[Guide] The Social Media Management Maturity Model

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Published September 23rd 2014

4 Simple Ways You Can Avoid Social Media Slip-Ups

Social media is an excellent way to get speedy feedback on your product or service. However, there are also some social media pitfalls to watch out for.

When used properly, social media is an excellent way to get speedy feedback on your product or service. You can leverage the network you’ve created to better understand how your business is serving its customer base.

Unfortunately, social media mistakes (inappropriate comments and photos) can damage your brand. This guide teaches you to use social media the right way, in order to avoid damaging pitfalls.

Complete with real world examples, the following helps ensure your brand harnesses the power of positive customer feedback and avoids the backlash of angry social media users.

1. Only post positive content


Positive content is engaging, politically-correct, and optimistic. It’s not rocket science, and yet some brands continue to alienate their customers with mocking, politically-incorrect jokes. In 2012, KitchenAid tweeted that President Obama’s grandmother died because she knew how bad his first term would be.


This comment resulted in a huge amount of backlash, prompting the company to issue the following response:

“Deepest apologies for an irresponsible tweet that is in no way representative of the brand’s opinion.”

Unfortunately, the damage was done, and by day’s end, the tweet was national news. In order to avoid a similar experience, always employ trustworthy and sensitivity-trained people to handle the company’s social media accounts.


2. Don’t feed the trolls


You can leverage your social media networks for feedback on your products and services, but you have to expect a fair amount of criticism.

Not all feedback will be positive. Sometimes, users are unnecessarily cruel in their judgment of your business. Regardless of what a user has written, it’s far better to say nothing than engage a feisty person.

Nestle learned this lesson the hard way. The chocolatiers posted on their Facebook that they’d prefer their customers not use altered logos. Unfortunately, this resulted in many rage-fueled comments. Instead of keeping quiet, Nestle went on the offensive and responded to individual posters in a very sarcastic manner.


“Oh please,” and “Thanks for the lesson in manners,” are just two examples of the responses Nestle prattled off to their loyal customer base.

Suffice to say, the brand lost customers by engaging too closely with their critics.

3. Always be prepared to connect


Businesses sometimes forget that customers need a gateway to connect.

For instance, some businesses forget to place share buttons on their content, and they don’t clearly display their social media links on their website.This makes it difficult for customers to engage with a brand.

Be innovative in the way you connect with your customers, and always look for clear opportunities to connect. For example, you can use convention mobile apps to better engage with convention attendees. The app allows you to share in real-time: trending content, social media accounts, and crowdsource feedback on your products and services.

David Adler, the CEO and founder of BizBash, writes that convention apps revolutionize “the way organizers and attendees socialize, consume information and market themselves.”

4.  Engage users with micro polls and surveys


A micro poll is one that’s conducted on social media. Simply ask a question, and ask your network to answer using a hashtag in their responses.

It’s important to ask the right questions. McDonalds once asked their Twitter followers to share memories of eating at McDonalds, using the hashtag: #McDStories. However, the responses were very disparaging, and users went wild depicting horror stories.


The company quickly realized their error, and switched gears, by introducing a new hashtag: #LittleThings, which asked users to share what little things in life cheer them up, such as a cup of McDonalds’ coffee before work.

Final Thoughts


It’s not always easy keeping a squeaky clean image on social media.

Sometimes, controversy is unavoidable. In those instances, do your best to apologize, strategize a new campaign, and then move on.

If you continue to dwell on a controversy, so will everyone else. But, by moving on gracefully, you’re sending the message that your company is determined to succeed.

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