Social Media Advice From a Behavioral Specialist
February 15, 2013
By Will Krugman, intern
You don’t get many physical threats working in public relations, but other professions aren’t as lucky. I spent some time working in a home for troubled boys before beginning my career in PR, and during my time there an especially indignant youth threatened to “beat the living &%$# out of me.” While this may never happen in your office, I believe that I can put to use the lesson I learned on that job.
The young man lashed out at me because I had not developed as strong a relationship with him as I had with the other residents – an act he considered disrespectful. I incorrectly assumed that the relationship that I built with the group would automatically transfer over to every member. However, I did nothing to build bonds or communication channels with this individual, and I suffered for it in the form of a physical threat.
Some of the same mistakes happen in social media today: so-called experts who don’t listen to feedback, brands that are all mouth and no ears, businesses that pay no attention to their customers’ satisfaction.
The people and organizations that get it right really stand out, like our client Nashville Electric Service. We helped NES develop Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages to push information to their customers and interact with them in real time. Starting dialogues about energy efficiency and letting customers know when their power will be restored if it went out during a storm put NES into context with their customers.
NES gets it right by putting itself in its audience’s shoes. They listen, provide feedback and have become one of the first public electric distributors to understand and use social media. Critics may find a social media plan for a power company unnecessary, but NES’ ingenuity gives them credibility with their audience.
You might not consider yourself a social media powerhouse yet; but if you avoid my mistakes and build communication channels, you will do much better. In the meantime, consider this: Even if you don’t do social media right, nobody wants to beat you up.