Billions of people—and growing—use social media every day. Your business’ posts have the potential to reach people around the globe.
Much of the time, social platforms are the first contact potential customers have with a business. So social media can add considerable value to your brand. Having a social media presence has become as essential for brands as having a website.
But the internet can be merciless when it comes to mistakes. And social media blunders can lead to a flood of harmful exposure.
Here are some ways your team’s posts can cause damage—and what you can do to avoid it.
- Having no plan or strategy: Having staff wing-it can lead to inconsistent branding. Every social channel is different. So don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach—each platform needs a unique plan. Base your strategies on company goals and the action plans that reach them.
- Sharing only self-serving content: A self-serving feed can look spammy and dull. You should have staff post a mix of curated content, shares from industry leaders, and engagement in conversations.
- Poor customer service: It’s crucial to monitor any company mentions online and be prepared to respond to complaints quickly. If they go ignored, they can negatively impact your brand’s image and credibility. Fortunately, there are several social monitoring tools to help staff respond quickly. Just make sure your team knows how to react, so they don’t further inflame the situation.
- Confrontational and offensive posts: When using social media for business, it’s essential to stay professional. Any arguing, name-calling, and polarizing posts can make your business look bad. The same applies for criticizing other companies online.
- Inconsistent messaging: Your team needs to be able to create and deliver a persona online that is consistent with your brand identity. Make sure everyone understands your brand’s voice and target audience.
5 tips to avoid social media disaster
- Have a social media policy
A social media policy guides and advises employees in handling your company’s social accounts.
Having a company social media policy—and training staff on what they should and should not post—can keep your brand image consistent and professional. A solid policy can also help prevent any legal or security issues.
- Know your audience
Staff should take the time (this includes ensuring they’re trained) to understand your target audience. Social media is a vast space. So it’s best staff posts stay consistent with your brand’s message and personality. And, if they wouldn’t share it with their boss, colleagues, or clients, then they shouldn’t post it.
- Fix your mistakes
If slipups do happen, it’s best to admit it and fix it quickly. When staff is modifying something that’s been up (and seen), they should explain why they’re making the change.
- Check before publishing
Encourage staff to seek advice from managers and colleagues when in doubt. It’s better to err on the side of caution than to publish something that could hurt your company’s reputation. Let staff know that in the end, they are responsible for what they post.
- Keep personal and business accounts separate
Make sure your team knows to use company pages for business—it isn’t the place for them to publish personal news or opinions (unless it’s related to your brand). Your team’s personal pages are the place for their life away from work.
However, staff should be aware that clients and colleagues may also be able to see what they post to their personal accounts. So they should know it’s best to avoid offensive or ignorant material on all their accounts.
In a hyper-connected world, negative online interactions can quickly cause damage to brand image. So, you want to make sure your team’s social posts build your reputation rather than break it. In the end, it increases your following—and it won’t lose customers.