Social media in 2014 was the year everyone sang “Let it Go”, everyone debated about the Ebola crisis, Niagara Falls froze over, Germany won the World Cup, and almost everyone you knew dumped a bucket of ice on their head. But not everything was interesting, “cool,” or positive. Some people committed some epic social media fails. Here’s some of our top social media fails for the year and what we can learn from them:
4. Joan Rivers tweets from the grave:
This right here is the danger of the “set it and forget it” approach to social media planning. Situations like this remind me of those traumatic moments in my life when I found out Santa Claus doesn’t bring the presents or when I realized those cool looking characters in movies are just wearing a whole bunch of makeup. This is the quick way of pulling back the curtain on the perception they spent creating that the celebrity is the one tweeting. This particular item would have been a great post, the copywriting is on point! But OBVIOUSLY the timing sucked. It was posted posthumously.
You MUST check your scheduled posts DAILY to ensure your posts are up to date and in “compliance” with current events. Do you have a contingency plan ready in case things go awry?
3. Rita Ora thought she was more popular than she is:
Whenever you are asking for feedback, comments, likes, retweets etc… make sure the number is realistic and based on your previous engagement metrics. Rita’s team overestimated her market power and publicly put it on blast.
Never ever over or under estimate your marketing power. When talking numbers, precision is always important.
2. Hats.com Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday:
Argh! Brands and their holiday bandwagon posts. This is when I go on a rant… this is uninspired, thoughtless, and lazy copywriting. To randomly just post because it’s a holiday can be seen as crass, insensitive and straight up insulting.
Holidays are usually tied to a whole lot of history. As a brand manager it is important to look at the deep historical roots of each holiday and the decide if it’s something that you want to talk about. As a general rule try to stay away from Memorial Day, September 11th, MLK Day, or pretty much anything that is intended to honor someone in memoriam or any holiday of cultural significance that has nothing to do with your brand. Would you pass out flyers at a funeral? The answer is NO, in case your mom didn’t raise you that way. The same goes for your social media pages.
1. Bill Cosby and the NYPD:
A comedian brought Bill Cosby’s rape allegations to light in mid October but what brought the issue to the front of the media on November 10th was when Bill Cosby’s social media team handed Twitter users the ultimate gift: a meme generator. This is how the pitch meeting went months before launch: “Oh you know what the kids like? Memes and hashtags!” Then someone said:”Yep! That’s true. Let’s create a meme generator to make it easy and don’t forget to think of a clever hashtag!” Then groupthink happened, then no one did what we talked about above in point #4.
We imagine the NYPD social strategy meeting went much the same way. I can’t imagine there is ever a good time to ask the public to say nice things about the NYPD, except for maybe on 9/11. Can you?
Not paying attention to your Social Media Climate, is dangerous. Social media is about speaking in the context of your environment and understanding your audience. What you can never forget is that the climate can change day to day, hour to hour or split second to second — this is Social Media Weather forecasting and contingency planning. Before you post something, just look out the window. If it’s storming outside you might want to grab an umbrella. It’s not about spending ALL your time knowing what’s trending and happening but understanding what the Social Media Weather is WHEN your message will hit feeds.
Everyone makes mistakes but hopefully 2015 will be a year full of lessons learned! We are sure there were some much bigger screwups this year. Please chime in below in the comments with your picks.