#SocialMediaFail: five basic rules for every community manager

Every nine seconds a woman is abused or assaulted in the United States. I thought that having a “nine second attention spam” was scary enough. Well, I was wrong. This is even scarier.

Domestic abuse is a very serious issue in this country (and all over the world). So how can a brand manage to misuse a hashtag related to this topic?

It’s common to see social media fails that can endanger a brand’s reputation. Let’s use Digiorno’s case as an example. They have been leveraging trending topics and hashtags to promote their brand. You would think they should know the most basic rules about social media: never post without knowledge. But they still messed up and used the #WhyIStayed hashtag in their Twitter account to sell frozen pizza. This hashtag was trending when news about NFL star Ray Rice where everywhere. The football player knocked out his fiancé on a casino elevator in Atlantic City on February 2014. Not just the news where in every newspaper, but months later even the security tape showing how he beat her was online.

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The #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft hashtags where part of an open conversation on Twitter. Many women shared their stories of domestic violence, something not easy to talk about.

Five Lessons to learn from DiGiorno’s #Fail

1. Be more aware of the world: The world has never been so fast-paced. With a touch on your mobile you can have food delivered to your door. With a click on your computer you can order anything you want. My generation has seen more evolution in communications and technology than any other generation before.

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If we have such technological advancements, why is it that there can still happen big mistakes in the social media world? Because we are now lazier than ever. Everything is fast, easy, convenient… But there is no excuse! It doesn’t hurt to read the news on a daily basis. For me it’s a must. If you are not updated on what’s going on in the world, or at least in your country, chances are you will never be a competent person.

2. Every community manager must research hashtags and trending topics before posting anything related to them. Actually, every person that uses social media should do that before posting. If DiGiorno would have done this, they could have avoided their mistake.

Source: SproutSocial

Source: SproutSocial

3. Take responsibility for your actions: DiGiorno’s community manager deleted the tweet and started apologizing right away both in general and individual tweets. It’s only human to make mistakes, but it takes courage to say you’re sorry. The apologies looked sincere and even though many people got angry, some decided to give the brand a second chance.

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4. Marketing and PR must work together: right after the incident, the community manager started apologizing to anyone posting negatively about the mistake. There was no time to wait. But since it was such a delicate matter, the brand later on talked publicly about the situation.

DiGiorno’s parent firm, Nestlé USA, stated: “Our community manager — and the entire DiGiorno team — is truly sorry. The tweet does not reflect our values and we’ve been personally responding to everyone who has engaged with us on social media. We apologize”.

Good PR is necessary to handle crisis, but when a mistake happens on social media, there is no time to wait for a public and formal apology. Within seconds a tweet can be exposed to thousands and actions must be taken.

5. Review before posting: not just spelling check but also the content. It’s easy to overlook. Another set of eyes may be handy.

Social media marketing is essential to connect with your audience. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. There must be great strategy behind it and good knowledge before posting.

More helpful tips:

How to come back from a social media fail – Hootsuite

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