DIGITAL MEDIA GHOST | PRIVACY CONCERNS
Last week we began our weekly series on social sabotage with a positive example. This week it’s down to brass tacks and a look at just how easy it is to fall into the social sabotage trap.
What makes social sabotage so tricky is the fact that most troublesome posts appear innocent – until the backlash begins. Much like sexual harassment, intent is not the point – perception is.
While you may not be able to please everybody with your social media campaigns, you never want to risk offending anybody.
Take this Facebook post which appeared on the Iowa GOP’s page this past January. The intent by social media management company 4:15 Communications was a little end-of-week humor; unfortunately the joke fell flat.
And that’s a common mistake, as jokes are easily misinterpreted in print. Even during a set at the Laugh Factory, the most experienced of comedians can find themselves in hot water with a controversial subject like racism. But at least professional comedians are representing only themselves, not a high-profile client like the Iowa GOP (even then they sometimes find themselves in trouble, but we’ll talk about that in another post).
The Grace Hopper quote about apologizing versus asking for permission may work when you’re taking the initiative to wow a boss or client with a bold move in the workplace. In social media, if you’re apologizing, it’s already too late. 4:15 Communications found that out the hard way, and you can certainly learn the lessons they did without the consequences:
In this case the damage to the client was minimal, as they had an easy place to shift the blame – simply firing the social media management company solved the Iowa GOP’s problem. Now it’s the social media management company’s job to deal with damage control and the fight to keep their business from imploding. And that's definitely not funny.
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