5 social media mistakes to avoid in the New Year

Lessons learned from McDonald’s and Urban Outfitters, as well as classic advice all brands would do well to remember.

Are you busy deciding on your New Year’s resolutions? If so, don’t forget to include a few for your social media practices.

Learn from some famous social media blunders of 2012 and resolve never to:

1. Take advantage of others’ misfortunes.

While social media is the perfect channel to voice concern in the wake of tragedy and hardship, it is not a time to use the events for promotional purposes.

Never use someone else’s misfortune in an attempt to increase your revenue. Tacky doesn’t even begin to describe this:

2. Ignore or delete customer service issues.

Your social media channels should serve as a platform for your community members to voice their opinions. If they have concerns, learn from them and respond quickly and honestly. This will prove to your followers that you genuinely listen to them, care about the issue, and are doing your best to resolve it.

If you are in the practice of deleting negative comments, go ahead and delete all your social media pages, because you’re missing the point of social media.

3. Use a hashtag without thinking about potential risks.

McDonald’s wanted to gather nostalgic memories from its fans with #McDStories. Instead, the company got a lot of negative memories and the campaign quickly turned into a PR nightmare.

Before you implement a hashtag, consider if people could use it against you.

4. Promote your brand shamelessly.

According to Business 2 Community, 80 percent of people want to receive coupons or special discounts from brands via social media.

That said, your content still must be engaging and interesting, and not based solely on brand promotion. Take time to determine your brand’s voice, and create a community based on common interests and good conversations that are relevant to your brand, but not blatantly self-serving.

5. Be boring.

The most effective social media users, both professional and personal, have fun with social media. Don’t take it so seriously. Be engaging, funny and light-hearted. If you’re not feeling inspired by your brand, maybe it’s time to pass the job on to someone else for a few days to reboot.

What do you resolve not to do in the New Year?

Carrie Peterson is the social media director at Internet Marketing Inc. (IMI), a full-service digital marketing agency in San Diego. Follow Carrie on Twitter at @CarrieSavvy. (Image via)


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