Failure. It’s happened to all of us before and yet it holds such a negative stigma that merely whispering the word can send a sense of fear and disappointment through our brains. To many people, failing is simply unacceptable. It means that someone didn’t do enough research, lacked efficiency or to put it more bluntly, isn’t good at what they do. So how do you handle failed attempts when that’s the very nature of your job? If you have a position in social media management or really any creative field, you know exactly what I mean. Failed posts, failed strategy, failed advertising… these may happen often and yet it’s completely necessary. In fact, failure is the learning process in which we grow and adapt our current strategies to provide an even better service or product for our business. In the words of Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios:
“Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.”
Now please don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that you should strive to fail. Rather, you shouldn’t avoid taking risks or trying something new in fear of failure. One small aspect of being a good Social Media Manager is the ability to create something new and fresh for your brand. Sometimes these types of posts or campaigns go over really well, while other times they go over like a lead balloon. Either way, if you can learn from this process then the better your brand’s social media will ultimately be.
So how exactly do you take a failure and turn it into something that works? Here are a few tips that have worked for myself and other NetWeave team members on various occasions:
Break It Down
Rather than looking at the failure as a whole, it’s best to break down what you did into multiple aspects. Let’s use a Facebook post as an example. There are numerous details that go into the making of a successful (and unsuccessful post), but content, copy and timing are the most important. Once you break the post down into these separate tidbits, you can ask yourself which one of these didn’t work and why. Was the photo poor quality? Was the copy too lengthy? Were there not many people online at the time your post went out? Once you pinpoint what it is that caused the post to perform poorly, you will have a better idea as to how to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Do Your Research
Chances are there are other brands who have tried and failed at something similar. It’s your responsibility to do a little online digging and see how others have handled it, read up on some tips (like this blog post), find some applicable success stories and then apply it to your brand’s social media. You may find that someone already tried exactly what you did and turned it around by doing XYZ.
Hold A Brainstorm Session
This may seem fairly obvious but it’s crucial to get other experts into the room and brainstorm with you when you’re stuck in a rut. Bringing your failure to light may seem scary, but it will ultimately be very rewarding. New people bring fresh perspectives and hosting a little brainstorming sesh with others can make you see things in a whole new light! During our annual NetWeave Retreat we have a special time allotted specifically for bringing up our failed posts or strategies and figuring out ways to help each other turn it into something successful.
It’s important to keep in mind that with the constant changes and additions to the social media scene we’re ALL just playing lots of games of trial and error. It’s what you do with these failures that will determine how successful your brand’s social presence can be. Oh! Before I forget – if you’re having a hard time turning your social media fail into a social media “win”, it could be advantageous to have a team of social media experts evaluate what you’re doing and give you some ideas. I may know of a company that would be more than happy to do just that. 😉