Social media is an important marketing tool, helping small and large businesses to cost-effectively reach out to target consumers, but it can be harmful if the planning and execution is not right. Some companies make the mistake of falling into the following social media blunders which need to be avoided:
1. Not giving the job to the right person.
The person you put in charge of managing your social media pages on a daily basis, whether a contractor or employee, can make mistakes including posting ill-chosen posts or tweets that can harm the reputation of your company.
Managers hire other people to help them because social media marketing calls for a significant amount of time and effort. However, there have been instances wherein this plan has back-fired. For example, Chrysler hired a social media agency to manage its Twitter account, among other things, but an employee of the company’s agency posted an obscene tweet which read: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the (hash)motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive.”
American Red Cross also made a social media blunder when the social media specialist said she was unable to properly use Hootsuite and posted a tweet which was supposed to go to her private account: “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer… when we drink we do it right (hash)gettngslizzerd”
The person or agency responsible for your social media pages should therefore be properly trained.
2. Being tactless, indifferent, or insensible
The public is quick to antagonize any insensitive remarks posted in social media sites, or messages that are posted at the wrong time. These marketing moves might offend others, and so you must carefully think before sending them out.
One example is Kenneth Cole’s tweet that offended just about anyone who read it on Twitter. During that time, the world is fixated on a historic revolution that is happening in Egypt. One tweet says: “Millions are in uproar in (hash) Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available at http://bit.ly/KCairo – KC”
American Apparel was also criticized for offering a sale during the Hurricane Sandy tragedy. The company sent out an ad showing a map of the United States, with the Hurricane-affected states in red marking, and with the heading: In case you’re bored during the storm. 20% off-everything for next 36 hours.
What is common in these two examples is that both companies gave the impression that they are using the demise of other people to their profit; a move that will surely bring disfavour from a company’s customers.
3. Unable to understand the ins and outs of social media
It takes effort to understand the ins and outs of social media, and most people tend to makes errors as a result. When using social media for business, one should really know the mechanics of using social media.
One common mistake is when Twitter users send a reply to a message instead of a direct message. As such, a private message becomes visible to the whole world until it gets deleted. That mistake has been done by Charlie Sheen, when he showed his phone number to the whole world. Perhaps, the biggest example of this blunder is Anthony Weiner, who accidentally circulated photos of his private parts for the world to see. The moral lesson: businesses shouldn’t use social media to send private messages in the first place.
Another blunder that is committed by CVS Pharmacy is using Twitter and asking customers to provide feedback and become followers. However, the company’s account was locked, and customers needed its go ahead to follow or view tweets. Understanding the mechanics of social media can go a long way when it comes to preventing long-term undesirable effects.