Be discreet while using social media. Here’s why?

A common misconception prevailing about using social media is that once you put up something, you can just let it be, and then things will take care of themselves! This is far from true. Once you comment or advertize on a networking platform, you must do a regular follow-up and find out the response from users your remarks or campaign are getting.

To highlight the importance of this exercise, we have already considered a few examples in our earlier posts. The recent instances involving Aflac and the Chrysler Group serve as a case in point. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried made some improper comments about the natural crisis in Japan, incidentally a major market for Aflac. In case of the Chrysler Group, an agency employee handling the brand’s Twitter account aimed at consumers posted an antagonizing comment about Detroit and its people.

Clearly, there is a need to be discreet while posting something on the social media, as the impact can be wider and severe. So what are your options?

  • Why not use a tweet delay? Senior manages or supervisors should review tweets and other online postings, to avoid a knee-jerk reaction online.
  • Be responsible in what you put up on the Web. Just because a tweet is supposed to be user friendly or casual, you need not make it frivolous. Corporate tweeters might employ a non-tweeting person to review and screen potential litigious tweets.
  • Is the post or tweet insulting, defamatory or offensive? It is better to err on the side of caution!  Your company can still land in trouble and get sued for a seemingly innocuous remark.

Businesses should ideally hire a social media strategist with proper knowledge, experience and proven credentials to host the content.

Set norms for social media conversations

Social media is all about immediacy and speed revolving around a user friendly interaction! How do you blend this approach with responsible writing? Here are a few ideas:

  • Your company should frame a policy for the employees to mention about the products/ services, referring to clients and discussing things on social media. Ideally, designate people who will your official Twitter account and are well aware of corporate protocol.
  • You should train your people and make them understand issues related to privacy, intellectual property, defamation etc. They shouldn’t mix professional and personal tweets.

Even if you have separate accounts, that won’t necessarily take care of the impending problem, since what one does in one’s personal life does impact one’s work life. Increasingly, our personal selves have become so much more public largely through social media outlets. Of course, this is the reality of a new complex digital realm where information circulates faster. What this mean is that indiscreet posts and innocuous tweets are going to come back to you. So, it’s better to safe than sorry…