Turns out that my Social Media post from last weekend came just at the right time! I have just come across a wonderful example how NOT to do SM. And even better – it comes courtesy one of the largest camera manufacturers in the world, Nikon.
Laudably, Nikon has a very active SM stream on FB. Their use of the social network is commendable: They post on a regular basis, i.e. once a day. Their posts are written in a conversational, almost personal style, avoiding too much tech-speak and therefore managing to be inclusive across the amateur-pro divide. They try to be topical, i.e. referring to current events, holidays and seasons. And they always phrase their status updates in such a way that they engage the readers either by posing questions or by sparking discussions. However, the poor PR person is who is responsible for the Nikon FB updates produced a major slip-up yesterday (click here if you want to read the whole of the 2300 comments!).
A lesson in how to alienate your readers by trying a little bit too hard to push a product while creating a brand-community. Because the issue is clear: A photographer is NOT as good as his or her equipment. If you had top gear and a rather bad eye for composition and motif, you’d still produce crap. And similarly, you can still produce great photography even if you haven’t got the money to buy top glass. Photography is NOT about the hardware. If it were, we could send robots out to take photographs and to produce art. The lenses and the cameras and the filters and the post-production effects are tools but not necessarily prerequisite to producing great images.
To get back to the SM aspect of this storm in a waterglass: As you can see from the screenshot, Nikon’s FB subscribers were very quick to come back with critical feedback. That’s what SM is about – it is a channel for quick, easy and barrier-free communication with clients/users/fans/customers. Administrators of a FB fanpage need to be conscious of that at all times – SM can easily turn against you. And will spread a negative message faster all across the internet than a positive one. Cos, let’s face it, everyone loves a little schadenfreude or a measure of gossip.
The update has received 2300 comments and 810 shares – take a guess how many of those were positive? You could argue that any PR is good PR. But a SM post like Nikon’s there, even though it doesn’t concern me in the slightest (Canon girl through and through), reinforces my prejudices or the way I perceive the rival brand to my preferred camera manufacturer.
So… sorry to say this, but I remain unimpressed with Nikon!
UPDATE: Nikon eventually released an apology via their FB stream. Just goes to show the power of Social Media. At least Nikon is clever enough to understand that. Here’s their apology: