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Top 8 Social Media Marketing Mistakes You Must Be Careful

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social-media-mistakesTo engage your audience today, it is quite essential for you to have an active social media presence. If you have a business with zero presence on any social media platforms then you are losing out big time in building and expanding a loyal user base.

If you are not active and engaging enough with your audience then you stand on a serious risk of losing out to your competition.

Once on social media, businesses often have the tendency to get complacent and starts taking it pretty easy while thinking social media as a no brainier. Well here is a reality check, no doubt social media can be a boon, but if it is not carefully handled it can very well seal your fate. Following are few social media marketing mistakes that business should be careful of.

1. Monitoring the dissatisfied staff

disgruntled tweetIn May 2012, a dissatisfied employee of an online ticket agency, disgruntled with the Co. used some misappropriate words for the company’s working environment. The tweet was taken off almost in an hour, and a follow up apology message apologising for the ‘unauthorized’ comment was put up, but all this had already put the companies name in bad light. There are numerous number of examples where the disgruntled employees use the company’s official account to display their dissatisfaction.
Thus it is important for companies to know, be aware of attitude and monitor the people handling the social media accounts of the organisation. If suppose the employee is disgruntled and looks to be losing his/her patience or not particularly happy with the policies then they may not be the right people to handle the online presence of the organization.

2. An Offer that is Insensitive

Here is another example of poor marketing on Twitter. In the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, some companies like Gap, American Apparel and Urban Outfitters used twitter to market offers like free shipping so as to encourage people for shopping as an alternative to feel happy rather than be sad about the disaster without much compassion or thought.
These companies failed to realise that shopping was never the priority for those forced to abandon and evacuate their homes.
It’s never an intelligent idea to market and promote your products off of tragic events like natural disasters. This kind of SMM strategy didn’t worked and looked as a complete opportunistic, ignorant and insensitive move.

3. Handling the disgruntled customer

bad response to customersIn 2012 an unsatisfied and disgruntled customer publicly criticized and shamed a restaurant and eating joint in Boston on their Facebook business page after the customer felt that the dessert she had there was completely sub-par and of bad quality. The Restaurant acted completely opposite to this and rather than removing the comments and forwarding an apology, it replied in an unprofessional, vulgar, abusive and profane language.

With this kind of reaction the restaurant’s social media audience were naturally appalled. This internet/public stunt surely didn’t cut well with the viewers and produced negative attention.

If some customer or client is not satisfied with your service or products, reacting negatively is not going to help the situation on the contrary it will further worsen it. You should judge the situation on its merit and see whether the complaint is valid and genuine. If a complaint is made publically then try to solve it publicly. Be sincere, honest and offer quick, reasonable solutions. If the customer is unreasonable, at least you as the service provider tried your best and other clients/users will see that.
Always be open and accept criticisms gracefully. Offering a quick apology and trying to turn a bad situation around in a creative, sincere manner will have a better impact on the customer. It will cool him off and often appeases the customer.

4. Confusion arising due to many accounts.

socialmedia_mistakesAn American employee of Red Cross accidentally got confused and goofed up accounts as they posted a brief about how they got drunk on DOGFISH’S beer on the official Twitter page of Red Cross Society. This was really very embarrassing and could have had negative effects on PR efforts of the organization.

But the employee realizing the mistake reacted quickly and apologized humbly, publically admitting her naivety & unfamiliarity with their new social media network management software and added a little humour to it. This had a positive effect and Red Cross had a graceful recovery. This whole drama making a mistake and admitting it publically with a little humour turned into powerful and an unexpected social media campaign. Dogfish amusingly and quite intelligently used the hashtag #gettngslizzerd in generating good donations for the society.

If you commit a mistake, admit it. The viewers are human-beings too. Don’t be scarred to admit your goof-ups and blunders. If you are able to make light of the errors, add-up a little humour you can easily turn the situation and even earn respect and more fans because of your humility.

5. Avoid footages that are incriminating

bad work ethics1There was an incident in the fall of 2009 involving DOMINO’s where two of its employees thought that it would be quite funny and amusing to post videos on YouTube showing their unsanitary tricks and antics at work involving food.

The videos as expected went viral, and the two employees faced felony charges. Their antics had a very bad impact on Domino’s overall reputation. This case is a good example and the companies should be aware and very careful of what is happening at the business floor. It should also strive to create a positive work environment valuing the employees. This will surely go a long distance in establishing your brand value and lessen the chances of it getting soiled.

6. Never forget to fulfil your promise to your fans/clients.

In 2009 TGI Friday the chain of restaurants, launched a Facebook page that was fake under the name of one of their no.1 fan, Woody. They offered a free hamburger to fans if their newly launched page will acquire around 5 million followers/fans by 30th September. The page was a hit and attained its goal but just a couple of weeks before the actual deadline this page mysteriously got deleted. This whole episode left the fans in distaste and they were wondering whether they’ll be getting their burgers. This had a huge impact on the reputation of the company.

The lesson to be learnt is never break your promise with your audience/fans. Not fulfilling the promises made is the fastest way of losing credibility and customer loyalty.

7. Live snoozing on Social Media

Funny-Facebook-Status-sleeping-at-workIn 2006 an employee of Comcast employee accidentally fell asleep during the job and the client who was getting served by this employee witnessed the whole episode and recorded this snooze fest and posted the video on YouTube. As expected the video went viral clocking a million views. This had a very bad impact on Comcast’s image and showed their service levels at sub-par with other competitors. This shows that social media can really be quite unforgiving if you are not careful enough in keeping up your service levels. If you lack commitment to the quality of service, you’ll be pleasing less and displeasing more customers which can really have a negative impact on your reputation in the realm of social media.

8. Avoid adding gasoline in the fire

nestleIn 2010 Nestle was embroiled in a controversy with protests erupting on its Facebook page alleging that Nestle was using palm oil from deforested regions of Indonesia in producing their chocolate products. Nestle response to the controversy on Facebook was rather unprofessional. They tried to be defensive and even tried to remove Facebook posts and the video which only worsen the situation. This further fuelled the public anger.

Whenever you are in this kind of situation do things that doesn’t add fuel to the fire. Create protocol and rules as to what should be done in case of public outrages and negative press.


Always be on your toes to have a healthy online reputation. Create protocols, policies and rules. Hold staff accountable for any wrong social media activity which may directly affect the reputation of the company.

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  • There are 2 comments

    • 5 years ago

      Indrajit Goswami   /   Reply

      Excellent post, Mayank!! Well done. I’m getting altogether different taste now from Mayank.I’ll share.

    • 5 years ago

      Vijayant Sharma   /   Reply

      Excellent post with relevant examples of the mistakes committed even by the large companies. Good learning on the perils of social media venture and how to avoid them,

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