Loose Tweets Sink Fleets
May 20, 2014
With Memorial Day upon us, it's a day set aside to honor those who have served in the past and those who continue to serve our nation.
In 1942, as millions volunteered or were drafted for military duty, communication guidelines were given to soldiers and their families about the dangers of how unintended information could be leaked to the enemy during World War II:
And over 70 years later, that message is even more important with today's technology.
There are challenges for every operation expected to operate in this open and connected world. But Jack Holt, who served as Senior Strategist of Emerging Media for the Department of Defense looked at social this way:
If we can train soldiers to operate technical equipment and navigate the battlefield, we can also effectively train soldiers in the proper use and appropriate behavior in the social space.
And as a strategist for some of media's great brands, I concur. It comes down to communicating effectively and continuous training.
The U.S. Army is one of the branches that consistently coaches soldiers how to protect its reputation socially.
And one piece I stumbled on, "Bad Social Media," is a fun refresher course for every brand's social behavior (especially if you think you're 'doing' social well).
Here are some of the ways, the U.S. Army warns, to lose an audience:
"All organizations have a lot to say, but not everything is worth a Facebook post or tweet."
Try to remember that the average person on Facebook has about 340 friends. The average person on Twitter probably has about 300 followers (and very likely a similar numbers for Instagram). Incessant social chatter will hijack their News Feeds.
Failure To Engage
"If you're not interacting with the audience, they will figure it out, and move on if they know you're not listening."
As we've talked about many times here in "Merge," when you're not where your fans are socially and/or you're not acknowledging them, you're giving them permission to form new loyalties elsewhere.
"When you stop caring and quit posting, your social media accounts still exist but they float through the Internet like a ghost ship."
It reflects poorly on brands when nobody is "on board." If you're not going to do anything with a social account, find someone who will help, or just delete them.
"There is never a good time to lash out at a follower on your social assets."
Posting socially is certainly the "fun" part of these portals. But hearing out the unfavorable things some will say is also part of the gig. We will never please everyone as a brand, so have the maturity to know how to appropriately respond to adverse reactions.
All Veggies, No Dessert
"If you can't find a way to balance the vegetables with dessert, you'll end up eating dinner alone."
It's our job to take the less than fascinating informational stuff we need to share and make it interesting. It's also our duty to follow up that informational type stuff with brand essence content that's much more entertaining.
Too Much Self Promotion
"Let your followers pat you on the back, don't do it yourself."
But don't retweet every nice thing your audience says about you. That's boring and self-involved. Use social to serve the fans – elevate their voice. Share your stage.
The social space is fluid. We should always be learning. There are leaders in this arena, but no experts. Therefore ongoing training is critical.
If you're having trouble getting everyone on the same page, you either have a training problem or a hiring problem (or maybe both) – but technology is certainly not the problem.
The U.S. Armed Forces teaches us that every day. They have much to protect – and yet they venture out and do quite well socially.
Have a safe weekend and take time to honor those who have served and continue to serve.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
Please enjoy MERGE archives here.