Last year we were presented with many social media mistakes that were entertaining, yet disturbing. Entertaining because many came from large companies, and disheartening because it may have pushed away businesses who haven’t embraced social media yet. However, businesses can learn from their less fortunate counterparts by examining what went wrong. Here are some of the biggest social media mistakes we’ve seen this past year:
Kenneth Cole and #Cairo Blunder
While Twitter was exploding with updates from the Egyptian revolution, Kenneth Cole took it upon himself to include the trending hashtag #cairo in his post while introducing his new spring collection:
At first glance it almost seemed like his account was hacked – but it really wasn’t. An apology was issued later by the company on Twitter.
Lesson: While this ultimately got attention, it backfired against the brand. Tweet intelligently.
McDonald’s and #McDStories
Earlier this year McDonalds launched a Twitter campaign that asked users to share their memories and stories of McDonald’s while using the hashtag #McDStories. While the idea behind this campaign was to encourage engagement with followers, it quickly turned into something completely different. Customers began sharing negative and bad experiences they’ve had at McDonald’s:
McDonald’s followed up with with a new campaign and message the next day which seemed to calm down the fire. Lesson: Always have a contingency plan just in case a conversation does not go well. This will help keep a small error from becoming something much bigger.
Chrysler and the “F” Bomb
The official Twitter account of Chrysler vehicles felt the pain when an agency employee accidentally tweeted the “F” bomb while commenting about Detroit drivers:
Even though the tweet was deleted within minutes, it had already spread across the Twitter universe with re-tweets and comments from the brands followers. This made it impossible to erase its existence from the web. Chrysler responded hours later and noted that the agency employee was fired.
Lesson: Once again, tweet intelligently and always pay close attention to detail – especially if you have over 8,000 followers!
Marc Jacobs Twitter and the Infamous Intern
An anonymous intern was assigned the task of overseeing Marc Jacobs Twitter feed. Weeks later, the angry intern had a breakdown on Twitter using the brands official account:
By 4 a.m. the negative tweets were gone and a new one said, “All is well here at MJ. Twitter is a crazy place. Protect your passwords.” This event was a major PR mishap for the brand online.
Lesson: A brand should really have a dedicated employee who focuses on social media marketing. This involves strategy and content building that should be handled by someone who has experience and depth of knowledge in this field. This is not to say interns cannot be involved – however, a larger social media content strategy should be put in place for brands of all sizes.
While there are many more, these were some of the biggest social media mistakes that I’ve seen this past year. If you’ve seen others, please do share below!