amir johnson social media

Members of the Toronto chapter of the CIO Association of Canada got some very useful pointers on how to use social media from a stellar but seemingly unlikely guest at their event recently.

Amir Johnson, the 27-year-old starting power-forward for the Toronto Raptors was guest of honour at an exclusive dinner event hosted by the CIOCAN Toronto Chapter and Telus. It was, as one CIOCAN official said, one of the moments when the organization ventured out of its comfort zone to explore something new.

Apart from being a rising star with the Raptors, Johnson also happens to be a very astute and prolific social media user who has his own Web site and maintains a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other channels.

During his talk with CIOCAN members, he shared some of his experience with using technology (sensors and analytics helped him adjust the way he runs to avoid injuries) and social media.

Here are some of Amir’s social media tips:

Use it, don’t lose it – Amir has a healthy attitude towards social media. He seems to want to try anything. For example he and swingman DeMar DeRozan, Raptors shooting guard, love to post funny basketball videos on YouTube, post selfies on Facebook and tweet when they have the time.

“Social media helps me connect with the fans,” Amir said. “Growing up, I never had things like Twitter and Facebook to see what my favourite players like (Charles) Barkley were doing. Now kids can ask their heroes ‘hey whassup’ and they get responses almost right away.”

IT decision makers should explore what social media channel works best for their brand. They also need to determine what they want to social media for. Consider these points: Is it for connecting with customers, providing some service, or promoting a brand or campaign?

Focus – No not the new Will Smith movie. Amir said use social media but don’t let it takeover your life.

“At the locker room, it’s just the coach and a bunch of players mapping out the plays for the game, no social media stuff,” he said. “When, I’m on the court it’s about the game.”

Haters will hate – One CIOCAN member asked Amir how he deals with negative comments in social media.

“There’s always negativity out there especially when a game is lost,” he said. “You have to learn to stay away from it and remain positive.”

This actually really good advice that many social media experts also give. They say companies should respond even to negative comments but do so in a positive manner that shows you care about your audience.

Some of the best examples of this is during crisis management scenarios. Some of the things you should remember are:

  • Don’t be afraid to give your audience the worst case scenario
  • Choose the right spokesperson. Your voice during a disaster should be a person who not only can convey your company’s sincerity, but also project empathy especially with those affected by the disaster
  • Provide truthful, timely and regular updates of the situation
  • Tell people what your company is doing
  • Take responsibility, don’t pass the buck


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