These Are the 5 Killer Social Media Mistakes Companies Make
The social media mistakes some companies make—such as the one Snapchat had earlier this year—should be a lesson to everyone about why it is critical to closely monitor and proofread everything your company sends out.
In March 2018, Snapchat enraged the public when it ran an ad that mocked Rihanna’s domestic abuse. In 2009, the news broke that Chris Brown had brutally beaten Rihanna during an argument before The Grammy Awards.
The ad Snapchat posted was for an app called “Would You Rather”, based on a popular party game in which players must choose between two unpleasant scenarios. The ad in question asked users, “Would you rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?”
Snapchat issued an apology after facing backlash. They claimed the ad was approved in error and removed it. Rihanna, however, was not having the apology. She posted a lengthy response via an Instagram message condemning the app for shaming domestic abuse victims everywhere. Rihanna ended her rant with the words, “Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy [sic] away.”
Snapchat isn’t going out of business any time soon for this one tone-deaf message. For other companies however, social media mistakes can hurt your business. Minor slip-ups usually just cause awkward moments, but major errors in judgment or presentation could close your doors permanently. At the very least, careers can be ruined … maybe yours.
As it’s been said over the years, anything that gets posted on social media never really dies, even if you delete it two minutes after you send it. Somebody will have seen it and probably copied it or shared it with the world.
An individual person on social media can mangle language at will in their posts and generally won’t suffer consequences. However, a business that has typos and bad grammar in their posts costs them credibility and customers. And, in social media, credibility is the coin of the realm. Honestly, the Web is full of spelling and grammar trolls that live for the moment they can flame a company over a typo on Twitter.
So what can you do to make sure social media mistakes don’t embarrass you or your company?
Here are five of the most common social media mistakes companies make:
We’ll start with this one, since it’s the most common error. Let’s face it, you’re not posting a novel online, so it should only take you a few minutes to look something over before posting it. If you’re a blog writer for a company and have a proofreader on your payroll, giving them a 2,000-word blog to proof is an outstanding idea. But even if you don’t have a professional proofreader on staff, someone else should look it over for you. Tweets can literally take 30 seconds to proof before you hit the “Tweet” button. Having said that, there will be a time or two something gets autocorrected wrong and slips past you when it posts. Your readers will appreciate a quick apology and acknowledgement that a mistake was made. Just make sure the apology is timely and sincere.
Mixing up your business account with personal ones
When posting as yourself in your individual account, feel free to write anything, anytime, anywhere. If something tragic happens, comment on it. Your followers probably appreciate your political views, so go for it. However, when you put on your business hat, think before you post. Making political or social commentary of any kind will probably upset half of your organization’s followers and could lead to viral protests and boycotts against your company. If you’re going to take a stand on something in a business post, think it out first as a group with all the possible ramifications considered. If your leadership feels comfortable doing it, then you can proceed.
Because it’s social media, many companies put very young people in charge of it. However, what the younger half of the millennial and Gen Z generations give you in tech savvy as digital natives, they can also take away with the lack of experience dealing with or talking to your customers. That’s not a slam on twenty-somethings, but a realization that a certain amount of life experience and maturity helps if your customers are Gen X or especially, Baby Boomers. Maturity in your posts can have its benefits.
Thinking of social media as a one-way street
The power of social media lies in its ability to help you engage your customers in a positive way. It’s one of the most effective ways to get conversations going. However, if your posts are just you doing all the talking with no interaction between you and your readers, everyone gets cheated. Post content that can be shared and start discussions and you’ll see growth in your social media marketing efforts. Show your customers, readers and followers that you care about them and their issues.
Posting junk 20 times a day will do more harm to your social media efforts than posting quality content once. Therefore, make quality your focus every time for content says the Search Engine Journal. This is especially true in companies that are new to social media marketing. At times, worried execs will justify the expenditures of social media by wanting to see more of it. A lot more of it! Don’t fall into that trap.
Finally, while the Snapchat screw-up didn’t cause the Earth to stop rotating, it didn’t do their brand any good. And, if social media has taught us anything, it may never die. Not as long as people familiar with Rihanna’s story are around. Don’t put your company in that position with your social media endeavors.