4 lessons from a social media disaster

This communicator learned some tough lessons when he took charge of a company’s social media strategy. His advice: Books and blogs can’t teach you everything.

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In the past 20 months, I’ve learned a lot about social media and social business.

When I moved to Belgium, I needed a new job and had just one requirement: The job needed to have a social media element.

I was—and still am—the go-to social media guy for my friends and family, and thought I knew it all a lot. With that attitude, I went on a job interview in Brussels. Lo and behold, I got a job.

It was time to put my money where my mouth was.

The strategy

I started with a social media strategy, because that’s what you do, right?

My strategy did not have much to do with content creation, however. I figured out where I wanted to end up and what my personal, ideal view on the use of social media was based on books and blog posts I had read.

It was a bit too ambitious.

The company I worked for supplied local customers in the Brussels region, had 200 employees and had an old-school, command-and-control culture.

There were other issues:

I realized I did not have a strategy issue. I faced a culture issue.

Lesson No. 1: As a social media professional, you depend on other people and departments to get things done.

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