The thing about risotto is it has a complex simplicity to it.
It’s so simple in fact, that you can hardly explain how hard it is to cook perfectly. If the person you’re talking to has little experience cooking, he or she will likely say something along the lines of, “Sure, I can do that”. And even more likely: the same person will find it ever so difficult to get it right.
There is a reason why chefs on TV get everything right the first time: they have done it over and over for years before they appear on a showcase making that perfect risotto. And how is that different form working with social media? In many ways there is no difference.
It all looks easy when you know what you are doing and it is all learning by doing – this is how it works making risotto and working with social media. So when you talk to people about social media, remember that the difference between professional and novice is mainly experience, not knowledge. Returning to the TV-kitchen, both the chef and the audience know what risotto is all about and yet probably only one of them knows how to do it right.
To illustrate this, let me use the community of a Facebook page as an example. One can say that it is straightforward Facebook-stuff to create Facebook Page – and that might be true. But if you really want to grow the community or want to handle potential crises, a more experienced user of social media will have better preconditions for handling it.
For instance, last week we launched a campaign and shortly after the launch, someone made a critical comment. A comment that potentially could have overthrown the focus of the campaign, and voices at the client was starting to scramble. But for us, it wasn’t the first time we’d been there. Instead of hitting the panic button and erasing the comment – or worse – ignoring it, we advised the company to deal with it.
The result? The commenter is now a ’Liker’ of the campaign and felt like he was met with respect.
The risotto metaphor only covers some of the aspects of working with social media. Often times the challenges will be more technical demanding and access to the right tribe is a necessity. These things are also a part of the bill that a client pays, but something which usually is easier to explain in terms clients understand.