Tag: Social Media

Don’t gamble with your brand

The question that I get asked most often when talking with businesses about social media is if they should hire an outside firm to handle their needs.  My answer is always no, do not hire an outside firm.  If you can’t do it personally or have someone you would trust with you daughter, just don’t do it.  You have too much to lose.  I have a lot of reasons for my firm stance on this trend in business, but the biggest one is simply that nobody knows your business like you do.  

Your brand is your reputation, and nothing is more important in business than your reputation.  You can have great products and great prices, but if your reputation is tarnished then your business will struggle to succeed.  I once sat on an interview panel and the young man we were interviewing used the quote, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.”  It is a quote that I have repeated to myself numerous times since.

Social Media is the best FREE way for you to connect with your customers, it should not be used to drive sales or push products, but to build relationships.  It should be genuine and pure.  It should be true and honest.  It should not be canned and it is most definitely not one-size-fits-all.

For the purpose of this article, I will focus on twitter, but these same types of examples are available on Facebook, and Google+ as well.

Let me give you some real world reasons why you need to closely guard this all important commodity.

On September 9th, 2011 @whatstrending sent out a tweet that Steve Jobs had died – the problem is that Steve Jobs had yet to pass.  The message was deleted a few minutes later but lived on in screen shots.  Jobs did pass away in October of 2011, but @whatstrending’s tweet sent CBS (@whatstreding’s parent company) into a PR nightmare.

@ChryslerAutos hired a firm to handle their tweets and hand to deal with the mess created by this tweet – “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f###ing drive”.  The staffer who posted the tweet was fired, and Chrysler went on to not renew the firms contract, however a gaffe like that is hard to recover from.

Celeb Boutique tweet

Take responsibility for your actions, don’t blame others.

Celeb Boutique used a foreign PR company who was not in tune with current events in the United States, and they posted a very classless tweet the morning after the Batman Shootings in Aurora, Colorado.  I personally question which is worse, the lack of class of the original tweet or Celeb Boutique not taking responsibility for their actions (or indirect actions) and throwing their PR firm under the bus.

The examples could go on for days.  The bottom line is this, protect your brand.  Do not trust an intern or junior staff member to represent you in such an interactive forum.

Take example from leaders like Tony Hsieh and use this platform to build your brand and spread your message in a positive way.  Tony was the pioneer in getting CEO’s to interact with customers via twitter.

In this video, Ashton Kutcher talks about Tony’s ICEE twitter strategy.

  • Inspiring

  • Connective

  • Entertaining

  • Educational

Kutcher himself got into hot water with a tweet he made about the Penn State and Joe Paterno, but later retracted his own tweet because of his lack of knowledge on the situation.  At the time Kutcher believed that Paterno was fired because of his age, and claims to have known nothing of the Penn State investigation.  Kutcher who has over 12 million (yes that is million) followers on his @aplusk twitter account did turn management of his account over to his publicity team at Katalyst Media, giving him a buffer between the send buttion and the public.

If you must turn your brand over to a third party here are my closing thoughts:

  1. Do not let the person or firm pretend to be you, don’t put your personal name on the twitter account and allow someone else to tweet on your behalf.

  2. Make sure that the firm only follows and retweets companies and people who share your same core beliefs.  Nothing ruins an accounts credibility faster than retweets from other accounts that the marketing firm is also representing.  An electrician should not be retweeting about women’s jeans.

  3. Be sure that you still follow and closely monitor your stream to make sure that you are aware of all messages.  It won’t keep you out of an embarrassing situation, but it could help you get onto damage control faster.

Share your thoughts with me on this topic.


Is Pinterest right for your small business?

As you know, we love infographics. Nothing tells a story better than a picture. DrySpark thrives off of social media but we have been very slow to migrate over to Pinterest, until now. We have submited for our account and will soon be jumping into the fastest growing social network out there. Pinterest gets an awkward reputation as a social network for women only but actually only 63% of Pinterest’s users are women. That fact may or may not benefit your business.

Today we came across this infographic from Tammy Lam on Intuits Small Business Blog and we decided that we should share it with you. Please check out the original post here.  We hope it helps to answer your questions.

Pinterest Infographic

Click for full size


Search is now Social

As I was preparing a Spark Number evaluation for a perspective customer tonight I got drawn in to the section on Social Media and the new trends of “social search.”  My recomendation to my customer was this:

“Social Media is driving search in 2012.  Google recently released “search plus your world” which incorporates Google + posts directly into their search results.  Bing has an exclusive contract with Facebook, and incorporates Facebook results in with Bings search listings.  Social is driving search.  It is our belief that even if you are not active on them, your business needs to have at least claimed your business space from Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Yelp and Foursquare.  Not only will your verified accounts increase citations of your website in search results but it will also gives you the ability to reach out and connect with current and prospective customers in ways old media never dreamed of.  We cannot emphasize enough the importance of Social Media and search.”

Beyond my commentary my brain really kept jumping back to a 2011 keynote address that Gary Vaynerchuk gave  at the RE/MAX Annual Convention.  The video is long and some of the language may be strong, but trust me, it is not as strong as the message.

I cannot stress how important the impact of social media is to your brand and to customer service.  Never before have we been able to have this sort of interaction with our customers, and it is important that we all foster those relationships.