Several years ago I learned how to write a news release.
I learned the formula while Facebook was finding its way off the Harvard campus. I learned the writing style before Twitter was a word. I learned from retired news journalists who never heard of social media.
Apparently, so did every other marketer writing press releases.
I cringe every time I read the news section of a website. The "leading" maker of some product "streamlines" some process in some "revolutionary" way. Hyperboles, what?
Where's the story?
I was recently asked how best to complain via social media in a civilized and concise manner. The question got me thinking. Is social media the best way to complain in the first place?
Companies are still not monitoring social channels as actively as they should. In one Maritz research and evolve24 study of 1,298 Twitter complaints, only 29% of users received a response from a company.
So what is a consumer to do?
I like craigslist. I've used it several times for both buying and selling big ticket items without the costs associated with eBay or even my local classifieds. The success is due to two things: it's free (mostly) and it has a large community of users.
The big problem for me is the user-interface. I don't know of any other successful website that has done less in 15 years. Granted, it seems to work for this giant, but aren't we ready for the next craigslist?
I've always enjoyed writing. And I've wanted to start blogging for the better part of a decade. But, I just now started. There was always an excuse not to start.
Here are the ones I used:
Not enough time. Between school, work, marriage and having a kid, I always felt like I didn't have the time. It's not that I have any more time now than I did before, but I finally carved out an hour out of my day to write. Sometimes it's early in the morning after the dog nudged me a awake and everyone else is still sleeping. Other times it's at lunch or right before I go to bed. I tried to plan writing time by penciling it in on my calendar, but I found that I was too tired after my regular job and not motivated.
I'm a planner. I had two retirement accounts that I regularly contributed to by the time I was 20. I sometimes plan meals months in advance with freezer cooking. I can map out vacation plans like no other. But when it comes to business strategies, I restrain myself.
It's not that planning is bad for business. It's just that it's been taken too far. I see communication specialists putting together pages of research that took months to compile to decide whether or not to utilize AdWords. Even more disturbing, I've seen IT documents run into the hundreds of pages for a single project.
If you're going to use social media, then embrace commenting. Don't just tolerate comments. Don't just accept comments. Interact. Comment back.
If you are a company of one person, you may not need a policy for responding. Otherwise, before answering comments, develop some rules to live by. If you're too busy, you can download the Social Media Response Flow Chart I already created for you.