Infobesity and the social media diet

By Dianne Bayley

While I’m highly animated about the remarkable ways in which we can communicate these days, I’m also starting to look at how much information we access daily, and where it all goes once my head is full. Probably to my hips . . .

For many, a typical day starts with switching on the TV or radio at the same time as the coffee machine. It’s not enough to be greeted with a blast of world news and three strangers in your bedroom hosting a morning show – they run tickertapes while everyone’s talking, just in case you miss a bush fire or some other tragedy you can mourn before you’ve had your first cup of coffee. Continue reading

What price social media (non)management?

By Dianne Bayley

In a recent article posted on socialmediatoday.com, social media expert for CBS News and founder & president of Resonate Social Eric Harr says that, while it will be a massive growth industry in the next few years, very few companies (or people) know the art or reputation management.

Importantly, even fewer companies or brands in South Africa appear to be looking at social media – and online reputation – management as an investment, as they would marketing and advertising. Seems many are happy to hand social media over to a techie or a junior member of staff, when they wouldn’t dream of having these people in charge of their advertising campaigns.

Harr says: “You may have spent untold amounts on branding, website design and corporate communications, but these efforts pale next to the hundreds of millions of people sharing ideas and opinions in social media. They are talking in public about companies – and in doing so, they are defining brands. You need to accept this reality  – and not cavalierly disregard ‘brand management’ as a ‘nice to have’. It’s a ‘gotta have. Right now.’” Continue reading

Social media myths abound . . .

As more companies and brands see the value of a social media presence, there are a few things we need to come clean about . . .

1.    Social media is not a magic bullet
Anyone who promises you that everyone will “like” your Facebook page and follow you on Twitter, while sending reams of work your way on Linked In, is fibbing. Social media is electronic “word of mouth”. Social media fibs abound . . . know what it is you want to achieve and team up with professionals who aren’t going to fib about it. Social media is about brand awareness and an opportunity to listen to your customers – and let them know promptly that they’ve been heard when they contact you.

2.    I can get you “likes” . . .
There are entire companies set up just to get people to “like” your Facebook page. Fabulous. Can they get your target market to like it? Can they turn people who clicked on an interesting-looking online ad into customers? Not really, especially if your market is a highly specialised one. Once the “potential customer” has “liked” your page, watch the “unlikes” rise as soon as they realise what it is they’ve signed up for . . .

3.    Anyone can do it
Here’s where many companies slip up. They don’t want to pay an outsourced “someone” to manage their social media activities; hiring a whole human being just to “play” on Facebook and Twitter all day is out of the question (not least for the resentment it’ll cause in the company); and so . . . we’ll get the secretary to do it during her tea/lunch breaks. Big mistake. If you can’t have a dedicated person monitoring your social media activities as if they were a call centre, rather stay away entirely. If you do outsource, make sure your social media professional has marketing, internet, social media and people skills; and knows how to converse online. Really – if they’re sulky and stubborn offline, it’s going to show online . . .

Social media platforms really can get your name, product or service out there. Research shows that people regard recommendations from Facebook and Twitter “friends” highly. Every marketing manager knows the value of positive brand awareness, and social media enables just that. Team up with a professional, decide what you’re hoping to achieve, and get going. It’s one of the least expensive ways to
Tell people who you are and what you offer. Remember, though – it’s a tea party rather than a Tupperware party – people are there to socialise, not to be sold to.

Take a look at this post by Heidi Cohen of Riverside Marketing Strategies

*Note: Dianne Bayley is the founder of infORM Reputation Management, a company that specialises in setting up and monitoring your social media initiatives.