Blog #2 – This conversation isn’t about you

I, along with much of the Internet, love John Oliver. I love his acerbic approach to current affairs commentary, and I wish I could channel my own indignation and frustration as articulately as he does (see also: Samantha Bee. She is a fiery goddess, and I want to be her best friend and borrow all of her clothes.)

So I was happy last night to find that a “Last Week Tonight” clip that united my pleasure in watching him with providing fodder for another blog topic!

WATCH John Oliver: Corporations on Twitter  [WARNING: Video includes some potty language and one reference to a sex toy]

For the tl;dw (too long; didn’t watch) crowd, in the clip Oliver provides several examples of companies that have improperly latched on to internet trends or online conversations. These examples reinforce the idea that companies should not feel the need to take part in every conversation online. If something doesn’t support your brand, or deliver value to your consumer or client base, it’s okay to stay out of it. There is a good possibility that by trying to jump on a viral bandwagon that has nothing to do with you, just so that you seem “with-it”, you risk diluting your message or hurting your bottom line.

The wrong platform

The same goes for determining which platforms to use when you’re first venturing out into bringing yourself or your business online. Sure – buy or register for the naming rights on different social media platforms so that you protect your brand/your identity from being used by someone else. But, as explained in 12 Tips for Integrating Social Media into Your Marketing Strategy, if the medium doesn’t make sense for what you’re trying to do, then don’t use it. For example, yes, Snapchat is relatively new and gets a fair amount of attention, but maybe it makes more sense for you to be delivering your content via longer-form podcasts instead.

A Message from the Government of Canada: “Hey, kids! We’re hip!”

As a public servant working in communications, it has been interesting to see how the acceptance and use of social media in government has progressed in the last ten years or so. At the start of my career, social media was viewed by many officials as an unwelcome challenge to a department’s narrative, and resources weren’t allocated to having staff who could respond quickly to feedback coming in.

Over time, I found that there came a greater willingness to engage in social media, but the understanding of the different platforms still wasn’t really there – it was “hey, people are talking about Youtube thing, so we should be on there. Make something Youtube.” A step forward, but still lacking in strategic thinking. There wasn’t always a clear answer to the question of what officials hoped to accomplish by getting on a platform that had some buzz.

Now, strategy and willingness are more closely linked, though I would argue that the frequency of posting is still a challenge for some departments.

Now I’m curious…

I’m curious – have any of you encountered any tone-deaf posts from any people or companies that you follow that have led to you dropping them? Also, do any of you currently follow a government department online? If so, what made you decide they were worth following? Have you tried to engage with them directly, and what has the response time been like?

Sources: The 7 Risks of Social Media


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