Social Media Fails of 2020 and How to Avoid Them

social media fails of 2020 Reading Time: 4 minutes

Social media marketing presents an incredible opportunity for modern digital advertising teams, but it’s essential to appreciate the double-edged nature of marketing your brand on social media platforms. The goal of any brand’s social media marketing strategy should be to generate excitement, engagement, and positivity around its brand by opening the door to direct interactions with their target audience and followers. While many social media marketing teams have made fantastic impressions on the public with their brand marketing, others have made serious mistakes that have led to disastrous public relations issues. 

The rules of modern marketing seem to be constantly changing, and social media marketing is inherently volatile. If you’re going to navigate the world of social media as an advocate for your brand, you’re going to need to know a few of the most common ways brands manage to burn themselves online. 

Check Your Tone

Some social media marketing missteps occur when the person manning the brand’s social media profile fails to apply the correct tone for a post. If a social media post reads as antagonistic, condescending, or arrogant, this will resonate negatively with the audience. For example, when Chase Bank released a Tweet that appeared to poke fun at customers’ poor spending habits, Twitter users, in general, were not pleased with the tone of the post despite it being an attempt at humor.

Before posting anything to your brand’s social media feed, make sure to review it thoroughly and consider all the interpretations the wording may carry. Err on the side of caution while developing your brand voice and try to be as consistent as possible in the tone and wording of your posts to social media. 

Stay Aligned With Your Values 

When any brand develops a social media presence, they inherently forge a character and tone for their profile that aligns with their brand values. Once a brand has this voice, their audience and customers will come to expect their future messaging to fall in line with the quality level and brand values they have established. When a brand posts something to social media that seems to violate its character, this can cause quite a problem. 

Brands on social media strive to make content that’s timely, relevant, valuable, and engaging. This can cause some brands to jump on bandwagons too quickly in an effort to be timely and relevant. Unfortunately, this can easily have the opposite of the intended effect, especially when a brand acts out of character to participate in a trending meme or comments on a subject that seems well outside the brand’s usual wheelhouse of content topics.

Keep in Touch With the Times 

Staying in touch with current events helps some brands seize timely marketing opportunities, yet going too far in trying to be first and the most relevant can easily backfire. On the other end of that spectrum, it’s vital to keep up with the times enough to stay competitive. Tone-deafness is a big problem for brands marketing on social media, and brands that post to social media while failing to “read the room” can be disastrous for public image. 

This is where automatic posting can be a liability and why it is so crucial to constantly review your social media posting schedule. Whenever something starts trending in the news, be sure to keep tabs on it carefully as more information becomes available and review your scheduled content posts to ensure you do not post anything that sends a divisive message.

Respect Your Followers

When a brand reads too authoritative on social media, such as the #Maythe4th scandal involving Disney’s social media team, this can create a strong community backlash very quickly. Disney attempted to instantly apply their content rights to user-created content as part of a Star Wars social media promotion. The company stated that by submitting tweets and artwork using the #Maythe4th tag, the user was agreeing to give Disney the rights to display their content along with their username wherever the company wishes. This quickly led to a blitz of bemused and mocking comments from the Twitter community.  

Any attempt to directly extract value out of your followers in a manner like this is sure to lead to disaster. Instead of trying to force new content out of your audience, invest the time in getting to know them better and interacting with them more to discern the kind of content they want to see the most from your brand. While every company has the right to protect their content and copyrights, injecting too much “legalese” into social media posts is generally distasteful to the average modern social media user. 

Don’t Make Promises You Cannot Keep

Be prepared for how quickly a promotional message or offer can pick up traction on social media. If you offer your social media followers the chance to participate in a contest or tempt them with a free product in exchange for engagement, be sure to list the terms and conditions carefully or provide a link to the full terms on your post. 

Before posting something like this, make sure you can keep up with the potential demand your post generates. Sunny Co, a swimsuit manufacturer, found this out the hard way when they offered free $65 bathing suits for everyone who reposted their ad within 24 hours. The post generated more demand than the company could handle for the free products. They had to retract the ad, canceling the promotion with the excuse that they were not prepared for the demand the promotion received. 

This is a perfect example of how making promises in exchange for engagement can backfire tremendously. A user who never would have thought to comment on, share, or like your posts may do so simply because of what you’re offering. You could receive exponentially more attention than you expect.

Remember these examples as you refine your own social media marketing strategy. Generating engagement naturally by getting to know your audience is vastly more effective in the long term than trying to jump on every social media bandwagon and growing your social media numbers too fast. Vizion Interactive can help you develop a social media marketing strategy that works. Contact us today to learn more about the digital marketing services we provide.