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The One Mistake You Should Never Make on Social Media

There is no shortage of social media gurus and experts. Forbes even has a list of the top 50 power influencers that is updated regularly. But with all the tips and guides there seems to be an abundance of mistakes putting celebrities and every day people in the spotlight.

Inc. magazine recently detailed 10 companies that blew it on social media in 2014. The failures ranged from accidentally posting an NSFW adult tweet to sharing confidential messages on Facebook that were never meant to be public.

Sometimes these lists feel like information overload. Reading about the latest social media fail does not help me if there is no key takeaway to help steer myself (and my company) away from making the same gaffe.

There are a lot of mistakes that I see people make on a daily basis with their social media platforms. It's not their fault: nobody taught them the right or wrong way to act when posting online. In some cases I see people who have only been using social for a few years at the helm of a billion-dollar corporation. That's not enough time to get it right on your own.

But through each mistake there is one common thread that I believe every single person and company could have avoided. So do you know what that mistake is?

The one mistake you should NEVER make on social media is publishing without reviewing.

Anytime you hit "publish" or "post" or "share" on social media, you should stop and take a moment to review what it is your are about the share with the world. If your audience is big enough, or even if it's not, there are no take backs on social media.

There is not an "undo" button. Even if you delete the message, someone else may have taken a screenshot of it first. All the social media stories, all the private conversations that accidentally make it public, all could have been prevented if the person had just taken a moment to review before hitting send.

There are three things that you should always review before going live with your comments on social media sites.

1. Why are you sharing?
Are you posting online out of anger or frustration? Usually social media comments are motivated by emotions. Although it's fine to share your feelings, make sure you've given yourself a chance to calm down. Never post in the heat of the moment.

2. How will your audience respond?
If you aren't sure how your audience will respond then you probably shouldn't share. Is your social share designed to make somebody laugh, cry, or maybe think a little? Know what you are saying and how the person reading it on the other end will respond.

3. Would you share this in front of a large audience?
Social media seems private due to the fact that you can post from the privacy of your home, office, or while you are mobile. The fact is it's not private and anything you share should be something you would be comfortable saying in front of a large audience.

With how fast technology is evolving there is no time for you to get a college degree in social media. You just need to know that you are not making a huge mistake that could destroy your career or your company for years to come.

Social media is a wonderful tool if used properly. However, there are some basic ground rules to learn so that you don't end up on the list of people in 2015 that failed on social media.

What's the biggest mistake you have ever seen someone make on social media?

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