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Guest Posting: Oh, CRAP! 5 Social Media Mistakes To Avoid In 2013

Creative Commons/Social Brothers

Creative Commons/Social Brothers

Guest Posting: Oh, CRAP!
 5 Social Media Mistakes To Avoid In 2013


Social media highs ruled 2012—President Obama’s record-breaking tweet, PSY’s billion-plus viewsPinterest’s astonishing growth, and more. But not surprisingly, along with these peaks came the inevitable valleys, everything from good old-fashioned faux pas to outright blunders. Katie Carroll, Community Manager for Pulse, looks at where social media went wrong, and what you can do to stay a social media winner in 2013.

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Creative Commons/opensourceway

As a social media manager, the thought of tweeting from the wrong account is one of the things that keeps me up at night. 2012 saw  several, cringe-worthy examples of Twitter musical chairs, from Microsoft’s anti-Ann Coulter comment to StubHub’s profane post. If you’re ever stuck in this social media nightmare, take a page from KitchenAid’s book; they responded to an offensive tweet about President Obama with sincerity and humanity, apologizing to the Commander-in-Chief and the entire Twitter community.

How do you steer clear of these unfortunate mishaps? Take extra care using third party tools, and quadruple check when you tweet from your phone or tablet. The best advice, though, may have come straight from your grandparents; if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Read more:  Should Roland Martin Be Fired For David Beckham Underwear Tweet?


Creative Commons/danielmoyle

Creative Commons/danielmoyle

Hashtags make it easier to join a conversation or start your own, but make sure they don’t veer out of control. One of the biggest social media blunders of 2012 was McDonald’s #McDStories Twitter trend, which was promoted by the company and exploded into an open forum for negative comments. This experiment with Twitter’s promoted trends didn’t completely backfire, thanks to the fast fingers of the McDonald’s social media team. With careful monitoring, they were able to quickly switch to a more successful hashtag.

Upscale UK grocery chain Waitrose faced a similar debacle with #WaitroseReasons, which asked shoppers to finish the sentence “I shop at Waitrose because…”. The hashtag sparked a series of mischievous responses, but the company didn’t flinch. Instead they tweeted, “Thanks again for all the #waitrosereasons tweets. We really did enjoy the genuine and funny replies. Thanks for making us smile.” A little humor turned this social media woe into a social media win.

Read more: Going Social: Disney Social Media Moms Day 2


Creative Commons/las10f

Creative Commons/las10f

Confused about privacy settings? You’re not alone. They’ve been an endless source of debate and anxiety this year, and social networks will likely keep switching things up in 2013. As tedious as it can be, it’s worth taking time to learn the latest policies unless you don’t mind your boss (or potential boss) seeing those bachelorette party pics.

Read more: Want To Protect Yourself Online? 5 Things You Need To Know


Creative Commons/socialmedia_nl

Creative Commons/socialmedia_nl

Social media is shaping and documenting history, one post at a time. This year saw responses in real-time to everything from presidential debates to natural disasters, foreign affairs to domestic tragedies. Whether you’re representing a company, trying to grow a personal brand, or just participating for your own enjoyment, make sure to stay on top of current events when you post online. Several brands (who will remain nameless) released less-than-sensitive campaigns during Hurricane Sandy, while others continued with regularly scheduled tweets and posts during the storm, the Connecticut shooting, and other traumatic events. Tread carefully during times like these: it may not be the moment for business-as-usual social media, and one poorly timed tweet can do serious damage to your brand.  On the flip side, events and trends can also keep your content fresh and engaging; keep your eyes peeled for inspiration, and remember that social media is organic, dynamic, and constantly transforming.

Read more: GEM On The Go! How I Became Social Media Manager At Disney For A Day!


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This isn’t unique to 2012, but it’s something to remember in 2013: be human. Social media isn’t about broadcasting, it’s about conversation—and who wants to talk to a robot? Listen to your online communities (they know a thing or two about your product or industry!), encourage discussion, and never get stuck behind a mechanical façade. Being a real person is one of the best ways to reap the rewards of social media, and you can even correct potential online blunders by being open and sincere. If someone takes the time to engage with you, treasure that, and be open to possibilities. The next person who comments on your blog could be a client, customer, mentor, or your new best friend.

Read more:  Life Lessons: ME! In 2013


More From GEM:

Guest Posting: I Am NOT Adam Lanza’s Mother!

Guest Posting: Why NO Has To Mean NO!


Katie Carroll is the Community Manager for Pulse, where she focuses on content development, social and brand strategy, and nurturing Pulse’s thriving online communities (you can follow @pulsepad  for more details). She previously worked as the Community Manager for iPhone photography app Hipstamatic, where she also served as the co-editor and content creator for their groundbreaking iPad magazine, Snap. She’s worn several hats in the entertainment industry, from promotions strategist for Paramount Pictures to music blogger to social media manager. Katie was a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar at UC Berkeley, and holds BAs in Rhetoric and Political Science.

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