Nothing goes viral faster than social media mistakes and the fallout can last for eternity. What kind of mistakes are we talking about? The juicy, ridiculous, brain-numbing mistakes that people love to talk about because it’s hard to believe that someone could be so callous, insensitive and even stupid. The two items that seem to always be at the heart of any blunder are; writing the wrong thing at the wrong time and not acknowledging mistakes or problems.
Don’t let these scare you away from your own social media campaigns but rather use them as learning tools for what not to do.
Here are a few noteworthy blunders…:
(Warning: some of the links may contain strong language)
Do you want to find the ray of light in a bad situation like Kenneth Cole? Just tweet that the riots in Egypt were over your spring collection.
In the same fashion (no pun intended…wellllll…maybe it was…) it’s also bad taste to capitalize on the mass shooting in Aurora, CO to sell cloths. In their defense though, it’s said that Celeb Boutique was using a media firm that was not based in the USA and the firm just responded to a trending hashtag without checking to see why it was trending.
Amy’s Baking Company
I typed in “epic meltdown” in Google and Amy’s Bakery came up. It’s pretty sad when you can type in a generic phrase and find yourself immortalized. There is so much in this one that I can’t even sum it up adequately but the screen capture below gives you a small taste.
You have to read the rules! I know, the endless legal documents are tedious and confusing, but it pays to read. Or in this case it cost them because they didn’t read. This isn’t just a Facebook thing. You should read the rules for any social media website that you use because few things will hurt your brand more than getting banned for misbehavior.
Yep. You read that correctly. Facebook has made its own share of blunders although they have generally been against businesses using their platform rather than actual marketing blunders. They are still important to learn from. Of late, Facebook has been accused of deleting pages by conservative groups for bogus reasons but also, Facebook has a bit of a reputation for harsh action without actual proof and then refusing to fix the matter. There are a number of businesses that have suffered such as Redmond Pie and Ars Technica.
Wrapping it all up
The takeaway for this is that companies, and people, will do stupid, hurtful, things from time to time. Sometimes it’s accidental and sometimes not. When you use your platform for politics while claiming to be a hub of free speech you lose credibility. When you make incomplete rules that allow for abuse while making correction difficult, you lose credibility. Make sure you treat people fairly and that you do your best to resolve issues. After all, social media is a great platform for people to complain on and I’m sure you would prefer that people complain about your competition rather than you.