No I am not talking about crisis management, or online activism. I am talking about the greatest subterfuge in recent history : the idea that brands have a voice. This concept, for the uninitiated is based on the idea that brands have personality (an idea that is used extensively in advertising strategy). The problem is that when brands try to speak on social media, they really have nothing to say. People use social media to speak to other people. Brands do not speak to people.
So when brand x asks me how my hair is doing, we know there is a problem. Dont get me wrong, I am a great believer in suspension of disbelief, but brand initiated social media leaves me incredulous. I just cant suspend my disbelief any longer. The subterfuge is gone, and the charade is exposed for what it is. A large corp trying to fool me into believing its my friend.
So what should fmcg mnc’s really do on social media?
1. Separate crisis management from brand building. Be quick to respond to a firestorm, because it can go viral.
2. Create brand advocates within the company, and empower them to talk to people. How this will work with all the transfers and postings that take place in mncs will be a problem. I know many corps have outsourced this blogging function and companies are doing this for them, but really how smart is this?
3. use digital engagement through web experience as a whole and use social media as amplification, not the other way around.
In end, get real. Kill the charade, or face competition from smaller companies who have real people telling real stories.