Top 10 Tactics to Avoid Brand Crushing Social Media Blunders

One bad social media mishap can lead to years of brand rebuilding.

When KitchenAid took to social media to hop into the 2012 presidential debates, when candidates first began to utilize social media in their campaigns, they never fathomed the backlash they would suffer from a company tweet implying President Barack Obama’s grandmother died because she knew how badly his first term would stack up.


The tweet was meant to poke fun. Instead, it created an instant PR nightmare, as KitchenAid scrambled to tweet a personal apology and issue a statement, explaining that an employee had inadvertently tweeted from the official company account. Although KitchenAid is pretty good in the kitchen appliance category, they failed big time in the social media field.

To build brand recognition for your new store, social media is an obvious no-brainer. But, you need to have a solid content strategy. Before experimenting with social content or sharing, review the top 10 tactics Social Media Today says you need to implement to avoid social media blunders that could crush your brand identity.

Responding Too Quickly

You see a comment come through. As a storeowner, you are certain the user is uninformed and desire an immediate rebuttal to be seen by all. Stop right there. Responding too quickly can only make matters worse. Take time to formulate a response in a calm, reasonable manner that stays consistent with your PR strategy. Don’t jump the gun. Loyal customers are built on honesty and transparency.

Sounding Forceful in Your Content

This goes hand-in-hand with responding too fast. As you formulate your response, keep your tone neutral and positive. Your best defense is not to offend anyone or fire back. Refer to your brand strategy for content sharing and consistency. Stick to it.

Posting Irrelevant or Boring Content

Customers and prospects are constantly watching your content and feedback to determine if your social posts match your brand identity. Readers and followers don’t want to see what you had for lunch or your opinion on the Presidential debate. Be relevant and publish only when you have something relevant and positive to share. Trying to meet a quota or increasing volume will not expand your reach.

Trying to Go Viral with Controversial Content

Viral content can bring your brand a lot of attention. But when you attempt to force controversial content to invoke a response, it will usually backfire. Focus content efforts on reaching your target audience and getting attention from the people you want to attract.

Discussing Hot Topics

You know the old saying: never discuss politics or religion in polite company. That saying holds true on social media. Commenting on current events will help you stay current, but avoid taking a stance on any political, religious or otherwise sensitive topic. That’s just asking for controversy (see above).

Focusing on Self-Promotion

If all of your store’s tweets are about your new product coming out soon, or if all of your Facebook pictures only reference an event you recently sponsored, your brand will appear narcissistic. Curate your social content with a mixture of professional information, industry information and fun and frivolous sharing. If you decide to share information from other industry professionals, be sure to check the validity of their claims before posting.

Being Impersonal

Nobody wants to interact with a robot. Canned responses are a complete turn-off to customers. Friends, fellow tweeters and followers want to hear from humans – real people who have a voice and are available to share it. A voice identifies who you are and connects you to your target audience. Participate in real-time discussions, such as Twitter chats, LinkedIn groups or Facebook pages, to give your brand a human feel.

Providing Generic Responses

Similar to appearing impersonal, customers prefer to see you read their message and put some thought into responding. If they continually see the same response across the board to multiple users, your brand will be viewed as lazy or “fake.” Personalize your responses. Use names. Repeat the topic users are using. Engage with your fans and friends. They expect it.

Focusing Real-Time Activity on Influencers

Influencers are great because they can share your content across multiple platforms and expand your audience. However, influencers are not likely to be a part of your target audience for sales. If you focus solely on pleasing influencers, you’re missing out. Communicate with your current and potential customers. They deserve the majority of your attention.

Automating Content Too Often

Sure, scheduling content across media platforms helps you accomplish the task efficiently. But, if you strictly schedule all content ahead of time, you could be seen as robotic or absent to your followers. Reach out to others in real-time by retweeting, sharing, liking and replying others’ activities. Sharing in the moment places you in the pool of active social media contenders.

Strategic social media strategies allow you to build your brand, use your voice and stand out in a crowd. Just make sure you stand out because you are considered an expert, a contributor, or a key player in social media – and not because you make fun of the President’s grandmother.


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Scott Kuhn

About Scott Kuhn

Scott is CEO of Sheehy, a regional advertising, marketing and media agency. He has been helping companies plan and execute store grand openings and remodels for more than 20 years.

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