Unsociable Media: Getting Your Messaging Right Online? It’s Elementary…

We know that when you’re developing your online presence you want to shout your message to the world. However, at MO Group International we understand that it’s just as important to pick and choose both the appropriate time and the appropriate message. An in-joke meant for your hard-earned community is not necessarily welcoming to your wider audience who have not yet committed to following you; they may not understand your message. Perhaps you want your brand to appear edgy, pop-culture savvy, and on the pulse of what’s ‘trending’, but there’s always merit in maintaining the core identity of your business without overusing the bright lights and megaphone. Your online presence takes time, and it also takes tact.

In short, you need to be balancing relevancy with substance and, most importantly, with sentiment.

January saw a couple of examples of companies getting this wrong, and not just on social media either. In America E! completely lost their sense of perspective during their live web stream of the 2014 Golden Globes, listing amongst their ‘Fun Facts‘ that Michael J. Fox suffered from Parkinson’s Disease.

Firstly, it’s likely that most of us know of Mr. Fox’s struggle with the disease – he’s been fighting it for over twenty years (his memoir titled ‘Lucky Man’ bears true testament to this). But most importantly, even for those unaware of Mr. Fox’s struggle, the fact is hardly a ‘Fun’ one and marks a poor taste in judgment on E!’s part. Needless to say, E! were faced the next day with a lot of backpedaling and a copious amount of humble pie after social media channels – and Twitter in particular – lit up in immediate protest after the blunder.

For the purpose of this article, however, we’re mainly going to look at the activities of JobSiteUK; a website that helps match job seekers to available roles.

The modern day television audience puts a lot of time and emotional investment into following a TV series, particularly ones that resonate or strike a chord with them. The water cooler effect has grown ever more intense – shows aren’t just shows anymore; they are an experience. So when it comes to the end of a series (or season) it’s not just a finale, it becomes an event.

Such was the case with the recent season finale of BBC television series Sherlock, which has viewing numbers of over 13 million. A long wait (two years to be precise) and a relatively short run for this new series had only heightened the expectations of loyal fans. However, when it comes to television and film, one word has become more and more prevalent owing to our use of the Internet: spoilers. So much so it became the catchphrase of the character River Song on TV’s Doctor Who – another series helmed by Sherlock’s executive producer Steven Moffat.

Whilst the Internet is admittedly a dangerous place to be browsing during and immediately after broadcast time, most of your friends and those you follow will know and (hopefully) abide by ‘the rules’. These aren’t official as such, but users know them. They are the unwritten usage rules of social media, and at such crucial moments in TV history there is only one rule. No spoilers! Your friends might not have seen it yet.

“Wow, wasn’t that a great episode! OMG I can’t believe they did that!” is perfectly fine. The devil is in the details… or deliberate lack thereof.

What JobSiteUK did however was to use Twitter’s advertising service to promote a tweet that revealed the final twist of the show, which gripped the attention of 10 million people. The tweet, complete with a large, eye-catching picture revealing the big surprise, was not even limited to the feeds of JobSiteUK’s followers, since paying to promote a tweet means that your post appears even in the timelines of non-followers. Put simply, JobSiteUK broke ‘the rules’, big time.

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(We’ve censored the tweet in question for fear of spoiling it for those who still haven’t gotten around to watching the episode!)

Twitter users involuntarily subjected to the post reacted unsurprisingly with anger. Whilst JobSiteUK’s ‘getting in on the action’ was praised by a few, even those who managed to get through the show without seeing the terrible tweet did not appreciate their severe rule-breaking. Their audience (followers and non-followers) united in denouncing the company’s use of social media, showing the potential for a blunder like JobSiteUK’s to turn a brand’s otherwise loyal community against its very creator.

“Safe to say I won’t ever be using @JobsiteUK thanks to their stupid advertising scheme giving away spoilers of Sherlock before it was aired!”

Amazing. @JobsiteUK spoil Sherlock for anybody who didn’t watch it live with their “creative” advertising.”

Ugh. So @JobsiteUK paid to mass-tweet an ad that is basically a major #Sherlock spoiler. Because their profit > your enjoyment. Classy.”

Typical. Log onto comp, Twitter ruins yest’s #Sherlock for me with it’s top tweet. Thanks @JobsiteUK, didn’t know you did telly spoilers”

Most of the other messages from angered Twitter users were far less complimentary of the situation!

This mistake is a prime example of trying to co-opt buzz to promote your company, and succeeding at the expense of your online reputation. Did the message succeed in bringing JobSiteUK to the attention of people beyond its normal reach? Yes – you’ve entered general discussion and have had a ton of online engagement, but the subsequent result was for the most part negative – you’ve alienated a large percentage of the people you reached, and have a lot of negative content on your Twitter page.

Whether the rules are socially accepted unwritten do’s and dont’s or rules carved in stone by the makers of the platform, if you’re using a social media channel you should know these – or have the common sense to know that such a tweet might not be such a good idea(!)

Sometimes it is difficult for businesses to see beyond the need to be as visible as possible, and to post content that will get as much engagement as possible. Numbers are indeed important, but arguably not as crucial as a brand’s integrity. It is, if you like, the difference between being famous and being infamous. There are many ways of being on tone, on message and on the ball without tarnishing your online reputation, and at MO Group International, our international community management team can work with you to create a full content plan for all your social media needs, combining resonance in the wider world of the Internet without sacrificing clarity or the message.

For a free quote and further details of how MO Group International could help you avoid such dramas please consult our website: www.mogi.eu.com.

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