Statistics published by Eurostat tell us that 50% of Portuguese companies already have a presence on social networks, and we have seen these numbers grow. And why is this happening in a country where only 40% of companies have a website?
First of all, companies are looking for notoriety for their brand, then, the closest and fastest and potential customers and, in an evolution of the form of presence, online sales to reduce customer acquisition online to reduce Customer acquisition costs.
At first look, it seems to be a winning strategy – entry cost is almost zero (just create or adapt content), greater notoriety, a global network for relationships and sales at a lower cost. On the other hand, the risk of “being out” and not being found by those trying to find out more information about an organization or brand is also not negligible.
But there is an increasingly relevant and extreme B-side to be alert to, which must be well considered when deciding an organization’s presence on social media, as well as its scope.
Social networks, as well as the most collaborative features of the sites, such as comment boxes online news comment boxes, are today spaces that, not rarely or even most of the time, are flooded with gratuitous most of the time, are flooded with gratuitous and unsubstantiated criticism, defamation, accusations threats, use of inappropriate language, among other abuses.
It is true that social networks help to increase the market of a brand, but they can also be a “destroyer” of products
Knowing that today we also search these platforms for information and other people’s experiences with products and services to make our purchasing decisions, it is true that social networks help to boost the market of a brand, but they can also “destroy” products and therefore be an almost inexhaustible source of damage control work to avoid these negative impacts. And this work is not easy to do.
The definitive balance between the benefits and costs of this presence is not yet done (and, given the speed at which this reality changes, probably never will be) but it seems to tend towards organizations having their presence, varying the type of action they take on these platforms according to the potential gain and the risks they are willing to take.
However, we had news this week that seems encouraging: a Portuguese court convicted a person for insulting and publicly threatening on a social network a mayor for a decision he made. The conviction was for the crimes of defamation with aggravated publicity and a crime of aggravated threat (including threats to the mayor’s family).
If self-regulation and civic behavior have not worked (and the pandemic has aggravated this situation with an escalation in the volume and degree of aggressiveness of this type of free comments), this court gives everyone a clear notion that not everything goes behind a keyboard and can be an important precedent for healthier social networks that effectively help people with the exchange of experiences and that allow organizations to promote their products and services and establish new channels of relationship with their customers where both parties win!
It’s very important that everyone knows that these spaces have limits, as everything we do in our lives, we are held responsible for our actions in them
Judicialization can never replace self-regulation and civic behavior, but it is very important that everyone knows that these spaces have limits, as everything we do in our lives, we are held responsible for our actions in them, and the courts exist to remind and enforce these limits. This is just a decision of a specific case, but here we have a hope for a better use of social networks that we all want and in which everyone will win – consumers will benefit from more information to decide and more aggressive campaigns in this channel, organizations will strengthen the relationship with these consumers and get lower acquisition costs, we just have to not ruin the channel!