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Social Media – Turnovers (Take Care of the Ball)

I’m still following the Denver Nuggets through the playoffs, and it is looking grim after the first couple games in Oklahoma City. This last game got out of hand in the 1st quarter due to terrible shot selection, court spacing and not protecting the ball (turnovers).  I’d mention free throws, but I’m saving that for another post!

People can skew numbers to suit their needs, but you can generally look at Assist-to-Turnover ratio to determine the winners/losers in a basketball game.  Let’s look at last night’s games.

Winner Loser
Oklahoma City Thunder (19/15) Denver Nuggets (12/11)
San Antonio Spurs (21/18) Memphis Grizzlies (17/14)
Los Angeles Lakers (20/13) New Orleans Hornets (14/16)

Let’s review what frequently happens as a result of a turnover (love this one because I’m not a Lakers fan, and I like the Thunder when they are not playing the Nuggets).

So how do we relate turnovers to our social media strategy?

  1. Protect the Ball. Well coached tall basketball players are taught to keep the ball high.  If you catch it high, keep it there because you have the height advantage.  If you bring the ball down, then the defender has a better shot at “tying you up” or getting a clean steal. Think of your brand as that basketball. If you have a brand held in “high regard” then it is your job to protect it! Do nothing inappropriate with your own social media interaction to put that brand in jeopardy.  The Internet is always on, and it never forgets.  If your brand comes under duress, perhaps because of a bad customer experience or product failure, then do what you can to restore it (while observing any social media policy your company has established).  That starts with honesty and courtesy.  “Own” the issue and seek to resolve it.  You just might turn around a customer relationship and develop new fans after they observe your customer-focus.
  2. Look Before You Pass. A lot of steals happen because of great anticipation by the defender.  However, spotting the defender’s intent before you pass the ball prevents the turnover. I still review each of my follower’s profiles and timelines before I follow back. Personal and professional reputation is important. You do not want inappropriate content getting posted to your Facebook wall, LinkedIn status comments or replies to your Tweets. I also chose the option to moderate comments to my blog posts to prevent bad language, personal attacks or obvious spamming.
  3. Don’t Pick Up Your Dribble. Some turnovers happen because of the ball handler’s negligence when passing.  Some happen when teammates do not help when the ball handler gets in trouble.  If a basketball player “picks up his dribble” before crossing the timeline or nearing a sideline, then the player is immediately trapped by a couple defenders. If his teammates do not come back to help him, then a turnover ensues. Now think of your social media strategy. Every social network has its share of inactive accounts.  Some of these accounts might have been created by the casual user, but others originated from well-intentioned business users for executing company social media strategies.  These business users generally became disinterested because they did not know how to measure the results of their participation.  Brian Solis wrote an excellent post titled ROI Doesn’t Mean “Return on Ignorance”. One of the ideas he expressed was the following:
“The barrier to entry in social networks is much lower than most communications and branding channels available to businesses. In many cases, establishing a presence in these networks is free. Nothing in life is free and that saying holds true in social media.”


Whether you are a “team of one” or part of a larger team responsible for company social media strategy, you have to resist the urge to pick up your dribble and get trapped. Define metrics (clicks, conversions, conversations) that can be tracked for your particular company. When you then feel trapped by an overwhelming feeling that your time is wasted with social media, you will have quantifiable results to reference. If the results still show under-performance, then reevaluate whether you are tracking the right metrics…or if you need a new ball-handler! Above all else, stay in the game! Social media should remain an integral part of your overall marketing and customer service strategy.

How is your company’s ball-handling when it comes to social media strategy?  Are you protecting your brand, choosing who you interact with wisely, and measuring results?

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and now grandsons! I am blessed in that I also love my job as a VP of Enterprise Solutions for ProKarma. I appreciate the convergence of big data and data visualization in our Pulse Analytics social listening and analytics platform as well as our core software / mobile app development, business intelligence, and test automation services. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin. You can find Brian on .

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