Brands both embrace and fear social

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 24 November 2014

Brands are all too willing to leverage social media to get people talking about their products, but are afraid to bring the conversation to their owned channels, fearing the negative aspects of social will taint their brand pages.

Social integration company Livefyre told an audience at its panel debate last week on social integration into brand pages that Australian brands were afraid to offer social opportunities on their brand pages.

“They're afraid of the potential repercussions,” Livefyre VP of global sales Robb Miller told AdNews.

Miller told the panel that potential customers in Australia were particularly worried about bringing social streams to their owned channels when the quality of discourse on social was anything but constructive.

He said you can't moderate Facebook or Twitter, but you can moderate your own sites and set the rules around the community.

“As we've pointed out, there's more opportunity for the conversation to get out of hand if that conversation is taking place outside your brand page than if the conversation is on your page, and being moderated," Miller said.

“My feeling is that you should already be worried if you've got a brand page on Facebook, or a Twitter account...you're already open to that misbehaviour."

Senior manager of digital media and editorial at News Corp Neal Mann backed up the point from an editorial perspective.

“I think one of the more important things is that people understand the moderated aspects. Research has shown that if a journalist gets involved in a conversation, it actually shifts it and makes it of a much-higher tone,” he said, adding that brands could use this same strategy.

Livefyre is pitching for more Australian brands to take on its platform, which helps both integrate external social channels and create new social opportunities for brand pages such as comments, polls, and other content.

Miller said the beauty of brands having social on brand sites, is it can help both keep users on site for longer as the social element engages users.

He said publisher traffic driven from social networks had increased by 60% over five years, social networks accounted for one-third of mobile traffic, but organic reach on Facebook and Twitter had decreased to 2%.

According to Miller, there are myriad reasons why bringing social functionality to a branded website may be a good idea, but there's only really one which sums it up: It's your house, your rules."

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