There’s been a lot of news in 2016. But how much of it could you really talk about?

If you’re a brand on social media, of course you have the right to say whatever it is you want, but it may not be wisest move. And even when you’re being judicious, you can look like a jerk if you tweet before thinking.

And just like you’d avoid some topics while you’re showing off the grandkids spinning dreidels or wondering how exactly your ear of corn got left out of the Kwanzaa celebration, there’s still topics you’re not going to discuss — and in 2016, you have your pick of what you can’t talk about while putting presents under a tree in 2016.

But 2016 wasn’t all traps for the social media wise men and women.

prince-tributeBest of the Best this year in navigating what could be a fraught subject was the General Motors ads and posts honoring the late performer Prince, who had sung of Little Red Corvettes in one of his first mega-hits. Designed by Detroit-based agency Commonwealth//McCann, the posts were seen as a tribute, not an ad for Corvettes.

But oh, it can get bad. Like when you cannot tell the accomplished African-American actor-talk show hosts apart.


Or if you’re seeking to warn ugly people, or perhaps less-than-gorgeous people that they could become victim of a scam should they be traveling overseas.


When making a mistake — and we all make mistakes — it’s best to take a screen grab of the offending post for posterity, or to explain it to the boss, and delete and apologize. Do not delete and not apologize, that’s just not being a good netizen.

DMN has some great tips on how to Brands Should Express Themselves On Social Media:

  • Focus on issues. When you’re focused on a person and his/her failings, you’re mean. Take it up higher and focus on the larger issue. If you’re against hunting tigers, create a campaign to fund tigers, not going after the tiger hunter. Make the issue something your customers can get behind.
  • When attacked, speak. When your brand is attacked in the media, or by a national radio call-in show, or a politician, calmly state what your position is. Don’t get into a fight — mudwrestle with a pig and you’ll not only get dirty, you’ll find the pig likes it.
  • Make sure you’re correct and not just right when you speak. Did you use the right hashtag? Is this a political fight to get your brand into? Did you identify the subject correctly? These are all things you do before you post.

I’m going to add a holiday notation to this list.

  • Do not overwhelm your customers with product info that could wait until after January 1. We know you’re working — those with greater demands are not.
  • It’s completely safe to wish your customers a happy new year. We wish one for you too.

Need tools to help manage your social media? There’s more than 6,000 MarTech tools on CabinetM. Fear not — we’ve broken them down so you can find the ones you need to make 2017 productive.


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