3 Lessons Learned from Common Social Media Blunders
By: Contributing Blogger, Michelle Smith
Everyone makes mistakes: some more damaging than others. On social media, one error could gain your company major publicity—and not the good type. Yes, it’s true—there is such thing as bad publicity.
And big brands aren’t immune to social media blunders. Learn from these common errors by reading what not to do with your brand’s accounts:
Mistake 1: Hiring the Wrong Social Media Manager
To save money, some brands skip the agency and choose to manage their own social media accounts. They think because one employee has an Instagram account, he or she must be a social media guru. Wrong.
Unique skills, such as forward-thinking skills, polished writing and analytical abilities, are needed to manage and promote a company’s social media account. Like many other brands, KitchenAid learned that the hard way just days before President Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, when @KitchenAidUSA tweeted:
The social media manager didn’t realize she wasn’t logged into her personal account—a rookie, but common, mistake.
Lesson Learned: Don’t give the task to just anybody. Make sure the person who you put in charge of your brand’s account is someone with experience in social media marketing (not just experience with their personal accounts), and someone who has a strong grasp of your brand.
Mistake 2: Ignoring Basic Security Guidelines
Online security is extremely important for both companies and individuals – but so many people ignore the rules. They have the same password for every account, use “password” or “123456” to log in and forget to use any privacy settings.
Burger King found out that even big brands can fall into the hands of hackers. Someone got a hold of their Twitter account and made it look like McDonalds was to blame:
For more than 20 minutes, the hacker tweeted, mocking the infamous Whopper, praising McDonald’s and bashing Burger King employees.
Lesson Learned: Use all the advanced security tips for online security with your social media accounts. Create unique and strong passwords, log out each time you finish online and always check the privacy settings on the various social media platforms.
Mistake 3: Being Insensitive
One far-too common mistake made by big and small brands is to take any opportunity to promote their name—without thinking of the outcome. Here are three examples:
- Urban Outfitters, during Hurricane Sandy:
- Celeb Boutique, the morning following the Aurora shooting:
- SpaghettiOs, on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack:
Lesson Learned: While social media management takes skills, it also requires common sense (which isn’t all that common). Don’t use every trend on Twitter or Facebook to promote a sale or your company’s name. Sometimes you have to step away from branding and be sensitive to those affected by tragedy.
In short, the best way to avoid an online disaster is to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings in the social media world. The good news is that both good and bad practices are regularly highlighted in the media, and there are takeaways from both sides. And the best takeaway is to trust your gut. Common sense will most always tell you what to do and what not to do with your brands’ accounts.