Managing social media? Here’s what you need to know

Social media is fast becoming one of the favourite digital marketing methods, and increasingly teams are being assembled within businesses to handle the brand’s social media presence. But as comes with management of any team, leading a social media team puts a great weight on your shoulders, as the fast paced and largely unfiltered world of social media is one of the places where with the poorly thought out click of a button your mistakes can be seen by thousands of virtual onlookers and before you know it there is no going back. The following are some social media bloopers and how to best avoid them. 

Confusing personal with professional

Due to social media being something that will be, for the most part, a personal activity that employees enjoy on their own time, it can sometimes get leaked into their work life, especially for teams working on social media strategies. In many cases, team members have been known accidently mix up their personal account with the brand one and post a derogatory comment that could cost your brand its relationships and reputation.

A prime example of this type of blooper comes from an employee at the social media agency for luxury car brand Chrysler, who recently Tweeted a derogatory comment about driver in Detroit via the official Chrysler Twitter account. Needless to say they lost that contract....

When things are misinterpreted

Something may sound witty or clever when it was said out loud with the correct tone and in the right context. Take away those key aspects away and you are just left with the words, which if you are not careful could be completely taken the wrong way by those reading it, and a reaction that was not expected nor intended could be sparked.

Take small PR firm Redner for example, who recently lost their contract with client 2K Games after some bright spark thought it would be funny to Tweet a joke threat to gamers, saying if they didn’t receive good reviews for the game ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ they would withhold review copies.

Even personal accounts and posts can have an impact

When a social media team employee links up their personal social media profile to their job, simply by listing it in their job history or by making it known to others who they work for, simply having the words ‘my views are my own’ doesn’t always cut it. If people associate you with the brand then posting potentially offensive comments could cost you your job as the brand will not stand for being associated with you. Either keep your personal accounts personal (with no links to employment) or think more carefully before posting.

A few years ago the Vice President of Ketchum had to travel to Memphis to give a digital presentation to FedEx, whose headquarters were located there. Whilst on the journey over the Vice President happened to Tweet a not so favourable comment about the journey, which was seen as offensive by the FedEx head office employees, and he found himself having to issue a formal apology upon arrival.

These bloopers are just a few of the many that can befall a social media team if care is not taken. Here are some guidelines to remember when working in social media:

      ·         Establish clear guidelines as to what is and is not appropriate behaviour on social media to ensure there is no room for doubt. And should doubt occur, ensure your team knows they can come to you to double check before posting.
      ·         Senior employees should be setting a good example to their team, so ensure you are following the rules before preaching to your team.

      ·         Don’t try to command the floor, add to and engage with conversation, which is the main aim of social media.

       ·         Make sure you are posting the right things in the right places if you want your brand to get the right kind of awareness and attention.

      ·         This should be an obvious one, but you would be surprised how little people actually do think before they post. It isn’t just you that will be affected by the post, it's the brand, your co-workers, clients, etc.