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Why You Should Be Careful What You Post on Social Media

The allure of social media must be tempered with caution and responsibility. Every post carries the potential to shape your brand’s reputation, for better or for worse. By being careful about what you post on social media and adopting a strategic approach to online engagement, your business can safeguard its reputation and ensure its long-term success in the digital landscape.



social media

Social media offers numerous ways for businesses to promote their products and services, connect with customers, and gain the trust and loyalty of their followers.

But despite these benefits and many others, it also provides numerous ways to instantly ruin your reputation, reminding us that you’ve got to be careful what you post on social media.

Unfortunately, for some people, it can be very tempting to, for instance, start a flame war with every person who writes a bad review of their business, publicly air the dirty laundry of their personal life, or spew political opinions on every last subject known to man.

However, if you want to avoid embarrassing your business (and yourself, for that matter), and prevent yourself from eroding the hard-won trust you’ve earned for your brand, you’ve got to resist the urge to do this sort of thing.

Because at the end of the day, everything you write on social media, whether it’s for your business, or on your personal page, is going to be perceived as a direct reflection of your brand.

At the same time, it’s also a reflection of your character, and if you’re being obnoxious or offensive, like it or not, people will associate those actions with your business.

What’s more, once you’ve made a negative impression, it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to regain the trust you’ve lost and fix the damage you’ve done to your reputation and that of your business brand.

So, whether you’ve been doing this for years, or you’re just starting to use social media as a business platform and want to learn how to be careful on social media, then this article is for you.

Keep reading to learn more about why you need to be careful what you post and explore several high-profile examples of brands that ruined their reputations on social media.

Why You Need to Be Careful What You Post on Social Media

I’m not prone to this sort of thing myself, but I understand that it can be incredibly tempting to trash your critics, share intimate details about your personal life, or proudly parrot partisan political rhetoric.

But no matter how tempting these behaviours might be, the reality is, you’ve got to be careful what you post because in most cases, these actions will only hurt you and your brand’s reputation.

Here’s why you need to watch what you post on social media:

Brand Values

One of the main reasons why business owners must be mindful of their social media presence is the direct correlation between their online behaviour and their brand’s identity.

Truth be told, every post, comment, or interaction on social media serves as a reflection of your brand’s values, personality, and ethos. Even the posts from your personal profile because ultimately, you are the face of your brand.

Inconsistencies between your actions online and the principles espoused by your brand can easily undermine your credibility, erode trust, and alienate customers who value things like authenticity, shared values, and social responsibility.


Information today travels at unprecedented speeds, and this is facilitated in large part by the viral nature of social media.

As we’ve seen time and time again over the years – even with some of the biggest brands – a single misjudged post or controversial statement can swiftly escalate into a full-blown crisis, tarnishing your brand’s reputation and possibly causing irreparable damage.

With that in mind, business owners like you have to remain aware of the amplifying effect of social media and exercise prudence and restraint in their online communications to prevent potential backlash, public outrage, and negative media coverage.

Stakeholder Relationships

Social media serves as a platform for direct engagement with many different stakeholders.

Aside from your customers, and potential customers, this also includes employees, investors, and business partners.

As a result, your behaviour on social media can have a significant influence on things like employee morale, investor confidence, and business relationships.

So, you should consider the impact your online activity could be having on both the internal and external perceptions of your brand, and try to take a strategic approach that will help maintain trust, foster transparency, and uphold professional standards.

Authenticity and Consistency

Whatever your brand stands for, if you want it to be taken seriously and perceived in a positive light, you have to represent those values consistently and authentically in everything you do.

Otherwise, you’re going to end up being perceived as contrived, disingenuous, and unreliable, which could easily ruin the reputation of the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.

If you want to protect your brand’s reputation on social media, you should adopt a strategic approach that displays your brand’s commitment to consistency and authenticity.

This includes things like aligning your online behaviour with your brand’s values, fostering authentic and transparent communication, and responding promptly and empathetically to customers, all of which can help you enhance your brand’s image, strengthen customer loyalty, and mitigate potential crises.

High-Profile Examples of Why You Should Watch What You Post on Social Media

Over the years, we’ve witnessed many high-profile examples of social media disasters that have ruined the reputations of both business and personal brands.

These examples offer a poignant reminder of the kind of damage that can be done as a result of inappropriate behaviour or comments on social media.

Let’s look at some examples of just how easy it is to ruin your reputation in this way.

Amy’s Baking Company

The owners of Amy’s Baking Company, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, gained notoriety after appearing on Gordon Ramsay’s infamous Kitchen Nightmares.

Their aggressive and otherwise obnoxious behaviour towards customers, employees, and Ramsay himself, including stealing tips from servers, and yelling at customers, was documented on the show and then went viral on social media.

The owners’ social media responses to criticism of their actions, which included referring to fans of Ramsay’s show as “pathetic” and “trash”, have likely damaged their reputation beyond repair.

Justine Sacco

Justine Sacco, a former PR executive for InterActiveCorp, posted a particularly offensive racist “joke” before boarding a flight to South Africa.

The tweet went viral during her flight, and by the time she landed, she had become the centre of a social media firestorm.

She later claimed that the tweet was a joke meant to mock racism, but regardless of whether that’s true or not, it just goes to show that you have to be extremely careful about everything you say on social media because regardless of your intentions, people will always have their own perceptions.

Sacco was subsequently fired from her job due to the controversy and this incident will likely follow her around for the rest of her working life.

Elon Musk

The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, has faced several controversies on social media.

In 2018, Musk tweeted that he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share, which led to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation and a lawsuit.

Musk’s erratic behaviour and often offensive opinions being voiced on Twitter have also caused severe fluctuations in Tesla’s stock price and raised concerns among investors.

This example is important to understand, as it shows the massive financial impact that a few words on social media can have.

Anthony Weiner

Anthony Weiner, a former congressman, gained notoriety for multiple scandals involving inappropriate messages and photos sent to women via social media.

In one of the most infamous incidents, he tweeted a lewd photo of himself, and will now forever be known as the guy who tweeted the photo of his bulging underwear.

Initially, he claimed his account had been hacked, but we later found out that he had accidentally posted the picture, which dealt a decisive blow to his credibility and the trust of his constituents.

He later apologized and refused to resign, but the incident tarnished his political career and reputation so badly that within about two weeks following the incident, he’d already stepped down.

Kenneth Cole

In 2011, fashion designer Kenneth Cole faced backlash after he used the uprising in Egypt to promote his brand on Twitter.

He tweeted “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online…”

This incredibly tasteless tweet, which attempted to capitalize on the suffering of the Egyptian people, was widely criticized as insensitive and led to a public apology from Cole.


Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon Athletica, has faced backlash several times for controversial statements made on social media.

In 2013, he suggested that some women’s bodies were not suitable for Lululemon’s clothing, which sparked outrage and significantly hurt the brand’s image.

Wilson later apologized for his comments, but just this year, he’s been embroiled in another social media controversy, after he stated that he does not like the company’s promotion of diversity and inclusion, and criticized the models chosen for their ads, calling them “unhealthy” and “sickly”.

Wilson stepped down as CEO during the controversy in 2013, and in 2019, as a result of all the criticism of the company caused by his remarks, he was even stripped of his ability to appoint a representative to Lululemon’s board, despite still being their largest individual shareholder.


In 2012, a staffer handling KitchenAid’s Twitter account accidentally posted a tweet mocking President Obama’s deceased grandmother during a presidential debate.

The tweet was quickly deleted, and KitchenAid issued an apology, but the incident received widespread attention and did major damage to the brand’s reputation.

This incident reminds us that not only do you need to be careful what you post, but you also need to be careful who’s posting for you, which means you need to make sure you trust that person, and that they’re well-versed in your brand and how to properly represent it on social media.

Whether you own a large corporation or run a small business as a sole proprietor, the rules of proper brand positioning remain the same. Everything you do on social media becomes a direct reflection of the values of your business.

You may not realize the detrimental effect your posts and comments have until it’s too late to recoup the losses, so be diligent now to avoid disastrous outcomes down the road.


(Featured image by Tracy Le Blanc via Pexels)

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Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence. As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.