TMI? When Corporate Social Sharing Goes Bad

Social media

Can you be trusted to use social media in an appropriate and responsible way? Maybe so, maybe no; either way, you never really know if your posts will hit, fall flat or be so bad it’s good (file under mistaking Billy Ray Cyrus for Kurt Cobain followed by blindly arguing you’re right). OK, OK, so we don’t all have social media departments to help us realise when we’re being a dummy but the companies we’re going to talk about today do – what’s their excuse?

Increasingly, social media is becoming a vital part of modern business. It’s a shop window, a customer service desk and a sales tool all rolled into one. Neglecting it can be seen as a missed opportunity and could result in customers moving towards a more forward-thinking competitor. On the other hand, mismanaging social media could have an extremely detrimental impact on a company. Let’s take a few examples of corporate social no-no’s and suggest a few principles that can help budding social media managers stay on safe ground.

Don’t Be A Plot Spoiler

It’s Tuesday night, you’ve just settled in front of the TV with a cup of Bovril and milk (#babyboomerdiet), and you’re about to watch the Great British Bake Off. Flicking through your social feed, you see that Twitter is blowing up with news that Sophie Faldo has won. You look back at the screen knowing you can’t unsee that spoiler; in an instant, all the mystery and intrigue is lost and you feel yourself looking through the screen, unable to engage.  

GBBO judge Prue Leith is the guilty party behind that particular leak after she tweeted the name of the winner before the finale had aired. In the seconds between posting and deleting the tweet, news began to spread like wildfire. The reason for the mistimed tweet? Leith was in Bhutan and blamed the time difference.

Our advice: schedule social posts before the event while paying close attention to time differences to avoid spoiling the lives of literally millions of people.

Think Your Company Can Piggyback on a Social Movement? Think Again

Social media is a place where a movement can spring up out of a conversation; preexisting campaigns for justice can take on a whole new life online. These movements work partly due to the organic nature of the discussions – think black lives matter. It is with extreme trepidation that companies should even consider posting about such topics. Unfortunately, some brands don’t approach such subjects with the appropriate amount of consideration. Pepsi found out recently just how damaging appropriating a movement can be when they published an advert seeming to suggest racial tension in the USA could be placated with a can of cola. 

Our advice: think your product has real relevance to a movement? No? Then leave it well alone. 

Lock Down Your Profiles

Live tweeting is a great addition to the social roster, but if misused, the function can backfire: HMV found this out the hard way. The music retailer made some significant cuts to their corporate team, resulting in the firing of around 60 people back in 2013. Unfortunately, one of the people being canned was a marketer responsible for the company’s social profile. Cue a number of HMV tweets detailing the seven stages of grief – mainly anger.

Our advice: lock down your social media platforms, and contractually oblige employees to not use company profiles as a place where they can air their grievances.     

Think you’ve got what it takes to become a master of social media? Studying an HND will give you the academic qualifications you need to progress professionally in the business world. Contact an HND Insider student advisor today for free, impartial advice.


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