It is hugely important to use social media as part of your company’s marketing campaign. However, it is also essential to realize that this takes a special kind of skill and isn’t always as easy as it may seem.
Indeed, there are numerous examples of social media blunders that even big companies make.
Let’s take a look.
# 1 – When Good Ideas Go Bad
Many companies think they have a fantastic idea, one that will entertain their customers and also has a strong link to their product. However, these ideas can sometimes go terribly wrong, which is what happened with Benadryl, which seemed to have forgotten that people can be incredibly childish. They had created an interactive map, where people could put a pin if they knew there to be a high pollen count. A clever strategy, but with a backlash they failed to see coming.
“It didn’t take long for people to realize that the pins could be used to spell out swear words, or indeed draw rude pictures…”
This is something they really should have seen coming and demonstrates how important it is to really think before starting any kind of social media action.
#2 – Not Understanding Twitter
Another big problem is that companies get into using social media simply because they know it is important, but they don’t take the time to actually learn how it works and benefits them. A good example of this is found with those companies that don’t understand the difference between a reply and a mention.
“For example, if you start a tweet with @HubSpot, it’ll only be seen by you, HubSpot, and your mutual followers. This is considered a reply. Include a period before a person’s @ handle, though, and all of your followers will see your tweet in their streams. This is a mention.”
Get this wrong, and rather than having your tweet seen by all your followers, it will only get seen by the person you mentioned and your mutual friends.
#3 – Getting Security Wrong
There are thousands of examples of companies that got their security settings wrong, leaving them open to attack. One example is British company HMV, that had to let go of almost all their employees when the company went down. One of them, however, was able to gain access to their Twitter account, and told the world about these issues. Another example was Burger King, who were hacked and ended up sending out Tweets relating to drugs and to McDonald’s. On the other hand, this did earn them about 5,000 followers in just 30 minutes. The worst example, however, is found in Facebook itself, which offered rewards to people who find bugs to circumvent security settings, but didn’t believe someone who had found just such a bug.
“Facebook responded to Shreateh by telling him it wasn’t a bug, and so he exploited the problem and posted directly onto Mark Zuckerberg’s timeline.”
#4 – Not Using It for Customer Service
One of the main benefits of social media is that it allows your customers to communicate directly with you. They can share ideas and complaints and it is your responsibility to respond to these in a timely manner. British Airways made the mistake of not doing this properly, Tweeting that they could only respond between 9-5 UK time, which didn’t go down well with their customers and cost them huge popularity points. Remember to always respond to Tweets or Facebook messages and comments from customers, whether they are positive or negative.
#5 – Thinking All Social Media Are the Same
Finally, it is very important to realize that not all social media are the same. Hashtags, for instance, have long been a thing reserved solely for Twitter. Although you can use them on Facebook as well nowadays, nobody really does or even appreciate the feature. Hence, don’t Tweet a Facebook post or vice versa, but write something that is unique and correct for the platform. Why stick to 114 characters on Facebook, for instance, when you can post an entire story?