Social Media Can Be A Mine Field

Social media is a great tool for marketing and staying in touch with people in far away places. Just remember that it can be fraught with danger!


One of the challenges with social media is that people can’t usually see our faces and body language. That means they only get about 40% of the message. Is that enough to ensure you aren’t misunderstood?

Mom&BrettI’ll use a personal example. I wrote a blog in January of 2012 about how great a year 2011 had been and posted it to my Facebook news feed. My reason for 2011 being so great was that in 2010, we almost lost our house, my mother died, my father had a stroke and my son died. In 2011, I had been in a new job for a year, we had managed to save our home with the help of friends and family, my other kids appeared to be getting their lives back on track after losing their brother the year before. When you compare the two, 2011 was a great year.

What I forgot about was that my nephew had died that year.

I received a call from my brother-in-law. He was furious. “How could you say that!”. My wife asked me to take down that blog because of the pain it was causing my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Although not sorry for what I said, I was sorry for how it made them feel and took the blog down.

If you are going to be active in social media, be prepared to eat some crow once in a while. I’m not saying not to be honest and say what you feel. Just be prepared that not everyone will agree with you and you might bruise some toes once in a while and have to explain yourself.

Social Media and Business

When it comes to business, the challenges are even greater. My brother-in-law might not be happy with what a I said a few years ago but he has forgiven and moved on. We are friends again. That took a couple of years!

criticismIn the case of business, prospects and clients aren’t necessarily so forgiving. I’m still married to my brother-in-law’s sister so he was forced to be near me and that gave us a chance to “kiss and make up”. Your followers and customers don’t have to. With a click of a mouse, you are unfollowed. If you are lucky, that’s all. With the power of social media, your followers, prospects and customers have a voice.

Look at Air Canada for example. There was an incident in February of 2017 where a plane had been grounded due to weather. It was midnight and passengers were told there was no food available as everything was closed. A West Jet pilot was in the same airport. He took the initiative to order pizza and came to the Air Canada passengers saying that “‘Hey … I am from WestJet and we do things differently. Who wants pizza?”. Facebook postings went nuts! Lucky for Air Canada, most of the commentary was positive for the West Jet pilot as opposed to directly negative for Air Canada.

Air Canada, to their credit, was quick to apologize and recognize the West Jet pilot for his efforts. Silence could have been deadly. Social media is a mine field. Tread carefully.

Have A Voice But Remember Words Matter

Question?By all means, have a voice. Just remember that words matter. Your readers may not have your language as their first language and are interpreting into their context. For example, “I’m going to the park” may translate to “I’m making a trip to the park” in a Latin language. If you’re lucky, your comments translate that well but not always. What if it’s something like “I beat my wife at a game of chess” and it translated to “I played a game of chess with my wife and I beat her”. If English isn’t my first language, I might be concerned you were beating your wife!

Words mean different things to different people. I highly recommend reading The Secret Language of Leadership by Steve Denning. Choose your words carefully but just as important, try to understand how your readers will interpret them.

Make it a great day!


P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for social media. I’m thankful for family. I’m thankful for opportunity. What are you thankful for today?

Five Facebook Faux Pas

A faux pas is an action that lacks tact and diplomacy, in the most simple terms, an action that hurts someone’s feelings.  Here are five faux pas to avoid on Facebook.

  1. Sometimes your best friend shouldn’t be connected to your Facebook page.
  2. Never post pictures of you with a new flame before your separation is final.  You might end up using your #LegalSavingsPlan!
  3. Don’t post comments when you are mad.
  4. Think twice about responding to negative comments about your business.
  5. Don’t be selling all the time, especially on your personal timeline.

See below for some explanations and examples.


1. Choosing Your Friends


Facebook is like having your own personal newspaper.  What you publish is very public and shared around the world.  Your life is the news.  Your “friends” are your audience and they can all see each other.  You don’t have to be friends with everyone, nor should you.

Think back to high school.  You likely had different circles of friends and they didn’t always mix well together.  Keep your friends to your personal time line.  Invite your followers to your fan pages and be very careful about mixing the two.


2. Posting Pictures

Denise Kayaking July 19, 2014

You are away on vacation and are all excited about the place, time and people you are with.  Many of us carry cell phones with data plans these days and are very quick to snap a picture and upload it to Facebook.  What is the picture about, who are you with and what are you doing?

Remember that family, friends and your boss are very likely paying attention.  Not a good idea to be posting pictures of you in another country when you are supposed to be home recuperating.  Are you ready for your family to know all about a new relationship?  Think before you post.

What’s that old saying?  Pictures are worth a thousand words.  Think about how much can a picture hurt!


3. Posting Comments

Words can hurtWordle_Divorce.  When you are posting to Facebook, they are out there forever.

Sometimes we don’t think about who is following our posts.  How many times have you seen a couple who has separated or divorced posting comments about the other.  Our “friends” are watching.  How do you think it makes them feel when they love both of the partners?

When you are feeling angry, sad, and even excited, write your post and then go pour yourself a coffee before you upload it.  Go back and re-read your post.  Consider what you are reading and whether or not you would would say this to the person directly.  If you think it won’t cause reactions you can’t live with, then go ahead.

Be careful or you just might find yourself needing a #LegalSavingsPlan !


4. Responding To Negative Posts

1196px-Facebook_like_thumbThink twice before you respond to a provocative post.

Social Media is a mine field.  When someone makes a post that is negative, derogatory or makes you angry and you have the urge to respond, in short, DON’T DO IT!!!

The appropriate thing to do is take that conversation off line.  Use private messaging, email or even better, pick up the phone.  By responding publicly, you give credence to their comment whether it is factual or not.  Have a private conversation and come to a resolution.  Positive or negative.

I have seen something like this where someone posted a negative comment about a business.  The person who was involved in that business contacted the writer privately and had a conversation that resulted in the post being removed.  The writer had every right to their feelings, not necessarily agreement with the statement, and the feelings were validated through private conversation.  In the end, the writer recognized that the comment was a little unfair the post was removed quickly.


5. Promoting Your Business

Don’t “puke” all over your Facebook “friends”!  I’m not saying you should never mention your business.  It’s part of who you are.  Like all promotion in social media, give them a reason to read what you have to say.  It’s about giving valuable content.  By all means, provide a link to promotions you think they may value.

Your family and friends will likely be interested in things like sports or current events.  You can post about something like legal issues with links to relevant articles.  Maybe even link to your own blog which provides thoughts and feedback about that particular subject.

man-announce-01sI prefer to write blogs like this with links to relevant articles and offers.  For example, at the end of the section above, there is a link to #LegalSavingsPlan.  That goes to a site where I explain what a #LegalSavingsPlan is and will lead to one of my businesses.  I hope the rest of the content in this blog provides value and those that are interested will click that particular link.  Other links go to more of my blogs that provide information related to that particular keyword.  Of course, there may be a related link to one of my businesses in that particular post!

Another thing you can do is set up a separate Facebook Fan Page for your business and keep the marketing efforts over there.  That way you can keep your personal time line separate and not flood your family with business promotions.  If there is a business post that is relevant, share it with your family by posting on your Facebook Fan Page and then sharing from there to your personal timeline.

I hope some of this helps.  If you are interested in less “businessy” blogs, I invite you to visit my personal site at


Make it a great day,


P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for the opportunity to share ideas.  I’m thankful for sunny days.  I’m thankful for the internet!

What are you thankful for today?

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What a Twit(ter)!

Is it a tweet or a twit? Sometimes a twit tweets and it’s important to recognize the time to stay out of the fray.



(Some of you may be old enough to get that!)


soccerplayerI remember when I was managing my daughter’s soccer team that parents would come to me complaining about something that occurred and they took issue with. My advice to them was always to wait 24 hours and if they still felt the same way, call me and I would get involved. In most cases, there was no call. The issue was simply because of the passion of the moment. (You realize us futbol people are a little crazy?!)


Social media is much the same. Communication is very fast and furious. Sometimes people “open their mouths” before they think and there’s no taking it back.


In soccer, part of the game is baiting your opponents so that they draw a penalty. I always told my kids to be careful. It’s not the action that gets caught but the reaction. Social media is like a championship futbol match. Fast and furious, passionate and unforgiving.


In the Twittersphere, someone may ask a fairly innocuous question and then some twit tweets an inflammatory reponse. The conversation rages and starts to cross over to the other channels. Now comments start to fly and the original intent of the communication is lost in the mayhem. All you can hear is noise.


Then, there are the watchers.

3D-Women-Search-03I believe that only a small number of people actually comment. It’s the watchers you need to care more about. They don’t usually say much but when they do, people listen. If they never understood the intended message, their voice amplifies bad information to the point you can’t reign it back in.


When you see someone has misinterpreted your message, either refrain from taking the bait or, if you feel you must, take the conversation off line.


Be careful out there!



Make it a great day,




P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for the time spent helping the Barrie Soccer Club get Spiritfest started 11 years ago. I’m thankful for the rewards of community involvement. I’m thankful for spring!


What are you thankful for today?

Facebook or Google+ ? Both, for different reasons.

I saw a great infographic on Google+ recently breaking down the numbers for the major social media sites like Facebook and Google+. You really need to be active on both (And then some!). Although many people cross over, we look for different things from the two.



  • Profile page
  • Pages (Google+) or Fan Pages (Facebook)
  • Share content from other sources
  • Upload graphics and video
  • Groups (Facebook) and Circles (Google+)
  • Privacy controls
  • Customize headers


brettandamiyaBoth Facebook and Google+ are great places to get to know people. At least superficially, as much as we can know someone without physically meeting. Profile walls on both are where we should post more personal things. Thoughts about family, work etc.


Pages are where we strive to promote business or community groups. Family isn’t really interested in seeing posts on social media marketing or whatever widget or service you sell. They see you at least semi-regularly and have the opportunity to ask about that stuff.


Make sure you don’t flood your family with business promotion and don’t flood your professional and business contacts with pictures of your cat. I swear if I see one more cat, I’ll cough up a fur ball! I have admit it’s hard not to flood the channel with pictures of my granddaughter.




  • Focus
  • Hangouts (Google+)
  • Posts
  • Privacy controls
  • Upload Video

The differences between Google+ and Facebook are few and yet very major.


Facebook users tend to be more focused on socializing like they would at a party. I have a personal bias but believe that most Facebook users are more worried about their cats than their business. Conversely, most Google+ users are focused on a specialty. Subjects really vary. Social Media, Photography, music and so on. As a result it’s easier and more acceptable to work on B2B or B2C without offending.


Google_Plus_logoHangouts is a space where you can conference in real time via video. Similar in nature to Skype for example but much easier to use. The added benefit using Google Hangouts is that you can record your video session for playback at a later time. This is easy to use because of the integration with Youtube. Go to Google+ and look up Wade Harman. He does some great stuff about effective use of social media and graphics tools.



Did you know that each Google+ post is an individual page that you can share a link directly to? You can virtually create a blog post and then share the page directly.


What I find most convenient, when posting, is the ability to add to a group easily and control who sees what. If you don’t choose “Public” and exclude the others you don’t want to see a post, only your target Circles will see your post. Just remember which page you are acting as when you decide to go public. It’s only public for that page and doesn’t post publicly to your profile page.



I would recommend both and then more. No matter what your area of interest is, I would consider Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to be staples today. Kind of like bread, milk and butter in the grocery industry. If you don’t have those in stock, you might as well close the doors.


Understand your target audience, your product or service and then develop a strategy to get your message out there. I would highly recommend reading “The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing” by Beverly Macy and Tery Thompson. You sill find some great examples of private industry as well as government agencies (see Orange County Transportation Authority, Ted Nguyen) who have been very successful with social media.


Now get out there and win friends and influence people!


Make it a great day,




P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for social media. I’m thankful for open minds. I’m thankful every day I’m on the top side of the daisies!


What are you thankful for today?


Facebook Fan Pages. Why do I need one?

Facebook Fan Pages aren’t the same as your personal page.  They are for promoting specific activities like your business or favourite sport and allow you to keep your personal stuff separate.



1196px-Facebook_like_thumbYou can have friends but your Fan Page can’t.  Your Fan Page can “Like” other Fan Pages and invite other Fan Pages to “Like” them.  This is about promotion, not making friends.  That’s what your personal page is for.

Once you “Like” a Fan Page, their posts will show up in your Fan Page news feed.  This way, when there is something that you believe will interest and benefit your fans, you can share to your Fan Page wall.  You can then “share” to your personal wall if that’s appropriate but this gives you the ability to focus on business to business rather than flooding the walls of your family and friends with stuff that is not relevant to them.


fb_friendInvite your friends and family to your personal page.  This is where you can wear your heart on your sleeve and they will understand.  When you post to your personal page, it won’t show up in your Fan Page news feed.

Stop spewing your business stuff all over your friends and family.  Stop sharing your personal stuff in the business arena.  Trust me, neither group appreciates the same things as the other.  They don’t like irrelevant content and will appreciate the separation.



To learn more about how to create your own Fan Pages, click on the banner below.  There, you will find videos that explain how to use Fan Pages to expand the reach for your group or business.  Whether it’s a sports team or a business, the tools will help you get more people to “Like” you.  There are video tutorials as well as a manual that you can print if that works better for you.

Make it a great day!


P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for those who take the time to read this far.  I’m thankful for GVO.  I’m thankful for every opportunity God chooses to bless me with.

What are you thankful for today?

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