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Thursday
Jun132013

Should Organizations Be Sassy On Social Media?

It’s no secret that social media has experienced incredible growth over the last couple of years. 67% of online adults use social networks, according to Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. In addition, almost all nonprofits have a social media presence. Unfortunately, the old rule - good content is still king, seems to have been forgotten by many organizations on social media, particularly on Twitter. Yes, the 140-characters can be limiting, but as campaigners working on creating social change on the ground it’s critical that we use online channels like social media to raise awareness, debunk myths by the opposition, and inspire people to take action. And that means we need to get super creative and sometimes even sassy, funny, and show emotion (you know be human) when talking to our community on social media.

Last night my colleague Danny Brown, co-author of Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing shared this hilarious conversation on Twitter between three major brands, HTC, Samsung, and LG. The conversation started with @HTC_UK tweeting “Last night we won the “Hottest phone of 2013” at the Mobile Awards” It then linked to a picture and they ended the tweet with “#ouch @SamsungMobileUK.

HTC accomplished two important things here. They announced a big award the company won to their community and then took on their competitor Samsung by using humor and a bit of sass. Samsung and LG responded with funny comebacks – the best one being from LG. They mocked up a great photo with text overlaid that said “Calm down dears. It’s only a phone.” Check out the screenshot that documents the conversation exchange between all three brands, courtesy of GeeksAreSexy.net.


When Danny first shared this with me, I said bravo. As we have talked about before on Frogloop, social media started as a very social space and in response to one-way communications channels like Direct Mail, Email, etc. These days a lot of it is filled with boring content like check out our article on X. Take action on Y. Or vanity metrics driven content like “Share our photo if you believe in world peace.” First of all who doesn’t want world peace? Secondly, sharing a photo on FB is not going to get us world peace.

What is also impressive about this exchange is that it appears that the social media staff managing the twitter accounts was empowered by senior management to be creative and show personality through their social media interactions.

"It would be great if this approach is one encouraged by head office. It shows a human being and humor behind the brand, something we need more of. We ask brands to be honest, but often don't let them be honest unless it fits in with our viewpoint. It’s as though we’re asking for one thing but expecting them to deliver something else. Brands should have fun with each other - there are enough boring, bland businesses out there. Seeing the exchange here makes it more interesting, and encourages me to shop with them - especially LG, who owned this."

Can nonprofits adapt this approach to their social media content? Of course they can. Over the years nonprofits have been successful at telling good stories and showing emotion in Direct Mail and online advocacy campaigns. That same strategy (showing the human side of the organization) needs to be applied to social media too.

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