Mashable.com recently published an article summarizing what it deems to be the “11 Biggest Social Media Disasters of 2012“. It’s a cry for more or better professional public relations guidance (and perhaps a little more common sense) that leads to the creation of social media guidelines. These might include:
- Don’t take advantage of national or natural disasters as marketing opportunities (See the Tweet from American Rifleman on the day of the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting).
- Check other sources – upon noticing noticing that “Aurora” is trending on Twitter, check MSNBC.com or another news site to find out what’s going on before mentioning anything about it on social media.
- Be transparent. If your CEO is going to go public with his religious opinions, anticipate the responses of your many publics and be truthful to them. Fake Facebook pages and Twitter feeds will be found out.
- Don’t Tweet about famous people’s grandmas. It never ends well.
- It’s a good idea to keep any language used in social media clean. Ask yourself: would you talk like this in front of your kid? Your kid’s kindergarten teacher? Your grandma? Social media is public – these people may very well be listening.
- Listen, listen, listen! Monitor mentions of your brand online and try to take negative conversations offline by addressing the individual directly. Don’t give negative comments a chance to go viral.
- Before you post – think! Stop for a minute (consider adding a prompt that asks if you are sure you’re ready to post) to ask yourself: would you put your post on a billboard and wear it down the street?