Social Media Disasters: How to Prevent Those Self-Inflicted Wounds

With social media marketing rapidly exploding into the B2B zone, blunders are becoming quite evident and monotonous.

According to experts, any brand that wishes to remain engaged with its audience nowadays need to have an effective social media marketing campaign. But such campaigns also provide excellent platform for online abuse and backlash.

While initially it was not as popular among B2B folks as their B2C counterparts, but quite undeniably, more and more B2B segments persist to embrace social media marketing.

A condom giveaway campaign by Durex which was recently hijacked by pranksters is the latest example of a social media campaign gone awfully wrong.

Durex recently initiated a Durex SOS Condoms campaign by asking its Face book followers to pick any city which according to them should get Durex SOS Condoms, which would be provided on a rush basis via a Smartphone app.

Now instead of picking cities such as London (594 votes), Paris (688 votes), New York (363 votes), or Kuala Lumpur (1,420 votes), pranksters swung to vote for Batman (1,731), capital city of a Turkish conservative Muslim province, where condoms are prohibited.

In 2012 McDonald, started a Twitter campaign inviting fans to post stories about their favorite McDonald’s experiences. In response to that, McDonalds got nasty Tweets such as: ‘My memories of walking into a McDonald’s: The sensory experience of inhaling deeply from a freshly opened can of dog food.’ And, ‘McDonald’s customers don’t want to tell #McDStories. They just want their fries, mechanically separated chicken parts and wallow in shame’.

McDonalds had to halt the campaign in less than two hours after its debut.

Regrettably, the growing number of social media accounts is also accompanied by increase in number of poorly-executed social media campaigns. Experts say that the problem with the above two cases and in many similar others, is that these campaigns provided respondents with too much of leverage.

It is always wise to keep a close tab on responses and to provide respondents with a limited list of options instead of calling for an open voting.

This article focuses on best five tips to avoid social media disasters such as from initiating an odd tweet to getting your entire Burger King Account hacked.

Careful Selection of Admins

CEO usually does not have enough time to tweet consistently and passes on the responsibility to a junior employee without checking his or her credentials.

Now if you’re a CEO, then carefully choose one or two admins to manage your accounts and do review their online posting habits before you hand over the responsibility.

Do provide efficient social media guidelines and training to your employees, which is particularly significant if your employees are empowered to participate on social media on your behalf representing your firm. Proper employee briefing is important.

Each business house must draft a proper policy detailing the company’s stand on social media, covering everything right from swearing to style and whosoever has access to these channels, should review these documentations and sign it.

Piggyback Off

Piggybacking off might be a brilliant idea in case of certain events as you can instantly reach a wider audience, but a tragedy such as the Boston Marathon bombing or something even close like the judgment call made by Kenneth Cole on Twitter when the fashion powerhouse piggybacked off the #Cairo devastation to announce their spring line which was publicly slammed, should definitely be avoided.

This again stresses upon the opening point about keeping tight control over who is operating your social media accounts and outline strict rules to be followed.

Only use positive events and should be in a very imaginative way.

Never take advantage of a crisis situation (especially where people are hurt) to promote your products or agenda as it won’t be the right time or place to insert your promotion. If you can’t help, better keep quiet.

Immediate Removal of Defunct Admins

As soon as your employee’s posting privileges have been withdrawn, remove these and update the password instantly. This practice should be a vital part of your exit interview procedure. Utilize strong security measures to protect your posting accounts.

Always ensure that your social media management team is trained enough to engage on all social media networks efficiently and there is always a proper mode of transferring control for your corporate accounts in case of any security breach.

Always know who has the access to all of your social media accounts, especially in possible crisis times. Social media is so crucial today, do traverse it through and thorough and never allow just anybody, the access to your account as it is the easiest of all accessible versions to your company’s voice.

Proper Research

Never post any words or photos without validating its source. Always triple check where your images or words originated, in case if you have not generated them by yourself.

Always consider the implications of your social media content.

Just check and recheck again and even ask others outside your creative team for their reviews. It might happen that at times you are too involved in ideas or designs, so it’s always recommended to get some reviews from someone who is not a part of your social campaign at all, as at the day end they’re the one who will be viewing it when it’s launched.

Do bear in mind that these social media platforms deliver your message instantaneously and globally. So do take your time to evaluate how the receiver from different perspectives and backgrounds might interpret your message.

Do avoid any trolls.

Always consider that a segment of social media pranksters spend most of their time waiting for you to commit a blunder. They’re ever ready to respond and provide air blow to the social media flames.

So in case, if you ever commit a mistake, politely correct it as soon as possible and avoid adding fuel to the PR fire.

The Correct Tools

Micromanaging task is quite tedious, however ensuring that the correct messages are delivered to your 35,000+ social media followers is incredibly vital. Utilize HootSuite (A social media management dashboard) which allows you to pre-load all the tweets for approval at a later stage or date.

And if you can’t manage your own account by yourself, do take out time every day to scan the posts which were made on your behalf to avoid any unwanted potential hazard.

And never be excessively deliberate while trying to drive mad people rush towards your social accounts – as it might backfire. For example Interflora (the online florist giant) initiated a stunt by sending all the influential bloggers flowers to get a boost in their links and mentions just before Valentine’s Day.

But the very move was caught on Google’s radar and they were penalized by slipping down in the rankings.

All consumers do need a valuable and tangible time and reason to connect with you. Don’t make any lofty claims and never ever leave anything up to chance or fate.

We sincerely hope that the above article will immensely help you in categorizing all the social media mistakes and assist you in crafting better and effective long term social media strategies.

By: Mary Brown

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