Do your homework to avoid social media rookie mistakes

As social media tools and strategies have matured, it has become less acceptable to make dumb, rookie mistakes.

Case in point? JPMorgan’s recent flap, in which, per Reuters: JPMorgan Chase & Co canceled a question and answer session on Twitter with a veteran investment banker after being flooded with insults, highlighting the risks companies take as they experiment with social media marketing.”

I have zero insight into how this was originally developed, but to an outsider it seems obvious that the folks at JPMorgan either don’t have or disregard their PR counsel, or their PR counsel is terrible. It is true that companies “take risks” when they “experiment” with social media marketing. But this shouldn’t be termed an experiment. Twitter chats like this one happen all the time, and are often successful. There are tried-and-tested approaches for such basic Social Media Marketing activities. The Internet is practically clogged with case studies about how to do the basics well.

How much research would it take before discovering that JPMorgan is not the world’s most beloved brand amongst consumers?  Doesn’t anyone advising JPMorgan use Radian6, Sysomos, Spredfast, or Crimson Hexagon, or (fill-in-the-blank-with-any-number-of-reputable-social-media-monitoring-tools)? Anyone performing a cursory review of JPMogan’s brand resonance…

should have shouted…
It's a PR Trap

…when it was suggested that an unmoderated chat was the way to go. When approximately 1 out of 6 people are likely to view you negatively, unmoderated anything is a bad idea.

Next time, JPMorgan should try a moderated forum like a Google+ Hangout or a Q&A session on the JPMorgan Facebook Page (with code of conduct rules clearly stated beforehand). While the number of potential attendees might drop significantly with one of these alternative approaches, I’ll bet the idea of a smaller – but more engaged and positive – audience sounds pretty good to the JPMorgan folks right now.

The do-gooder liberal in me is happy to see a bad economic actor like JPMorgan backhanded by the general public; one can hope it’s a wake-up call. The PR guy in me bemoans the nonexistent or poor guidance that led to this kerfuffle, especially knowing “safer” communications methods that would have helped them achieve their goals were readily available.

Always do your homework to avoid social media rookie mistakes!

Todd Defren


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