scru­ti­nise their ‘so­cial’ strate­gies ever more closely. Bud­gets are wafer-thin, and ex­cos are un­der­stand­ably loath to spend on any non-es­sen­tials. Yet the com­mu­ni­ca­tions gu­rus con­tinue to in­sist that hav­ing a strong ‘so­cial’ el­e­ment to mar­ket­ing is crit­i­cal in to­day’s dig­i­tally driven, con­sumer-led mar­ket­place. What brands need to un­der­stand, how­ever, and where they are go­ing wrong, is think­ing that merely hav­ing a Face­book page with 100 000 ‘ likes’ counts as be­ing so­cial.

“Sim­ply hav­ing a Face­book page doesn’t cut it,” ex­plains Craig Rod­ney, MD of com­mu­ni­ca­tions agency Cere­bra. “A year or two back be­ing so­cial meant hav­ing so­cial pro­files, push­ing your mar­ket­ing mes­sages through them, and maybe do­ing some com­plaint res­o­lu­tion. To­day, be­ing a truly so­cial busi­ness re­quires you to al­low your cus­tomers’ opin­ions and ex­pe­ri­ences to per­me­ate all facets of your busi­ness – which then has to evolve to close the gap be­tween what the busi­ness promi s e s a nd what it de­liv­ers.”

In other words, so­cial me­dia plat­forms should be used as medi­ums to lis­ten to cus­tomers and then re­act – as op­posed to shov­ing

Mike Stop­forth

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