Smps Dc Social Media Flops

21 Jan, 2015

Lessons We Can Learn From Social Media Flops

Amanda D'Luhy

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Read time: 3 minutes, 6 seconds

It's happened to all of us: while scrolling through your Twitter feed, you notice one post being retweeted over and over again. It’s not anything especially newsworthy upon first glance. However after further investigation, you realize a company account messed up. There is a tweet that offende­d thousands, an account that got mysteriously “hacked,” or someone simply being unequivocally rude. No matter the situation, these flops always seem to garner a lot of attention for all involved.

The first thing I usually ask myself when I come upon one of these instances is, “Who would be oblivious enough to post that?” Rarely do I wonder about the explanation behind it or the potential reasons that got the particular message posted in the first place. Whether the tweet was scheduled and sent at the wrong time, or the person behind the account simply clicked “Tweet” without considering the consequences, judgment tends to come prior to understanding when it comes to the audience receiving the post on their feed.

In the days where everything ends up being shared online and nothing is private, there are a number of simple yet significant rules that can help you avoid being the next account to send an irretrievable message on behalf of your company.

  1. Do your research.

If there is a hashtag, don’t just blindly follow the crowd and give it your own meaning. The purpose of a hashtag is to allow users to quickly and easily find tweets related to their favorite trending topics, so it is rare that an original hashtag is there arbitrarily. Click on the link; see what the conversation is about and how it can pertain to your company in an appropriate way. You don't want to be the company caught tweeting about sweet treats when everyone else is talking about a murder trial. (It won’t go over well; just ask Entenmann’s.)

[caption id="attachment_6888" align="aligncenter" width="493"]Entemann's Image: TechCrunch[/caption]

Cater to your audience.

The people that made the decision to follow your account on social media have some form of interest in your company. For that reason, it is important to keep your company’s voice and purpose in mind when tweeting from its accounts. If you're a financial aid company helping students who can’t afford college on their own, it probably isn't appropriate to make jokes about their financial woes.

[caption id="attachment_6884" align="aligncenter" width="359"]FAFSA Image: Mashable[/caption]

  1. When something bad does happen, plan your response strategically before tweeting away unplanned responses to followers.

There is nothing worse than giving your followers more of a reason to dislike you after a social media gaffe. When a tweet is sent, it is in cyberspace forever; there are no take-backs, and trying to avoid the outcome rather than deal with the consequences is unwise. Like most things in this industry, it is best to create a plan using goals and objectives to decide how to move forward. Creating a single tweet to send out to every follower who tweets at you? Probably not your best plan. Sometimes having a personal connection will be more successful than a scripted response, like DiGiorno Pizza managed after their unfortunate tweet about pizza referring to the domestic violence hashtag #WhyIStayed.

[caption id="attachment_6879" align="aligncenter" width="500"]DiGiorno Image: PR Daily[/caption]

  1. Remember that there are people on the other side of the computer.

On social media, when posts sound too robotic or scripted, it can come off as disingenuous. Don’t forget that every post you share is reaching individual people with differing feelings and opinions. Keeping this in mind is a good strategy when considering how a campaign will go over. Ask yourself: how will our female followers respond? In contrast, will males feel differently? Social media is such a public forum that one small bad move can ruin your brand’s online presence – like this post from Kenneth Cole when they made light of the protests in Egypt.

[caption id="attachment_6880" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Kenneth Cole Image: Buzzfeed[/caption]

  1. Have fun – everyone isn't taking you as seriously as you think.

Many people are social media are only following and posting to have a good time. Showing that you can take a joke or poke a little bit of fun with a good attitude can get you major points with your followers. Understanding your brand and how people view it can help you excel in this category.

[caption id="attachment_6881" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Taco Bell Image: TIME[/caption]

Amanda RobbinsAmanda is a Marketing Coordinator at RTKL. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in communication focusing in public relations prior to joining the A/E/C marketing industry. She enjoys promoting events and creating social media strategies for SMPS as a member of the Communication/PR Committee.