Every family has one. It was the Thanksgiving from Hell.
You remember…as much as you don’t want to, you do.
It was the year that Mom didn’t do turkey. Instead she tried the Mongolian-Irish-Colombian-Vegan eel recipe she got from the guy handing out fliers at the mall. The meal was so bad that Uncle Silus got drunk and yelled at Cousin Teddy, who got drunk and took the sledge hammer to Great Grannie Edie’s heirloom crystal cat collection. By the end of the evening, the men were passed out amongst the crystal chards while Mom, in tears, chased the dogs away from the untouched dinner, not realizing that the animals were the only things that got her cooking.
Ahh the memories. The terrible, ungodly, please-god-never-ever-let-that-happen-again memories. I think we can all agree that we never want to go there again.
Amazingly, similar stuff happens when businesses get cute with their social media.
The boss has no clue about social media so he appoints some kid to do it for him. The kid “totally knows this rad new platform that all the other kids are using” and ends up spending thousands on some site that can only be accessed in South Korea. Meanwhile, the Twitter page that a former worker set up, is being used as a “why work sucks” discussion between two other employees who had access because the ex-worker sent everyone the password in a email.
Yeah…no. We don’t want that either.
Never fear. Here are five tips to ensure that your Thanksgiving, and your social media, will be a success
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Too often, people treat Thanksgiving as a game of “anything you can do, I can do better.” They try to make the dish that will be the one that the family will talk about for years. The problem is, it usually is. No one wants vegan eels for Thanksgiving. They want turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. Just because it’s not unique doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious. And because you’re comfortable making turkey, it probably will be.
The same goes for your social media. Here’s a secret, the reason why most businesses stick to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is because those are the sites the everyone else is using. Social media is a tool to let people know about all the great things your business is doing. I could have the coolest social media set up, but if no one sees it, it won’t do me any good. Sticking to the social media sites that your familiar with, that other people are familiar with, will give you a better chance of successfully getting your message across.
DON’T PUT TOO MUCH ON YOUR PLATE
This is something we all do, and regret it every year. We see all the food on the Thanksgiving table and want to eat it all. Now! Unfortunately, by the time we’re done piling everything on our plate we have mixed everything together into an indistinguishable brown pile of mush. It might still taste good, but we miss the chance to taste each dish individually. We might find that some of the dishes we liked aren’t as tasty as we thought, while other that we might not have liked turn out to be our favorites. Knowing this can be helpful when you’re going back for seconds. Because there will always be seconds.
Too many of us seem to have the same problem when it comes to social media. There are so many interesting social media tools that we just can’t resist using all of them. Sadly, when it comes time to use those tools, we don’t have the time or understanding to truly take advantage of each tool’s unique strengths. By using fewer tools and getting to know them well, you can find which ones really suit your social media needs.
REMEMBER GRANDMA’S THERE
Remember the time Crazy Uncle Silus got really drunk and started telling loud tales about his escapades in the red light district of Amsterdam, using the dog’s favorite toy to explain every graphic detail? So does your Grandmother, which is why Unky Silly doesn’t seem to make Thanksgiving anymore. No one wants to feel uncomfortable at Thanksgiving. Keep it that way.
Same goes for social media. The last thing you want is people to see your social media and feel uncomfortable. If they do, you can bet on two things happening. The first is that they won’t look at your social media anymore. The second is that they will tell lots of other people who, also, won’t look at your social media anymore.
A good rule of thumb for making sure your social media is appropriate is to ask yourself if your grandmother would be o.k. reading your stuff. If you can’t say yes, you might want to rethink what you’re writing.
SCREWS UPS WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN
I don’t mean to keep reminding you about that Thanksgiving nightmare you’ve been trying to forget, but it should serve as a reminder of why everyone should mind their manners over the holidays. Crazy Uncle Silus wasn’t always “crazy.” But down a whole bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream and lay waste to a family heirloom and that’s all anyone will remember. Don’t be that person. Don’t talk politics. Don’t bring up embarrassing stories about yourself or anyone else. If you do, I can assure you, you’ll be hearing about it for the rest of your life.
Screwing up on social media has the same effect. You make one unfortunate remark in a blog post, or malign someone’s mother in a tweet and you will never be able to put it behind you. This is particularly bad if the faux pas happens on your businesses’ social media sites. Your business will always be associated with that mistake. Google will make sure of that. So make sure you proof your work, and please no drunken Twitter posts. No one wants that.
HAVE A DESIGNATED DRIVER
It is natural at Thanksgiving for the alcohol to flow as much as the food does. A pre-meal martini, wine with dinner, a beer watching football and pretty soon you’re feeling pretty happy. Make sure you aren’t driving. Getting a DUI would definitely fall under the “Screw Up” section above. Worse would be having a crash that killed you or someone else. Thanksgiving would never be the same. Having a designated driver will ensure that your family remembers Thanksgivings past for the right reasons.
Having a designated driver for your social media is essential as well. Giving multiple people access to your businesses’ social media is just asking for trouble. The more people who have access, the better the chance of an online train wreck. Remember the “work sucks” employees? You just don’t want that. Make sure you have one person who is in charge of your social media. It will make your message clearer and there will be a significantly less chance of having any social media “mistakes.”
As you can see, there are a lot of similarities to having a successful Thanksgiving and a successful social media campaign. If you make sure to keep it simple, don’t put too much on your plate, remember grandma, limit your screw ups and appoint a designated driver, your Thanksgiving and you social media will give you a lot to be thankful for.
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