Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Digital Filipino Talks: Corporate Communication Skills Needed to Handle Social Media

Last March 4, Digital Filipino Talks episode was about Corporate Communication Skills Needed to Handle Social Media. The discussion revolves on how corporations can communicate with their customers better online.

Corporate Communication Skills Needed to Handle Social Media from Janette Toral on Vimeo.

Corporate communications specialist of Chikka.com, Ms. Michelle Pestaño was interviewed for this topic.

Internal vs. External Corporate communications

In the beginning of the discussion, Ms. Pestaño mentions that communications should be separate for internal and external affairs. For internal communications, it is best not to let 3rd party or outsourced companies handle them.

Skills needed in communicating through social media

Ms.Pestaño mentioned several skills needed for corporate entities to effectively communicate online.

Some of them are...

1) the skill to monitor conversations online - in other words being tech savvy. Tools that monitor reputation online like socialmention.com can be used to know where a company's brand stands.

2) the skill (or function) of aligning what you say to the customer - in other words having 'consumer speak'.

3) addressing concerns of your customers online

She also added that excellent customer service and a great product in itself are keys to having a positive image of a corporate brand.

My views on this topic

As internet users, we sometimes want to address our concerns with a brand through social media sites, the most popular right now is on Facebook and Twitter. Since a lot of companies are using them for their online ad campaigns, we also expect them to reply to our queries.

On brand and services issues

There are some companies, specially telecommunication services that are continuously hounded by a lot of their customers because of poor service. Although the administrators on Facebook answer their problems online, they still get a lot of angry customers. Just like what Ms. Pestaño said in the interview, no matter how good your customer service is, complaints will arise if the product itself has a problem.

About answering concerns on contests and promos

There are some companies online, no matter how well-established they are, seem to have poor communication skills when being asked about a certain brand issue or promo. In my case, I asked a certain company when they will release a set of winners for a particular contest. A few months before, they replied, telling me to wait for further announcements. But after months of waiting, I asked again on the status of their contest. This time, no reply was given, even after days of continuous inquiries.

How can I now say now that this is a great company or brand, if they couldn't answer my simple question properly? When it comes to contests and promotions, people want transparency. Questions about promos and contests should readily be addressed by those who organize them.

On comment moderation

Some administrators representing the company or brand on Facebook moderate their comments done by their followers. It is understandable that they sometimes delete comments that are vulgar and inappropriate for public display. But there was one instance I made some criticisms that were deleted by the administrator.

It wasn't clear for me though why they did it, even though I know my remarks were not malicious in nature. The thing is, administrators shouldn't be too trigger happy deleting comments specially if there is nothing wrong with the comment itself. If it is constructive criticism, it should be retained. This is a free country and anyone is entitled to their own opinion.

My final word...

I hope that when corporations communicate with their customers online, they should always remember...

1) that they should interact as promptly and courteously as possible to promote their brand and image.

2) aside from communicating, they should do their best to improve their brand or service.

3) they should conduct themselves as fairly as possible to their customers when it comes to their contests and promotions. People deserve to know what is going on specially if a contest is canceled due to certain reasons.

This is my entry to DigitalFilipino.com's Talks Blog Contest. Be part of the conversation. Visit the contest page to join. Feel free to comment on my blog post about My view on Corporate Communication Skills Needed to Handle Social Media.

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