Currently, there’s been a surge in the debate about what makes a social media expert. So here’s a story about how not to be one.
There’s a storm erupting over on the Facebook page of Nestle, the confectionary manufacturer (by the way, substitute “protesters” for “fans”). Apparently, their use of palm-oil in their products has been systematically eroding parts of the Indonesian rainforest, the natural habitat of orangutangs. This is a PR nightmare to be sure. So you’d think that they’d be using the Facebook page to address the concerns of their consumers and show that they’re working at rectifying the problem.
Instead, they’ve decided to harp on about how the protesters are violating intellectual property laws by altering their precious Kit-Kat logo. When confronted about this blatant corporate censorship, the response from Nestle was:
It’s about as mature as trying to get Greenpeace to pull down their very valid YouTube protest video on the same grounds of intellectual property violation. Just the thing you’d expect from a so-called responsible corporate entity – especially when they’re in the wrong. You’ll notice that it’s true all around: when corporations are trapped they don’t answer the accusations and choose rather to sink the truth under a mass of legal-powered bullshit.
Naturally, the outcry has been irate and incessant, with calls for boycotts and worse. In fact, this story has been picked up by SKY news and CNET.
Not good, Nestle, not good.
And here’s the rub, courtesy of Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer: “Whether this will be remembered as a single badly mismanaged user backlash or a pratfall of social-media marketing in general has yet to be seen.”
This needs to be bigger than that.
You see, all the moaning and whining online means nothing if it can’t be actioned offline. Consumers need to learn that the power doesn’t lie in the posting of comments but in mobilising the masses who read those comments into one targeted attack against the brand’s weak spot: its bottom line.
Screw this digital petition signing bollocks. If you are offended, get up off your ass and do something about it.
Social media is great as an awareness tool but it’s not half as powerful a weapon as your own initiative and commitment.
Show brands like Nestle that you won’t be pushed around. Show them that social media is more than just the digital equivalent of hand-wringing, dinner-party whinging and sullen finger-pointing.
And make a real, lasting impact that will have brands thinking twice about treating the people that keep them in business like second-class citizens,