10 Ways to Screw Up Your Social Media Messages


Just like the telephone, television and the world wide web, social media is clearly a real medium for communication. Alone, it is not the silver bullet to solve all our business and advertising woes. However, it is important for business and careers when used correctly and as part of a full, broad communication plan.

There are many people making a living now as social media consultants. Admittedly, I’m a bit skeptical of most of these consultants. Peter Shankman had a great and very direct post about this. We agree that social media is not Yellow Traffic Sign that reads "Oops!!"magic, just a message delivery system within your full marketing and business plan. If your plan and your messages stink, it doesn’t matter whether you are using social media or not.

If anything, bad messages pushed through social media can damage your brand and reputation faster than not using social media in the first place.

With that said, I do believe there is a place for social media as part of an effective communication tool set. The problems arise when businesses misuse these tools. Are they just wanting to screw up their messages, reputation, and brand? Observing the actions of many, perhaps they do.

So, if you happen to be one of those people interested in being a social media screw-up, let me help set you on the fast track to using social media to waste your time and money with these helpful tips.

10 Ways to Screw-Up Your Social Media Messages 

1.  Post the boring, routine details of your life that no one, other than perhaps your mother or your stalker, really cares about. “About to take a shower.” “Going to Bed.” “Cooking Supper.”

Bonus Points: Post these types of messages on your business pages or twitter account instead of just your personal accounts.

2.  Forget your target audience. Talk about things they don’t care about to help make it easier for them to ignore you.

3.  Make your posts all the same. If today’s posts look about like the posts from any other day, the world will consider you boring and mundane. Then they will ignore or block you.

4.  Frequently make your posts sound like everyone else’s posts without adding your own original ideas or questions.

5.  Limit yourself to mainly reposts and links from others. This shows that you have few original thoughts, just the ability to be a digital parrot.

Bonus Points: Repost national news that can be found on mainstream media news sites. This will help your audience realize you think they are too stupid to find news on their own (or you are too lazy to at least find genuinely useful content worthy of sharing).

6.  Only sell. Aggressively pitch your business to others on a regular basis. Because no one likes to be pressured by salespeople, this will help screw up your business image.

7.  Publicly post one-half of a small, perhaps private, conversation. “Yes”  “Not yet, but in a few minutes”  “Running late”

8.  Post angry statements and one-sided tantrums. This is a great way to look like you lack self control. It also suggests a strong personal need for attention at any cost to your reputation.

9.  Post general, vague, depressed comments no one will understand. “Today is the worst.” “Why must people be so mean?” These are cries for attention. People that may care the first time. But do this enough and you’ll be seen as a drama queen.

10.  Without fact-checking, mindlessly repost sensational information and headlines. After all, credibility is overrated, right?

I know there are many other ways to screw up your marketing and branding messages but these are a great start. Despite how obvious many of these are, it is apparent that many marketing and business professionals are either thoughtless with their messages or really are interested in screwing up their reputation.

Social media is really relatively easy to use, quick and allows direct communication. It also makes it very easy to screw up your image and reputation in front of your colleagues and clients!


Glenn S. Phillips is the author of Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself. His website, www.nerdtoenglish.com, will lead you to more information about effective communication training, risk assessments and genuinely helpful tips. You can email Glenn directly at glennsphillips@nerdtoenglish.com.

© 2011 All Rights Reserved.  Glenn S. Phillips and Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.