Message control in a Social World
How do we control our brand's messages in Social Media? How do we make sure what's said about us is what we want to hear?
The simple answer is You Can't, the platforms are about transparency, NOT control.
If you give your audience messages and values that are straight up - 'grubby gumboots' honest, you should't be afraid of social media.
In the past, before Twitter and Facebook and other social networks like blogs your corporate messages were only secure and controlled until the press release was published. After that you were relying on the reporters and editors to stick to your story and not dig any deeper. And even then something spoken is something to be shared, no matter how secret it is.
So in effect perhaps message control is fictitious, it never really existed. Perhaps now with Social media a brand can start to gain some element or control with its communities support
If you're apart of the community and build relationships when you don't need to, then you will have more credibility when you really need support. It's a matter of creating some Social Capital or adding to your Whuffie Bank as Tara Hunt says in her book The Whuffie Factor. Essentially the more good things you do for your community the more your community will do for you in the future.
Interactive communication is not a monologue but a dialog between 1:many or many:many depending on what tools you're using to facilitate those conversations.
A monologue is a dictation and a dialog is a conversation.
Stephen Johnson (@huxley) is the Head of Digital Innovation at DRAFTFCB. I wrote to him and asked for his take on message control and social media.
"We live in a world where people come together online to discuss just about everything. This conversation grows by day, and there are millions of people tuning into these conversations and being influenced by what is
said. In a ‘conversation age’ where building social capital online has become crucial to managing brand reputation, increasingly businesses are turning to social networks and technologies to shape and guide messaging.
This presents businesses with new models for brand innovation, participation, and competitive advantage, whilst at the same redefining brand-consumer relationships through transparency and genuine, value-based exchange.
It's less about control as nowadays people publish what they want, whenever they want. There are no 'silver bullets' for success other than a willingness to 'be part of a conversation' - a conversation for the most
part which is already happening around us. By providing customers with relevant pathways to interact and engage, brands can harness social media to be more relevant to their customers, whilst at the same time build trust and presence. The results are often surprising, leading to 'earned media' and communities of highly engaged individuals advocating and distributing message and content on their behalf. So I ask this question... can we really afford to not be part of the conversation?"
Participating in the conversations that are already happening about your brand or about your industry is crucial to developing the communities trust, respect and goodwil. Without any goodwil your message could go anywhere, and turn into a big green monster. All you have to do is look at the Nestle case study.
Enough Said? Comments?