Creating effective messaging can be very difficult, especially in regards to messaging online. While the web is great at disseminating information to a large number of people, it isn’t always the best at maintaining the intended tone of voice. Oftentimes, brands put something out there, only to find that it has been wildly misinterpreted. This is how disasters begin. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook bring interaction between brands and their customers to a new level, and require an entirely different approach than traditional advertising and marketing tactics.
Eliminate Buzzwords & Industry Jargon
When speaking with your followers online, you need to make sure that you are speaking in the most basic terms. By eliminating industry-speak, you remove opportunities for your messaging to be misinterpreted.
People Interpret Messages Differently
One of the primary goals in your social media messaging should be to bring your message down to the lowest common denominator. By sending a simple, easy to consume message, you begin to take tone out of the equation, making it easier for the masses to interpret your message in the intended manner.
In addition to conveying the right message, you want to make sure that you are asking your followers the right questions. While this may seem simple, you would be shocked at how often corporate social media management fails to properly take these factors into account.
Near the end of 2013, JP Morgan asked their Twitter followers to send in questions to their executive staff, utilizing the hashtag #AskJPM. This can be a very effective means of connecting your customers and to your corporate staff, and gives a human face to your corporation. However, when dealing with communities such as Twitter and Reddit, you must be prepared to answer difficult questions and deal with snarky users.
Some of the Tweets that JP Morgan received included:
Quick! Your in a room with no key, a chair, two paper clips, and a lightbulb. How do you defraud investors? #AskJPM
How do you decide who to foreclose on? Darts or a computer program? #AskJPM
I have Mortgage Fraud, Market Manipulation, Credit Card Abuse, Libor Rigging and Predatory Lending. AM I DIVERSIFIED? #AskJPM
Here are some ways to identify whether or not the engagement you are seeking on social media is going to work out like you plan:
Think Through Your Questions
Thinking through you questions allow you to begin to identify how people will respond. If your business is facing a public relations problem at the moment, you can be sure that individuals on social networks will use every opportunity to bring your focus back to the issue at hand.
Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst
You need to be prepared when you put a message out there that the response may be negative. Identify potential problems so that you are prepared to address them should they arise. Being unprepared in these situations is where the real public relations problems arise. A rushed response to an already escalating situation does nothing but create more problems.
Social media isn’t a one size fits all solution for businesses, and it is important to understand that what works for one brand may not work for another. The messages you try to convey to your followers on social media won’t always be interpreted as you intend, and by identifying the ways that a message could be misinterpreted, it becomes easier to avoid social media disasters.