How Businesses Can Prevent Social Media Mishaps

Maia Clinch Maia Clinch, Product Specialist

Social media is a powerful tool to connect with your audience and promote your business. However, sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms also pose certain risks. Scarcely a week goes by when we don’t read about a tweet that sets off outrage against a celebrity or company. There are other types of risks as well, such as someone hacking your account or stealing your identity. The following are some tips to avoid the most common social media mishaps.

Have a Definite Social Media Policy
It’s essential that everyone on your team is on board with your brand’s social media policy. The first step is to make sure you actually have a clear policy for posting to social media. Provide guidelines for staying consistent with your brand’s tone and style. For example, you may want a light and humorous approach or a more formal tone. If you want people to avoid certain words or topics, make this clear.

It’s best to avoid inflammatory topics such as politics and religion unless your business or website deals specifically with such issues. If someone on your team is not sure whether a post, link or response is appropriate, he or she should seek approval before moving forward. Keep in mind that a social media post is practically impossible to erase once it’s posted. Even if you delete it, someone may have copied it and reposted it.

Keep Your Accounts Secure
When you think about online security, you probably think first about securing your website. This is certainly crucial. However, you also have to keep your social media accounts secure. Hackers do target social media accounts, especially those of businesses. If someone hijacks your page and posts in your name, the results can be harmful to your reputation.

Everyone who logs into your company’s social media accounts should have a separate and secure password. A single password for the entire business may be convenient but it presents a security risk. If you have many employees accessing your accounts, it’s best to use some type of social media management system. In addition to providing enhanced security, this keeps people accountable. You want to be able to identify who has posted what.

Be careful about providing information to unknown persons on social media. Hackers may pose as representatives of Facebook or even tech support within your own company. Tell your staff to never provide personal or company information such as passwords to anyone without getting your approval first. If you have any doubts about someone’s identity, ask them to provide you with a website URL or a phone number where you can call them back.

Keep Personal and Business Accounts Separate
It’s never a good idea for business owners and employees to mix up their personal and business social media accounts. It’s too easy for someone relaxing at home or perhaps enjoying a night out with friends, to post something they later regret. On a personal account, this isn’t usually an issue. However, if random posts appear on your business page, it can harm your reputation.

Keep in mind that as your business grows, everyone needs to be more accountable. With companies such as Google or Apple, for example, the slightest controversies will be widely reported. Small and midsized businesses, meanwhile, enjoy more privacy due to their lower public profiles. Still, no matter how small your business is, it’s a good idea to remind your employees to always post with discretion even to their personal accounts.

Learn to Deal with Trolls
A troll is different from a dissatisfied customer or someone with whom you have a legitimate disagreement. Trolls are around for the sole purpose of causing problems. These include people who leave spiteful comments for no apparent reason and negative reviews, often when they’ve never even patronized your business. It’s no fun to find negative or even hateful comments on your social media pages. The worst type of trolls may attack your pages with bots, creating lots of spammy or negative comments.

Never waste space arguing with trolls. This only fuels their energy. If someone has a legitimate grievance, you need to address it. But don’t get caught up in responding to personal insults. You can’t win an argument with a troll because their real motive is to keep the conflict going. If they become too much of a problem, block them from your page. If they are abusive or threatening, report them to the platform.

Monitor Social Media Consistently
In order to deal effectively with any social media challenges, you first need to be aware that they’re happening. You have to remember that time moves very quickly in the world of social media. It’s not much help to learn about a problematic post or comment after it’s already been visible for weeks. Ideally, you want to know immediately if there’s an issue that needs your attention. Social media monitoring is good for your business in many ways. It’s always advantageous to respond quickly to positive as well as negative comments and reviews. You also want to stay current on your analytics for all your posts, pages, and ads.

It’s not difficult to monitor social media but it does require that you use the right tools and use them regularly. You can set Google Alerts for your business name and any other names or terms that customers might use when mentioning you online. If you want to gain deeper insights into conversations that affect you, there are more advanced social media monitoring tools and services you can employ. In addition to letting you know when someone is discussing your business, such tools also help you track your competition and stay current with the latest trends in your industry.

Minimize Social Media Mishaps
Social media is an essential part of your business’s promotional efforts. At the same time, you must be aware of certain dangers that can accompany your efforts. However, if you monitor your sites consistently, take security seriously, and implement a clear social media policy you can usually manage to avoid or at least minimize such challenges.

To find out how Sysomos social media monitoring and management tools can help you keep your own social activity running smoothly, request a demo today.