I hate you! And 5 reasons you really shouldn't mind.

I hate you! And 5 reasons you really shouldn't mind.

Recently, a client told me they were hesitant to get into social media because people might use it to complain about them publicly.  This fear is not uncommon, or unfounded.  People do use Facebook, Twitter, blog comments and other channels to kvetch, sometimes loudly, even profanely.  Here’s what you can do about it. Don’t give them much to complain about. The client that prompted this post is a top-notch outfit; its fans will far outweigh any detractors. Be happy you found out about a problem. So often, customers just go away and don’t say why; you can’t fix it if you don’t know what it is. You can’t please everybody. And everybody knows that.  The crackpots will stand out, and you want to know where the truly nutty ones are. This is your opportunity to shine. People make mistakes.  Customers and prospects will be impressed by how well you handle complaints. You can delete the really bad stuff. True, it’s hard to unring the bell, but it doesn’t have to ring forever.  Profane, unfair, irrelevant or overly snarky posts can go away. The point of social media is to be personal, to be real, and human interactions are going to be messy.  Embrace the mess and get out there. How do you deal with negative comments...

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Don't put the cart before the carrot.

Don't put the cart before the carrot.

I used to work with a guy who mangled English, Norm Crosby-style, in the most delightful ways.  He’d say things like, “The monkey is in your court,” a mixed metaphor of genius proportions to let you know that the next move was yours.  Another of his was, “Don’t put the cart before the carrot,” sound advice to do the most important things first.  I thought of my former associate in considering social media strategy. When social media came into existence, most business owners, CEOs and marketers could sense the incredible power and usefulness of this new communication channel and jumped into the fray.  They were correct in thinking, “We need to be out there,” because that’s where their customers already were.  Often, what was lacking was any idea of how to be out there. The first misunderstanding of social media was thinking that it was simply yet another advertising medium that you could use to take up as much space as you could afford with a one-way message you totally controlled.  A more recent colleague, the marketing director for a good-sized accounting firm, told of her CEO’s directive to her:  “Get us all on that LinkedIn thing!”  The CEO had not looked at LinkedIn and had no idea how it worked. Once it became clear to some that social media was about community, and that the members of the community got to decide who stayed in and what was important to them, it should have been obvious that a series of self-serving posts—a steady stream of little ads—wasn’t enough to make them really “social.”  Imagine you’re at a cocktail party and there’s a salesman standing next to you, yapping incessantly about his product line; you’d quickly tune him out and find someone else to talk to. So, how to be involved in social media?  First, see if you have anything to offer the community you want to join.  If it’s only the opportunity to be a “sale” then you should probably sit this one out.  What problems or desires do the members of the group have, and how can you help?  Now you’re talking relevance, the key ingredient in social media interaction.  The good news is that now you have the opportunity to reach people one-to-one, rather than as a part of some general “target audience.”  That’s the real power of social media. Now, the monkey’s in your court. What social media lessons have you learned?  Please comment here to...

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