Mind Your Social Media Manners

Tiffany Weimar - March 30, 2011

Though there is a ton of buzz surrounding social media for business, not too much of it highlights how to proactively manage and leverage the various networks.  Often times, it isn’t until there is a “slip-up” or lapse in judgment by the individual managing a company’s account that we hear a response as to what should have occurred instead. 

Perhaps you’ve heard about the recent high-profile PR incidents including personal messages being sent from @RedCross or @ChryslerAutos profiles.  If you didn’t hear about those incidents, perhaps the Intern that went on a rampage on the last day of his job, calling Marc Jacobs’ CEO Robert Duffy a “tyrant” rings a bell. 

There are many lessons to be learned from these unfortunate examples.  One of the most important lessons is, choose your social media contributors wisely.  Remember that the individual managing your account is, in essence, a spokesperson of the business.  In some cases, the person actually becomes the face of the company.  LinkedIn is a great example.  The person that manages company groups on behalf of the company works LinkedIn under his or her personal profile. 

On the flip side, having a credible individual act as the face of the company can work to your advantage.  The person that is able to network and recruit a great number of credible followers and is able to engage with others through the platform has great benefits (including possible business/sales opportunities).   

Let’s go back to the importance of being proactive.  As managers, you should always be in tune with the activity on your social media accounts (better yet, be engaged yourself!).  This is important for a few reasons.  Troubleshooting is the first reason.  Without micromanaging, it is important to oversee and be involved with the operation to maintain your brand sentiment.  This way, if a post was inadvertently entered or a message was incorrectly stated, you can fix/remove it before any negativity goes viral.  Secondly, you should always have access to and control your account passwords.  In the event that your social media specialist or marketing manager leaves that company, you will always have the ability to control/manage your accounts (and in this case, change your password). 

As a result of some of the recent mishaps mentioned above, some networks have created safeguards to help prevent these situations from occurring.  Hootsuite in particularly, announced that they have created “Secure Social Profiles” to minimize an accidental mis-send.  The new profiles feature “prevents accidental updates by team members by requiring an additional confirmation step before sending”.  The Secure Profiles feature is available in HootSuite’s Enterprise plan and is designed to help large companies with multiple team members.  As you can see below, the feature is also compatible and available for Smartphone users.   

Social media remains one of the greatest marketing tools available.  A common challenge with managing social media is a lack of time.  Outsourcing these efforts, in some cases, is the best solution to this dilemma.  Selecting an agency that understands your brand, goals, and products is important as they will represent you throughout the social media trenches.  If you choose to hire someone internal to manage your channels, make sure that they are well trained.  The person should understand the business, brand, services/products, as well as the goals of social media efforts.  Remember, consistent effort and engagement can go a long way!

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