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Easy Ways to Avoid a Social Media Mistake

April 1, 2014

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Last week, two separate social media mistakes were made by large brands. The not as popular mistake was made by the New York Mets on Twitter. The other mistake, which lead to a hashtag that trended worldwide, was made by the Colbert Report’s Twitter account. Both mistakes were ones that neither party meant to make, but to many it does not matter. Instances like these are a major reason why many brands are hesitant to be active on social media. Luckily these mistakes are easy to avoid! Here are a few ways how.

Quadruple Check Everything

Whenever you send anything out via social media, there is no deleting it. Yes, you can simply delete your post or tweet, but chances are (especially if you are a large brand like the Mets) someone saw it and most likely took a picture/screen capture of it. Once this happens, it is impossible to make it go away. Both the Mets and the Colbert Report learned this the hard way. An easy way to prevent a mistake is this: check once, check twice, wait a few seconds, check again, and then (just for good measure) check one final time! Sometimes it takes multiple reads to notice a mistake. If the Mets had done this, I can almost guarantee they would have caught their mistake before posting!

If Something Seems Off, DO NOT POST

Sometimes an idea is a lot better in your mind than on paper (or in this case a social media post!). If you come up with a tweet or update and something seems a little off or you have a funny feeling, it’s probably a good idea not to hit the send button. The folks behind the Colbert Report Twitter handle should have noticed this when they transferred their idea from planning to a tweet. Twitter is the most susceptible to this type of mistake because of the 140 character limit. Trying to squeeze a good idea into a tweet can change the tone or meaning of the original idea. If you think something is off, don’t Tweet! You’re probably right.

Seek Other Input

The reason why most social media teams consist of more than a few individuals is so that there are a wide range of minds and ideas. Another area where having team members comes in handy is checking for mistakes. Having others who can spot a spelling error, or something much more severe, is crucial for the success of a social media strategy. The Mets probably had a harder time at this than the Colbert Report team did, as the Mets incident occurred as they were live tweeting a spring training game. Even though there were probably multiple team members live tweeting, it is easier to see why a mistake would occur. For the Colbert Report incident, however, it is much harder to explain how the slip occurred. They had plenty of time to plan the tweet (which I would bet they did), which would have given ample time for team members to check it over and catch the problem. Never be afraid to seek another person’s point of view, it can help prevent a social media blunder!

Mistakes on social media are common. Whether it is a brand or an individual, messing up on social media will continue to happen for as long as social networks exist. There is no perfect advice that anyone can give that will 100% prevent an error, but the tips above should help you catch most of them before you hit the update/tweet button!

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