The biggest social media mistake (is easy to avoid)

For the newcomer to marketing, avoiding this one thing will make your social media marketing far more effective.

A while ago, I held a social media workshop with a client. As we approached the end of discussions I began to conclude our thoughts when the following line spilled from my mouth:

“The biggest mistake you can make with social media as a brand is using it like you would with your personal accounts.”

It’s doubtful whether I am the first to have ever uttered such a line, however it’s one that I think holds quite a lot of truth.

Leading up to this point, the client noted that their company had a huge amount to think about following the workshop itself. Explaining that they had never fully considered the business implications of what they post and why.

It was a point which everyone who uses social media for a brand can probably relate. When hacking out fresh into the social media wilderness, things can be a little overwhelming. At first, most of us probably apply the same thinking to our actions that we use on a daily basis for our personal feeds. We share stuff. We post images. We comment. And we think that will suffice. It’s natural to adopt such an approach the beginning of ones’ social media manager life.

Yet, as many of us know now, using social media channels as a brand is far removed from using it as a private person.

Each update, pin, film, comment, hashtag and link you post are a representative of your brand. When it’s undersigned by a brand, social media activity is read completely differently than a personal account. Your actions are judged differently by your followers, and even a small mistake could taint the brand in the eyes of a reader.

Think carefully before posting that meme. The likelyhood of your brand’s audience sharing your love of viral humour is slim.

It’s a line of thinking recently highlighted by Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban recently when talking about how he uses social media. Cuban urged entrepreneurs to think really really hard before publishing anything in the public sphere. And even went as far as to say he had gone backwards through his social media inventory and deleted posts made in haste that take away from his core values.

This week we close with one single take-home. That you don’t just adopt your own private posting habits when managing your brand’s own social media. Because the two are definitely not the same entity.

About the writer: Richard Prime is a copywriter, editor and journalist working from Stockholm, Sweden. His experience stretches back over 15 years — working both in print and online. He’s founded two international magazines as editor, writes prolifically for some of the biggest sites on the web and consults for some of Sweden’s biggest design, architecture and fashion brands on a copy and strategy level. He’s CMO at Minutemailer.
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