Whether you’re going it alone with your digital marketing strategy or employing a professional, sometimes things don’t go quite as planned. What seemed like an excellent idea can turn out to be a seriously bad idea when you are exposed to the fickle tides of social media.
So, to help you avoid making the same mistakes, we’ve put together this instructional guide to ‘What Not To Do On Social Media’.
Check, Double-Check And Get It Right
If only they’d employed a decent digital marketing agency in Cheshire, Cheshire West and Chester Council could have avoided mockery when tweeting about potholes.
With limited funding available for road repairs last May, they decided to explain to their followers how deep a pothole needs to be before it gets filled in. They posted a photograph of “Inspector Darren” measuring pothole depths to get their point across.
Except “Inspector Darren” was photographed with his spirit level apparently inside the pothole, rather than across it, thus making the measurement taken smaller than the actual depth of the hole.
Naturally, Twitter went wild, with the story even being reported in the national press. The council tried to claim it was the angle of the shot, but a more straightforward solution would have been for them to find a photograph that clearly made the point they were attempting to make.
Swipebait on Instagram Gets You Banned
Don’t follow the lead of Kaiwei Ni and attempt to trick your followers into swiping or clicking your links. The Chinese shoe manufacturer ran an Instagram ad with a fake hair superimposed across it, encouraging people to swipe their phones to remove it.
The idea was to send users to their website, but Instagram removed the ad and suspended their account as it violated their policies, effectively sending their social media strategy back to square zero.
Don’t Alienate Your Existing Customer Base
Gillette took a new twist on their well-known “The best a man can get” slogan with their “The best a man can be” campaign. Gillette intended to stand up to “toxic” masculinity by showing instances of bullying, sexual harassment, and sexism, but instead managed to alienate a large number of existing customers who then flooded social media with their outrage. Gillette was seen as implying most men are guilty of bad behavior, a generalization that made many users supremely uncomfortable.
Understand Your Target Demographic
International Women’s Day falls on the 8th of March every year, and it’s usually an excellent chance to post some relevant content about how your product supports women’s rights.
Miele decided that their best strategy would be to share a photograph of four extremely happy women sitting on a washing machine and dryer.
When they realized that, rather than encouraging women to “embrace what makes them unique” it made them appear out of touch with their audience by appealing to a 1950s stereotype of the dutiful housewife, the post was deleted.
When Influencers Go Too Far
This is less of a social media fail and more of a social media triumph but highlights the trend for influencers to get above themselves. Chester based Covino was approached by a marketer from Real Housewives looking to get a free meal in return for exposure. Instead of complying, the owner tweeted the email and gained far more publicity with the BBC and national press reporting his response.
Influencers can be a useful tool, but it’s important not to over-estimate their power, and they need to be seen as impartial users of your product, rather than paid advertising, by your followers.