Social Media’s Slippery Slope

Social media is changing the way of life as we know it today. The instant gratification and “need to know it now” culture that social media has created can lead to very successful campaigns for some brands and miserable ones for others.

When brands adapt to social media and utilize it to its fullest potential, not only are they expanding their reach, but they’re also proving that they are a brand worth the investment. Whether that investment is time, money or energy, a company who spends time crafting their social presence is a brand who is likely going to care for their customers’ satisfaction.

So many companies are on social media, however, and aren’t aware of what they’re doing. Just because you have a Twitter account or an Instagram, that doesn’t make your brand social savvy. In fact, it can actually hurt your brand.

If a brand isn’t ready to react to all of the negative social media interactions, they shouldn’t own a social media profile yet. There are many examples of times when a company has attempted to jump on the bandwagon of a trending hashtag on Twitter and hurt their image because of it.

Example 1: DiGiorno Pizza (2014) jumped at the opportunity to join the “#WhyIStayed” trending topic on Twitter. However, the hashtag had to do with domestic violence and was a rallying cry for why one partner stayed with their abusive partner through acts of domestic violence. The issue here is that DiGiorno really didnt’ do their homework and look up what the hashtag was actually about and, as a result, tweeted this:

Once they final came to, they realized that they had jumped in on a hashtag without research and then realized that they’d made a joke out of no joking matter. They quickly backpedaled and redacted their tweet along with issuing several apologies.

Example 2: Back when the iPhone 6s came out, there was a rumor that Apple’s newest product, at the time, could bend (not in a good way). LG Electronics’ French account (@LG_France) jumped on Apple’s tech faux pas quickly with this:

I don’t speak French, but the tweet is about LG’s newest “flex” phone, which is supposed to bend. However, look at the bottom of the screenshot and what do you see? Below the date you’ll read “via Twitter for iPhone”. Doh! The irony of putting the biggest business in the world on blast, publicly, on your device created and sold by that same business. Also, the iPhone doesn’t bend.

Example 3: This one takes us to the black hole that is Facebook. A small company in Duluth, MN called “Global Village Duluth” and they had their “Annual MLK Day BLACK SALE” in which they took 25% off of everything black in their store, because it’s what the Reverend would’ve wanted. Yeah, they didn’t think that one through.

There are so many more examples of brands using social media for good than for bad, but we, as a society, tend to hone in on the mistakes made. A company could have a great social media presence for nearly a decade and then one insensitive tweet or poorly timed post and their social stock plummets.

Down to the point, if you’re a brand who is diving into the social media world, make sure you’re prepared for all of the bad that comes along with publicity. Do your research, check your spelling, run your content by someone who is in the know and be sure to create a friendly persona which engages with consumers.

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