2012 is barely a week old, yet it appears that some unfortunate souls have already fallen for the pitfalls which lurk within social media marketing.

Despite only a short time passing since we stood with loved ones counting down to 2012, there is no surprise that mistakes have already been made via social media. After all, recent figures suggest that 81% of small-to-medium sized businesses currently use at least one form of social media on a regular basis, and as reported in our last blog 37.4million UK adults regularly use Facebook; whilst 15.5 million and 7.9 million regularly use Twitter and LinkedIn, respectively.

To help limit the chances of you falling foul of the same pitfalls, below I explain what the mistakes were and how you can

To Share With or Not To Share With? That is the question:

The Story: An executive was forced out of his job after posting his CV on LinkedIn and ticking the box which indicated he was interested in career opportunities. In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, the executive is now pursuing a claim against his former employers.

This isn’t the first time that an update on a social media site has got an employee in trouble, although it is a first for LinkedIn. In recent years there have been news reports including members of the emergency services and part-time / student workers who have been sacked due to status updates on Facebook.

There are a few simple ways in which you can make sure that you don’t fall foul of this pitfall when carrying out your social media marketing – both as a business, brand and individual; but perhaps the biggest thing we need to take from this news story, is to be selective.

Be selective over who you follow / are friends with / connect with; and also be selective on who you allow to follow you / befriend you / connect with you. Each of the main social media platforms have tools in place, which if used can prevent certain groups from seeing updates – from the “Only Friends” option on Facebook to having protected tweets on Twitter.

Along with being selective over who you follow / be-friend / connect with, and vice-versa, also be selective about the information you share via social media.

What I Meant Was….:

The Story: This is perhaps the biggest story of 2012 so-far. After tweeting, in an exchange with Bim Adewunmi about the political implications of the “black community”, Labour shadow Public Health Minister and Hackney North MP Diane Abbott commented that “White people love playing ‘divide & rule’ We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism”.

Ms Abbott has since apologised for any offence cause and maintains that she was referring to 19th century colonialism when Britain had an empire which ruled much of the world. But her original tweet was still an error of judgment – and as such it highlights the need to carefully consider what we are saying when we use social media.

Whilst Twitter may be alone in having a short character limit (140 characters), the sentiment to carefully consider the updates we’re posting runs true for all social media platforms.


The Story: Twitter followers of Channel 4 racing commentator Simon Holt got more than they bargained for this week; after they ended up with racy updates after a saucy personal message was accidentally sent to hundreds of followers.

The tweet in question was posted on the Channel 4 horseracing expert’s public timeline, but it has now revealed that the tweets are ghost-written for Holt by local newspaper racing columnist Jason Hall.

Fortunately, all parties involved saw the funny-side of this error, with a new update quickly being added saying: “The previous message was sent in error! Please ignore …… unless you are Cameron Diaz or my wife.”

Although a light hearted story, it could have had serious ramifications – but that’s not to say you shouldn’t get someone else to control your social media marketing campaign for you.

However, if you are to have an outside source control your social media campaign for you, it’s important to ensure that a clear strategy is in place, detailing what should and shouldn’t be included within updates, etc, this way you can prevent any errors of judgement occurring with your social media marketing.

Categories: Blog