Facebook launched for high school students in February of 2006, when I was a junior in high school. Everyone was talking about it. You weren’t cool if you didn’t have a Facebook. So naturally, I logged in and created an account. Eager to build my network of friends, I started poking everyone at my high school. I thought this was how you sent a friend request! Lets just say no one poked me back and I received some strange looks in the hallways at school the next day.
We’ve all had embarrassing things happen to us on social media, whether you’ve accidentally “liked” a picture of your crush or posted a picture you didn’t want anyone to see. It’s embarrassing, of course, but what happens when major brands experience a social media fail?
Here are some lessons we can learn from some of their biggest mistakes:
1. Triple Check Your Post Before Sending
Before I send out a post for client (and from my personal account), I always triple check it to make sure that there are no spelling or punctuation errors and that the post makes sense grammatically and contextually.
Can you spot the grammatical error in Pampers’ post below?
2. Know Who You’re Posting As
Have you ever meant to post as the company you are managing but accidentally posted as yourself? You should always know who you’re posting as to avoid a mistake like the American Red Cross or KtichenAid.
An intern at the Red Cross meant to send this tweet from his personal Twitter account but accidentally sent it from the @RedCross account.
When KitchedAid posted this, they issued an apology saying, “a member of our Twitter team mistakenly posted an offensive tweet from their KitchenAid handle instead of a personal handle.”
3. Don’t Hijack Hashtags
Some big brands have tried to capitalize on the popularity of a hashtag. This is never a good idea when that hashtag involves a serious or sensitive matter.
Celeb Boutique sent out this tweet after the Aurora shootings because they saw #Aurora trending.
Kenneth Cole received serious flak when they tried to hijack the #Cairo tag associated with the Egyptian Riots.
4. Always Ask, “Is this a good idea?”
A good rule of thumb is to always ask yourself if posting this is a good idea. Does it make sense for the brand? Will it create a negative reaction? If you’re unsure, ask for advice. Always be thoughtful and take multiple considerations into account before posting.
American Apparel could have used this advice before they created an “In case you’re bored during the storm” campaign during Hurricane Sandy:
What’s your biggest social media fail?