Social Media Tips: How To Prevent a Social-Media Meltdown

A quick recap for those of you who missed it: There was a famous incident with a restaurant chain recently where a customer wrote a note with reference to God and left it without a tip for the waitress. She posted it on Reddit with the customer’s signature being visible. The readers responded with tremendous support for the waitress. When the restaurant chain fired the waitress, the social media exploded with banter.

We have some very useful tips that can help you to avoid a social media catastrophe similar to this example.

Recognise the correct bad guy

The restaurants first mistake was to decide that the waitress was the bad guy. The people on Reddit were certain that it was the customer. Another mistake was also choosing one cheap client to support instead of its employee.

Have a social media manager

If you don’t have one, it is time to find one immediately. Even if your company does not have accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, and does not want a blog, you cannot ignore what people say about you on these forums. Look for an efficient manager who reads social media sites and is responsible for reading and responding to comments about your company.

Efficiency and loyalty

HMV is another company that had its mass layoffs tweeted live. The tweets, by the laid off employees went viral. The marketing manager was quoted asking how to shut down Twitter. He should have taken charge, or responded in a better way. Your new media manager has to know what to do and be completely loyal.

Social media does not tolerate hypocrisy

The official statement from the restaurant chain said that the company had taken action against the staff member and apologized to the infamous guest, as per their policy, the guest was entitled to the right to privacy. The waitress had violated the policy as the receipt she posted had the guest’s name clearly legible. Not very long before, the company’s official media manager had posted a positive remark by a guest with the name being readable.

Clarity in legal social media rules

This is very challenging because employees will speak to each other and post on Facebook about things at work. People will complain about salary and work problems, but you can draw the line by stating a clear and legal policy that bans posting information about customers.

Everyone has a voice

On the Internet, even the employee at the lowest level can have a voice louder than the official spokesperson. If you want media attention in this era, you only need an Internet connection to be heard.

You may still not have a perfect social media existence; however, these few tips may help you avoid absolute disasters and if in doubt, always consult with an experienced social media agency or professional web design company.

Is Social Media Marketing Relevant to Design and Architecture Companies?

You may have noticed that there’s been a bit of an explosion around the subject of social media of late. Companies are clambering around trying to work out how to harness the power of this relatively new marketing phenomenon, and it seems this has spread to the design and architecture world. I’m regularly asked for advice from design and architecture companies about whether they should add social media to the marketing mix and, if so, how they should go about it.

The first answer I give is, yes. The marketing function is undergoing an evolution, the social media express has roared into town and design and architecture companies that don’t get onboard now risk being left behind. There are conversations happening all around us online that design and architecture companies could be involved in. Conversations that include clients and potential clients and if you don’t get involved, your competitors will. This goes for pretty much any type of business as more and more are joining in, daily.

But getting involved in social media is not straightforward. It takes a lot more than simply adding a profile to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn et al. As with all things marketing, it needs a strategy. But before I get into that, let’s start with a gentle introduction to the wonderful world of social media.

Social media is an online tool that builds communities of people with shared interests who are interested in networking with each other. The focus here is on networking and conversation, which is the underlying premise. It’s a bit like ‘offline’ networking at events, but without having to leave your home/office and with a little less alcohol. It allows you to connect with people that can benefit you or your company, which is useful for anyone wanting to hook up with potential clients, peers, journalists, industry guru’s and anyone else that could be useful.

The key uses of social media for marketing purposes are:

Brand awareness Brand reputation management New business generation News distribution and PR Research (through online polls) Customer support Specific product/service launch campaigns Connecting with affiliate companies Improving SEO

Not bad for an activity that needs little investment other than time.

There is a raft of social media sites available to us, from blogs to microblogs to networking to bookmarking. It’s easy to get lost in the quagmire, so here’s a brief description of each:

Blogs : a blog is a company’s communication tool that allows two way interaction with its readers. They are different to standard ‘brochure’ website as they ‘talk with’ rather than ‘talk at’ the viewer. The blog shouldn’t be used for ‘selling’, instead it should contain advice and opinion that the reader will find useful and which will make them want to subscribe for updates (and thus extend the interaction further). It might even make them want to get in touch. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Microblogs : Twitter is the most talked about, and the most useful, microblog. In contrast to a blogs longer posts, Twitter contains 140 character ‘statements’. It is a powerful networking tool that allows you to interact with people in a much faster environment. It has a global reach that breaks down the barriers of communication and allows networking in real time on a very large scale. Tweeters share information, give advice, debate real time issues and generally chat.

Social networking sites : these include Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Plaxo, Xing etc, and this list is growing. So for now I’m going to stick with the main two I find useful: LinkedIn and Facebook. Xing can be useful for architects, however this isn’t being used to a great extent in the UK so far (that could change in the future so it’s worth keeping an eye on). Networking sites allow you to connect and network with others in your field. The group discussions and forums are particularly useful here and should play a major role in their use.

Social bookmarking sites : this includes sites like Digg and Stumbleupon. They allow us to bookmark a web page we like or find interesting and ‘save’ it to these sites. They also have a voting system that allows viewers to vote on pages they like. The aim here is to get your blog post or web page voted on and then, in turn, encourage others to view it.

Social media strategy

There are definite rules of engagement when it comes to social media. As I mentioned earlier, it’s all about networking and conversation. But before getting into any conversation, get your strategy sorted:

1. What are your objectives for using social media? Are you looking to increase brand exposure? Are you looking for new business leads? Do you need to improve your brand reputation? Are you launching a specific product or service? Are you looking to recruit staff? The objective/s need to be clear from the outset as these will drive your messages.

2. Who do you want to reach? Write down a list of the types of people or companies you want to interact with and be clear what messages you want to get across to them. But remember! Social media is all about two way interaction so you can’t fully control any conversation. However, having a clear idea of what you want to communicate at the start will be useful to your strategy.

3. Who should be responsible for running social media activity? Should there be a team or can one person take responsibility? Take heed here, not all conversation on social media is positive so you will need someone equipped to deal with any negative comments on behalf of your company.

4. Next you need to identify the right platforms for you. The model I have been using and am recommending to clients is an integration of the following: company blog, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook with, of course, links back to the main website and YouTube and Flickr as necessary. As with other marketing activities, they ALL need to be integrated for optimum results. There are tools that allow you to link these platforms to save on time, for example Twitter updates can now appear on your Facebook profile through Tweetdeck, WordPress blogs can be embedded into LinkedIn profiles, Twitter updates can appear on blogs etc.

5. Agree the wording of profile names before setting them up. For example, on Twitter do you want all profiles for your company to be prefixed with the company name then the employee or just the employee or do you want to have one company profile name that can be used by all or just your name? Clearly this has branding implications so it’s important to get this clear at the outset. I do prefer real names for Twitter profiles as it feels like you’re talking to a real person, rather than a member of a company. Once this is done, set up all profiles with clear bio’s and apply the branding to backgrounds where possible. If you don’t already have a blog, it would be a good idea to get this set up now. This needn’t be costly or time consuming. WordPress provides a very good system which is free. So get blogging with relevant, useful posts.

6. Now you need to find the people you want to network with. Get together a list of those you want to reach, search for them and connect. Once you’ve connected don’t make the mistake of diving into conversation before you get a feel for how they do things. Listen to what they talk about for a while and if you have something relevant to add to a discussion, add it. But remember, don’t sell! What you want to do here is build the relationship. So be relevant and give them sound advice. They’ll soon be nattering away with you and may even want to take it offline for a coffee at some point. How very yesteryear.

7. Next ensure all platforms are integrated as I mentioned earlier. Make the most of all available tools to streamline your social media activities.

8. Finally, timing. Social media can be very addictive so it’s worth scheduling the time you feel is appropriate to spend on these activities. There is a plethora of tools on Twitter that help cut down on the time you need to spend online. For example you can schedule your tweets to be sent out during the day so that you can get on with something else. But remember, don’t do too much of this as the conversation will be one sided which is against what you’re trying to do here.

Here are a few examples of companies that are making the most of social media:

Architects Journal, Architectural Review, Arup, Barefoot & Gilles, BDI, Blueprint, Brand Republic, Building Design, DBA, Design Council, Design Museum, Drivers Jonas, Ford Frog HOK I-am Associates Innocent Interbrand Landor Leo Burnett Loft Marketing Nokia Ogilvy RIBA Saatchi & Saatchi Design Shed Starbucks TBWA Williams Murray Ham WPP

So that’s it in a nutshell. If you still don’t think social media is for you. Think again. Those who don’t get involved now could miss out on an important development in marketing strategy.

What Is Social Media Design?

Have you ever thought about how much work actually went into building a website that you may browse often? It is a very intricate process and only the best of the best are truly ever involved in this type of media design. Basically, their goal is to make a single page that immediately attracts the eye of a visitor, making them stay on the page longer and navigating through the other pages that are on offer. This is now being used a lot in social media design, such as Facebook fan pages, but also LinkedIn accounts and Twitter profiles to name but a few. Social media is also an incredibly important tool for businesses who want to present a lot of information to an incredibly wide-ranging audience.

If you are considering media design in line with social media ways, the following information might interest you. Firstly, you need to make sure that your design is highly consistent. This can only be achieved if you fully understand your audience. Also, make sure that you already have an established reputation within your niche, this way people will be more likely to look at your broadcast streaming video options as well as the rest of your page. Build a communication network between your business, your clients, fans and potential customers. Do be very aware of competitive brands that are out there as well. And finally, if you have multiple sites or social media profiles, make sure that your customers can see the relationship between these pages. This boils down to having the right design, starting with your logo of course. There are some simple guidelines to follow when it comes to the graphics, images and layouts you intend to use. Make sure that you use quick and simple, easily built add-ons. Also make sure that your social media page truly reflects the design of your webpage. Most of all: keep it simple!

If you are familiar with good social media design, there are a number of things that will really help you to have a stronger internet presence. This is mainly because people will start to recognize your brand on all the different types of social media. For example, if they are following you on Facebook and then see a similar design on Twitter, they will immediately know it is you. Not just that, with the right media design, you are showing your customers that you have put an effort into sending them a message. They will be able to get a good grasp of how well your company is doing, such as by looking at your broadcast streaming video that you should update regularly, which will increase their confidence in you. Of course, you need a lot more than a good social media presence. Marketing campaigns are very important for example, but social media is a place where you could start before you start to invest in very expensive marketing campaigns.