DON’T BE SOCIALLY INEPT!

By Chris Dolan, PR Consultant

What better time to write my first blog post for the brand new Weston website than with a large gin and tonic whilst sat on a train heading back from Leeds following a successful day visiting an important client. The inspiration for powering up the laptop at 7.36pm was provided by my surroundings – a Virgin Trains’ first class carriage.

With complementary drinks aplenty, you cannot deny that Virgin is a cut above most other providers (especially when you live in the part of the UK serviced by our friends at “Southern”). However, it is the company’s first class approach to social media that really quenches my thirst, and in my opinion they provided the world with one of the very best Twitter exchanges of all time. In case you missed it first time round, here it is:

Magic, huh?

Toilet humour aside, Virgin Trains does a fantastic job with its social media, especially in how it consistently adheres to a carefully created tone of voice, which is informal, chatty, humorous and informative, whilst supplementing this with bright images, funny GIFs and professional videos.

However, as I’m sure you’d agree, it is far more interesting to focus on those that get it wrong. Therefore, we wanted to share some of our top social media faux pas committed by a number of famous individuals (we will save our favourite ‘company fails’ for our next post).

There is no better place to start than with politician turned ballroom dancer extraordinaire, Mr Ed Balls. According to Wikipedia:

“On 28 April 2011, Balls, urged by an assistant to search Twitter for a recent article about him, accidentally entered his intended search term in the wrong box and sent a tweet reading only “Ed Balls”. The tweet was retweeted by thousands; Balls was unaware that it was possible to delete tweets. The tweet has never been deleted since.”

 And here it is in all its glory….

The beauty of Twitter is that it provides an ideal platform for famous figures – whether politicians or professional athletes – to engage with their fans. However, perhaps learning from Ed’s mistakes, you’ll find that many multi-million pound footballers have their personal tweets carefully crafted for them, as Victor Anichebe of Sunderland can testify…

Even when the content is delivered in a lovely 140 character-sized package, you cannot afford a drop in concentration. Yellow card for Victor!

Finally, Ruth Langsford made the news for the wrong reasons last week whilst wishing her mum Joan a Happy Mother’s Day. The family picture she shared was perfectly sweet and acceptable, however she didn’t crop out her iPhone’s camera reel at the bottom of the picture, which featured a rather unfortunate x-rated image (don’t worry, it wasn’t Eamonn). We won’t share this one, but if you’re that intrigued you can always turn to Google.

Social media provides both individuals and businesses with a platform to instantaneously engage with the masses, but with great power comes great responsibility. Make sure you always err on the side of caution by rereading any post before you hit the publish button, and if you’re distributing content on behalf of your own company, always ask for a second opinion! It is the best way to avoid a ‘Balls-up’.

 

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