Should Brands Fear Social Media?

A social media strategist and an attorney walk into a bar…

It sounds like the beginning of a strange joke, but in reality it was the beginning of a social media panel that I recently attended called “Tweeting: It’s More Than Just for the Birds” at The Trestle Inn in Philadelphia. Hosted by the British American Business Council of Philadelphia, the panel featured Michael Leis, SVP of Social Strategy, and also included the Social Media Director for Visit Philly, the Digital Marketing Manager for Aberdeen Asset Management, and an attorney for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP.

As someone responsible for actively managing the Digitas Health LifeBrands social media channels, I was excited to learn more about how I can successfully use social on behalf of our company, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The biggest takeaway for me was this: For businesses, getting involved in social media is a risk because it’s not a controllable medium like traditional marketing. The attorney had a lot to say about this and brought up several interesting legal issues that companies can face by becoming active on social. That said, the consensus among the panelists was that it’s actually a bigger risk for businesses not to get involved in social—and for most businesses, that’s not a risk worth taking.

I also learned that when conflict arises on social media, it’s best to confront it head-on. If a disgruntled customer hijacks one of your posts to air their grievances, don’t just ignore them or delete their comment—respond to them in a calm and articulate way to diffuse the situation.

And, when all else fails, humor is a great way to win loyalty.

For more information about the social media panel mentioned in this post, go here.

– Sophia Moriarty, Associate Manager, Communications