Things to avoid and do in social media. Examples.

As social media is spreading around and utilized as a concept to advance information for people, products, services and brands there are companies who dare to also fail with experimenting. Some of them, due to such actions, give feedback on what to avoid. Other times through white papers and case studies, other – loud enough – with what is heard for them.

An example for this can be Wall Mart. They engaged in Facebook tactics of socializing. Yet despite the usage of the concept of conversation (which social media is mostly about) they did very little in this area. Thus, the audience criticized it bad. Add to that wrong targeting, i.e. aiming to elder people while publishing content in Facebook which is for younger. Result: Very bad, as we read.

Another example shows a blunder in the combination of traditional and social media. A TV Channel in US, set up a huge billboard where they presented tweets as they were published. The billboard had a huge picture of 3 anchorman next to the tweets. So, at some point a newsflash gets tweeted in this TV Channel’s billboard saying: 3 Accused of Gang Rape in Monroeville. Well, imagine the complete picture with the photo of 3 anchorman and that tweet side by side.

Keeping on with examples we have another which choose to automate the process of communication through Twitter (yeah, like this can happen seriously). They have made a website and when someone in twitter mentioned the word “skittles” in Twitter, that tweet showed up in the website. Pretty techy you may say… Well, the result of it was that Skittle fans noticed this automatic “thing” and reacted to this lack of communication and “pretend marketing”. So what they did was to tweet in Twitter (of course) with messages full of profanity, which also included the word “skitter”. Thus, results popped up in the website also… The company reacted with removing the Twitter widget from that site(!!!) instead of engaging in actual communication. Bigger mistake.

Well, here is another story which is a good example. The company is Vodafone UK. Some employee posted some derogatory comments on homosexuals. The fuzz was big, but instead of Vodafone trying to call the whole case a breach of website or someone hacked us, they apologized for the behavior of this employee, to each twitter who complained about the original tweet. Also, fired the guilty one.

An example of timing is this one. Ever heard the story with BP and the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico? Well, BP did whatever she could investing in expensive advertisement, Facebook and Twitter activity also to show that they do everything they can. But, from what I have read the reaction came too late. So, timing is another crucial factor.

Another one comes from HabitatUK. One of their interns hash tagged in the Twitter effort of the company to promote their spring collection. He used tags related with news topics of that time. Some of them were ones related with the Iranian elections where 12 people were killed. So, imagine a campaign for new products to exploit such. The reaction in the ecosystem of Twitter was huge. They removed the tweets without apologizing and that put oil in the fire, resulting into huge negative promotion. Eventually, they had to apologize but the damage was already there.

Well, from all these we understand that the whole ecosystem is still about people and not of machines or automations. People need to be treated in virtual worlds like in the real world. Because, social media ecosystem is just a reflection of real people actions. Add to this the easiness with which a message can spread around the world and there you have immediate democracy (or not).

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