Advertising guru and social commentator Jane Caro delivered in spades this morning at the PRIA National Conference 2016 in Sydney, with her focus heavily on the power of social media.
Caro started by noting that the internet, and in particular, social media, has given rise to ‘out’ groups – groups of people who are defined based on their gender, race, sexual orientation or their religion – providing them with a voice and the ability to take back a share of that voice in a way they could not previously.
“People are getting the chance to say what they think about the world who never quite got the chance to do that before,” she said.
And advertisers have been left floundering by and large, according to Caro.
“We do not know how to do advertising and messaging terribly well as yet as corporate and businesspeople on the media, and certainly not on social media very well,” she said.
“There are some who do – there are some outstanding examples of having come to the realisation of how to handle it – but an awful lot do not.
“Pop-up ads are not a good idea. You know all those clicks? They’re accidental… and irritated.”
Caro said corporations to a large extent are still yet to get over the need to sound like a corporation, and still don’t quite know how to talk to ordinary human beings.
“That’s what social media is about,” she said. “Social media is about you as a person getting out there with your tone of voice and talking to other human beings, and sounding like a human being.
“The best Twitter account for businesses is where a business has bravely said to somebody who they know is bright and funny and good with words and quick-witted, ‘It’s your baby, you do it’. And their voice becomes [the business’] voice, which is a person’s voice.
“And yes, they’ll occasionally make mistakes and get things wrong. You’ll have to deal with it, but people will forgive you if you get it wrong if it’s authentic and you admit your mistake.
Caro said one of the great lessons of social media is that if you stuff up and acknowledge it, the way that you deal with the consequences are a great opportunity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
“The way that you deal with difficulty publicly is much more impressive to everyone who sees it than the way you deal with what’s going right,” she said.