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part 1: control.

Social media enables businesses to control so many aspects of today’s world. Whether your business is a personal branding operation or a corporate division of a company, you are in complete control of everything that is being circulated. This is going to be  a hard sell, so don’t close my page yet. Read on to see if you might agree!

  • Social media allows businesses to react to any and every comment made by users on the social network: think ultimate damage control. Businesses, Starbucks for example, have now set aside teams that’s whole purpose is to watch and interact on social media. To further build relationships with those who are already supporters of the brand, but also to intervene and catalyst damage control in situations where consumers are dissatisfied with the business/product/interaction/etc.

But what does this mean? Well, a variety of things. One, businesses that engage on social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, WordPress, etc.) have to have the resources, time and ability to continually maintain, analyze, edit and repeat this process. Social media is by no means a tool that can be used once, set down, and returned back to later. It is something that must be continually managed, adapted and evaluated to ensure that it is being used in such a way that it is meeting goals set forth by the company and their mission in using it.

  • This point builds upon the first regarding damage control, the better a company initiates conflict management and/or conflict resolution the more likely they are to win over a new supporter. The social media platform provides businesses a spotlight, and although at times that spotlight may brighten due to conflict, how the business handles the situation publicly will truly make or break their ability to move past that negative association: think control you customer service interactions.

This point is critical because there are always going to be dissatisfied consumers. However social media creates a public platform again, that can make or break business moving forward. One prime example of this is Kitchen Aid. The details can be read here: KitchenAid Twitter Account Sends Offensive Tweet About Obama’s Deceased Grandmother (TWEETS). As you can see, Kitchen Aid had a major blender, oops I mean blunder. Within moments this thoughtless Tweet was sent across the nation and people most certainly had a reaction. In this particular situation, Kitchen Aid went ahead and issued an apology and  Cynthia Soledad, who identified herself as “the head of the KitchenAid brand” continued to use Twitter as the channel to issue her apology. But this is where in lies the struggle of social media because what is “enough” for one person, may not be “enough” for another, which leads me to the question: is this apology enough? I would probably say for me, no. I’m sure President Obama is used to his name being dragged through the mud, politics seem to bring out the worst in people, however a Twitter apology for a comment about a family member’s death is probably not the appropriate way for a brand to express a sincere apology. So in my book, no Kitchen Aid, this is not enough.

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However there are brands that effectively engage in conflict management and conflict resolution all of the time and do a wonderful job building a fan within individuals that originally had a complaint. Furthermore, it is those brands that are most successful in using social media and have the greatest results with their social media use. Target specifically does a great job of interacting with their followers on Twitter and being there to help in times of need!

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  • Social media also provides opportunities for businesses to closely track return on investment (“ROI”) in order to ensure that they are on track to meeting their social media goals. The biggest take home point is there businesses control how they track ROI to get their money/resource/time’s worth out of their investment in social media campaigns. But without the capabilities to track, monitor, revise and make changes continuously, businesses will not meet their full potential in terms of ROI. 

Although ROI can be tricky and unfamiliar to people, it is incredibly important and something that MUST be taken into consideration in regard to social media campaigns due to the fact that so much time, money, resources, planning and execution goes into managing social media. Social Media ROI – How to Achieve: User Engagement With Your Brand provides insightful tips and tricks into tracking ROI and using it as a tool alongside your social media initiatives. Smart businesses will use both tools (social media and ROI) together in order to get the biggest bang for their buck.

  • Although above I spoke about social media giving power to businesses to control interactions (again, both positive and negative) social media also gives brands the power to control the brand and control interactivity between stakeholders.

RadioONE in Indianapolis does a wonderful job at controlling the brand alongside controlling the stakeholders. For instance, RadioNOW has a robust social media presence. They are constantly interacting and creating content that they distribute on their website, Facebook page, Twitter page and even their Instagram account. However their radio personalities, specifically Reka ( @JustMeReka ) for example, also distributes RadioNOW content on her social media outlets. On Thursday, April 11, 2013, Reka was following and tweeting out to those individuals that had recently followed RadioNOW. If this doesn’t make a consumer feel appreciated I don’t know what would. Having a dual presence though brand and brand representatives greatly increases the number of people you may be able to gain some attention from, as well as the more exposure shared content is going to receive.

  • Last point because I know I’m starting to lose some of you! Social media allows businesses control over their content. In order to have maximum effect for whatever the intended purpose, social media allows businesses the ability to control every aspect of the content their create to gain maximum results whatever they may be. 

Bottom line is that social media is important to businesses because it puts them in a position to control their content, interactions, communication that is taking place surrounding their brand, and their return on investment. The businesses that realize this and use it to their advantage are the businesses that are going to have the greatest success moving forward.

Check out these tips below on how to take control of your company’s social media:

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