Month: November 2013

Social Media Blunders

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We are all human and we all make mistakes. As social media has become increasingly critical for businesses and as the popularity has risen over the past decade, it is not an absurd thought that once in awhile there would be social media blunders and tweets that probably shouldn’t have been posted. As brands fight to have the most compelling content that will maybe go viral and aid to some positive ROI, boundaries are pushed in order to stand out.

From my perspective, I believe that there are just a few things that you need to remember about social media blunders and how to recover from them. Everyone has their own list and some are very exhaustive, but I believe that at the end of the day, simplicity is key. Here are my thoughts and if you understand these three easy concepts, social media blunders can hopefully be prevented and/or recovered from with the most success as possible.

1) Mistakes happen. Recognize the mistake as soon as possible. Mistakes go viral much quicker than great marketing tactics. They spread like a wildfire that is just seeking to destroy the reputation of a brand. The tip is to notice that mistake before it goes everywhere because if you don’t respond quickly, it makes my second point a little harder to do.

2) Apologize. If you catch the mistake early, the way you recover from a social media blunder will definitely be taken into consideration and you will be able to dampen the fire a little bit. Wait a day or two to respond, and it will be too late. The key to apologizing is to do it sincerely, promptly, and take the necessary actions to prevent the mistake from happening again. Now, many companies like Home Depot with their recent social media blunder shown below, chose to apologize and then fired the person responsible as well as the agency which was a very drastic move. However, it showed the audience that mistakes happen, they apologized, and they went above and beyond to ensure that people don’t associate those behaviors and thoughts with the brand. Generally, it is best to terminate the person responsible and rally together as a company for some good ‘ol crisis management.


3) Be Human. At the end of the day, mistakes happen and you apologize but through all of it, be human. Auto response and sending out a mass automated message to everyone individually (in order to attempt to “personalize” the message) just comes off as insincere and looks like you aren’t taking the time to truly respond to the matter without using your social media tools and programs. Sometimes all you need is a genuine message in layman terms showing that your brand is human. Of course, you have to stay professional, but don’t send a mass tweet to everyone “individually” or a direct message, don’t over do it. Social media blunders can definitely ruin a brand’s reputation and cause a wave of problems that time can only hope to fix. The key to an effective recovery and crisis management is sincerity and the only way to do that is by being human. 

Bottomline & the Lesson for Brands: Some things transcend your products or service. Effective crisis management procedures and plans are imperative for all brands on social platforms. 

What are your thoughts on social media blunders? What’s the worst one you’ve seen?


CMA Awards: Lessons on How to Use Social Media During Events

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I have posted before about how stadiums and sports organizations rally fans from all over to engage with the team (the brand) through social media efforts. Last week was the 47th Annual CMA Awards and it was another great example of how social media can be integrated into events and engagement can be taken to a whole new level. 

Great American Country, the larger country brand of award shows and country music, united fans from coast-to-coast with exclusive online coverage, commentary from a variety of people, and plenty of dialogue via social media.

Events have an immense opportunity to leverage social media to increase viewership and build a greater audience through engagement. In order to be successful in social media initiatives for events, you have to be very verbal and almost annoying. You have to consistently tell people what hashtags, handles, and platforms to use. People are going to talk about the event, so you may as well mention your hashtags so that all conversations are united in one stream. The CMA Awards constantly showed the hashtag at the bottom of the screen and this time around, they showed the Twitter handles for each artist, which really gave the artists publicity and created a deeper connection with the audience and the event. 

Another factor that you need is to provide and communicate the value that people will get from joining in on your social media efforts. The CMAs have done a great job of providing exclusive content all night including the winners, exclusive back-stage pictures, and even giving Scotty McCreery an opportunity to tweet through the official Country Music Association account (#ScottyTakeover). It is essential that events provide content to followers that you can’t see on the mainstream event because otherwise no one will want to join in on the conversations or follow what’s going on. All of the official handles were very active during the event and provided consistent engagement through retweets and replys of country music fans.

The last factor to be successful in leveraging social media during events is to talk about the event before, during, and after. The CMAs do a great job of talking about the event long before the award shows start and providing exclusive after-party content and interviews with the award winners. The CMAs had an exclusive red carpet pre-show and allowed viewers to get excited about the event by asking questions and creating buzz around the event. Not only is the event important, but creating engagement around the end of the show and continuing the conversation is just as important because those are the conversations that hold true meaning and provides the award shows with feedback on what viewers liked and didn’t like. 

The CMAs capitalized on their social media efforts and used all platforms to showcase the event in a different light and provide access that is not shown by simply watching the show. Shazam partnered with the award show to provide even more exclusive content to those who used Shazam during the show. There is so much potential available for social media and integration of various platforms to increase viewership.

I would love to hear your thoughts about what you liked or didn’t like about the CMAs and how they used social media!  

Starbucks Proves Yet Again That They Are a Leader in Social

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Starbucks is at it again. Starbucks is known as a leader in social. They understand their audience and they use every social media platform very effectively. With so many followers on every platform, they ensure to not only reach new people, but also retain and engaged their followers through insightful pictures on Instagram to competitions and even a way to sign a petition for the government during the recent government shutdown on Twitter and Facebook.

Starbucks is trying out a new way to engage and utilize social media, in particular Twitter. Twitter is continuing to grow, however, Starbucks realized early on that you have to be innovative and always look for new ways to utilize social media in order to stay relevant among the hundreds of tweets and accounts that the average person sees every day. A tweet can be used to update a status, share links, upload pictures, but what about using it to share Starbucks coffee?

On October 28, Starbucks partnered with Twitter to be able to send gift certificates via a tweet. It’s called the tweet-a-coffee program and will enable people to share a $5 eGift with just a simple tweet using the handle @tweetacoffee to and the handle of the recipient. The recipient then gets notified and the gift can be redeemed by printing out the eGift or loading it to their Starbucks digital card. The system is smart enough to know that a RT or a mention does not mean that you want to send a coffee, enabling the new rollout to be shared and trend without any unwanted purchases.

Starbucks is attempting to integrate social media into the Starbucks experience and allowing people to share coffees seamlessly. This is a great initiative because it really aligns with Starbucks culture of generosity and is creating an even greater experience with their brand. Starbucks is a digitally savvy brand and again they are pushing the envelope and creating new ways to use social media in order to benefit them and their customers.

I think this new rollout will also help Twitter and increase its potential for what can be done with the platform. This comes at a great time as it gears up for its IPO, however it will be interesting to see if this is just a failed attempt or if it will spark other brands to utilize this creative idea to benefit them.

The easier you make it for people to share your product or purchase it, the more successful you will be. Social media is a great way to reach people and share a new initiative or new technology capability such as the Tweet-A-Coffee program. This is a great idea and very interesting, although I wonder if it will really take off for Starbucks. For Twitter on the other hand, I think that regardless of the success of the program, it will increase Twitter’s value because of the potential of what could be done with the platform and it’s definitely a great sneak peek to all of the possibilities out there in social.

What do you think about this new rollout? Do you believe that it’s going to be a flop or really act as a catalyst for future innovations in social platforms?