If you were a fan of Chappelle’s Show when it came on Comedy Central, you might remember a string of skits Dave did called “When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong.” The idea behind these hilarious shorts was to show that being honest, speaking your mind, and “keeping it real” isn’t always the best idea in the real world. Being too real can be disastrous and land you in a lot of trouble.
With the popularity of social media marketing on Twitter for business, the potential for “keeping it real going wrong” is something we all need to be aware of. Last year, I talked about some of the top celebrity Twitter gaffes that resulted in PR nightmares and even lawsuits in some cases. The simple truth is being too open and too real on Twitter can be disastrous for your business.
Tweeting for business is all about balance
Now, you might be saying, “But I thought you have to showcase your personality and be authentic in order to be successful on Twitter?” That’s true. Twitter is all about connecting with your audience on a deeper level. If you want people to pay attention to you and engage with you, you can’t Tweet like a soulless corporate robot. You need to be yourself, you need to represent your brand properly, and you need to keep it real…to an extent.
It’s a balancing act. If you’re inauthentic and lack a personality, you won’t be able to connect with your audience. They’ll just dismiss you, making all your Twitter efforts pointless. But if you’re too open and you cross the line, you could piss off your customers and have them turn their backs on you.
So, how can you know if you’re being too open on Twitter? I’ve come up with a short list of things you should avoid Tweeting about. Think of these as your social media boundaries. As long as you don’t cross them, you should be just fine.
Things you shouldn’t Tweet about
- Politics – A few days ago, I talked about the dangers of mixing business and politics. I mentioned that we’re a very divided country on political issues, and any time your business enters the political conversation, you’re bound to tick off at least a portion of your customer base. So, refrain from political Tweets. There’s no upside to it.
- Religion – See everything I mentioned above about politics.
- Disputes with customers – What kind of message does it send to your audience if you’re using Twitter to air your grievances with troublesome customers? It’s unprofessional, and it will scare people away from doing business with you. And while you’re at it, don’t get into arguments with your followers who might say negative things about you.
- Confidential business information and other legal issues – I once mentioned that most social media disasters aren’t the results of disgruntled employees trying to bring your company down, they’re usually the result of accidents stemming from ignorance. There is certain business information you might not be able to Tweet about for legal reasons or just because it’s not official yet and you don’t want to stick your foot in your mouth.
- Things you’re angry about – Never Tweet while you’re angry. It only takes a few seconds to type out a bitter Tweet, but it could take months to undo its damage. Think before you Tweet.
- How drunk you got last night – People are always watching you. Public relations is a 24/7 task. If you’re Tweeting about how drunk you are, you might think it’s funny and harmless, but is that really the image you want to portray to your customers? I doubt it.
- Offensive jokes or remarks – You might think it sucks that we live in a country where you can’t joke around and you have to watch your every word because someone might get offended, and maybe you’re right. But for better or worse, that’s the society we live in, and you have to adapt accordingly.
What are some other things businesses shouldn’t Tweet about?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html