Social Media Horrors: 9 Ways Social Media Can Ruin Your Brand

Social Media can prove to be a very powerful weapon in the corporate realm. It offers you numerous alternatives to your business processes like marketing your brand, selling your products, and finding your next recruits, to name a few. However, like the old cliché goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Yes, Social Media is a powerful tool in boosting your brand’s image when used properly, but it also has the power to destroy your brand if it ends up mishandled.

The HireRabbit Blog has provided you with several articles on ways that your brand can maximize the entire social media experience. Now, we’ve gathered a list of things that you should avoid and be wary of when participating in social media. These are the top ways that Social Media can ruin your brand.

#1: Inconsistency

When you take part in Social Media, it’s always important to be consistent with your posts, promos, tweets, videos, shares, and the like. Constantly updating your fan base via different social media portals is a way of connecting to your followers on a more personal and intimate level. However, when you are inconsistent with the management of your social media content, it won’t bode well with your fans. They will easily pick up on this and label your brand as one that is incapable of properly managing a simple social media site.

For instance, if you allow weeks and weeks of inactivity on your brand’s Twitter page, your followers might choose to unfollow you, casting your brand in a bad light. You will want to avoid these instances as much as possible. Update your pages regularly with interesting and engaging content. Reply to your fans’ comments and messages as much as you can. Be consistent with this and your fans will surely appreciate it.

#2: Spamming Posts

If your company is engaged in Social Media, keep in mind that moderation will always be key. You won’t want to saturate your market’s feeds with dozens of spammy posts that link back to a single product about your company. That’s irritating in the eyes of your fans and you might gain a bad reputation in the Social Media world from it. People might end up avoiding your pages altogether.

Case in point, back in 2012, the Japanese car-manufacturing giant, Toyota, created 9 different Twitter accounts designed to spam countless amounts of people in an attempt to market the new Toyota Camry. This ended up backfiring for them, and they ended up taking down those Twitter pages, as well as issuing an apology immediately after.

#3: Distasteful Content

Another big problem that your company may encounter when engaging with social media is distasteful content. Yes, social media can be an avenue for you to be more personal with your fans and followers. Although, being personal may not necessarily be a good thing.

Back in October 2012, the Twitter page, @KitchenAidUSA tweeted a very distasteful and personal message regarding President Obama and his grandmother. After Obama had mentioned his grandmother in one of his speeches, the Kitchen Aid Twitter account posted this tweet: “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president. #nbcpolitics”. The company then immediately took the tweet down, explaining that an employee had mishandled the Twitter page thinking that he was Tweeting with his own personal Twitter handle. They also posted this apology after:

KitchenAid apology tweet

KitchenAid apology tweet

#4: Negative Feedback To Online Campaigns

In an attempt to boost their brand’s online presence, McDonald’s tried to start a hashtag campaign called #McDstories, wherein customers would supposedly Tweet memories and anecdotes regarding their experiences in McDonald’s. The campaign drew mixed feedback from their followers. Embarrassing stories of finding alien-objects in food products, unfriendly service, and so much more were caught in the mix of Tweets that flooded the Twitter feeds throughout that campaign. When you engage on Social Media, you have to keep in mind that even your most noble campaigns can backfire on you.

#5: Bad Timing

Timing is important when managing your Social Media content. Although your company may have good intentions when posting a photo, or sending a Tweet, its true essence may be taken out of context. Take for example the bad Twitter situation that the NRA got itself in back in 2012. After the tragic “Batman” shooting that took place in one of the cinemas in Colorado, the NRA Twitter account tweeted this seemingly insensitive and tasteless message about the use of guns. Even though, they meant no harm, the Tweet may have been taken out of context because of the situation at the time.

American Rifleman - Badly timed tweet

American Rifleman – Badly timed tweet

#6: Carelessness

Social Media offers you the opportunity to reach out to so many people. Unfortunately, when you’re being careless when you use social media, the backlash your brand may receive might be overwhelming. A wrong Tweet, a faulty promo, or a corrupted video will definitely prove to be bad for your brand. That’s why you should always be technically careful of what posts come out of your company’s social media pages. Don’t be careless like the StubHub Twitter handle that Tweeted a very personal message that bashed its own brand’s image. They immediately took the Tweet down after, but it’s a perfect example of why carelessness should be avoided when using Social Media.

StubHub careless tweet

StubHub careless tweet

#7: Bad Quality Posts

You know how they say “bad publicity is still publicity”? Well, on social media, bad publicity is always something you will want to avoid. If you’re going to post, upload, or Tweet something, make sure that your content is actually of quality and taste. Don’t be like Belvedere Vodka that had this disastrous ad campaign that they posted on their Facebook and Twitter pages. The company had to later issue apologies for this post.

Belvedere Bad Quality Post

Belvedere Bad Quality Post

#8: Bashing The Competition

It is always a bad idea to attempt to directly bash and humiliate rival companies on Social Media. For one, you’re immediately expressing an undesirable trait of company elitism that may turn off your fans. And two, you also immediately alienate and anger the fans of rival brands; that is something that you want to avoid. Take for instance when Microsoft tried to upstage its mobile OS rival, Android, in a Twitter campaign that revolved around the hashtag #DroidRage. Microsoft intended for Twitter users to Tweet unsatisfying experiences using the Android OS on their mobile phones. Unfortunately for Microsoft, their plan backfired and instead the inspired an outrage unto their own company.

#9: Hacked Accounts

As with anything that involves networks and technology these days, your Social Media accounts are prone to hacking. That liability leaves you at the mercy of impending hackers that might raid your social media profiles and start stirring up disasters. Just like what happened with Chrysler when this Tweet sprouted up from their Twitter page. They claim that they were hacked and issued a semi-apology after, but the damage had already been done.

Chrysler Hacked Account

Chrysler Hacked Account

A company’s adventure on Social Media is a treacherous one, so be sure to tread lightly and try to avoid these situations as much as possible. Social Media has the potential power to make or break a brand. If you have any other interesting insights or stories to share, feel free to comment down below.


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About the Author: Jessica Simmons

Jessica manages content at LeadsPanda. When she is not improving content, Jessica enjoys spending time with family, friends and hiking with her dogs.

One Comment

  1. How not to use social media | February 10, 2014 at 3:22 am - Reply

    […] Jet wrote a great article about several other does and don’ts regarding social media use for your business. He has included various faux paus of companies, which are a great illustration for his examples. […]

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