Social media is no longer optional for businesses. Not only are more consumers on social media than ever, more of your competitors are taking advantage of the business tools social media platforms offer. Social media offers a platform for you to communicate directly to your audience, allowing you to build a relationship with them while promoting your brand.
However, like with most things, there’s a downside. When not used responsibly, social media can be a business’ downfall. Even the biggest brands make mistakes that cost them dearly. But by learning from them and following these 3 tips you can avoid your own social media disaster.
Hashtags are a great way to help your content reach a specific audience, outside of your followers. Latching onto a popular hashtag is common practice for businesses. However, when used improperly, a hashtag can be your undoing. Just ask DiGiorno Pizza who faced harsh criticism when they used the #WhyIStayed hashtag to promote their pizza. The hashtag was trending as a way for survivors of domestic violence to express the complexities behind why they stayed in abusive relationships. In using a hashtag that was supposed to promote support and understanding to advertise pizza, DiGiorno appeared insensitive and ignorant. Though they apologized, the entire situation could have been avoided with a little research.
Treat Tragedy with Sensitivity:
It sounds like common sense, but time and time again, we see businesses treating tragic events with insensitivity or even trying to capitalize on them. After the 2011 earthquake that devastated Japan, Bing said it would donate $1 to relief efforts for every retweet. It may have seemed like a kind gesture, but using the tragedy to promote their brand wasn’t well received and Bing received harsh criticism. When in doubt, just don’t say anything at all.
Apologize & Admit When You’re Wrong:
Social media is an open stage and there is nowhere to hide. Mistakes happen, but things can quickly become much worse it’s mishandled.
In 2013, this was the case for Lululemon, a yoga attire retailer. In response to a recall for the fabric in Lululemon’s yoga pants being too sheer, founder Chip Wilson suggested that women’s bodies were at fault, rather than the fabric in a televised interview.
There was instant backlash for the body-shaming comments. Wilson attempted to apologize in a Youtube video, but only apologized for the repercussions his comments had on the Lululemon staff. In failing to apologize to Lululemon’s customers or acknowledge why his comments were inappropriate, the apology completely missed the point.
This not only damaged the company, losing approximately $6 billion in market value, but two years later, Wilson resigned from his position. When apologizing, remember to remain sincere, don’t make excuses, and learn from your mistakes as not to repeat them.
All of these mistakes could have been avoided with a little research, tact, and compassion. The internet has allowed for unprecedented levels of communication between businesses and customers. With that great power comes an even greater responsibility. Remember, the internet may forgive, but it never forgets.
If you’re ready to boost your business’ social media presence, contact MLT Group today at firstname.lastname@example.org or (507) 281-3490! We offer custom social media strategies and social media management on the platforms your customers use most!