Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Are You Bothered By How Insensitive Brands Are In Social Media? I Am.

Something has been bothering me all day. The constant Facebook posts and tweets in my news feeds from brands and media outlets unrelated to Hurricane Sandy just doesn't sit right with me. Yes, I know there's a world outside of New York and the east coast area and life goes on, but selling me coffee or telling me how to use a shampoo in 3 different ways just doesn't feel right.

We live in a hyper-connected world, so brands need to be extra sensitive to what's going on in the world and how it affects their audience. This is what geo-targeting capabilities in Facebook are for, so brands can segment their messaging and post only what's most relevant to their audiences.

Don't ask your audience who might have lost their home what they are doing for Halloween. Don't tell your audience that just stayed up all night without power or water that they should be partying it up with your brand of beer. It's a fast way to lose brand credibility. Brands should think about whether what they are posting makes sense to someone like me who is living in a bizarre bubble of constant tragic news and unusual circumstances. If what they are saying doesn't make sense, then don't tweet it. Your business won't suffer from one less tweet, but you could lose a handful a followers with tweets like the above from @adage. Gap and American Apparel are guilty of the same.

I am not just talking about social sensitivity during natural disasters but also shootings, riots and large-scale accidents. Social media can be a very powerful tool to connect with your audience but it can also hurt your brand and business tremendously if you don't use common sense. Rule of thumb: if a friend dear to you would punch you in the face about what you are going to post, then don't post it.

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