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Think Before You Social Media

Sunday night the web was a buzz with Oscars news. If you weren’t watching live, you could catch the action on your PC or mobile phone and get information about the best and worst dressed actresses, who’s winning what award, and somewhere in those 8.9 million tweets about Seth MacFarlane’s hosting abilities and Jennifer Lawrence tripping on stage, The Onion casually spilled in a brazen tweet of their own setting off a major fire storm and a frenzy of angry tweets.

The Onion tweet and other social media blunders remind us that it’s important to think before we share any content online. While offensive material can be deleted and apologizes can be issued, the Internet meanwhile never forgets. It’s easy to capture a screen print within seconds and make any content viral. So before you get memorialized in the social media hall of shame, practice caution before sharing anything and follow these simple tips.

Be Polite. I’m sure you’ve grown up hearing “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” In the case of The Onion, this doesn’t exactly apply. They’re known for pushing the envelope when it comes to anything and everything and we laugh except when it comes to being racist and insensitive. We all have a limit, even a satirical newspaper. However, we’re not all The Onion. Our presence online reflects us, our personality, and most often the brands we work for.  With our social media sites at our fingertips, it’s often all too easy to tweet or send a status update about something that angers us but might have serious ramifications later. Don’t share anything on impulse. Practice caution, step away from the device if needed, cool down, and rethink it later. Does it still need to be said? Perhaps, it might easier to write it down, shred it up, and toss it away vs. sharing it online to be forever stored in Internet history.

Is it sharable? Constant updates about your Foursquare checkins and what you ate for lunch give us little insight into your life aside from knowing your daily schedule and what types of photo filters you like to use before you upload those photos. While the occasional Foursquare checkin and lunch photo is fun, it should also be mixed with other content that tells us about you and the person you are.  People share relevant content and something that relates to them.

Don’t be a promoter. While it’s important to fill your tweet stream with content about you, it’s also important to highlight others. Don’t clog up the timeline with all your brand messaging. Engage with your audience, ask questions, and be the brand everyone wants to associate with. Believe it or not, we all love a brand that knows good social media and reaches out to their audience. No one wants to tweet to a brand that won’t respond back.

Stay consistent and relevant with your message by using Viralheat’s publishing suite which offers cross channel publishing to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.  Do you have a set of rules you follow when you’re posting online? Let us know in the comments below.

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