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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  October 25, 2016

How to Navigate Volatile Environments on Social Media

How to Navigate Volatile Environments on Social Media

My relationship with social media has been tricky. While I’ve enjoyed reconnecting the folks I lost track of along the way, there have been some crazy interactions as well.

A big question for me: How do I navigate polarizing issues? My experiences have refined a three-step strategy that balances a personal brand with personal convictions. I’ll use myself as an example.

1. Find your role. In online interactions, what role do you want to play: advisor, advocate, referee or provocateur? After some false starts, I’ve landed on a hybrid: one part observer, one part teacher, and one part translator.


Related: Three New Ways Social Media Changes Your Marketing


2. Scope your message. What do you want to focus on? Don’t limit yourself to topic areas because after a while, you’ll sound like a broken record. What elements do you focus on in whatever situation you comment on? Pick no more than three. My list: message strategy (what XXX does and context behind it), process (how to recreate XXX and use yourself), and dog whistles (interpretations and impact of XXX strategy). If I can explain those three things over a wide variety of topics, that’s what I’ll become known for.

3. Stick to your rules of engagement. There will be three groups who respond: those who agree, those who disagree with sincere concerns, and those who want to pick a fight. Have your internal rules of engagement to keep on track. Here are mine: Always lead with agreement. No matter what, take the high road. Don’t engage with anyone who trash talks, insults or resorts to name-calling.

Participating in polarizing discussions can help folks understand your approach and style. If they are impressed with that, more will read your content and reach out to you. And who knows? They might even want to work with you.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.