Tips on Avoiding a Social Media Marketing Catastrophe

Marketers for brands, time and time again, make the same mistakes that they’ve seen other companies make. The biggest screwups throughout social media history are highlighted in a new book called “#FAIL: The 50 Greatest Social Media Screw-Ups,” co-authored by Bernhard Warner and Matthew Yeomans. Yeomans’ recent article on the subject of social media campaigns gone haywire points out how companies can avoid similar blunders.

The numerous ways in which companies have failed all stem from ignorance and lack of preparation. McDonalds crowdsourcing #McDStories debacle earlier this year was not well thought out, for example. Yeomans says that when it comes to crowdsourcing, companies must be prepared for the worst. If it’s up to users to generate the content, you never know what could happen. He also writes that brands don’t act quick enough when campaigns turn ugly, because they don’t take social media seriously. He says, “By the time they wake up to the threat, the supercharged nature of social-media conversation has overwhelmed them.” News travels fast on the Internet, folks.

Tips from Adam Barber of the Content Marketing Institute coincide with Yeoman’s when it comes to controlling a social media mishap. He writes that marketers should “be prepared to lose control,” because social media is a two-way conversation between companies and users. If a brand makes an error, he says, it’s best to admit the mistake and thank engaged users for pointing it out. If users take up issue with a post, Barber suggests getting into a lively debate, which will only increase fan engagement.

If your brand experiences a social media #fail, don’t fret. There are ways to recover. And you can always look at the bright side: As the saying goes, any press is good press.

Image courtesy of Flickr, dsuniaga

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