The Perils of Social Media Gone Wrong
Social media is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools a business can use today to gain new customers and retain current ones. Social media made celebrities of people like Nash Grier (multimillionaire who began on Vine) and even Justin Bieber. In Bieber’s case his fame began with YouTube videos and viral sharing across social media platforms. However, like many things social media can be used for both good and bad. Is your business vulnerable to social media gone awry?
Periodically a news story will emerge of a celebrity or corporation who said something off-the-cuff that didn’t sit well with followers. A recent example of this is the gaffe committed by IHOP. The family-friendly breakfast chain made some questionable comments comparing the shape of pancakes to that of a young woman’s figure. The two tweets were immediately met with a strong backlash, forcing the chain to apologize and delete the tweets.
IHOP managed to survive this self-inflicted wound and is still going strong, but these kinds of mistakes can prove devastating to less well established brands. Each little slip can add up to larger problem or one failure can be so massive that it ravages the company. Either way, your brand is what suffers.
How do you avoid these types of missteps? Smart social media management is the key. There’s a reason more and more companies are hiring full-time social media managers or management firms. It’s a full-time job. For a business owner, your day is already consumed with managing and thinking strategically to create better products or services. This busy schedule leaves little time to focus on the details of what you need to do to take advantage of social media. Lack of care given to social media management can lead to the sort of problems DiGiorno Pizza faced when they used the hashtag #WhyIStayed to promote their product. The hashtag was meant to encourage a conversation about domestic abuse. So using it to promote pizza created an image of a company that was insensitive at best or making light of domestic abuse at worst. A smart social media manager is aware of what’s trending and why and makes use of it for the good of the brand while keeping in mind the larger trends and issues that are in play in society at the time.
Some brands find themselves with opinionated leaders, like CEOs, who speak their mind a little too often for the comfort of their public relations team. The most seemingly trivial of posts can become huge in the blink of an eye. And what one CEO might think is an honest use of a hashtag might be perceived very differently by the end user. A good social media manager stays aware of trending topics and takes the time to dig a little deeper. That extra step prevents many social media missteps.
However, a good social media manager won’t let a CEO’s natural content generation go to waste. Those off-the-cuff comments that might create a storm of controversy will turn into accessible, brand-strengthening messages. Nuggets of brilliance within a questionable message are polished into memes that go viral for positive reasons.
Smart social media management will make your company shine at all times. While not perfect, managers are human after all, the chance of a misstep is dramatically less likely. A social media manager who is in tune with trending topics will create content that makes your brand have a confident voice that consumers can’t resist.