When Tweets Fly Away…

Are you afraid your words will get away on you?

Have you ever said something that you wish you did not say? Aren’t you glad that nobody was there with a recording device to play it on YouTube over and over again? Business owners and politicians may not be so lucky these days. Today there are a lot of people up in arms about Official Opposition leader Danielle Smith making a Twitter post about feeding tainted beef to the homeless. Is that what she meant to say? I have no idea what was in her heart and unless you are her, you probably don’t know either but the reality is that we live in a world where everything you say can go viral and if it does it will become a virus that is hard to cure.

Business Owners often view social media with skepticism due to these kinds of incidents. They often ask when we are consulting them how they can be sure that what they put out there in 140 characters won’t be misinterpreted? Some are afraid to engage in the social media realm because they may do something wrong. They are correct to approach with caution but one does not have to be dormant or even boring in order to be current and popular online.

The fact is that you have more to lose by not being online than by being there. Large companies are being replaced by small companies all around the globe and not because the smaller companies are better. They are simply more agile and competitive online. A small company can leave a big electronic footprint and make themselves look a lot bigger than they are by using social media tools correctly.

This works with politicians too. Look at the sudden rise in popularity of the late Jack Layton in Quebec. How was that accomplished? The Party Quebecois stronghold of the universe gave up seats to a bunch of 20 year olds who could Tweet. How did Nenshi and Redford win? Funny thing they both used many of the same campaign workers who understood social media. The internet was not the only tactic they employed of course but when that was added to other components and a plan was put into place they quickly became the leaders in the race.

Social Media can give you an edge in business and in politics if you know what you are doing. If you don’t know what you are doing it can give you a headache!

So how do you deal with a bad social media experience?

1. Plan your message out with consideration to avoid mistakes. Twitter posts should be consistent and worked out to present a carefully planned message that represents your brand well. Write most of your posts out in advance and use Hootsuite or some other aggregator to get them out to the public. Look these over, think about what they sound like if others are reading them and there is no other support but the 140 characters being posted.

2. Train staff to only say positive things in an impromptu manner. Never react instantly even to crazy accusations. Think it through. What will it look like? Can you state exactly what you need to in 140 characters? If you can’t write a blog and link to it. That is better because you can state your whole thought and even give a diagram or a photo to back your cause and make it clear.

3. Control your own space. There are a lot of things out of your control but your website, your Facebook page, your Twitter account, these are your own real estate properties. Own them and don’t let them become neglected. Don’t let others abuse you there. You should not remove every negative statement but limit the number and respond to the negative in a positive way.

4. Respond to what is being said about you in a positive way. Never get into name bashing your competitor. That might work in American politics but Canadians typically don’t like it.
Apologize if you make a mistake and be sincere in your apology. You may even need to follow up with some act of restitution and be public about it. Think through a strategy carefully and employ it with military precision.

5. Monitor the airwaves. Hire a company to do it for you if you need to. You need to respond to bad press no matter where it comes from.

6. Have a whole plan of action ready to go into play just in case you as a decision maker are not available during the highest point of the crisis. Be prepared.

7. The best defense is a good offence. If there are pages and pages of good things all over the internet about you and one bad report comes up it is a dark drop in a bucket of good clean water. If there is nothing good on the internet about you that dark drop becomes a tsunami that sweeps you away. Build an ongoing online campaign and get others to talk well of you in blogs, forums and reviews. Gain favor with positive and lasting engagement to avoid problems in the future.

At Loyal2U we build you a marketing plan with long term value. Whether you want to stay at the top of your game, gain the market edge as a smaller company, create a name for yourself, or win an election we know how to help you take over your universe. You may need a consultant to guide you in social media etiquette or you may need a larger game-plan to create a larger more positive noise online.

Call us today at 403-818-6467 or 403-397-1909

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