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?
About andrewdcookProject Manager/Animator/Beer Snob
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