As I was in the process of writing this, I had an example of what NOT to do.  One of my FB friends posted a quote (probably from one of those sites where you can get famous or celebrity ‘Quotes’ to use) and I’m sure he thought it was funny, but it had a shock element to it and there was immediate backlash.  The first comment stated how offensive they thought it was and how could that person post something like that and be a coach.  But, someone else posted that they thought it was really funny.  Then there came a flurry of comments.

Can you afford to offend some of your following?   Be careful when you are posting quotes and make sure that the content is a good representation of the brand image you want to portray.  Remember, once it’s out and you’ve shared it with the world, you can’t get it back to change it or delete it.  It’s now a part of online history – your history and your brand.

What happens when it goes viral?  Viral marketing can be a blessing or a curse depending on what it is that goes viral for you.  The blessing of viral is when something you’ve put together positions you as an expert, putting you in a positive light and millions are seeing the message.  The viral curse is when something that you don’t want shared shows you or your company (your brand) in a bad light and it goes viral.  Now millions of people see it and have a bad opinion of you.

Customer service departments need to be especially aware of the ‘viral curse’, since unresolved issues can easily become fodder for a social media viral event.  My favorite example is the United Airlines song (do a search for it on YouTube – it’s priceless).

Think ‘backyard barbeque’ when approaching your online audience on the social networks, forums or membership sites.  You wouldn’t walk up to someone at a BBQ and start pitching them immediately about your products or services.  People don’t like it, offline or online, so put yourself in their shoes when developing your social media messaging strategy.

And yes, there will always be someone that is obnoxious or annoying and will try to blast out their ads all over the social networks, but sooner or later they’ll get de-friended, hidden, un-followed or deleted.

You are Your Brand!

Kathy Perry