by Sherry Heyl
I am now part of the 1%. Not in the financial world, but in the world of Linkedin.
I received the above email today. I was actually quite surprised. Linkedin is one of my least used networks. But receiving this “honor” only proves what I try to tell my clients often. Something I am sure Linkedin would not like to hear me say, which is “do not pay for Linkedin until you are maxing out what you can do with the network for free.”
I have met a number of people who have the premium membership and they barely get any use out of it. It is a bit like paying for a gym membership, not actually hitting the treadmill and expecting to get in shape, because you are paying that monthly membership. It takes more than handing over your credit card number. You actually have to do the work.
I currently use Linkedin to stay
connected in touch with my connections. It is not about being connected, it is about staying in touch; reaching out to people when they make a change in their career; reaching out to people you have not talked to in awhile; reaching out to people who you have not met yet when they ask to connect with you. It is about building relationships.
That takes time. Just like getting on the treadmill takes time. But just like the treadmill, doing the hard work does eventually pay off.
One of my 2013 goals has been to improve my use of Linkedin. I have been reaching out to my network, finding new groups to participate in and removing myself from groups that have not provided any value yet. I actually anticipate I will be ready to take my membership to the next level this year. But not until I have maxed out what I can get with the free version.
Thank you Linkedin.
by Sherry Heyl
The Internet is all abuzz about Applebee’s being the latest victim of a social media mob. Some call it the Applebee’s social media Meltdown.
I feel like I could be called as an expert witness on this case. I spent 10 years of my life as a waitress in restaurants similar to Applebee’s and the past 7 years in social media (college degrees and other corporate jobs in between).
I should be able to see this situation from all sides, but honestly I found myself scratching my head as I read the account of what happened.
The incident started when a Pastor who was paying for her part of the meal of a large party, crossed out the automatic 18% tip and wrote on the receipt ““I give God 10% why do you get 18,” above her signature.
To the witness stand I call the me who was a waitress for 10 years and I would be pissed! But I also realize that this happens at restaurants, it is part of the job. I actually had a church group that I waited on scam me out of money once.
Another waitress took a photo of the receipt and posted it on Reddit, a community made up of people who will definitely side with the waitress, and so the story spreads with not so nice things being said about the Pastor. The photo of the receipt has the name of the Pastor on it and she is eventually alerted to what is going on and informs Applebee’s.
Alright this is where the me who has advised individuals on social media etiquette takes the stand. Social Media is powerful, and “with great power comes great responsibility.” I see the server taking action against the pastor, but doing so publicly will come back and bite you. I waited tables before there was social media, or even the Internet. We had our ways to take action against certain guests (this is why you should ALWAYS be polite to your server and tip appropriately), but we did not pour the drinks all over the guest (yes that happened) and then get on the loud speaker and announce what we did. No, the action had to look like an accident or not be traced back to the server. I am sorry, the server who posted the picture was in the wrong in that she did not understand what she does on the Internet is similar to announcing an action or opinion over the loud speaker, which I am sure she would not have done. The computer screen does not shield you.
Here is where I think Applebee’s did some things right regarding their social media program.
From what I have read, they have a social media policy that employees sign which states:
Employees must honor the privacy rights of APPLEBEE’s and its employees by seeking permission before writing about or displaying internal APPLEBEE’s happenings that might be considered a breach of privacy and confidentiality…this includes guests….
The way the legal system has been struggling to catch up with social media actions, I do not know if this policy will stand up in the court of law. Employees have a right to complain about their job conditions, but to call out a customer may be a different story. I am glad to know they had a social media policy though.
The waitress who posted the picture was fired for violating the Applebee’s social media policy.
The problem is that the social media mob is not going to emotionally take the side of the Pastor and her right to privacy. Since most of us have worked with the public and have had to deal with people we feel did us wrong, we will empathize with the waitress. So, as the story evolved so did the social media protest.
The second thing that I commend Applebee’s for is responding to the attacks. I believe their responses were professionally written and sincere. I believe they really tried. But they did not understand how to deal with an emotionally charged mob.
Here is what they could have done better.
First of all, I believe that Applebee’s was in the right to fire the waitress and that there is no reason for them to cave into the pressure of the social media mob. But they needed to take a stronger stand against the mob.
As soon as Applebee’s noticed that this story was going to be a big deal on social media, they should have got in front of it and made it a big deal themselves. They posted their responses to the mob within the comments section (you can find the details on this blog). You can tell they were responding in a way where they wanted to keep the issue on the “down low” and make it just go away. That gave them the same result as what swatting a hornet’s nest will give you. Don’t swat at it, take a blow torch to it. Go big! Post your side of the story as a prominent Facebook status and take steps to own the search results for those who are looking into what the story is all about. Many people will not agree with Applebee’s, but some, like me, will.
Understand that your side of the story is not going to quiet the mob and that responding to them directly is only going to fuel their fire. Let the mob vent. Don’t block them from your page, don’t delete their comments, let them vent. Ideally, guide their venting to the appropriate status. Currently the Applebee’s Facebook page has 2 posts explaining their situation up with approximately 30,000 comments on them. I think 2 updates plus all their responses within the comments section is a little too much. One update with the facts is enough.
Will Applebee’s lose customers over this situation? Maybe a few, but nothing for them to panic about. Is this a huge social media fail? No. I have seen lots worse where the company behaved as if they did not care about the public. I think in this situation, Applebee’s was trying to care a little too much. They went to a lot of effort to continuously to provide the facts and explain their side of the situation, which was perceived by the mob as being argumentative or confrontational.
I have seen a number of posts about how bad Applebee’s was in this situation. Not one post that I have read has said what the right thing would have been for Applebee’s to do. I suspect many people would like the waitress to have not been fired. But then where do we draw the line on privacy? Can any server begin to post pictures of stupid things their customers are doing? Because I promise you, we all do stupid things that we would not want shared on the Internet.
As I said in the beginning of the post, this one has me scratching my head. It is easy to say that Applebee’s failed in their social media efforts here because obviously they are currently dealing with an angry mob. But what could they have done to avoid having to deal with such a mob, besides not fire the waitress?
What would you have advised?
by Sherry Heyl
Facebook is constantly changing and changing fast. That is actually the secret to their success.
That means what you were once used to and comfortable with on Facebook will be different the next time you log on. This includes your assumptions about your privacy settings. A little over a year ago I gave up the idea of having any kind of privacy on Facebook. If I want it to be private I don’t post it on Facebook.
With that said, you are not completely helpless when it comes to managing what you see and what other’s see on Facebook. But with all the changes people often get confused of what they can and cannot manage. This past week a number of my friends posted this in their status update:
Hello, my FB friends: I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. I post shots of my family that I don’t want strangers to have access to!!! However, with the recent changes in FB, the “public” can now see activities in ANY wall. This happens when our friend hits “like” or “comment” ~ automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we can not change this setting by ourselves
because Facebook has configured it this way. PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (DO NOT CLICK), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on “COMMENTS & LIKE” and also “PHOTOS”. By doing this, my activity among my friends and family will no longer become public. Now, copy and paste this on your wall. Once I see this posted on your page I will do the same. Thank you very much!
This is quite misleading and can be very confusing. So I am going to try to break it down.
The first sentence says:
I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. I post shots of my family that I don’t want strangers to have access to!!!
If you do not want your photos to be accessible to the public go to your privacy settings in the top right.
From here you can chose whether or not you want the default setting for your posts to be public or for “friends only” or custom.
Friends: Just people connected to you.
Custom: Certain friends only that you have put on a list.
There is also an only me option, but I do not know why anyone would want to only share with themselves….
Here is where Facebook recently changed. You used to be able to chose friends of friends as an option. Meaning if I am friends with you and your friend Sally has set her privacy settings to friends of friends, then I could see Sally’s posts even though I was not friends with Sally because you are a mutual friend. That is no longer an option for future posts, but it past posts remain set that way. That can be changed to friends only in the Privacy setting as well.
The next part of the Facebook status that is going around says:
However, with the recent changes in FB, the “public” can now see activities in ANY wall. This happens when our friend hits “like” or “comment” ~ automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we can not change this setting by ourselves
This is not true at all. What the public can see is activity that happens on public walls.
As I mentioned, my profile is public, so you if post on, comment on, or like a post on my wall the public will be able to see that activity and your friends may see that activity in their Facebook feed, because it was a public action. This includes any activity on pages. So if you comment on or like something on a political page people will see it, because it was a public activity.
If however you comment or like something on a friend’s page who has their settings as friends only, only her friends will see that activity.
Finally the status says:
because Facebook has configured it this way. PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (DO NOT CLICK), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on “COMMENTS & LIKE” and also “PHOTOS”. By doing this, my activity among my friends and family will no longer become public.
What this activity will do is ensure that YOUR friends will not see what you comment on or like or your photos. The people you WANT to share with will not be able to see what you are sharing, but the public will still be able to see your public activity.
Basically what the activity described does is to enable you to have control over what shows up in your feed from your friends. If you have a family member or friend that you feel obligated to stay connected to but you don’t like seeing their updates, you can take them out of your news feed or modify what you see from them. The activity described has nothing to do with what the public can see of your activity.
I hope this makes sense. But once again please keep in mind that whatever you share on Facebook or the Internet can be leaked or copied and shared. Therefore although you can manage your settings, never assume you have privacy, because we all know what assume means (ass-u-me).
Lifehacker also recently posted a great article about the many other ways you can manage your Facebook presence.
by Sherry Heyl
I am observing Social Media at work and it is inspiring to watch. I do not have a clue what the end result will be, but I know whatever form it takes it will be positive.
How do I know? What I am observing is passion, community, and leadership; The qualities that are needed for a successful social media effort, and that are usually missing from the majority of the brands that are giving social media a try.
The Back Story
Project 96 was the last radio station that played hard rock/metal. As a mother of two boys, it was a station I listened to more than I wanted to. Now I had my complaints about this radio station, mostly about the morning show, but at the same time I have many more complaints about the bubble gum, factory made, pop music that is produced on all the other stations.
So it was a shock to me as much as it was to my boys when we discovered that the format of 96.1 had been changed. It is no longer Project 96 but Power 96 which will now play bubble gum, factory made pop music sold to us by the top sales person of the industry, Ryan Seacrest.
What the Project Group is Doing Right
Project 96 has been rocking ATL since 1974 and has built a loyal fan base. When Clear Channel made the decision to change the format, it seems they did not take into consideration that they left this fan base without a home. They kicked out the rock fans leaving them no place to go. The biggest frustration expressed is that the new format is the same as the format on at least 4 other radio stations, and we are not going to take it. These are fans who are tech savvy enough to start a FB page, which could be a problem. Too many pages and the movement would fail. But from the first night it looks like at least 2 leaders stepped up and began to organize.
The first thing they did right is they did not compete with each other. They liked each other’s pages and started working together.
Both are also posting often, keeping people motivated to act.
Both are giving specific instructions to their followers, from Signing a Petition to posting images to their wall, to going to the pages of Ryan Seacrest, Power ATL, and Clear Channel to express their feelings about the new format.
Both are staging protests offline and clearly getting their followers involved in the organization of the protests.
Both are giving specific examples of what the “Project Family” can do to spread the word this weekend.
Overall, it looks like the very vocal group that was too small for Clear Channel to serve is now serving Clear Channel a good piece of their mind anywhere and everywhere they can. They are even getting the attention of the local media!
What Clear Channel is Doing Wrong
First of all, they are acting like the big corporation who only cares about money and not about their fans. Supposedly this was their response to the movement that is happening.
Second they are deleting FB comments from the Project Family on the other pages instead of responding to them. That is like swatting at wasps, and it is so much fun to watch.
What could they do to respond to this mess? Well it should never have gotten to this point. The rock station Project 96 did have some serious issues. The morning show was an embarrassment to listen to IMHO- I could not listen to it with my 11 year old rocker in the car because of the sexual content and they consistently promoted that their listeners were dumb rednecks. This is not a good brand for rock. Rock has meaning. Rock and Roll has always been intertwined with social movements. It seems to me that the small audience had more to do with Clear Channel’s lack of understanding of rock music than of the genre itself - the genre that fills up festivals and stadiums. If there was a lack of following for Atlanta’s last rock stations, perhaps they need to look at themselves and not the music genre.
Also, I am sure they expected an uproar to the program change. Why did they not have a place for people to express themselves, to get answers, some sort of outlet from the start? They are completely unprepared for this. And their top sales guy, Ryan Seacrest should be speaking up too. Show some respect for the fans that I am sure you would like to attract to your other properties. If you would have been prepared to handle the complaints from the start, you would not have to think about deleting comments on the various other pages and stirring up a wasp nest like you are.
My Conspiracy Theory
I do have a small conspiracy theory, which gives more credit to big companies than I am sure they deserve. I am thinking that they already have in mind a new rock station to replace Project 96. A station that I can listen to with my 11 year old son and that can be a part of the essence of Rock and Roll and the best way to promote this new station is to cause an uproar from the Project 96 fans. I mean, I am really impressed of how well and professional these Save the Project FB pages are being handled. Whoever is behind these pages has experience in handling, not just community management, but event management.
If this is not a conspiracy to promote a new station, it is definitely an opportunity for The Clear Channel to make this all work out in their favor.
Finally, the night my boys told me what was going on I tried to console them by telling them everything is going to work out well in the end. Radio stations are dying and they have to reduce their inventory. Meanwhile, good music that does not have to be shoved down people’s throat will prosper online and will lead the innovation that music so desperately needs. I encourage them to look at this not as a loss, but as an opportunity to lead the revolution….because after all, revolutions always start with the music.
9.2.12 UPDATE Power 96 has added another Facebook page ….which the Project Family quickly migrated to.