"Pride and Excess Bring Disaster For Man" (or Brand)
Aug 21, 2014 | CATEGORY: Random Stuff
Pride and excess can bring disaster for a brand, especially if that disaster is unfolding on social media. The online world can be an unforgiving place, so it’s often best to minimize your risk of committing a social media faux-pas. With more and more people using social media to promote their businesses, it’s not just our reputations that can be jeopardized by our online behaviour, but also our bottom lines. Here are some simple tips to minimize your exposure to social media screw ups:

1. Keep your business account off your smartphone. While it can be convenient to monitor and update your business Twitter or Facebook account from your phone, it can be highly inconvenient when you forget to switch from your business to your personal account. Tweets meant for friends are rarely as restrained and appropriate as tweets meant for clients, and mixing your social media platforms can expose your less savoury thoughts to the wrong audience. Keep your work accounts on your computer or tablet where you’re less likely to dash off tweets without checking the account first.

2. Research your #hashtags. A hashtag that might seem cute and innocent to you could have all kinds of alternate meanings, and without a 10 second Google search you run the risk of embarrassing yourself, your company, and your clients. If you’re wondering how badly a hashtag could go awry, look no further than Susan Boyle’s Album Party, or #susanalbumparty as her PR firm cluelessly marketed it.

3. Don’t ask questions you don’t want answers to. Asking your customers to chime in on Twitter and answer the question: “Why do you shop at XYZStore?” seems innocent enough, until you remember two important factors: Internet anonymity and human nature. Unless you really want hundreds of tweets along the lines of “Because I’m too poor to shop elsewhere!” or “Because the servers are hot!”, ditch asking and stick to telling.

4. Don’t drink and tweet. Twitter has been around long enough to provide us with countless illustrative examples of why drinking and tweeting don’t mix. In fact there are so many examples of why this is a terrible idea that this tip shouldn’t even need to be said. And yet, drunk tweeting continues. While it can sometimes be funny, tweeting while drinking can ruin your reputation faster than any other social media faux pas. Social media users are often quick to condemn, and they can be particularly brutal with tweeters who commit Twitter’s most unoriginal sin.

If you find yourself in the middle of a social media storm of your own creation, remember this one key strategy: Own up to it. Deleting your offending posts accomplishes nothing (how have so many people never heard of screenshots?) and is often seen as an admission of guilt or an act of cowardice. You’re going to have to address your infraction anyway, so you might as well leave it up so people will know exactly why you’re apologizing. Once you’ve explained your actions and offered a sincere apology, it’s time to be patient. No social media snafu lasts forever, but you will be subject to some harsh battering for a few days at least. When someone else inevitably forgets these rules and creates their own mess, try not to jump on the bandwagon of judgement and ridicule. It’s not classy, and it’s an open invitation to anyone who wants to post those screenshots they kept from the last time you screwed up.

(Today’s title quote courtesy of Xun Zi.)
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