Social Media Fails - even the biggest brands get it wrong


Social Media Fails - even the biggest brands get it wrong

May 27 2016 | by SAFINA ZULFIQAR


Businesses today feel the need to have a presence online, and with social media platforms increasing the direct reach to your audience you can understand why. But following the latest trends blind can create a serious backlash and here’s a list of our best, (or should we say worst?) examples.

Remember your brand identity

The old cliche ‘you love it or hate it’ springs to mind but emojis always receive a mixed response. If emojis are used well, relevant to your target audience and fit with your brand identity, they can enhance engagement. The emphasis is really on your target demographic as campaigns on social media need to resonate with your audience and this is where House of Fraser went horribly wrong.  

In February HoF launched the Valentine campaign ‘#Emojinal’ - I think you know where we’re going with this!

Users were actually voicing concerns that House of Fraser may have been victim to hacking due to the out of character and random nature of the posts. Especially with the target demographic of HoF being older than your average teenager, it’s a mystery who at HoF HQ thought emojis were the way forward but they were clearly mistaken. This highlights how key tone of voice is, and if you change so drastically overnight your customers will be left just as confused as we were.

Do your research

The Oscars is one of the most highly anticipated celebrity events of the year and many brands get involved. Total Beauty, an online publication, realised just how popular the Oscar hashtag could get when they tweeted a picture of actress Whoopi Goldberg and mistakenly thought she was in fact American star Oprah.

A mistake like this by a brand wanting to get involved with what’s current on the internet was obviously going to get picked up by users. Total Beauty publicly apologised and sent out a tweet addressing Oprah.

Relevant hashtags only

In April, we saw UK brand Homebase in the press being slammed for the use of a tasteless hashtag. Rather bizarrely, the customer facing account dedicated to support decided to end an entirely unrelated tweet with the hashtag #RIPPRINCE. 

Homebase were quick to delete the post and later apologised, however it was a key example of where trending topics should be left alone if they’re not relevant to you. Users quickly spotted this and with the power of social media, word spread... for all the wrong reasons. Along with irrelevant hashtags, too many hashtags can also detract from the credibility of the post, so keep it concise and consistent.

Pay attention to detail

Because your audience definitely will. This one is a classic. Last year we saw Blackberry post a picture promoting the use of Blackberry devices on Twitter, however they failed to notice Twitter highlights the device you are posting from.

Promoting a rival competitor whether directly or indirectly never makes for good press. Funnily enough they also faced a similar problem in the past when a celebrity who posted on social media endorsing Blackberry was in fact posting from an Apple mobile. Key takeaway here? Learn from your mistakes.

As a digital marketing agency we understand the need for social media, when used effectively it is a great marketing tool to engage and inform your existing customers, target new customers and  expand your reach. However never jump on the bandwagon or simply feel you have to do something because everyone else is, social media should always formulate a part of your digital marketing strategy - it’s not just about scheduling out a few posts.


Social Media Fails - even the biggest brands get it wrong

BY SAFINA ZULFIQAR