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5 Do's and 5 Don'ts of Social Media

Twitter Sept 15A while back I came upon a YouTube video by Jason Goldberg the founder of socialmedian  (which was bought recently by Xing , a Social Networking  site ). The essence of  his strategy and success was a principle called “Just Ship It” which is a rather novel approach to building a company where normally just adding a feature to a single product for a company requires full anlysis, then more research is required to confirm the analysis, then its built, tested, revised again and then launched when its absolutely perfect (maybe 2 years later). By that time the competition could have built it, shipped it and be onto the next phase and maybe even sold the idea or business unit, in fact  Socialmedian was acquired by Xing for a purchase price of $7.5 million, an excellent return for the bootstrapped startup which had raised less than $1 million in funding and was sold in less than a year from start up. 

So while I was talking to a client today who has been agonising over the detail of the design, features and colours for their website (for the last 5 months) I was reminded of the principle of  “Just Ship It” and how important it is in the new age of digital media and how even more relevant Nikes slogan of “Just Do It” has become.

While this client is agonising over the minutae, the competition is pulling ahead and the gap is widening and the hits to their website is slowing and their website enquiries are dropping.

So what are 7 elements and building  blocks behind the principle of “Just  Ship It” ?

  1. Your users are your new R&D Department
  2. Once you have a new idea, ship it as quickly as possible
  3. Launch new features before they are finished
  4. Get it in front of your users, get their feedback and learn from them
  5. Don’t  over analyse
  6. Pick something you think users will be interested in and “Get It Out There”
  7. Actively ask for feedback and participate in a dialogue as to how you can improve and better meet your clients needs

Social Median from starting coding shipped the site 3 weeks later and then started building more new features as they got feedback

Most companies (and consumers) get into the “Paralysis by Analysis” syndrome when they start taking about getting involved in making decsions whether its the decision to buy a piece of art, select the best jam or even start engaging in  Social Media and this was highlighted by a post at Social Profs (A Social Media Blog), that commented on some  research revelations in a book titled “How We Decide” by  Jonah Lehrer at the “Neuromarketing Blog” by Roger Doooley.   

“Choking isn’t just for golfers and free-throw shooters. A particular kind of “choking,” thinking about the process of doing something instead of just doing it, can affect us all even when performing such mundane tasks as choosing a good-tasting fruit jam.” 

The two experiments revealed  “that consumers may suffer paralysis by analysis if they aren’t allowed to trust their guts when making buying decisions and this same principle applies when business leaders and managers don’t trust their instincts and “freeze in the headlights”. So what were the revelations.

Experiment 1: The Jam-Tasters. One group of shoppers was asked to rate a range of jams and choose those with the best flavor. This group “rated the jams in a very similar order to the professionals” by simply letting their taste buds decide, Dooley reports. A second group was asked to rate the jams, and to explain their ratings and analyze their first impressions. The results? A miserable mess. “This extra thought process … seemed to jumble their choices,” Dooley says.

Experiment 2: The Art-Lovers. Another group of consumers was invited to choose a free poster to take home. The posters included reproductions of Van Gogh and Monet paintings as well as cat pictures. “The first group simply picked,” Dooley says, “and 90% chose one of the fine-art posters.” The second group was asked to rate the posters and explain their choices. This group split about 50-50 between choosing the fine art and the cat pictures. But here’s the kicker: “When the groups were [later] surveyed … 75% of those who took a cat poster regretted their choice,” he notes.

“No, your ‘gut’ isn’t always right,” Dooley concludes. “But it may make better choices more often than we give it credit for.”

So what has this to do with Social Media… “Just Do It” and then “Just Ship It”  .. here are the 5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts.

Five Do’s

  • Start a Blog
  • Get on Twitter
  • Put up a Facebook Page
  • Register on LinkedIn  
  • Create an account on YouTube 

Five Don’ts

  • Agonise over the image for your blog banner
  • Argue about the Twitter background image
  • Worry about the exact policy for Facebook
  • Think about registering on LinkedIn
  • Wait for a full video crew to be engaged to produce that perfect video for YouTube

The Point: Don’t over analyze what to do with Social Media for your company “Just Ship It”

So are you still analyzing Social Media or are you “Just Shipping It”?  Looking forward to hearing your stories about your companies “Paralysis By Analysis” or  is it now “Just Ship It”

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Justin K.

    Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been debating about starting a blog & website for a while (some might say too long) and have finally reached the “screw it, what do I have to lose?” phase. While I’ve only recently begun construction on both I’ve already found that I’m much more productive when I simply create rather than agonize over every detail in the endless pursuit of perfection. Great post!

  • This is exactly what I needed to read this morning. I was just agonizing over a potential agonizing client when I noticed the tweet. I’m going to be e-mailing the 7 elements to my client this morning…perfect.

  • Haakon Halvorsen

    “Shipping” a blog is easy, make your collegues fill it with content is hard 😉

  • tom

    I really enjoyed reading this –
    send more soon

  • Really liked the paralysis by analysis analogy. Because of the nature of our new start-up, we have learned so much from the professional business community on all these social networks, we put content out-there, answered/ asked questions, and we have even made money along the way. We are continually working on ways to improve. Now trying to decide what area to focus on. Thanks for the post- goof refresher-

  • gabrielecruccolini

    I partially agree. I like the term “Paralysis by Analysis” syndrome, and I agree that over planning (and waiting) is never good. Anyway I think also that jumping on the boat without any know-how can get you to the bottom of the sea, so maybe, it could be useful a bit of listening and observation of “how things work” in online places. @cruccog

  • It seems that there is a typo in the first word of the third paragraph. You meant “While” instead of “Why”, right?

    This is an excellent and inspiring article, by the way.

  • Great post – I have seen the paralysis of analysis cripple many a great idea. I am trying to get better about this personally, and will gladly share this post with others… Thanks

  • So true – too often the opportunity to provide a better service to customers, e.g. via a new site, is overshadowed by analysis of color schemes and messaging and other not-so-important features to the degree that the project itself becomes pointless and never-ending.

    A good book on a similar topic is Getting Real by 37signals – http://gettingreal.37signals.com/

  • Spot on, Jeff. Thanks for another valuable blog. The five Do’s and Don’ts should be required reading for anyone interested in making a go of social media.

    This past year I launched a new web site for my company at http://ewingSIR.com The developers were taking forever to complete the coding and asking tons of questions about minutia that I thought could always be addressed post launch. I gave them a deadline and told them we would go live, even if the site was incomplete. We went live on that date and the rest took care of itself. It was successful in spite of the lack of perfection.

    Reminds me a little of the business tactic, “fire, ready, aim”.

    • Thanks for the comment Roger. I really like your phrase “Fire, Ready, Aim” I will file that away for future reference Cheers

  • Right on!

    I have to confess that I have been “winging it” with the social media, and apparently that is perfectly acceptable.

    I much prefer “just shipping it” to paralysis too!

    Thanks for your 5 do’s and dont’s!

    • Thanks for the comment Karne, sounds like you are a “Can Do” person 🙂

  • Great post. I’m sharing this with others. There is only 1 more do’s I’m not doing yet, opening YouTube account. Will do that shortly. Again thanks for sharing.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. Sounds like you are “Just shipping it ” well done 🙂

  • Thank you, thank you for taking the time to write such a comprehensive do and don’t list!!! It drives me crazy sometimes, because many of these points are simply common sense.

  • Great!
    some companies do nothing because the “Paralysis by Analysis” syndrome

  • My advice to my kids has always been “Excellence, but not perfection.” I should listen to myself more often, and go ahead and ship it – or simply click send…

    • Yep, 99.9% is usually more than good enough. You can lose the deal, the moment, and lots of others negatives agonizing over that last .01%. Ship it!

  • Jeff,

    You have covered good points what should do and what don’t in Social Media. I like the way discovered the principle “Just do it”. These 5 things definitely help in crisis of website traffic dropping. But there is vast activity in social media I think to do this, such as build own network list and email list, being continuously active on social media is important to drive traffic and maintain popularity of website.

  • Great do’s and don’ts! Thanks for sharing.

  • Amy

    This speaks to me. Nicely done.

  • It seems many times, some — not all — of the input is more focused on critiquing an idea [which is easy vs. creating it] which can hang the whole thing up — causing everyone to forget the original point. And in the process hold up the shipping!! – Gary

  • causing everyone to forget the original point. And in the process hold up the shipping!! – Gary

  • Good post one exception – in the don’t worry about – people should worry about FB policy because I know businesses that masquerade as personal pages that are being taken down which means you lose everything.  I teach social media and when you masquerade that’s spam and there is a spam button and a report button.  Just sayin…..

  • Don’t try the hard sell PLEASE – or alternatively only speak about yourself or your company offering – it’s a conversation not your church 

  • Whitney Hoffman

    There is a happy medium here of course.  Making sure you let some insiders and people whose taste you trust to give you feedback on the way, and making it reasonable before you ship.  Shipping stuff you know is half-assed, looking for other people to solve your end user issues, only leaves a bad taste for your product in their eyes. 

    For a good example of a partial launch that leaves users wanting more, Look at something like Visual.ly.  They aren’t prime time yet, but they do a good job by letting a few tools to tempt the appetite for the  main course to come.  And when they do launch, they have a bit of brand capital already built up, trust, so people will be more patient with any growing pains.

    Yes, avoid tweeking every pantone color looking for the “perfect one”- because that doesn’t matter.  Making sure people can log in easily does matter.  I would always have one neutral friend/ man off the street try my stuff before launch- at least one person with as little “yes men” bias as possible, and talk you through the path and experience- like IDEO often does in its design process- to see what’s clunky in advance, and then fix anything critical to functionality and get it out the door.  Perfect is the enemy of good.  You can always revise some more, whatever it is, you need a minimal standard of good.

    I look at my projects like having people over to my house for dinner.  Good friends don’t mind impromptu and PB & J, cereal and eggs if that’s what we’ve got and the emphasis is on people interaction- in fact, this can be the best kind of party.  However, for business colleagues and for important family holidays, we make sure the house is clean, the food is more special, and the effort that goes into serving, using the good dishes, etc. is heightened.  It’s about making a good impression, and if things go well, they get invited into the inner circle where imperfections are more tolerated.

    Make sense?

  • Chrispogue3

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this!! I can’t thank you enough for sharing your thoughts & insights. I feel so FREE!!


    Overly Analytical About EVERYTHING! 😉

  • I somewhat agree with your point. One should not wait for
    too long to launch social media initiative, but at the same time, there should
    be some strategy behind a social media launch.


  • I somewhat agree with your point. One should not wait for
    too long to launch social media initiative, but at the same time, there should
    be some strategy behind a social media launch.


  • Great one! we love the approach of “Just Ship It” and this are great tips on what is important to focus on, and what is less 🙂

    Thanks for sharing jeff.

  • Lucille Conlon

    Love the 5 Don’ts. Great info here to keep you focused on the real goal.

  • I agree with the “Just Ship It” thought. If you wait to make your move the opportunity is often gone. The Jam and Art experiments really help get things into perpective. Thank you for some wonderful insight. 🙂

    ~ Karen Karo ~

  • Great tips, Jeff! We can have analysis paralysis with SM and not MOVE! Your post encouraged the opposite and gave some quick tips to get moving. Love it!