Social media: the help menus suck; learning lessons the hard way

I manage social media for my clients, and it’s no wonder people are intimidated by social media. Listen to this one:

I logged into Twitter for one client, and dropped all 1000+ contacts into the Invite Friends field, then got a screen that said that Twitter was over capacity, to come back later.

This has happened before, so I waited an hour or so, then tried again and received the same message. I figured that the application could not process that many contacts, so I broke the list in two, inviting 500 people in two batches and received the same message.

Now that I had pretty much confirmed that Twitter was pooped and couldn’t manage large lists, I broke the contact list down further and invited contacts in batches of 100. The message that I received after each 100-contact invitation was a confirmation that I had sent an invite to 100 contacts. I sent my client a little report telling her that her list of 1000+ contacts had been invited and confirmed by Twitter.

I wish that were it. Unfortunately, I got a message the next day from my client, and her clients had been sending her hate mails complaining that they’d received 4-5 invitations to share her Tweets on Twitter. I was horrified. So many people are being dragged kicking and screaming into this online space and when something like this happens, it is a huge setback, especially for my client, who is very gingerly trying to embrace the social media phenomenon.

I talked to one of my pals about this, and he used the B-word, calling it a bug, but it is this kind of thing that makes people crazy. It’s not the strategic issues–things like accountability, measurement or analytics that people can’t get their arms around; rather, it’s the day-to-day usability issues. I learned this little lesson the hard way, and at the expense of my client. But what’s frustrating is that the only way you can learn this kind of thing is from trial and error–which always seems to come at a cost.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Gail Seymour says:

    I agree, the other problem is that as soon as you figure out how to do something, the media “updates” its features and you have to do it another way! I created a banner for my page with 5 images carefully cut and sized to create one message across the top of the page, but no matter how I load the pictures, as an album or one at a time in order, they never appear in order on the banner, ugh!

  • Gail Seymour says:

    I agree, the other problem is that as soon as you figure out how to do something, the media “updates” its features and you have to do it another way! I created a banner for my page with 5 images carefully cut and sized to create one message across the top of the page, but no matter how I load the pictures, as an album or one at a time in order, they never appear in order on the banner, ugh!

  • Gail Seymour says:

    I agree, the other problem is that as soon as you figure out how to do something, the media “updates” its features and you have to do it another way! I created a banner for my page with 5 images carefully cut and sized to create one message across the top of the page, but no matter how I load the pictures, as an album or one at a time in order, they never appear in order on the banner, ugh!

  • Gail Seymour says:

    I agree, the other problem is that as soon as you figure out how to do something, the media “updates” its features and you have to do it another way! I created a banner for my page with 5 images carefully cut and sized to create one message across the top of the page, but no matter how I load the pictures, as an album or one at a time in order, they never appear in order on the banner, ugh!

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