Social #Fail – Lessons from Social Media Screw Ups

Written by Sterling Raphael on . Posted in Social Media

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It’s easy to screw up social media if your organization is not prepared to be social. I attended an event lat night at #SMWNY called SUXORZ: Worst Social Media Screw ups of 2011. It’s alarming just how clueless and unprepared many orgnizations are when it comes to social.  And it’s not the lack of social tools, it’s the lack of strategies that lead to these extraordinary disasters! The failing goes beyond the public social media sites, as described in Jessica Stillman‘s post on 3 popular ways to screw up social enterprise.

Yammer CEO David Sacks a few weeks ago, suggested that companies often go wrong by “trying to bolt that on to some existing tool, because if the tool isn’t built from the ground up to be social, it’s not going to have the level of usability that’s required.”

Many will agree that the first step in changing a potential negative situation is simply becoming aware of it. Then, the call to action! Instead of completely changing business processes to adapt to social tools, think about how you can make your business itself more social – it’s not all about the tool, it’s about the innovative strategy behind it.

Another great idea to embrace change within your organization is to incentivize staff and customers to socialize. Give them a reason to get value from it. Let’s face it.  Participants who have been offered what they consider to be generous incentives will more likely be more eager to participate.  For example, offer exclusive giveaways, resources (white papers, content) etc., only on social channels. Create that ‘community feel’ by rewarding your employees or customers for being active on your social networks. Highlight their interactions and good ideas (think badges, member spotlights, special tweets or recognition, etc.) Thinking about these things ahead of time will ensure that including social tools in your overall business strategy will NOT result in a screw up later.

Should you decide to rethink your strategy techniques, Frank Marquardt at Mashable offers 5 Key tips:

  1. Know your voice
  2. Time your content
  3. Know your audience
  4. Solve problems
  5. Be true

Remember, there’s no need to re-create everything from scratch; find inspiration from successful organizations and see what they’ve done then decide if it makes sense for your association. You might want to start with:

Also, Robin Broitman’s ideas on Influencing Influencers may be helpful.   There are great  resources offered here, which include tips and advice that can help you identify influential bloggers and other social media users and develop strategies to engage your targeted influencers in ways that will help you achieve your objectives.  In this informative blog, Robin discusses Identifying, Targeting and Courting Key Influencers.

Harness the power of social media!  Listen – Understand – Engage!

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Sterling Raphael

Sterling is president of Avectra Labs, the innovation think-tank of Avectra, a web-based Social CRM provider for associations and not-for-profits. In this role, Sterling is responsible for driving product strategy and international expansion. Sterling is a staunch advocate of Social CRM, educating associations and not-for-profits on the value of moving away from transactional relationships that define many memberships toward more social human relationships.


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