The good thing about Telstra and social media is that at least they are trying.
This is important in a country where very few large organisations do.
So full marks for effort.
No doubt, Telstra’s re-entry into the fledgling field of corporate social media will be generally applauded within the small band of people who care passionately about this stuff.
But looking at Telstra’s new blog, called, in best marketing speak, Telstra exchange, I can’t help feel a little sad and a little more convinced that big corporates and social media don’t really mix – well, maybe a little bit, maybe as a little superficial gloss on the dull, besuited hearts of the corporate world.
Edgy, it’s not.
I guess this new approach is consistent (or ‘aligned’ in suit-speak) with Telstra’s new more co-operative approach to government and media relations.
Getting along with people is generally the best strategic approach, but it often makes for less interesting copy.
The media release on the backflip contained this wonderful example of the PR genre:
“I have listened to the community debate and believe that the way we introduced the fee did not align with our commitment to put customers back at the heart of our business,” Mr Thodey said.
“It is now clear to me that introducing this fee across our existing plans was the wrong way to encourage customers to move to electronic payments.
“We designed the fee in a way that exempted more than a million elderly, pensioners and disadvantaged people but it was still unacceptable to many of our customers.
Well, I guess that’s better than just saying ‘we got it wrong’ or ‘it was the wrong thing to do’.
I think this is true, or will soon be true, of corporate communications.
Your social media effort will only be as good as your overall comms approach.
There’s not much point trying to get a social media fig leaf to cover up an unchanged culture where nothing is ever wrong, it just doesn’t ‘align’ sometimes.
Still, Telstra are having a go and that puts them ahead of just about every other big organisation in Australia.
And, it’s unfair to be too critical. I just wish..