Crisis Communications, Public Relations, Social Media

Tweets Gone Wrong: 4 Reminders to Keep Your Feed Criticism-Free

By Melissa Baratta | On April 4, 2014

Social media crises are nothing new, but over the last year we saw more than a handful of Twitter blunders with companies like Home Depot, celebrities like Dr. Phil and even several top tier media outlets posting insensitive or offensive tweets.

While one could argue that every person should aim to be diplomatic on social media, as PR executives we are even under more scrutiny to ensure our communications are appropriate. Here are four things every communicator should keep in mind before sending out a tweet – or blog post, Facebook post or any other social media post – to make sure we’re representing ourselves, and our companies, in the best light possible.

1. Think about your brand – and your company’s brand.

Think about how what you say might reflect on you as a professional or on your company and its image before you post. If what you say could be damaging to the brand, delete, delete, delete.

2. Be authentic, but not blind.

While you can certainly have a personality on social media – and should have your own unique voice – don’t be blind to how your comments might impact or offend others. Be authentic, but not insensitive or inconsiderate.

3. Remember – once it goes up, it can never come down.

It’s been said a million times, but the Internet is forever. Remember that once you post something negative or inappropriate, the damage is already done. You might be able to delete it, but not before it gets screenshot, archived, retweeted and criticized. Before you post, make sure it’s something you’re comfortable being around forever.

4. Be humble.

If you do make a mistake and post something that isn’t received well, apologize. It’s best to own up to the mistake and apologize for how your comment came across. Brands – both personal and company – can bounce back as long as you show sensitivity.

On the flip side, if you’re a company dealing with such an issue, make sure you have a social media policy in place so your employees know what’s expected of them on social media. Get tips on how to build a usage policy on Affect’s blog here.

Melissa Baratta

Melissa is a Senior Vice President at Affect, where she uses her extensive background working with technology and healthcare companies to raise her clients’ brand profiles and position them as thought leaders in their respective industries. As an expert in stakeholder communications, she is adept at helping clients develop creative ways to communicate thoughtfully with their key audiences. Prior to joining Affect, Melissa served as Managing Director for Ricochet Public Relations.