Image: Tanja Cappell/Flickr
Image: Tanja Cappell/Flickr

Social media content is an integral part of business in 2016. Done well, it enhances your brand and brings in sales, loyal clients, and PR worthy news stories. Done badly, the damage to your business can be extensive.

So, how can your business avoid social media blunders, and what can you do to ensure the content creation process is hassle-free?

Blunders come in many shapes and sizes, but let’s dive in and see what COULD go wrong before checking out how to avoid costly errors.

Tweeting too early

Yes, even Apple get it wrong sometimes! The tech giant’s Twitter account published a tweet revealing the new iPhone 7, and a link to a website that was not live.

Whoops.

The early tweet mistimed with the stage announcement, and caused a buzz that distracted from the launch itself.

Take-away:

Ensure your business has a process in place to check critical social media updates (especially during a global launch!). Design a system of checks where human error can be eliminated as far as possible, and brief your in-house or remote team on how the checks will work.

Check your facts – and check again

Some recent gaffs remind us that the need to check facts and content for social media is an essential part of the process design.

Whether it’s Coca Cola’s blunder of re-drawing the Russian map, or getting Oprah and Whoopie Goldberg confused in a post, the effects can be damaging and far spread.

Take-away:

Remember that everything leaving your brand stream is your responsibility, even when outsourced. Make sure any remote agencies or freelancers, as well as tour in-house team, report to someone responsible for fact checking content before it goes public (and possibly viral).

Be mindful of the zeitgeist

Many businesses like to schedule social media content in advance to streamline the process. Whilst this can be beneficial in many ways, it opens up the possibility of publishing content which may be sensitive due to world events.

A well meaning post can be altered dramatically when the context of global affairs changes, or when a humourous story becomes insensitive after a tragedy.

Take-away:

Build in regular checks to ensure that scheduled posts are still relevant before they go live. The extra time investment earlier on can save a potential disaster later.

Take advantage of the trends

Similarly, building in some flexibility to create content off the cuff can make sure your brand is seen to have its finger on the pulse, and build in time to get reactive.

Whilst advanced planning is great to form the backbone of your content, being agile enough to be part of the conversations and memes happening online can really put your brand in a good light.

Some great examples of reactive social media marketing include:

  • Snickers and their creative, timely reaction to Jeremy Clarkson’s outburst:

snickers

  • This brilliant local business response to Cadbury’s announcement of the discontinuation of pink snack bars:

snack

By being super clear on brand messaging and the tone of voice used on social media platform, businesses can eliminate blunders.

Whether created in-house or outsourced, social media content needs a system of checks including fact-checking, context and cultural relevance and, of course, the critical timing of published posts.

Combining some scheduled posts with agile, creative content allows for some flexibility and to be truly part of the conversation.

 

By Jo Gifford, content strategist and founder of Killer Content Academy