Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you all get to enjoy this festive weekend with lots of gory costumes, great parties and spook&scare aplenty.
While of course every brand jumps on the Halloween bandwagon (I’m doing it right now), I hope you don’t have to encounter any of these five truly horrifying social media blunders. 😉
1. The Viral That Has Gone Too Far.
We’ve all enjoyed the multitude of videos of the Harlem Shake, every sportsteam imaginable doing their version of “Call me maybe” and the millions of Ice Bucket Challenges. Yes, we’re suckers for the funny and we love others making a fool of themselves even more. But – and this is a big BUT – there comes a time when enough is enough. When, to directly translate a German saying, the cheese has been eaten. And everything after that high point is just a big horrible no-go. When I was nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge, I felt the trend had already eclipsed and if it hadn’t been for charity, I would not have done it. The novelty of a Me-Too wears off real fast and brands often don’t get the timing right.
Aside from timing, what brands don’t get right as well is the quality of their Me-Too. Most of the viral hits are either pure luck or really hard work. Giving your intern the camera and telling him or her to create your own hip-cool-omg version of whatever the current trend is does not work. Ever. Or it works too well, but not in your favour. See any “intern rap” video – a horrible trend in German companies.
Virals go viral because they’re good quality (or pure luck). Both is hard to come by.
Example: The German supermarket chain Edeka did a great and edgy ad, featuring a peculiar gentleman singing about how “super cool” Edeka is. It worked for them.
Now for the Me-Toos: The German town of Dorsten decided to put forth their resident peculiar lady to promote the town. The German soccer club Werder Bremen celebrated their derby win. Both videos are less than great and in my opinion scream Me-Too-Not-Done-Right. Oh, and then there was Gay Butters, who parodied the whole thing in front of an Aldi and got 128.000 views. I love the internet and the endless possibilities. But sometimes there’s content that doesn’t need to be there.
2. The Broken Promises.
You like a brand on Facebook. You follow them on Twitter. They got you to subscribe to their YouTube channel. And now you have a certain set of expectations of what will happen. You probably expect to see content that has something to do with the brand or at least the industry this brand is in. Content that will help you better interact with this brand’s products and services or content that will get you sweet deals.
One of the most horrifying blunders brands make every day is to not fulfill that expectation. When a brand sets up a community or social media channels, they make a promise to their fans to be worth their time. And every day I see reputable brands post meaningless, irrelevant pictures, doodles and memes straight from Reddit on their social channels. Content that has nothing to do with your brand. Content that brings likes and comments because it’s funny and pretties up Social Media Manager’s reporting sheets.
But ultimately this does nothing for your business goals.
3. The Catastrophe Surfing.
They mean well. Or do they? Tragedies and catastrophes are always a delicate subject. My advice for brands is to take a step back, tune down their social media activities and re-think anything that they feel they absolutely have to post about five times. Yes, of course they’re sad about all the lost lives in tsunami XYZ or earthquake ABC. But as a brand it’s not their place and frankly bad taste to jump on human tragedies and try to use them for their own gain. Because that’s what this is. Brands: You don’t post out your condolences to your 100.000 Facebook fans because you think this will really change anything – you post it because you want the likes.
And it gets really bad when you try to turn this into even more publicity for yourself. Case in point? See the Bing/Japan Earthquake Tweet story on Venturebeat.
What I also hate is the trend to “click like to pay your respects”. I find it distorts the Like and is just bad taste.
4. The Oh-so-Uninformed. And Downright Outrageous.
Your brand name, product name or anything else that could be related to your brand is trending and you don’t know why? The one thing you shouldn’t do is assume the best and merrily tweet away. Being informed is important. If you don’t have webmonitoring set up: Do it right now. Otherwise you could obliviously be caught in social media blunder number four. One of the more prominent examples:
And then there’s the ones that apparently just don’t care:
5. The Hahahahahaha….No.
This is happening more and more. Brands try to be funny. And that’s okay. But then they try too hard and too long and it just gets awkward. A great example of a fun, spontaneous brand conversation is the German building supplies store Hornbach. They had a male teenage fan ask about one of their employees, and while Hornbach of course couldn’t give out personal details of the girl, they encouraged him in a bro-like fashion to go and talk to her. Their cool response led to hundreds of user comments, an ongoing conversation with the Romeo in that thread and ultimately even the girl of his dreams joined in. The “Hornbach Love Story” (German article) made the rounds as primo community management, being authentic and not forced.
What also made the rounds as funny was the Tescomobile Twitter conversation with a customer. At first everyone smirked, because Tesco and their customer Ricardo were fun to watch. Then everyone went “woah” as Yorkshire Tea jumped in on the conversation. But when Jaffa Cakes and Cadbury joined in and the conversation went on… and on… and on…. it went from being funny to me being over it. Buzzfeed posted the conversation and this very accurate gif.
“Well done, Social Media Managers.”
What do you think? Did I miss out on any scary Social Media blunders?
Picture credit: Splitshire.com