A social media / total media strategy centered on community means that at some point you’ll just have to let go.
It’s critical to have a well crafted message that you can run through every form of media where you present yourself. You have to work to maintain that message, too, reinforcing it at every opportunity you have. But a social media strategy centered on community means that you can’t have complete control over what’s said about you. At some point, you have to let it go.
Social media is a two-way street, meaning that customers and clients will have a solid chance to say something about you and your organization. Not all of it will be nice. Every time you have a complaint it helps to look at it as an opportunity to show how on the ball you are and dedicated to making sure that everyone is happy with what you provide.
It’s not the complainers that are the problem, however. Your biggest fans may tout things about you that you never wanted people to say. They may not take your message about your business or nonprofit to heart, instead emphasizing what matters most to them. That has to be OK with you, and it has to be taken in the spirit it was intended. If you always wanted to emphasize quality but your fans always talk about what great service you have, you’re a service oriented biz whether you like it or not. Go with it!
Knowing when to let go is the hard part. There are pitfalls, such as developing a reputation for sale prices that you never intended to make permanent – you’re stuck with those prices if that’s all people talk about. A strong community can make your life a little more difficult if your rep becomes something you really don’t want to live with unless you can steer your fans around. Most of the time, however, it’s best to let go and let the word on the street speak for you.