Remember the days when social media was all sunshine and rainbows? Of course, I will. At least that’s what he felt. Today the social network is not what it was in its origin. It turned into a party that many of us could not even imagine or predict.
Still rules that apply to the dining table from time immemorial used for brands in social media: don’t talk about politics or religion. Both subjects are sensitive, polarizing, and even taboo. Whatever position you take, you might RUB someone the wrong way and, perhaps unintentionally, to burn a few bridges.
Social media has today become a notorious dining room table: more democratic, interconnected web of platforms that supports the conversations flowing, or, at times, out of control.
In the beginning, a number of brands have started pushing the boundaries of dining table conversations, taking a position on issues such as sustainability and environmental impact. “Right and wrong” to do good here was clear, and the data showed that the growth of the customer base of Millennials were willing to pay for it. Social media has become an obvious choice for attracting attention to these initiatives.
However, today many brands have pushed the boundaries even further, now inspired to create more provocative conversations on social—whether to encourage their customers because of their statements, in the interests of their leaders. Results (or even the fallout) from such activities ranged from cardiac blip to the loss of customers or even a significant drop in stocks.
As consumers become more accustomed to the brands taking a position on political-related issues, it was only a matter of time until they started enlisting brands to join the conversations that are not always clearly “right or wrong” bias. After all, it was discovered that 90 percent of Americans would be more likely to buy a product or service, because the company stands for problem, they Oh took care, of course, in a way, they actually care about it.
The disadvantage here is that advocacy of brands can sometimes feel like walking a tightrope. To stand on the “wrong side” of the debate—the side that most of Your clients do not support it can result in immediate crisis.
Let’s take Papa John’s, for example. The then CEO John Schnatter, who helped ink the deal between the National football League “Papa Johns”, openly accused the anthem of the protests on the decline in sales, which led him to criticize the NFL for “poor leadership” in managing the situation. Unfortunately, his views were not part of the majority—so far in fact that he resigned on the background of the disturbances and for several hours after the termination of multi-year sponsorship agreement Papa John’s, Pizza hut came to fill this gap.
More recently, in response to the shooting at the school in Parkland, Florida., the incident bringing a new energy to the gun-control debate as “United airlines” and “Delta airlines” promptly and publicly broke off relations with the National Association rifle clear response to the negative reaction that they received on social media their belonging to the group. This ultimately created a Domino effect among other brands. It is not necessary that the position of supporters of the NRO were satisfied, these brands chose to stand on the side of gun-violence victims.
However, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to how brands can and should engage in involved in a complicated political debate, especially given that more consumers now want the brands they love, including the leaders of these brands to be part of the discussion.
Since brands are prepared for a potential surge of activity in social networks, while keeping an eye on everyday social support services? Try this for starters:
- Social network analysis, which captures both signals and noise: it is important that your customer support team has the right resources and tools in place—at all times—in order to “real customer service issues” never buried among the requests from people just join them in a discussion you started (whether in support of or against your point of view). No stone can be left unturned. You must have a plan in place to manage all requests that come your way, always ensuring that your customers never feel neglected.
- Secure message transfer: depending on the sensitivities around the position You took, some customer requests can be easily processed using traditional social support-help tactics, like direct messages, while others are best transferred to a more secure channels where one-on-one attention, you can be sure. This is especially important for brands in highly regulated industries where certain pieces of information should not be placed in the public domain. As a service organization, your main task-to make clients ‘ lives easier, Not add to their frustration. Make sure you have the correct tools to effectively address Your customer service.
- The responsiveness of the C-Suite: today, news spread quickly and exponentially faster every minute. Brands do not always have the luxury to “wait and see”. When there is a clear and present controversy on his hands, brands must be ready to instantly react. You don’t have hours or days to come up with a plan. Sometimes you only have a few minutes. That is why it is so important for social support groups for care, not only to pay attention to what is brewing, but also to raise those issues before a full-scale crisis takes hold. Crises in social networks can occur immediately. How brands you need to answer them just as quickly.
So, there you have it. For all of the awesome doors that social media for brands, it also created a Pandora’s box around all political. Brands can no longer sit on the sidelines. Consumers expect to be part of the conversations surrounding even the most sensitive or polarizing social issues. Although this can sometimes add fuel to the fire, it can also serve as brands in the long term.
In any case, when the brands decided to take a stand on political issues, they must have a plan to manage the solution effectively. Anything short of fitness is just begging for disaster.
Pete Hess is CEO of social media management Platform Lithium technologies.