Social Media Faux Pas: Even Easier Now to Commit Them

It’s a given that involvement in social media demands us to be omnipresent. We need to be available and accessible to our friends and fans in all places at all times in order to respond to those who enter our world and want to get to know us. Developers have become keen on this by introducing scheduling and management tools like HootSuite and Tweetdeck, as well as some other “stand-in” devices. The constant emergence of new tools and updates makes it impossible to keep up, though. Along a learning curve paved with good intentions, we are likely going to commit some unintentional blunders, or social media faux pas.

And we are seeing an increase in social media faux pas already, the most recent example being the #GetSlizzerd tweet coming from a Red Cross employee (which I predict will become the new “Is that Your Final Answer?” on a T-shirt). If you’re familiar with the story, then you know about how the employee forgot to switch out her company username account for her personal one in order to share her post. And that’s when the fun began. Retweets, retweets, retweets and the company’s decision not to fire her for not knowing any better. But some people haven’t gotten off so easy.

The new Facebook Page set-up is also increasing the odds of falling into faux pas. While the new page layout is overall a nice upgrade, what about the switch between brand admin and you? Suppose you didn’t make that switch and decided to post something better left said between your “friends of friends” and not fans of your company. The toggle between accounts is likely going to be the biggest faux pas offense committed or witnessed among your fans, friends and followers. Redemption won’t be easy and will likely include apologizing your butt off.

We’ve all committed social media faux pas. I have unknowingly committed several simply because I found a new tool, loved it, but didn’t necessarily know about the potential pitfalls attached to it. My favorite example of my own social media faux pas is when I shared a post on LinkedIn. Trying to phrase the post the best way to encourage the most share (c’mon, we all do it!), I had revised it a number of times but didn’t know that these updates were being posted to my Twitter account. That day, my Twitter followers received spam in the form of eight post revisions, and I lost followers as a result. It’s as simple as that.

So while the newness of tools and improvements made to existing social networks are yet another incremental budget consideration conversation to be had with a client, we must be very sure of how all this stuff works. Because if Don Smith (a.k.a admin) ever shares about his hunting expedition on the Animal Humane Society’s wall, heads are going to roll. Hey, it could happen…

Tim Otis is Supervisor of Social Media and PR for brand marketing agency Gabriel deGrood Bendt (GdB) in downtown Minneapolis. A five-year integrated and big idea marketer, Otis enjoys pitching media and teaching clients how to use social media effectively and responsibly. Apart from his work at GdB, Otis enjoys blogging, speaking, and writing songs for he and his wife to sing. You can follow him on Twitter @timotis.

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