It’s so easy these days to sit down with your laptop or your phone, whip out a tweet about whatever pops into your head, and post it for all the world to read.

And if you scroll through social media platforms you will see plenty of people doing just that, apparently with little or no reflection!

But when you have a brand to promote – and to protect – it’s best to stop and think before you tweet.

Maybe you remember a few years back when one careless tweet caused headaches for DiGiorno Pizza. DiGiorno had noticed a trending hashtag – #WhyIStayed – and decided to take advantage of the moment by tweeting: “#whyistayed You had pizza.”

Unbeknownst to the pizza maker, that hashtag was about domestic violence. The tweet couldn’t have been more inappropriate, and as soon as the brand realized the mistake, the tweet was deleted and an apology appeared in its place.

If you experienced such a cringe-inducing moment, you might be tempted to slink away from social media for good! Of course, since social-media platforms play such a major role in marketing these days that isn’t a viable option. (Hey, DiGiorno continues to tweet daily!)

But you should take steps to make sure you are getting the most out of your social media posts, while avoiding negative repercussions at the same time. How do you pull that off? I asked Jay York, our senior digital marketing strategist, for some suggestions and here’s what he had to say:

  • Research. If you see a trending hashtag that on the surface appears to be a good fit for your brand, make sure it means what you think it means before you use it! Check out just what kinds of things people are posting when they use that hashtag. If you aren’t careful, like DiGiorno, you could end up posting something inappropriate – and have to deal with the fallout as a result!

 

  • Gauge the potential for use.Sometimes it’s OK to get creative. One of our clients sometimes comments on blockchain and bitcoin. Just this week, Jay noticed a trending hashtag called #TransformationTuesday and decided that might work with a tweet for our client about how currency has changed (or transformed!) over time. Most #TransformationTuesday posts dealt with weight loss, but a little exploring by Jay revealed this was a largely a fun, not serious, hashtag. He decided a tweet that took #TransformationTuesday in a slightly different direction would be safe. He was right! That tweet helped give our client exposure to a different audience, and resulted in more than 12,425 impressions and over 336 engagements!

 

  • Weigh the risks. Yes, just about anything you post on social media could upset someone somewhere, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should refrain from posting. Try to anticipate what, if any, negative reactions there might be and whether that’s something you can live with. Ask yourself: Is the reward potential greater than the risk potential?

 

  • Manage your post after the fact.Remember, this is a good opportunity to interact with your followers, so you don’t want to post something and then ignore the responses. Engage with your audience, especially when it comes to positive responses from them or questions they may have. But what about negative responses? Jay suggests handling those on a case-by-case basis. If you do respond, you’ll want to do so in a cordial and tactful way. It’s possible disagreements can lead into fruitful discussions. In some cases, though, people are simply trolling – that is, being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative, hoping to get a rise out of you. In that case, you might want to adhere to this social media axiom: Don’t feed the trolls.

As I’ve said in the past, social media is a great way to build brand recognition by getting your name or your company’s name out there, staying in front of potential customers or clients on a daily basis.

And all those hashtags floating around in social media land provide opportunities for you to increase the reach of your brand’s message and bring on even more followers.

Just make sure you know what it is you’re attaching yourself to!

#CarefulTweeting

Marsha

P.S. If you’d like professional help getting coverage in the press, and being interviewed on radio and TV, give us a call. We’ve been providing this service to clients for 28 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 0. We’d love to hear from you!

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