Social media can be a wonderful engagement tool for an online conversation with your audience. But I am seeing more and more organisations and companies just outright suck at it for various reasons. Bad social media is worse because your own fans and audience call you out and gleefully share it with their friends, who share it with their friends.

Here are some ways you can avoid sucking at social media:

Timing of your campaign is everything

qantas twitter

Be aware of the buzz around your organisation. How you are perceived. How positive or negative the sentiment is towards you. Qantas unfortunately didn’t do that and ran a campaign just after their nearly destroyed their brand in a single day by making a complete hash of a social media campaign. Their social media team or management didn’t pick up on the fact that sentiment was wildly against them when they launched this campaign.

Choose your social media community managers very carefully and give them boundaries

Carefully choose who you give the power to tweet on your behalf. Are they trustworthy not to get “Lizzerd” and accidentally tweet it out on the wrong account? Have you put in a social media policy in place so they know what their boundaries are? Ensure they know what they can post about and what they can’t post about. Never put a social media policy in place? Here is the ultimate list of social media policies from Justin Wise.

People reading your social media stream don’t need much encouragement to be bad

Coke recently launched a little experiment which went oh so wrong. Now sentiment against Coke wasn’t overly negative out there, but people don’t need an excuse to write bad stuff.


Recently Coles ‘experimented’. The sentiment against the company is reasonably negative with how they treat farmers and suppliers at the moment. It was a nice try, but their social media managers should of guessed how bad this could of gone for them.

Some more tweets came through:

@TaraMacca wrote, “In my house, its a crime not to buy LOCALLY- and I don’t mean from a @coles supermarket.”

“In my house it’s a crime not to buy…BREAD AND MILK AT PRICES THAT ALLOW PRIMARY PRODUCERS TO SURVIVE,” said @downesy.

In an ironic twist the fake @AlanJoyceCEO account last night tweeted to Coles, “Now we know where@Qantas PR went for new employment.”

If you make a mistake. Apologise

We all make mistakes. I have posted what I thought was to my personal account onto an official Facebook page. Fortunately it wasn’t a negative post like this example with swearing. But I apologised and then deleted it. Unfortunately according to one report these guys they didn’t even have the good sense to apologise. Even if your community manager stuff’s up. It’s ok for you to intervene and apologise (Here are some more priceless social media tips that I’ve found which are useful).

How about you. What tips would you give to help us all avoid sucking? Have you seen any disasters out there? Comment below.