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In Social Media Mistakes Will Happen – Plan For It

Posted on the 01 August 2011 by Combi31 @combi31

In Social Media Mistakes Will Happen – Plan For It

Mistakes. They happen. They are going to happen. The best you can hope for is to avoid them as much as possible and minimize their damage. Mistakes. They are what make us human. In social media, mistakes are going to happen. There will be miscommunication, misunderstanding, and failure to recognize opportunities.

Should this be the end of the world for your business?

No, and it should not be the end of your business’s foray into social media either.The best way to minimize mistakes is to plan. The best way to minimize the damage from the mistakes is to learn from them. The best way to move forward is to recognize that mistakes can have hidden golden opportunities. The only way to do that is to have a plan.

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting – Buddha 

Social Media Plan

Each interaction in social media needs to be coordinated against a larger plan. This plan is your business’ overall approach to how you are going to use social media. This plan will be adjusted as new initiatives and opportunities to arise. Your social media plan should have the following components:

  • Determine who is responsible for initiating, monitoring, and engaging in social media.
  • Determine the goal of each message.
  • Develop a decision-making model for conversations.
  • Develop metrics to be measured for success/failure.
  • Develop time frames for each initiative, conversation, and response.

These components will have to fit with the platform you have chosen as your social media platform. That will have a determination on how important each component is. Planning should involve all the key actors for your business. This should include the decision makers all the way down to the communicators that will be implementing your social media plan. This will help your team understand their roles, understand the decision-making model being used, and have the important buy-in by all parties involved. During the planning sessions role-playing should be used to extrapolate the diversity and breadth of potential conversations that can be had. This time can be used to discover where mistakes can be made; test assumptions of your social media plan and help create confidence in the use of the platform you have chosen. Role-playing will help your team be able to identify weaknesses and opportunities when they arise.

Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out. – Benjamin Franklin 

Recognizing Mistakes

What social media planning helps your company do is be prepared for when mistakes happen. They are going to happen. It is in those mistakes that serendipity typically reigns and only well prepared companies are able to turn them into opportunities. Without planning and practice – through role-playing – your company will not even know when a mistake has been made and how to respond to it. Take for example when Kevin Smith, the director, was asked to get off of a Southwest Airlines flight due to his size. He got off and tweeted it immediately. This could have caused a huge firestorm for Southwest Airlines if it did not have a social media plan in place. Since Southwest did have a plan in place it was able to respond quickly and get all the facts out. The result was a healthy conversation about the policies of Southwest and questioned motives of Mr. Smith. The final verdict was left to those witnesses this social engagement and the potential for a bad public relations day was avoided.The mistake was on both parties. For Southwest, it should not have allowed Mr. Smith to take the earlier flight (it was packed) because of his size and their policy of charging larger passengers for two seats. The flight he was on did not have enough. For Mr. Smith, tweeting about this incident near the release of a new film of his made it look like it was self-serving to get free publicity. The result was healthy education through social media engagement on the policies of Southwest and the steps they took to accommodate Mr. Smith. Both got exposure and both got their side of the incident out. Without planning, the mistake by Southwest would not have been able to be forward leaning to have a conversation about its policies online. It would have had to approach everything in a reactive and defensive mode. Southwest would not have been able to be part of the conversation. Southwest would not have been prepared to respond.

The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way. – Dale Carnegie 

Accepting Responsibility

Having a social media plan helps your business take responsibility when there is a mistake. In a hyper-litigious society most companies never really say sorry and take responsibility. The British Petroleum accident in the Gulf of Mexico has a sideshow of finger pointing as part of its narrative. While there are about 35,000 barrels (roughly 350,000 gallons or 1,400,000 liters) of oil a day spilling into the waters. The CEO of BP even made matters worse by complaining on his Facebook page. Talk about not having a social media plan and making a mistake worse!Social media – which allows for companies to have a direct conversation with customers while others watch – allows for companies to take responsibility. A perfect example is in Chicago. The Dominos Pizza franchise of Chicago uses social media to promote specials, engage with its customers, and to own up to mistakes. In one instance one of the stores made a mistake with an order. In response to a complaint that was tweeted, the store manager and the employee that made the mistake owned up to it. Instead of ducking behind policies, procedures, or even finger pointing this Dominos franchise said sorry. They did it by posting a video and engaging the customer directly while others watched. The result: accolades and increased business.This could not have happened without a social media plan. Roles are assigned, conversation is thought out and dynamic, and individuals engage with other individuals in sincere conversation. The social media plan of the Chicago Dominos franchise is focused and involved. Through their social media plan they are a part of the conversation and a part of the community. A local business taking advantage of a free platform to stay engaged.

If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes. – John Wooden 

Mistakes Help You Learn

Mistakes. They are going to happen. As you start your social media engagement or you are already in one and your reassessing it, you will make mistakes. It is through those mistakes that you will learn and grow. Some may be costly and while I will not say that it is okay, how you rebound from it can be the biggest boon to your business.If you are watching the World Cup then you may have heard about one of the largest mistakes made on the world stage by Robert Green, England’s Goalkeeper. It was a simple mistake that allowed the United States to tie the match. Mistakes in such a high-pressure event – especially at a key position – have repercussions for the team and the player involved. Everyone watched as the mistake was made and now they are watching to see how Robert Green rebounds.He and his team have learned a lot from that mistake. He will be more aggressive to get behind the ball. The team will clamp down to stop outside shots like Clint Dempsey’s. Other teams are telling their keepers not to pull “a Green.” So it will be when you make a mistake in social media. Others will learn from your mistake and you will learn as well. You cannot react and find the opportunities in our mistake if you do not have a social media plan.

How do you plan for your social media use?

Author: Erroin MartinArticle Source:

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