Social Media Do’s and Don’ts: Chapter 5




Chapter 5 of our text discuses the appropriate behaviors in which employees should conduct themselves over social media on behalf of their companies. Social  Media guidelines are necessary to ensure that employees are showcasing the values of the company in a positive and effective way.   Gemma Griffiths (2012), discusses tips to incorporate when developing social media guidelines. The most important of these tips I believe are, ” set expectations of employees, remind employees to remain professional, provide training, and outline repercussions of violation” (p. 42-43).  While employee trust is important it is crucial that employees stay professional and work within the guidelines set by their company.

An example of an employee mishap which can deface the reputation of a company is when social media specialist Gloria Huang posted on the American Red Cross’ twitter page about how she was drinking beer and ‘getting slizzard’. It was a critical mistake that she blamed on her “inability to use Hootsuite and meant her ill-fated tweet for her private account”.



This example is one of the many reasons why it is so critical that employees act professionally and ” (…)  why it is essential to differentiate a personal social media account from a professional one (Griffiths, 2012, p. 39).” Although it may be perceived as strict for companies to create guidelines it is essential for employees to have some sort of framework to work off of. Communications policies are the best way to ensure that your employees have the correct understanding of how to conduct themselves through social media. The key point that I took away from this chapter is DO: THINK BEFORE YOU POST. If there is any question in your mind as to whether or not your post is appropriate or professional then it most likely is not. 


Information obtained from:

Howell, K. “An Introduction to Social Networks.” Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. p.39, 42-43 . Print.



9 responses »

  1. Jourdan, I completely agree that social media guidelines are necessary in a company. I think they can easily be incorporated in short employee trainings where rules are discussed, updated and made clear. Was the Red Cross Twitter example an accident? Did she mix up her accounts? Thinking before you post is my number one rule! It amazes me how careless people are on social media. I believe in Karma, and it WILL hurt them in their future professional endeavors!

    • Yes the Red Cross Twitter example was an accident made by their social media specialist Gloria Huang. She intended to post the tweet on her personal account but instead posted it on the American Red Cross Twitter page. The Tweet read “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch Beer… when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzard.” The tweet remained up for a mere hour and Red Cross chose to handle the the incident with comedy tweeting “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”

      • If she’s a social media “specialist” then there is something wrong with that picture! A specialist is someone who has deep knowledge about a topic. Clearly she did not! It’s funny, though, that the Red Cross was able to post a comical follow-up to the incident.

      • I agree that a specialist should have had more common sense then to post something like that. And her excuse proves her lack of knowledge of how to operate social media such as hoot suite.

  2. I agree with Liv- it is a representation of her personal demeanor which is unfortunate but it just shows me that she is lazy. If you don’t know how to use something- like hoot suite- then learn how to use it before doing something as careless as that. That’s a great example- and I love that you included that to back up the chapter. I hadn’t heard about it until I read this! I do wonder thought how you just get too excited and tweet about getting slizzard… Like Liv said, did she mean to do that or what?! Seems so lazy to me!!!!

  3. She did not intend for it to go on the Red Cross account but onto her own personal Twitter account. Regardless, her mistake reflects how unprofessional she is. I agree that it shows how lazy she is. She should not have been using hootsuite if she was unsure how to use it properly. Especially because this mistake affected a highly accredited company.

  4. I agree with Gabie, if you aren’t totally educated about a social media site, you probably should not be using it. Especially if you are also in charge of posting from a professional account alongside of it. This is an awesome example of how accidents do happen and how one little mistake like that could cause so much chaos. Did anything happen to her? Any repercussions? This was clearly a mistake, and unintentional, so I wonder if they terminated her job for the mistake or if they reprimanded her in a different way. Personally, I have a Twitter account that I am going to begin tweeting more often from that is linked with Saint Rose’s PR department. I constantly check to make sure that I am posting from the right account (not that I ever tweet anything inappropriate anyways, but still). All points that are important to remember when you are responsible for social media sites for your companies.

  5. From what I can tell no repercussions came from Huang’s major mistake. In fact as stated above the Red Cross handled the situation quite lightly making a joke out of it. I found an article that more deeply discusses the aftermath of the rogue tweet made by Huang. “While we’re a 130-year-old humanitarian organization, we’re also made of up human beings. Thanks for not only getting that but for turning our faux pas into something good,” read the Red Cross blog. Although this was a very serious mistake thankfully the company’s reputation was not harmed. In fact Red Cross received donations from Hootsuite and Dogfish.

  6. That’s awesome that they handled it like that. I’m glad that they were able to make light of the situation and that their viewers/readers were able to appreciate that as well. It is important to realize that everyone is human and humans do make mistakes, as much as we’d like to believe that we are all perfect! Great post!

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