Keep Calm and Social On: When a Mistake Doesn’t Mean the End

No one wants to make a mistake, much less a highly visual mistake on social media. But it happens, and it happened to Ad Age last week. Guess what? No one was fired, angry readers and Twitter followers didn’t surround Ad Age’s office with pitchforks, and surely no one died (well, Michael Delligatti, the inventor of McDonald’s Big Mac did die last week and has gone on to the Golden Arches in the sky … but that’s only slightly related.)

No one wants to make a mistake, much less a highly visual mistake on social media. Those are the kind of snafus that land you on “Worst Tweets of the Year” listicles from subpar media sites who burn through negative coverage just to keep the lights on. But it happens.

Huge tiny mistake Arrested DevelopmentIt happened to Ad Age last week, and guess what? No one was fired, angry readers and Twitter followers didn’t surround Ad Age’s office with pitchforks, and surely no one died (well, Michael Delligatti, the inventor of McDonald’s Big Mac did die last week and has gone on to the Golden Arches in the sky … but that’s only slightly related.)

What am I talking about? Managing Editor Ken Wheaton’s Dec. 5 article, “What You Can Learn From the Social Media Crisis That Wasn’t” and the tweet in question:

Fun fact: The image of the Big Mac went with Ad Age’s story about Delligatti’s passing … the Vagisil story actually had a video attached to it, but clearly did not play well with the system.

So, 11 minutes following the first post, the folks at Ad Age tweeted what I think is a measured, smart response.

The Vagisil story with a Big Mac image tweet was a MISTAKE. Like many media companies, Ad Age’s content management system (CMS) is integrated with a platform to automate social media. Usually it’s all rosy and saves editors time, but there can be snafus, but here the wrong image got pulled and used with the wrong content.

Was it offensive? No.

A little confusing? Maybe.

Do I think this is a fireable offense? Absolutely not.

As Wheaton explained:

I decided not to take it down. Why? One, this is social media. It was already out there and I knew with 100 percent certainty that someone had already grabbed a shot of it. It’s what I would have done. Hiding it would have just fed the beast. “What is Ad Age trying to hide?” … Two, it wasn’t really hurtful or offensive. If anyone looked bad, it was us. Three, again, this is social media. Despite the intensity of tweet storms, despite it feeling like the world is ending, these things pass relatively fast. Four, 2016 has sucked for a lot of people, and it seemed like our faux pas was actually bringing some sort of joy into the world.

Did the folks at Ad Age learn a lesson regarding how their content gets automated for social? Absolutely. But the bigger lesson, and what I REALLY appreciate Wheaton for sharing, was that Ad Age let the mole hill be the mole hill. There weren’t even flames to fan, and I think if they had made a bigger deal out of the mistake, it would have been like replacing a fan with a blowtorch set on high.

Bravo Ad Age for realizing that making a harmless, slightly embarrassing (and kinda funny) mistake is not the end of the world. We all screw up sometimes, but if we learn something from the situation, then it’s worth it. And kudos to Ken Wheaton for writing about it so candidly. It’s one thing to leave the tweet up and acknowledge the “oopsie!” and it’s another thing to let us in, and let us learn from a mistake so perhaps we can avoid making a similar one.

And with that, let me leave you with Wheaton’s apt, closing words:

Words do matter, sure. But getting outraged over every little thing is not only exhausting, it’s childish and lessens the impact of actual outrage. If we’re all outraged all the time, when something is truly outrageous, no one cares. It’s the equivalent of crying wolf.

And a last word of advice for marketers. Don’t do anything offensive or hurtful. Don’t say anything offensive or hurtful on social media. And if you do do something stupid, especially if it’s an accident, sit tight and give it a chance to blow over.

Why You Must Stop Believing Social Selling Exists

“You need this revolutionary new social selling now or you’ll be left behind. What? You don’t know how to use [insert new technology] to zoom sales? Buy my book, attend my keynote. I’ll show you the way forward!” Revolution they cry! Problem is, the sales revolution they’re selling is marketing — broadcasting on an interactive platform, the Internet. There is no revolution, only evolution.

Who Moved the Sales? Why marketing attribution is so crucial to track, yet so hard to doSocial selling does not exist. Believing it does trains you and your sales force to fail.

Sure, LinkedIn and countless self-appointed “social selling experts” say social selling is a wave — catch it.

But have you noticed their tone lately? Many of these folks talk down to you.

“You are not doing it right, you are not taking it seriously enough.”

Or perhaps more accurately:

“You need this revolutionary new social selling now or you’ll be left behind. What? You don’t know how to use [insert new technology] to zoom sales? Buy my book, attend my keynote. I’ll show you the way forward!”

Revolution they cry!

Problem is, the sales revolution they’re selling is marketing — broadcasting on an interactive platform, the Internet.

There is no revolution, only evolution. Believing there is a new selling paradigm risks your team’s ability to adapt.

Are you willing to risk it? Are you risking it right now?

We Should not Name This a “New” Strategy

There is nothing new about sales — other than customers having better access to information, more quickly and easily. There is no need to invent a fancy new name for sales as it evolves.

“But Jeff, you’re wrong: Giving this new strategy a name could help explain this new skill set in sales operations internally, to management. Especially if the company is still a bit behind in evolution when it comes to sales approach.”

But are you behind? Behind in what? Knowledge of how to work the tool?

Working a new tool like LinkedIn or Twitter is not making anyone successful — despite the marketing claims of companies and expert gurus who have a stake in the game.

Using the term “social selling” is, so far, most helpful to those selling tool-focused education or rah-rah cheerleading fodder themselves. These are the instant experts whose qualifications rest on “I use LinkedIn a lot.”

Literally anyone can be a part of this club.

Here’s my beef with this situation: In the end, I’m witnessing less emphasis on sales techniques that work for sellers, and more emphasis on how to use tools.

I suspect this is because the people involved don’t have (or practice) good, traditional sales skills!

The result: A lot of sales people practicing marketing on LinkedIn. Farming with it. And failing to start conversations. They’re pushing posts, updates, comments, etc.

Starbucks’ Cups Enrage People, AGAIN

Some days I seriously wonder how humanity got this far in the world. I call those my cranky days, and yes, the past week has been full of them as people unload socially on the new Starbucks cups.

Some days I seriously wonder how humanity got this far in the world. I call those my cranky days, and yes, the past week has been full of them as people unload socially on the new Starbucks “Unity” cups.

Let’s look at the cup in question:

Okay, so that’s a nice message, and the design is pretty neat. Plus I really like green.

However, others feel VERY DIFFERENTLY about these cups. Let’s take a look at some tweets:

Fine … nothing really wrong with preferring last year’s design (though she might be in the minority, based on the hullabaloo from 2015 over the red cups).


I’m half-hoping he’s being sarcastic …

The following tweet was deleted, but not before CBS News included it in its article about the uproar over the new cups:

Seriously? These cups are giving you anxiety? Try scaling a wall of looming deadlines while planning a business trip to Lisbon (more on that below).

https://twitter.com/RadioAnna/status/793467698030211072

Ummm … political? Say what?

But everyone can chill out, because on Nov. 4, Starbucks announced the red holiday cups would return on Nov. 10, and better yet:

… Customers who buy one holiday beverage and can get another one free* to share at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada November 10-14 from 2-5 p.m.

There? Happy yet?

Look, here’s the deal: The 2015 freakouts over the red cups and now the outrage over the green “unity” cups from Starbucks is a reminder that humans are fickle, when they don’t like something many of them will voice their distaste, and social media helps magnify this 1,000-fold.

And I know not everyone feels the way as the folks who tweeted above do … but still. There’s a lesson to be learned here for marketers. I’m not saying you can’t make changes … just be prepared.


Melissa Ward Web Summit 2016Oh hey, so I mentioned Lisbon? Well that’s because I was invited to be a speaker for the 2016 Web Summit!

I’m super excited about the experience to moderate a session on video with Suchit Dash of Dubsmash and Michael Litt of Vidyard, host a fireside chat with Youtube star Meredith Foster, attend numerous speaker dinners, help judge the PITCH startup competition, and attend countless sessions from some of the smartest people on the planet.

Envious yet?

You can follow me on Twitter as @Sass_Marketing, as well as on Instagram as Sass_Marketing to keep an eye on all that Lisbon has to offer — I’ll be back stateside Nov. 14, but will be taking that week off from the blog. You know, jet lag and all that, but I’ll be back and posting Nov. 22.

Until then, thcau!

 

Is the Entire Trump Campaign Just a Revenue-Generating Marketing Ploy?

You can say a lot of negative things about Donald J. Trump, but he can never be accused of not being a business opportunist. As this election cycle painfully swirls to a close, Trump has cleverly set himself up for his next income stream, whether he’s in the White House or not.

Donald TrumpYou can say a lot of negative things about Donald J. Trump, but he can never be accused of not being a business opportunist. As this election cycle painfully swirls to a close, Trump has cleverly set himself up for his next income stream, whether he’s in the White House or not.

Take a step back for just a moment and consider this: You’re sitting in a strategic planning meeting with a brand whose popularity is on the decline. Revenues have been slowly sinking, consumers have been losing interest in your products and services, and the brand is considered old-fashioned or stale. As a marketer, what do you suggest?

Revamp the brand with fresh new messaging and content? Create new brand extensions that might appeal to a new audience? Abandon products or services that are no longer making a positive contribution to the business? Generate brand buzz with timely and relevant offers? Cement brand loyalty by listening to your loyalists, and then tapping into their hearts and minds by giving them what they’re asking for? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!

Now consider this:

In the late 1980’s, Trump toyed with a presidential run while he struggled with the financial debt of his purchase of the Taj Mahal casino and the bankruptcy of the Trump Plaza Hotel.

In 2000, Trump announced his candidacy as a Reform Party candidate. He was in financial struggles again after:

  • “Trump: The Game” had been discontinued
  • Trump Airlines had failed to turn a profit
  • Bought, sold, bought and sold the New Jersey Generals
  • Trump Hotels and Casinos Resort filed for bankruptcy – twice
  • Trump Mortgage fails

In March 2009, Trump joins Twitter but doesn’t tweet anything significant for 2-years.

In January 2011, Trump tweets a link to his fan-made website shouldtrumprun.com – and leverages feedback to craft his new brand message.

In March 2011, Trump is a leading presidential contender.

In May 2011, Trump announces he will not run. During the remaining months of 2011:

  • Trump Vodka fails
  • Trump Steaks fails
  • Trump Ice fails
  • Trump University fails

Add More Traffic With Universal and Extended Search Optimization

If your organic search optimization plan does not include optimization for pertinent elements of both universal and extended search, you may be missing out on a surprising amount of traffic.

SEOIf your organic search optimization plan does not include optimization for pertinent elements of both universal and extended search, you may be missing out on a surprising amount of traffic.

In the beginning, organic search optimization was focused on the pursuit of top placements for your site’s pages. Search has evolved and so, too, must your optimization plan.

Today, instead of 10 blue links on a page, most contain 8.5. An array of universal and extended search elements enhance and complement the Google search results pages. The inclusion of maps, images, video results, the Knowledge Box and Twitter results enhance the user experience and speed searchers to their desired information.

A recent white paper from Searchmetrics looked at the results from approximately 500,000 general, frequently searched terms. Because Google increasingly is applying different algorithms for mobile vs. desktop searches, the results from both were analyzed. This study clearly shows that any optimization plan is incomplete, unless it includes the elements of both universal and extended search.

Universal Search — Vertical Search Integrated Into the Results Page

Universal search, launched in 2007, was Google’s integration directly into the search results of vertical search elements that had previously been developed as separate search engines. These included: shopping, news, videos, images and maps. Although showing up integrated into the search results page, these vertical silos of information can still be accessed from tabs on the Google results page.

The type of elements displayed vary depending on the keyword search. For example, a search for a “Zen frog fountain” yields a results page rich in images and shopping details. There is even a video. A search for your local hospital will yield a results page with a map and directions.

Each element in universal search has its own optimization requirements, and many organic SEO plans employ them. The SEO can clearly guide the optimization of images so that relevant product images will be included in the array of images shown for keyword searches.

For e-commerce merchants, it is quite important to optimize all of your images, because they can drive substantial amounts of traffic. Similarly, video content can be readily optimized using available guidelines.

Google’s emphasis on quality of the information and the authority of the source has driven the evolution of news optimization from press releases to publishers. Today, the news integration includes just the freshest and most authoritative sources. Because the news elements evolved from vertical search, there are a set of guidelines for optimization of news.

Not all elements are equally important for every business, but traffic can be gained by optimizing all the germane elements.

Extended Search — More Boxes and Features

Extended search is the term applied to the additions to the search results that are not based on vertical search engines. These results are algorithmically developed from a variety of internal and external sources available to Google. Extended search includes: The Knowledge Graph, the image carousel, the Twitter Cards, the direct answer/fact boxes, the related questions that are delivered along with the direct answers, and the app packs found in mobile searches.

Because the results pull information from a number of sources, they are much more difficult to optimize for. They are best viewed as the result of a broad footprint of information that will satisfy the demands of these elements.

For example, the Knowledge Graph relies on Google My Business and Wikipedia information. If your company has a complete profile on these two key sources, you will be feeding the information needed to drive the Knowledge Graph. Similarly, sites with recipes, events and reviews can use structured data to enhance the likelihood of appearing in the direct answers boxes.

As we move into the fourth quarter and plan for the next year, do be sure to review the universal search and expanded search elements that have the most traffic-driving potential for your business and strategize for how to include them in your optimization planning.

Hey, I Own That #Hashtag — and Please Use It

The United States Olympic Committee is telling leading advertisers that they may not use “#Rio2016” or “#TeamUSA” hashtags in their own social media communications or advertisements unless they themselves are an official USOC Summer Olympics 2016 or Team USA sponsor. But I have to ask — is there really a way to “own” a hashtag?

Rio 2016The United States Olympic Committee is telling leading advertisers that they may not use “#Rio2016” or “#TeamUSA” hashtags in their own social media communications or advertisements unless they themselves are an official USOC Summer Olympics 2016 or Team USA sponsor.

But I have to ask — is there really any way to “own” a hashtag?

Twitter protocol would have it that if you want to explore who’s using a hashtag, just search for the tag and take note of its usage by whom. Then, decide whether or not you want to join the conversation. As a manager of several social media accounts, for myself and my clients, I know that many advocates and detractors alike use a branded hashtag or handle to send a clear message, one way or another, to the hashtag-using community or account holder about a point of view they wish to share. As far as I know, there is no database of “owned” hashtags persons or brands may not use.

When it’s a “unique” hashtag I’ve created to use for a client or event, I may not always be happy about every comment posted using it – but I certainly take note of the points of view of those who use it, and I protect that right of free expression for all users, even detractors. If the comments are abusive, one can take steps to block content if the community doesn’t shut the user down first. PR-types have always embraced social media as listening posts first.

USOC clearly believes that there’s a difference between “free speech” (citizen users) and “commercial free speech” (brand users) and is staking its claim, some say like a bully. They may not like the idea that unaffiliated brands can jump on breaking news at a global event, as news sometimes does at such a spectacle (take the 2013 Super Bowl blackout, for example).

In theory, #TeamUSA or #Rio2016 may be designed as a walled-off branded club unique for USOC & Team USA sponsors, thus, other advertisers may use them at their own peril. In practice, these hashtags serve as an online, global and social media community — and while USOC has no plan to stop ordinary citizens from using these hashtags (and may even encourage them to do so), it’s clear that any business or advertiser, small or large, should avoid the headache of rooting for the national team in Rio.

That’s kind of sad — there are plenty of businesses that want to shout out their pride to the red, white and blue, and to Rio, too, without having to pay USOC for the right to do so. I guess for the rest of the advertising world, “#SomethingHappeninginSouthAmericaRightNow” and “#AthletesThatCallThemselvesAmericans” may have to do.

3 Tips for Writing Winning Job Ads to Attract the Candidates You Want

Feeling frustrated with HR because they’re providing inadequate candidates to fill the open positions within your marketing team? Sparking the interest of the best and brightest job candidates to help your company succeed requires the right techniques. Remember, first impressions are crucial, and the first time potential employees “meet” you and your company is through your job ads.

Feeling frustrated with HR because they’re providing inadequate candidates to fill the open positions within your marketing team? Stop spinning your wheels and start collaborating with one another to find your ideal hire. Working together, you’ll be able to clearly understand, define and communicate the skills and experience necessary to perform the job.

Sparking the interest of the best and brightest job candidates to help your company succeed requires the right techniques. Remember, first impressions are crucial, and the first time potential employees “meet” you and your company is through your job ads.

Here are three ways you can win over the perfect job recruits for your business:

1. Accurately Brand Your Company

Effectively branding your company is probably one of the most important aspects of any size business. Be passionate about your company and convey that in your ad. Remember, you can’t be all things to all people, but make it really clear what makes your business great. It’s not by mistake that some of the most renowned, successful companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are masters at hitting all the right notes in their job ads to generate a lot of positive response — and they hire and retain some of the most brilliant talent in any industry.

“Everyone at Google is sharp and inspired to build great things.”
Review on Glassdoor.com from a current Google Interactive Designer

Google Job Ad
Google job ad for a “Communications and Change Project Manager.”

In this vibrant and colorful ad for a Communications and Change Project Manager, Google uses a very welcoming and friendly tone. The company culture is clearly described, along with the concise job description and responsibilities, and opportunities and contributions this position will make to benefit Google.

On the flipside, there are some companies and firms that go beyond a playful ad and try to be funny. Remember, not all jokes are funny to everyone. Take this ad that was placed by an architectural firm. Do you find it compelling enough to want to work here? My guess is no. Their “clever” branding techniques seem inappropriate and demeaning to me, but maybe there are recent architect grads out there dying to be a Minion.

Ergo Architecture job ad for a "Minion."
Ergo Architecture job ad for a “Minion.”

2. Use the Right Advertising Channels to Get the Right Candidates

Mixing things up is essential when you’re considering which channels to use to attract the job candidates you want. There’s no single “right” channel to use anymore. More and more businesses are turning to the Internet and social networks to recruit the right employees.

Protect Your Personal Professional Brand

Students need to be aware that future recruiters would leverage social media to learn more about them, and that they should immediately ensure their Facebook accounts were set to private. After all, did they really want their job application rejected because the recruiter was able to see that they behaved inappropriately on Spring Break?

LinkedIn LogosIn early January, I was invited by my alma mater to speak to a group of students and their alumni mentors about building a personal brand. In the presentation, I spoke specifically about how students needed to be aware that future recruiters would leverage social media to learn more about them, and that they should immediately ensure their Facebook accounts were set to private. After all, did they really want their job application rejected because the recruiter was able to see that they behaved inappropriately on Spring Break?

One of the other major social media sites I discussed was LinkedIn – and why they should care about how their professional brand is conveyed to colleagues, employers and future employers. But it seems that lesson is lost on many professionals, as demonstrated by recent commentary on LinkedIn’s news feed with regards to posts by Candice Galek, CEO and founder of Bikini Luxe.

To give Ms. Galek credit, her posts leverage LinkedIn’s social media tools for promoting one’s business or service. In a collection of updates/articles, Ms. Galek posts a somewhat risqué image of a model in a bikini and asks readers the question “Is This Appropriate for LinkedIn?”

Not surprisingly, the original post scored more than 500 comments, both pro and con. But what disturbed me the most was how inappropriate many of the comments were – and NOT from an anonymous user name.

Since LinkedIn requires you to be logged in to comment, any post you make clearly designates who you are, your title and the company that you represent.

I could not believe how immature and unprofessional many of the comments were – and how it altered my view of those who made them.

After reading about two dozen of the more disgusting comments, I sadly realized that our society has not really evolved one iota. But more importantly, those who posted lewd and sexist commentary have forever tarnished their professional brand images. And that’s not just my opinion.

As Ms. Galek herself reported, one senior vice president of business development sent her a LinkedIn mail advising her that one of his prospects had taken note of his bikini post commentary and advised him that he was no longer going to pursue their biz dev conversation.

Since Bikini Luxe is a legitimate business, they have every right to use the media channels at their disposal to further their communications objectives. And, as surprising as it was to see a scantily clad model in my LinkedIn newsfeed, Ms. Galek is entitled to use business-appropriate content to engage prospects (she is, after all, in the swimwear business).

But I might suggest that business professionals think twice before being lured into making a comment (even if you’re thinking it, do you really want your superiors, peers, employees, clients and future employers to know your thoughts?). Or should I just chalk it up to “boys will be boys?”

Social Media Is Not for Every Business

One of the most popular questions I get from businesses (both big and small) is, “How can I optimize social media?” The answer, unfortunately, is that social media is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Social Conversations stock artOne of the most popular questions I get from businesses (both big and small) is, “How can I optimize social media?”

The answer, unfortunately, is that social media is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Forget the new social media channels that are cropping up every time you turn around. There are plenty of the most popular social media sites that are not worth the investment. So here’s a quick checklist that might help you decide whether or not these social media options are right for your business:

LinkedIn
If you’re in the business-to-business space, it’s critical that you and your senior team (at a minimum), have polished LinkedIn profiles. Crisp, high quality photos, succinct descriptions of your business and links to your website will help support your company’s brand image.

Having a LinkedIn company page means it’s easier to link to articles that your staff has posted and to post job openings. Plus, since many organizations are now using LinkedIn to search for a business supplier, your company page will show up in search results. Plus you can sponsor posts for a wider distribution.

If, however, you run a local dry cleaning business, you probably won’t benefit from a LinkedIn company page. Since LinkedIn a broad-reaching business networking site, your biggest determinant might be how broad an audience you’re trying to reach. If it’s geographically tiny, I’d take a pass on a company page — but still maintain a personal profile.

Facebook
With more and more advertising cropping up on Facebook newsfeeds, users are starting to become numb to advertising messages — unless, of course, you’re selling retail products that can be targeted to a specific audience. If you’re trying to build community and spread updates about your products/services, then a Facebook page is a great way to keep your enthusiasts engaged with your brand.

You must, of course, first build a base of followers — which comes by posting relevant and timely content, and encouraging shares. Own a bike shop? Post tune-up tips, updates on gear, answer Q&A’s for beginners and experienced riders alike. Encourage your followers to share tips about secret trails, pictures of their travels, etc. And, from time to time, run contests to win a free bike or accessory. But, above all, keep it current and relevant.

Who’s Minding Your Social Media Store?

Whether an organization is big or small, the sad news is that, despite social media celebrating 10 to 17 years of history, very few brands today really “get” how to use social media effectively.

Social Media Customer ServiceAs a strategic marketer and copywriter, I’m always delighted when I see great social media posts by a Fortune 500 brand. But I’m even more impressed when those posts are from a tiny, little company, where you know the person posting is also answering the phone, dealing with orders, and possibly working the cash register.

But whether an organization is big or small, the sad news is that despite social media celebrating 10 to 17 years of history (depending how you look at social media being a marketing opportunity), very few brands today really “get” how to use social media effectively.

Perhaps it’s because, in the big scheme of things, companies are still wrestling with what they should say or how they should say it. For many, social media is merely another way to push advertising content that’s being used in other media channels. Consider Twitter posts like this: “Check out our new television spot!” with a link to a 0:30 spot. Does this inspire you to click on the link? If you’re a huge fan of the brand, perhaps, but does the post add insight and value to the brand? The short answer is “NO!”

In many mid-sized or smaller businesses, social media posts are considered “grunt work,” and thrown to the current intern to figure out. Or, running out of fun and engaging ideas, the social media manager gets desperate and perhaps loses their sense of appropriateness — like the famous Twitter post from Home Depot that got the employee and their marketing agency, fired.

If You Make a Misstep, They Will Come (in Droves)
Social media is the ideal platform for customers to express their immediate frustration with a brand. Pre-internet, if something happened, you’d write the company a letter (good luck getting a response beyond a form letter!), or call the customer service line and vent to some hapless inbound telemarketer who was empowered to do absolutely nothing about your complaint.

But in 2016, all it takes is access to a Facebook or Twitter account, and with a few keystrokes a consumer can generate an extremely damaging and embarrassing message to practically any brand in the world. And all eyes are on the brand as to how they’re going to handle this potentially messy situation.

Sometimes the brand need do nothing in response. It seems that there are a lot of sympathetic brand protectors out there, who often swoop in to save the day (without being endorsed by the brand at all).

Take the anti-gay bigot bashing Facebook user named Jessica, who was angry over the new Campbell’s Soup campaign that featured two gay Dads feeding their son Star Wars-inspired soup while taking turns mimicking Darth Vader’s quip “I am your father.”

Without waiting for Campbell’s Soup to officially reply to her post, another Facebook user created a Facebook account called Campbell’s ForHelp and tackled Jessica’s comments head on, virtually shaming her while building a positive following and support for the Campbell’s brand.

Often brands simply ignore or take down inappropriate posts to their Facebook accounts. But if a brand takes down a legitimate complaint, they’ll often get bashed for that action as well. In fact, a recent survey found that 42 percent of consumers that are complaining on social media expect a response within 60 minutes. And when they don’t receive one, they continue to complain with more posts.

Many companies are now turning to their customer service departments to run their social media sites. Personally, I think this will lead to dull and disinteresting content as it turns the channel into a reactive, rather than proactive, one.

Welcome the Newest Addition to the C-Suite
I think the answer to the problem is crystal clear. There needs to be a new job function created: Chief Social Media Officer (CSMO).

Skilled as a writer, classically trained as a marketer, deeply committed to exemplary customer service and empowered to take on and resolve customer complaints, this brand maven would represent the organization as well as (or better than!) any existing company spokesperson.

A highly sought-after position, this individual would clearly love and champion the brand while developing strong relationships both internally and externally in order to share customer insights (gleaned from social media chatter), and elevate customer issues for fast resolution.

They would be clearly versed in the company’s strategic vision, business operations, products and services (including what was coming down the pipeline), and would be always ready to speak as the organization’s brand ambassador but in a way that leveraged the power of social media.

What do you think? Are you up to the task? Ready to apply?