Photo credit:

6 Ways Social Media Can Become a Liability for your Business

What’s one of the scariest words a business wants to avoid at all cost? Liability, right? Hear us when we say, if you create social media platforms, then ignore them, that is exactly what you’ll have — a liability.  You cannot hit it and quit it with social marketing (if you expect to be successful or even just well received).

Don’t misunderstand us, though. Social marketing doesn’t have to be a time consuming process, but when left unattended, things can go awry (even these big corporations aren’t immune).

These are 6 ways your social media can become a liability:

Bad Timing

Scheduled or automated tweets are acceptable and unavoidable to some extent, but if there is an emergency or tragedy — think Hurricane Sandy, the Boston Marathon bombing, or the missing Malaysia airlines — then make sure to practice sensitivity, and put a hold on those originally planned messages. Not only do people not care about your promotion but will be positively offended if, in the middle of a natural disaster or the aftermath of a tragedy, your “look at me” tweets continue to appear.

Using Social as a Soapbox

Your business social platforms ARE NOT THE PLACE FOR YOUR PERSONAL OPINIONS. Whether about relevant issues to your industry or company, the Twittersphere should not be the sound piece for your views. It could only go badly (because you’ll inevitably offend or alienate people), so just keep things professional, guys.

Anonymity is both a great and terrible component of social media. While it’s essential to have a social customer service strategy in place, you will experience negative feedback (and in some cases, unnecessarily aggressive or hurtful). It’s imperative to keep calm, and remain positive.

Click here for some more tips for dealing with your hecklers (lovingly referred to as “trolls” online).

Ignoring It

It’s not enough to create the accounts, automate posts, and forget about it. You have to engage with people online. Treat your social media like a conversation. You wouldn’t speak to customers, and during their response, walk away, would you? Online, that’s the equivalent of ignoring your social media platforms. People could be asking you questions, offering accolades, or destroying your reputation or credibility; therefore, the only way to control what you’re saying and what’s being said about you is to be there (online) and aware.

User Confusion

Whether there’s one person or a team of people with access to your social platforms tweeting or posting, someone will, without fail, forget to sign out of your account, and send something meant for their personal accounts. It’s not the end of the world if handled correctly, but depending on the content and context, it could be a liability. Employees should understand they must be as careful as possible when handling your business’s online reputation (because that’s kind of a big deal).

Hacker Bait

There has been so many threats of password breeches and hackers-run-amok that you are probably tired of changing your password, but it is so important. In any event — the termination of a disgruntled employee, for example — could become a major problem if they know your social media credentials. Use discretion when sharing that information, and change it often. (Also, “password” is NOT secure; be sure to mix numbers, letters, and characters in your password for strength, i.e. Bat456$%^.)

Unfortunately, this is just a drop in the bucket of social media failures. Lucky for you, plenty of businesses and corporations have made it easier for you to learn from their mistakes. KISSmetrics has a broad list, here, that’ll encompass other situations to avoid when using social media, or you can check out the video below for other ways your business could destroy its reputation with lazy social skills.

Remember: As good as social media is for your business, it can become a liability, so get a handle on all of your handles.