Hiring copywriters is a great way for small business owners to populate their social media sites with quality content, but it can also prevent a crash and burn when emotions run high. While the blogosphere has been abuzz this month with epic highlights from a real life small business exploding on the company’s Facebook page, examples of everyday social media flubs abound. Learn from their mistakes, and keep your brand’s social network looking professional, positive, and on message.
A recent episode of the popular reality TV show “Kitchen Nightmares” depicted a real life couple who own a small bistro in suburban Arizona. The show detailed their rude behavior with customers, as well as their total inability to take constructive criticism. But the cringe-worthy moments didn’t stop when the episode aired. Instead, the owners of Amy’s Baking Company took to the company’s Facebook page to face the “online bullies” they claimed were disparaging their website on popular networks like Yelp and Reddit. The results were disastrous: offensive, grammatically wild, and perfect fodder for the hungry maw of the anonymous, snarky internet.
But what can we learn from this total brand meltdown? According to Forbes Magazine, the key takeaways here are to never post immediately when feelings are high, and never feel like you need to respond to every single post and comment. If these owners had a trusted copywriter in place dedicated to generating updates and monitoring their social media output, perhaps they could have saved a little face instead of claiming their accounts were hacked.
While extreme cases like Amy’s Baking Company are fairly rare, callous tweets from companies looking to score followers are unfortunately quite common. Who can forget when someone at Kenneth Cole hashtagged Cairo and suggested that the political upheaval there was in response to their new fashion collection? Or Gap’s response to Hurricane Sandy that they’d be “doing a lot of Gap.com shopping” during a time when thousands were without power or water? Perhaps the worst instance of this type of tone deaf tweet was when Celeb Boutique, upon noting that “#Aurora” was trending following the tragic shooting in Colorado, suggested it was the result of their Kim Kardashian inspired “Aurora” dress.
Cue the eye roll and the gag reflex, these tweets were clearly the result of an immature, click-happy poster behind the wheel. Many of these companies blamed an anonymous intern, so do yourself a favor and hire an experienced pro to keep your company positive and polite.
The Personal Is Professional…Or Is It?
A final warning for those hands-on types who prefer to handle their businesses social media communications personally. Be sure you know which account you’re posting under, or you might end up letting your professional followers know some inside info! Just ask the the Red Cross staffer who posted about finding a few beers and getting “slizzered” on the national non-profit’s official feed.
Caitlin C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.