It goes without saying that organisations are often confronted by tough decisions, perhaps not always as eloquent a decision as that confronted by Shakespeare. Social media is another one of those decisions.
It seems as though some organisations have the fear. They fear that using social media may have unintended consequences, such as perhaps galvanising the public to vent their complaints, etc. through the social media channel(s). This way of thinking has gained particular relevance in recent times, whether it’s an invasion of an airlines or fast food restaurants Twitter public relations campaign, or a gym chain’s antics where their abhorrent practices towards customers who want to discontinue their membership were revealed (Source).
Social media is often viewed as a publicity tool for an organisation. However, social media is not just a publicity tool, it can also be used to assist crisis communications (eg. publicising something first) and even as a customer service tool, as dealing well with complaints can help improve a perhaps tarnished reputation.
What I hear you say?
Yes, organisations can use social media as a customer service, publicity and general communications tool. Allowing the organisation to grow closer to their target public.
An organisation’s success in social media revolves around consistency and monitoring. An organisation undertaking social media activity must constantly monitor it’s social media channel and communicate with followers consistently, so that things don’t get out of hand. Particular care must be taken in cases of the hashtag on Twitter, the McDonald’s hashtag debacle being a case in point (source).