Latest Research: The Best Brands and Industries for Customer Experience 2020

Blending 200 million online conversations with 9,000 global survey responses, we found out how brands can get CX right

Read the report

Latest Research: The Best Brands and Industries for Customer Experience 2020

Blending 200 million online conversations with 9,000 global survey responses, we found out how brands can get CX right

Read the report

Published December 7th 2012

The 9 Circles of Social Media Hell: When it All Goes Horribly Wrong (p2)

Yesterday we brought you four of the nine things you really, really don’t want to happen to your brand in social media. Our list continues with five more nightmares, as we describe and prescribe the circles of social hell.

   5. Tweeting from the wrong account



It’s every Community Manager’s worst nightmare – tweeting something from the brand account instead of your personal one. Especially when what you are tweeting is somewhat controversial.

But, it inevitably happens. Take these well-known examples:

What to do: There’s not really any foolproof advice we can give you to avoid this –  basically, always check which account you’re using and try to keep personal and corporate accounts separate if you can. And make sure any staff with access to the brand account are properly trained.

And if it does happen, chances are most people will be amused, it will be discussed a little, but then most will forget about it.

Be sure to delete the tweet and distance the brand from it by explaining via the brand account that it was a mistake – do this quickly before momentum starts to build. Also be sure to apologise, especially if the tweet was offensive.

Similar advice applies to the situation where you accidentally click retweet, a la British Airways.


   6. A customer complaint goes viral



Budget airline Ryanair doesn’t seem particularly bothered about customer service, but the light was shone on quite how little they care when a customer complaint posted on Facebook went ‘viral’, being spread around the internet, receiving hundreds of thousands of ‘likes’ and being picked up by major news sites.

What to do: This is more of a case for prevention rather than cure. Had Ryanair acknowledged the complaint and responded before it had gained thousands of likes, they probably could have avoided all the bad publicity.

So, make sure you are listening and responding to your customers, in a timely manner, even when they are being rude. Be polite and take on their feedback, and try and offer them a solution to their problem.


   7. Your campaign becomea a laughing stock



Many a social media campaign has gone wrong, purely for the fact that it has not been thought through, and because the possible consequences –good and bad – haven’t been considered.

Our favourite example of this was the recent hashtag promoting Susan Boyle’s album launch, #susanalbumparty.

We’re pretty sure they meant Susan Album Party, but the hashtag can of course be read another way (damn that lack of spaces!) Some have said that this was a deliberate ploy by the PR company to get people talking, which is possible, but seems to have received a more laughing-at-them than laughing-with-them response.

What to do: The advice to avoid this? Well, basically, use your brain.

Spend time thinking about the timing, content and tone of the campaign. Consider how your fans will respond, but also how those who aren’t such fans of the brand might respond. And make sure you read your hashtag properly, to ensure it has no double meanings.


   8.  Your campaign is considered spam



Toyota tried a new campaign on Twitter that was received rather poorly. The car brand created multiple accounts on Twitter and then started spamming automated messages about the ‘Camry Effect’ to anyone using hashtags or phrases related to the Superbowl. Needless to say, people weren’t happy and Toyota were forced to issue an apology.

We also frequently see tweets complaining about a certain company that is using promoted tweets to push out gated content – users feel annoyed at seeing ‘unwanted’ promotional material.

What to do: Generally, advice when crafting a campaign on a network like Twitter is to do your research, actually target people who will be interested in your product and not just randomly send messages on mass, and make sure that what you are offering has some value to the people you are contacting. Otherwise, you may just find yourself being assigned to the spam bin and dealing with lots of disgruntled people.


   9. People are talking about you behind your back



If you are not monitoring conversation online about your brand, there could be lots of bad (and possibly inaccurate) discussion going  on about your brand and products that you have no idea about. This could potentially be damaging to your brand, so it’s advisable to get monitoring and start acting on what you find.

We’ll use an example of our own: We, of course, track mentions of our own brand using our tool. Sometimes, we find website owners on forums who are angry or just miffed about our crawlers accessing their site. We always contact them to let them know that they can stop our crawlers should they so wish, therefore combating any negative feeling.

What to do: Make sure you are monitoring conversation about your brand, and respond to both positive and negative discussion. Once you become ‘human’ and not some unknown entity, and are friendly, polite and helpful, anger often dissipates. Correct inaccurate information, but don’t be too ‘salesy’ or defensive.

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Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.