“When Skittles Met Twitter” Navigating Social Media

“When Skittles Met Twitter” Navigating Social Media

Business Week, March 8, 2009: When Skittles Met Twitter

“A new study from San Francisco marketing firm Netpop Research reveals a shift in consumer Internet usage from entertainment toward communication that’s being driven by social media and networking sites. According to Netpop, 105 million Americans use social media sites, spurring a 93% increase in social networking since 2006. Increasingly, consumers are using these sites to comment—sometimes positively and frequently negatively—about brand experiences, products, and services.

That means companies need to find new ways to engage customers via social networking, attendees at the Social Media Influence confab agreed. But participants were divided about the best way to do it. According to Hubert Grealish, senior product marketing manager for Philips consumer and lifestyle unit, Twitter is ‘an inaccurate information medium.’ He believes that for major corporations such as Philips (PHG), the big issue is quality control. With potentially thousands of users tweeting real time, he says, companies will find it difficult to quickly and accurately respond to users.

“‘Twitter is useful for feedback but we’d need a small army of people to jump on every comment or complaint,’ he says. Instead, Grealish thinks it’s better for companies to internalize the insights they glean from social media and use them to make any changes needed to improve products or services.”

Marketing communication has typically been a one-way interaction, now with the meteoric growth of social media (think Twitter and Facebook this week), for-profit and not-for-profit organizations are presented with incredible opportunities to connect directly with micro-niche target groups and individual consumers.  There is just one problem, social media allows the user to talk back.  

In many cases, this direct consumer response is a powerful tool – instant and unprecedented access to the feedback of the average consumer.  As Skittles found out, when social media is not managed properly, this new conversation can quickly degrade to childish and obscene.  

Let the communication and technology consultants at CommuniSkills help your organization develop a communication plan for your organization’s social media campaign.  Our experienced professionals will work with your organization select the channels for your social media initiative, craft the message and create a management and oversight plan.  Overall, CommuniSkills’ goal is to establish a social media presence for your organization that capitalizes on the tremendous potential of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, blogs and anything else yet to come.

Contact us today.

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