Last week, we uploaded a post about social media bloopers that proved to be very popular, so we thought we’d share some additional bloopers. Here’s a post from a member of our community that shares the missteps and provides some actionable solutions.
Ready? Here goes:
Even if you’re not a social media guru, you know the basic commandments:
- Don’t post too often
- Don’t post too little
- Interact with and respond to others
There’s much more to it than that, however. Social media might seem like it requires just a few tech skills and some common sense. But common sense is not as common as you’d expect.
It takes only 60 seconds to type a post, but you can offend someone with those words in even less time. Here are six major companies that have created social media disasters.
Mistake: You have the worst timing.
Scheduling posts on tools such as Hootsuite is a great way to save time on social media tasks. But you have to be careful.
A journal affiliated with the National Rifle Association, American Rifleman, pre-scheduled a disastrous tweet:
Tragically, this was posted the morning of the Aurora, Colo., movie-theater shooting. Both pro-gun and gun control activists took offense.
Solution: Always keep an eye on pre-scheduled posts.
Mistake: You offend stakeholders.
Social media is an open book. Unless you have somehow successfully set the privacy settings, it’s not difficult for the world to read your posts.
Ketchum, a well-known public relations and marketing agency, counts FedEx among its clients. Prior to a meeting at the FedEx headquarters, stationed in Memphis, Tennessee, a Ketchum vice president tweeted an unfortunate post:
This was obviously not good for the agency-client relationship.
Solution: Whatever your job title is, be cautious of what you personally post on social media. You don’t want to offend stakeholders – including clients, investors, the media or the general public.
Problem: Lack of sensitivity.
Contributing to the trends on Twitter is a great exposure – but done incorrectly, it could become a social media disaster.
This online retailer was completely unaware why #Aurora was trending on Twitter the morning of the Colorado shooting. But to join in on the trend, the company tweeted:
So while some companies, such as Warner Bros., tried to do good after this tragedy, Celeb Boutique tried to sell a dress called “Aurora.” And to make it even worse, they stated that dress was inspired by Kim Kardashian.
Solution: Stay informed. Read the news. See what is going on in the world.
Papa John’s Pizza
Mistake: You donate to a cause/nonprofit simply for increased likes, favorites, shares, etc.
If your company is generous to nonprofits, that’s great – and I hope it’s that way. But there’s nothing tackier than a company (or person) who donates and brags about it.
One of the worst social media mistakes you can make is this:
Really, it’s a wonderful thing that Papa John’s plans to donate $50,000 to end hunger. But the company should not need “likes”, “comments” or “shares” to do so.
It’s repulsive when companies turn a good cause into a social media campaign.
Solution: Be a charitable company and give without having to post it on social media.
Problem: You try to make money off any event or happening.
Hurricane Sandy, also known as Superstorm Sandy and Frankenstorm Sandy, caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage, killed at least 286 people and left people all along the East Coast homeless (maybe one of the only silver linings was the promise from Verizon to get fiber-optic Internet).
The clothing store Urban Outfitters did not show compassion or offer aid to those who were required to evacuate. Instead, they offered a Frankenstorm discount – free shipping. They tweeted:
Yep, hashtag “ALLSOGGY” included. Sure, everyone on the West Coast stayed dry – but people in the Northeast scrambled to save their valued possessions and seek shelter.
Solution: Be thoughtful when you post on social media. Sometimes, caring for the world is more important than making money through a timely sale.
The American Red Cross
Mistake: You think any employee can manage your social media accounts.
Just because an employee has a few hundred Twitter followers or is attached to his/her Facebook newsfeed (even at work…), that doesn’t make them a social media expert.
The social-media manager did not realize she was tweeting from the American Red Cross’ account – not her own. She sent a tweet from the account about “getting slizzerd” and drinking alcohol. She obviously was not properly trained, claiming she mixed up the American Red Cross’ Hootsuite account with her own Twitter account.
Following the social media disaster, the employee personally tweeted:
Solution: Hire a full-time social media manager with successful prior experience.
Michelle Smith is a freelance writer with a focus on social media and digital marketing. She can be found typing away on her laptop in sunny Boca Raton, Florida. Michelle welcomes your feedback via email.