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Best Practice for Social Media

Top 3 Social Media Blunders and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Kris Bennett, PR Specialist on December 31th, 2014


Social media is a lot like a cat: sometimes it makes you feel all warm and cuddly, sometimes it ignores you completely even when you try to offer it treat after treat, and sometimes it turns on you and tears you to pieces.

Fortunately, the uses and benefits of social media far outweigh the disadvantages. And to help you keep that cat well fed, here are three of the top blunders when it comes to the perception of social media and how to avoid them.


1. “We’re on social media, so we’re good.”

Two Facebook accounts, Pinterest, multiple websites and two empty blogs. Yes, you’re definitely on social media. But with nothing happening on those sites, you’re hurting your business more than helping. It hurts because the 74% of adults online using social networking can end up perceiving your empty site as cold, outdated and lifeless. You may be the most customer service-oriented business owner on the Internet, but unless that is shared on social media, you won’t be any different from your competitors. If you have social media, use it! Respond to comments, create a blog, generate material that your consumers can relate to. And don’t just create sales pitches; show them through social media that you aren’t just a big money-grubbing machine.


2. “My company will protect me from my stupid comments.”

We all say stupid things, but most of us were raised to keep those things in our mind rather than blurt them out in front of people. With that being said, there are still loads of people who deem social media the best place to complain about their job, act immature and post inappropriate content. All it takes is one employee licking a taco to hurt at least a week’s worth of sales for Taco Bell.

The same principle is true for every business. One employee, whether they are a CEO or janitor, can cause a PR crisis with one post. Can everyone employee stop being from being immature and “stupid” all the time? No. The greater part of society has been trying that for centuries with little to no success.

What you can do is train and educate your employees on how to conduct themselves online in relation to your business. Train them on where to communicate negative feelings about work and which channels allow real change to happen. This helps transparency within your company as well as helps increase your employees’ trust and work atmosphere. It’s also important as management to decide now how you will react and what punitive measures you will take if your employees fail to live up to your clear expectations. What measures will the company take? Will you side with the employee or disavow and fire him or her? These are the choices that you’ll need to make now so when it happens in the future, you aren’t caught unprepared.


3. “We have 100k followers and 200k likes! …wait a minute…”

In recent years, a trend has evolved of purchasing followers and likes. It makes you seem credible, it’s a great way to get a beautifully big number on your site, and it’s completely useless. Congratulations! You just purchased 100,000 nonexistent people that can’t verbally support, purchase or do anything with your product. In reality, you just paid for a 100,000 nothings.

Not only is the ethicality of this questionable, but it’s easily seen through. Clients, shareholders and employees are beginning to demand more transparency from the companies they support. Using “transparent” accounts will damage your reputation. There are also search program allow a user to search a person or companies followers and identify how many of them are invisible people. So not only did you waste the big bucks, but now your company could look like a fraud.

If you want the followers and buzz on social media, then you need to refer to step one. Use your social media, post well crafted content, actively respond to negative and positive posts (but don’t feed the trolls, especially after midnight), engage your communities with more than just sales pitches, and show them that your company is human.

There are many pitfalls to social media, and someone tomorrow will make another big one that could make this list. Stay transparent, stay engaged and for pete’s sake use social media effectively. Don’t be that company. Follow these three suggestions and you’ll be well on your way.

Do you agree? What would you add or take away?