John Akerson's Thoughts

Business, technology and life

Learning from Other People’s Social Media Mistakes: Seven Lessons

I found a useful contact via twitter. I read her blog. She was a self-styled (and certified) expert in resume-writing. She had so many examples, suggestions, ideas, guidance, recommendations and thoughts. I enjoyed her style of writing and her posts seemed to be sharp and insightful. I signed up for her email list and the first thing I got from her included a discount on her book.  I feel like I’m writing a recommendation letter, but there is a point when you’re watching a horror movie, you just know. You KNOW that when someone goes into the dark cellar and the light goes out – something bad is going to happen. You just know it. When you start reading this, since the title is Social Media Mistakes – you just know it has to go bad.  It is like a horror movie where the kill is a huge social media mistake.

Convinced that her thoughts might help me write a smarter resume, I dropped her a brief email. I was considering hiring her to help me rewrite my resume. I was going to ask her thoughts, but figured that before I would take her time, I wanted to look at her book. It wasn’t too much. Her how-to resume book was an instant purchase, and a downloadable text and PDFs. It was about $20, with the cool discount that I thought I scored in the email. The email response to my note was a bit off-center.  I felt like she was talking to me but I started to notice issues. It was kind of like in the horror movie where you start hearing the theme music. If you’re skinny dipping on a dark beach, you know that music means that something is about to take a nibble and its going to go bad.  I saw things like – quotes from her that I have seen elsewhere.   I dropped her a brief question in an email, and got a fairly instant response.  I opened the response and realized it was a form email. I recognized it as an email blast.  I was disappointed, but thought that perhaps it was pre-scheduled. Since her website is her personal name – you know, like I thought that nobody would use their name and send out impersonal email blasts, auto-replies, and never actually set eyes on the incoming email.   I sent another email, and the following day I got another email. At this point, it was really obvious that her emails were form-emails, and completely unrelated to the emails that I sent her.

I also realized that she wasn’t reading her incoming email. She might not even know that ANYONE was trying to contact her. I was frustrated and certain that I have been taken in the amount of $20. My lesson has been learned. What other lessons are there?  

If she had been on her game, she probably could have sold me $500 worth of resume rewrite services. To monetize that thought, if she looked at her email she could have increased her revenue 2500%, from a single customer with a single transaction. So where are the SOCIAL MEDIA lessons?

1)      Social media is social – it is people-contacting-people.  Forget that at your peril.

2)      Some of the best future customers are past customers, but they must feel well-treated.

3)      Take the time to read incoming email, messages, tweets, etc. Extra points if you respond.

4)      Design campaigns from the customer’s perspective.

5)      Design products and services from the customer’s perspective.

6)      Try to avoid comparisons with the Shark in Jaws. He didn’t get return business.

7)      Time = Money. Trust = Money. Communication = Money. Service = Money.

From the customer’s perspective, it is understood that some things are going to go bad.  When a potential customer determines that a business is intentionally withholding time, not deserving of trust, lacking in communication and inadequate in service – that is a customer that is going to find another business to patronize.


September 21, 2009 - Posted by | Business, Life, People

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