4 simple ways to avoid epic social media fails

It’s that #epicfail moment. The moment you hit the send button on a post…and then you notice the horrific mistake you made. You spelled his name Boob instead of Bob¹. The tweet you thought you were sending from your own account, and you die a little bit inside when you realise that it went off the brand you manage. Or the time you lost your temper right back at one of your customers.

It happens to all of us. But there are ways to avoid social media fails. Here are four of them.

Think before you update

Don’t post on the fly. Too many of us get  attached to our brands or feel personally affronted when faced with a dissatisfied customer on the other end of your Twitter profile or customer support inbox. We type too fast. We fumble our words and post with emotion. Worse still – we mean to forward the note on in escalation, but instead replied all – with an insult aimed at the person you least wanted to see it². You need to stop. Take a breath. Go get coffee. Take another breath. And then reply. Better still, consult a colleague and bounce your response off them first.

You need at least 6 eyes

That’s three sets. Three different people should read your content before you schedule or post it. It may seem a drain on resources, but it’s the best way to ensure that the little bits that slip through can be picked up. Your social campaigns and automation emails must be proofed by as many people as you can find.

Draft your content first

Here’s the part where a social media scheduling tool becomes ones of your strongest defenses. Having a scheduling program means you can draft your content ahead of time, which gives you ample time to test the rendering and do final spell checks. Current market leaders include Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer (*opinion).

Keep yourself in the know

Social media is a dynamic force and evolves constantly. And when the platforms make updates,you run two major risks: Glitches messing up your content; or major changes occurring that you’re not aware of, and therefore post the wrong thing. An example most will be familiar with, is when the platforms make image dimension updates and suddenly your perfectly designed thumbnails are stretching four times their size. Set up Google alerts.


¹True story. I had a client named Robert and he insisted we call him Bob. It was too late by the time I noticed it. Lucky for me, Bob had a good sense of humour about it. I don’t think a guy called Buck would be as amused. 

² Luckily I’ve only done it in a complimentary fashion. Giving praise to a colleague and accidentally hitting reply all, with my colleague as part of the original thread. Others have been less fortunate with the same experience. I know someone who sent an angry note about a client of their to their boss, and copied the client in.