Social media fails. We love them. Love to see them, share them, and comment on them. (Just as long as it’s not mine, or any of my employees.) So, when we all know it happens way too often, why the continuous stream of fails?

In a world where news, commentary, advice, updates, fake news even, is streamed 24/7, we will naturally look for ways to cut through the clutter, to be bold, stay authentic and blur the lines between what’s acceptable in a social space versus a business space. But the tricky bit is – it’s now all the same space.

Fronting up to an interview with a national financial publication, I’m pretty sure you’d have your brain fully engaged and game face on. But posting on Facebook about last night’s client event, less so. And yet, the potential global reach and reputational impact of that Facebook post means that we should approach both social media and national publications with the same degree of thoughtfulness.

So, here are a few tips to live a stress-free social media experience (if that is possible).


  1. Have an approval process for company posts – It doesn’t need to be cumbersome.  This is particularly important for publicly listed and global companies. Material news for a listed company needs to be disclosed in a particular way (and a tweet from Joe in the mail room is not one of them). For global companies, what is appropriate in one culture may well be offensive to another, and social media has no geographic boundaries. Recently, when Kit and Ace decided to close in Australia, the employees first found out about the voluntary administration of the company via the company’s Instagram and Facebook page.
  2. Create a social media content calendar – create a balance of messages, images and topics so you’re creating a balanced and planned presence for your brand/ organisation. A global surf brand recently received a barrage of criticism over the way they portrayed women on their website. A content calendar would have bought more thoughtful balance of images and messages.
  3. Get smart and engage – Does your social media policy cover use of personal accounts? Recent research indicates that peers are now as credible as experts, so, smart companies will engage employees and customers, treating them as partners and making them part of the conversation. Keep in mind how powerful employee advocacy can be, however it can certainly work against companies in the other way. For this reason, your social media policy should extend to the use of  personal accounts – and ensure that employees or related parties who use social media either for work purposes, or in a personal capacity, have guidelines as to the company’s expectations if making reference to the company.
  4. Are you listening? Be in touch with current brand sentiment. If you plan to open up your twitter feed to public commentary by asking Twitter users to come up with a clever or creative hashtag or to participate in a campaign, then make sure you’ve thought through any risks involved and know the current sentiment towards your brand. The Victorian Taxi Association in Australia opened up their feed for the #YourTaxi campaign which led to an overwhelming amount of disgruntled taxi riders telling stories of their bad experiences for all to see.
  5. Respond quickly – There are plenty of examples of organisations being caught out because they have failed to respond quickly to criticism on their social media platforms. Of course, some criticism is more valid than others, but generally, large and not so large companies need a mechanism that alerts them as major issues develop on social media. Most importantly, act quickly. Respond to the criticism, investigate the issue and solve it.

For more information visit the Scout website or email Renée Bertuch.