Last year, after some back and forth tweeting with a disgruntled USAirways customer, the person managing the social media account sent a graphic and offensive image that was seen around the world.

While there are many articles out there telling you what to do with social media, it’s just as important to understand what not to do. We take inspiration from a few companies that have fallen flat on their faces when it comes to using social media.

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USAirways Gets Inappropriate

Last year, after some back and forth tweeting with a disgruntled USAirways customer, the person managing the social media account sent a graphic and offensive image that was seen around the world.

Where They Went Wrong: While USAirways sticks with its story that tweeting the image was an accident, the fact is there was some sloppy handling of the situation.

Social Media Solution: USAirWays’ social media management team should spend more time reviewing updates before hitting the “publish” button.

7-Eleven Got Cute on a Serious Topic

Often the fails we see on social media are simply people not thinking through what they write. That was the case when 7-Eleven’s Facebook flippant post about Mental Health Month offended many people and caused a PR nightmare.

Where They Went Wrong: Certainly the person who crafted this update meant to be funny, but the topic was a little too sensitive to make jokes about.

Social Media Solution: While you don’t want to have to approve every social update, having a master list of approved (and taboo) topics can help your team stay on track.

Smuckers Tries to Bury the Truth

It seems many brands still aren’t accustomed to letting their social media fans speak their mind. That’s what happened when people started criticizing Smuckers for its stance on GMO labeling. Once people started badmouthing the brand, the comments were deleted.

Where They Went Wrong: In this digital era, the worst thing you can do is delete comments that simply argue against your own beliefs.

Social Media Solution: Sure, it’s scary to let your customers control the message, but that’s the world we live in. If you are secure in your stance, you shouldn’t feel threatened by a healthy argument.

Red Cross Employee Mixes Up Accounts

Here’s another example of simply not paying attention to what you’re doing. Many of us use social media dashboards, where we manage more than one account (sometimes our personal accounts, in addition to business profiles). A Red Cross employee accidentally tweeted about getting drunk through the business account, creating quite an uproar.

Where They Went Wrong: This is a case of woeful neglect of attention. Had he been paying closer attention to what he was doing, he could have avoided the scolding he got from his boss.

Social Media Solution: This employee simply shouldn’t have been logged in to his personal account at work. Company policies need to be more strict for people who flip between profiles to avoid this sort of problem.

In each of these situations, the companies could have used a few social media etiquette tips. It’s important to listen to your customers for clues into their values and interests.

Social media representatives need to be free to respond – within defined limits. You can establish guidelines, develop a voice that aligns with your company values, and monitor social media posts to catch any missteps immediately.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s also the founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and contributes to several sites, including ChamberofCommerce.com, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, CorpNet, Small Business Trends, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

Original article: Social Media Fails: When Good Brands Go Wrong

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The post Social Media Fails: When Good Brands Go Wrong appeared first on UNSPOKEN.

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