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09/17/2009 Listen. Connect. Correct. Repeat.

In the last two weeks I've seen and heard social media stories from two Vermont ski resorts that provide good lessons for the rest of us. If you're still wondering how or why you should use social media, these stories should show you the value of participating in social media (and the risk of ignoring social media).

At last week's #BTVSMB meeting, Karen Boushie from Smuggs told the group about a posting someone made showing brown, dirty liquid gushing from a pipe on one of Smuggs downhill trails. I can tell you from experience, if there's one thing ski resorts hate it's anything associating its mountains with the color brown! The post implied that Smuggs was polluting the mountain, as witnessed by the picture.

But Smuggs was listening. They picked up on the post quickly and saw that one of their snowmaking pipes had sprung a leak. The water spouting from it was just that, dirty water and not any bad pollutants. They did two things: They found and fixed the leak and they informed the poster that it was last year's snowmaking water that was the issue, not pollutants.

The poster acknowledged Smuggs actions and quickly sent out a clarification and admitted he was mistaken. Smuggs impressed him by how quickly and thoroughly they reacted.


The other story happened earlier this week here on this blog. I'm not going to rehash that here. But needless to say, ski resort Jay Peak was listening. They have a lot of moving parts to their marketing and it turned out that there were a couple of missteps. And very, very quickly, everyone jumped in, apologized, made changes and started broadcasting (!) that they had made a mistake and corrected it.

That last part was amazing. Owning up to mistakes and errors is probably the best relationship and authenticity builder out there (now, if only the politicians could learn this). It showed that Jay was walking the walk.

I know this isn't a Vermont thing, as much as I wish it were. These two business show how social media should be done right, in four simple steps:

Listen, connect, correct, repeat.


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