"What unutterable rubbish you post on our Facebook page, Emma?!"
The author's reflections may come in handy for those who manage brand pages on social networks.
This anonymous letter was received and published by cossa.ru – an information portal about digital marketing and communications. And it turned to be a story worth sharing. It’s unknown how true this confession is, but the problem raised is rather acute – the author’s reflections may come in handy for those who manage brand pages on social networks.
Here it is:
I used to work in Russia, and now I‘ve moved to London. I changed a job in a large Russian telecom operator for a job in a large multinational telecom operator. We earn about $ 70 billion a year, and our services are used by 400 million people. Actually it’s not of a key importance, and I’m saying this just for you to have an idea and understand the situational context.
We have our brand page on Facebook as it’s expected from any company of today. Moreover, it’s not the single page that we have. Every region our company operates in has its own Facebook page. On the face of it they seem quite popular. For example, the page of our Egypt office has 5 mln. subscribers. Here in Britain we have fewer, about 700 thousand subscribers. Including me, by the way. But actually they shouldn’t consider me a subscriber: it’s been ages since I pressed the “I-don’t-want-to-see-this” button. In my opinion it’s the greatest SMM failure and you’ll have to try really hard to find a person who is more loyal to this company than I am.
I am really interested in my corporation, and I genuinely “liked” the page but then “unliked” it even more genuinely so that to never see these posts again. And it seems to me I am not the only one.
I’ve just had a look at our Faceboook page: the last post has collected 15 likes. 700,000 subscribers and 15 likes. No, seriously, 15 likes from all over the country? Statistically this is zero, an error, these people must have pressed the “like” button by mistake. Or it was Emma herself and her 14 colleagues who did it. Well, at times my colleagues do manage to engage the audience and they then get as many as 300 likes. But it’s around zero all the same, isn’t it? I have 200 friends on Facebook and if I simply post a dirty word, I think I’ll get a greater response.
Of course, if I worked somewhere in an SMM department, I wouldn’t say such things. But I’m not connected with marketing communications directly, so I can say whatever I want. Moreover, it’s unlikely that my colleagues in Britain read this blog.
It’s Emma, a cheerful friendly British woman, who holds the reins of our Facebook page. A bit overweight, she looks like Bridget Jones. We work in the same office building. Every time I see her I want to grab her by her shoulders, shake her and shout straight into her face: “What unutterable rubbish you post on our Facebook page, Emma, ah?! A new HTC One in our shops? A lottery? Who cares?!”
At this point I’d like to mention what exactly is posted on our Facebook page. Generally speaking, we’re on trend, we write the same crap as the others do. In Russia as well, by the way. The most common posts you come across are something like “We’ve started selling a new Sony phone, hurray!” Or greetings like “Happy Mother’s Day!” Something about football is a must, it’s England after all. Standard flirting with the audience, like “What is in your playlist on repeat?” And ads, of course, nobody can do without them. So, I read all this and wonder, do we really have nothing else to say? Especially since it’s a social network. Maybe I’m a bit naïve but to my mind Facebook is a network of friends, wasn’t it originally intended so?
If I read a page it means I’m interested in the person, the company, what’s going on inside. And I’m absolutely not interested in advertising, direct or indirect. Who would like to be friends with Ronald McDonald whose mission is to entertain you as long as you buy a burger? What’s exciting about Hot Dog Man? Is a new Samsung phone in the shops really the most interesting thing that has happened in our huge corporation?
If I could have it my way I would make Emma call her friends before publishing another “genius” post. To call everyone and dictate her post on the phone: “Hi Kevin! Do you have problems with your phone? Find out about a new HelpApp at our website! Bye!” Then one more call in a couple of hours: “Hi Kevin! It’s Emma again. Win tickets to a fashion show in London for your friend and yourself! And I don’t care you’re in Edinburgh. Bye!” By my calculations in a week Emma wouldn’t have friends any more. Hopefully this may make her understand that every post must be engaging.
Especially since there are a lot of interesting things going on. Our company is huge, 60 thousand people, a thousand real-life interesting stories happen every day. Despite the fact that I’ve unsubscribed from our Facebook page, I continue listening to stories from other departments. Yesterday an engineer told me about laying a new communication channel through la Manche, about all the complexities, about how and why it is being done at all. And I had never even thought how challenging it is to stretch a cable along the ocean floor.
My friend from the CPE department, in simple words, told me about what is going on at the market at the moment and what people are buying. And I also found out that an iPhone owner generally spends twice as much than an owner of a Nokia, that is why they promote iPhones, even if at a loss.
Another friend told me how they come up with new tariff plans, why they are sure to resonate with customers and so on. The guys from the analyst department confirmed that porn sites generate almost as much traffic as Youtube. Well, there are tons of stories, I’m even interested in the atmosphere in other offices, what is cooked in Egyptian corporate canteens, how our business is organized in Fiji. But you won’t find these stories on our Facebook page. Nothing of the kind. Not a single chance.
And when I meet my friends I also tell them stories. Yes, the stories about the life of our company. What else do I have stories about? About the upcoming football match to which our company is raffling off the tickets? Nobody will really give a darn for these lotteries. I have less than 700,000 followers on Facebook but I’m sure that my stories are really engaging.
I don’t know why I’m writing all this, it seems to be all in vain. I’ve had a talk about it with Emma, and in response she gave me some statistics on the audience coverage. And she truly believes that she’s useful for the company. Maybe she’s right, and it’s me who knows nothing about modern technologies. But I am just a user, like everyone else. And I am sure that everything that works in the real world, in the same way works in social networks. We want communication, interesting stories and useful information. And we don’t want to have any social bonds with an unimpassioned advertising robot.
Why don’t all these Emmas talk to us like human beings?