Want to Avoid Social Media Blunders? Take a Breath

Date: Friday, November 03, 2017

“You’re trending on Twitter.”

There aren’t too many four-word sentences that can cause hearts to race or stomachs to drop as quickly as that one. Well, maybe "You're eating expired sushi" is up there on that list. Or if it's 5 p.m. on Friday, "Boss wants a meeting" is definitely not what you want to hear.

But the sentence "You're trending on Twitter" has a spectrum of results that can range from career-making to career-destroying. Maybe you sent a tweet from your company's account you thought was going to be great, and you were right. It’s piling up the retweets and favorites, people are engaging with it, and suddenly your brand is getting kudos for nailing it.

But just as easily, maybe it's gone in the wrong direction, and now you’re knee-deep in a crisis you didn’t see coming.

Social media can be a Faustian Bargain; any success you have is intoxicating but often fleeting. The failures can haunt you and your company for a long time - the last thing you want to be is a cautionary tale.

The speed at which social media moves makes it all too easy to step on a landmine. Big, national ad campaigns take weeks or months to plan and unveil. They can involve small armadas of people and several layers of management approval, including corporate lawyers.

Social media, well, it’s a different game. It’s not unusual for a brand’s entire online voice to be left in the hands of one person, or a small group of people, who are under instructions to act fast. They see something happening and want to react.

In capable hands, it allows brands to jump on a trending topic and chime in with a great tweet to tie the event back to them, like this classic from Arby’s during the Grammys a few years ago that even pop star Pharrell had to respond to since it was so good:

Timely, harmless, and hilarious, it’s the perfect tweet. And how did it happen? Their social media manager was empowered to tweet on behalf of the entire company during big events or trending topics to tie Arby’s into the conversation, and this time, the person landed it perfectly.

But consider the amount of trust, and pressure, that puts on that one person. You can see how things can easily go awry.

A couple of years ago, the hashtag “#WhyIStayed” started trending among victims of domestic abuse. It was a thread to share stories and advice while providing comfort and compassion for people affected.

However, the person running social media for the bake-at-home pizza chain DiGiorno jumped in with an incomprehensively insensitive tweet to add to the #WhyIStayed domestic abuse conversation: “You had pizza”.

It blew up in their face immediately, and executives for a pizza company found themselves having to answer questions about why their brand had a flippant attitude toward such a serious crime.

How could this have happened? Well, we can let them explain it themselves:

“Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting” - has there ever been a more concise explanation of a social media blunder? One mistake by one person who got ahead of themselves and suddenly the company finds itself in a crisis.

We’re not here to pick on DiGiorno, but instead show what can happen when social media managers get too focused on jumping into a trending topic without taking even a minute to step back and make sure they’re not wading into dangerous territory.

That’s where we can come in. At Flowerpot we live and breathe social media. We know how fast it moves, we know how mistakes get made, and we know how to maximize your presence without the PR disasters. Our team stays on top of the latest trends and makes sure your company is well-positioned in the ever-evolving world of social media.

It’s a lot of responsibility, and a lot of trust, and we take it seriously. Contact us today to find out how we can help your company maintain best practices in the social realm.

About Abigail Diskin, Content Manager

With a B.A. in Journalism and a strong background in both communications and creative writing, Abby is the lead writer at Flowerpot. Her passion for words comes through wholeheartedly, as she researches and crafts high-quality content for client websites, blogs, and email campaigns across a variety of industries. In her spare time, you can find her getting her hiking boots muddy in the Columbia River Gorge, blues dancing at the Bossanova Ballroom, or taming imaginary dragons with her niece and nephew.

About Arthur Lapies, Co-Founder

With over 15 years of experience in behavioral science and consumer marketing, Arthur has applied his education and skills to technology, sales operations and project management teams in multiple Fortune 100 organizations. His ability to tap into the consumer mindset and translate behavior into meaningful marketing actions for business owners makes him a key asset to Flowerpot clients. As Flowerpot’s Data Scientist, Arthur leads all aspects of technology, development and analytics. A Pacific Northwest native, Arthur now enjoys the company of the Bay Area’s Karl the Fog and arduous SF city hill climbs with his Great Dane.

About Laura Bakken, CEO & Co-Founder

With over 20 years of enterprise-level leadership in the high-tech industry, Laura’s knowledge of business optimization, sales excellence, change management and marketing savvy greatly benefits small and mid-size business owners navigating their path to success. As Flowerpot’s Chief Marketing Strategist, Laura leads all aspects of client consulting, content strategy and business development. Outside of the office, Laura enjoys gardening with her husband and their chocolate lab, menu hopping through Portland’s foodie scene, and traveling to sunny locales with friends to get a break from the rainy days of the Pacific Northwest.

Tags: facebook / best practice / social media / Marketing / Content / Twitter / Viral Content

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