A Zen proverb says, “It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others.”
Active social media users continue to grow year after year. According to statistics, the global Internet population had an 18.5% increase since 2013 and now represents a whopping 3.2 billion people all over the world. As of August 2015, media usage per internet minute records continue to skyrocket.
Per minute, 4.17 million posts are liked in Facebook, 347,222 tweets are sent, 300 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube, 1.74 million photos are liked on Instagram, and 9,722 images are pinned on Pinterest.
The above statistics just shows how the social media is an influential and powerful venue for brand awareness, marketing campaigns, and many others because of its vast audience. However, this specific feature of social media also has its pros and cons.
Yes, you’ll get to present your brand to the vast audience worldwide. However, with one single mistake, you can taint your online reputation.
To help you plan your social media strategy, here are the greatest lessons you can take away from 2015’s epic social media campaign fails:
Never Use A Competitor’s Product Especially When Posting On Social Media
As simple and straightforward as it is, it is a big no-no to use a competitor’s product when posting on social media, especially in public. It will set your customers’ loyalty ablaze. More than that, it will leave a lasting negative impression in your followers’ minds.
On January of this year, Blackberry accidentally posted a tweet using an iPhone, one of their top competitors. To make matters even worse, this tweet was visible to their over 4 million followers on different Twitter platforms such as Tweetbot and Tweetdeck.
Although Blackberry immediately deleted the tweet, it has already been seen and read by majority of their followers. Even months after this social media mishap, people are still talking about it.
The same incident happened with LG in September 2014. LG’s French arm mocked Apple’s “Bendgate” on its tweet accompanied by the photo of LG’s naturally curved G Flex phone.
However, LG France posted this tweet via an iPhone and this move backfired.
Know The Context Of A Trending Hashtag Before Jumping In On The Trend
Although the use of hashtags is undeniably powerful, you need to be responsible and extra careful in using them. Either you’re the one setting the trend, or you’re just joining one, you always have to make the right impression.
Research. Know the real context of a hashtag before jumping in one. If your tweet doesn’t add any value to an ongoing trend, just leave the hashtag off.
On January of this year, Seattle Seahawks failed in their attempt to use the trending #MLKDay hashtag. They tweeted a classic Martin Luther King, Jr. quote with a photo of Seahawk’s quarterback Russell Wilson after their victory over the Green Bay Packers. But, people got offended on comparing overcoming a football game to overcoming racial discrimination.
Although they deleted the tweet immediately and publicly apologized, the tweet has already received a great number of negative tweets from Twitter users.
The same incident happened to DiGiorno Pizza in 2014 in their effort to jump on board the #WhyIStayed hashtag trend that was apparently about women opening up about their violent relationships.
DiGiorno made a wrong move in trying to promote and sell their product using the hashtag.
Never Open Up A Q&A Trend You Aren’t Prepared To Handle.
Making noise in the social media world using a hashtag may be effective in ramping up your online engagement, but, you must be ready for both positive and negative responses. Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst may sound cliché, but it works. Even if you have the best intentions, other fans could interrupt and ruin your hashtag trend.
On March of this year, Sea World’s #AskSeaWorld campaign gained negative responses instead of what they aimed to be positive feedbacks from their followers.
Angry fans used the #AskSeaWorld hashtag to question the “Blackfish” documentary they aired in 2013 instead of asking general questions.
Months after the #AskSeaWorld Campaign, the number of tweets from disappointed followers still continues to grow.
The same happened with New York Police Department’s #myNYPD trend way back in April of 2014. What was designed to be an invitation for people to tweet positive photos with the NYPD backfired. Fine and positive photos with the NYPD officers got overpowered by thousands of photos that show police brutality.
Be Sensitive With Your Posts To Avoid Negative Reactions From Netizens
You may have the purest and best intentions in whatever you post on social media, but be reminded that your wide audience will have different interpretations about your posts. With this, always remember to be sensitive in anything you post.
Just this October, to engage younger followers, IHOP tweeted a photo of pancakes with a caption that says, “Flat but has a GREAT personality.” However, their tweet sparked anger to some Twitter users. Many got offended by the tweet and thought that it was misogynistic, sexually charged, and downright offensive, especially to women.
After the tweet invited negative responses from a huge number of Twitter users, IHOP immediately deleted the tweet and issued their public apology.
Be Reminded That You Carry Your Brand Even In Your Personal Accounts
If you’re publicly affiliated with a known brand, be reminded that wherever social media channel you may go, your affiliated brand will always be attached to you. Even when posting on your personal accounts, carry your brand’s name and vision with you. Never post anything that may hamper your brand’s good reputation.
This March, Vogue editor, Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis posted on Instagram a photo of a homeless Parisian woman reading Vogue. What made the post more offensive for her followers is its caption that says, “Paris is full of surprises… and @voguemagazine readers even in unexpected corners.” Instagrammers questioned her post and lashed out at her.
The post reached the woman in the photo, who was named Maryse Dumas. She too found the post impolite and that her being a destitute shouldn’t be joked about. After all the negative responses, Elisabeth defended herself and wrote in the comments, “Why cruel? The person to me is as dignified as anyone else!” But, days after, she extended her public apology on her Instagram account.
Choose to be the wiser man and learn from the mistake of others. Don’t make the above social media blunders again.
Remember that once you stain your online reputation, your social media mishap can only be deleted but never unseen and forgotten.