Strategic Social Media Communication: Be Creative, Not Careless

Charmin Tweet Screenshot

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That caught your eye, didn’t it? Charmin’s spectacular Tweet referencing the latest Thor movie was short-lived — it was removed soon after it was posted — but thanks to a quick screenshot it’s still circulating the Internet. It’s a perfect example of clever social media communication from brand to consumer.

Communication between businesses and their audiences through social media is a fundamental channel to share information and build brand reputations. The voice you convey through Facebook and Twitter is an integral part of establishing your business, so you want to do it well (as Charmin did with a combination of sass and ingenuity).

You’re delivering a message, and that’s important, but you also want to make sure that you’re communicating with your audiences in a way that reflects your brand. The tone you emote through your writing lets people get to know your company and become familiar with your values and points of view. Being able to share your brand’s personality is essential, and it’s guaranteed that your messages won’t be as successful if you can’t do this.

And, you have to do this while considering the length of the message you’re sharing. Facebook messages can be a few lines of carefully crafted text, but Tweets are limited in the number of characters you can use. Be mindful of the limits of your channel, thoughtful of your audience and strategic in your communication so that you can captivate in a succinct blurb.

Creativity is the vitality of social media. You need to make people want to pay attention to you, and you’ll achieve this by thinking inventively while maintaining your brand’s character.

Creativity can’t be careless. When you’re communicating with your audience through social media, you are representing your business and don’t want to let your professionalism lapse. Mistakes happen, and when they do you be can sure that they’ll be noticed. There are plenty of cringeworthy examples to learn from. It’s a fine line between humor and insensitivity, and that’s your judgement call to make. Take care not to cross any lines unnecessarily and end up offending instead of inspiring. Use the NRA’s Tweet that was published hours prior to the shooting at the Aurora movie theater (and then not removed) as a cautionary lesson:

‘Good morning, shooters’ — that is #horrible. Seriously, pay attention to current events and make sure to edit your Hootsuite and scheduled posts when appropriate.

Prescheduled social media messages can be advantageous for busy professionals, but they can backfire just as rapidly as preprogramming technology releases them into the public space. Premeditated messages are often successful, but reality has a fickle quality that can cause even your most well-intentioned messages to become black marks of embarrassment in your company’s online history. Stay present and engaged in what’s happening in the world around you, and if you have any doubts about how a message might be perceived by the public it’s better to delete it than risk sparking pandemic outrage. A rule of thumb: to be safe, always monitor automated messages a day or two ahead of when they’re scheduled to go live. If something happens after you post a messages that compromises its integrity, it’s not a bad idea to remove it so it can’t be taken out of context.

Some companies do social media really well. Have you seen Taco Bell’s Twitter feed? It’s rather brilliant:

Taco Bell interacts with and represents its brand through timely, playful conversation with its audience. The fast-food company understands how to communicate with consumers and other brands with wit as spicy as its hot sauce.

Another example of a graceful social media repartee happened recently when Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer was released way ahead of schedule. The company’s response was to blame the bad guys:

Well handled, Marvel.

The take-away here is that people want to connect with their favorite brands on a relatable, human level. Highlight your brand’s identity and individuality. Don’t post something without thinking about how it will be interpreted by the public. Your brand’s social media pages are opportunities to enhance your image and build relationships. Have fun creating your messages, but remember that your #reputation is on the line.

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