Risky Business?

If you think about it, Risks and Benefits are essentially just precursors to Success and Failure. One is the ultimate goal and the other the ultimate dread. Simplified even further, you could say one is about doing it right and the other about doing it wrong. And there are many different theories on how to do it right, and many on how it’s been done wrong. What’s important to learn from these are that you not only have to understand what it is that you as a company wants out of Social Media and what Social Media can do to help you, but also what your responsibility is when using it.

Doing it Right.

When Jeff Haden from Inc.com interviewed Dave Kerpen the founder and CEO of Likeable Media for his blog post entitled Social Media Marketing: Why It’s Not Paying Off, Dave made the following analogy that I believe is an excellent example of how Social Media can and should be used.

“If small businesses thought about Social Media as a cocktail party–listening, telling great stories, asking questions and being interested–rather than as a sales and marketing channel, then ironically, they could turn Social Media into an efficient marketing channel.”

Social Media is a conversation. The minute you stop listening and engaging, you run the risk of being “that guy” with the mobile phone too busy texting his mate about the party than actually taking part.

Doing it Wrong.

So aside from not engaging with your audience/consumers etc. and spending (enough) time and money to yield quantitative results the absolute worst thing you can do is not having a crisis management plan. That is, a plan of attack if the proverbial hits the fan. Social Media is a living, breathing, uncontrollable beast that if not managed well can cause unknown damage to you or your brand. Just look at the backlash both Coles and Qantas received when using Twitter to promote their brands. What’s important to learn from these Social Media horror stories is to recognise and respond quickly and earnestly. A first-rate example of this is the response from Matthew Thornton III, the FedEx US Operations Senior Vice President, to the video showing one of his employees tossing a monitor over a fence.

Stay A  While

By staying engaged and committed you or your company can avoid the risks associated with Social Media and given enough time and correctly placed effort, start reaping the benefits. So if you’re coming to the Social Media cocktail party, please stay a while, join the conversation… and if you make a bad joke, just apologise… okay?


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About andrewdcook

Project Manager/Animator/Beer Snob

10 responses to “Risky Business?”

  1. PrapatW says :

    I don’t quite get the part that you give an example of “that guy”. It’s seems that guy still in contact with their friends to me. I think of social media as a powerful weapon which give good result when used correctly and could damage yourself if not careful. It is important strengthen our brand via social media but it doesn’t guaranteed that we’ll get good result. We need to minimize the risk as much as we can so we need to follow social medias policies.


    Prapat W.

  2. sammontague says :

    Totally agree that “Social Media is a conversation”. Do you think Apologizing is the only way to get out of a mistake made through social media?

    • andrewdcook says :

      haha, no i don’t think that’s the only way. But i think accountability is certainly a very important aspect of engaging in social media/web2.0 especially when using it for building and maintaining a brand. Which is why i was so impressed by the way that FedEx handled themselves.

  3. Claire de Larrinaga says :

    I really liked seeing a real example of how to handle a crisis. It is true that if you manage it properly, these kind of incidents can turn into an opportunity to make your customer even more loyal.

    In one of the company I worked, people would pay a subsciption to receive a surprise each month between the 1st and the 15th of the month. One time one box got lost and the customer got really upset about not having received it at the end of the month. It is one of the managers who went in person, one morning with croissants to deliver the box at the customer’s home. The person was so happy that it completly turned the incident the other way round. And that’s just an example between many.

    It is always a pleasure to read your post,
    Laters !

  4. shaungoossens says :

    Hi Andrew,

    Nice post, like Prapat i was first confused by your example of being “that guy” but after reading the comment it is clear. Also agree with your statement about accountability!
    – Shaun

    • andrewdcook says :

      Hi Shaun,

      Thanks for the comment, it really is great to have some insight on how my posts are being perceived. But can you clarify for me, is it the way that it is written that causes the confusion or is that i’m so out of the loop that it is now socially acceptable to be “that guy”? That last sentence is NOT meant to be sarcastic by the way 🙂

      • shaungoossens says :

        Hi Andrew,
        Sadly you are right that it is acceptable 😦
        However i think i drew a wrong conclusion the first time reading, and the comment set it straight

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