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Why do big enterprises tend to fail on social media?

Arya Gumilar
Arya Gumilar

General Manager of Content & Engagement at SAC

Jakarta  /  Mon, September 9, 2019  /  04:11 pm
Why do big enterprises tend to fail on social media?

Social media has become a must-have platform for companies, big or small. (Shutterstock/Billion Photos)

Lately, big enterprises have been asking these kinds of questions, "We heard a lot of SMEs and individual’s businesses have sky rocketed because of social media. But why doesn't it happen to us? We have invested: a complete team, better and adequate pieces of equipment and ad boosters. Still, it dosen’t seem enough".

Managing social media indeed requires investment. However, what kind of investments do we need?

Chief Engagement Officer

Imagine this, a friend of mine started a coffee shop business. But since he could not afford to pay a team to handle marketing and social media, he does everything by himself.

He told everyone that opening the business was an attempt to accommodate his passion for coffee. He shares his journey to find the best beans. He records every process: roasting, serving and then posting it on social media. Every time someone asks a question in the comment’s section, he happily answers. If there was a story involving his social circle, he would tag his friends.

Now, let’s see what big enterprises do for their social media accounts.

They make a team. To save money, they usually hire fresh graduates. The young blood might be able to spot interesting content on social media, but do they know the long story of how the company started? Do they dive into the same cultures and spirit belonging to the founders of those companies?

When people ask about the products, do they have the proper knowledge or do they have to transfer the question to the product department? Do they have the same faith toward the product as the product-maker?

Unless the CEO is willing to be actively involved with their own social media, one of the investments needed is a team that is well-paid and well-trained to get a comprehensive understanding of the company's soul. Make each one of them feel and act as the owner of the business.

Story to tell

A small business is usually attached to the founder and appears as a person. Therefore, as a human, he will rarely run out of stories to tell. Isn’t it more emotional to hear stories about a person building a business that he could help his unemployed neighbor get a job? Isn't it more relevant when the audiences hear a story about the dream of opening their own businesses so they can have more time to spend with their family?

It's possible for big enterprises to have an emotional and human-friendly story-telling approach only if their concepts and understanding of branding are well-constructed and they take it seriously from the start. What to remember about branding is that it is not just about visual consistency.

Long before social media existed, the demand for a company to present itself as a person, who would be able to build an emotional connection with all its stakeholders, had been present. Branding is an effort to make a company become “human” and be able to communicate with the audience, human beings, at every channel.

David and Goliath

The impact of internet 2.0 - and social media as a product - is the collapse of the vertical communication structure in society. Power is now in the hands of netizens.

If relevancy is the key to establish relationships on social media, then the biggest "weakness" of big enterprises is that they are simply not just the guy next door.

There is a kind of David and Goliath situation on social media. When the two fight each other, the public no longer cares about who is right and wrong. The public tends to defend who is considered weak. And in the world of social media, big enterprises are the Goliath, a less likable giant.

In this flat world, social media must be used as a space for dialogue. It needs to be considered as an advantage for the company. Finally, there is a relevant medium for communicating the relevant message, not as a hassle.

The same way applies when a company treats online communities and influencers. Almost all companies complain about influencers’ behavior, such as having discipline issues and failing to follow agreements. At times, they can also be reluctant to understand the terms of payment in a huge and complex organization.

It might help us to look from the other side. Their unprofessional way of doing business could be a benefit for the company. Treat them as friends. Call them not only for reminding when to post, but we can also ask, “How is your child doing?” Voluntarily, they will become the brand advocates for the company.

The point is every company must be present on social media as a whole human being. Its spirit must represent the core personality of the company: A company-driven human being. (wng) 

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After 10 years in the advertising business as a creative director, the writer established KayuApi Digital Reputation, a firm specializing in using the digital channel as a medium for public relations.

In 2018, KayuApi merged with SemutApi Colony and Klix Digital, becoming one entity as SAC, a branding, marketing, creative consulting firm, where Arya Gumi is the GM of content and engagement.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.