Friday, March 18, 2011

Gilbert Got Fried just never know who's reading your murmurings on the web.
     Case in point:  comedian Gilbert Gottfried - better known as the quacking duck on the Aflac commercials.
     Gilbert posted a couple of rather tasteless jokes concerning the horrific quake and tsunami in Japan...and Aflac gave him the boot - from a really nice job he'd held since 2000.
     So here we go:  social media and business social media ARE intertwined, no matter how much anyone may wish to think they are not.  If you are working for a corporation, company, even a local mom and pop outfit - your ramblings on line are a reflection on not only you but your employer.
     We like to talk about "brands" and "brand consciousness" a lot - but hey, it's not just Coca Cola that has a brand.  YOU have a brand.  You, personally, are your own brand.  And how you market your own brand online has EVERYTHING to do with the way you are seen at work.
     So - be careful what you Twit or post on Facebook.  Remember that social media is a great tool, but it can also drop a hammer on you faster than Bugs Bunny on Elmer Fudd.
     Your employer counts on you for service, and what you say off the job in public searchable forums can be damaging or rewarding to you.
      Just ask Gilbert Gottfried - who just Got Fried.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stuck Behind the Times

     SXSW is going on in Austin right now, and the interactive directory is larger than the film directory!  Let that bit of news soak in if you're still on the fence about social media, business or otherwise.
     Meanwhile, are you one of Twitter's 200 million account holders worldwide, either for yourself or your business?  A New York Times article quotes a statement that "Twitter does turn us all into marketers."
     Tweets can make or break you.  Just ask Hosni Mubarak.  The importance of having a real time digital presence on the internet cannot be understated.  I don't mean a web site.  Anyone can and does have a website.  I mean being active on Facebook or Twitter, where you can talk directly to your customers.  Find out what works, what doesn't.  If you don't know, then your customers will certainly tell you.
     For instance, a major bank has a Facebook "presence" but it's majorly lame.  No information about the bank.  Less than 50 people have "liked" the site, which doesn't even have the bank graphics on it.  No one has disliked it, leading me to think that the people who put up this page are the ones who like it.
      This same bank does have the usual corporate website, where customers can log in or send an email that's promised to be returned within 24 hours by a representative, which it isn't.  No wonder they have no real Facebook presence to speak of - judging by the unresponsiveness of their home page, they would be deluged with "not likes" and heavy negative commentary from customers.
     On the other hand, a company like Rent-A-Center does have a Facebook presence, and in a big way.  And it's moderated.  And there is a lot of positive give and take there, as well.  Rent-A-Center obviously feels more comfortable with its customers than other firms without Facebook sites: ie, they don't worry that they are doing such a poor job as to avoid direct real time interaction with customers in the cyber world.
     Or maybe the outfits without an ordained corporate Facebook presence are just --- sadly stuck behind the times.