Thanks to social media, following companies is as easy as watching television. However, the social media world can turn into a cruel one with one wrong move, damaging the reputation you took years to build.
Sarah Skerik of PR Newswire recently gave some good advice on ways to avoid a social media disaster. We’ve tweaked her ideas to focus on avoiding a professional PR crisis:
- Keep it clean – While it’s become socially acceptable for TV networks to use language formerly considered vulgar, this is one trend that your business should avoid.
- Make sure you want to see it again; it will come back to you – Yes, you’re able to delete any tweet or status update you please. However, there are two reasons doing so is a bad idea: a) someone can still grab a screenshot of your message; and b) backtracking on social media leaves a bad impression on your business.
- Consider your stakeholders – If you have any doubts that your message may offend the people you care about – or those you want to respect you – then refrain from posting it. Cool off before you write anything. As your mother probably told you, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
- Stay classy – Since no one is perfect, you’re likely to have a dissatisfied customer whose mission in life is to damage your company’s reputation. In situations like these, it’s best to admit wrongdoing on your company’s part and offer a solution to the customer – putting out the fire in the process.
- Do some scenario planning – This simply involves thinking before you speak. Don’t just think about the positive outcomes of your message, but also think about the negative responses your message could receive.
- Divide and conquer (or don’t mix your accounts) – Every company has a few social media savvy employees to manage the social media accounts. Social media managers must keep their personal profiles distant from the company’s profiles to avoid posting to the wrong account.. And always remember to manage your privacy settings carefully.
The ease of sharing information is what makes social media both a blessing and a curse. With social media, what it all boils down to is being cautious of the message you send.