Recently a few large brands have illustrated an excellent warning to all businesses using social media: what is acceptable on your personal account is not always acceptable on your business account.

Here are two potential issues that you need to avoid:

  • oopsAccidentally posting a personal message to the wrong account.  Recently Chrysler had to scramble when their official Twitter account dropped an F-bomb on their 7,500+ followers.  The suspected culprit was an employee of their social media company who intended to post the message to a personal account.
  • Intentionally posting an inappropriate message to your company account. In an example of poor taste, Kenneth Cole took advantage of the civil unrest in Egypt to promote a new line of clothing.  The negative backlash started immediately, with about 1,500 negative retweets an hour.

So how do business owners take advantage of this great new communication channel without losing sleep?  Do you take valuable time to personally maintain complete control over your social accounts? Or do you throw caution to the wind and hope for the best?

Fortunately there are a few precautions you can take that will make your social media marketing a little easier to manage and a little less stressful:

  1. Use a scheduling tool. There are many software platforms (Hootsuite, TweetDeck, etc.) out there that will help you manage and schedule your social media posts.  Scheduling your posts in advance not only gives you time to catch a potential mistake before it happens, but also allows you to spend time on your social media accounts when it is convenient for you while still posting during the most active times of the day.  In addition Hootsuite has recently added a new feature called “Secure Profiles” that requires you to confirm or cancel before your message is posted.
  2. Use separate tools or apps for each account. To take this one step further, try using a completely separate software program or app for each of your social profiles.  This is particularly useful when posting from a mobile phone when you may be in a hurry or find it harder to tell which account is selected.
  3. Write a social media policy for your business.  This document will outline what is and is not appropriate to discuss on social channels and will encourage your staff to think more carefully before they post.  For more info on how to create a social media policy check out the guide from Inc.com.
  4. Think twice before posting. If there are messages that you would find inappropriate for your business customers, do you really need to be posting them on your personal account?  Personally I assume that everything I post on any social media site is or could be public at some point in time.  I still keep an eye on my privacy settings but I don’t have to stress every time new privacy issues pop up.

One Comment

  1. Hello Lindsey! Nice take on these issues. A company’s branding facade will surely be crushed with a slight mistake made by one. However, we can indeed tell from your story that social media is a key player in branding; this gives you leverage and outreach to your fans as well as in the online community. How you manage your social profiles will also affect your branding’s social standing. Trust is the key player; all we have to do is manipulate it.

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