I just read of the American Cancer Society's faux pas on Facebook - it's all a lesson in thinking through a social media strategy and making it more than a Facebook page or a campaign.
Apparently [she] didn’t realize that in joining the ACS birthday group she gave permission to update her status.
Actually it's probably not so deep in this case, this is more a pure blunder of the decision-makers in the ACS being blind-sided by the excitement of a Facebook page.
The lesson could be, if we ever knew the whole truth, to make sure that all the details of any campaign are reviewed by all the right people in the organisation. In other words, it's about cross-functional coordination and alignment with the overall goals and brand.
The article and comments mostly centre on the lack of discipine and planning for social media:
Some days it seems like there’s a whole contingent of social media “directors” operating off of not much more than Mafia Wars and a Bebo account.
However the author (Michelle Tripp) and most of the commentators put this responsibility squarely in the hands of marketing. I'm not so sure about that.
If you see the customer experience, and the entire brand behavior, as purely a marketing function or in the hands of the marketing organisation then that solution may be appropriate. But that's rare.
Mostly customers interact through many channels and into many departments - support for example - and the planning and strategy for social media has to embrace all touch points.
There is a lot of commentary at the post about branding and marketing and social media - mainly that marketing has to understand how to use social media for branding. That's a statement which makes me nervous because I see "branding" as sending "messages" down a "channel". That is what a lot of marketing does, but that's not going to work in the social media.