What Not to Post on Social Media

by | Aug 15, 2019

At Codebreak, our working lives revolve around social media, so we know a bad post when we see one! So welcome to our latest blog, all about what not to post on social media.

A weak post, even after a string of really good posts, can overshadow all the hard work you’ve put into building your online presence, and a connection with your audience. Especially if what you’ve posted is wrong or unintentionally offensive.

We get annoyed when we see an apostrophe in the wrong place but something like that is not the end of the world. That said, you may get someone coming out of the woodwork and picking you up on it publicly. Which will wind you up.

So, we thought we’d pick our top five types of social media content not to post.

1. Spelling or grammatical errors

This comes first on our list. Mistakes happen, we know that. We’re all human. But when they happen consistently

You may think it’s sad but some people do want to see correct spelling and grammar. Again, it isn’t life or death but your next biggest customer could be that person who does care where an apostrophe goes.

Naturally, there are some people who may struggle because of Dyslexia, for example. This is where installing Grammarly on your computer can help. Quite a few of our team use Grammarly, so it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We love tools that help us (and our clients).

Some industries can “get away with it” more than others. If, say, you’re a dog sitter, how vital is getting your spelling and grammar spot-on in your customers’ eyes? All they care about is that you’re a kind and reliable dog-loving person. But if you’re a lawyer or financial adviser….. It’s difficult to trust someone with your life savings if there are mistakes in their marketing.

(Andy knows one financial adviser who spelt “financial” wrong on his business card. True story.)

2. Negative or controversial content

There’s a time and place for voicing opinions on competitors, politics or sensitive news – and that’s not on social media!

If a competitor gets on your nerves, you might want to post about them on social media, whether you name them or not. We have done this a couple of times ourselves, so you wouldn’t be on your own! But we are now older and wiser and remind ourselves of the George Bernard Shaw quote:

“Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and besides, the pig likes it.”

Focus on your strengths. Your views may get interpreted as bitterness.

Political news – stay away! Simples. You may be a proud Remainer or Leaver or vote Green or whatever; there will be people who disagree with you. Unless you’ve got time to sit there debating the issue all evening, it’s easier to stay a-political. When was the last time someone changed their political views because of something a mate posted on Facebook?

Some business advisers will tell you that being controversial is good. True enough, you can’t appeal to anyone, but if you thinking posting inflammatory content will help you, you’d better have a thick skin. Some people will buy into you, others won’t. Which is life, I guess, but in this instance, the latter group could proactively and publicly criticise you.

No, you can’t debate to the Nth degree what is controversial and what isn’t but – for many people – it’s simply better to stay away if there’s doubt. Whether it’s having a view on the whole “man-size” tissue debate or talking about millennials…. there’s a bunch of content that’s wise to stay away from. You might be secretly impressed with the loudmouths who shout about every controversial subject under the sun, but it’s a risky game to play. Again, unless it doesn’t bother you.

Our advice – don’t be bland but don’t deliberately be antagonistic because it works for other people.

On a side note, be mindful of posting images or videos that unintentionally could cause problems. An example – there was a video doing the rounds of an overweight kid jumping into a pool. It was a funny video but we knew some people might think the joke was about the kid’s size, not the huge splash he made compared to the other children jumping in. Not worth the aggro. (Cue someone talking about the snowflake generation…)

3. Overly promotional content

Social media is currently one of the best marketing tools out there and, if used well, you will notice a considerable difference to your business’s bottom line.

But the selling is primarily conducted via paid-for social ads. If you are always over ‘salesy’ in your organic content, people will switch off. Imagine going to the pub with a friend who sells water filters and all he does is try and sell you water filters. He doesn’t ask how you are, talk about the football or anything.

Social media posting is perfect for growing brand awareness and positioning, not selling. To make people take notice and maybe learn a thing or two. Share a variety of interesting stuff, basically.

Do one or two sales-orientated posts a week if you want. But no more. Spend some dosh on Facebook Ads for the bulk. You will reach a tonne more of the right audience with a much lower risk of annoying potential customers; most people understand that the whole point of an ad is to sell. It is ads that allow them to use social media for free, after all.

4. Brand inconsistency

Your company’s social media is an extension of your brand. Although you may be restricted by the format of each platform, you should still keep your visuals and tone the same.
If you sway from your usual brand colours, style and personality, you’ll appear as a different company.

No one messes with the Nike tick or McDonald’s golden arches. KFC are informal and cheeky. Consistency over time leads to better reinforcement of who you are.

5. Rising to the bait

If you’re responding to a customer complaint on social media, as much as you may want to, avoid taking it personally. If you bite, they have won. Sometimes their sole goal is to get this reaction. Being polite will always get you further and can even diffuse the situation.

On some of the social media accounts we manage for clients, the client is a fellow admin. And sometimes they jump in despite our advice. Nine times out of ten, it goes wrong. Fuel is simply poured onto the flames and a slanging match ensues. No one wins.

Ultimately, you want to get that person to refrain from writing anything else or having keyboard tough guys chip in. Encourage them to make contact away from social, telling them you can best help them over the phone or email. This will also make you look responsive and professional to others. Rise above it on social media, then go home and scream.

If someone is simply being an idiot, either hide their comment or block them.

If you have any questions, we’re always happy to help. Evenings, weekends, Christmas Day. OK, maybe not the last one. Or perhaps our Social Media Training could be for you?

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