Leadership

Social Media Roundup: Learn From Martin O’Malley’s Reddit Misstep

How the governor of Maryland got Reddit really, really wrong this week. Also: A social strategy can help take the pressure off when your site goes down.

It’s easy to screw up on social media—just ask the NYPD.

Sure, taking advantage of the ease of social media to reach out to the public seems like a good engagement strategy, but when you aren’t up to the task—as a prominent politician wasn’t this week—it can be embarrassing.

More on Martin O’Malley’s failed Reddit appearance in today’s Social Media Roundup:

When Reddit Strikes Back

We’re often challenged to persuade our folks at the top to take a chance on social media. But in the business world many don’t, as they’re afraid of saying something stupid.

O’Malley, the Democratic governor of Maryland who is widely considered to be possible presidential candidate in 2016, took a big risk on Monday when he introduced himself to the world of Reddit, and bombed—badly.

The Washington Post analyzes where things went wrong for the governor in his “ask me anything” chat. One Reddit user’s sentiment ultimately describes the failings of the endeavor best: “Lots of hard questions with very few responses from the governor. I suspect he’s regretting his decision to do this …”

O’Malley’s big problem? He appears to have missed what the audience was looking for. In a forum where it’s important to show some personality and answer a few questions with a sense of humor and intimacy, the governor largely stuck to talking points. Worse, he was scheduled to talk at a time of day when he couldn’t give the conversation his full attention. Around the same time, he was set to sign a minimum-wage bill; the Reddit chat was meant as a tie-in to promote the signing, but instead it turned into a schedule conflict.

For associations and nonprofits looking to get their execs into the social media game, it’s critical to make sure these important players actually make time for it and are willing to open up a bit. If you can’t pull it off, you’ll sink fast. (ht @washingtonpost)

When Your Site Goes Down …

Social media may taketh away (just ask Martin O’Malley), but it also giveth back—which comes in handy when you’re in a pinch.

A good example comes from Incline Marketing, which notes that social media can be a saving grace when your website takes a tumble—planned or unplanned—but only if you have a social strategy in place to make do during the downtime.

The firm suggests using Facebook and Twitter (obviously), as well as creating a lighthearted YouTube video ahead of time—you know, just in case a rainy day or power outage hits your server.

“Shutting down your website, even if it’s just for an hour or two, can be a tough but necessary decision,” according to Incline. “When it happens without warning, it can be a nightmare for you, your organization, and its community. Having a plan in place to deal with this issue is important to responding quickly and ensuring your community doesn’t abandon your nonprofit.” (ht @InclineMktg)

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's first trip to Reddit was anything but a good experience. (via O'Malley's Twitter account)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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