There’s no doubt that social media plays a huge role in a company or brand’s strategic communications plan. Social media gives brands the power to reach consumers on a much more personal, informal level. With that being said, it’s still business.
We often see companies, which have strict, rigorous hiring practices for their public relations teams or agencies, hand over the keys to their social media accounts without so much of a second thought. It’s important a business properly vets and hires a social media strategist with the knowledge and expertise to run a significant communications platform.
You may be thinking “only small companies are making these mistakes.” In fact, major brand names and media outlets have been guilty of hiring interns or inexperienced staff members to handle their social media.
Home Depot’s social media marketer astoundingly asked the brand’s 160,000+ Twitter followers to differentiate between a monkey and African Americans. In addition to the vastly racist tweet, it had nothing to do with the brand’s campaign, football or home improvement.
A staffer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) newspaper created a tweet about an African-American lottery winner that tied in a slavery connotation from the Civil War-era. AJC’s Twitter account broadcasted the racist tweet to more than 100,000 followers. With experience (and a whole lot of common sense!), this would never have happened.
Point blank, an intern or inexperienced employee should never handle a company’s social media accounts. Remember, an internship is meant to teach, not replace full-time employees or third-party contractors. Have your interns work with experienced social media strategists to develop and vet content.
Most importantly, always make sure an expert social media strategist controls the passwords and posting. Nothing should ever be posted without properly having content checked by multiple eyeballs and experts!
For more examples on various mistakes companies have made over social media, check out Cracked.com’s article. Contact us to learn how we can help you with your social media strategy and prevent a potential crisis communications problem: firstname.lastname@example.org