Social Media: The Next Frontier for Yellow Journalism Embroils Chick-Fil-A, Ford and Celeb Boutique
If Facebook is policing content, it is not the only social platform doing so. Twitter has been caught doing the same thing. Twitter and NBC partnered to cover the Olympics. When a British journalist spoke negatively about NBC's coverage, his Twitter account was closed. It was later revealed that Twitter employees told NBC to submit a complaint so the page would be taken down. Twitter has issued an apology, but the damage is done. Every company and individual using social media has to accept the reality that if they don't follow the platforms arbitrary guidelines, their accounts will simply disappear. It takes a long time to create a network. Losing it could be disastrous.
There are several issues to be considered in the yellow journalism age of social media:
- Is your activity representing your brand well to the right people? Who knew there were so many people watching the Chick-fil-A controversy? How many are watching what is posted on your brands social platforms without commenting? This silent majority may vote with their wallets for or against your business too. It's not likely that they will come out in mass, but any negative votes are a loss of revenue. (It's time to answer the Scott Monty tweet question. Should the tweet have been shared privately?)
- Have you positioned your business to withstand a negative attack? Are your webpages optimized or will they be replaced on search engines by negative articles on websites with better SEO? Do you have a social media disaster plan in place or will you have to wing it when it happens?
- What happens if your brand's networks are shut down? If you aren't capturing email addresses and creating social hubs, how will you stay in touch with your network? Are you building your financial house on social media sand?
- Branding happens. People are watching what happens online. Your business is at risk even if you aren't participating in social media. For example, a disgruntled customer posted a negative review of a local car dealership on Ripoff.com. He then created a fake Twitter account using the dealership name. Every tweet included a link to his review. How is that for branding?
There are those who say that social media is about creating relationships instead of delivering a return on investment. I'm not one of them because I believe that every business investment must be done with an expectation of a return. Participating in social media is expensive. Shouldn't you do everything possible to promote and protect your brand?