Don’t Be Like Tinder: Social Media for Business Is Still Business

Last night Tinder’s social media manager went hard on Twitter. His cause? Vengeance for perceived slights in a recent Vanity Fair profile of the company and its users. His methods? Revealing sensitive information about potentially at risk users in China and, allegedly, North Korea, insults, and a barrage of tweets about how great Tinder really is.

If you’ve read Aziz Ansari’s recent book Modern Romance, you might find yourself agreeing with some of those Tinder tweets: maybe Tinder isn’t so bad for millennials; lots of people do meet their life partners through the app; the kids will be alright.

But the good points made over the course the four hour, thirty tweet callout have already been buried. What we’ll all remember is that the social media manager of Tinder has no chill. We’ll remember the spectacle.

Social Media Should Be Strategic

An overly planned, wooden social media presence does nothing for increasing engagement, but a social media with no plan, all personality, can damage your brand. This morning blogs and newspapers around the world are talking about Tinder’s social media meltdown, not their social media manager’s meltdown.

Your social media manager, or random intern who knows how to use Instagram, has a tremendous, real time influence on how your brand is perceived by customers, colleagues, and the general public. Do you know where they’re driving the car?

Have you vetted their engagement plan and does it align with your overall goals for the business? Do you have a social media style guide? A code of conduct? Are they even reporting to you?

Social media for business — perhaps especially social media in the HR sphere — needs to be personable, relevant, and above all, on brand. Ask yourself: why am I on social media and what do I want to accomplish with these tools?

Your Social Media Profile Should be Substantive, Fact Based… and Not Embarrassing

Tinder has users in China? Facebook is blocked in China, but there are ways to get around a firewall. Tinder has users in North Korea? Not likely.

The New York Times took up this wild assertion this morning. They contacted a spokesperson for the app, Rosette Pambakian, who confirmed the tweet. “We have users in all 196 countries, including China and North Korea. We cannot disclose additional information on our user base there.”

The New York Times went on to point out that

“In North Korea, there is much less space for an app like Tinder. Beyond a handful of elites, including people who work in specialized jobs like research and publishing state propaganda online, North Koreans do not have access to the Internet. The isolated, authoritarian state does have an intranet, Kwangmyong, which offers a limited selection of censored, domestic content.

‘There is limited Internet access,’ [Vikcy] Mohieddeen [of Kyoro Tours] said by telephone from Beijing, where the company is based. ‘There are very few foreigners based permanently there. I don’t think there’s enough that you need to swipe to see who is there.’”

Tinder tried to bring the conversation back around to the story it wants people to remember — that the app helps build meaningful connections amongst its users — but the damage was done. It took only one silly tweet to launch 100 memes.

It may be true that Tinder’s core user base won’t care that the company is making wild claims and bullying journalists on Twitter, but its investors may care — they may care quite a bit.

What’s the lesson here? Don’t lie or exaggerate your business’s strengths. Especially not on social media where things may feel ephemeral, but can last forever. The internet doesn’t forget, and it will remember this incident when Tinder next releases a report on its user base or earnings. Remember: you don’t control the narrative on social media, but you can build good relationships and a good reputation.

6 Tips for Keeping Your Social Media Efforts On Track

Every year there are roundups of the biggest social media fails by business, and the most embarrassing “viral” ad campaigns. Keep yourself off of these lists by staying focused and ensuring your social media efforts reflect your core values.

Here are six tips for keeping things afloat:

  1. Your social media manager should be knowledgable, trustworthy, and should believe in your work. So… probably not an unpaid intern you hired last week.
  2. Social media should be social — talk to people! It’s not just about dissemination information and promotion, it’s about building relationship.
  3. Yes, you do need a social media plan. At minimum, an overall strategy and a goal. What’s it all for? The answer to this question is important.
  4. Make use of reporting. If your social media manager doesn’t have hard numbers for you, something’s wrong. What’s working? What isn’t? Looking over your numbers is how you find out.
  5. How do you represent your business or yourself in meetings, at trade shows, and at conferences? Now, how do you represent yourself on social media? Do these things align? Don’t let a snarky social media presence harm a good reputation. But also, don’t let a boring social media presence ruin an engaging brand.
  6. Don’t throw temper tantrums in public. Ever. Set clear behavioural expectations and stick to them.

This is just the start. A robust social media presence is a long term investment that can pay off big — or ruin you.

It’s 3AM. Do you know what your social media manager is tweeting?

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Megan Purdy

Former recruiter, HR pro and Workology editor. Comics, cheese and political economy.


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