How To: Avoid Social Media Mistakes

Remember this mindless tweet? We thought you would. While attempting to be humorous, FORMER chief of communications officer at IAC, Justin Sacco, ruined her chance (and reputation) of ever being employed again after pushing the tweet button.

As her legacy will go down in the chronicles of PR as a case of “What not to do on social media,” I must ask this question: What should PR people not do on social media?

Here are 8 social media mistakes PR people should avoid:

1. Don’t bad mouth your employers

Yes, we all have our bad days and make mistakes – working in PR can definitely be challenging at times. Remember using the ’10 second rule’ when you need to stay calm in fiery situations? Well that rule doesn’t really exist in social media. In those feisty moments where arguments are heated, some PR pros tweet/post Facebook statuses without thinking. Social media can be used for cyber bullying and harassment purposes, so steer clear of sharing hateful or threatening comments. Before you post that tweet button, just walk away from the situation and think positive thoughts – your job is on the line!

2. Don’t forget your boundaries

Facebook has definitely become the warehouse for most, if not everyone’s self-esteem. People love to share about the details of their lives! There isn’t really any thought – just the need to share when you see something adorable or funny, such as a cute puppy or baby. You might become increasingly comfortable online, but remember that whatever goes online is open to the public forever. Furthermore, political commentary, profanity and general views definitely have an effect on your fellow employees – which is definitely a sign of stereotypical outrage. What you decide to post on Facebook can be personal, but remember that these things are public!

3. Be on top of things at all time

Facebook is definitely not to blame when you are not achieving your goals. You must think greater than LinkedIn or Twitter! Keep in mind what happens during the day, not just around you, but around the world. Always take time to plan, consider your goals, understand what your audience really wants and help them solve any problems they will encounter because you take responsibility for the lack of results your business creates! Your results are 100% dependent on how organised you are as well as how patient you are.


4. Drunk tweeting – don’t do it!

Keep your drunk self away from your phone! Your boss had a go at you for making a mistake? Relax. Of course it’s nice to cool off with a few drinks during happy hour and sharing these irritations with your colleagues, but don’t take it too far on social media. Say “yes” to your job and “no” to humiliation. Resist the urge to publicly share intoxicated thoughts as your reputation is on the line! Protect it. Your job will just last longer.

5. Always keep positive

Try avoiding being negative – off-putting comments on social networks about fellow employees, your employer or consumers will have an immense effect on your company reputation. It’s not always about me, myself and I. Show your fellow colleagues that you’re proud of their accomplishments and successes. You’ll definitely put a smile on somebody’s face.

6. SHHH!! Don’t fail to keep secrets.

Is there something top secret going down in your firm? Want to tell the whole world? DON’T! Any exciting news happening in your workplace or a planned project is in the works should be kept private and under wraps. Do not broadcast your visit to a competitor’s client; otherwise you could potentially hurt your company’s chances of securing new business opportunities!


7. Try not to get involved in arguments.

It’s ok to share your thoughts and opinions on a specific topic, but don’t go overboard. A difference of opinions is ideal; an out of control squabble is definitely prohibited. Just remember what happens on the internet, stays on the internet – you can’t take anything back – it’s permanent and will remain there… for good!

8. Don’t boast!

Of course it’s ok to let people know if you got promoted, but be subtle and grateful! Humility definitely goes a long way on social media. If it is not in the interest of the public, it is not in the interest of business! Remember this quote stated by Elizabeth Bernstein, “..We’ve become so accustomed to boasting that we don’t even realise what we’re doing. And it’s harmful to our relationships because it turns people off.” There are definitely more options to leverage social media to promote yourself and what you’re proud of in a more convenient way!

Guest appearance/blog post by Liam Spagnolo


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