Radio Silence

Firstly may I say that I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and wish you all the best for 2012!

It has struck me how few business posts there has been on Twitter in the past couple of days and in the week leading up to Christmas. In many ways I’m sure we’d all expect to not see many truly corporate businesses tweeting just now, however I’m surprised to see the complete silence of many of New Zealand’s biggest and usually most active Tweeting companies.

It seems strange to me that a major bank for instance, with its full financial power, would let their Twitter and Facebook accounts stay silent for days – presumably because their Social Media Manager is on holiday! Surely these major companies understand this is a time social networks are busier with so many people enjoying leisure time; not to mention when many want to be able to ask questions about opening hours etc.

Perhaps what has surprised me more than these major companies however is the lack of engagement from businesses that are notably busier at this time of year – retailers, hospitality and tourism businesses. It is a time of year when many of our local audiences are at a loose end, travelling domestically or even actively looking for something to get out and do. As a pro-active tourism operator you could be reaping the reward by joining the conversation and flying the flag for your business.

This leads me back to a point I’m sure I’ve said before. If the reason you’re not posting on social media is because your Marketing Manager is on holiday, your social media strategy is wrong. It is important to get your wider operations team involved in posting to social media to give diversity to your message and tone, as well as to keep it continuous and ‘real.’ Take this opportunity to buy your business a Christmas present in the form of a smart phone or tablet and encourage your team to share engaging encounters whilst they work – whether it be a photo of a dish being plated up in your cafe, a short video of your latest tour group leaving or simply your special offering of the day. By using this kind of technology you can keep the time it takes to a minimum and avoid team members having to leave the operation.

It is important to remember to distinguish between who is posting when there are multiple users, do this by simply using an upward arrow and the persons initials like this ^JH

Whilst the fruits good for the picking, why not give it a go and try Tweeting/Facebooking when you maybe wouldn’t normally – companies engaging outside of standard business hours often get better results!

4 Comments

  1. Michelle Ackers December 29, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    A common problem I would think James. I’d imagine many Marketing Managers like to take control of their social media strategy rather than share it around too…perhaps they are nervous of inappropriate or inarticulate content being posted by less media savvy colleagues?

  2. James Hacon December 29, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Fair comment Michelle, something I have heard many times when helping businesses to develop online marketing strategies.

    Developments in social media and mobile marketing mean that our consumers are looking for instant responses. A time will soon come when it will be impossible to expect one person to ‘control’ communication within a business. Marketers need to realise that their job is not to control their company’s communication & marketing, but instead coordinate it. Further bridging the gap between operations and marketing, ensuring that each person working within any given business sees themselves as an important brand ambassador and important to the ‘marketing’ effort.

    Consider this; if you are not happy for someone to communicate via social media on behalf of your business – why do you have them interacting with your customers where it counts most, whilst they are experiencing your business!

  3. Aaron Pinkham December 29, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    I saw your original tweet about this, and totally agree. A certain travel company which generally posts about traffic updates-hasnt’t tweeted since Xmas eve! I always found this useful to give updates to travellers instore.

    I’ll admit to being lacking with tweets/fb updates over the break. However, I’ve been monitoring it in case of any q’s. But definitely aware of the lack of communication from the large companies.

  4. gina December 30, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Great reminder James. I think that as Kiwis we may sometimes also forget that the rest of the world – who read and watch you – doesn’t stop for two or three weeks over the holidays.

    And this is a gem for all marketing managers to remember (including the marketing manager who is typing this post!) – if you are not happy for someone to communicate via social media on behalf of your business – why do you have them interacting with your customers where it counts most, whilst they are experiencing your business!

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