Daily I monitor the social media universe for my company. When I started, no one even cared that people might be talking about us. And truthfully, we are a small enough company that not that many people were talking about us. My initial research found only 10 or so mentions of us in more than two years. I’m sure there are some blogs that I missed (like I said, I was just an intern, figuring this all out). Even counting for that, it means there aren’t that many people out there talking about us.
One day, I found a blog that had reviewed a new competitor of ours, I sent it to my boss who immediately sent it to our entire sales/marketing department. This was a completely new competitor that we had never heard of, so we thought everyone should be aware of it. One of our well-meaning sales people commented on the post and seemed quite negative about the competitor, without doing his research before commenting. At first, when I found out he responded, I was excited that we were going to be joining a conversation that directly affects our industry. Then I read what he wrote.
The post was based on a good idea, basically encouraging people to make sure the product was capable of what it was promoting before getting too excited. However, the sarcasm this employee uses in every day life was included in his post, a place where people can’t hear inflection and no one knows the personality of the person commenting.
The School of Social Media makes it easy to learn a lesson, if you’re willing to be taught. What lessons did I learn? That we can’t wait any longer for a social media strategy; that if you interact with someone, they’ll respond; don’t let your competitor have a better response than you.
How can we prevent episodes like this from happening again? Other than making the intial email about the new competition a little clearer as to why we’re sending it out.

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