As an incurable social media enthusiast, the past few days have been filled with lessons. Numerous. However, one that stood out the most is how the ignorant outburst of a Civil Defence (a Nigerian paramilitary organization) commandant became the talk of the whole country for days. Opinions about the level of professionalism displayed by the presenters notwithstanding, it is yet another stride in the social media world. Scream viral! …and you have it. This is every marketers dream.
As at the time of writing, the video has enjoyed 246,767 views on Channels TV YouTube channel (the original source of the viral video). This is excluding those uploaded on other individual’s YouTube’s channels. Then add the various “remix” tunes plus the Tees made. If there’s any other word more extreme than “viral”, you can help tag this incidence.
Last night, I got some time to think about it from the perspective of a social media junkie. Here are few of my musings.
Long live word of mouth
Recently, someone tried to make case for the death of word of mouth marketing when he said “Gone are the days when your website can become popular just be telling a few friends…”. Plain wrong. Word of mouth is still much alive and may never die. The only thing changing is the medium and tools used. Today, word of mouth is deeply inspired and amplified by technology. In fact, word of mouth just got bigger with each individual having the ability to spread the word to thousands of people at the same time at the click of a button. The virality of the #OgaAtTheTop incidence proved this.
This era then calls for more conscious efforts from companies willing to reap from the wave and preserve their long-built brand essence. The instant nature of WWW and rapid developments in social technology is fast making several naive brands lose their relevance. Social media is serious business. This need not be preached hard any longer, at least for companies willing to accept today’s realities and see the future based on these realities. Decisions are now being inspired by common social media tools and platforms in the hands of many – your customers. People make decisions about you daily and those decisions are informed not essentially by how good your product is but by what others are saying about it.
Shit happens…what you do next determines your future
Perhaps, we can take another lesson in crisis management from same incidence. Truth is no matter how much caution you exercise, shit happens. Shits like a customer buying a dysfunctional product and immediately starts tweeting about it before even reaching the customer care for a possible replacement. What do you do when shit happens? Do you fold you arms and say “he’ll get over it?”. Well, you don’t want to. Shit happened to a Nigerian airline recently and we all saw the silly way they handled it. They finally took charge, but it was too late.
This again complements the first lesson. Today’s consumers are powerful, much more than you can imagine. With hundreds of Facebook friends and thousands of twitter followers, you don’t want to mess up with them. Never underestimate the power of a digitally connected customer. Read that again. Never, Ever underestimate it. It’s time you sit and plan your crisis response strategies before one hits you.
At the end, you don’t want your company to go viral for the wrong reasons. Do you?