How To Survive When Your Social Media Marketing Goes Awry

Social media marketing is an important component of any advertising campaign. Unfortunately, it can also be an easy way for your marketing campaign to go awry.

Luckily, these tips and tricks will help you avoid an internet faux pas and keep your company on solid ground.


Perform Thorough Research


Never rely on assumptions when finding images, quotes or videos you want to post to your social media account. Research its origins. After all, you don’t want to pull an American Apparel. The company once posted a picture of the 1986 Challenger exploding as an Independence Day marketing campaign. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize that’s what the image was, and since seven astronauts passed in this horrific tragedy, the company’s audience was not at all impressed.


Use Automation Responsibly


A range of programs allow corporations to automate their social media marketing. This can be handy for saving time and money, but only if you consider the consequences. Microsoft and the NFL are two examples of what automation gone awry can do to your company. In 2016, Microsoft’s Twitter bot went from cute and interesting to racist and offensive after its AI picked up on racist and offensive language people were tweeting at it. The New England Patriots had the same problem two years prior when the NFL Twitter account’s automation created a jersey with the racist username of someone who tweeted at it. When you use automation, ensure you have filters in place and can monitor for problems before you begin your campaign.


Understand Hashtag Use


Hashtags are an excellent way to reach your audience, but only if you know how to use them appropriately. You have two options: creating your own in hopes of going viral or using currently trending ones. When creating your own, consider how people may understand it or, yes, make a joke of it. You don’t want to accidentally create something offensive. In addition, thoroughly research the meaning behind a trending tag before using it for your company. In 2014, DiGiorno used #WhyIStayed to sell its pizza, not realizing the hashtag was being used by domestic abuse victims. More recently, in October 2018, transgender people were using the tag #WontBeErased. An employee at GOG, a gaming retailer, used it to refer to classic PC games. Simply put, never use a serious hashtag meant to bring awareness about marginalized people or situations to sell your business.


Social media marketing is one way to make your company truly successful but use it responsibly. Research your imagery and memes, avoid taking over serious hashtags and monitor all automation. Above all else, ensure you hire a social media manager whose values are in line with your own.

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