4 Social Media Mistakes Every FM Should Avoid

Aug. 24, 2015

Make sure your outreach garners positive engagement with these tips.

While there are plenty of best practices to follow with regard to your social media presence, it’s also important to make note of mistakes that can happen and learn the best ways to avoid making them. The correct online decorum and presentation can help improve your organization’s profile while also encouraging increased audience engagement.

Take a look at these four common mistakes made by FMs and other page managers on social media:

1) Don’t Be Combative. If your page or social media account has received a negative comment or criticism, it’s important to not go on the defensive, even if you’re completely justified.

“You never want to attack back at someone who’s upset about something, and don’t be disrespectful in your responses,” says Emily Tupper, Media Communications Assistant at Michigan State University’s Infrastructure, Planning and Facilities department.

The best way to handle an individual who is upset and venting on social media is to stay as calm as possible while explaining that you’ll be happy to help resolve their concerns. If their issue involves a sensitive matter, encourage the individual to use the social network’s private messaging function, if available.

2) Don’t Cross-Post from One Platform. If you use multiple social media platforms for your organization, it can be tempting to create one “post” and paste it across all of your networks at the same time. With each platform offering specific post capabilities and having different character limits, post types, and audiences, your post should not be identical across all platforms.

“When we cross-post, we try to change up the wording and make each post unique. For instance, there are words you would attach a hashtag to on Twitter that you wouldn’t on Facebook. When you post identical messages across all of your platforms, it just looks lazy,” says Anastasia Bolshakov, Communication Intern for Rice University’s Facilities, Engineering and Planning department.

While it may take a few extra moments, tailoring your message to the platform is indispensable on social media. Platforms have different capabilities and most social media users can tell when a post has been crafted for a different network than they’re seeing it on.

3) Don’t Ignore Mentions. If a user mentions your page, tweets at you, or asks a question via social media, how should you reply? You should not handle it by ignoring the question – word spreads quickly online and responsive accounts will always be viewed more favorably than unreachable ones.

“One of the biggest mistakes we can make as social media managers is to ignore mentions and inquiries. We want our audience to take time out of their day to read our posts, therefore we should also be willing to take time out of our schedule to respond,” says Martha G. Koontz, Facilities Management Communications Specialist at Auburn University.

4) Don’t Make Social Media a One-Person Show. Nothing can derail the discussion on social media quite like a grammar mistake, so it’s crucially important to have a person or people edit your posts before you make them. It’s simply not possible to catch every single error on your own, and you can bet that when you make one, the audience will notice.

“If you don’t have another set of eyes, read what you’re posting aloud because you can catch mistakes by hearing what you’ve written,” says Michelle Lavra, Communications Manager for Michigan State University’s Infrastructure, Planning and Facilities Department. “Those small mistakes can be the difference between someone commenting about the grammar mistakes and that same person sharing the post you’ve made.”

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