At this point, it’s a pretty widely accepted fact that if you’re not using social media in your marketing efforts, you’re well behind in the world of advertising. Creating a community through these social networks is one of the best ways to get people engaged with your brand and to get the word out about what’s happening within your company. However, it’s a double-edged sword; as easy as it is to better connect with your customers through social media, it’s just as easy to have a colossal screw up.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the ways that social media marketing can get you in trouble if you’re not careful. Be sure to avoid these practices!
- Never take on controversial topics. There’s a time and place to discuss politics, religion or other majorly divisive issues. Here’s a hint: that time and place is never on your company’s Facebook or Twitter page. There is absolutely no good that can come of it. This ranges from posting content with directly political overtones, or simply making an offhand remark with a political edge.
- Never insult followers. This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how common this issue is; companies get frustrated when followers complain or submit bad reviews, and rather than apologizing or responding kindly and professionally, they go on the defensive, or even attack the follower. Doing this will instantly create a public relations nightmare that will be extremely difficult to overcome.
- Never give away important company information. You wouldn’t give away important information to a competitor in a face-to-face meeting, so doing it over social networks is just as bad of an idea. It might even be illegal to do, if your company is publicly owned.
- Never use inappropriate language. There are some types of businesses that can get away with using a little edgier or more colorful language, but in an overwhelming majority of cases you need to be professional with the type of language you choose. That’s not to say you have to act like a buttoned-up stiff in the way you interact with people, just that you shouldn’t use any type of language that you think could be embarrassing to your company.
- Never assume a private message is private. You may be asked to answer a question privately or respond to a direct message. Maintain complete professionalism and understand that what you write here may not stay private. Not unlike passing love notes in grade school, your note can spread through sharing too.
Most people will probably read these tips and think of them as being common sense, but they bear worth repeating. We’ve all seen examples of companies making gigantic mistakes over social media and the inevitable backlash that they face as a result. Avoid that type of backlash by following these rules in all situations.