May
3
2012

3 Social Media Marketing Bloopers [And What We Should Learn From Them]

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Social media can be a powerful marketing tool. And with great power…comes great responsibility. The very nature of Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms makes it nearly impossible to cover up a mishap without hundreds of eyes catching it. Just a few mouse clicks and retweets later, and your business’s little blunder is an internet sensation. Here are just a few scandalous stories that make your Facebook typo look tame, and what you should learn from these bloopers:

Pub Owner Causes Waves with Drunken Rants on Business Page

Beer Bottles
Photo credit: thesaint, stock.xchng

The Story:
The holidays can be a tough time, but there are—shall we say—more appropriate ways to handle one’s pent-up frustrations. One Fort Worth pub owner recently dumped his rage on his business page, apparently intoxicated and a little grouchy. The story goes that Zio Carlo Magnolia Brew Pub owner Carlo Galotto had been drinking when he took to his business’s Facebook page to rant about Obama’s “spoiled” children and launch some colorful language into cyberspace. Apparently, damage control was put into place as comments were removed and apologies were given, but not before word spread nationwide about the embarrassing blunder (read the full story here).

The Lesson:
Keep a healthy separation between business and personal when it comes to social media. While occasional personal comments can help business page followers feel more connected with the business, they should be thoughtfully planned as part of the business strategy—not in the heat of emotion. When in doubt, leave the comment and come back to it with fresh eyes later, or have a coworker proof the comment.

Ragu Gets Hit By Tomatoes After Insulting Target Audience

Tomatoes
Photo credit: JR3, stock.xchng

The Story:
Brilliant idea in Ragu’s marketing department: create a viral video advertising their brand. Bad idea: making that video mocking dads in the kitchen, then fire them into the twitter streams of…dad bloggers. The clip is titled “Dad Cooks Dinner: What is Dinnertime Like When Dad Cooks?” and features various women discussing the subject interview-style. It seems innocent enough, but the repeating theme of dads cooking only simple, easy meals didn’t set well. The “link spam” was met with a slew of posts decrying the brand’s misrepresentation of dads as passive and secondary to moms (read the full story here).

The Lesson:
Know your audience. If a man embraces his role as a father enough to blog about it regularly, chances are, he won’t appreciate being portrayed as passive. Ragu identified their target audience as blogging dads, then proceeded to spam them with videos that portrayed dads in a not-so-positive way. After thoughtfully choosing an audience, marketers should gain an understanding of them—figure out what keeps them up at night. Clearly, Ragu’s market research was lacking, and that negligence resulted in a pricey campaign that put the company on worse terms with their intended audience.

Mark Davidson’s Ghost Writer Bites Back

Twitter
Photo credit: fds, stock.xchng

The Story:
A social marketing & communications strategist named Mark Davidson sent the web into a frenzy when his Twitter feed filled up with nasty comments from an allegedly fired ghostwriter gone rogue. The tweets began with “Hi. I’m one of three people who have been ghostwriting @markdavidson’s tweets for the past 4 years while he is out playing golf.” The progression of tweets paints an ugly picture of the real Mark Davidson, while barraging him for forgetting to change his password. “And yes, as @markdavidson’s former Twitter ghostwriter of 4 years; I am drunk. Drunk and angry. (You should have changed your password!)” A subsequent story came out saying that the whole thing was a hoax pulled by Mark himself, but it’s impossible to tell what really happened (read the full story here).

The Lesson:
Transparency is key. While the ethics of ghostwriting is a hotly debated issue that I won’t get into here, this story (hoax or not) illustrates the need for candor in the world of social marketing. We’ve accepted that political speeches are probably written by the campaign, not the candidate, and letters from the CEO likely began in a public relations department. But in the more personal setting of social media pages, especially ones that claim to be a specific person, people expect to know who they are interacting with. If a company requires the help of extra staff to maintain the owner’s page, it’s more genuine to be upfront about it (i.e. sign the message with the true author’s name) or switch to a more generic business page that lists who the authors are.

Comments

  1. Branding never ends – even when you leave your job for the night. It is who you are and something, unfortunately, you can never escape. Every word, every action matters, not just online! Good article, we’ve shared it on our FB and Echo pages!

  2. Pingback: Thumbs Down: 37 Posts About Cruddy Marketing (and What You Can Do Better) | Complete SEO Marketing News

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