Social media is a powerful tool that instantly puts a brand in touch with thousands of potential customers. Yet, as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. This means that a company needs to tread carefully when using Facebook or Twitter to promote their organization. One ill-timed joke or tasteless status update can cause an uproar that costs that brand serious business.
Don’t believe us? Just ask Kenneth Cole. The company used political unrest in Cairo to make a joke about how the disturbances were due to the fact that the new Kenneth Cole spring collection was available online. Needless to say, the tweet was not well received and the company had to do serious damage control after the message was posted.
So what are some of the major social media errors that you should be aware of as you work on bolstering your business’s social media presence?
Throwing out an opinion on a controversial topic
Whether you’re a frozen yogurt shop, a shoe company, or a car dealership, people come to you for information about your product and your industry, not political commentary. Though you may feel strongly about gun control or drunk driving laws, save these thoughts for your personal twitter feed. Keep your brand’s Twitter focused on the product and issues that relate to it. Though you may think your take is a universal one, you can quickly alienate fans who have differing opinions.
Not paying attention to national tragedies
While avoiding inciting a political debate is important, a brand should also not completely ignore major events in the country. Brands that continued to tweet about specials as the events at Sandy Hook unfolded seemed callous and out of touch. Companies that happily threw out questions to their Facebook users as areas of Oklahoma were devastated by tornadoes seemed out of place and offensive. Many brands use pre-scheduled tweets and posts in order to save time and keep the editorial calendar on track. This is perfectly acceptable for ordinary days, but in the event of a national crisis a brand must quickly cancel their pre-scheduled posts and acknowledge that the company is run by humans who are just as affected by these tragedies as their clients are.
Creating vulgar content
Everyone appreciates a joke and a little sarcasm, but company posts and tweets should never be filled with foul language or off-color jokes. Even if your brand is more racy than a traditional restaurant or office, you still want to keep the content clean. If users open up their social media platforms and are greeted with obscenities and pictures that are not safe for work, they’ll probably think twice about connecting with you on social media. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable posting a message that clients or investors could read, don’t include it on your social media sites.
Posting too much
While your friends may enjoy your commentary about that annoying person in line in front of you at the grocery store, pictures of your lunch, and comments on the weather and your favorite television show, this kind of constant updating is not appropriate for brands. You want to stay on customer’s minds, but you don’t want to drive them crazy. Post once or twice per day, and only when you have something insightful or interesting to say.
Many brands often fall into a self-promotional trap. While you should inform clients about deals or sales, you don’t want your social media to turn into a blatant advertisement for your company. In addition to details about new promotions, also include links to industry-related articles, funny jokes, beautiful images, and other types of content that your target demographic would find appealing. Your brand needs a three-dimensional voice on social media, and plastering your platforms solely with advertisements doesn’t accomplish this.
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Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.