Seeing red: Antisocial media needs to stop

Clients and agencies must see social comms as more than an invasive add-on, says Ben Caspersz, MD and founder, Claremont Communications.

Ben Caspersz: MD and founder of Claremont Communications
Ben Caspersz: MD and founder of Claremont Communications

Can you imagine what would happen if you walked down a high street with a megaphone shouting in people’s faces about how awesome you are?

Or if you snuck up behind them and forced a leaflet into their pockets?

Or covertly followed them home and wrote down every detail about what they’re wearing and where they live?

This is exactly what so many organisations do on a daily basis with their social media: a torrent of one-way, hard-sell, invasive tosh that rubs people up the wrong way and is counterproductive.

This is because social media are treated as an add-on. Yes – in 2015. Still. Instead of social technologies being engineered into a campaign strategy, social is too often the cherry plonked on the cake a few minutes before the party guests arrive.

Or social media are palmed off to Gareth the intern. Yes, he uses Snapchat on a daily basis and gets away with incredibly skinny jeans, but he probably doesn’t understand the nuances of reputation and the business objectives underpinning what he has been asked to do.

Too often social media are ambushed by overzealous sales and marketing departments. "It’s end of the quarter and we’re down on last year… can you bang out some tweets?" Just. Say. No.

Clients: unpack your sales from your marketing; be clear about when’s best to forge relationships and when’s an appropriate time to hold a conversation (hint: social media suck for conversations). Agencies: grow up, tell your clients the truth, don’t be evil.

Social media have revolutionised PR and embedded our craft at the core of marketing communications. PR practitioners are more indispensable now than ever.

Antisocial media are a blight and it needs to stop. Empathetic, conversational comms is the only way to go. 

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