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Social Media: The good, the bad and the ugly - part III

Regardless of the size of the organisation, all brands are vulnerable to errors but even making a small mistake online can undo all the good publicity gained in the past and it is difficult to recapture. Many of the ugly moments companies experience online underline the value of knowing your audience and highlight the importance of researching before posting; a little care goes a long way in social media marketing.

In the final segment of the series, we explore the ugly side of social media featuring major global corporations. We also provide some tips on how to use social media in the right way to nurture your brand and how to avoid costly online mishaps. 

The Ugly

Delta: The airline that needs geography lessons

Twitter of Delta

As with any major sporting event, the World Cup is a ripe target for corporations looking to get attention on social media. In June 2014, the FIFA World Cup was dominating social media with companies like Nike, Adidas and Snickers effectively and positively engaging their audiences with structured and well-thought-out campaigns. Delta Airlines conversely decided to shoot from the hip in regard to their strategy. In an attempted act of patriotism, Delta posted a congratulations tweet to support Team USA during their game against Ghana, using the Statue of Liberty to denote the USA and a silhouetted giraffe to represent Ghana.

The problem? There are no giraffes in Ghana. While this may not be the most high-profile or offensive social media gaff, it did cause an ugly PR situation for Delta and did little for their reputation as not having a basic grasp geography says a lot about a major travel company.


Twitter of Aldi

Aldi: Fill in the blank

By now you would expect that every company who posts on social media would understand that a ‘fill in the blank’ segment is a golden invitation for Twitter trolls. Apparently Aldi Australia did not get the memo and launched their Twitter campaign in January 2016. The supermarket chain posted "I became an ALDI lover when I tasted ______ for the first time" and asked the Twitterverse to interact and finish the caption. The answers were typically juvenile and ranged from “diarrhoea” and “butts” to “unemployment” and “horse”. It was certainly not Aldi’s finest moment and some argue that the German supermarket chain deliberately concocted the idea to garner attention. Whatever the strategy, it was clearly the wrong move from Aldi and with responses becoming more adult-themed, the company removed the post from Twitter. However, the company kept the Facebook post as it gained good traction, showing that better initial market research would have avoided this ugly incident and social media faux pas.

Key points for your social media strategy

We've listed the good, the bad and the ugly side of social media with the hope that you can learn from the mistakes and replicate the positives from these corporations. Here is some key advice you can use in your own social media marketing strategy:

• Be Honest: Like the old proverb says honesty is the best policy, and as in the case of Cards Against Humanity, it can help boost your reputation.

• Proofread: An extra few minutes revising a Tweet or Facebook post can save a world of trouble and stop a campaign from being remembered for all the wrong reasons.

• A good cause can go a long way: Business is not all about the bottom line, sometimes you need to give back. Giving for a good cause is not just good for corporate conscience, it can reap high levels of consumer engagement and provide a positive public image.

• Understand the context and check those hashtags: While it is tempting to rush in and get involved in a trending topic on social media, perform your due diligence and understand the context of a trend before getting involved. Using a hashtag can get you seen for sure but positing without understanding the true meaning can be catastrophic, and will lead to your brand being misunderstood.

• Research before posting: Before diving into a topic or exposing your company to a current event, do some research beforehand to avoid looking ignorant. Social media is a hotbed of people looking to prove others wrong, research and make sure your facts are accurate before you post.

Want to learn more about social media marketing strategy? Join our internet marketing course to get a step up in the business world. 

Read more:

Social Media: The good, the bad and the ugly - part I

Social Media: The good, the bad and the ugly - part II