Posts Tagged ‘linkedin’

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.

Social Media Overload

February 29, 2012

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

Gaaaaaah!

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!