According to the Altimeter Group, companies will need to be prepared to make mistakes as they try to catch up to where their customers are in the ever-changing social media landscape. Be ready to “fail fast, but fail smart” is the advice. The key is to learn from your mistakes. But, are some of us too quick to judge the efforts of others? Have you found yourself making a snap judgment about a company or an individual based on their Twitter stream.
We noticed that, in some social media presentations, a few companies were unfairly criticized when it was obvious they were in their “listening” stage. For example, a company signs on to Twitter, has a brief bio and starts following people in their industry. No tweets, no engagement, yet. After a few short weeks, they find themselves being compared to another company who has been in the game a lot longer, and they are held up as an example of what “not” to do!
“Listen first,” that is the prevailing wisdom. But, we must play fair. Give companies who are listening a chance to listen. It may take them a few weeks of twittering to even start making connections and having @replies. It takes time to develop relationships. Why not make the first move and start a conversation with a new company. Aren’t we engaging to learn from and share with each other? That is the key to being social.
What if you are the new company, and you make a mistake? Get up. Dust yourself off. Most importantly, learn from your mistakes, and then, get back in the game!