5 social media faux pas to avoid

Social media is an easy way to make new connections, to build profile and to get your voice heard. However, it’s a very mercurial beast and that makes it difficult to get on the right side of at times. We have all seen those tweets and status updates that have ended up going viral for the wrong reasons (just Google anything ‘tweeted by Donald Trump’ for plenty of recent examples) and no one wants their profile associated with one of those. To make sure you remain on the right side of the social media line, here are 5 basic faux pas to avoid.

Scheduling all your tweets

If you’re scheduling your social media postings then don’t forget to revise them in light of new events or you could end up accidentally putting something very tactless or inappropriate out into the ether. For example, Tesco – in the midst of the horsemeat scandal – posted “Time to hit the hay! We’ll see you again at 8am for more #Tescotweets.” They later apologised and blamed scheduled tweeting but the damage was done. Remember that automated posting will get content out there but it won’t help you make connections so try to mix up a combination of ‘human’ posting and scheduled posts.

Hashtag usage

Be careful with your hashtags – take the time to find out what the hashtag has been created for, and why, before you jump on to a trending topic or you could do some serious damage to your social media reputation. For example, the hashtag #WhyIStayed was hijacked by an American pizza brand who posted the following: “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.” The hashtag was actually created for a discussion about domestic violence so the tweet did not leave a pleasant taste in the mouth.

Linking social media accounts

It does seem like a very effective use of time to link two types of social media so that your tweets also post from Twitter to Facebook, or the other way around. However, this doesn’t take account of the fact that the audiences on these two platforms are different and the platforms themselves are best used in different ways. Plus, most people are now wise to the signs of a linked account and consider this a bit of a lazy, smug way of marketing via social media.

Tone of voice

This is a difficult one to advise on, as it’s something very particular to each brand. Whether you have one person operating your social media (perhaps it’s just you) or you have a rotating team, the tone of voice must be consistent. It also needs to walk a fine line between professional and engaging – remember that what works for an individual can be incredibly inappropriate for a business. At the top of this list is swearing, which is just one big ‘No’ and also humour – which should be used carefully. Many, many brands get humour wrong, for example appliances business KitchenAid, which made a hilarious joke that Barack Obama’s grandmother died because she knew how bad his first term would be… which most of Twitter didn’t find funny at all.

We’ve told you what not to do, but take a look here to find out How to Manage Twitter Effectively for Digital Marketing and how you should be Using the Top 5 Social Networks To Share Content.


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