All brands are told to be more human on social media. We were encouraged to express our individuality and vulnerability. But just because we are told to be so, doesn’t mean we will not be judged critically by our audiences for certain wrong steps.
Take for example Elon Musk’s endless Twitter rants in early 2019 that landed him a $20 million fine, which evidently was the final straw in a string of blatant Tweets by the Tesla and SpaceX owner.
While there are many things that we as brands can and should share with our audiences, there are some sensitive topics that probably should be tucked away behind curtains.
Here are the top 7 things that brands should probably never get their hands dirty with on Social Media. Because despite what everyone says, there is such a thing as a press so bad you can never recover from.
Politics and Religion
Talking about these two topics on Social Media is like treading on thin ice. It is very difficult to take one side without offending the other.
And by doing so, your brand risks alienating a large your audience population. So the best thing to do is avoid these topics altogether.
We all know that everyone will either agree or disagree with religious and political stances, but it isn’t something we ought to make public.
Brands have to understand that consumer never buy the product. Instead, they buy what the product can add value to their lives.
Brands that constantly shove products onto the faces of their audiences will only risk losing them. So it’s actually quite pointless for you to keep telling everyone how good you are and how your brand is going to change the world.
For example, one does not by a BMW for all the gadgetry and refinement the brand packs into the car. They buy into the idea that the badge carries a prestige they want to be a part of. Most people who drive BMW sports cars never actually enjoy the ‘Sheer Driving Pleasure’.
It helps to put customers in the middle of branding efforts, and building the solution around them. That way, customers stay the Hero of their own journeys while your brand helps elevate their experiences.
Negativity about Clients and the World in General
There is a fine line between constructive criticism about an experience with a client, and a rant. The latter is incredibly destructive to your brand, and there’s no way to justify the act.
When a customer sees you complaining about another customer and/or competitor, they will think “wow, will they say the same thing about me?”
And nobody wants to listen to someone complain about everything in the world. It reflects a tasteless sense of entitlement and inability to handle adversities. So while we all understand the pains of handling customers, it’s best to keep gripes tucker neatly behind closed doors.
Have you seen Instagram Stories with top markers so packed they appear like dots instead of dashes? I bet you skipped that person’s Stories entirely. It’s the same if not worse for brands. This goes the same for Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn posts.
People don’t have the patience to see so many content from one source in a given time. And they have less patience when it’s not their friend. With so much content out in the wild today, audiences appreciate those that provide value and are thoughtfully made.
Experiment with more than 10 Stories per day, and see at which Story you lose their attention. Then try to lessen it and see if the attention level improves.
With video Posts, monitor how many people start watching your videos that drop out after 3 seconds. Get them to stay through more parts of the video by changing the storytelling style of the videos.
There is a place for White Papers and Press Releases, and it most likely isn’t on Social Media. They are usually either incredibly descriptive or self-serving, both of which do not work well for Social Media.
Official documentations live well in your website, but they are too dry and too long for social media formats.
Misinformation is all over the world today, both online and offline. Any person excited about a topic may be forgiven for not fact-checking their content before sharing them online. But bands will receive no such treatment.
Always make a point to double and triple check all content before sharing them to your audience. It also helps to only keep to a few reliable sources of news, and avoid unverified ones.
Taking Advantage of Tragic Events
As a Social Media Manager, I am often asked to take advantage of tragic events to push solution products and services. What at first glance may seem like a good opportunity can be incredibly devastating for your brand image.
For example when news breaks of a hiker lost in the jungle, a brand would want to repost the report with captions “This is why you should have product A with you at all times. Get it now for RMx.”
In an age where consumers put a high value on a brand’s ethics and humanity, having seen capitalising on a tragedy is one of the most distasteful things a brand can do.
It’s About Respect
All the things to avoid on Social Media can be summed up as respecting your audience’s time, values and individuality.
By avoiding sensitive topics like Politics, Religion and Sexuality, we respect and honor everything our audiences believe in. By focusing on giving them value instead of selling to them, we respect their time and attention.
By not complaining about other people, we respect their
privacy as a customer, client or competitor. By not capitalising on tragedies,
we respect them as fellow humans.
 “Elon Musk is in Twitter trouble yet again – Vox.” 25 Feb. 2019, https://www.vox.com/2019/2/25/18240590/elon-musk-twitter-sec-tweets. Accessed 27 Jun. 2019.
 “Quality over Quantity – NWTC Social Media Marketing.” https://nwtcsocialmediamarketing.home.blog/2019/02/10/quality-over-quantity/. Accessed 27 Jun. 2019.
 “Should You Post Press Releases In Social Media? – Forbes.” 12 Dec. 2011, https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwynne/2011/12/12/should-you-post-press-releases-in-social-media/. Accessed 27 Jun. 2019.
 “5 Corporations That Used a National Tragedy to Sell You Something.” 17 Sep. 2013, https://www.mic.com/articles/63827/5-corporations-that-used-a-national-tragedy-to-sell-you-something. Accessed 27 Jun. 2019.