Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

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.


Thinking about replacing your website with a Facebook page? Think harder.

March 7, 2012

If you are thinking about replacing your website with a Facebook page, perhaps you should think a little bit harder.

See, some companies have scrapped their websites and replaced them with Facebook pages.  This is not a good idea.

Why?  Because using a Facebook page as your website is like changing your car’s oil with a hammer.  Or using Excel as your calendar.  Or have a rabbit herd your sheep.  (Never mind that last one.)  Websites contain, or at least should contain, content about your organization. Social media sites like Facebook enable conversations with your stakeholders.  Why would you want to use good tools for the wrong reason?

Granted, it might be a good idea to make your website socially enabled — that is, to install a social component.  But it is generally a bad idea to replace the site with a Facebook page.  I’d suggest you keep your website and use social media to connect with your audience.

Social Media Overload

February 29, 2012

Facebook.  Twitter.  LinkedIn.  Google Plus.  Pinterest.  Meetup.  Yelp.  WordPress.  Blogger.  Bitly.  Plurk.  Tumblr.  Plaxo.  Klout.


It’s easy to experience social media overload.  Even though I have been using social media tools for some eight years now, I still feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications out there.  Indeed Wikipedia lists over 200 “major active social networking websites.”

But what can you do?  If you decide to ignore social media, you are removing yourself from the real-time global conversations taking place, conversations which are happening with or without your participation.

So how do you decide which tool(s) to use?  While one cannot possibly use every social media tool out there, I’ll give you the same recommendation I give to my clients:

(1) Create a Facebook profile and connect with people you know.

(2) Get on LinkedIn, connect with colleagues and join a few groups that are relevant to their lives.

(3) Hop on Twitter and follow people you find interesting.

(4) Say nothing.

That’s right, don’t say a thing.  Instead, spend just a few hours a week listening to conversations.  Get a feel for how the applications work.  See what other people are saying.  Maybe ask a question and see what happens.  That way, you don’t have to worry about doing something right or wrong.  You are just listening!

Once you begin to understand how the tools work, then you can make a wise decision on which application(s) to use. Dig deeper into the ones you like.   Post something interesting.  Some tools may not work for you: that’s okay, just let them go. If you want to return, they aren’t going anywhere.

Social media can be daunting.  But by taking baby steps and simply listen, anyone can start using these tools.  Who knows: you might end up becoming an aficionado like me!

The Value of Social Media

February 20, 2012

In recent days I have read several articles questioning the value of social media. While many of their facts are probably correct, the implicit conclusion – that social media is overrated – is based on a false premise.

First we have an article from ZDNet entitled: “The hollow emptiness in social media numbers – most accounts are fake or empty.” Here, the author is says, and I quote, “With the possibility that nearly 50% of social network users could be fake or empty user accounts — this is a massive issue for social media marketing.” [emphasis from the author]

Second, Marketing Week (UK) says: “Social media “less useful” than thought.” The sub-heading says, “Almost half of consumers object to brand advertising on social networks that uses profile information, according to new research by YouGov.”

Assuming both articles are factually correct –  that empty accounts signal a problem for social media, and people generally do not like it when advertisements are shoved in their faces – both are based on a false premise.

Social media is not marketing.

Social media is a conversation.

Websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are forums to ask and answer questions, connect with brands, talk with other consumers, manage reputations, share information, engage in conversations and – perhaps most importantly – to listen.  Ultimately this conversation can, and does, lead to increased sales, improved reputation etc.  But it is not marketing in the conventional sense.

To be sure, the field faces many challenges, including how to deal with the aforementioned empty accounts.  And while the ROI of social media is oftentimes difficult to quantify, there are only two things I can be sure of:

(1) There is a real-time global conversation taking place right now on social media about topics that you are interested in; and

(2) These conversations are happening with or without you.

So, is social media overrated?  In my opinion, that is the wrong question to ask.  The right question is:  are you engaged in the conversation, or is it happening without you?

The Social Bowl

February 6, 2012

For the first time, the NFL streamed the 2012 Superbowl on the web.  Let’s all welcome them to 2008!  Since I am not a sports fan, I figured I would watch the game on TV and online simultaneously and compare the two experiences from a social media perspective.  Ah, ADHD nerdiness.

There were definitely some good points to the online version. They offered a multi-angle feature where you could view the game from several different vantage points in a small window while watching the game on the main screen.  You could also make one of those angles your main view if you wanted.   That was kinda cool.  And there was a live Twitter feed which streamed commentary from Jimmy Fallon (?) and someone named “Tafoya, Florio” (???).  It also allowed you to ask questions to Mr./Mrs. Florio via Twitter, for what that’s worth.

Also, the online version provided instant access to the famed big-budget commercials.  They wisely permitted viewers to only see the commercials after they were broadcast.  No cheating!  I also noticed the commercials were timed differently.  It was hard to tell if they played the same commercials on TV compared to online.  But they were definitely not timed the same.

Other than that, the online version was, frankly, disappointing.  First and foremost it was hard to find the game on but I eventually found it on  Why wasn’t the biggest NFL event of the year streamed directly on the front screen of the NFL website?  Hello McFly!  Anybody home?  And apparently they sealed off the non-US market.  I’m sure the NFL had a reason for doing this.  But given the potential for global growth, could it possibly have been a good reason?

Additionally, the online interface lacked substantial fan interaction.  When the internet facilitates interactivity (i.e. it becomes more social) more people use the medium.  Such interactivity was almost non-existent on the website, other than the ability to ask “Tafoya, Florio” (again, ???) a question.  Indeed, I found monitoring, and commenting on, my Facebook and Twitter feeds to be much more enjoyable than watching the game itself.

The website also said Twitter predicted “Giants 55%, Patriots 45%” without explaining what that meant, where the metric came from or anything.  More detail and context would have been appreciated.

Perhaps most disappointing was the one-minute time delay online.  People monitoring their Twitter feeds while watching the game online would find out what happened on Twitter a full minute before seeing the play.   Since a minute in Twitterland may as well be a lifetime, more needs to be done to improve real-time streaming.

As a non-sports fan I found this to be the best Superbowl ever: not because it was a good game (which it was) but because I spent the entire time in hyper-ADHD mode, bouncing back and forth from the TV to Twitter to Facebook, jotting down notes and nom nom noming on snacks.  Sadly, it was an interactive experience which the NFL did little to facilitate.  Social media offers an interactive platform that TV simply cannot compete with.  The NFL could, and should, capitalize on this opportunity.

Of course the big question remains:  did the NFL, NBC and/or the advertisers make more money because the Superbowl was streamed online?  When I hear something I’ll let you know.  Meanwhile professional sports need to come into the 21st century and, at the very least, allow fans to subscribe to their favorite games online.  Otherwise they look like dinosaurs.  And they need to make their online interface more social.  That way, people will want to visit their website.  In the long run this will, ahem, make them more money.

The best part of online streaming?  They did not broadcast the Halftime show.  Good Lord, what was that?  Anyone?

Got Hacked? Here’s what you can do.

April 29, 2011

Recently I have noticed a spike in the number of email and Facebook accounts which have been hijacked.  Indeed a day doesn’t seem to go by that I don’t receive an email from a colleague insisting that my personal, private parts are woefully inadequate and require immediate remedy by clicking on that link.  It remains unclear why my friend in Denmark would care about said personal, private parts on the other side of the Atlantic, but hey, maybe he really does care about his good friend’s, er, welfare.

Also, several people have sent me IMs via Facebook, exhorting me to click on a link of a picture they found of me using the aforementioned personal private parts in an inappropriate and not-too-private manner, and OMG I really have to see it to believe it.

Uh huh.

Internet security remains a big problem, and a little common sense can go a long way to protecting your online presence.  Here are a few steps you can take to combat online abuse.

(1) If you get a suspicious message, contact the person whose account was hacked and tell them to change their password.  If your account was hijacked, immediately change your email and computer passwords.

(2) If your or your friend’s Facebook account has been hacked, you can report it here.

(3) Only purchase items on trusted, secure websites. Pay with escrow accounts if possible.  If you get an email from ebay or Amazon, please make sure the link you are being taken to is in fact that site and not some mirror site.

(4) My good friend runs a website called Stop Badware, the premiere community and information clearinghouse for Internet security threats.

Please note I am not an Internet security expert, and this is by no means an exhaustive list.  There are many more steps you can take to protect yourself online.  Nonetheless surfing the web safely requires that you pay attention to what you are doing, just like if you were driving a car.

What else can you add to this list?

More Social Media Abuse

November 22, 2010

Recently I launched a new website/company, SynergiSocial, focusing on social media training for people who have never used social media before.  Apparently I need to expand my scope of services to experienced technical people who can’t keep their e-traps shut.

First there is this gem about a guy trashes the city of Memphis on Twitter while visiting FedEx which is located there.  This condescending Tweet could have cost Ketchum a multi-million dollar contract.  Then I came across this post describing how, after accepting a job at Cisco, some guy Tweeted that he hated the job before even starting.

Folks, social media is not about you; it’s about everyone else who reads what you put out there, which is why it’s called social media and not me me me me media.  I previously wrote a blog post about topics people should generally avoid posting to Facebook and Twitter.  I didn’t think I had to say this but apparently I do:  in addition to the other things I listed in the earlier blog post, DON’T trash your employers, employees, clients, enemies or friends on social media.  The Internet has a long and unforgiving history, and these postings will probably end up biting you at some point down the line.   This is especially true in a terrible economy.

So please be careful when using your social media.  A good rule of thumb is to use your outside voice:  if you wouldn’t say something in polite company or at a dinner party, why would you put it on the Internet for the whole world to see?

Are Facebook Statuses Driving You Crazy?

October 13, 2010

Facebook has emerged as one of the most, if not the most, popular social media websites in the world.  Five-hundred-million people — nearly one in 14 people on Earth —  has a Facebook account.

Sadly, a good portion of these five-hundred-million folks think the best way to utilize the site is by telling everyone what they are eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, and between-snack snacks, every single day.  Others describe, in painstaking detail, each and every show they watched, are watching and/or are planning to watch, and provide in-depth commentary about each and every one of them.  Perhaps the worst updates are those which publicly lament their lack of love in their lives and plead to the Universe that they find The One as soon as possible or the world will surely end!  (see picture below.)




(Image shamelessly lifted from this website)

Although I appreciate the need to connect with others in this cruel and lonely world, doing so in this manner devalues the perpetrator’s Facebook value, leading others (including me) to hide their status updates, or even de-friend you, just to make it stop.

In my opinion, the only reason someone should reveal this level of detail is if people really want to know what you are doing and are willing to pay for it, such as a celebrity (like Aston Kutcher) or a lifestyle guru (like Martha Stewart) where people are indeed very interested in their lives.

Don’t get me wrong:  the status bar is a very powerful tool which can be used in multiple ways.  Some of the best items to post are funny anecdotes or Youtube clips.  Posting pictures and stories while on vacation are a great way to connect with folks.  And if you are a business owner, such as a Realtor, Facebook can be used to post your listings and projects in progress.   In fact, some of my friends are accomplished artists who use Facebook to tell people about their upcoming exhibitions; they even post pictures of their art on their walls for people to preview.  Even the occasional post about your upcoming social plans can be very useful.

So how do you know when something is worth posting?   Keep this one rule in mind:  Facebook status updates are most effective when they are not for your consumption, but for those who are reading your updates.  If you wouldn’t say something out loud at a dinner party, why would you broadcast it to everyone you know?

So please folks:  unless you are a mega-celebrity, please ease off the updates about every detail of your life.

And for the love of all that is holy:  no, I am not going to give you corn seeds for Farmville or whack your enemy on Mob Wars.  So stop asking.