Yvette Pistorio

Three Common Social Media Fears and How to Overcome Them

By: Yvette Pistorio | November 18, 2013 | 

social media fearsBy Yvette Pistorio

I recently came across an infographic about getting past your social media fears, which brought back memories.

I remember when I signed up for Twitter. I had heard of it, but didn’t really understand what the point was.

So, I became a lurker – I wanted to figure this thing out because everyone was raving about it. Slowly I began to tweet, but diving right in was the key to really get the hang of it.

A couple of years later, I became a social media manager. While I used social media personally, I was scared to use it as a brand.

It’s one thing to post a joke, a funny blog post, or share an image from a trip I took with family and friends online – they know me, my personality, my quirks – but it’s another thing to use social for a business.

When managing a business account, I was terrified to hit “tweet” or “post.”

Would my company’s fans and followers like what I shared? Would they get my jokes? Would they think I was funny? Or would they say, “Oh, poor thing is clueless.”  What if I said the wrong thing? What if someone left a negative comment about my company? Or even worse, about me?

Common Social Media Fears

The infographic from American Express OPEN shares some common fears and tips on how to get over them. These are exactly the fears I had when started – and to be honest, I still get a little scared.

Then someone from my team says, “Get a hold of yourself, Yvette!” And I snap out of it.

“I don’t know what my ‘voice’ should be.”

Of course you should be professional – no cuss words or inappropriate images – but don’t be a corporate robot. Just be human.

The way I approach doing social for a company is to put myself in the community’s shoes. How would I like to be approached?

Just make sure your voice and opinions align with your company’s values.

“I don’t know what to share.”

If you really don’t know what to say, just ask! It’s amazing what a simple, “What do you want to see here?” will garner from your community.

They will let you know – and if they don’t like something you post, they’ll let you know that too.

Aside from asking your community what to share, there are a few things that you can do:

  • Use the 80/20 rule in social media (80 percent about someone else and 20 percent about you);
  • Ask questions and reply to comments;
  • Share your own content – it could be blog posts, ebooks, case studies, tutorials, market reports, and so on; and
  • Share informative articles, videos, and images relevant to your industry.

If you’re wondering which pieces of content to share, consider this: If you think it’s interesting, it’s likely your community will find it interesting as well.

Then, track and measure your efforts until you have a good feel of what types of content your community enjoys.

“What if someone says something negative about my company?”

To be a community manager, you need thick skin. You can’t please everyone, and people will say negative things about you. Accept that and have a plan in place when the time does come where someone says something negative about your brand.

Show off your fantastic customer service and use the negative comment in a positive way – “customer feedback, even if it’s negative, is invaluable for your company’s growth,” according to the infographic. I agree.

At some point, you have to rip off the Band-Aid. And guess what? It’s not that scary. You will make mistakes – we all do, we’re human. But don’t let mistakes deter you from taking risks with your community.

What are/were some of your social media fears and how are you working to overcome them?

About Yvette Pistorio

Yvette Pistorio is the shared media manager for Arment Dietrich. She is a lover of pop culture, cupcakes, and HGTV, and enjoys a good laugh. There are a gazillion ways you can find her online.

  • Great article, Yvette. I went through this when I started a new job in September – because it’s fairly small, my company doesn’t have formalized social media guidelines (I’m working on it!), and I was terrified to start tweeting. Eventually, you just have to start doing it! I did take the time first to formalize the basic messages that we were trying to communicate and found that measuring potential posts against these key messages helps to give me reassurance that I’m posting the right kinds of things.

  • Kato42 Thanks Kate! Smart to get those guidelines formalized, get a strategy in place, get the voice/messaging right, then dive in. Congrats on the new gig! How’s it going?

  • Mistakes will be made. The key is to learn from them, and never do them again! LOL

  • belllindsay Ha! Agreed – and learn from others mistakes too. How many times to we see brand fails? There are always valuable lessons to learn from those 🙂

  • Moving from personal to professional use is really tricky, and I’d say even some of the biggest names in the industry probably have a lot of anxiety around it.

  • Moving from personal to professional use is really tricky, and I’d say even some of the biggest names in the industry probably have a lot of anxiety around it.

  • jasonkonopinski It is tricky – you want to be human, but also align what you share/say with your company’s values/mission. It can be tough and you still see a lot of brands struggle with it.

  • jasonkonopinski It is tricky – you want to be human, but also align what you share/say with your company’s values/mission. It can be tough and you still see a lot of brands struggle with it.

  • yvettepistorio Absolutely, yes! When you need messaging to align with values/mission, it’s tempting to just play the party line.

  • yvettepistorio Absolutely, yes! When you need messaging to align with values/mission, it’s tempting to just play the party line.

  • I hate that infographic the sources are so tiny they could all say ‘I was whacked out on Molly with Miley and these numbers just came to me’ and no one would know! 
    I am pretty sure the % of internet time is wrong. We only spend 15 mins a day on social media per Comescore last summer (latest data I have seen). I bet time spent streaming hulu/netflix/youtube crushes social (unless they count Youtube which has social aspects but is really content consumption).
    Now that I got that out of the way great post yvettepistorio I normally get told ‘We think we should have a social media presence’ followed by ‘So what should it be’. So you have great starting points.
    The major stumbling point is if you are going to do anything more than open accounts and wait for people to come for say customer service, it takes time and effort which most business don’t want to commit to. Mostly because they don;t understand social or they try something and nothing happened. It takes a sustained effort and unless you can pay a 3rd party to do it or commit employees or yourself its like a blade of grass hoping to catch a drop of water vs setting up roots to do it.

  • jasonkonopinski yvettepistorio know what is funny? I started thrashing the CMO Club on Twitter because the first hall of fame inductee is the slug CMO from Walmart. So I tried to find this guy and he is not on social. In fact almost NONE of the C-Suite or anyone close wants to be found publicly because so many companies treat employees and customers like meat and really don’t want to be told this personally.
    The ones who use social usually either 1] have egos (Jack Welch) or 2] most people like (Mark Cuban for example).
    My guess is the return for being on social is low for anyone up the ranks. And a recent study showed that only 37% of wealthy older people and 50% of wealthy young people use social everyday. I guess to busy on their yachts 8)

  • Howie Goldfarb  Thanks Howie! I didn’t pay attention to much else, but the fears. It’s what I feared when I first started. Now I have different fears, but that’s for another post 🙂
    Completely agree – it takes a lot of time and effort. There’s a lot that goes into it – we don’t just post to Facebook and tweet all day! It’s not going to magically happen over night.

  • That thick skin is hard to develop…and it’s so easy to take things personally. But you’re right on by advising people develop it, particularly in social media. Think back to the Applebee’s debacle when the server wasn’t tipped because God only gets 10% in tithing. The person handling their social media – in the middle of the night – took the attacks personally and it devolved into something totally unprofessional. The mantra: This is business, not personal is very, very true.

  • danielleserrano

    ginidietrich I totally agree.  I am currently a student in the communications field and we are also told to remember that there is a difference in business communications and personal.  Although some become so devoted and dedicated to their job that they don’t see a difference, it is important that the business attacks are not taken personally and made into something big, such as the Applebee’s one as you mentioned.

  • I agree with Gini. When responding to negative comments, you have to think business is business. You cannot allow your personal connection to your work interfere with good customer service, something that oftentimes includes criticism of your own hard work. It’s hard, and it certainly takes time.

  • DickCarlson

    I count myself as very lucky that I no longer work “for” somebody.  When I was part of a 70,000 employee organization, the pressure not to say anything wrong was intense.  And with millions of people watching our company, it’s pretty much assured at least a few of them would be offended by almost anything you said.
    Now, I pretty much just say what I think.  I’m well aware that probably 50% of the world is offended by what I share and say.  And I click the “unfriend” and “block” buttons pretty often.  I just don’t have the energy in my life any more to deal with the name callers and people who can’t speak in a civil manner to those they disagree with.
    As an added benefit, I no longer see a Psychiatrist every week or have to take pills to control excess stomach acid.

  • ginidietrich Exactly – you have to develop it. My favorite thing to do is just yell at my computer while I’m typing something respectful/nice. It’s not worth taking things personally – you’ll fall apart eventually.

  • Pingback: Get your brand started on social media (even if you're terrified) - Kate O'Rourke()

  • Pingback: Social Media, Boomers, and Rock and Roll by @martinwaxman Spin Sucks()

  • Pingback: Marketing Day: November 18, 2013 « TLC Niche Marketing()

  • philipshaun

    I really
    loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. http://www.4orce4health.com

  • abigailalexandra125

    I am
    very happy to discover your post as it will on top in my collection of
    favorite blogs to visit.