Saturday, October 30, 2010

Don't be scared off by social media horror stories

This week, PETA made news by culture jamming the Facebook Page of Coach, the expensive purse manufacturer. Deciding to show a different kind of skin this time, they organized a mass "fan" posting of grotesque anti-fur pictures of animals losing theirs:

Catching the tip on Twitter, I was able to grab this screenshot before the Admins intervened. cnet shared this screencap of some of their comments:

This is, quite simply, every client's social media nightmare. And it's the reason that so many of ours, especially in the public sector, are late adopters of marketing's great sea change.

Another recent trend that keeps Facebook admins up at night is "letterbombing", in which a group of people change their profile pics to letters, then post sequentially on a fan page to spell out a message. This one was a radio station pwning a rival:

This Facebook vandalism is organized and encouraged, apparently, at

So what is a poor client side Facebook admin to do? It's quite simple, really.

In my opinion, the biggest challenge to client adoption of social media is lack of resources. Or to be more blunt, lack of resource COMMITMENT.

Organizations that have armies of highly-trained telephone customers service representatives can't seem to find the time or money to train just a couple of shifts of full-time Facebook administrators.

In other words, many marketing and communication departments are failing to take social media as seriously as they take a dying medium like plain old telephone service. All it would take is one or two employees who could be committed to monitor the social media feeds on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., respond quickly to comments and criticisms (the same as they would on the phone!) and delete hijackers and trolls before they can get the upper hand. That's it.

So why are social media still so scary?

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