By Judith Mugeni
A load shedding analogy: in 2016, remember that Social Media is the Power and PR is the Generator. South Africa, we felt the impact of Eskom’s load shedding in our lives, however one can argue that as time went by, we started following the power outage schedules and some of us planned for it. Since in the digital world, we are not always warned of a power outage, a power disruption can occur at any time. A stable source of power is needed to keep the lights on in our brand world, a powerful generator, even when Eskom does decide to load shed.
A social media plan without an integrated PR and Communications plan in this day and age is next to having NO generator, knowing of the possible power outages, and wondering what to do next when the lights go out.
Let’s use an Eskom load shedding analogy: Social media is the POWER, the electricity, the lights. When the full force of electricity is unleashed (a powerful, relevant, engaging, campaign), all the lights in brand world are on: advocacy, brand awareness, brand reinforcement, positive brand reviews, peer to peer recommendations, likes, retweets, followers, lead conversions and nurturing, customer upsell, customer conversion, customer service etc………..very rarely do brands think they need a generator in this case, as the lights are being kept on by the consumers themselves who are positively engaging with the campaign, the content. If you have a generator, it is in the background, not switched on or is running but on low. If you don’t have one at all, you are happy with the lights being on and are hoping that the lights will not go out (let me remind you here that hope is not a strategy).
However when there’s a power disruption, power outage or load shedding (unplanned, unexpected turn of events) – our lights in brand world go out: an increase in negative Word Of Mouth, negative brand reviews, negative brand conversations, unfollows, unlikes, blocking, recent case in point: Woolworths SA, H&M launch in South Africa, Steve Harvey and Miss Universe (although maybe in this case one can argue brought back interest in pageants), either ways you need a WELL oiled generator to kick in immediately, timeously, bringing the power back again to the levels we need, to switch our brand world lights back on (we have had an experience of having a sub standard generator, it kicked in after quiet some time when there was a power outage BUT would go out again leaving us powerless! AGAIN!) Consumers will not keep forgiving you for your blunders, you will eventually tire them.
So in 2016, keep your lights on with powerful social media campaigns, powered by a great PR and communications team.
Don’t just depend on Eskom’s load shedding schedule (there’s no warning of a power outage in the digital world, it just goes off), for your social media campaign, back it up with a Powerful generator, a great PR team, that responds, positively, timeously, whether the lights are ON or OFF.
Remember the impact of negative word of mouth, left unattended, might not be felt immediately but in the long term, you will see a chunk missing in your brand equity.
Disclaimer: All views expressed above are mine and mine only. For all marketing strategy needs contact me firstname.lastname@example.org