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Controlling the Conversation


social media Controlling the Conversation

I know that there are many businesses out there that have yet to embrace social media due, in part, to a natural nervousness about statements that could potentially harm the business. Senior managers, executives and business owners alike all worry; I hear it all the time, but this nervousness should not prevent them from talking.

In the real word where conversations are happening, you would engage to influence either personally or as a group – it is no different in the online world of social media.  You will never be able to fully control what is being said online, this is true, but by engaging you can influence and by listening you can learn, which will ultimately help you.

“Letting go” is not something businesses like to do that often but that is exactly what is needed in order to succeed in the online world.

In 2007 Mars added an ingredient to their chocolate bars that contained animal products, Mars found out to their cost that by not engaging with their customers, the conversation was going on anyway and big decisions were being made about their product.  People stopped buying, vegetarian and religious groups set up websites, forums, blogs, Facebook groups and Mars were forced to listen and apologise.  They had no choice but to reverse their decision, this would not have been possible a few years earlier because the web was growing but there can be no doubt that social media was the vehicle that forced the change.

Mars couldn’t influence what was being said but because they failed to engage they received a lot of very bad feeling.  They could have saved themselves a lot of trouble and a lot of money by simply using social media to ask their customers if they thought it was a good idea or not.

You can’t control everything, but you can certainly influence by talking to your customer and adopting social media as part of your marketing strategy is now becoming essential.

Social Media shouldn’t be seen as a defence mechanism; quite the opposite in fact, take a proactive approach and start talking and create a positive conversation about what you do.


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