We all know the power of social media sites. Their evolution has made it an essential and powerful tool for connection, news-gathering and engagement. With these platforms people now have a direct outlet to connect with clients, fans, sponsors and media about everything from products, news, content, and customer service.
But while it’s an asset for your business, there can be challenges associated with social media sites.
It is nimble and has the ability to produce content at a moment’s notice. To succeed, you must be rooted in a solid strategy and execution to help you hone in on the overall purpose and definition of each social channel.
Defining your social media strategy will help to eliminate the “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach and avoid potential miscues that can create nightmares.
How Can You Learn From Past Mistakes On Social Media Sites?
But beyond strategy, every post should be following the Best Practices I have laid out below to ensure the content you develop reflects positively on your brand and resonates with your audience. Use these basic, time-tested principles to foster a community of trust, accuracy and transparency and ensure your brand is on the right path.
Think Twice Before Posting To Social Media Sites
Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known – for the wrong reasons. Think about how that may reflect upon your organization, teammates, sponsors, social community manager and your personal brand.
Search engines can turn up posts years after they were created, and comments can be forwarded or copied. If you wouldn’t say it to a fan, customer, opponent, teammate or member of the media, it’s probably something to avoid sharing with your online community.
Recently, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price had a bit of a meltdown on Twitter after a poor start in a playoff game.
He took to Twitter to bicker with fans, boosted personal stats and insulted baseball analysts during one of his rants.
This is why it’s important to step back and think about what you’re saying when using any social media sites. In Price’s case, he let his emotions get the best of him and now has to work to put himself back in good graces with his organization, fans, media and his Twitter followers.
Understand that content contributed to a social media sites could encourage comments or discussion of opposing ideas. Responses should be considered carefully in light of how they will reflect your brand’s voice.
On September 11 of this year, many brands produced content that caused some controversy and have been viewed as distasteful and disrespectful.
The Lakers received a ton of negative coverage because of an insensitive post around a never forget message. They immediately deleted the post. The context was odd and caused a bit of an uproar via social channels. Later a team spokesman issued an apology.
Due to the real-time requirements of social media, errors and miscues can occur. However, your brand should always address any errors with professionalism, and respect the opinions and reactions of others.
Remember Your Audience
Be aware that your presence in the social media world is, or easily can be, made available to the public at large.
This includes prospective and existing customers, fans, colleagues and sponsors. Consider this fact before publishing to ensure the post will not alienate, harm or provoke any of these groups. You should also show proper consideration for individuals’ privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory (e.g. religion or politics).
At the beginning of the season, the Kansas City Chiefs made a textbook social media blunder. Travis Wright, a long time fan was ranting about the team on Twitter. However instead of respectably engaging in a dialogue, the social media manager sent a very unprofessional direct message. To add insult to injury, the social media manager proceeded to block the fan.
The move to block Wright backfired, as he quickly turned to social media; including Reddit; and from there his story went viral. Soon after, the media came calling. Wright was on multiple media outlets telling his story and they were sharing it with their communities. This is an exact example of something you want to avoid with your brand.
If Need Be, Say You’re Sorry…Quickly.
As humans, we all make errors in judgment, and the examples above certainly won’t be the last. There’s a delicate balance between your brand’s identity online and how customers shape their opinions of your brand. The Internet is no longer an anonymous place where anything you publish will go unnoticed.
The best way to help rectify situations like those mentioned above is simple. If you screw up, apologize.
Again, this may sound like a basic principle, but many instances can be avoided with some common sense.
This is just the first step. While we like to hear the words “I’m sorry,” when we’ve been wronged, it doesn’t matter unless you’re going to follow through with some tangible steps to make it right.
What’s The Moral of These Horror Stories?
The beauty of social media sites is they are a global topic of discussion can explode instantly across the web. That’s why having a solid strategy as a foundation and an excellent, empowered social media manager in place – someone who is balanced with an effective response plan – can help avoid disasters.
If there is one key takeaway here it is this. Your brand needs to be accurate, careful and always listening.
These principles will help build a solid foundation for your social media strategy and define how you want to activate in a particular channel.
What are your best practices on social media sites and their guideline principles? There are 19 more outlined in the video above!
What other advice would you offer to avoid these situations above? Let us know in the comments!