This week, Facebook and Twitter were awash with people voicing their disgust with Nestlé who Greenpeace accused of sourcing palm oil for its Kitkat brand from a company charged with illegal deforestation. Greenpeace drew attention to its message by posting videos of activists in Orangutan suits at the company's HQ - which it distributed widely to broadcast and social media channels.
But wherever you stand on the politics, there is no getting away from the fact that Greenpeace has the upper hand when it comes to getting its message across loud and clear on all of its marketing channels including social media; whilst the conglomerate seems to have a somewhat shakey social media strategy, which according to PR Week, 'quickly became a social media crisis'.
Whatever your point of view, this is a clear lesson of the dangers of embarking on social media without first giving any thought to a strategy, putting the strategy into a plan which is then clearly disseminated to employees who are responsible for social media; and ensuring that it is in agreement with all other marketing and brand messages. After all you wouldn't let a junior address the press would you?
For companies who are scared of dipping their toe in the water as far as social media is concerned. A good way to start is to deploy an enterprise social network - such as Webjam - within the comfort of your own environment, so employees throughout the company can get used to using social media. Its also a great way of opening up conversations and you never know where it might lead ...
Reports this week that Twitter is to launch ad. serving in search results have received mixed responses from brands, with Paul Troy, Barclaycard's global head of advertising quoted in NMA as saying: " Advertising on Twitter will feel like your social media strategy has failed." While Ciaran Norris, head of social media at Mindshare says: "Brands will definitely want to try this ... brands will want to test how they can connect with people."
What is clear is that as more brands will get on board with the commercial reality of social media - and treat it as a viable marketing channel in its own right - engaging in the social media space, whether through strategic use of enterprise social networks such as Webjam or advertising with social media channels. Note the phenomenal success of Facebook advertising in the last year, as brands are better able to target customers based on their stated interest, marketeers are less and less inclined to throw money at PPC.
And brands are starting to get tangible sales success via social media. At last week's Social Media for Brand Building event Sony's Head of Corporate Communications, Nick Sharples attributed £1million sales to the brand's Twitter account, adding that Sony sees Twitter as a viable sales platform as well as a tool to amplify PR.