Learn from Viral Social Media Marketing Fails

For the outside observer, the various brand fails that end up going viral are usually pretty funny. What is not funny is being on the other side of such a PR disaster. To help prevent the backlash and stress that comes with making a big mistake on your company’s social media accounts, here are the top lessons we can take from other businesses’ social media gone wrong:

1. Double and triple check that you’re posting to the correct account.

It happens again and again – a brand rep thinks they’re posting to their private social media account, but are actually still logged in to the brand’s official account. A good way to avoid this mistake is to make sure your representatives don’t get used to browsing for fun while they’re logged in to the business accounts.

Tip: take advantage of multiple devices, additional browsers (like Chrome and Mozilla Firefox), or browser incognito modes to help you keep your private life separate.

2. Be more concerned with appropriateness than with squeezing in a brand mention.

Showing respect for memorials, holidays, or recent tragic events can be nice way of indicating solidarity with your fans. However, if you’re going to participate in the conversation, it needs to be genuine and thoughtful. Thinly disguised branding opportunities will work against you by showing a lack of care or a lack of understanding of your fans. When in doubt, it’s sometimes better to say nothing at all than to put your foot in your mouth.

3. Always fact check.

In today’s social media landscape, staying on top of current trends and viral events is a great way to appeal to contemporary audiences. However, the few extra minutes it will take you to investigate the trend first could save your company a lot of embarrassment. Before making that post, be sure to do a little fact checking. Are you sure your information is factually correct? Are you sure you know how the hashtag or viral trend you’re engaging with is actually being used?

4. Always check your copied links before sending.

We’d be hard pressed to write a blog about viral social media fails without mentioning the famous US Airways event. In a standard reply to an unhappy customer, US Airways accidentally posted a graphic image instead of a link to their feedback form. The company later clarified that the link to the image had been copied when a representative was reporting the content of someone else’s tweet to Twitter, and had then been pasted to the customer by mistake. Avoid this fail by double checking any link you are pasting before you post it.

Keeping up with trending topics, researching hashtags, and creating social media content for your business can be a heavy burden – but it doesn’t have to be! Let Triangle Direct Media take a load off your shoulders with our social media management services. Call us today to see what campaign plan is the best match for your business.


About Ashley Stafford

Social Media Manager at Triangle Direct Media 8420 Chapel Hill Rd #211 Cary, NC 27513