Jump into social media, but use both feet

By Stephen Rhodes

A few weeks back I wrote a post about the poor communication habits of  some  fairly large companies Rogers, Toyota and Pampers. And  I mentioned that both Toyota and Pampers were struggling with online campaigns.

Chris Lake over at Econsultancy writes “Social media bites Dyson on the ass: fair or unfair?” – an interesting take on a customer and two competitors savvy enough  to be hooked up online, listening and responding, but clearly still thinking through the strategy.

Chris points out that Dyson is dealing with a small social media fire, sparked by Nick Donnelly’s post called ‘Why Dyson Airblade is Shit’.

Dyson at first was responsive, asked questions and offered to check the faulty equipment. Then  competitor Mitsubishi Electric entered the debate, commenting on Donnelly’s blog, that hey we make the same stuff and ours is better.

At this point Dyson picks up its marbles and goes home.

“We entered this conversation looking to locate a faulty machine and clarifying what we felt were factually misleading statements. We feel that the direction that this thread is going in will go nowhere (apart from some interesting fodder for you, Nick) and we’re not willing to play, I’m afraid.”

Chris’s blog post attracted lots of comments, well worth reading.

So why did Dyson exit the fray? They believed they were fighting a losing battle on two fronts – a hostile customer and a competitor and they were on foreign turf – Nick’s blog. Before social media raised “sounding off”  to an art form for anyone with a keyboard and an attitude, the rule of engagement in crisis management 101 was control the message. Clearly, Dyson believed in Nick’s world that wasn’t going to happen.

Dyson’s failing is similar to many companies who jump into social media without knowing why. They are plugged in  because they think they have to be, and not because it’s a well thought out strategy.

If you are jumping into social media, use both feet.

What do you think?

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