Having a presence on social media is now seen as essential for most businesses but getting it right all of the time can be difficult.
We’ve all seen businesses #fail in their social spaces, not to mention some of the controversies caused by politicians and celebrities on twitter. So how can you be active on social media whilst avoiding the mistakes that might get you attention for all the wrong reasons?
Probably the most important thing to remember is that everything you post is public. Once it is out there you can’t take it away. Yes, you can delete a Facebook post or a tweet but by then it will probably be too late. If it looks controversial someone will have taken a screen grab and once you delete your post that will be the image that goes viral. Think about what you write and reread it before you hit the post button.
Have an awareness of what it is going on in the world. Keeping current with the news can help to ensure you don’t innocently post something that could cause offence. There have been numerous examples of this where disasters have happened and posts which would otherwise have gone unnoticed suddenly seem incredibly insensitive. This is also something to consider if you schedule posts in advance, if you do this you need access to update your scheduled post if things change. For example you could look pretty silly congratulating people for taking part in a sporting event if it was cancelled and didn’t take place.
Never jump on a hashtag without understanding it. One fashion brand did this after the Colorado shooting in Aurora in which 12 people were killed. Unaware why Aurora trending they tweeted “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress” Unfortunately that wasn’t the reason and the company had some serious apologising to do.
Keep your passwords safe; only let trusted members of staff have access to corporate accounts. Remember to update admins when people leave the organisation. A number of high profile brands have fallen foul of this, one example being HMV staff reacting to redundancies and taking over the company’s official twitter feed. One tweet read – “We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired. Exciting. #HMVXFactorFiring “ and another “Just overheard our Marketing Director (he’s staying, folks) ask ‘How do I shut down Twitter?”
Be careful what you wish for, Waitrose famously asked followers to complete this sentence, “I shop at Waitrose because…” They obviously wanted the campaign to go viral but presumably didn’t anticipate twitter users mocking them and their customers for their upmarket image. However the campaign was perceived by many as very entertaining and it did generate a huge amount of coverage for them so perhaps it wasn’t such a #fail after all?
A similar thing happened when McDonalds asked people to share their stories with the hashtag #McDStories. Just search the hashtag to see some of the not so positive stories people had to share!