Jay Baer had an interesting post suggesting that Social Media Stunts Do More Harm Than Good. In it he examines a recent Doubletree "social media stunt" and asks if the stunt and others like it do more harm than good for brands.
First, there is no proof in Jay's post that this actually was a stunt -- it could be an honest example of a good meaning Doubletree employee going the extra mile.
Second, as I read Jay's post I had to ask myself if his question was valid?
You see, for Jay's question to be valid, you have to assume the target audience for the stunt was in fact the general consumer.
But what if it wasn't?
Employee Training By Social Media
Let's assume for the sake of argument (and this post) that this was in fact part of a planned social media stunt campaign on the part of Doubletree.
But let's not assume the target audience is the consumer.
Instead, let's assume the audience is the Doubletree employee base.
Now, how does that change the way you see the value of social stunts?
How could it change the value?
The Value of Social Media Stunts in Employee Training
I think you could actually make a valid argument for weaving these kinds of social media stunts into your employee training program. Here's why.
These kinds of stunts are actually great ways to communicate:
- Pride: How can any Doubletree employee read about this story and not feel proud to be a member of the Doubletree family?
- Expectations: As Jay notes in his post, and surely others have in their posts, the downside to these types of stunts is expectation setting. If consumers see these kinds of stories, are we training them to expect this kind of treatment on their next visit? Or are we suggesting to our employees that this is the level of expectation that we want to set? Knowing full and well we'll likely fall short more than we succeed.
- Employee Policy: For large companies like Doubletree, it's hard to effectively communicate policy to every employee from general managers to the bellmen. But by crafting a social media stunt or maybe a series of stunts (assuming they gain traction) could companies more effeciently and effectively communicate policy to their employees in a way that is far more believable than any training manual?
In other words, could companies take a "lead by example" view of training? And would that be more effective?
There are countless examples of companies weaving great employee service delivery stories into their corporate lore. These stories are told again and again. They become a source of corporate pride and a visual and impactful reminder of the expectations the company sets for itself and its employees.
Maybe these social media stunts are just a modernized version of this storytelling?
I'll admit, this post may be half baked.... I'm not even entirely sure I agree with myself.... but Jay's post got me thinking and I wanted to share my thoughts with you and see what you think?
Care to chime in?