Top Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

While it’s human nature to make mistakes, doing so in front of thousands of consumers in real time can put even the best brands in peril. Perhaps this is why social media is such a double-edged sword, offering the possibility of great reward or spectacular failure with every post, tweet and pin.

Because the stakes are so high and because most small businesses can’t spend their way out of social media mistakes the way big brands do, the following best practices are offered as a means to give you an edge:

Hire Your Social Media Manager Judiciously

There are three things you want in a social media manager: maturity, tenacity and proficiency, in this order. A mature candidate will have an innate sense of what to post, when to do it and which platforms will best engage consumers with your brand. A tenacious one will understand the value of a social conversation and will have the stamina to keep it going.

Although proficiency is important, it can be learned. And while it’s easy to be wowed by a social media prospect that understands platforms, stats and other tidbits, there’s no substitution for the other two traits. Remember, the first word in social media is “social.” Having the skills to converse engagingly come first.

Build in Checks and Balances

Ever hear the one about the high-profile brand that posted an image of the Challenger space shuttle exploding on the fourth of July? Yes, this actually happened when an American Apparel employee born after the event mistook the photo for fireworks. A review chain that included a superior or someone else of an older generation might have easily prevented this monumental error.

Remember, when you hand the social media reigns over to anyone in your company, you’re making them the voice of your brand. Think of this person as standing on top of your building with a giant bullhorn. He or she has the means to say anything. Creating a system of checks and balances makes sure they don’t say something damaging.

Create Guidelines and a Calendar

Many businesses hop on the social media bandwagon without a plan or clear vision of what they want to achieve. To help keep your messaging consistent, first create guidelines that describe the tone you’d like your content to convey and the look you’d like to portray with images. Meet Content has a good example of a social media style guide. Then develop a calendar outlining what products you’d like to post about, how often you’ll be posting, which platforms you’re going to use, etc. Creating a guide and a calendar ensures a consistent message and a plan you can adhere to so that you can accomplish strategic goals.

Deal with Negative Feedback

‘No comment’ may work in traditional media; however, keeping quiet when someone responds negatively about your brand or products is a sure-fire way to erode credibility. While it may be convenient to ignore bad reviews or unhappy fans, there’s more to be gained by responding. Provide a solution or at least some perspective so that everyone can see that you take customer services seriously. If a comment or situation is really troublesome, take the conversation offline so that you’re not debating in public.

Even the best social media users make a mistake now and then. By using the tips shared here your business can minimize their occurrences and maximize the medium.

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