It is no secret that businesses can benefit from using social media effectively. National and international brands have managed their social media presence so well that new customers have come to them to share in the fun and old customers have remained loyal. But if at first you don’t succeed, should you give up and move on or try, try again?
Banking giant JP Morgan cancelled a Q&A session on Twitter after it was inundated with insults. Promoting the online event with the hashtag #AskJPM, the Q&A was to be led by the investment bank’s Vice-President, Jimmy Lee. However, the session was cancelled less than 24 hours before it was due to take place.
The bank had already been promoting the event for a week before it was pulled. It had invited questions from followers in advance. A spokesman has subsequently acknowledged it was a “bad idea” and said the bank would go “back to the drawing board”.
Insults included references to the bank’s recent legal problems and insults aimed at its executives as well as comments on their attempt to win over social media. One tweeter asked, “How are you planning to spend the savings made from firing your social media team?” But who’s fault is it?
Some Q&A sessions on Twitter have proven to be successful. For example, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, frequently hosts a ‘no holds barred’ #AskBoris session from City Hall. Answering interested tweeters in his own inimitable style, Boris has proved to be a hit. Some of his ‘best bits’ are recorded by Total Politics.
Even Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, arguably succeeded where others have failed last month as he took to social media for an impromptu Q&A session with the hashtag #AskMOL. Following some announcements earlier in the day which apparently took on board frequent customer complaints, online users gave him credit for his typically candid answers, but nonetheless remained disappointed by his failure to address a number of key issues such as missing bags, being denied boarding and cancellations and by his sexist response – “Nice pic. Phwoaaarr!” – to one woman’s profile picture.
To make gains in the cut-throat world of social media, big personalities can be necessary. However, a consistent brand identity can be more successful. We hear about how social media has ‘democratised’ communication, but it remains that day to day communication, interaction, support and response times are the things that customers, clients and consumers value most. One-off stunts may provide publicity – for better or worse – but having a good social media team and a long-term strategy remains essential.
Where a social media team is in place, it is important that they are effectively supervised and there is accountability for output on behalf of the organisation. Control of social media accounts must be preserved by the company, as HMV found out to its detriment earlier in the year.
Just to prove the fact that subtle promotion can bring big rewards, have a look at this recent thread collected by Buzzfeed.