Archive for the ‘experience’ Category

How to handle mistakes on social media

March 22, 2012

We’re all human.  As such we make mistakes.  But when we make a mistake on social media, it is out there forever and it cannot be undone.  This can be very, very scary for some, and it keeps many people on the sidelines and away from Facebook or Twitter.

Some mistakes are bigger than others.  Take McDonald’s for example.  They started a social media campaign about McD stories which quickly got away from them and made them look pretty stupid.

But the potential for making a mistake should not deter you from using social media. Indeed you could actually turn a mistake into a strategic advantage.

Here’s one way to handle a social media mess-up:

  1. DO NOT HIT DELETE.  Remember, this stuff is out there forever. If you do delete it, someone will dig it up and throw it back in your face, making the situation even worse.  So resist the urge to click delete.
  2. Address the issue.  If you make a mistake, own up to it and quickly apologize to all offended parties.
  3. Learn from it.  Once is a mistake, twice is a habit.  Learn from your mistake and incorporate what you learned into your social media strategy.
  4. Blog about it.  Yup, you read that right.  If you make a mistake, share what you’ve learned and use it as an opportunity to connect with your audience.  While you’re at it, offer concrete recommendations on how others can avoid making similar mistakes.

With this approach, you can create critical thought leadership and offer compelling content for your audience.  In fact a mistake could turn a negative situation into a positive one and improve your reputation.

One final point: don’t let the fear of making mistakes deter you from using Facebook or Twitter.  Instead, use these challenges as teachable moments so we can all benefit from your errors.

In the long run you will benefit with an improved reputation, greater wisdom and a more socially engaged company.

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Thoughts on Social Media

January 31, 2011

These days companies are scrambling to understand what social media is and how they are supposed to use it.  The first question many business leaders may ask is, “How can we use social media?”

While logical, that’s not quite right in my opinion.  Instead, the first question should be, “What are my business objectives, and how can social media help me meet those objectives?”

Social media is a tool and can be used in many ways.  The analogy I like to use is a hammer.  A hammer can be used to install a window or break one.  Similarly, social media can be used to get you new clients or ding your reputation.

So the first thing you need to do is understand what you are trying to do:  do you want to recruit better candidates?  Improve your sales and marketing?  Bump up your website on Google search?  Enhance employee communication?  Something else?

Next you’ll need to get your messaging together, which I will discuss in a later post.  Meanwhile feel free to add your comments below about this new and exciting field.

Fail Davison

September 10, 2010

Yesterday I wrote about Phil Davison, Republican candidate for Stark County, OH Treasurer.  In spite of his passionately delivered speech, the Ohio Republicans did not give him the nod to run for County Treasurer.  That’s not terribly surprising; screaming like a recalcitrant 12-year old does not exactly establish credibility, much less mental stability.

What can we learn from Mr. Davison?

  1. Passion is good.
  2. Too much passion is bad.
  3. Waaaay too much passion scares the bejeebus out of most ordinary folks and kills your credibility.
  4. Screaming and ranting does not convey passion, but poor judgment and even worse leadership skills.
  5. Toastmasters is a great place to practice speechcraft and get honest feedback on speeches.  (After learning his speech had gone viral, he commented, “It was strange.  Feedback would have been nice. I really don’t know how it was received [Emphasis mine].”  Ya think?)

PS:  This may be the first time a video went viral where the subject of the video had never used Youtube.

Spirit Airlines — Doubling Down on The Stupid

June 23, 2010

Evidently Spirit Airlines has doubled-down on a really stupid idea.

For the uninitiated, Spirit Airlines is attempting to capitalize BP’s oil spill by running ads depicting the beaches they service as full of oil-soaked women, not crude oil gushing from deep beneath the earth’s surface.  Hardy har har.  One disgruntled person wrote to Spirit and got the following response:

Thanks for writing to Spirit Airlines, and for your feedback about our new marketing campaign.It is unfortunate that some have misunderstood our intention with this sale. We are merely addressing the false perception we have oil on the many beaches we service, and we are encouraging customers to support Florida and our other beach destinations by continuing to travel to these vacation hot spots.

Please accept my apology if you find this campaign offensive. It is certainly not our intent to offend our valued customers. We’ve actually received positive feedback from many who appreciate our efforts to stimulate travel to the state.

I’ve forwarded your incident to our Marketing Department for further review.

Again, thank you for your feedback. We look forward to welcoming you aboard!

Shorter Spirit Airlines:  You’re not as funny or clever as we are, and that’s your fault!

If I may get on my soap box for a moment, I’d like you to highlight one point in this response:  “I’ve forwarded your incident to our Marketing Department for further review.”  Oy vey.

Too often, as in this case, communications is not considered to be an integral part of a company’s business strategy, leading to disastrous results like this.  Leaving comms out of the decision-making process is a huge mistake, and yet it is so common.  A company that communicates well has everyone on board, and on the same page, from the very beginning so there would be no need to forward “your incident to our Marketing Department for further review.”  Once more, Corporate America:  Communications decisions are ultimately business decisions and should be treated accordingly.

This ad campaign should have never been green-lighted.  Let’s hope cooler, saner heads prevail and this ad campaign gets squashed.  Sadly for Spirit Air, that doesn’t seem likely to happen.

As a side note, the most commonly used word in their response is “Feedback”.  In fact, they use the word three times in five short paragraphs.  Don’t you think they should emphasize things such as “Concerns” and “Service” instead of something as dry and emotionless as “Feedback”?  Yeesh.

Yay! I (Kinda) Got a Promotion!

June 21, 2010

Great news!  I recently (kinda sorta) got a promotion!  I am now a Regular Contributing Writer for FourStory, a Foundation-funded, non-profit website dedicated to advocating for fair living conditions for everyone in the Southland.

My feature is entitled In Transit, where I write on a broad range of topics, including transportation issues, economics, government, policy, politics and whatever else comes to mind and / or pisses me off.

You can read my latest article here.  Be sure to check out the other writers as well; they’re very bright and write compelling and interesting stories.  You can follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn or at the website’s home page.

Follow-up on Recessions

June 16, 2010

I previously wrote a blog post about how recessions could be good things. In this article I elaborate on these thoughts and add concrete examples of how entrepreneurs use recessions to their advantage.  Hopefully this can inspire you to think about how you can turn bad economic times into new and exciting opportunities to grow.

What do we mean by “Your Unique Value Proposition?”

May 7, 2010

What exactly do we mean by “unique value proposition” and why do you need to know yours?

Your unique value proposition is what you bring to the table that nobody else does. It’s your fundamental promise to the world, the one thing that makes you totally awesome, and ever so much awesomer than everyone else in the world – or, at least, in your market.

Some people say their unique value proposition is great customer service. Others say it’s the experience they bring to the table. Still others say it’s because they work really, really hard and really, really care about you and your business.

All of these things may may be true, but they certainly are not unique value propositions. I mean, who is going to say they don’t offer great customer service, or that they lack experience, or that they really don’t care about their customers?

No, your unique value proposition is far more than these. It has to be. And if you really don’t know what makes you stand out, how can anybody? And isn’t it about time you learned what yours is?