When used right, social media is a powerful tool for brands. The right post can help drive sales, build brand reputation, and increase customer loyalty. Unfortunately, brands do not always get it right on social media and find themselves vulnerable to being “canceled” – a phenomenon in which people express disapproval of an individual or organization through mass criticism as well as boycotting their products or services.
The following are tips on how to avoid getting canceled on social media as a brand.
On social media, information travels quickly and companies need to be aware of the latest trends, topics, hashtags, and conversations to stay ahead.
Particularly, brands need to know what people are saying about them on social media and be prepared to respond accordingly. For example, say you’re a brand that sells clothing and you come across a non-factual thread on Twitter discussing the use of sweatshops in your supply chain. Knowing about this conversation before it gets out of hand will allow you to take action and address the issue before it spirals into something worse.
How do you stay informed? Regular monitoring of your own accounts and other influencers as well as tracking mentions of your brand or competitors is key. Keep an eye on relevant conversations by using hashtags, keywords, and even locations.
Think About Tone
Like every other means of communicating – cold calling, blogging, video documentaries – tone matters. Being aware that the way you say something can be as important as what you actually say can save you a lot of trouble.
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Say you’re a software company and there’s a comment under one of your Instagram posts from a customer talking about a product issue.
Responding with “Welcome to the world of technology! Haven’t you heard of bugs?” instead of “We apologize for the inconvenience. We are working hard to fix this issue as soon as possible,” is not a good idea. This one offhand comment could be screenshot and shared, and your company could go viral for being rude. It’s best to be friendly and professional in all responses on social media.
Avoid Controversial Issues
Even if your brand is passionate about a particular cause, it’s best to avoid publicly discussing political or social issues. In this era of “canceling”, people are quick to express their disapproval of any comment or opinion that does not align with theirs. Making controversial statements on social media can open you up to a lot of criticism and even boycotts.
You can still express your values without taking a side on controversial issues. For example, if you are an apparel brand that cares about ethical production practices, you don’t have to put out posts with strong political messages. Instead, you could focus on promoting the positive aspects of your brand, such as sustainable practices and fair labor wages.
Getting canceled on social media can be damaging to a brand, as it has the potential to significantly impact sales and reputation. By following these tips – staying informed, thinking about tone, and avoiding controversial issues – brands can significantly reduce the chances of ending up in hot water on social media.