We all remember the moment politician Ed Balls took to Twitter and just tweeted ‘Ed Balls’. The moment quickly went viral due to its comic nature. However, we all know it’s easy to make a mistake and just like Ed found out, if you make one on social media it’s remembered for a long time and can’t be taken back. Here are some funny mistakes you’d think you’d have to be stupid to make but are easier than it seems.
Be careful of Hashtags
When hashtags became a thing it was the perfect way for every type of social media user to find out what was going on about a certain topic or event and join the conversation. Hashtags even became so popular they’ve branched out of social media into texting, TV and even appearing on clothing. However, like with many things, hashtags can go wrong. A popular one that comes to mind is when Susan Boyle released her new album and this hashtag was born ‘#Susanalbumparty’. A word of advice – always check your hashtag carefully, and if you’re using a premade one ensure it’s actually relevant to what you’re posting about.
Know who is in charge
Many businesses have multiple people in charge of their social accounts and whilst this is great to ensure that no content is missed, it can cause problems when people leave the company. One example that comes to mind is HMV, who when they started to make redundancies ended up having the whole event shared with their followers by a disgruntled employee. Whilst you might think I trust my staff and this would never happen to us, you’d be surprised by how easily it can be done accidentally. Even Tunafish’s Twitter has ended up liking Manchester United tweets when employees thought they were using their personal account. Luckily that’s not a big a scandal as what happened to HMV but it shows how easily it can be done.
Check what you’re retweeting
As a business, you can get many tweets asking you to retweet a post for a charity or fan, so it’s easy to understand why many just click the retweet button without properly reading the content of the post. This was proven when Donald Trump was tricked into retweeting a picture of Fred & Rose West when an Internet prankster decided to ask him to RT ‘a picture of his parents’ as he was a big inspiration to them. Unfortunately, Donald hadn’t done his research and a backlash quickly started. As with hashtags, it’s important to double-check what you’re getting yourself into on social media.
Don’t bury your head
Things will go wrong occasionally and the best thing to do sometimes is to just hold your hands up and admit your mistake. If you don’t, you risk even more issues. Many will remember about restaurant 47 King Street West’s social media disaster after a hen party made a negative online review. After the story was picked up by the national press, it can only be assumed the restaurant panicked and didn’t know what else to do but to shut down their profiles and come offline. Big mistake. Once the restaurant did this others took over their account names and began slating the hen party again, adding fuel to the fire and damaging the restaurant’s brand further. Eventually, the restaurant stated they were sorry and came back online with a strong and more carefully managed social media strategy, which seems to be working well.
Be Careful of your Language
Many will remember the horsemeat scandal where numerous supermarkets were in trouble for selling beef products that were actually horsemeat. One supermarket was Tesco and in the midst of the scandal, the supermarket giant tweeted “It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay!”. Obviously many people thought they weren’t taking the scandal seriously but Tesco said it was just poor phrasing at the wrong time. This example shows that even the biggest businesses make mistakes and use the wrong language. So it’s important to remember when it comes to slang, quotes and just general spelling to make sure they’re relevant to your brand and used correctly and at appropriate times.
Get your timings right
All baking fans will remember the controversy that happened in 2017 when the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) moved to Channel 4 and new judges and presenters were brought in. Well after the favourite judge Mary left the show fans thought it couldn’t get any worse, that was until the winner of the show was tweeted by the replacement judge 12 hours BEFORE the final was shown. Yes, you read that right, Mary’s replacement Prue Leith tweeted a celebratory message to the winner of the series before the episode had even been aired. Prue said it was a mistake due to being in a different timezone but that didn’t stop many people seeing the mistake and spreading the tweet further, even sharing screenshots when the post had been removed.
Now being part of a social media marketing agency we bet that it was actually someone on Prue’s team who scheduled the post and unfortunately selected am instead of pm. However, whether it was a scheduling error or a genuine mistake, it shows just how important timing is when sharing content on social media and hopefully makes people wary to check the time before tweeting.
Now those are just a few examples of when social media goes wrong and you probably have your own favourite (which we’d love to hear). Remember, no one is perfect and mistakes will be made, hopefully, the following tips will help to reduce them.
How to prevent mistakes
- Have a social media policy in place, so that everyone involved knows the rules of what is and what isn’t acceptable.
- Create a social media strategy which can help with rules and provide direction and purpose for social media activities.
- Check posts, for grammar and spelling errors, tags and timings, and if you’re still unsure run them by someone else.
- Change your passwords on a regular basis, and if not regularly then at least when employees leave.
- Do your research, when it comes to trending dates and tagging in handles make sure they’re actually correct.
Finally, think before you tweet. Happy tweeting!