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Tweeting Troubles

Tweeting Troubles

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Twitter can be tricky. As the most public face of any business, it holds a lot of potential – but also a lot of potential for disaster, too. It’s often the case that if you do a year’s worth of social media right, people don’t really notice, but if you make just one bad call, you can be the source of criticism for months, and maybe even years, to come. You’ll probably even have a bit of a crisis communication and damage control situation to deal with.

To avoid situations like this, businesses must understand how to avoid these negative situations on social media.

Too many Tweeters
Your Twitter feed should present your brand’s voice: your timeline should present your business values, ethos and beliefs where appropriate and it should stick to this consistently. It is for this reason that you need to be careful about who you allow admin access. Often, unqualified Tweeters can cause problems because they are going to make mistakes – whether it’s just interacting with the wrong people, taking the wrong tone with a customer, or not appropriately responding to something negative. Providing too many people with access to your Twitter feed may even lead to problems with disgruntled employees or employees that may want to cause your business problems in the future, something that Marc Jacobs will surely now understand.

To avoid this situation you should limit the access to your Twitter feed, either to yourself and another trusted employee, or you could consider outsourcing your social media activity to a qualified person or agency who can work with you on a social strategy on an ongoing basis.

Hashtag High-jacking
Hashtags are key to a great social media strategy. There are undoubtedly hundreds of hashtags that your business can use to help your Tweets find the right market. However, you have to use them with caution.

Perhaps the most popular example of a #fail was when McDonald’s created the #McDStories hashtag trying to encourage users to share positive experiences about their brand. The campaign backfired as most people chose to tell horror stories instead, and whilst McDonald’s pulled their promoted tweet after just two hours, user generated content ensured that the horror stories continued for weeks, harming their brand and resulting in a situation that they could no longer control.

The easiest way to avoid this situation is by clearly defining your hashtag so that it will reach the right audience. Using too generic keywords and hashtags can lead to the hashtag getting hi-jacked.

Or Hi-jacking Hashtags…
Staying on the subject of the hashtag, businesses also need to be mindful that they don’t either accidentally or intentionally hi-jack another hashtag intended for current affairs or news purposes.

With the new software available, scheduling tweets is incredibly easily. In fact, many brands can schedule tweets up to a month in advance. However, this can become problematic as other issues arise. Brands have pre-scheduled tweets about events that have been cancelled, or have resulted in a disaster, and this has caused uproar on Twitter and a negative reputation for the offending brand. Businesses must keep an eye on current affairs to make sure that all of their tweets contain appropriate hashtags.

Even worse than a simple scheduling error, some brands have been in trouble for using a hashtag which has been used for a serious issue, or to comment on a disaster, to promote themselves.

In 2013, Janay Palmer Rice’s decision to stay with NFL player Ray Rice after a domestic violence incident, the hashtag #WhyIStayed was trending on Twitter for women who had been in the same situation to share their stories. DiGiorno Pizza tried to join the conversation, tweeting “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.” Within minutes the inappropriate tweet was deleted and the company apologised, claiming it didn’t know what the hashtag was about before tweeting.

To avoid making this mistake, businesses must always make sure that they are aware of trending tweets, and know when or, more importantly, when not to use a hashtag.

Stick to what you know
If you are a business, your followers, generally, do not want to know your political stance. They do not want to know who you are voting for in the next election, or want to receive advice on who they should vote for either. In general, your fans are following you because they want tips on how to use your products, to see reviews or catch great money-off vouchers on your timeline.

Businesses that make the mistake of thinking that their followers want to listen to their every opinion generally get in trouble on Twitter, and are not received well.  If something happens within your industry – a new law or policy – then it is expected that you should tweet about it, but anything further should be directed to a personal account and not from a branded one. This knowledge could have saved KitchenAid a lot of trouble…

If you are having some trouble knowing what to tweet, or just want to grow your following and increase engagement on Twitter, it may be worth bringing in the experts. Social Heroes are running a FREE trial of their Social Media Management services for a short time only. Contact Social Heroes today for your free trial. 


Follow Shauna Madden:

Shauna is the Head of Content for Social Heroes. She has spent several years spearheading PR campaigns for giant companies in the North of the UK with incredible results.