Social Media for Brands: The Things Left Unsaid

Dog waiting for treat, licensed under Creative Commons:

If you were to hire a social media manager you might think a defining trait to look for would be, ohhhhhhh I dunno, in-depth knowledge of various social platforms. Or perhaps it’s the ability to create content that goes viral. But I would argue there is one defining trait that supersedes them all.


That can’t be it

Just as important as knowing when to post to social media, or what to post, or how to post, it is important to know when not to post.

Every social manager has dearly wished to say something they knew they would regret. The equivalent of starting an email or letter and never sending it, these posts would grant the most temporary feeling of (depending on the context) righteousness, inclusion, even joy…at the potential cost of one’s livelihood.

Yes, friends, you may not realize it because it doesn’t get mentioned in our metrics reports, but social media managers are not only master communicators, they are also customer facing. That means we field praise while withstanding hurled abuse. It means watching customers struggle with simple problems and not being able to help them for fear of triggering a lawsuit. It means not being able to participate in exciting conversations because you might run afoul of branding guidelines. It means weighing the pros and cons of a witty retort somehow tanking the company stock price.

Here’s the educational part of the post

The takeaway is this. As a social media manager you have to:

  • Incorporate brand guidelines into your very being
  • Be in lockstep with your legal team’s comfort zone
  • Be ever erring on the side of caution (unless your organization is 100% in support of you posting like the glorious Wendy’s Twitter account)

This takes maturity. It takes patience. It takes professionalism. A sense of responsibility. These things result in a keen eye that knows when to take a calculated risk, but more importantly knows when not to.

There’s your food for thought, friends, now head on back to doomscrolling and try not to post anything you’ll regret.

A digital marketer