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7 Social Media Mistakes That Can Cost You Your Reputation

by Zia A., posted 8 months ago
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It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett may have begun his billionaire ascent back in 1947, long before social media was on the scene, but his quote couldn’t be more apropos for today’s digital world. In a time when everything we do can be captured, posted, and shared around the world in less time than it takes to click “like,” one social media slip can cost you your hard-earned reputation. Personal platforms. Big and small brands. No one is immune.

The good news is, social media can also enhance your reputation. A study by an Amsterdam university revealed that audiences actually engage more with brands that have a good reputation, so once you start the cycle, you’re poised for success… unless you screw it up.

To help keep you get on track, we’ve identified seven common mistakes in the social sphere and how to avoid them.


Mistake No.1 – Not monitoring conversations.

Before any negative reviews or comments snowball into Everest-sized proportions, wouldn’t it be helpful to be aware of the problem, respond to it, and address it in a timely manner? Monitoring your social platforms is key to staying on top of what’s being said about your brand and will help you be proactive about addressing problems early on.

Here are some useful social media monitoring tools you may find helpful in the task:

Google Alerts
Setting up a Google alert is a great starting point for monitoring social media. Alerts are delivered straight to your inbox and sent whenever your search terms (e.g. brand or product name) are mentioned online.

Meltwater provides social media monitoring across different platforms including blogs, Twitter, and Facebook and is handy for monitoring specific periods of time.

Social Mention
Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches user-generated content in real time.

Twitter Counter

Not to toot our own horn, but Twitter Counter is an extremely helpful tool for tracking mentions of your brand, hashtags, and key search words. Setting up the correct search queries can provide you with useful insights on your brand’s reputation and allows you to respond to comments or address issues much faster.


Mistake No.2 – Not engaging with your audience.

There’s a reason social media isn’t just called “media.” The most successful brands actively engage with their audience frequently and consistently, asking and answering questions, reposting and commenting, and replying to comments on their own feeds.

Building a good reputation on social media is simple – be present, listen, and respond.

Ignore that advice and you risk losing (or even worse, angering) your audience. And once they’re gone, it will be twice as hard to win them back.


Mistake No.3 – Not replying fast enough.

42% of people who complain to a company or brand on social media expect a reply within the hour.
The clock is ticking folks.

In the digital age, people don’t turn to call centres or email to register a complaint. They can do it faster (and much more publicly) via social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – these are the outlets people turn to when they want a quick answer to their question or urgent assistance with a time-sensitive issue. You need to be ready to respond and provide help as quickly as possible. Even if you’re not able to resolve the problem right away, a simple acknowledgement that you’ve received the message and you’re working on the resolution will go a long way to building good will.


Mistake No.4 – Ignoring negative feedback.

No one likes to hear what they’re doing wrong, but as a brand you need to be open and responsive to negative feedback. Don’t see it as a strike against you, see it as an opportunity to learn ways you can improve and to demonstrate your commitment to your customers. Respond in a constructive and timely way.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore it. Ignoring a negative comment on social media sends the message that you’re arrogant, indifferent, and don’t stand behind your brand.


Mistake No.5 – Deleting content.

For better or for worse, once a tweet, a post, or a comment is out there, it’s out there for good. In today’s world there are no do-overs or delete buttons and trying to pretend a post never happened will only cause you more embarrassment when someone inevitably shares a screencap of your original post.

The smart thing to do is address any social snafus with a reply or a follow-up rather than deleting the post to ‘save face’ for your brand. Admit your mistake and in the future, think about what you say before you say it.


Mistake No.6 – Being inconsistent. 

Building trust in any relationship requires consistency – consistency in what you say and how you act. On social media that means consistent messages, a consistent brand voice, and consistent posting frequency.

Share helpful, quality content that adds value for your audience. Create a content calendar for the days and times you plan to post. Establish a predictable flow of communication with your audience and they’ll start to look for you in their feed.


Mistake No.7 – Promoting yourself too much.

Listen, we know you’re not on social media just for the fun of it – if you’re smart (and you’re reading this blog, so we know you are), social media is a strategic part of your marketing plan, designed to drive your business forward. But that doesn’t mean you should use social media to sell yourself 100% of the time. Social media requires a much more refined approach to sales – a balance of delivering your message in a way that feels organically integrated into relevant content from a variety of sources.

When in doubt, use the 80/20 rule:
80% of your social media content should be externally-sourced useful, shareable posts.
20% of your content can be promotions, discounts, or other content directly related to your brand.



Whether you run personal accounts or platforms for big or small brands, your behaviour on social media can have a big impact on your reputation on and offline. Be bold, but be prepared, and remember that it takes years to build a good reputation, but only minutes to ruin it so think before you post.


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