June 16, 2010
Dealing With Sticky Situations in Social Media
Photo credit: somegeekintn
As social media marketers and online community builders, many of us have had our share of bumps and bruises along the way. But, how do you deal with the really sticky situations that come up when running online communities and executing social media campaigns?
Following are some real world situations that we’ve faced. Along with these sticky situations are resolutions or, how we dealt with them; however, we’re more interested in finding out how you would deal with these situations. So, I ask that you please read these through and leave your comments below about how you have handled similar situations, or if there are different sticky situations you’ve encountered.
Here we go:
Your research uncovers a blog whose content is spot on and has tremendous reach but, a highly questionable title.
We decided to engage the blogger in question and, as luck would have it, they were a top performer in Google Analytics during an outreach campaign. The client didn’t question having their brand associated with the blog but, did question validity of the traffic. Over time, the client became more comfortable with the blog. On our end, we changed the name of the blog in all reporting by reducing it to an acronym!
The wrong URL is sent out in a large mailing.
Our outreach campaigns ask influencers (such as bloggers, forum admins, social networkers and e-mail list owners) to pass along messages that they deem valuable. A group took us up on our offer and created a stand-alone mailing for its 1,500 members. Due to a webmail issue, recipients that clicked the link in the e-mail were taken to an incorrect log-in page. We could have tried to contact the group that sent out the message, but we didn’t have a relationship with them. Instead, we chose to wait it out, responding to every e-mail where the sender had a problem. Murphy’s Law ruled the day with lots of members responding over a long, hot weekend.
Your hashtag is hijacked.
A couple of years ago, an event occurring at the same time as our client’s started to use our client’s hashtag in outbound tweets. By this time, we had built up a sizable list of followers. At first, we took a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Eventually, we asked the client to contact competing show organizers and discuss best marketing practices. The competing event stopped using the hashtag.
Someone who loses a contest complains loudly across outposts.
Our client ran a contest for member generated content. Several entries were submitted and a winner was chosen. One contestant felt that he should have won. In fact, he felt so strongly about it that he began to publicly complain on Facebook and Twitter. Specifically, he questioned criteria used to determine the winner. True, this person made himself look foolish. But, he wouldn’t let it go. We opted not to engage him, and instead we waited it out because no other contestants we’re chiming in. The complainant eventually went away.
An attendee creates a lookalike blog that is mistaken for the ‘official show blog’.
An attendee at a client event set up a blog that was inadvertently being mistaken for the 'official' show blog. The attendee also created a Twitter feed to go along with the blog, all of which was launched before the official show blog was. Like many bloggers, his identity was anonymous. The last thing we wanted to do was create a Sampson and Goliath scenario. We asked the client to send him an e-mail that invited dialogue and gently pointed out that his blog was being mistaken as the official one. Thankfully, the blogger was simply very passionate and excited about the event – the reason he created the blog in the first place. He did not have any malicious intentions and responded positively to the overture, so we began to build a relationship.
Technology companies offer free services during 9/11 to the chagrin of list members.
An online community that we created found several company members offering free community building platforms to e-mail list members in the aftermath of 9/11, wanting to make it easier for people to congregate online. Several list members objected, claiming that these companies were trying to sell product under the guise of 9/11. We tried to calm tempers on the list but eventually had to pull the plug on the conversation.
A contact sends a spreadsheet of prospects over the transom.
During a recent campaign, a contact sent us an unsolicited spreadsheet of individuals, along with contact information. While our contact didn’t know these people personally, he vouched for how information for individuals and groups was collected. The issue, of course, was the relationship our contact had with those on the list. The contact assured us that the names were solid and they appeared to be qualified prospects; however, since it was sent unsolicited and we had not vetted the list ourselves, we opted not to mail to the list.
Exhibitors feel there’s value for all community members in hearing about show specials.
A LinkedIn group we created for a recent client conference started to get traction. Exhibitors, as well as members of the group, took notice and started to push offers through the community. Now, we do realize that there can be tremendous value in the show specials exhibitors offer, but we were concerned about these posts being construed as spam. So, we decided to set up an exhibitors sub-group specifically for the purpose of posting show specials, which we even promoted to the main group members and via Twitter.
Mom sends a note to the entire e-mail list by mistake.
Several years ago, a mom responded to a note from an e-mail list that we moderated, thinking that it was only going to the list owner. Unbeknownst to her, all e-mail list subscribers received her musings. The communication, while embarrassing, thankfully contained nothing earth-shattering. There was nothing that we could do but apologize and wait it out. Oftentimes, you can’t be certain of the direction that a community will take, and this was no exception. Several list members ended up corresponding with this mom, telling her how much they missed their parents or hoping that their mom would write more often!
Have you ever dealt with similar situations? How did you resolve them?
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