1. Take it personally

Responding in the heat of the moment may be a very human thing to do. But, when acting as the public persona of a brand or a client of such a response is a sure fire way to get your arse handed to you by the social media community. Just look at the fallout from the Duke Nukem game launch #FAIL. Don’t take a minute to consider the implications of every public post you create.

2. Try and hide the fact you’re selling something.

Woody Harrelson’s ‘ask me anything’ (AMA) on reddit went disastrously wrong. The notoriously cynical and savvy Reddit community, soon sniffed out that Woody was on the sell and swiftly made the most awkward crowdsourced questions the most visible by utilising upvotes.

3. Don’t research your community before you start engaging

The Woody incident also highlights the next key step in ruining your social reputation. Woody’s promotional team were obviously aware that the Reddit community could be hugely influential and had the innate ability to create memes and make them popular in the wider press, but did not recognise that an AMA means ‘Ask me Anything’ rather than ask me only about my latest movie project. Woody’s people raised the ire of the community and there was really no way back from there. In the words of Redditor SailorMoonCake ; “Please inform the rest of Hollywood that Reddit is not a publicity outlet and that Redditors don’t tolerate this kind of crap.”

4. Don’t have any social media staff guidelines

Asda chicken licker. I’ll just leave this here. The man’s obviously an imbecile, but it does highlight the dangers of employees on social media and how if clear dos and don’t aren’t communicated to the whole company you’re reputation can take a battering.

5. Leave your social media identity in the hands of one individual

Finally PhoneDog, a mobile news and reviews company, found themselves forced to sue former employee Noah Kravitz. Why? Well, when Noah left Phonedog in 2010 he took his 17,000 Twitter followers with him, he’d earned them on company time and built up a valuable @phonedog following. Phonedog bosses hadn’t thought ahead of time and allowed him to develop his ‘personal’ account as if it was the brand’s. The $340,000 trial could have been avoided, but as it is it threatens to overshadow the company’s social identity. Type Phonedog in a Google news search. See what pops up.

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