Social media is a great and amazingly useful part of PR, but it’s not without its perils. One slip-up on Facebook and you’re in the middle of a scandal. One bad picture on Instagram and all your branding goes to waste. You have to be careful.
That’s why you should be extremely wary of certain Twitter interactions before diving in. Not everything on this particular social media platform is as innocuous as it seems, and you can quickly become entangled in some unscrupulous exchanges. Let’s take a look.
Using every hashtag
One common tactic by many PR pros is to check out the trending hashtags at the moment and try to incorporate them into posts for the day. It’s a quick way to get exposure: People who click on the hashtag and scroll through other posts containing it see the tweet and (hopefully) click on the link. At the very least you hope they’ll check out the rest of your Twitter feed.
This can be very dangerous, though. Just search “business Twitter fails,” and you’ll see countless lists of brands tossing up every tweet they can think of using hashtags that are wildly inappropriate. They accidentally link their products with shootings, plane crashes, and every other manner of disaster. Hashtags are fine, but make sure you look at why they’re trending.
War of words
Arguments never end well when businesses are involved. On Twitter angry customers and/or trolls feel like they can get away with more, considering not as many people see the messages. Only if they actively click on the profile do they see it, unlike Facebook where pretty much anyone who visits your fan page will see the angry words.
Of course you want to answer everyone; it’s a good policy to have, and you never know when someone is genuinely upset or attempting to troll you. At a certain point, though, you can get pulled into a war of words, and that usually ends badly.
Hopefully you realize early in the one-sided conversation they’re just baiting you to say something out of line. It’s best just to shut them off or at least turn the conversation private if you think they really need help. The last thing you need is someone retweeting something completely out of context and it spreading around the Web.
#FF #TBT Etc.
Joining in on the fun of Follow Friday, Throwback Thursday, and other Twitter “events” can be a great way to show your personality while gaining followers. There’s no reason to do them every week, though; it could be driving people away rather than bringing them in.
For example, one week you think of a great #TBT post: a picture of your staff when you first opened 10 years ago. The next week, you think of another #TBT: your first tweet ever, how cute.
Eventually you’re going to run out of things to #TBT, and it will just be annoying to your fans. They know after a point you’re just doing it to gain followers instead of providing them relevant content. Spread it out a little, and concentrate on important stuff rather than hopping on trends.
What are some other annoying Twitter habits you’ve seen businesses embrace?
Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics, a must-read for the up-and-coming PR professional. Follow eReleases on Google+, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.