• Be careful how you choose your social media account names
“Please don’t demolish us!”
This was the plea from a hotel in the UK. It shares the name Weston with another hotel in Nairobi, which was caught up in a land ownership controversy in January 2015. At the time, Kenyans took to social media to voice their opinion over the saga but they tagged the wrong hotel. The Weston Hotel in the UK was overwhelmed with strongly-worded comments.
This time, it’s Texas-based KPL Communications Consultancy suffering the brunt of Kenyans’ propensity to rant online. Last year, KPL Communications discovered that the initials KPLC were available to use for their Twitter handle. They soon found out why nobody else was using those initials on Twitter.
“So imagine our surprise when we started to receive a stream of angry tweets and notifications from Kenya,” the company says in a statement. “It would seem, based on the volume of notifications we’ve received after securing @KPLC, that we have often been confused with the Kenya Power & Lighting Company, a company that has apparently had a lot of trouble offering power to their clients.”
The power blackouts that affected large parts of Kenya this month got KPL Communications inundated with messages from Kenyans confusing it with Kenya Power. They weren’t the only ones to be affected by the confusion. KPLC, a TV station in the US state of Louisiana, also received a barrage of complaints about the national blackouts.
From a business perspective, these cases show that most people are not good at finding the correct social media handles of companies they are searching for. This calls for companies, such as Kenya Power, to put greater effort into informing their customers of the correct social media handles they should be communicating with. One way of doing that is by getting a verified account that comes with a blue tick. However, Kenya Power already has multiple verified accounts, which could be contributing to the confusion among electricity consumers.
Social media is free and there will certainly be several social media accounts with names similar to that of your organisation. How do you deal with it? “Establish your corporate social media to be the only source of reliable information for your organisation,” says Xavier Murungi, a social media manager in Nairobi. Xavier has run social media for NGOs and the public sector.
“Be active on social media to prove that your account is the real deal. Quite often, fake accounts are not very active. If there’s a social media account that’s trying to mimick your organisation, use official channels to get in touch with the social media companies so that they suspend that account,” Murungi advises.
FINDING RIGHT ACCOUNT
On their part, consumers should do more to ensure they are communicating with the right social media handle. Look for the blue-ticked verified account, though not all businesses have verified their social media. An alternative way of identifying the correct social media handle is to visit the company’s website and get the links from there. Look at the contact information. Is it the company you are looking for? Look at their content and see if it matches what you are looking for.