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Don’t Be a Jerk and Other Social Media Do’s and Don’ts




PR people sometimes get a bad wrap as aggressive, yarn-spinners who are willing to do anything to get their client press. The truth is, most of these hard-working individuals spend their days riding that fine line between saying too much and saying too little. And at least once in their career (only once if they’re lucky), they’ll spend a hellatious week trying to repair the damage created by a bad decision or a slip of the lip.

Undoubtedly, that’s why PR people put “Don’t be a Jerk” on their list of Do’s and Don’ts for social media success. “Mastering Public Relations in Social Media” is a new white paper from PRNewswire and it’s loaded with practical information everyone can use.

Another gem from the report is “Don’t worship false Gods.” This comes from Sam Whitmore who cautions all those who get excited about social media numbers.

“If a Facebook page has 500 ‘likes,’ the company thinks that there are these 500 people who go back to the page all the time and consume everything on it. Don’t worship false gods.”

“Don’t put up too many internal roadblocks,” doesn’t have the same irreverent ring of the first two don’ts, but it’s just as important. Peter Himler of Flatiron Communication says,

“You can’t take two weeks to approve a Tweet. Heck, you can’t take two days.”

Social media posts have a short shelf life, so the person who handles the accounts for your company, has to have the authority to post and respond without pre-approval. On the other hand, that same person has to communicate the plan to the rest of the company so no one is caught of guard. It won’t do to announce a Twitter treasure hunt contest without letting the tech guys know that the servers are about to take a big hit.

The final two do’s and don’ts work as a team: Do… establish a set of social media principles and Don’t… forget to review/rethink them on a regular basis.

Social media is changing fast, so while it’s good to have a plan, understand that a month from now, that plan may be out-dated.

For more Do’s and Don’ts, download “Mastering Public Relations in Social Media.” It’s free and it’s a good read.