Embracing Social Media: The Good, The Bad and the Just Do It

There is an interesting article in Canadian Business Online today about how Canadian companies are learning to embrace their new online personalities on social media sites, like Twitter, and how they’re learning to deal (or not) with managing the phenomenon.  Vancouver-based Jenn Lowther, 6S Marketing’s director of social media is interviewed, and she says big Canadian companies still lag behind their U.S. counterparts when it comes to using social media sites like Twitter to convey their message. Lowther says,

If somebody is talking about you, whether it’s good or bad, inject into the conversation. Companies shouldn’t avoid social media – and should at least monitor what they contain.

Right, don’t bury your head in the sand–and many aren’t. Among Canadian companies that have been using Twitter are WestJet, Research In Motion, Telus and new telecom Globalive’s Wireless Soapbox forum for cellphone users. Also, Air Canada recently used YouTube to communicate with its employees. The response was positive. So, if it seems that using social media sites is a positive, more transparent way of communicating the message, what’s the hesitation? Well, according to the article, companies are still not willing to give up control of their message.  Also, the efficacy of the platform is yet to be proven.  According to Nielsen Online research, more than 60 per cent of Twitter users stop using the service within a month of joining.  What else?  There are still glitches like spamming and Twitter “squatting” or “jacking” in which a company’s name is used by someone else.  Still Lowther says all it takes is for companies to understand how this new game works.

Every social media site has its own set of rules on how you engage the community. Not following these rules will get a company called out.