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Written by Lisa Shepherd
on August 17, 2015

Social media can be your best friend and your worst enemy. It’s a double edged sword and needs to be wielded with care and respect. Though posts on social media have a relatively short life, once a brand makes a mistake, it is hard to recover. Remember when DiGiorno tweeted using the #WhyIStayed hashtag that was about domestic abuse? Or when the iPhone 6 was endorsed by Joan Rivers on her Facebook – two weeks after her death? What about when a LG tweet mocking Apple’s fragile phones was sent by an iPhone?

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You may be wondering how these examples are relevant to your B2B company. Mistakes on social media by B2C companies have a higher chance of going viral because their consumer base is larger. However, an equal amount of damage can be done to a B2B brand even if a social media gaffe doesn`t become a trend on Twitter. To borrow Philip Cuthbert’s words, “Once a reputation is lost, honour is lost, trust is lost, brand is lost, everything is lost!”

Should You Be On Social Media?

Businesses, whether they’re B2B, B2C, SMB or start-ups, can benefit by having a solid presence on social media (starting with LinkedIn, in the case of B2Bs).  The mistake that too many companies make with social media - and lands them on the fail list - is that they jump in without a plan. Just being “on” social media isn’t a good idea – it’s vital to have a social media strategy, one that’s authentic and true to the company’s values and personality.  Not only do ‘tricks’ and ‘hacks’ rarely work the way they’re supposed to, they have a tendency to backfire and make your company look bad.

How to do Social Media Right - a Checklist

Before posting anything online, there is a simple process to follow. This is a variation of a checklist used by PR practitioners and marketers alike, whether they're in a B2B marketing company or a B2C agency. If you can't answer all of these questions with a "Yes", then you shouldn't post what you were going to:

  • Am I speaking with my own voice, sharing my own opinions?
  • Does it fit with the company’s ‘voice’?
  • Am I adding to my brand? Could it detract from the brand in any way?
  • Would I do or say the same things if this were in person instead of online?
  • Am I comfortable knowing that this will be permanently recorded and archived in some format or another?

Want more tips on how to avoid marketing mistakes?  Check out Mezzanine's book on the expertise of 20 leading B2B marketers below!  

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