We can learn a lot from some of the 2012 social media disasters we’ve heard of.

No doubt you have heard that using social media for marketing is a great idea and that every business needs to use these venues to find, and interact with, their customers and prospective clients. That’s true. But…it can go horribly wrong if you don’t spend enough time and attention devising appropriate campaigns. Take a look at some of the worst social media disasters of 2012, per Mashable, and ways you can prevent them from afflicting your business’s online reputation.

The Hash Tag From H.e. “double hockey sticks”…

You can ensure your business becomes a trending topic on Twitter by utilizing a unique hash tag. For instance, McDonald’s decided to run a social media campaign using #mcdstories to share stories from farmers and other vendors of the fast food giant. Unfortunately, dissatisfied customers took over the hash tag and used it to indicate personal horror stories about McDonald’s, thus taking what could have been a very positive campaign and turning it into a nightmare.

Lesson: Be careful how broad your hash tags are lest they be overtaken by disgruntled customers.

Bad Timing

It’s important to be aware of global events when posting to your social media accounts. For instance, earlier this year the United States’ National Rifle Association sent out a tweet asking shooters if they had weekend plans with their guns. The only problem was that it was broadcast immediately following news of a sniper who killed several people in a Colorado movie theatre. Another company that sells fashion took over the hash tag #Aurora to talk about Kim Kardashian, obviously another poor choice.

Lesson: Stay up to date on global affairs so bad timing doesn’t affect your company’s reputation and don’t try to hitch your wagon to a star if it’s inappropriate.

Personal and Professional Account Mix-Ups

Even the big guys can get social media wrong; the person in charge of Microsoft’s social media posting tweeted some negative personal opinions about a public figure to the U.S. Labour Secretary. Since both accounts were extremely popular, the tweet was broadcast to millions of people and re-tweeted to millions more. That didn’t make Microsoft look so good…

Lesson: When you’ve got someone in your organisation doing the tweeting and posting for your business social media accounts, you run the risk of getting personal opinions mixed up in your professional reputation. Think twice before putting Ann in Accounting or Otto in Operations in charge of social media posting.

Social media marketing is an important and vital method of managing your company’s customers and reputation online. It can be used as an excellent relationship development tool that can help you build a great reputation and make powerful connection. Don’t make mistakes like the ones above., If you’re worried about the amount of time, expertise, and attention to detail a member of your staff can provide to social media marketing, contact us about professionally managing your business’ online reputation.

(Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net/“Michal Marcol”)

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