No communication is better than the person who engages in it. Kenyan businesses who have adopted social media are in the process of finding this out. For most, communication for whatever reason has been limited to press releases and mass distribution of standardized letters. It is only after incorporating social media (without a social media plan or strategy which usually defines engagement) that they realize this is a new ball game altogether where the old rules do not apply. Using press release formats on social media channels proves counterproductive and communication therefore fails. The only way forward is for the person or businesses engaging in the communication process to get their thinking right as far as social media in concerned.
Some months back, I read a friend’s tweet where he was expressing his frustration with some businesses. He asserted that if a company puts up a blog, the least they can do is respond to comments. And that is how wrong businesses are getting it having being used to sending statements to media houses, the are now copying the same statements and posting them as blog posts; and then sit back thinking the work is done. The result is usually a backlash like that from my friend or people ignore you altogether knowing that you do not add value to them.
For instance, when engaging in social media, the following a must:
This is the reason I recommend that businesses not only hire social media practitioners to train them on the rules of engagement in social media but also to create positions within their organizations for social media personnel. Alternatively, the communication team needs thorough training on social media use and engagement. The reality is that the traditional marketing and communication roles have entailed talking and not listening. With social media, all these change because the reality of a social age demands it.
Lee Thayer wrote that:
Communication always takes the path of least resistance. The more used communication channels are, the more likely they are to be used.
Though talking about something different, he might as well have been defining social media today. They are the most used communication tools today and it all boils down to ease of use. They are “the path of least resistance” because with social media, everything from publishing, publicizing, creating, and sharing has been made easy. And when businesses enter the social media scene in Kenya without appreciating this, they fail because social media loses its appeal when used a one way form of communication, an extension of mass media.
So before you engage in social media read and learn on the dos and don’ts. Better yet, contact me.
Which Kenyan Businesses do you think have failed when it comes to social media?