Fear. Fear of Negativity. Fear of Social Media.
Almost every company has it when they take one look at what’s going on in social media. The question is whether you embrace it or run from it.
Fear of the unknown, of what “could” happen stops a lot of companies right in their tracks. It also has them making a lot of crazy decisions when it comes to their own internal social media policies.
There’s two pieces to fear in social media that can really hold a company back from being successful with their online marketing strategies. The first piece is being afraid of what your employees are doing online. This fear causes companies to restrict access to the internet. At Search Engine Strategies in New York in March 2010, keynote speaker David Meerman Scott said that 25% of companies restrict their employees access to the internet. Instead of looking at it as an asset, these companies are fearful of what “could” happen.
The second piece is fear of what people are saying in these social media communities, fear of them getting the message wrong or saying something bad. They site this as their reason for not getting involved with social media, or taking an approach of “telling” their customers online things, instead of listening and engaging. They are fearful of how customers are engaging with their products because they want it to be all about those carefully crafted and fine tuned messages they put out.
As David Meerman Scott pointed out one company that wasn’t afraid of “loosing control” during his keynote. Let’s face it, toilets aren’t sexy, toilets are pretty darn boring, you don’t think about them and you really don’t see them in commercials on TV. They are really more like a commodity, they are something you need to have and that’s that.
Toilet manufacturer CWS decided to just “loose control” and have some fun and created a commercial which went viral on YouTube. Not only did it go viral, but it managed to change the perception around their products and it has helped to increase their sales.
If a toilet manufacturer can loose control and find success in social media, I think it goes to show that just about anyone can. You just need to “loose the fear”.