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3 Social Media Lessons From Marco Rubio's Awkward Televised Water Grab

Here's what Poland Spring got right--and wrong--when its bottle landed in a viral video.

By now, you've probably seen the footage of Florida Senator Marco Rubio's bizarre water grab during his televised response, on behalf of Republicans, to Barack Obama's State of the Union Address.

What you may not know is how Rubio's water brand of choice, Poland Spring, reacted. After the awkward video of Rubio grabbing at a Poland Spring water bottle went viral, Poland Spring posted on Facebook the picture accompanying this article.

Any business can learn a few social media lessons from what Poland Spring did--and didn't do--since that unlikely moment in the spotlight:

1. You live in a real-time marketing world.

Two weeks ago it was Oreo at the Super Bowl blackout; now it's Poland Spring at the State of the Union. Soon there will be more opportunities at the Oscars. In today's fast-paced social-media world, events unfold faster and spread further than ever before, and your business needs to be able to join the conversation just as quickly.

2. You'll never know when your brand will be part of the conversation.

Imagine how many types of companies besides Poland Spring could've weighed in on the Rubio response: other water companies, water delivery services, fan and air-conditioning companies, and speaking coaches, to name just a few. No matter the size or type of your business, there are more and more opportunities to jump in on what happens at live events--especially big ones.

3. Be on as many social networks as your resources will allow.  

For some reason, Poland Spring chose to only post its celebrity water bottle on Facebook. Imagine the following it could have garnered on other networks, especially Twitter, where the hashtag #watergrab became a trending topic. If you can build a culture where as many employees as possible are active on social media, when a chance presents itself, you'll be that much more ready to pounce.

It doesn't matter whether you are a huge corporate brand or a small business with only five employees. Social media gives anyone the ability to react and respond to live events--in a humorous, or clever way--within seconds. Make sure to use your resources wisely and involve everyone at your company--the best breaks are usually the least expected.

Last updated: Feb 14, 2013

DAVE KERPEN | Columnist | CEO, Likeable Media

Dave Kerpen is the CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the cofounder and chairman of Likeable Media and the New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business. Want to learn about how to grow your business using social media in 2 minutes? Click here.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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