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September 2019

Avoiding Social Media Backlash

By Carley Bakker
Reputation Management

I traveled to Florida recently to do training with the PGA of America. It was the end of the day, and with an hour to go, the topic of social media was well into its second hour of discussion. A hand raised, and a woman near the back asked, “What is considered appropriate for posting on social media?”

With all the rapid changes in technology, we’re continually learning new ways to communicate quickly, almost at the speed of light. But there’s still a need to carefully consider the words or materials we put out on the internet.

Several years ago, I was driving an ATV along the rolling sand dunes and following close behind me was another ATV with a writer and cameraman. They’d come from Los Angeles to do a feature story of a new golf course. I was their tour guide. This was before social media was a main form of communication. The tour was a success with a three-page editorial of the new course. 

If the media tour of the new golf course had been this year, what videos, photos or comments would be acceptable to put on the internet? To determine this, I ask myself three things. 

The first is, “How will it affect my reputation?” Meaning, can it damage my reputation? My reputation matters. And so does yours. Your reputation affects your career, your golf course and your financial success. Control your reputation by sharing videos, photos and articles known to build a favorable search landscape. Be sure to have a positive influence on what your prospects and customers see online.

I also ask myself, “Is this going to add value to others?” If I can’t think of a reason, then it’s not worthy of posting. Too often, we want to share content about how it can help ourselves. The focus should be on your customers.

The last question I ask myself is, “Would this be considered business or personal?” The lines are often blurred with what is considered business versus personal. If you have to ask yourself if it’s personal or business, then you have your answer. It’s likely personal. Here’s the problem. Many of us have different measuring sticks of what is seen as questionable content.  

I’ve seen my fair share of individuals and companies whose reputations were challenged because a photo or video posted made its way to the top of the search results. Too often questionable content creates opportunities for others to tell your story, or worse, attack you for inaccuracies.

While we discovered in training that day there are varying degrees of what is appropriate, the easiest way to ensure everyone knows what they can and cannot post is to create a social media policy. A social media policy gives clear guidance to your employees about what is permitted. It allows you to take control of what is being said about your organization on the internet.


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September 2019 Issue

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