It was the afternoon after my first Socialtunities event with Karen McCullough. We not only sold out, we also packed the room with an amazing array of professionals and entrepreneurs. It was virtually a who’s who of Houston! The positive feedback kept rolling in and I was on a high.

Then, I got home and saw this picture posted on Facebook. Can you tell me what’s wrong with it?








Don’t see the problem? Here, let me help you-









In case you’re wondering, that was my wireless mic tucked under my clothes. Now, I’ve been on social media long enough to find this funny. Not only that, I’m glad an attendee took the time to post this and let her network know about the event- what an honor! I don’t take myself too seriously when it comes to pictures. However, I do realize that, for some, this would be a total nightmare.

This brings up one of the most cited excuses I’ve heard professionals use for not utilizing social media- loss of control!

Now, I’m not going to tell you that you will not lose control when you join a social network and create a personal or business profile. What I will say is that, for me, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Let’s use the Socialtunities example. Karen and I unrolled the program a month ago. Leveraging our own networks and social media, we were able to sell out our first event. In fact, based on our after-event evaluations, nearly 1/2 of those who attended did so because they learned about it through social media! Additionally, Karen and I were invited to be guests for an entire hour on Channel 2’s Beyond the Headlines because the host saw our event on Facebook. Then, two days later, Karen and I were invited to appear as guests on Global Entrepreneur Radio – 1480AM after the host saw our event on Facebook. The amount of free PR and viral marketing that we received as a result of using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn was truly amazing!

Losing total control of your brand can be scary, but here are four steps that you can take to “manage” your brand while trusting fans/followers/friends to be your brand ambassadors.

  1. Put out great, professional pictures. Just because you cannot control the pictures that others use of you does not mean that your official brand pictures should be slapped together.
  2. Have a clear brand message. If your wording is consistent, clear and succinct across social networks, you will find others using your wording vs. posting their interpretation of your brand.
  3. Encourage conversation, interaction and sharing. This is where viral messaging begins and your control starts to waver. Give your followers permission to be your brand ambassadors and constructive critics.
  4. Be gracious, not a control freak. Come what may, always address both positive and negative feedback in a way that makes you look open, appreciative and willing to grow!