The writer of this blog worked as an underpaid assistant and mildly abused copywriter back in the day where we faxed stuff to clients all day long. Other than how to nap in the copy room without getting caught, one of the valuable lessons we learned was the importance of double-checking and editing our work. Our mentally unstable boss might have pushed us over the edge with this task, but we certainly learned how to edit for content and how to clearly present the intended message. As a social media expert, it’s a lesson I’m grateful for 17 years later and one I use everyday in blog marketing and social media content creation.
Recently, I had a client in a panic. After shooting off a post on the company Facebook page which can only be described as bonkers and then getting the expected angry responses from followers, he looked like a kid who nearly burnt down his kitchen after playing with matches. The first thing we did was delete the post. The next thing we did was have the editing talk. The editing talk is one we all get — one that is incredibly vital in social media. Especially with branded blogs and social media accounts, we have to pause and ask ourselves, “Is this the kind of post that even makes sense for our company to comment on?” If we find that maybe our impulse was of the reactionary, angry variety, maybe we should hit delete button before we incite a riot and damage our company’s reputation.
All of this digital marketing comes back to reputation, essentially. Look at the difference between a brand like Oreo and a brand like Chick-fil-A, for example. One kept it fun, light and entertaining while the other got political and in hot water. Oreo has emerged as a leader in social media while that other place is still trying to repair the damage nearly two years later.
The next question in the talk is this: Is it social or personal? Social should be the kind of stuff you talk about at a cocktail party while personal should be reserved for you inner circle and done only in person. Fans will turn on brands in an instant when they start commenting on stuff that is inappropriate for their image. You want to yell about Obama or your mother-in-law? Super. Just don’t do it on the company blog or Twitter page.
The last and most important part of this talk is reread, reread, reread. Take a cue from my old boss and take five minutes to read your post. And then read it a few more times. Not just for brand-friendly content but for grammar, language, cohesion and spelling. Well-edited blogs and social media posts are the kind of things your brand can be proud of and set you apart from the crazy people.