Coping with social media's unpredictability

Social media influencers are unpredictable, but customer management guru Don Peppers offers a range of strategies for brands to better cope

Organisations cannot control social media influencers, but they can improve their ability to cope with the channel’s unpredictability, a customer consultant claims.

Speaking at a recent American Chamber of Commerce event in Sydney, co-founder of Peppers and Rogers Group and leading customer management consultant, Don Peppers, highlighted six strategies brands can adopt to prepare for the unpredictability of e-social communication. These are: Prepare for multiple outcomes; use analytics that don’t require a high level of accuracy; evaluate inputs, not just outputs; remain agile and respond quickly; identify and rely on the predictable trends; and trust-proof your brands in advance.

Peppers also outlined two overarching social media management principles which he claimed are distinct from corporate principles in play across many organisations today: Sharing information; and “decontrol”.

“As organisations, we need to deal with the fact that we can’t control social media influence,” he said. “You can’t manufacture authenticity – it’s spontaneous, and resistance is futile.

“Influence also cascades in the e-social world; it’s like an avalanche or brush fire, and it doesn’t matter which tree caught fire first… That means you have to be careful with word of mouth marketing.”

As an example, Peppers described Nestle’s former battle with Greenpeace over the use of palm oil in its Kit Kat products, which erupted on its Facebook page and quickly became a massive corporate issue. Instead of trying to take down YouTube videos, or deleting criticisms, the brand should have worked with its customers and the community on a better and more proactive response, he said.

Why you need to create frictionless experiences: Don Peppers
IAB releases social media comment guidelines for brands
Aussie consumers will drop brands that upset them

In addition, Peppers pointed out the norms of a ‘sharing economy’ are different from the ‘money economy’, and are driven by empathy, transparency and recognition rather than financial gain. In response, he advised brands not to offer money or free products to harness influence, but instead focus on ways of rewarding advocates through things like status awards, kudos, access to additional content, or direct contact with key brand ‘insiders’.

Another point worth noting about brand advocacy is that it’s not always the customers spending the most money who will bring your brand the most rewards, or who will have the most influence on social conversation, Pepper said.

“Design your value proposition for the most knowledgeable customers. They are the ones who will send you more customers in the future,” he said.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Channelling climate positive design

As we enter 2020, the new decade spells infinite possibility in digital and design. Yet ironically, the biggest trend we’re facing has nothing to do to with innovative technology. It is something much more ‘down to earth’: The state of our planet. Or more specifically: Climate change.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Non-linear transformation: The internal struggle

Let’s face it, transformation is messy. Every business is different, with a set of specific challenges based on a mixture of external (the market, competitors, regulation) and internal factors (technology, people and process investments over time).

Neil Kelly

Partner, transformation, Wunderman Thompson

7 ways to champion a human centred design culture

Human Centred Design (HCD) has come a long way in the last decade with many forward-thinking organisations now asking for HCD teams on their projects. It’s increasingly seen as essential to unlocking innovation, driving superior customer experiences and reducing delivery risk.

Shane Burford

Head of research and design, RXP Group

I think some of these ideas are great. These tips will help me to improve my system. Thanks!

Henry Reid

9 Ways to Improve Your Company's CRM System

Read more

It's a useful info for small businesses owners. We can't live without mobile apps. They are so helpful! It's hard to deny that.

Mae Davis

7 ways small businesses can benefit from mobile apps

Read more

Hi Jennifer,Fascinating read about design-led companies!If you would like to learn more, our Design Thinking and Innovation programme mig...

Andrea Foster

How to spot a ‘design-led’ versus ‘design-fed’ company

Read more

ABC web-site not easy to use/navigate. Even getting this far in sign-on to ABC My Space was problematic - it was asking for my password,...

Vee.

How the ABC used an online community to help build a movement

Read more

Thank you for your feedback, Astha! Always appreciated.

Vanessa Skye Mitchell

5 things marketers should know about data privacy in 2020

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in