Commentary

Then Social Changes The World...

Social media is exhausting.  New platforms and tools are always popping up. And real-time marketing, coupled with consumers' expectations of instant responses, means an always-on state of readiness. 

Company stakeholders expect the highest degree of work level, then wonder why it costs so much since "social media is free." Monitoring and responding to consumers is demanded with perfect brand voice and messaging -- but from an employee paid at two-years-out-of-college wages. 

There's easy entry into social, but no easy answers. 

It's the type of go-go-on-a-budget mentality that creates burnout, impatience and sometimes oversight. 

And, then, when you expect it least and need it most, you get inspired. 

Last week, I heard a story about the Milwaukee Brewers. They are very involved in social media and monitor conversations religiously. As part of this monitoring, they noticed that someone had tweeted about a dog in an empty car with the windows rolled up during an incredibly hot day game. 

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The social media people for the Brewers contacted stadium staff -- who found the car, paged the owner in the stadium, and rescued the dog. 

Inspiring.  And it sounds so simple.  And yet, it happened due to constant monitoring by the Brewers' social team -- a team of two. It required this team to have contact info and relationships with the rest of the stadium and team organization. It required seasoned thinking and proper messaging in a literal life-and-death situation. 

By investing in the right team, the Brewers have one of the best feel-good stories I've heard all year, as opposed to a story picked up in local papers about a dog dying in the parking lot ("and how could the Brewers let something like that happen?!?")

(And, yes, I realize someone else could have called 911 or busted out the car window, but are we sure they would have?)

This is a column written for the managers, the executives, the stakeholders and the clients out there. 

Your PR team is on call, but gets to go home. Your designers leave their work at their computer. Your strategists do the same. 

Everyone continues to THINK about work "after hours," but social-media teams are often on the hook to be responsive and on-the-ball at all hours. 

As such, it's our responsibility to make sure they take TRUE vacation time, and that they have quality resources despite the "free" nature of social. We need to find ways to keep them inspired, without exerting more pressure by making it sound like "Why aren't you doing this, too?"

It's not an easy job. And there aren't easy answers. But, as the controllers of budgets, we need to take on these responsibilities to free up the mental and emotional energy for the social media teams we put so much responsibility on in their own right. 

I guess what I'm saying is...

"Thank you."

Thank you to my team and all the other social teams out there that put their heart and soul into the brand and into the consumers. 

You are the ones that change the world with social media. 

Thank you, viewers.

2 comments about "Then Social Changes The World...".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, July 1, 2013 at 4:40 a.m.

    +1 for saving the dog. -1000 for this incident. Puts social media into perspective: "Three construction workers were killed July 14 when a 567-foot crane lifting a 400-ton section of a retractable roof bent in half and collapsed inside the new Miller Park stadium being built for the Milwaukee Brewers' professional baseball team. An estimated 1,200 tons of concrete and debris fell, killing the workers and injuring five others, including the crane operator." http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/1999/07/milw-j23.html

  2. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, July 1, 2013 at 4:45 a.m.

    "The families of the victims are only eligible to receive death benefits equal to four years of pay. Under Wisconsin's workers compensation law, it is almost impossible to recover damages from employers even if they were guilty of gross negligence." (same link as previous comment.) Genuine question: Anyone know whether the Milwaukee Brewers has paid their families damages?

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