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It's Oscars night ... keep those thumbs under control.

With the Oscars being the fifth most talked about thing on Twitter in 2016, the world is poised, ready to join in the conversation as the 89th Academy Awards get underway later today.

For an individual user, social media is a playground. You can be spontaneous, humorous, out-spoken and even daring with the posts you create. Yes, there are risks attached to irresponsible posts, such as offending a close friend or appearing less professional than you’d like, but ultimately, you’re free to post whatever you want, however you want.

For a brand, it is different. Social media can be a battleground. Creating and deploying a strong social media strategy can significantly increase brand reach but make a mistake, and you can seriously damage your brand reputation.

At the British Oscars, Burberry accidentally tweeted a photo of Riz Ahmed under a description of fellow Brit actor Dev Patel. The job was straightforward: two tweets, about two different actors, both wearing Burberry. This simple mistake put Burberry under a lot of pressure. Social debates about race wasn’t what their social media team were expecting but it is what they got. Whilst they were quick to amend their mistake, it was all too little too late.

So, what is the lesson learnt here? If you want to deploy an effective social strategy, you must treat your online brand with the same respect you would your offline brand.

As consumers are spending more time online, it’s clear that social media is giving brands a great opportunity to increase brand visibility in a cost-effective way. It enables you to build a unique relationship with your audience by engaging with them on a personal level.

In an era where social media is so throwaway, live streaming is becoming increasingly more valuable. People take to social media to talk about what they’re passionate about at that precise moment in time. ‘Live’ gives you a real sense of authenticity and provides that genuine connection. If you know there is a real person behind the brand, you’re more likely to engage.

It’s no surprise that the brands behind the high profile social successes take social media seriously and employ teams of people to manage their accounts.

Take the Oreo moment at the Superbowl blackout or the Snickers moment when Adele was forced to restart her performance at the Grammys. Both took full advantage of using trending news to get people talking about the brand.

Whilst these ‘ideal social moments’ are very rare and look effortless, they require a team of creators to be on standby, constantly thinking. Behind the scenes of the infamous Oreo/Super bowl tweet were 15 people, dedicated to keeping the brand active during the game. But was that investment worth it? I’m sure the analysis showed it more than covered the return on investment.

By adopting the right social media strategy for your brand, you have such a unique, unmissable opportunity to increase your exposure and further grow brand love.

So, with the Oscars looming, I have my popcorn at the ready. Not to watch the ceremony itself but to await the best and worst social media moments of the night. Just make sure your brand is on the right list!

To talk to Louise about your social media strategy call 01902 714 957 or email louise.williams@connect-group.com