Monday, January 10, 2011

Social Media, a dog, and a dumb mistake - Bonanza Social Media Lesson

It was something I was just going to let go by the wayside.  People can and do make mistakes.  But once it goes almost viral on facebook and becomes a hot issue with people I consider strong sellers and social media experts, I felt it was time to address the issue.

First of all, Social media is a term referring to spaces like facebook, twitter, MySpace, etc where people can interact with others in a social setting online.  A Social Media representative is someone whom handles theses accounts for a company or a celebrity, or anyone else that wants to hire someone to handle one or more of those online accounts.  Social Media is one of the fastest growing ways for a company, etc to spread the word about something, whether it be a a product, music, or in this case, a marketplace.  There are Social Media Reps and there are the wannabes.

My take of the issue at hand is the fact that a company has hired someone to represent them as there social media representative that gave what many would consider a rude response to a friend request on his personal facebook account.  Now the person making the request knew this was the reps personal account, because the rep put his personal facebook account out on the companies website, in doing so, basically gave permission for friend requests. It being his personal account, he does have the right to accept or deny the request in however he chooses rude or not.  But, as a representative of a company, does he always represent the company?  In a way, yes, especially in any social setting when all or part of your job is interaction with the public. Online or off.

Two people I hold in the highest regard in the world of online sales and social media,  John 'colderICE' Lawson and Phaedra (Perkins) Stockstill (@ the Boutique and The Bonanza Boardroom ) have an in-depth discussion on this.  You can listen to it from colderICE Blog.  I agree with many of their points, and is well worth a listen. One main point is the line between of WHO you are, and WHO your work for is often intertwined.  This is true in many aspects of business and in many businesses.  On a personal note from one of my businesses, Renagades Music, I have had the same discussion with musicians and bands that everyone from the frontman to the soundman is often representing the band at almost every minute of the day.  They need to walk a finer line than the every day Joe.  And when you hold yourself out as a Social media specialist, as the Rep in question has, now you need to be 'on' in your social media persona 24/7.

Now the one point I disagree with the points made in the above recording is the fact that the person making the friend request has a picture of their dog as their facebook picture, and the question was raised about whether or not its appropriate.  I personally have my personal picture, but I have friends that use everything from their kids, to their dogs, to their logo.  Personally I don't care.   And personally I fully understand that many, especially online sellers and businesses use logos or one picture across every spots on the web, doing so, establishing the brand they want and the image they chose to be associated with.

In conclusion it is very important companies, no matter whether they handle their own company, band, etc social media or you hire someone to handle social media to tread carefully.  Once you send something, post something online, it can ether  work for you , or it can tarnish the image you try to establish.  Words hard been known to go running across the web.

You have been warned ..... Renagade 
Visit Russ Kawecki Facebook thread for background information about this issue