3 Big Social Media Mistakes (and How You Can Avoid Them)

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It’s a new day, a new year, and a chance at a fresh start for you and your online brand. 2012 has come and gone, so just like the past year, take this opportunity to put those ugly, wish-you-could-forget social media mistakes behind you.

Photo via Matt Biddulph

While 2012 may not have been your best year in social media marketing; rest assured it was not as bad as some big brands might have had. While they might still be smarting from the backlash of a tweet gone wrong, you on the other hand have the opportunity to right those wrongs and turn 2013 into your breakout year.

Social Media Mistakes (and How You Can Avoid Them)

  Mistake #1

Spamming Your Hard-Earned Twitter Followers:

Interacting with your followers on Twitter is a highly encouraged practice, especially if you want to build relationships and gain visibility for your brand or current promotion. What has the opposite effect is a blatant disregard for Twitter best practices as Toyota did during last year’s Super Bowl.

Rather than simply tweeting out about the “Camry Effect a Friend Giveaway,” Toyota’s social media team decided to create multiple accounts including @CamryEffect, @CamryEffect1, and @CamryEffect2. They then began using these accounts to spam anyone adding one of the various Super Bowl hashtags to their tweet.

Bad form on Toyota’s part and a reminder to all of us that no matter how large or small your brand might be, you are never immune from a potentially devastating mistake.

How You Can Avoid This Mistake: Understand the needs of your followers and offer the quality content they’re craving. Respect the trust you’ve earned and always ask for their permission before sending any unrequested promotional content.

  Mistake #2

Don’t Tweet Without Double Checking Where You’re Tweeting From

Mistake number two comes from KitchenAid and their social media representative who mistakenly tweeted “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president!” from the company account (@KitchenAidUSA) instead of their personal account. The offensive nature of the tweet and total disregard for audience or community created an immediate outcry from followers and an apology from KitchenAid.

As someone who manages multiple social media channels and consistently tweets on-the-go, I can sympathize with the social media manager who made one of the largest social media blunders last year. However, this big brand mistake could have been avoided by simply double checking the account they were tweeting from.

How You Can Avoid This Mistake: Never tweet for the brand you are managing while multi-tasking and never tweet without ensuring which account you are tweeting from. Most importantly, if what you are posting could potentially get you fired, don’t post it — anywhere.

  Mistake #3

Using Trending Hashtags without Researching the Topic

Using a trending hashtag, but failing to research the reason behind it created serious social fallout for the team at Celeb Boutique.

The morning after the horrific shooting in Aurora, Colorado during the midnight showing of The Dark Night Rises, Celeb Boutique tweeted out: “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress :).”

Among the many problems I have with this tweet is the blatant neglect of the social media manager to do their homework on the trending topic. A little time spent researching #Aurora would have saved the company a lot of heartache.

How You Can Avoid This Mistake: Take your time researching any topic or trend before using it in your content. Just because a topic is trending, does not mean you should use it. Research and then use common sense and discernement when using any hashtag for your brand.

So what mistake have you seen that’s dealt a fatal blow to a brand?

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Rebekah Radice
Rebekah is the CEO of Rebekah Radice LLC, a digital marketing agency assisting business owners in the creation and execution of an integrated online strategy.Rebekah has been actively involved in the marketing industry for over 17 years and is eager to put her experience, innovative ideas and keen sense of "what works," to work for you!
Rebekah Radice

@rebekahradice

Social Media Marketing, Strategist, Digital Marketing, Branding, Blogger, Speaker, Trainer | Coffee addict, sunshine lover & nuts about my 2 pups! ♥
Targeting Your Google Plus Circles http://t.co/JOrrAruFdE via @collectivess - 1 hour ago
Rebekah Radice
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Comments

  1. Nice work Rebekah, I would only add…limit your hashtags per tweet. Just something I see a lot, a tweet with 5 words and 12 hashtags…LOL

    • Great point! I have seen the exact same thing. Tweets that are just simply hashtags and a few words mixed in. I've yet to understand the point behind that or why they think anyone would want to read it!

  2. Great examples!

  3. Wow! That’s is shockingly true. One have to be really careful where you tweeting from!

  4. sandyappleyard says:

    Yikes! I didn't even know you could do #2! Hashtags are a major faux pas for me, especially since I don't know how to use them….lol, and I read a blog a long time ago saying that hashtags are jarring for readers and should be avoided. So I don't use them :)

  5. Great tip. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hehehe… Yes, #2 has been the source of very funny stories on the Internet.

  7. ideagirlmedia says:

    Rebekah,

    Good examples of instances that most certainly could have been avoided! Also, good insight for those just heading onto Twitter.

    Another tidbit of insight I would add regarding homework: Become familiar with any tools before you use them to interact on social media.

    That is perhaps a most vital form of homework, as not knowing could assist that harmful tweet. Especially for social media managers overseeing multiple brands. Can you imagine tweets for a cosmetic company landing on a kickboxing gym account and vice versa?

    You are right: Do your homework. Or, hire someone that will. ;)

    ~Keri

  8. Rebekah,

    These are some big blunders. The easiest way to avoid #2 is exactly what you said – never send out a Tweet like that for goodness sake. But the alternative is to use a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer but have separate logins for work accounts and personal accounts.

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