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Social media is growing in importance as a marketing tool, and it has enabled many large and small businesses to reach out to their target consumers more effectively. (pkreadsalot/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Social media is growing in importance as a marketing tool, and it has enabled many large and small businesses to reach out to their target consumers more effectively. (pkreadsalot/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Marketing

Social media blunders and why your business should care Add to ...

Social media is growing in importance as a marketing tool, and it has enabled many large and small businesses to reach out to their target consumers more effectively.

However, not every business has been able to make social media work for them. Like every other form of marketing, social media marketing can do more harm than good if it is not properly planned and executed.

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Here are a number of social media blunders that you should try to avoid.

Letting the wrong person handle your social media accounts

Social media marketing requires considerable time and effort, and you may not want to spend hours tending to your social media pages every day. Leaving the task to an employee or contractor may seem like a good solution, but it comes with certain risks.

There have been many instances where inappropriate posts and tweets were sent from companies’ social media accounts by employees and contractors who had no idea what they were doing.

For instance, a social media contractor at Chrysler commented in a tweet that people in Detroit do not know “how to (expletive) drive”. This tweet of course created a huge problem for Chrysler.

Another example of a social media disaster was when the American Red Cross’ social media specialist posted on their Twitter account about drinking Dogfish Head beer and “getting slizzerd”. The social specialist blamed the mistake on her inability to use Hootsuite and meant the ill-fated tweet for her private account.

The lesson here: if you are planning to let someone else handle your social media accounts, you have to make sure that he or she is properly trained.

Being insensitive

Making insensitive marketing moves and comments on social media websites can draw adverse public reaction, which can jeopardize the reputation of your company. Make sure you think about whether or not someone might be offended by your social post before you hit send.

Kenneth Cole came under fire for suggesting on Twitter that news of its spring collection led to riots in Egypt, and American Apparel was blasted for offering a Hurricane Sandy sale.

If you want to win the favor and loyalty of your customers, it is best that you refrain from making comments that may suggest that you are trying to profit from other people’s misery.

Lack of understanding of social media mechanics

Social media mechanics are not easy to understand, and it is relatively common for people to make mistakes in this area. However, if you are using social media websites for business purposes, you should put in an extra effort to get things right.

One company that made a significant blunder in regards to social media mechanics is CVS Pharmacy. After signing up for a Twitter account, CVS asked its customers to become followers and offer feedback. However, its account was locked, so customers could not follow it or view tweets without asking for permission.

While some mistakes can be easily resolved with little consequences, others can have long-term negative effects. Therefore, it really pays to learn more about social media mechanics.

It can do wonders for your business if you know how to use it effectively and ethically, but it can also hurt your business if you are not careful.

If you want to get the most out of social media marketing, it is essential that you try to avoid social media blunders. What social media blunders have you heard about recently?

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