Social media training – vital lessons from history part 2

In the last post we looked at figures from the twentieth century and the lessons that could be learned from their experiences when implementing brand social media training.

In this post we’ll investigate some historical recommendations crowdsourced on Twitter over the past week.

The ultimate contemporary

Don’t expect people to be interested solely in your news, get the mix right – Samuel Pepys – a mixture of your own news and timely social comment is always advisable. People aren’t just interested in your latest news, version 2.6.8 of your latest software package or the appointment of so and so to Vice President of Packaging. By all means update your customers and fans through social media, but don’t expect them to share it with others unless it is relevant to their interests. As the great Pepys provided eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War and the Great Fire of London he still provided daily insights into his home life from his love of wine to his wife’s dancing lessons. Getting the mixture of news and comment right is key in any social media and blog posting.


Watch your supply lines and make sure that your resources can live up to your social media platform commitments – Erwin Rommel‘s failure in North Africa was exacerbated by stretched supply lines and by limited resources across a wide front. Logistical problems plagued his Afrika Korps in 1941 and finally lead to his retreat. Brands need to realise that if they are going to set up social media platforms to interact with customers and fans then they need to be properly staffed, and have guidelines in place to respond to customer queries. A Facebook page with an empty wall or one that was updated months ago is worse than useless because it gives the impression that the brand does not care about its community and gives competitors the opportunity to step in and interact with your consumers.

Spelling and punctuation is vital – A social media platform is a real time representation of your brand, poor spelling and grammar reflect badly upon companies and give followers the impression that not enough care or resource is being devoted to them. Gordon Brown was hauled over the media coals for his numerous spelling mistakes in a letter to the family of an Afghanistan military casualty. The backlash was yet another costly PR mistake that took time and resource to try and resolve and still appears high in the Google search rankings when looking up the former Prime Minister. Proofing and sense checking should be at the heart of any communication that goes out on a branded social media profile.

Sex sells, or the prospect of sex and style sells – Now, I’m not advocating you to advise your social platform managers to turn branded profile into X-rated broadcasts, but Mae West certainly had the right idea in terms of promoting her personal brand. A maestro of the double entendre, Mae made a name for herself throughout Hollywood as the go to woman for quotes, quips and controversy. People don’t become fans of the mundane, they don’t share with friends and colleagues things that might label them as boring. Branded content should be treated in the same way as any other piece of content in the sense that; “If you wouldn’t share it with your own circle of friends, why should you customers or clients be interested?” With that, I leave you with one of Mae’s most famous quotes and one that has been shared by millions “When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.” Brand managers take note.


Please feel free to proffer any tips you may think relevant for social media training or blog training and I’ll update the post accordingly.

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