The importance of a company’s social media presence cannot be overstated and should be a central part of your marketing and branding strategies. Although social media is a great tool to engage with your customers and is a differentiator for many brands, social media can go sideways very quickly. So here are some solutions to the most common social media issues we encounter in our practice: 

            Monitor Your Social Media Manager

            “Prevention is better than cure.” —Desiderius Erasmus

Many companies employ a dedicated social media manager to produce content and engage with customers on the various platforms, but businesses must have oversight of their social media accounts and frequently monitor their content. Here, an ounce of prevention is worth several tons of cure. First, vetting your social media manager is critical, as you want to be certain they match with your company’s voice. Second, it is helpful to create clear guidelines and policies as to how, where, and what type of content is acceptable to post on your official social media channels. Finally, develop the habit of a monthly review of all social media accounts to ensure your brand is consistent and that your guidelines are being followed. You may consider adding an employee social media policy as well — the statements of owners and employees can be misconstrued as coming from the company itself, and controversial or inappropriate content can cause serious damage. Unfortunately, the internet does not always appreciate that “your views are your own and not the company’s.”

            Try Not to Feed the Trolls

            “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” —Alfred

And it seems that no place burns quite as quickly as social media. If you brand is successful, it may become a target for those simply looking to stir up controversy. The solution to this is simple in theory and hard in practice: do not engage with bad-faith actors. Block and mute these accounts when necessary. You can also put into place a filtered word list for obscene and inflammatory words and review this list frequently, as inflammatory terminology on the internet is an ever-changing beast. 

            Resolve Poor Reviews Whenever Possible

            “From my close observation of writers… they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.” —Isaac Asimov

A common question from our clients is how to handle poor reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook, and other platforms. We understand the frustration that a poor review can bring, but it truly is an opportunity to reinforce your brand and bolster your hard-earned goodwill. For purely dissatisfied consumers, we encourage our clients to give honest and empathetic responses, with a request for contact information to follow up personally with the reviewer. However, if you start to receive harassing or threatening comments, it is time to disengage and reach out to your legal counsel.

            Do Your Diligence on Trending Topics and Hashtags

            “[T]o do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.” —Oscar Wilde

It is often inviting to latch on to trending topics and hashtags as part of a company’s marketing strategy. There are times that engaging on these topics can generate goodwill and advance your brand in a meaningful way — but, before you post, you must do your diligence. Research why a topic is trending, look into the origins of a hashtag, and err on the side of caution. When in doubt, stay out of trends that haven’t fully developed yet.

Do Not Threaten Legal Action

            “Govern yourself accordingly!” —Obnoxious Attorneys

The easiest way a company can become the social media villain of the day is to threaten legal action on social media — these threats on social media are generally not productive, and are often met with the venom of The Streisand Effect. If you have a serious concern that you believe is legally actionable, gather evidence such as screenshots and then contact your attorney.

For more information on this article and this topic, contact Christopher L. Harbin.