Content of the material
This is the first principle of good social media marketing that I’m laying down. It’s first because it’s not always so obvious. Being edgy is good and being risqué can often provoke a viral response.
That being said, there is a line that separates risqué posts from classless posts. In their zealousness to grab attention and stand out from a crowded pack, social media marketers often cross that line to disastrous effect.
My favorite example of falling for this trap comes from Chad Shanks, the former manager of the Houston Rockets’ Twitter account. Former, past tense.
The Rockets were pitted against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA’s 2015 Playoffs. Near the end of game 5, with their fourth win in a best-of-seven series in tow, the Rockets had all but guaranteed their place in the Conference Semi-Finals.
That’s when Chad chimed in with this tweet:
Now, I don’t mind admitting that I actually find this tweet pretty funny, but the fact of the matter – as was quickly pointed out by the Mavericks and echoed by the Twitterverse – is that it’s downright classless.
Class matters, kids! Chad was fired and the Rockets had a bit of a PR debacle to deal with. Funny is good and dark can sometimes lend itself to substantive social commentary, but always err on the side of class.
Chad’s poor judgment cast the entire organization in a bad light precisely when managing public relations, on the internet or elsewhere, should has been extremely easy and straightforward.
That time Conservative political commentator Ann Coulter took to Twitter to express dissatisfaction with the perceived pandering of GOP Presidential candidates to special interests? Nothing wrong with that, right?
Well, the way she went about it was – let’s say – highly questionable. “How many f—ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?” Umm, what?
Given her track-record, it’s fair to say that Ann’s tweet was not an expression of anti-Semitism, but classless belligerence. Still, it’s hard to forget such an epically tragic ploy for attention.
Also not to be forgotten is when Dave & Buster’s took to Twitter to do its best impression of your simultaneously cheesy and racist uncle. Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re unsure of that voice in your head telling you good taste from bad taste, avoid edgy. Hell, avoid social media.
Do not stop posting
A single incident, no matter how bad, isn’t enough reason to withdraw from social media altogether. Continue posting normally and keep promoting your products and communicate with your costumers generously. Not only does this help your customers, but it also shows them that you haven’t let your mistakes get to you.
8. Smucker’s: Deleting Facebook criticism
Last year, many individuals took to Smucker’s Facebook page to challenge its political position against mandating GMO labels. Smucker’s reaction was to delete the posts. Unfortunately for Smucker’s, its reaction did not go unnoticed.
Awkward ADHD Socializing in Action
Mary’s perspective Last night I invited my friend, Lisa, to my house. When she arrived, I greeted her at the door and complimented her on her outfit. I tried to start several conversations, but Lisa didn’t say much, and she left after only an hour. After Lisa was gone, I wondered what was wrong with her. Truthfully, I was a little angry about her rapid departure.
Lisa’s perspective I was pleased that my friend, Mary, invited me over for the evening, but when I got there, she said, “Hey, you don’t look fat at all in that outfit!” I was mortified. My flushed face and sullen mood made it clear that she had hurt my feelings, so I wondered why Mary didn’t say she was sorry. When she still hadn’t apologized after an hour, I just decided to go home.
Lisa was the victim of the ADHD equivalent of the 1-2 knockout punch. 1. Mary said something hurtful, albeit unintentionally. 2. She failed to notice her friend’s nonverbal language, which would have indicated that she had committed a faux pas.
If Mary’s or Gary’s situations sound familiar, you, too, may be throwing those involuntary 1-2 punches. Use these strategies for reading the clues and smoothing out your interpersonal relationships.
Triple Check Everything Before Posting
When Alexander Pope used the phrase “To err is human” he wasn’t kidding. We all make mistakes and that’s okay. But there’s no reason why the whole world needs to see your mistakes. To prevent that, it’s important to rely on editors. A content producer – whether focusing on social media messaging, blogs, or both – without an editor is like a ship without a rudder.
Despite the oversight of an editor, errors are still liable to slip through. What can be easily corrected one second will be forever cached the next. That’s why it’s so important to triple check everything before posting. This goes for the writer as well as the editor.
Triple checking is a super simple procedure to implement but is often neglected due to its sheer tedium. Don’t skip over or auto-pilot through this important control. More often than not, it will catch mistakes. Sometimes it will even save you huge embarrassment.
If you ask me, the most poignant example of a social media misadventure stemming from lack of editorial review comes from the New England Patriots, of the NFL. As the team’s Twitter account closed in on one million followers in 2014, someone in the organization had the bright idea to use that milestone to launch a marketing campaign.
I’m not being sarcastic; it really was a bright idea. The team promised to give away a free jersey to its one-millionth follower, customized with his or her Twitter handle written across the back. Naturally, hordes would follow the @Patriots handle in hopes of being lucky number one million.
The problem wasn’t in the concept but its execution. It seems that the Patriots automated their social media to such an extent that the post was generated either without any human involvement or without the involvement of any human with an adult’s IQ.
As it just so happened, the one-millionth follower had a grotesquely racist Twitter handle. Yet somehow that did not stop the tweet shown below from going out. Anyone with half a brain who comes across this tweet would know that it’s not suitable for publication.
Here’s the takeaway: If a post can make it to publication without even once being seen beforehand by a person with half a brain, you have a structural problem in your approach to social media.
Seriously, US Airways? Shame on you. I won’t even discuss this.
10. Victoria’s Secret: Sending body-shaming messages
When Victoria’s Secret rolled out its “The Perfect ‘Body’” ad featuring skinny models, the brand received strong public condemnation via social media for the campaign’s body-shaming message. It inspired the hashtag #iamperfect on Twitter, as well as an online petition for Victoria’s Secret to end the ad campaign. In response, Victoria’s Secret updated its creatives to read “A Body for Every Body”.
These social media blunders reveal a couple important lessons. First, do not host an online Q&A unless you are absolutely sure that your company can handle public jabs. Second, do your homework before posting anything. When in doubt, do not tweet it out.