As time progresses, new innovations are constantly being introduced. Just look at where Sony has brought the PlayStation from its introduction less than 20 years ago. Recently unveiled is the new PS4, already being heralded as the “next big thing.” Thankfully, I’m not that into gaming – otherwise I’d have to get myself ready financially to shell out for the new iteration that will probably come out in a year and a half.
The same can be said, in my opinion, of social media. To think that the now ubiquitous Facebook started less than 10 years ago, and newcomers on the social media scene Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ are quickly gaining momentum, popularity and more importantly users, shows how dynamic the social media landscape truly is.
In my opinion, these changes are a result of both technological innovations, as well as overall human behavior. Changes in technology, such as the introduction of the micro-blogging site Twitter, have enabled users to post life and news updates, albeit a brief 140 characters, share photos and connect with friends, family and coworkers. Other technological advances such as the smart phone, have placed these social networks in the hands of society and have given the world at large 24/7 access to anything and everything they could possibly imagine. Having such an immediate connection to content has led to an overall change in the human psyche here in America, especially among our nation’s youth. The need for immediate satisfaction and human connection in a virtual capacity has changed the way marketers and brands need to approach their current and future social media strategies.
Knowing that with the changes in the social media realm comes more of a dialogue between the brands and customers should help guide the overall social media strategy. It will not be enough to just post content and allow consumers to either make their own assumptions or just consume the information. Unlike more traditional advertising, such as radio, which is more of a one directional information flow, social media and the changes that it has already brought require brand managers to constantly be aware of the conversation taking place online regarding its social media content. In some instances, it will be necessary for the company to jump in and participate in the conversation as well, whether it is to answer questions or provide damage control. Just this past week, Papa John’s Twitter handle faced an issue that serves as a perfect example of how the immediacy of social networking can be beneficial in spreading content quickly, but horrible if that content is being shared for all of the wrong reasons.
In an attempt to be culturally relative, Papa John’s asked NHL fans who they thought would win the Stanley Cup – the Bruins or the Penguins. This seems all well and good, but unfortunately the Penguins lost to the Bruins the round before and were no longer in the playoffs. This post remained on the company’s Twitter with no response for close to 5 hours until a new post corrected the mistake. Unfortunately, that was after the gaffe was picked up by major news outlets and sporting websites across the country.
The implications of the ever-changing social media landscape are numerous, but our Papa John’s example shows how important social media monitoring can be in such a 24/7 information age. Had managers been on top of their social media efforts, they may have noticed the hundreds of retweets and comments directed back from this post and seen why many in the country were cracking jokes at their expense. It is important for social media managers to constantly review their social media strategy to make sure they their approach will allow for immediate dialogue with consumers, plans in place for crisis communications, and make sure that the strategy being executed is delivering the results they are looking for.