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How One Social Media Slip-Up Can Change Your Brand Forever

How One Social Media Slip-Up Can Change Your Brand Forever

By Scott Costa, Publisher, tED magazine

We are having some strategic fun as we re-invent some of tED magazine’s social media plans this summer. In addition to learning new ways to communicate, we are also attempting to broaden our audience reach and engage you in more of our social media conversations.

We have included video in our tED magazine Facebook postings as a way to talk “with” you instead of just writing posts “at” you. Our Twitter page is being used to expand our monthly #tEDchat that we hold on the second Wednesday of every month.  And we are keeping an eye on our Linkedin page for trending topics of discussion on a daily basis.  We hope that you have either noticed some of these changes or can take a few minutes to check them out soon, as we try to keep you informed of the daily and monthly events and news in tED magazine and online at tedmag.com.

But these changes also come with some concern that can’t be overlooked.  Recently, an employee at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago went on social media to post a comment and photo about how much she doesn’t like her job.  A number of local and national news media sites have been filled with comments that sparked outrage, apologies, firings and promises to better monitor what is posted.  I can’t even count the number of college and professional athletes who have not used what I will call “common sense” when it comes to their social media posts.

Sure, it is a reflection on the individual who posted something that doesn’t live up to your standards. But if you look closely at the reflection, it’s the Brookfield Zoo and the news gathering organizations and the sports teams that are actually in the mirror.

So the question then becomes, “Who is making sure your social media reflection is doing more good than harm?”

It reminds me of a scene from the HBO series “The Newsroom”.  After a particularly offensive post to the cable news channel’s Twitter account, the head of the channel asks the person responsible what she was thinking about while she was typing and posting the tweet.

“Re-Tweets” was her one word answer.

And that’s what is so scary.  While you are working to build your brand, create an environment that you want for your customers and communicate with people you would not be able to communicate with, it only takes 140 characters on your social media page to destroy everything you have been working to achieve.

Your social media efforts may not be producing huge sales numbers right now.  It is doing the job it needs to do, and it is keeping you on the minds of the people you want to be connected to.  But make sure you have a strategy that monitors anything that goes “out there on the Internet” with your name attached to it.  The last thing you need is a long apology for something that needs to be under control.

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