Your brand wants to get ‘Internet famous’ for good things, right? Here are a few business mistakes on social media that you can avoid to be sure t
hat you don’t wind up being the wrong kind of Internet famous! Avoid these mistakes as best you can, and be prepared for the fact that the mass of social media users may have their own ideas for how they want to interact with your brand!
McDonald’s doesn’t quite seem to get it
McDonalds is one of the guiltiest of indulgences when it comes to food. Most of the time, even those who eat there will pig out on a Big Mac, and then spend the next hour telling anyone how bad a decision it was.
Even at the best of times, McDonalds has a hard time getting positive reactions from people online. But when they went out and tried to get those positive stories, they got something else. The #McDStories campaign was meant to get some free positive PR on their Twitter account. What they got was more like these tweets:
I just waited 10 minutes for a sandwich that basically burned my face off, yet it came with cold fries. #McDstories
— Todd (@BlessYouMadly) December 30, 2012
— Gareth Bird (@garethbirddj) April 30, 2016
Not a whole lot of good PR there! The business mistakes on social media to watch out for here is that McDonalds tried to force their audience into giving them content. They then promoted this hashtag to non-fans. This put bad on top of bad – like McNuggets on a Big Mac.
Amazon’s new Echo is suppose to be like Siri for your entire home. You can ask it questions, control your music, and use it to control other devices. It’s an interesting idea, but their YouTube video ad for it is 100% #Fail:
Yes, that was the fakest family of all time. Worst of all, that was the creepiest computer of all time. Did anyone else feel like it has HAL 9000 and we were all about to be murdered unless we went inside it and shut down all of its memory systems?
And…AND…it goes on for FOUR MINUTES!!! Not even our video promotion service can help keep this from being the mega-creep of the year.
It’s no wonder they disabled comments for this video, because they likely would have been filled with worse than the tweets that found their way to Twitter:
Bummer about the Amazon Echo: it'll never be popular enough to support jokes about how creepy it is.
— Matt Frost (@mattfrost) November 11, 2014
These are not the tweets of a public that is ready for this product, or at the least ready for this style of advertising. Had they put it in an office setting, where you’d want an assistant, they could have come out with a much different result. Instead we get the worst family ever, and frightening vision of a future where machines owned by global conglomerates listen to your every word.
Get this crazy statistic – 50% of all parents on Earth are male. When you purposely make fun of this large demographic (some say that it is the second largest demographic of parents) it can have poor results for your brand.
Huggies decided to do a completely ill-advised promotion that centered around…well, how bad they imagined dads were at being dads. One voiceover from a video went:
“To prove Huggies diapers and wipes can handle anything, we put them to the toughest test imaginable: dads, alone with their babies, in one house, for five days, while we gave moms some well deserved time off. How did Huggies products hold up to daddyhood?”
This lead to a petition being sent around online by a stay at home dad, garnering over 1,300 signatures. The result was real change, such as the change from a confused looking dad holding a baby in a business suit, to this confident dad in a t-shirt.
When it comes to social media, try to think for a moment about who you may be offending. If it’s 50% of your target market, you’re likely making a mistake.
If there’s one thing you need to know about business mistakes on social media, it’s that you can not control the Internet. Once you try to do that you will take a beating nearly every time. Add this in with forced labor on the holidays, Thanksgiving no less, and you’d got a powder keg of anger.
This is what happened to Kmart when they announced last year that they would be open on Thanksgiving day. Many immediately thought that, you know, maybe their employees would rather be at home with their families, rather than being forced to work. Comments on Facebook included:
“Everybody thinks your executives are horrible people.”
“This is a message to all Kmart employees! Do not go to work on Thanksgiving Day!”
Kmart had a cut and paste response that they gave nearly everyone on their Facebook page and Twitter:
“We understand many associates want to spend time with their families during the holiday. With this in mind Kmart stores do their very best to staff with seasonal associates and those who are needed to work holidays.”
Leading one smart Twitter user to quip:
@Kmart thanks for the canned response. So, am I to assume your holiday help doesn't have a family to spend time with?
— Natalie Jarmul (@Nat_Nat_Natalie) November 6, 2013
When it comes to forcing people to work on a national holiday, it seems that you just can’t win. The harder you try to fight it, the bigger the beating you get. If you want to learn anything from these business mistakes on social media, it’s that you do NOT control the Internet, so prepare for a #FAIL before it happens!
Feature image via Ollyy / Shutterstock