30 Apr

Social Media: Anyone can do it, right?

As providers of outsourced social media community management services to medium and smaller businesses, we definitely relate to this well-observed post about the stereotypical perceptions of the role of social media managers.

The pervasive myth about Social Media community management we’ve encountered among small and medium businesses is that “anyone caIt takes a very unique skills set to use social media effectively - a Frankenstein manager for a Frankenstein mediumn do it”. We believe this stems from a misunderstanding of the power and versatility of what we call the ‘Frankenstein medium’.

Lets put it in ‘old media’ terms. Would you really prefer the intern, your nephew or the junior employee you deem ‘young enough to understand these things’ to:

  • Publish a daily brochure for your business that is potentially seen by hundreds of thousands of people?
  • Be a one-person, 24/7 call center that is increasingly the preferred first point of contact for irate customers?
  • Let them speak for the brand or business on a live public platform like a radio or TV show?
  • Allow them to design advertising and imagery, making decisions about how to effectively and consistently portray your brand’s story to potential customers?
  • Analyse and interpret market data to focus your targeted marketing?
  • Take responsibility for the management of your reputation in the marketplace?

Even if you can afford to dedicate a full-time person for this role, it is no mean feat finding the rare, multiskilled chameleon with the experience and confidence to deliver such a wide variety of key outcomes is no mean feat. Especially in what usually is a relatively junior role in the organisation and on the budget of a smaller company. (See this infographic and this blog post about how companies are structuring themselves for social media failure.)

To stretch the monster metaphor: in order to give the representation of your brand or business the spark that brings it to life and makes it truly valuable, the most effective social media manager would be someone who stitches together skills you would normally find in a number of departments and disciplines.

This special individual would need to be confident and assertive enough to be a one-person champion for social media in a business where the majority of senior colleagues are likely to be ignorant of the power of the medium. They would also need to kick down some big doors to get access to all the information customers might be demanding from them at short notice.

This is why larger organisations who can afford a multidisciplinary team still have the advantage on social media, even though the platforms themselves don’t really favour those with huge budgets. Such a team can bring the marketing, analysis, communications (verbal and visual), quality control, strategic insight and empowerment to ensure social media brand representation that is on-brand, engaging and able to capitalise on every opportunity for positive interaction and lead generation.

18 Mar

A Social Media Success Story

I think you can stop almost anyone in the street today and they will agree that we are going through a time of major change. People are looking inward and realising that giving is a part of living and that you must give in order to get. Social Media has made it so easy to give where you feel the urge to. Instant gratification for the giver, seeing exactly what your hard earned money is doing. One such a success story is how a couple’s visit to SA changed into 1000 dance shoes for disadvantaged children. Now we can just dream how Dance shoes turn into creativity, joy and self-esteem.


Screen shot of the Dance for all homepage

11 Mar

Is the customer always right on social media?

Social media has democratised branding and retail.

The power of brand ownership has been partly taken from the brand house, with a large portion handed over to the custormers, who can interpret and contribute and demand whatever they need the brand to be. You cannot put up a sign on your virtual shop stating ‘Right of Admission Reserved’, now can you?!

This leaves the company under great pressure to maintain good communication on all platforms and to always perform at their best whether the customer is a real one or not. When we see an online complaint about bad service, our sympathy tends to be with our fellow consumer. The assumption is that the organisation is behaving badly and trampelling all over the helpless individual.

But take it from someone who deals with the online interactions between brands and their customers on a daily basis. The consumers who feel strongly enough to let their voices be hard on platforms like Facebook or Twitter are usually either in love with the brand, or so deeply disgusted that the business becomes the embodiment of all that is wrong with the world.

With this in mind, can one really still state ‘The customer is always right‘? Doesn’t the audience of potentially millions from whom a disgruntled customer can get back-up, equalize the power between the business and the individual somewhat?

Perhaps the customer is not always right. Perhaps sometimes the customer behaves a bit like a bully, simply looking for a moment in the spotlight and not for good service or consumer justice.


13 Feb

Do something!

Among our fathers, brothers, neighbours, political representatives, colleagues, employees, friends and connections there are men and boys who see women and children as lesser beings. Who think that they are entitled to do absolutely anything to women and children, just because they feel like it.

How can we live peacefully with that knowledge?

Do something!

Silence is complicity for South Africans faced by a crisis of violence against women and children.