Do You Follow These 5 Social Media Tactics?

Memorial Day Social Media Lessons

Beyond being a long weekend filled with parades, marching bands and family cookouts, Memorial Day commemorates those men and women who fought in America’s wars.  While most of America’s military service isn’t as attention getting as the killing of Osama Ben Laden, our troops work hard doing their jobs and they have five lessons for us that can be applied to social media.

  1. A soldier honors his obligations. As an active social media participant what are your social responsibilities? If you’re working for a company, does this change your perspective and how you interact on social media networks?
  2. A soldier prepares for action by training. Soldiers get in shape and learn what to do in various situations so they respond quickly under fire. In the social media ecosystem, this means listening to the conversation to hear what your target audience is really saying. Don’t just wait for a pause in the conversation to jump in with your latest marketing deal. Take this a step further and engage in the social conversation by making contributions that help the community. Employees must be trained to be able to speak about your business with authority and have the ability to fix potential customer issues quickly and effectively.  Remember social media is built on paying it forward.
  3. A soldier plans ahead for every contingency. Just as soldiers practice working out potential obstacles in advance, in the social media ecosphere, be prepared for the worst. Whether you’re active in the social media discussion or not, one angry customer can take something that you’ve done or said out of context and create a PR crisis. To this end, it’s important to have social media guidelines, a crisis management plan and a contingency plan. Equally important is keeping these plans up-to-date so that the appropriate personnel can act quickly.
  4. A soldier remains level headed in the face of danger. If a social media issue flares up, the challenge is to stay calm and act swiftly. Your goal is to make as good a decision as you can with the information available in the shortest time possible. To this end, it’s useful to have strong brand monitoring in place and practice real-time PR. Get in touch with the key people involved and effectively present your side of the story. Continue to be involved and only have a portion of your messages about the crisis. The goal is to make sure that you get your message out and show that you truly care about the community. You don’t want to be seen as self involved, like BP’s former CEO, or out of sync, like Kenneth Cole’s joke about the Egyptian revolution.
  5. A soldier takes care of his team. Soldiers understand that they’re stronger together than they are as individuals. In social media this translates to the good of the community is greater than that of any one individual. Social media interactions require building your social media tribe where you support them and they support you. A presence on social media isn’t sufficient. You need to build relationships. It’s not about you; it’s about us.

While we can learn how to improve our practice of social media from our military men and women, we can’t match their dedication and personal contributions.

May God bless our troops and protect them from harm.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

This post is dedicated first to my father who was a cryptographer stationed in London during World War II and never talked about it.

Secondly, this post is dedicated to my friend Tom Deierlien who fought in Iraq where he earned a Purple Heart. For me, Tom epitomizes what being a hero is today. If you’re moved by this post, please consider donating to Tom’s not-for-profit, the TD Foundation. It helps children with basic health and medical needs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Amazingly, 100% of the donations go to help real people!

Note: While social media can be a useful tool for communications to get support and supplies to those in need, it isn’t on the same level as military service. It’s not the intention of this column to detract from the commitment and service of our troops.

Photo credit: Buggolo via Flickr

Tags . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.