A recent post from Oreo
taught us that when you post something controversial, you have to understand the consequences—negative or positive.
But there are certain things that no brand should ever commit to posting on the image-reliant social sites Instagram and Pinterest. Some will make you say “duh,” but others may come as a surprise.
Put yourself in the position of your target audience, and ask yourself, “Am I posting this because it’s on-brand and relevant, or am I posting it just to post something
? If the answer is anything other than “on-brand and relevant, you should reconsider. Don’t post it unless it’s something you would genuinely want to like or re-pin.
Content you’re not allowed to post.
This is one of those “duh” moments. I mean, of course you shouldn’t post images that you don’t have the rights to post. Everyone knows this, right? As much as it might pain you, work with your legal department to understand what’s allowable and what’s not.
Anything profane or inappropriate.
Almost no one who manages a brand’s social presence would have the audacity to post something risqué to a brand page on purpose. (Excluding, perhaps, Playboy
and some bawdier clothiers.) That said, it could happen by accident. I’ve never fully understood why sexting has become such a thing, but if you’re managing your brand’s presence on your phone at all, be so very careful. Be so, so, so careful with which photos you’re putting out there.
Content outside your wheelhouse.
Photos of kittens and puppies are fantastic. They get tons of “likes,” comments (“AWWWWW”) and shares, but unless you’re hawking pet wares, it’s probably not a good idea to flood your feed with these types of photos. It goes for any type of content that is outside of what makes people follow your brand. If people follow you because they love your delicious cookies, don’t make them stare at a bunch of photos of a recent lacrosse event that your company sponsored. Chances are, many of your sponsorships are far outside of what your community is interested in interacting with in the social space. If there’s pressure from on high, try to convince them to limit it to a post (or two).
We all despise the competition. During my tenure at the Chicago Sun-Times
I couldn’t even look at the Chicago Tribune
’s blue banner without having a visceral reaction. As fun as it would be to point out your competition’s foibles (a screen cap of their misspelled app, perhaps), it’s best to let the bloggers, tweeters, and snark mongrels tackle that for you. It’ll only make you look cheap and catty.
Mean doesn’t play in social media marketing. If the image you’re thinking of putting out can have a negative connotation, your best course of action is probably to can it.
Photos of people using your product who you don’t want representing your brand.
This includes your unshaven intern who thinks it would be “dope” if he and his friends took pics of themselves enjoying your product on their upcoming road trip.
Images that are unclear or text heavy.
Your Instagram and Pinterest posts should be impactful without anyone having to examine them too closely. Make sure your photos are clear, that there’s no question as to what’s being depicted, and don’t make people read too much.