“To err is human, to forgive divine.”
While this old adage applies to many areas of life, it doesn’t exactly ring true on social media and for social media managers. Ever made a spelling or grammar error on a client’s post? You get eaten alive! That’s minimal – a little embarrassment, flak from fans and a lesson learned. But imagine being part of a fail that makes headlines! I shudder at the thought.
An error could easily cost us our jobs, our agency’s client or even our client’s reputation. Think back to all the times you’ve seen a social media fail and thought, “Doh!” Being human provides lots of opportunities to mess up on social media, for example forgetting to switch to your personal account before sending a tweet. What could be worse?
Given the importance of handling a client’s social media, and the room for error we have to leave because we’re human, why in the world do some of us still rely on automated systems to do the work? At Buchanan PR, this is the one thing we simply won’t do, and that we advise our clients against, as well. Here are the top three reasons why:
- Stuff happens. Natural disasters and other bad things happen. As humans (and PR people), we get caught up in them. When this happens and we have a social media post scheduled, there’s too great a chance that we will forget, post as planned and our client will end up looking insensitive for posting during a time of turmoil. Also, think of it from the other side. Something great happens – USA wins gold! – But, you’ve already scheduled your post, it goes out and you end up missing out on a great way to cash in on a current event.
- Too many variables. You can’t account for a user’s R-rated account name or a glitch in the automated system. A company whose social media program I admire greatly recently experienced this exact issue. The team held a contest, and after people entered, the automated system tweeted back confirming the entry. However, the Twitter handles came up as plain text, and thousands of tweets appeared in followers’ feeds. That’s not even the worst part – the system couldn’t account for the users’ handles; one in particular was extremely racist. The automated system tweeted a racist name to its hundreds of thousands of followers. The only saving grace was that it got buried in the thousands of other tweets. (P.S. This company had to go back and delete every tweet when it realized what happened – definitely not the time saver they thought would result from automatically scheduling their tweets.)
- It’s SOCIAL media. Using automated posts and schedulers defeat the purpose of “social” media. At its core, social media is about connecting with people, and that’s what’s fun about it. Plus, (my personal favorite), as social media managers, we get to be creative with our responses to individual followers . And, let’s be honest, no user really wants an auto-DM from you!
So, how do we manage social media programs for our clients ? The old-fashioned way – we create a regular Word document for the week and we fill in what we want to say in our tweets each day. Then, we take 10 seconds out of our day to copy and paste the content into our client’s social media sites. As for responses – we simply hop on Twitter every two hours or so and spend a few minutes answering those tweets that need an immediate response. Overall, it only takes a little extra time, and – as an extra bonus – we have already proofread our work to avoid those nasty little spelling and grammar errors that can haunt a social media manager for life!
How do you handle social media programs for your clients?