Social Media Don’ts

Ever heard the saying “some rules are made to be broken”?  While this saying shouldn’t apply to everything (cough cough breaking the law), when it comes to being creative in marketing, some rules are meant to be bent so that you can be innovative.  With social media however, this isn’t always the case.  Due to its immense impact on today’s marketing and advertising campaigns, successful social media marketing strategies can go one of three ways: amazing, so-so and downright ugly.  To help you avoid the pitfalls of a social media blunder, here are 4 solid don’ts when creating content to share with your fans and followers that you should probably avoid breaking.

  1. Personal ideological views. Staying abreast of current events is a good thing.  It keeps you in the know of what’s being discussed and what is viewed as hot topics.  What you shouldn’t do is share your personal opinion on “hot topics” such as politics and religion.  Yes, your opinion matters, but when it comes to your stance on certain issues, we can all agree that sometimes we will disagree.  You should think of your business’ social media pages as neutral territory for sharing thoughts of interest.  The last thing you would want to do is inadvertently isolate certain groups of potential/current customers by creating opposing views that could very well offend a person.  By sharing views on issues that have nothing to do with your business may seem like honest personal self-expression to you, to others it can be a deterrent and make them view you and your company differently – in a much more negative way.
  2. Retaliations. Let’s say someone has some not-so-kind words that they decided to share publically on social media.  No matter how much your blood may be boiling, the WORST thing you can possibly do is start a “war” on social media; hold the sarcasm, hold the sass.  Not everyone is going to be happy with your services or what you say, even with the best of intentions it’s just how some people work –glass half empty if you will.  It takes being the “bigger person” and addressing your opposition with words of understanding.  Simply sharing that you value a person’s opinion, no matter good or bad, can show your fans that you are listening and actively taking action instead of blowing up; keeping it classy if you will.
  3. Blatantly obvious advertising. Native advertisements have taken some harsh criticism as of late and consumers are more privy to knowing when they are blatantly being sold a product.  Some of them aren’t happy about it.  Social media is a way to connect with your customers on a more personal level and they may lose interest in everything you have to say if they think you’re just showing them products or services simply so they will make a purchase.  Customers want to feel like they are an integral part of your brand whether being a part of a greater cause or along for the experience.  They don’t want to seem like simply a source of profit.  It’s nice to offer suggestions of products/services that you like with infrequent, promotional type of posts here and there, but it should stick to your overall voice.  If it feels foreign to how you generally speak, then chances are your customers will pick up on this and find another brand that appears genuine.
  4. Personal information. This may seem like common sense, but it never hurts as a reminder!  Sharing the location of your new office or where you’ll be volunteering with your team over the weekend are acceptable posts for social media.  Sharing your home address, personal telephone number (if not used for business purposes), social security/credit card information or where your children attend school are just a few things we wouldn’t recommend sharing.  If you’re going out of town on a vacation, share with everyone photos after the fact because it not only gives you great visual content that fans enjoy but it also helps to avoid any unwanted, surprise visitors.  Your personal social media pages should be separate from your business pages altogether.  It also wouldn’t hurt to up your privacy settings to protect yourself and others from having information easily available to strangers who may have ulterior motives completely unrelated to your business.  If you wouldn’t want the average Joe to know certain information in every day settings, then it’s probably best not to share it.

Perhaps you have heard of a company who fell victim to hitting enter on a social media post before giving careful examination.  All it takes is one person to see the post, take a picture and share it before it could become viral and a headache that could have been avoided.  Share practical social media guidelines with your staff so everyone is on the same page as to what is an acceptable post for your brand and what isn’t.  If there is ever any question, seek the opinion of an outsider to see what their take is on something before posting.  Most importantly, just always err on the side of caution.  Especially if offering any advice of a personal nature  as it pertains to an individual’s specific health or legal situation.  For more tips on successful social media practices or for help in growing your social media platform’s potential, contact McCauley Marketing Services to get started.  We’d love to hear from you; share with us some of your best social media practices on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.