Stop right there! 9 things businesses shouldn't share on social media

When it comes to social media, there's often a lot more at stake than people may realise. Just one bad post could damage your brand's reputation significantly, which in turn could cost you business.

Our Digital Marketing Assistant, Beth, outlines some of the main things to avoid when using social media for your business.

At Sookio, we love to celebrate good content, done well, so we’re always keen to shine a light on positive examples of how you should be doing things like blogging, video campaigns and social media.

But sometimes, learning how not to do things can also be useful. Major no-nos can stick in the mind better than ‘here is what is good and this is why it is good’, so learning what you shouldn’t share online – and ensuring this knowledge is shared organisation-wide - can be a really handy way to avoid any potentially large digital marketing mishaps.

So much can go wrong in the click of a send, share, post or tweet button. And whether it’s from your company account, your personal account or one of your colleague’s social media profiles, one hasty, cringe-inducing or silly post could lead to a whole host of problems for your brand’s reputation.

But fear not! We’ve put together this handy guide of things you probably shouldn’t share to avoid any social media nightmares. Feel free to share with your employees, employer, colleagues, family, friends and beyond!

Don’t be a Debbie downer

Negativity is never a good thing on social media, especially from a brand account.

Timelines are often swamped with negative things in the news, personal rants and customer complaints. So, why not use this as an opportunity to cut through the noise and present your followers, and potential customers, with useful, positive content?

Take a look at how Give Blood NHS uses social media to positively inform its followers. The only negatives Give Blood NHS are interested in are blood types, so rather than letting complaints and comments about blood donors dim the feed, it seizes the opportunity to provide followers with a useful, funny and conclusively educational and positive thread about blood types.

Don’t make it all ME, ME, ME

Another thing we can take from the above thread by Give Blood NHS is how they address their audience. Directly taking feedback from people and responding to this immediately makes the social media content relevant to followers (you), and potential donors, rather than Give Blood NHS and the great work they do (me).

It’s a bit like on your personal social media profiles… life story posters tend to get a big fat unfollow or unfriend from me.

So, on your business accounts, try not to bore your followers with constant brand-related content. That doesn’t mean your industry, business or opinions aren’t interesting – but over-egging the pudding could make them less interesting to followers when they pop up on their timeline.

Instead, try making your content about your followers, their questions, their interests and their concerns. For example, you could share relevant news articles, comment on the latest industry updates and respond to customer posts, questions and feedback. Make it about what they want to hear about, rather than what you want to tell people. Be interested rather than interesting.

Alternatively, have a laugh with it like Yorkshire Tea do. Just try not to let it go too far, and of course this kind of humour is only appropriate for certain businesses – so be sure to have your brand guidelines in mind when writing social media posts.

Don’t ignore your followers

Try not to focus on posting updates so much that you miss what your followers are saying! Listening to what your customers have to say and engaging in positive conversation with them can really boost your social media profiles, while making your business look approachable to other potential customers.

Lush are particularly good at this, enhancing their social media presence by demonstrating how much they value their customers when directly responding to them. Discover what else you can glean from Lush’s top-notch content strategy in our blog post.

It's Facebook, not Off-Your-Facebook!

We’re not trying to say that your team love a drink or ten, but inappropriate out-of-hours social posts certainly aren’t unheard of! While it may be unlikely, it might be a good idea to mitigate against your social media admin posting at times where they may be best not to.

You could encourage your team or colleagues to mute notifications from business accounts on platforms such as Facebook and Facebook Business Manager when they aren’t at work. Or even better, advise people to only access work-related social media accounts from their company phone or laptop, rather than their personal devices.

Drunk LinkedIn post

And make sure auto-posting from personal to business or professional profiles is turned off!

Be careful with your opinions

Bold opinions, whether personal or political, can really alienate your audience. They can also set you up for further problems down the line if you post about ideas which are conflicting or incorrect.

For example, if your business is cruelty-free or vegan brand, it’s probably best not to retweet something promoting a non-cruelty-free brand, such as L’Oréal.

Additionally - this may seem obvious - but don’t post anything that might offend a particular person or group of people. Doing this could alienate a huge segment of your potential audience or customers, immediately putting them off purchasing a product or service from your brand. This also applies to your team’s personal professional profiles – any negative associations can reflect badly on your business!

This guy… I should imagine not many women, or men, will be approaching you for sales after this one, Louie!

LinkedIn

Don’t enter into arguments

At Sookio, we like to advise our B2C – and even B2B - clients that when it comes to social media customer services, any more than three responses counts as an argument.

In the case of a dispute, for example a customer complaining about one of your products, the best thing to do is to take it off the public timeline. You can do this by asking customers to direct message you about the issue, or even provide them with your customer service contact details. This takes any dispute out of the public eye, while making your brand look professional.

Unlike our old friend Amy’s Baking Company

Amy's Baking Company

For more tips on social media crisis management, take a look at Protein World’s robust approach, and read our advice on how to handle complaints, mistakes and trolls on Twitter.

Don't share too much from behind-the-scenes

You have bean bags. We get it.

Posts about your company culture are great, they help followers get a feel for the personality behind your business. But they should only be used to embellish your overall social media presence, they shouldn’t be the main focus of your activity – it will get boring and repetitive to your followers (and leave them wondering whether you actually do any work!).

At Sookio, we’re all about the office bantz. But we like to think we just about strike the balance between sharing the lolz and providing our followers with useful, relevant content.

Don’t comment on your competitors (at least not seriously)

Commenting on your competitors on social media, generally, just looks a bit tasteless. Focus on promoting what you do well and your market niche, rather than bringing down others in your field.

That being said, if it is appropriate for your company, light-hearted banter can go down a treat with followers. We love this GIF-war thread involving Aldi, Lidl and M&S – it’s funny, friendly and tasteful, bringing in lots of likes, retweets and responses from Twitter users across the nation.

Don’t start without a strategy

Guidelines, digital strategy and a clear vision of what you want your social media accounts to achieve is crucial when building a presence on any social media platform.

Before letting your team loose on the business’ social channels, and even before posting yourself, ensure you have a strong set of guidelines so that posts are consistent, reflective of the brand and in the correct tone and style.

Need help knocking your social media strategy into shape? Get in touch with Sookio today.