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Hey Big Business! You're About to Lose Your Market Share!

Social Media FailHave you ever found yourself, in the kitchen, preparing a meal and dicing a pepper? Do you ever wonder why you dice your peppers rather than julienne them? How about the way you tie your shoes or the way you brush your teeth? Are these all things that you do, that you've always done, one way?

That's how so many big companies feel about marketing.

"We've always done it this way and we've done pretty well. Let's just keep on, keepin' on and I'm sure it'll all work out in the end."

That's not to say that big business ignores "trends" like social media but rather they tend to treat the trends like they would any other "new" technology. Hire someone to deal with it or assign it to, in this case, the marketing department.

Now, what if the marketing department has the same attitude as the management team (shocking right?) and they feel that they know "enough" about social media to get the ball rolling.

They have someone set up the Facebook, Twitter and Linked In accounts. If they're thinking about things they'll make sure the corporate name is registered across all social media sites so that no one else can use it. They may even agree to present a blog to the world.

Up to this point they may be on the right path. But it's truly what happens after all the set up is established that makes or breaks a campaign. 

Recently I have had the enriching experience of dealing with a very large National company here in Canada. This company has been in the telecommunications business since 1920! That's a long time and a lot of company policy to sift through to create a great social media campaign.

I posted an article on my blog suggesting that one of the reasons that this company is losing it's market share and having significant internal issues is due to a "dreadful" (I actually used that word) social media policy. 

On the company's, widely publicized, home page there are no links to any social media. There is nothing of value there for a visitor unless they are simply there to see what products the company sells. Products, by the way, that each and every one of their, ever increasing competition sell for the same price.

When asked to defend my position, that their social media was a big, fat FAIL I was able to systematically discect the points presented to me an email I received from the...wait for it...Specialist, Monitoring and Engagement Rep. 

Before I get too far into this I would like to mention that the rep was exceedingly polite and did seek me out to see if he could assist. Sadly that is the only check mark I can give to their social media strategy.

That said, I still felt I needed to tear him, or rather his company's, social media strategy, to pieces.

First point: the rep claims that the company has an "extremely successful blog" at www.blogname/companyname/com. I went to the blog. They have had 3 re-tweets in 4 days. Successful? Not so much. But even more troublesome is the fact that the only way to find this blog is through a search or a direct url entry! How is that useful? 

Second point: they manage several Facebook pages. I went to the corporate one. It has 22,000 likes. It does not list any url's on the main page and provides no value. It's pretty though, I'll give it that. However, there is nothing there that would cause anyone to return.

Third point: "Our team is active on Twitter" and he gave me several twitter names to check out. I've recently found out that they removed their blog url from all twitter accounts because they could not control the negative comments that were being posted. 

Forth point: (my fav) "We also have YouTube channels". So I went to Youtube and rather than type in their channel name I did a search for the company name. 4 out of the top 5 vids to come up were negative ones posted by un-satisfied customers.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you SOCIAL MEDIA FAIL 101. 

When a large, established company thinks that they can just throw stuff up on the net and hope for the best they will do much more harm than good.

This particular company was built on the old-school capitalistic model of what's in it for us. They are not interested in customer retention but have thrown all of their efforts into getting new customers. 

What they did not count on was the power of the internet. Anyone with a beef and a rudimentary knowledge of SEO and social media can get the word out about how they treat their customers, how they do not provide anything of value, how they are only out to make a buck. 

In a way it's beautiful. Gone are the days of automated or out-sourced customer service phone calls. We, the customers, now get to speak to a real person. Often times they're mandate is to do nothing still but at least it's a step in the right direction.

If established companies want to keep their market share they better start to take a good, hard look at what the new, up-and-comers are doing. The old marketing model of make a buck any possible way you can is being replaced with the mantras "provide value, build relationships, build brand loyalty, take care of your current customers". 

It will be interesting to see how this large company responds to my assessment of their strategy. I'll post an update when I get it. 

Join The Conversation

  • Mar 4 Posted 6 years ago Sohaib (not verified)

    Wonderful Article, totaly agree with you that most of the big companies are following the big old school stuffs and ignoring the trends that could help them to boost up their business.


  • Mark Longbottom's picture
    Jan 18 Posted 6 years ago Mark Longbottom

    Nothing wrong there, shame that so many of these businesses think first rather than listen.  Sadly they don't realise the customer is better at using the internet to engage and communicate than they are and as you suggest they will come to rue the day they thought they could do it all alone as they have so far.  Much better to listen and engage to build long term relationships with support from both sides.




  • Jan 18 Posted 6 years ago Anonymous (not verified)

    Good article, but elementary grammar errors make you sound less credible: "Often times they're mandate..." Learn the difference between "their" and "they're."

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