Edge Vs. Cut: Being Outspoken On The Social Web

by Eric Brown |

We have all said some bonehead things from time to time and stuck our foot in our mouth. Sometimes more embarrassing than others. Loose Lips Sink Ships as the saying goes. This week we saw a couple of pretty insensitive occurrences of that, one with Kenneth Cole, which Scott Monty, Head of Social Media at Ford covers in his post InKConsiderate

Earlier today, we witnessed something that was bound to happen: a brand used a controversial Twitter trending item to draw attention to itself. While Twitter’s Promoted Trends allow brands to do this on a paid basis, today marks a turning point in what I would call predatory – if not tasteless – marketing tactics.

What?
Image by i am brad via Flickr

The second occurrence hit closer to home when Mike Volpe, VP of Marketing at HubSpot, made a derogatory comment about Detroit on his show, HubSpot TV. Dave Murray, founder of Social Media Club-Detroit said it best in his post No One in Detroit Knows How to Use the Internet and Other Bad Jokes;

Out of context, this a very naive and infantile thing to say. But out of context is the space we now live in. A flurry of tweets appeared challenging Mike to defend what he said, and rightly so. Online or off, we now live in a world where our audience isn’t limited to who is right in front of us.

How Does Business Leverage Social Media Without the Cut

With more employees Tweeting, Facebooking and digitally interacting with customers and potential customers on behalf of their employer, what is the answer here? Staying in the conservative middle is boring, and a race to mediocrity. No one engages boring, and no re-tweets or shares boring. How do we have an edge without cutting into sensitivity?

It is relatively easy to look in the rearview mirror at both of these instances and be critical, and while I am not condoning the comments, what are you doing with your staff to create the delicate balance here? If your content isn’t being shared there is no social media leverage.

It Isn’t About More Policy

Before the HR  crew jumps on the bandwagon about more and better social media policy and procedures, that isn’t the issue. The folks in this example are pretty bright, another policy wouldn’t have changed anything. And for the Neanderthals that think restricted access to the Internet tools is the answer, it isn’t. Business today must embrace the tools as routinely as they answer the phone.

Have you put your head in the sand surrounding this, what are your thoughts?

Enhanced by Zemanta


About the Author

Eric Brown

Eric Brown's background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.