6 Epic Social Media Marketing Fails (and how you can avoid them)

6 Epic Social Media Marketing Fails (and how you can avoid them)

Social media marketing for B2B lead generation is an amazing tool to bring your marketing messages to the attention of the wider world. However, if you don’t know how to create an effective B2B social media strategy your brand (and you!) can suffer terrible consequences. Here are some social media marketing pitfalls (B2B and B2C) you need to avoid.

The tasteless joke: Kenneth Cole’s use of the #Cairo hashtag is a classic case of a joke gone wrong. The offending tweet used the #Cairo hashtag, which was trending at the time as a response to a massive political upheaval in Egypt. The Twittersphere did not react well, and the brand took a virtual beating. The company later deleted the tweet and apologised.

If you’re going to make jokes, be sensitive to other people’s pain and very careful how you approach trending topics.


The tasteless piggy-backing - abusing trending topics: Back in 2009, Habitat also made a trending topic mistake on Twitter, by using trending topic hashtags to boost traffic. The worst instance was a promotional tweet using the hashtab #MOUSAVI ("HabitatUK: #MOUSAVI Join the database for free to win a £1,000 gift card."), related to the political situation in Iran at the time. Habitat later apologised, saying that this use of hashtags was not approved.

The hijack: Hashtag hijacking happens the other way around too, as it did for McDonald’s, when the restaurant chain tried to play the nostalgia card with its #McDStories hashtag. Unfortunately, not everyone was feeling the love!

The rogue employee: Vodafone had a shock when an obscene tweet appeared in its official Twitter account. The employee was later suspended.

The firing backlash: UK entertainment retailer HMV was the victim of rogue employees, when its Twitter account was used to live-tweet the mass lay-off of employees The_Firing_backlash_social_media_fail

The Game of Thrones hijack: Game of Thrones practically owns the non-business socialsphere, so often trends to hashtags like #GoT with tweets riffing on some of its character’s popular phrases, like "Winter is Coming". Some companies see this as an opportunity ripe for hashtag hijacking.

The moral of this tale is, when you tweet, be responsible and sensitive. Use hashtags authentically, or with real humour; and if you’re not sure about a post, ask trusted colleagues.

Still uncertain? Don’t post it!

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