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Updated by Ashish Gupta on Sep 15, 2014
Headline for What to do on social media channels to prevent social media fails
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Ashish Gupta Ashish Gupta
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What to do on social media channels to prevent social media fails

Some generic guidelines on what not to do on Social Media channels that you manage for brand You, for your organization, for a corporate, for a recognized celebrity, for some campaign, and so on.
This list does not include specific examples, but generic guidelines.
So how can you prevent a #SocialMediaFail ?

9

NEVER EVER take a feedback lightly

NEVER EVER take a feedback lightly

Anyone taking the trouble to give feedback is worth listening to.
Anyone venting out is worth listening patiently to.
Anyone calling names is just looking for some positive response and emotional leadership from the organization.
Anyone faking it, doesn't deserve an immediate response.

5

Respect competition. Do not demean.

Respect competition. Do not demean.

If you are for profit, strongly competitive (who isn't?), want to protect your audience from the 'bad', don't just go out all guns blazing against your competitor, the bad guys, and the ones who are different (read anti) to you. Your audience are adults and know the difference in both the conditions--you being bitchy or when you take the high road.

6

DO NOT DELETE anything posted publicly

DO NOT DELETE anything posted publicly

I rarely use all caps, so this should tell you the importance of this point. Find a way to keep posting updates, if something went wrong, instead of trying to say, bury it by deleting. Only in the rarest of the rare cases, should you resort to deleting a piece of content posted publicly. Even your fans would doubt you, if you delete something that was posted publicly. When deleting something, ALWAYS clarify before deleting content.

Ideally, have established guidelines, in public domain, what the organization shall delete from their channels. For example, you just cannot leave spammy or pornographic content posted on your channels.

10

Positive ENGAGEMENT, not metrics

Positive ENGAGEMENT, not metrics

The keyword on any social media is engagement. As an afterthought, don't run after numbers in metrics. Easier said than done, though! Don't do it to justify your job. Rather educate your peers and managers about the value of engagement. Social media metrics come AFTER engagement. Everything comes after positive engagement. That is the ONLY reason you are handling the social media channel.

11

Acknowledge and respond swiftly and follow up

Acknowledge and respond swiftly and follow up

When customers reach out to us over any channel--email, phone, social media, etc.--in our zest to provide the 'best' answer, we delay a response. We may go back to the team to figure out the 'exact and accurate' answer. Let's not assume what's 'best' for our audience! They want engagement and resolution, in that order.

Respond as fast as you can. People need to really know that you are working on their problem. Also, it doesn't hurt to follow up or give status update either.

2

Tailor content for the hosting channel

Tailor content for the hosting channel

While you should always re-purpose your content across social media channels, it doesn't mean blindly copy pasting. Do customize and curate the content for the channel or network you are going to post it to.

1

Agree to disagree. Genuinely!

Agree to disagree. Genuinely!

Thankfully, we humans are not programmed! There are bound to be different mindsets, many a times conflicting ones. It is OK to get worked up, but output that build up constructively. No flame wars. No personal attacks. Deleting or flagging comments or posts by folks you disagree with is a big No.

3

No personal opinions when representing brands

No personal opinions when representing brands

Social media channels of organizations are managed by humans only. However, be sure not to express personal opinions via Social Media Channels. If you are a spokesperson or represent an organization make sure to refrain from expression strong opinions even from your personal accounts. Don't stop having a life but be on a guard.

4

Be humane and show empathy

Be humane and show empathy

Your audience/customers/users facing issues or those having opinions are also humans. We all intrinsically value and look for warmth. We all earn a living and engage in the community. Mistakes happen. Issues crop up. The path to glory is never straight. What sets out the best organizations from the good ones, is the empathy they show towards those who engage with them. Being human is good enough.

7

Do in-house or targetted testing for bigger or sensitive campaigns

Do in-house or targetted testing for bigger or sensitive campaigns

If you are going to launch a big campaign and (don't) have any reason to believe it may get hijacked, may backfire, may change course, etc. then make sure you do some testing with limited audience. Once the idea or keywords are out with in the public domain, even the Gods don't know where the crowd will take it! Get a feel of the tide beforehand. We all remember how well-intentioned McStories and Coca-Cola campaigns fell on their faces.

8

No room for name calling or profanities

No room for name calling or profanities

Make sure that people who manage the channels genuinely understand that cursing is just not an option. Train them to be civilized, to not fight or argue, not to response when aggravated, to be patient with your audience, and to get their updates/posts peer-reviewed of there is any room for doubt.

Folks handling social media accounts must understand that what is OK in their native language, country, culture, or religion can be offensive to others. As the other list items calls out, be empathetic. Better get your updates peer-reviewed by colleagues who are much different than your personality type.

  • Listly By

    Ashish Gupta

    PRO CURATOR

    Ashish has several years of experience working with content. He is a technical communicator and a community builder by profession; UX advocate and a quality champion by nature; and a Chemical engineer from IIT Bombay by academic qualification.

    In his spare time he likes to spoil his son silly, test workflows, identify usability enhancements and new features in software that he uses, and indulge in the online communities. Other interests areas in which Ashish dabbles are Instructional content, eLearning, social media, SEO, project management, life skills, watching soccer, fantasize about running long marathons some day, and occasionally trekking in the Himalayas.

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