BUS CONVERSATIONS

25th Feb, 2014
by Rory Braatvedt

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I recently seized the opportunity to embark on a grand journey. A journey to the office, from home.  

There was something extraordinary about this particular instance of travelling from one place to another - I was a passenger on a bus. For those of you who don’t know, a bus is one of those enormous, heaving contraptions that you'd expect to see two of each animal in. 

It was on this particular Noah's Ark that I happened to overhear a fellow passenger’s phone conversation with the agency responsible for his company’s Social activity. The gist of the conversation went something like this:

  • Client: “I posted to [my company’s] Facebook page last night only to find that you guys removed the post this morning, what gives?
  • Agency:  *I couldn’t hear the person on the other end of the line. I haven’t got the ears of a Hawk [Editor’s note: Hawks are known for their eyesight, not hearing. We’ve discussed this.]
  • Client: “Well I found it really frustrating and offensive that I can’t even post to my own Facebook page as the voice of my own company”

The conversation ended shortly after, and not on a pleasant note; several curse words were used to decorate the client’s feelings on the situation. Naturally, the unspoken comraderie I shared with this patron on account of our bus-going fellowship caused me to raise a helpful hand. Here’s what I said:

Facebook isn’t just a social networking tool; it’s a potentially instant, continuous touch point. It’s a consumer facing brand proposition, experience, or interaction that has no implicit reason to be any less important than other communications. Therefore, it should be treated with the same respect you would offer any other channel or platform.

Would you, as the decision maker, design your own creative and copy for a billboard? Most likely not (depending on context and size of company). Just because Facebook is largely free to use, it doesn’t mean that the detrimental impact of poor messaging is lessened.

Facebook represents a chance to massage the ongoing conversation with a valuable target audience, and with that comes the opportunity to keep your brand top of mind; slowly but surely leading to the next sale, lead, enquiry, interaction, or brand advocate. However, the messaging (and creative) needs to be consistent and smack-on perfect branding to be most fruitful. If someone else dips their fingers in the Facebook posting pie, the potential for a disjointed, disconnected, and off-brand consumer experience is likely.  

Hawks are known for their eyesight, not hearing. 

What’s the solution? Establish a 'Social Strategy' from the get-go, setting guidelines, examples of good practice tone of voice, and brand pillars from which to angle Social activity going forward. Map out your activity using a conversation calendar, and use it to ensure all angles are covered. If you're a  client determined to get involved in the peice, have your agency set placeholders for you and ensure that you mutually agree upon the criteria for posting first.

If you’re looking for Social assistance, or would like to catch a bus ride with me, feel free to contact me: rory@uniondigital.co.nz. Note that if you take a phone call near me, i'll be listening intently so that I can write an article about it. "Hey, Mum? No, no I'm at work. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Ok bye". Stay tuned for the full write-up.