{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

As a social media marketeer, I'm very aware of how tricky it can sometimes be to prove the value of social media to a brand, particularly a brand with a self-deprecating view of their public perception.

I lose count of the ways I've heard a brand tell me 'Not everyone can be 'the Meerkat' or sexy like Nike', which in some ways is true, but that shouldn't put you off.

What should make a brand nervous is the prospect of getting it wrong, as in the examples I've gathered together for you here...

As an agency marketer though, I'm quite relieved to say that a lot of these mistakes seem to have been driven by brands diving in without consulting an expert, or doing their research properly.

Far be it from me to tell you that social media marketing should never be attempted by a brand themselves, but if you're going to give it a go on your own, try to learn from the mistakes and slip-ups of others, like these ones:

Don't attempt to sabotage a competitor

Back in 2006, mobile phone manufacturer Motorola got in hot water when it was alleged that they placed a video on YouTube showing how easy it was to snap a Samsung mobile phone in half.

Motorola initially denied the video was theirs, though later reports claimed they admitted to having made the video as an internal joke, and weren't sure how it came to be on YouTube.

Don't fool yourself that "it'll all die down"

Before they became the shining example of social media goodness that they are today, Dell made many mistakes in handling crises. From the emergence of 'Dell Hell' and numerous 'I hate Dell' blogs to the exploding batteries saga, Dell would probably be the first to tell you they learnt a lot from those early days. You can't just ignore a crisis and hope it'll all go away, it won't.

Don't put your most junior person on it

Just because the guy in the post room 'has a facebook profile AND he tweets!', doesn't mean he's going to be any good at doing your social media marketing. Habitat were a perfect example of this with the Twitter #hashtag debacle this summer.

As they found to their cost, getting an intern to decide your social media strategy can be a big mistake.

'If you build it, he will come'. Or perhaps not...

That famous quote from Field of Dreams, "If you build it, he will come", doesn't work too well in social media, and there are literally thousands of discarded or un-cared-for Facebook pages to prove this point.

You can't just build a social media profile, whether it be Facebook page, blog or microsite, and hope that the power of the 'social graph' will bring you fame and fortune. You've got to actually let people know about it somehow...

Don't try to fake the buzz

There are some great examples of this in the public domain (Honda being a great one), but sadly, there are even more out there that haven't reached the headlines yet.

The basic rule here is: if you go on blogs, forums or comment threads and write positive things about your brand, hoping that nobody will notice, you're going to get found out. It doesn't matter how sneaky you are either, as forum owners will happily 'out' you when they check IP addresses or registered e-mails. Sooner or later, you'll get busted. And it's going to hurt...

Me being silly, as usual

Don't underestimate the childishness of people (like me)

The screenshot I've used above to illustrate this is taken from this very site, but it's probably unfair to cite Econsultancy as an example. A better example would be Skittles! Anybody who has checked their tweet-stream (currently being streamed live to the "chatter" section of their website) will know how childish people can be when they see their comments are being streamed.

Bottom-line: If you don't want to see people saying childish things about you ("They're polluting our stream, man!") then don't take the risk...

Don't be too controversial

This one is so fresh still, I expect it's dividing opinion on whether it was a 'mistake' or just a clever publicity stunt. Either way, PepsiCo found themselves in a bit of a pickle recently, being forced to apologise to half of the world's population for their "AMP up before you score" iPhone application. Building an application that courts such controversy is a very fine line to tread...

Don't pi$$ off the sites you're using

Like Habitat, Moonfruit decided to use the 'Trending Topics' section on Twitter to get themselves seen more, with mixed results. Whilst they certainly made an impact with the plan, with many citing it as a great example of using social media, it also served to get them banned from the trending topics by Twitter.

I don't know about you, but if my social media strategy relied so heavily on Twitter, I'd try my darnedest not to get myself on their blacklist...!

Henry Elliss

Published 22 October, 2009 by Henry Elliss

Henry Elliss is a senior strategist at Good Relations and contributor at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or via his own parenting blog.

18 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Avatar-blank-50x50

Ian - Marketing Difference

That's a very good point about streaming your Twitter feed on your website. I've seen an example where a dispute with a flat mate about unwashed dishes was played out on a home page.

almost 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Julie Hall - Women Unlimited

Great post and I agree with everything, with the exception of your statements about Moonfruit... They trended for 3 days on Twitter and managed to attract over 35,000 followers.  They weren't banned, they were just knocked off the trending topics (and let's face it, we should all be so lucky to have our business name as a trending topic!).  Off the back of that campaign they were interviewed by Forbes and one of the big New York papers (I can't remember which one).    They also got two mentions on Mashable.  For a small 10 man office, they achieved a lot of traction off their Twitter campaign.  Who wouldn't want that for their business!

almost 7 years ago

Henry Elliss

Henry Elliss, Digital Marketing Director at Tamar

Julie - that's a fair point. I guess I just used them as an example of what can happen, rather than intending to criticise them. A lot of the examples I gave actually got quite a lot of publicity, though not all of them in a good way, ha ha! But I think that anybody trying some of them for a second time might find the reception was different.

almost 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Kyle

You should add there to concentrate on a maximum of 3 social medias and from there you can expand. Social media comes in different forms, pick a few networks and enhance your profile on those.

almost 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Wendy Tan White

Thanks Julie! It was Wall Street Journal, plus FT, Techcrunch, Mashable, Brand Republic, Reuters, Guardian etc etc

Some fair points Henry.

Just a few facts, we thought it was reasonable to be taken off the top of the trending list after 3 days, at this point we'd had 0.5m tweets and 35k followers and were probably slightly emabarassed how effective the campaign was! The campaign was heavily fuelled by the humour and creative entries from twitterers world wide and Twitter itself didn't stop us using Twitter or stop people from following us! As a consequence of the campaign our visitors, subscribers and traffic are significantly up particularly from the elusive US customer base and we've had some great coverage so much so our SEO went from page 4 to page 1! Incidentally there have been many similar campaigns before us and post us on Twitter, big and small brands jwith varying degrees of success. This includes, Bing, Dell and Techcrunch.

However it wouldn't be appropriate for all brands and I'm sure we'll learn from the campaign and do something different for our next one ;)

Wendy

almost 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Wendy Tan White

Thanks Julie! It was Wall Street Journal, plus FT, Techcrunch, Mashable, Brand Republic, Reuters, Guardian etc etc

Some fair points Henry.

Just a few facts, we thought it was reasonable to be taken off the top of the trending list after 3 days, at this point we'd had 0.5m tweets and 35k followers and were probably slightly emabarassed how effective the campaign was! The campaign was heavily fuelled by the humour and creative entries from twitterers world wide and Twitter itself didn't stop us using Twitter or stop people from following us! As a consequence of the campaign our visitors, subscribers and traffic are significantly up particularly from the elusive US customer base and we've had some great coverage so much so our SEO went from page 4 to page 1! Incidentally there have been many similar campaigns before us and post us on Twitter, big and small brands jwith varying degrees of success. This includes, Bing, Dell and Techcrunch.

However it wouldn't be appropriate for all brands and I'm sure we'll learn from the campaign and do something different for our next one ;)

Wendy

almost 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

hair iron chi

One is always on a strange road, watching strange scenery and listening to strange music. Then one day, you will find that the things you try hard to forget are already gone.

about 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

casual ugg


I've never given much thought to how I would die, but dying in the place of someone I love seems like a good way to go.
I only said it’d be better if we weren’t friends, not that I didn’t wanna be.
Try first to make their mistake sound less serious and then to reduce it to nothing at all.
Good news never goes beyond the gate, while bad news spread far and wide.
On festive occasions more than ever one thinks of one's dear ones far away.It is on the festival occasions when one misses his dear most.

about 6 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.