Social Media Fails of 2016
Social media has created an outlet for businesses to interact directly with its consumers. Businesses can post pictures, respond to customer questions/ complaints, and even directly message customers. Although social media presents many advantages for businesses, there are also numerous ways in which this can be dangerous. Making a mistake by posting controversial content is hard to undo and the evidence can remain forever. There have been many social media mistakes in the past year. Here are the top 6 Social Media Fails from 2016:
1. Vera Bradley, a famous fashion brand known for making totes and bags, created a campaign called “Why It’s Good to be a Girl.” The campaign prompted women to share why they like being a girl. The company then posted these responses online. However, the company experienced mixed reactions from this campaign, as not all girls resonated with responses posted by the brand and became upset with the responses.
Lesson: Understand the target audience and anticipate reactions.
2. A beauty brand known as Seoul Secret created a campaign called “White Makes You Win” to promote its cosmetic line that “lightened skin.” The campaign included a famous actor and singer who expressed how her lighter skin helped her achieve success. The response to this campaign was clearly not a positive one and hurt the brand’s image.
Lesson: Practice inclusion!
3. Asos, a popular online retailer, started using automated robots to answer customer questions and complaints. Customers became annoyed when responses became repetitive. Customers could clearly tell that they were not being helped by actual Asos employees, which led to their frustration with the brand.
Lesson: Customer service is an important aspect of business and just because it is online, does not mean it needs to be automated.
4. Coca Cola made a social media mistake when it became involved in Russia and Ukraine politics. For the winter holidays, Coca Cola, in an effort to connect with Russian consumers, posted a Christmas card that included a map of Russia. However, the map of Russia did not include the Crimea Region, which upset Putin’s supporters as it was a political issue in the country. In response to this mistake, Coca Cola fixed the map, and in the process, offended Ukraine citizens on the other side of the political issue. The hashtag #BanCocaCola became popular in Ukraine. Coca Cola eventually deleted its holiday post and apologized to the public.
Lesson: Do not get involved in tricky topics, such as political issues. Be careful of what you are posting online and research it beforehand!
5. Total Beauty, an online publication company, tweeted out a picture of Whoopi Goldberg at the Oscars. Unfortunately, the company made a mistake and confused Whoopi Goldberg with Oprah Winfrey. Customers recognized the mistake immediately.
Lesson: A brand’s image can be tarnished from a small social media mistake.
6. After the Republican National Convention, the Justice Department accidentally sent out a tweet poking fun at Melania Trump. As it turned out, a worker at the Justice Department accidentally tweeted out to the wrong account. The worker meant to tweet from his personal account. The Justice Department quickly took down the tweet, apologized, and denied the worker further access to the account.
Lesson: Do not confuse personal and professional social media accounts. Double check before you post something online.
As evidenced by the examples above, it takes only seconds to post to social media and mistakes can happen quickly. A simple check of the content being posted before hitting “send” is important and can potentially prevent a huge mistake from occurring. Mistakes are not inevitable; it is clear that even the biggest companies make mistakes. It is important to respond to mistakes in a positive way to maintain a positive brand image. Read more to learn how to mitigate social media mistakes.