Social media is a moving target. One day you are trying to control trolls hijacking a hashtag, while the next you are creating impromptu graphics because something happened unexpectedly, as it always does, and you need to be in the conversation ASAP. Trying to juggle every unexpected piece of social media during the day can lead to some critical blind spots. While you are doing everything you can just to keep afloat, comments can go unanswered on your networks and conversations can start with your brand that you need to stay on top of but you don’t even know about. During my ‘few’ years in the social media space, I’ve learned a few tricks to make sure I am seeing my blind spots and not landing a brand on Mashable as one of the biggest brands of 2017 to have a social media faux paux. Find some below:
Research, Research, Research
My mentor in college was one of the most renowned researchers in the public relations field. His passion for research suddenly fueled my own passion for research, and so my first job ended up being a project manager for a research firm in NYC >> and I LOVED every second of it. Research teaches us incredible things about conversations and behaviors, something that is crucial to have insight into in the social media world.
When I accidentally fell into the social media space (you can learn more about that lucky experience here >> 5 Things I Learned As A Hostess), I found that research paired beautifully with staying on top of conversations. Research not only helps you craft impactful social media strategies, it also is a bit of an insurance policy for social media. When you research hashtags, and research people before you respond to them as a brand, you help ensure that you are in a ‘safe’ place to or not to respond, to or not to use that hashtag. Stay on top of things, and you won’t allow something to fall into one of your blind spots.
Hire An Experienced Pro
You absolutely have to have someone with experience on your team. Gone are the days of hiring someone straight out of college to handle your social media and having them be your only social media person. The field has been around long enough now to hire a pro. A pro brings an intuition that cannot be taught and does not appear right out of college. There is something about monitoring Twitter, and other social media networks, for years that helps build a sense of when sh*t is going to hit the fan and when it is best to just let the troll go and not respond. This stuff isn’t taught, it’s a feeling that grows within someone after years of seeing the best and the worst of social media. Having someone like this on your team will absolutely help you avoid mishaps and give you someone with a gut intuition of what you should be thinking about when.
Trust Your Gut
That being said, trust your gut when something does not feel right, and also trust it when something does feel right on social media. I cannot tell you how many times a day I just have a gut instinct to check something out in the middle of a meeting, and I end up saving us from missing something. It sounds insane, but it’s a true thing social media pros gain over time. If something feels off about someone, don’t respond. If something feels right, do it. Social media is all about trying new things, even if people think you are crazy. We are still trying to figure out the different areas of it and a lot of the field is still uncharted territory.
Use Your Calendar To Your Advantage
My days can be HECTIC, and that is putting it mildly. Some days, it gets to be 4PM and I realize my coffee cup is still full and breakfast bar only has one bit out of it. To make sure that I do not miss anything in my blind spots, I set up reminders on my calendar for things I know my team absolutely has to do during the day. This can be anything and everything from checking on certain influencers for our brand, to taking a break to actually respond to, yes, you got it, eating lunch 🙂 Staying as organized as you can in social media, which in itself is a bit of an oxymoron in the ever-changing space, can save you a thousand times over.
Networking is one of the best ways to make sure you are not caught with your pants down in social media. Meet people in the field and nurture relationships that allow you to bounce ideas off of each other, and also hear about advancements in social media before most people do. When you have a support community looking out for you and what you do, you are less likely to miss something in your blind spot. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sent a quick text to a friend in the field when I’ve noticed something on their brand’s Twitter feed that they missed. Conversely, I’ve received a few life-saver messages from fields who caught something before I did on a brand page I was managing. Having friends in the social space is invaluable on multiple levels.
Go Easy On Yourself
This one is super hard for me as I am a Type A personality, but it’s also essential. Mistakes happen ALL OF THE TIME in social media due to its always in-flux nature. When they do happen, you cannot afford to feel sorry for yourself and obsess over them. Learn from them, and move on as quickly as possible. The more time you spend being hard on yourself for missing something, the more you will miss while spending time being hard on yourself for missing something.
When mistakes do happen, and you do happen to miss something in a blind spot, own up to it publicly, if it the mistake becomes public. Be honest about what happened, and move on with grace. In the growing field of social media, even consumers are becoming more educated to how easily mistakes happen and more understanding to forgiving brands when they mess up. The best example I’ve seen of a brand owning up was DiGiorno a few years ago. You can read more about that here >> How To Survive A Social Media Crisis.
The bottom line is, no matter how skilled you are, or how many people you have on your team, you will always have blind spots in social media. It’s just the nature of the medium. Hopefully a few of these tips will help you see your blind spots, but the most important thing is to be understanding of the fact they are there and own up when you miss something in them. Do you have tips for not missing blind spots? Leave them in the comments below!
– Marji J. Sherman