There are people who think of social media as some sort of peaceable kingdom – where everyone gets along and rainbows and butterflies are abundant. Sure, social media can seem a bit touchy-feely at times, but it has grown to be one of the most powerful tools online.
Think about this: Twitter was used to take down the Egyptian government. Did a print ad take it down? Or a TV ad? What about a direct mail piece? No. Social media did.
This is simply because, with social media, the tables have turned. The power is now back in the people’s hands.
When companies say they don’t need to worry about social media, they need to think of Egypt. No company wants to be the next Egypt.
This doesn’t mean that every corporation needs to have a Twitter account, however. At the very least, companies should be listening to what their consumers are saying online. It’s easy to grow big ears and listen. It’s a lot easier to solve a crisis when it doesn’t blindside you. Social media allows you to grow the big ears, identify problems and solve them before they grow unwieldy.
Take the “United Breaks Guitars” fiasco where someone wrote a song, filmed it and put it on Youtube. This was all, as the title suggests, about how United broke a musician’s guitar and refused to compensate him properly. The YouTube video now has over 10.6 million views.
They missed out on an incredible opportunity to solve a problem before it cost them countless dollars in bad publicity. They could, however, have solved the problem early and turned a foe into a fan if they were simply listening and paid attention.
So, next time you think Facebook is only about Farmville and pokes, think again.
Chrissy Madison Social Media Specialist