The BBC published an interesting article about why companies monitor every move you make on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
This article explores the notion that times have changed and companies can no longer afford to ignore the power of the people on social networks. It argues that companies monitor and flag possible problems as the boundary between news and social media are getting increasingly blurred.
I am wondering though if it is enough to monitor and if it is the best way to get the most out of social media.
Take Dave Carroll for example whose guitar was damaged by United Airlines in 2008. The airline refused to pay for the damage and he simply made a song about his experience which resulted in half a million views on YouTube within three days! United Airlines had a massive PR crisis and more unhappy customers vented their anger.
BP experiences something similar now after months of ignoring the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The official BP Twitter account has only under 20,000 followers whereas the fake account, set up by angry activists has just under 190,000 followers.
Both United Airlines and BP could have done very little to avoid the massive public outrage once it was under way even if they had monitored the social space. That’s because both companies have massively messed up.
Social media does not cover up your bad customer service and also does not make up for having a bad product. Social media magnifies your flaws and arms people with a powerful bullshit detector. In order to get social media right, you have to spring clean your company and have tabula rasa.
Social media ONLY works if you are honest, authentic and credible. If you can establish an interesting conversation with your customers and prospect customers, social media is a powerful too. The conversation however must not be about your brand and products and that is something many companies are just not getting.
Hugh Macleod sums it up beautifully with his cartoon below and I will leave you with that.