Yes, social media is all the rage. At least if you talk to most marketers. Consumer brands embrace it with a passion. B2B is pretty much still trying to figure it out. And associations? Well, we’re all ready to jump on the bandwagon.
Here’s my advice. Look before you leap.
Yes, you can get all your members to “like” you on Facebook. And a whole lot of people you’ve never met and never will might “follow” you on Twitter. But make a mistake, and your “face” will be red and your detractors (yeah, you’ve got some) will twitter with sarcastic delight.
A couple years ago or thereabouts, an agency dude flew from Atlanta to Memphis to meet a big client. (At least I think this is how the story goes.) Once he landed, he tweeted about how it was beyond his belief that people could live in such a town. Or something to that effect.
Guess what. That big-retainer client didn’t take kindly to the aspersion. Yes, someone there was following the guy’s tweets. But while the client was dismayed, the blogosphere loved the story, and it circulated for weeks. (Or at least a day or two. Hey. It’s social. It’s not hieroglyphics carved in stone.)
The point is ̶ like email ̶ tweeting and posting on walls or adding comments to blogs is often done quickly and without a great deal of thought. That’s the power and the peril of social media. Off-the-cuff remarks make a conversation. But it’s a very, very public conversation that can quickly go viral. For good or bad.
I’m not saying don’t be social. I’m just saying that before you commit your words to www., read them over. Then read them again. And think about saying those very words in front of a live TV camera during halftime at the Super Bowl. The audience you offend could be just about that large.
(This blog was read twice by the author, once by her husband, and several times by a bunch of people you don’t know before being posted.)