What Not to Post

How To Avoid Getting Your Instagram Account Deactivated

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As an avid user of Instagram and having worked in social media for a couple years now, I have learned valuable tips to prevent your Instagram account from being deactivated:


  1. Do not go on a random following-spree. Most of these accounts will not follow you back, and you can “accidently” follow a lot of creeps. Instagram only allows you to follow a certain number of accounts per hour and could block your use of this feature for up to a week.
  2. Similarly, do not go on a liking-spree. Instagram will block your “liking” feature for any set amount of time, usually an hour, if you’re liking too many posts or liking too quickly.
  3. Post relevant, visually appealing, original content to your account prior to following accounts. Instagram may flag your account as spam if you start following accounts or commenting on content without posting any content to your own account. People will most likely not follow you back if you don’t have any content posted to your account or if it’s obvious that the content is not yours.
  4. Do not post images/videos that aren’t yours and slap your logo on it. If you’re going to use someone else’s content, tag them and give credit.


Sticking to these tips is a great way to avoid getting your account deactivated on Instagram. The process to get it restored is complicated and could take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. Growing followers initially may be frustrating, but I found that staying in line with the brand’s voice and posting similar content works best.

6 Social Media Bad Habits Companies Need to Break

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What Not to Post, Words of Advice | No Comments

Social Media (1)

As a Social Media Coordinator, I probably have more Facebook pet peeves than the average user. It’s become second nature for me to notice all of the errors that brands are making in their posts – errors that often times can be easily avoided to increase the overall professionalism of their content. So, to help your company or small business identify and fix these mistakes, here is a list of 6 small changes you can make that leave a big impact.

  1. Don’t add too much copy

I’m going to be blunt – nobody cares about your post when it’s in the form of high school research paper. Limit your copy to only a couple lines that your fans can quickly read or skim over. Get to the point and grab their attention sooner rather than later.

  1. Eliminate or shorten your links

For me, this is the queen mother of my Facebook pet peeves. Nothing clutters up a post faster than a link that is so long it requires ellipses at the end. However, many businesses just don’t realize that you can actually eliminate the link after Facebook creates its preview.

Check it out:

Step 1 – Copy your link and paste it into your post.

Step 2 – Wait for Facebook to create a preview of your link.

Step 3 – Delete out the link but keep the preview.


It’s important to note, though, that this method will not work for you if you plan on adding an image to your post. If you would like to add a photo, simply copy and paste your link into a URL shortener (I usually use Google’s) and then insert the new link it creates for you into your post. This link will be about half the size, which gives your post a clean look and prevents it from appearing on an episode of Hoarders.

  1. Add your own text when sharing a link

This one is often overlooked. When sharing a link, avoid the ‘share now’ button and opt to add your own caption. Let your readers know why this article is relevant, exciting, surprising, helpful or significant. Why would they benefit from actually clicking through and reading it? Why are you sharing it in the first place? If you give them some insight into why they should open it, you are more likely to get engagement.

  1. Optimize your photo sizes and quality

Whether you’re posting to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, each social media channel has an optimal photo size. This means that your picture will look the best on their sites if it has particular dimensions. Moreover, try to use high-resolution photos whenever you can. Blurry or pixelated graphics don’t receive as good of a response as clear ones for obvious reasons.

Photo size and quality is particularly important in Facebook’s case. Its algorithm for businesses is set up to favor posts that have high-resolution, perfectly-sized photos. So, if you want to get your posts seen and receive a higher organic reach, take the time to ensure you are posting quality content.

Bookmark this cheat sheet by Sprout Social! It tells you which sizes work best for each site.

  1. Add periods before tagging other Twitter users

Twitter users, you also commit some pretty serious social media sins! This one in particular is often just an honest oversight by those who don’t know any better.

If you start a tweet by tagging another company or user, it will not get seen by all of your followers unless you add a period before. This is because Twitter thinks your tweet is just for the specified user unless you indicate (using that period) that you would like it to be seen by your entire audience.

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Now, in the case of customer service, you will often not need your tweet to be seen by everyone. In that scenario, it is okay to exclude the period before the at sign.

  1. Proofread, proofread, proofread!

I can write an entire blog post on the horror stories of not being conscientious when posting. However, you can hold off on the Michael Myers music in one simple step: PROOFREAD. In addition to catching major mistakes, you can also eliminate spelling errors, forgotten words or awkward language – all little mistakes that decrease the quality of your content.

By implementing these 6 fixes into your social strategy, you will improve the appearance of your posts, increase their visibility and reach the proper audiences!

5 Mistakes Companies Make on Social Media

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5 Mistakes Companies Make on Social Media (1) 2

In today’s world, it feels like everyone from your old classmates to your hip grandma is on social media. Because of this, more and more companies are following their audience to social platforms by creating their own accounts. However, unless they understand how to use each unique site to its potential, these accounts won’t help their brands in a meaningful way. So in order to help companies learn from the errors of others just like them, I’ve compiled this list of mistakes companies make on social media sites and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Posting the same, exact content on every account

Solution #1: Repurpose and optimize similar content for each outlet

I understand: you don’t have time to create original content for each social outlet. Customizing content can be a lengthy process and many small businesses just do not have the resources to do so.

The bad news, though, is that often times what works on Facebook doesn’t resonate well with Instagram users or successful tweets don’t always make successful LinkedIn posts. Why is this the case?

Duplicate content does not have the same impact across all social channels because the demographics are different for each. Therefore, it is critical to create content that matches the interests of each site’s particular audience. To clarify what the demographics are for each social media platform, Sprout Social created this awesome article, complete with graphs and charts, to help out you out.

Don’t worry, there’s good news too! Most of the time you can use the same content but just repurpose it to fit each site. Check out my example below:


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Notice how each post includes the same image but the text has been altered to intrigue the audience of each site. Pro tip: optimizing your photo size for each site will also help your post reach a wider audience.

Mistake #2: Not understanding the nuances of each site

Solution #2: Do your research

In addition to not understanding the demographics, another mistake companies make is not understanding the tools and characteristics of each either. For instance, LinkedIn does not support hashtags, Instagram is not huge on links, and Snapchat is about immediacy.

There is a simple fix to this issue: do your research! Reading up on how each site thrives is the easiest way to avoid careless mistakes that reveal your lack of knowledge and make you look unprofessional. Google “how to get more Pinterest followers,” create your own account on Google+ to explore, and ask friends why they like Tumblr more than Flickr. These are great ways to discover how you can beef up your social media strategy.

Mistake #3: Posting too much promotional content

Solution #3: Variety is the spice of life!

The quickest way to lose followers is to relentlessly ask them to buy your products or share your post with their friends. Warning: this will not work!

For the average person, social media is a fun and laid back activity to engage in and the last thing people want to see while cuddled up on the couch with a glass of wine waiting for Scandal to start is multiple posts urging them to buy this house or eat at this restaurant.

So, make your account fun! Make your page a destination users want to visit because the content is interesting. Run contests, create fill in the blanks, share quotes, weigh in on sporting events, profile employees, post links — do anything but post the same sales pitch day in and day out. A good rule to follow is the 80/20 rule: 80% of your posts should be intriguing content while 20% should be promotional.

Mistake #4: Ignoring comments and responses from users

Solution #4: Stop ignoring comments and responses from users

Too often, I see brands publish a post and then never look back. Imagine if you finished ringing up a customer’s purchase and then just stopped speaking to them once the transaction was complete, even if they were still talking to you. This is essentially what you’re doing on your social accounts when you don’t reply to comments or timeline posts!

The best way to leave a lasting impact on your fans is to get them involved in your content and make them feel like their contribution matters. So, thank them for their input or start a conversation. Humanize your company and get your fans interested in what you have to offer, without constantly asking for their business.

I know what you’re going to ask: but what about the negative and often rude comments? First and foremost, deleting comments that are incredibly insensitive (i.e. excessive profanity, sexist stereotypes, etc.) is okay. However, deleting comments strictly because a customer is unhappy is not.

Reply to the negative comments as best as you can. Say something along the lines of “We’re sorry to hear about your bad experience. We are fixing the issue now and apologize for the mix-up.” Depending on the severity of the problem, coupons or refunds may need to be issued. The last thing you need is to get bad reviews or lose customers as a result of apathy.

Mistake #5: Not reviewing posted content

Solution #5: Always be conscious of what you’re posting and whether you’re using a business or personal account

Ahhh yes, the queen mother of all social media blunders! For this one, I will let the mistakes of others be your explanation. Yikes!


#Sharethehonestlove & Why We Must Stop Pretending Everything Is Perfect

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I think I just found my new favorite hashtag. #sharethehonestlove is a social media campaign launched by Laura Caudery who wished she had spent her wedding day focusing on the emotional significance of the day, rather than the practical arrangements. Her campaign encourages newly weds-to-be to enjoy every moment of their important day and not to get too caught up on superficial elements, like guest lists, color schemes and parking arrangements.

Laura realized none of this really mattered when her husband passed away just over a year after their wedding and she became a 32-year-old widow (read her heartbreaking story towards the end of this article here). She looked back at her wedding photos and noticed that only a small selection showed the true emotions of the day. Laura shared these photos (example above) with the hashtag #sharethehonestlove, encouraging other couples to share their most honest wedding photos. The response has been overwhelming (see examples below).

Laura, who organizes weddings for her day job, says: “I wish brides and grooms to-be could see more honest and real photos like this on blogs and in magazines; it would remind them of what’s most important. Whilst I think our Instagram and Facebook pages are filled with the prettiest of weddings, I’m going to make sure I share a lot more photos like this too. I love the wedding industry but I think sometimes the message gets a little lost. Let’s all remember and celebrate what a wedding day is really about: let’s #sharethehonestlove.”

I think this story is a reminder of the superficial nature of social media and the media. That we often strive to present not just weddings, but many elements of our lives, as perfect. I’m just as guilty of this as any other person – I have my own personal blog about Chicago life and tend to write only about upbeat, happy stuff. It’s human nature to want to appear in a positive light, but I am increasingly recognizing the importance of being honest, whilst increasingly lacking tolerance for things I see on social media that project an overtly perfect existence.

I’m realizing it is possible to be honest and not lose any self respect. In fact, honesty can bring people a lot of credit. Some of my favorite blogs and press articles are those that are truthful or brave. I follow the travel blog Waegook Tom because of this very reason. If he doesn’t like a destination/hotel/attraction, he’ll say it (check out his list of ‘Six satisfactory cities’), and I appreciate his balanced reviews.

Honesty can really resonate and build trust with an audience and we must keep this in mind at all times – not just as marketing managers for businesses and brands, but on a personal front too.





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The Lesson All Brands Can Learn From DiGiorno’s Mistake

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media Spotlight, Uncategorized, What Not to Post, What's Trending, Words of Advice | No Comments

DiGiorno is famous for their frozen pizzas, but they became the talk of the town on social media overnight for all the wrong reasons. The company inadvertently made a major social media mistake by participating in a controversial trending topic and failed to research its origins. The hashtag #WhyIStayed began trending on Twitter in response to Ray Rice’s domestic assault on his now-wife Janay Rice, and is being used by women on Twitter that have survived an abusive relationship with their partner. Below was DiGiorno’s #WhyIStayed tweet:

DiGiorno’s social media team took down the tweet moments later after backlash from the Twitter community, but not without repercussions. The company has since publicly apologized for the error. So what can brands learn from DiGiorno’s huge mistake? It’s a little thing called “fact checking.”

It’s easy for brands to get caught up in the whirlwind speeds of the social media highway, but sometimes the road with less shortcuts can prove to be the safest. We live in a world where news can travel at lighting-quick speeds, and to think any brand is safe from a similar catastrophe is foolish. The precautionary measure to take is to fact check, fact check again, and fact check even more. Need another example? I’m your guy.

Now my story isn’t anywhere close to that of #WhyIStayed, but it definitely shows that brands – major ones in my case – are susceptible to misinformation even when it comes to the simplest form of fact checking.

Yes, that was Disney Alliances publishing a promotional tweet for ABC’s television show The Middle; the only problem is that if they would have fact checked and not made assumptions, they would have properly found that the show’s official Twitter handle is @TheMiddle_ABC and not @TheMiddle. Did I mention that that tweet is still up and running? And here’s one more for you:


Remember: fact check, fact check again, and fact check even more.

Does Social Media Belong in PR?

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I’m originally from a PR agency background and there was often debate about whether or not PR agencies should look after clients’ social media activity, too.

In many ways it makes sense: PR teams should understand a client’s key branding messages and its most newsworthy products; they can share the press and blog coverage that they’ve secured and they should understand what they can and can’t say on behalf of a client.

However, do PR agencies possess the technical knowledge required to deliver social media strategies? Are they on top of trends and do they understand how to use social media monitoring tools? Are they too focused on getting ‘free’ exposure and fail to recognize the importance of, for example, paid-for Facebook advertising or compensating bloggers? From my time at Gossip Genie, I understand these points are all vital if you want to deliver a successful social media campaign.

That’s not to say social media marketers don’t need PR skills – they certainly do, and I think all of the Genie team do a great job of combining both skill sets.

There are times when I read about social media gaffs in the news and I’m speechless. Gaffs that seriously lack PR skills and the ability to understand what is and isn’t appropriate to say on behalf of a brand. Some airline social media teams, for example, appear to need PR training.

Finnair was heavily criticized recently when it sent the following tweet on the day of the MH17 tragedy:




Of course it’s important to reassure customers, but by saying ‘Your safety is our top priority,’ it suggests Malaysian Airlines don’t take the safety of their passengers seriously by flying over Ukraine. Perhaps a carefully-worded statement on its website might have been more appropriate. What’s worse, is that Finnair was lying – the airline had been flying over Ukraine, with a Twitter user quick to share a flight path image from Flightradar as proof.

Finnair continued to deny it then suddenly backtracked to say it now wouldn’t fly through Ukraine airspace. Meanwhile the Twitter sphere went to work criticizing Finnair for its mistake.

This incident is yet another important reminder that communications and social media teams must be carefully controlled, especially during a crisis.



Want to work in social media? Make sure your Instagram profile is on point.

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A few months ago, I was inspired after reading a story in the New York Times about how a college senior named Liz took an Instagram profile (@newyorkcity) and turned it into a multi-million dollar social media business. That was a couple years ago when not everyone had an Instagram profile and Liz was able to snag @newyorkcity. She took beautiful and artsy pics of NYC and set the stage for newbie Instagrammers everywhere.

Today,  there are over 150 million active monthly users on the mobile app making it the fastest growing social network of 2013. An Instagram profile can tell thousands of words about a person and it’s now something we require potential candidates to provide before we consider hiring them. Why? Because if your Instagram profile isn’t up to par, you probably aren’t equipped to thrive in a social media position.

The best qualities of an  Instagram profile:

1. Clear pictures. Repeat, CLEAR pictures. Posting a blurry Instagram or a poor quality photo doesn’t really set you up for “like” success.

Beyonce and Kelly Instagram

Beyonce, however, can do whatever she wants

2. Well-taken, tasteful pictures. I will almost always click like on a beautiful picture, sometimes even before looking at who posted it, if it grabs my attention right away. It helps me to take 10+ pictures of the same scene so I can choose which looks best. This is also the reason I have increased storage on my iPhone twice in the past year.


3. Tasteful filters and frames. You’ll often find me going through the filter row three times or more because I take the time to really assess which filter is the best and will encourage the most double taps. One of my major pet peeves is when people use a different frame for every picture. I enjoy a good Nashville frame every once in a while, but when a user goes nuts using tons of different frames, their profile looks cluttered and anxious and I want to look away.

And some of the worst qualities of an  Instagram profile:

1. Party pictures. No one wants to see you and your friends completely hammered. Pictures of you and your friends having a good time is perfectly acceptable, but I suggest you leave the shot pictures and the glazed over eyes for the group text the next morning.

Drunk Instagram

And, they’re in high school….

2. Using #Instagood #Instamood #IGers and a million other hashtags in your post. I may spark a debate on this one but why, oh why, oh WHY do people use these on every picture they take? Yes, we know you’re #Instagood, you’re on Instagram! Choosing a hashtag relevant to the actual photo is much easier on the eyes.

Instagram Shoes

Progressive’s Social Media Strategy Needs Work

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Last week, I was trolling through my Facebook feed and noticed this post from Progressive.

Progressive Facebook post

I clicked on the link, watched the video and wondered, what has gotten into their social media team’s heads? Was this for real?

They were using their social power to promote a crappy product to their Facebook audience of 173,000+. Why? I have no idea. I sent them a private message to try and figure it out, to which I never got a response. From the comments, people were about half and half on liking this post. Personally, I don’t think brands as big as Progressive should be posting this nonsense to their followers.

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After seeing this out of place post, I noticed they promote a lot of random brands on their Facebook page, most of which have nothing to do with insurance. Progressive, if you need help with social strategy, I’m here for you.

Creeping on Insufferable Status Updates

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media, What Not to Post | One Comment

Have you ever found yourself so far into the depths of Facebook that you felt disgusted with yourself? You know you have. It’s that rainy day when you’re bored at home and all of a sudden you realize that you are looking at your ex’s sister’s friend’s college welcome week album from 2005. Or you are analyzing your coworker’s wife’s pre and post pregnancy body by comparing 16 months of mobile uploads on her timeline. We are all voyeurs (non-sexual) and that is exactly the reason we willingly made the decision to join Facebook. My question is, why are we ashamed to admit to our curiosity? If every picture we viewed on Facebook was automatically liked, our behavior would drastically change.  Which can accidentally happen on Instagram, you’re in the depths of creeping on Instagram photos and you have accidentally “liked” a photo because you double tapped to zoom in on a photo. Sheer panic washed over you and your heart skipped a beat. Luckily, you can unlike the photo and unless, that person has Instagram notifications, your stalkee will never know you were creeping. However, most of us have those notifications and it appears much worse when the notification does not match the “News” stream on Instagram.


On the opposite end, what is the reason for posting? That’s obvious, it’s to feed our egos, attract attention and elicit a response. The inspiration for this post is an article I read recently, 7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook . The author examines the catalyst behind seven specific types of status updates we are all familiar with. I can relate to everything this author writes and here is proof:

1) The “I’m in a Great Relationship” Brag



2) The Cryptic Cliffhanger


3) The Literal Status Update

 Complete with a mistake…SC4

4) The Inexplicably-Public Private Message 

 Refer to the feed beneath the post from 1c

5) The Out-Of-Nowhere Oscar Acceptance Speech


6) The Incredibly Obvious Opinion

I don’t have one to share, I can’t tolerate this type of update and if  I see one, that person is immediately unfriended.

7) The Step Toward Enlightenment


Social Media, a Playground for Students

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Whether you’re posting a video of illegal shenanigans, talking smack about a teacher or posting social security numbers for the whole world to see, there are some things you should never do on social media. Here are five things students should stray away from doing on any social sphere they play on.

Posting About Illegal Activities

It’s inevitable, through your high school and college years you’ll be thrown into many situations, both good and bad. Bottom line, once that video or photograph surfaces on social media of last weekend’s drunken debacles, you become vulnerable to very negative consequences – Expulsion, criminal prosecution, life changing costs. And like what Sweet Brown always says, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat.”

Bullying, Posting Threats

Bullying is an ongoing issue that many students unfortunately face. Harsh treatment both physically and mentally can lead to depression, suicide and severe violence. Posting hurtful speech on social media can lead to serious consequences. So not only are you hurting another human being, but you’re hurting yourself.

Posting a threat on social media raises a huge red flag as well. The authorities do monitor social media and if they locate a threat, whether it’s a true threat or someone simply venting, an investigation will follow. In fact, many police departments are including tips received via social media in their investigations. Believe it or not, social media has become a major tool for many police departments. Keep this tidbit in mind next time you’re thinking about posting threatening words from your social accounts.

Publishing Questionable Photographs

Whether you’ve just graduated college and are applying for your dream career, or trying to score a summer job after high school, employers will get the scoop on you from your social media profiles. flip

Don’t get me wrong, your profile can show off the fun-loving, free-spirited individual you may be, but it should also accentuate your sense of responsibility, professionalism and maturity.

Although privacy settings exist, they can only do so much. Try to go through your photos and snapshots you’ve been tagged in and get rid of any photo you wouldn’t want a future employer to see – like that beer bong “selfie” from freshman year, that’s got to go, at least from the social media sphere.

Talking Smack About Teachers

If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t tweet or post it either. By posting negative, incriminating comments or false accusations about an educator you’re sacrificing people’s feelings and ultimately hurting yourself. A teacher or professor can help you further your education, jumpstart your future after college – so why burn that bridge?

Releasing Confidential Information

Don’t rely on privacy settings 100%, especially when it comes to confidential information. Whether we like it or not, Internet predators and identity thieves exist. Don’t let yourself be vulnerable to those types of people. Protect personal information – your social security number, home address, cell phone number are a few pieces of information that shouldn’t be added to you profile to ensure your safety.

Social media is an amazing tool, but it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts. Sharing the news about your wedding engagement – do. Tweeting about how you and some friends snuck into the school gym to give it an “interior makeover” – don’t