Jenny Wolfram, CEO & Founder of BrandBastion, gives insights for those wanting to utilize social media to connect with current and future customers.
1. Social media is in real time
”That’s what makes social media so great for companies: you can reach exactly who you want to reach, anytime you like, in the customers’ comfort zone on their mobile phones. If someone in Helsinki is looking for a pizza place, you can offer yours and find a customer. At the same time, somebody online saying ‘I am so offended by your ad’ may have an impact on your brand reputation.”
“This requires a lot from the companies: customers expect them to be there 24/7. So, it is an opportunity as well as a problem that needs to be taken care of. According to a recent study, 40 per cent of people who complain on social media expect an answer within 60 minutes. As a company, you need to find the harmful stuff and react to it. You also need to recognize what needs other kind of attention; answers, advice, comments...”
2. It is interactive
”It is obvious that the word social indicates something interactive. On social media, people can comment on anything, and these comments have an impact on your company.”
“If you are used to putting out TV spots and print ads, this is a totally different ball game. People’s comments are part of your ads, meaning you have to keep in mind that it is not only you who controls the content, but others are involved, too. This requires new ways of doing things. The two main things are to monitor and listen.”
“You can’t just push something out there and wait. Instead, you have to check and see what is going on with your ad or campaign. You have to monitor and listen.”
3. Be different – and prepare for 24/7 interaction
”Success in social media requires going outside of your comfort zone. You need to be different and get attention. But at the same time, damage on social media can be exponential. Everything is so quick and travels fast. The snowball effect is huge.”
“This is why you have to make sure you have the necessary safe guards in place. You need to think about the real-time effect and the interactive nature of social media.”
What to do, if someone starts bashing?
“Platforms like Facebook or Instagram allow companies to remove comments from their pages or posts. So, monitor your accounts. Some companies prepare in advance for bashing or, say, racist comments. The most important thing is that the company reacts fast and sets its own record straight. If you do nothing, you seem to be supporting the bashing. A reaction several hours later is too late.”
4. Find your own voice
“Especially companies within traditional industries might think that on social media you have to be funny and bubbly. I think that’s where the challenge comes in: if the social media voice is not who you really are, there is going to be a clash. I usually recommend that it is better to remain consistent than try to be as funny or loud as possible. A genuine voice is usually the best.”
“People in South America seem to be the most active in commenting, engaging and interacting. Of course, global companies need to take into account how different people in different countries react, comment and read your posts.”
5. You need to be there
”In today’s world, the harm of NOT being on social media is so much greater than its possibilities that companies are realizing they would be missing out on much on the outside. They just need to be there. Our customers, for example, are more concerned they will miss out on things or they won’t be able to react fast enough. The fear is not so much about IF they should be on social media or not.”
Jenny Wolfram is the CEO & Founder of BrandBastion which protects companies’ ad performance, brand reputation and intellectual property rights on social media. She founded the company three years ago when, as a lawyer, she noticed how more and more companies were in trouble on social media because of harmful content, scams, and bashing. She jumped off the legal path to focus on solving this problem. The firm, which now has more than 40 team members globally, has developed a technology that is able to process millions of pieces of content around the clock.
Aalto Leaders' Insight met her in Aalto EE's Divia - Digital Business Network -seminar.