Is your social media marketing team well-versed in all the different social media platforms?

Do they know the ins and outs of social media marketing to ensure they don’t slip up making mistakes joining the social media marketing fails list?

As more businesses look to expand their social media marketing efforts, it makes them more prone to making social media fails. When it comes to marketing, you’ve probably heard that any publicity is good publicity. However, that doesn’t apply when it comes to marketing your business.

The last thing you want to do is have your campaign gain attention for the wrong reasons.

Brands need to be extra careful when marketing on social media because they cater to a larger audience. Your campaign needs to ensure it doesn’t offend or alienate anyone in any way.

After all, your brand’s reputation is on the line. Which is exactly why we have picked out eight big social media marketing fails that you can learn from and avoid.

8 BIG Social Media Fails and What You Can Learn from Them

Social media marketing has taken the world by storm.

More firms have established themselves on social media today than ever before and the number continues to rise. The platforms provide firms with a chance to become more visible and engage prospects like never before.

However, at the same time, it also presents them with a chance to fail in front of thousands. From typos to offensive content, if businesses don’t keep their content in check there is a chance it can lead to more bad than good.

After all, nothing on the Internet goes unnoticed.

Even the biggest of companies and individuals come under fire when it comes to social media fails. You just can’t hide once the mistake is made. So it is better to learn from social media fails of others so you don’t end up doing the same.

Would You Rather: Rihanna

Snapchat made the mistake of poking fun at domestic violence in March of 2018. The platform’s popularity had already gone sour as it introduced advertisements between snaps which users were not very fond of. However, they went overboard when they allowed a “Would You Rather?” ad which asked user’s if they would rather punch Chris Brown or slap Rhianna.

This was of course in reference to the high profile domestic violence case against Chis Brown for assaulting Rhianna in 2009. The ad received criticism right away and even Rhianna spoke up against it. She requested all her followers to delete the app and plenty followed suit. While Snapchat released an apology saying that the ad was approved by mistake. It was a little too late as the damage was already done. Making this one of the biggest social media fails by a social media platform itself.

Dove: Transformation

Dove has made a name for developing ads that empower women and focusing on their realistic, natural beauty. The brand has taken a stand for over 10 years now to promote ‘Real Beauty’ that allow women to feel beautiful in their own skin and be proud of it.

However, even companies known to solider amazing campaigns can falter when it comes to social media. In its transformation ad for body lotion, Dove shows a black woman who transforms into a white woman.

Not only did this ad go against Dove’s own message of real beauty but it made no sense what so ever. How does one transform themselves into someone completely different by using a certain lotion?

But that’s besides the point. The ad alienated a major part of their audience which prompted Dove to remove the ad from Facebook. It also reinforced the stereotype of fairer skin tone being superior to darker. Since everyone wants to be fair.

This particular social media fail teaches firms to always review their content before posting it. Posting insensitive and offensive content leads to a lot of backlashes which can hurt the brand.

YouTube Creators: Sharing the Wrong Country Flag

Marketing on Independence Day is huge, no matter which country you are in. Citizens are in a celebratory mood, excited to be living in an independent country. Companies can use the special occasion to their advantage by promoting the occasion and getting more engagement and increasing publicity.

That was exactly what the YouTube Creators account was looking at doing on the 4th of July 2018. The YouTube Creators account asked users, “Who are your favorite American YouTube creators?” followed by a flag. Only the flag they shared was of Liberia and not the US. The flags are similar except in terms of color except the Liberian flag has 11 stripes and 1 star.

Users on the platform were quick to pick up this mistake and pointed it out immediately.  This teaches us to always triple check content before you post it.

Chick-Fil-A: North Pole Alaska

Chick-Fil-A made one of the biggest mistakes of social media engagement, not checking its fact before replying to a customer’s comment…

The fast-food chain’s reply will leave you confused, probably as confused as Chick-Fil-A was when they posted the reply. For an organization to be from the US and not know that Alaska is part of both the US and North America is rather careless.

It’s either they didn’t read the fan’s comment properly and completely missed out on the Alaska bit or need a lesson on World Geography. Either way, be sure to get your facts right before you engage with anyone on social media.

New York Times: Snake People Browser Extension

Being at the top of your industry doesn’t exempt an organization from social media fails. New York Times learned that the hard way. In their article, “President Trump’s Exaggerated and Misleading Claims on Trade,” the word millennial appeared as “Snake People.”

This was due to the editor having “Millennial to Snake People” browser extension which automatically swapped the words. The article was published and advertised on the newspaper’s social media. It left readers confused as to who these snake people were? You would expect that the NYT wouldn’t make such a mistake in the content they publish. The editor who worked on the article issued an apology for the mistake.

This goes to show that even the biggest of organizations can have issues when it comes to social media. The vetting process for posting content should be stringent to ensure such mistakes don’t happen.

Lockheed Martin: #WorldPhotoDay

Lockheed Martin is known to be the biggest arms manufacturer globally. In August of 2018, the company sent out a tweet for #WorldPhotoDay that requested fans to share a picture with one of their amazing products. This prompted a lot of backlash with the war in Yemen and the wave of gun control groups that have sprung up.

Users responded to Lockheed Martin with pictures of a war-torn Yemen. One even posted a picture of a bomb fragment that destroyed a school in the country. Due to the response, Lockheed Martin deleted its original tweet but that didn’t’ spot users from bombarding them with more pictures of the same nature.

This social media fail teaches organization to be mindful of the content they share. They should be well aware of the repercussion of whatever they post before posting it. While Lockheed Martin was trying to promote World Photo Day, its approach to it rubbed individuals the wrong way and rightfully so.

Department of Education: W.E.B. DuBois

The audience on social media generally has a field day with typos. Typos are highlighted even more when the mistake is made by an institution that is supposed to be related to or promote education.

You would assume that the Department of Education would double, in fact, triple check before posting anything on social media to ensure there are no typos.

Well, they apparently didn’t in 2017 when they used a quote from W.E.B. DuBois highlighting the importance of education.

Did you catch the typo in the message? That’s right, they spelt his name wrong. Oh the horror, instead of Dubois it’s spelt ‘DeBois’. Users on Twitter had a field day with this mistake since the organization is supposed to stand for reading and writing amongst other things.

This prompted the department to issue an apology and correct their mistake. Which teaches us to ensure that spelling and grammar are always checked at least three times and even using extensions like Grammarly.

Starbucks: Blonde Espresso

The content you post on social media needs to be clear to the readers. You don’t want to post anything too ambiguous which will have the audience dazed and left guessing trying to figure out what you are trying to say.

Well, Starbucks made that mistake with their Blonde Espresso advert.

After reading the post a few times, you probably still won’t understand what they are trying to say. You may get their overall message but the choice of wording is just too confusing and doesn’t make sense. While the ad wasn’t pulled, it teaches organizations to make sure to post content that the audience can understand.

Final Word

Social media is a platform to reach and engage a wider audience to increase brand awareness. The slightest of misstep can result in social media fails that can ruin your brand and all your marketing efforts to date.

From here on out as you work on your social media campaign, be sure to keep these fails in mind. It will help you avoid making similar mistakes.

Offensive and insensitive content can hurt your followers, making your brand suffer. So before you hit submit, be sure to get a second and third opinion on the content to ensure it is of quality.

Otherwise, who knows, your brand could be on the next edition of social media marketing fails 😱



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