You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those who use social media and those who dig… a whole with it.
There are many examples of social media screw ups, but the good news is that these types of experiences force marketers and senior executives to recognize that social media is something they need to be more responsible for. While these companies are a great example of “what not to do,” it is important to learn from their mistakes because not everyone can change their name to Bill Carson.
Here are some recent social media screw-ups:
The Home Depot had to do some clean up after an offensive tweet went out from their account. The tweet was meant to drive some engagement and be fun, instead it was racist and degrading. The Home Depot tweeted, “Which drummer is not like the other? See more” and attached a photo of two African-American men and a man wearing a gorilla mask.
In response to the tweet, Home Depot handled it the correct way; they deleted the tweet, apologized and tweeted influential accounts.
The banking giant, which has been the target of eight investigations for U.S. federal regulators, staggered into a social media nightmare with a proposed Twitter forum. The event was set to include a bank senior executive on hand to answer consumer banking questions via Twitter, using the hashtag #AskJPM
What happened next could be the subject of marketing seminars for years, especially when focusing on what not to do when reaching out to consumers directly. The bank collected 24,000 posts on the #ASKJPM hashtag, very few were complimentary. Here’s a few samples:
Here’s what JPMorgan posted just six hours after collecting questions from Twitter consumers:
Part of the problem was timing, given the bank’s current troubles with the U.S. Justice department, it was not the best time for consumer interaction, and the other part was not focusing on a specific issue.They were ‘smart enough to know that talking wouldn’t save them’ so The hashtag #AskJPM is now a thing of the past.
Kellogg’s UK Twitter sent out a tweet that was aimed at promoting its campaign to feed hungry children. That’s admirable, but things went south when the company tied its willingness to feed vulnerable kids to how many retweets it got.
As expected, the tweet did not go over well at all and Kellogg’s sent out this apology tweet:
Kristina’s Media Mistakes Don’ts
Talking at people instead of having conversations. Social media is interactive and many companies use it to post nothing but information about their own company, nothing more. Social media posts should share thoughts, opinions and resources that encourage conversation. Good social media strategists ask questions and think about education more than promotion when developing content.
Expecting instantaneous or “viral” success. A crucial thing to remember with social media is that it’s an investment. It takes time and resources to increase your company’s influence. Often what looks like a “viral” success requires carefully planned orchestration or owned, earned and paid media to gain momentum.
Thinking social media is “not for you” because you aren’t a consumer business. The free access of social media isn’t the only things that makes it great. Social media is also great for organizing information and helping connect people and organizations that share a similar worldview, no matter how niche the audience.
Sometimes businesses manage to be successful without making any of these mistakes, sometimes mistakes are made that businesses can learn from. The most important thing with putting your business on a social network is to be engaged and to constantly try and find a new way to reach out to your customer base and be relevant to them.
For more of Kristina’s insights check out her blog:
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(all puns based off The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly were not made by Kristina- she would like to apologize for her editor….)