We’ve all put our foot in our mouth and said the wrong thing to someone. I’m sure it was embarrassing and you may have heard about it from a few people, who overheard your misspoken comment.

It probably went no further than the few people who were in the room when you made your embarrassing remark, unless you did it on national television in front of millions of people.

Be Careful What You Say

When you say the wrong thing on social media, it’s not only visible to millions of people, it stays online for a long time.  Never respond in a negative way when someone says something on social media that has upset you. If you do respond, do it in a diplomatic way, because the Twitterverse is watching.

Your Response Can Help Or Hurt You

Responding in a professional way has a positive effect on your reputation, while responding in a negative way, will make you look immature to your followers and will have a negative effect on your business.

What If The Entire World Read Your Tweet

You need to think twice, maybe three times, before you press the Tweet button if you are responding to someone who has upset you. Sending a Tweet in anger rarely ends in a good result. Take a few deep breaths, count to ten and ask yourself if you want the entire world to read what you are about to Tweet.

When using social media for your business, you should keep three important things in mind:

  1. Have a purpose.

 Start thinking about why you're using social media for your business. Is it to generate leads, monitor your brand, provide support to your customers, or to expand your professional network?

If you are just starting out with Twitter, “listen” to other conversations until you get comfortable with the way conversations flow. Don’t Tweet anything you wouldn’t say to someone in person.

  1. It isn't all about you.

Don’t send an endless stream of Tweets about you and your company. Twitter works exactly the same way as in-person networking. Do you want to know the secret? The secret is to be more interested in learning about others than you are about telling them all about you.

Twitter works best when you engage others in conversation, just like when you meet people in person.  I call people monologue Tweeters if they just send Tweets and never reply to other peoples Tweets or interact with others. 

  1. Remember your clients and your mother.

I see this tip frequently in social media guides. Don't post anything you wouldn't want your mother, grandmother, clients or employees to read and associate with you.  Word travels fast on the Internet and your posts can be ReTweeted and forwarded to millions in seconds.

The UnTweetables

Here are some tips for topics you should avoid Tweeting about. I know these may seem obvious to you, but every day people Tweet about them and they reflect negatively on their business.

  • Don’t say negative things about your competition
  • Don’t engage your competition in negative conversations
  • Don’t get into fights with angry customers online. Engage them by asking them how you can help them and invite them to email you or call you for assistance.
  • Don’t Tweet about your sex life
  • Don’t Tweet about wild nights out and definitely don’t Tweet pictures of your wild night out
  • Don’t Tweet about politics
  • Don’t Tweet about religion

Remember that you are using Twitter to promote your business, so you want to be professional at all times.

It’s okay to engage others in conversation, but don’t get into controversial topics that can polarize your customers and prospects.


About the author 

Ted Prodromou

Would you like me to help you?

I'm the #1 best-selling author of Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business and Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business. People call me America's Leading LinkedIn Coach.

I'm the founder of Search Marketing Simplified, LLC, a full service online marketing agency. The SMS team designs and implements advanced LinkedIn and social media lead-generation strategies for small to medium-sized businesses. SMS will set up and manage your marketing funnels using organic, social and paid traffic.

Did you know I've been working with the internet since 1991, long before Al Gore invented it?

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