I have a little story to tell… It involves, among other things, two eggs, a recipe, a video, a Facebook Page, and a community manager. One of the eggs goes missing, but I assure you, no community managers were hurt in writing this article.
I’m pedantic. Yes, I know. It’s what makes me very good at some things, but it annoys the hell out of some people. You see, I’m the kind of person who notices all the small mistakes in films. No matter how minor or seemingly unimportant, a plot hole or continuity problem can really ruin a good movie for me! I’m also the kind of annoying person who sees mistakes in restaurant menus and calls the waiter to point them out. I’m the kind of person who counts the sides in polygonal bokeh, wondering what lens was used. So, picture me in front of Facebook the other day…
I had just finished up my work for the day (it’s around 11pm) and I’m scrolling through my News Feed (I do this a lot). At some point, I noticed a video from a well-known food products brand. It’s one of those recipe videos, showing one how to use a product in an imaginative way. Pretty cool. Well-made. Kinda like one of Buzzfeed’s “Tasty” videos. You know the ones I’m talking about.
So, I start watching – and I start “judging.” I can’t help it; it’s a big part of my job, to advise clients on how to optimise their content for different platforms!
Before I can judge any further, I’ve watched the entire thing. And then it strikes me…
I rewind. The second egg is nowhere to be seen. It hasn’t been used in any of the previous steps. It’s gone! I am annoyed by this. I MUST leave a comment. I write, “What happened to the second egg?”
I don’t expect a reply. And I think to myself – “judging” again – “Why don’t Brand Pages ever bloody answer???” To be fair, some do.
Then I get a messenger notification. It’s an acquaintance, who I haven’t seen in a while. She asks me, “Don’t you feel sorry for community managers? It’s 1am…”
I knew exactly what she’s talking about, realising that the big brand is probably her client – and we have a time difference. We laugh about it a little, I half-apologise. I know that my comment isn’t negative, and I know it’s not going to reflect badly on her. And I know how I would deal with a comment like that if I had to. However, I don’t know what kind of approval process they have in place, and I’m also aware that the client might not agree with the way that I would deal with it. I still expect her to come up with something witty – at least since she knows I know it’s her.
The answer came the next morning. It’s was pretty straightforward. Practical. Obviously, well thought out. None of the “playfulness” I was expecting.
This made me think, that my comment and the ensuing playful exchange that could have been, was a big opportunity for the brand to show it’s “human” and “approachable” face. It was also an opportunity for some free marketing. I mean, there’s me going “come out and play!” I am “verified” on Facebook, which causes my comments to rise to the top. So, the whole exchange is going to sit there, as long as the post exists. Now, my acquaintance either didn’t have direct control over what to answer, or didn’t think quick enough, to make it worthwhile. Either way, it was a missed opportunity – whatever the actual case might be.
A common theme I come across often, is the fear of negative comments. Brands – especially ones that have received consumer backlashes in the past – have become very sensitive to commentary. Having a social presence nowadays, is hugely important – and by putting themselves out there, they have opened themselves up to lots and lots of commentary. It’s a fact. And not all commentary is going to be positive. Again, a fact. Maybe though, isn’t it better just to relax a little, and start acting a little more like human beings, TALKING to other human beings?
I feel that brands tend to take themselves very seriously, which kinda makes them anti “social” sometimes. Not the way to be on social media. Being “on social” isn’t just about promoting your products. It’s about COMMUNICATING. And part of that, is HUMOUR.
The point I am making here, is that there’s always going to be someone out there who will ask where that second egg went. Whether you serve your audiences great, good, mediocre, or plain bad content, the silly, critical, sarcastic or abusive comments are always going to exist. But social media is 99% social, and 1% media. Right? Part of “being social” is being able to “play” a little. And I’m not suggesting you “roast” people like Wendy’s. That’s a different story. The magic is figuring out how to turn that one comment into something positive for your brand – and the person who wrote it.
As a friend likes to say, “Speak Human. Win The Internet.”
P.S. Create portrait or square images or videos for social media. Nobody wants to turn their phone on its side. ;-)