In the words of Warren Buffett, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” It’s true that on social media, too, businesses can spend a great amount of time and effort carefully cultivating an image for themselves, only for one or two mistakes or misfortunes to ruin their painstaking work.

From Justine Sacco to Victoria’s Secret, there are countless examples of both individuals and brands committing social media blunders that have lingered long in the memory. But what are some of the most common ways in which social media reputational damage can be caused, and how can it be best avoided?

Damaging social media posts can happen in so many ways

Sometimes, social media reputational disasters can happen through little apparent fault of the brand itself – as in the case of Microsoft’s A.I. bot “Tay”, which was quickly shut down after Twitter users taught it to start posting racist and sexually charged messages.

On other occasions, controversial content may be shared on company social media profiles by accident – as happened to US Airways when one of its employees inadvertently posted an inappropriate image on Twitter in response to a customer complaint.

Then, there are the account hacks that can result in those with no link to an organisation or individual making a mockery of them. Just ask Jeremy Corbyn, whose Twitter account was hijacked in January 2016, leading to the now-legendary message “Davey Cameron is a pie”.

So, what can you do to ward off such disasters?

The latter problem – account hacks – can be prevented via various means, including by ensuring your social media passwords are complex and changing them regularly. In addition, if you turn on notifications for the account, you can help to make yourself aware of any suspicious activity as quickly as possible.

It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on the privacy settings for each of your social media profiles, while also controlling the roles and permissions to minimise the likelihood of an unauthorised or poorly trained person in your company posting the wrong thing.

By adopting such measures as the above, you can help to ensure that your social media presence is a clean one that also has only the most positive implications for the wider image of your brand. Alternatively, contact Jumping Spider Media now for an in-depth discussion of our renowned social media and reputation management services – after all, we’re here to help!