From enterprises to small business, the world has jumped on to the social media bandwagon for good. The way social media allows businesses to connect with their customers/prospects is unparalleled. But in their excitement in being seen everywhere(read across all social media channels ) at all times, trying to talk to all customers, businesses end up putting their foot in the mouth and in some cases have paid a heavy price for a few wrong words.
Here are 6 such corporate social media blunders from 2012 (I’m sure the year saw a lot more) that go back to the premise of social networking that is social media is for dialogue in real time with and by real people and not for selling.
Lesson 1. Social Media is not About Selling – It’s about Reaching Out and Connecting
Using catastrophes (natural or otherwise) to promote your business is so NOT RIGHT. In times of crisis put aside business objectives and show empathy and concern across business units and social channels. Leverage the power of social media to showcase the human side of business – it will win your audiences trust faster and stronger.
American Apparel Disgraced Sandy
Lesson 2. Make a Proper Social Marketing Strategy
Just as good as it is, social media is equally dangerous. All social media activities should be thought through and planned – this not only helps achieve desired goals but helps avoid pitfalls too.
Lesson 3: Stay Empathetic While Leveraging Newsjacks
Newsjacking is ‘the practice of capitalising on the popularity of a news story to amplify sales and marketing success’. Companies are so focussed on riding on the popularity of some events, that they completely ignore the dark side of those events. Such tactics upset victims and general audience alike and brings lot of negative publicity for the brands.
Lesson 4. Proofread Your Marketing Content
Although marketing channels are usually informal, it is very important that all your marketing content, blogs, articles, posts and tweets are professional and politically correct, and without any errors in spelling and grammar.
Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream Story
Lesson 5. Do not Speak Ill About your Competitors, Customers …just anybody
Social networking is not meant for saying hurtful things about people or on sensitive subjects because unlike in the real world where few bad words spoken may be meant for selected ears and soon forgotten, words on social media spread across the globe and stay there for eternity.
|KitchenAid had to do a serious damage control following an errant tweet sent out from the company’s Twitter account-|
|The company quickly deleted the message and issued an apology, but it had already been retweeted many times.|
Lesson 6. Practice a Social Media Policy for Corporate Brands
It is critical for marketers to keep track of messages posted by their teams/ employees on social media especially where there words seem to coming from the corporate mouthpiece. A well defined social media policy is a big step in ensuring that there are no snafus of the kind experienced by Stubhub, and Kitchenaid.
Permanent Weekend for Stubhub Employee
|Someone from StubHub posted a nasty tweet on StubHub’s corporate account, calling the ticket sales website a “stubsucking hell hole”. The tweet was up for about an hour before the company finally deleted it and issued an apology.|