What is social media in Business?

ashton kutcher joe-paternoSocial media is a good thing. There’s absolutely, positively no doubt about that.

Except when it’s a terrible thing, of course.

How could it be so terrible?

Just ask Paula Deen.

See what Hillary Clinton has to say about it.

Remember, Clinton was slated to win in 2008 until Obama’s social media campaign completely blew her out of the water.

Social media is also a great way to build up a business, but it can tear it down again just as quickly. Let’s go through some examples…

1. Nothing Dies

With social media, nothing ever seems to die. Once a thread or conversation starts, you’re going to be battling it or handling it forever. Even if you manage to put a particular topic behind you, it can resurface at any time. Ashton Kutcher learned this with his defense of Joe Paterno. Of course, that was before he knew the circumstances (according to him), but that defense likely will never die.

paula deen2. Vortex of Terror

Paula Deen recently discovered that social media moves faster than anything else out there. One slip decades ago and suddenly the whole world knows, has an opinion about it, and a career is all but wiped out. There’s no containing social media – it’s a maelstrom.

3. Convoluted Management

If you’re trying to manage social media accounts, it’s a convoluted nightmare as far as structure, management, and organization. The larger your online presence, the more problems you can have trying to keep your accounts straight.

4. Grammar Freaks

#McDStoriesEveryone makes mistakes and everyone is human, but there seems to be a disproportionate number of armchair quarterbacks on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook than anywhere else. An individual can use abbreviations and butcher spellings for the sake of word counts, but try it as a business, and you immediately lose credibility. Unless you’re a celebrity, but that’s a different story.

5. Taking Advantage of Human Tragedy

Current events are always an easy topic to discuss. But there comes a time when too much discussion is a bad thing, especially if it’s obvious that you’re trying to piggy-back on someone else’s misery. Gap Inc. learned this when they tweeted “All impacted by #Sandy, stay safe! We’ll be doing lots of Gap.com shopping today. How about you?” The public wasn’t impressed.

6. Public Humiliation

Surely, by now, we all know that McDonalds isn’t in the business of health food. Apparently, they shouldn’t be in the business of social media either. The restaurant chain recently tried to boost their social media presence with the Twitter hash tag #McDStories. Management was looking for inspiring and fun stories. Instead they got complaints, criticism, and bashing. They pulled the hash tag, but not before the mud was very publicly smeared.

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