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3 of the Biggest Corporate Social Media Disasters and How to Avoid Your Own

James Crowder | 6 October 2017

3 of the biggest corporate social media disasters and how to avoid your own

Social media can be a great way to get your message out there and engage with customers. If used correctly, companies can strengthen their branding and build trust over time. 

However, social media isn’t always a walk in the park. If you’re not careful, your campaign could backfire and you could end up with a disaster on your hands. Here are three of the biggest corporate social media disasters and tips on how you can avoid them:


JP Morgan’s Q&A

Having an open Q&A might seem like a good idea, but it didn’t end very well for Wall Street bank JP Morgan. The brand invited Twitter users to send questions to one of the organisation’s senior bankers using the hashtag #AskJPM. They expected a friendly Q&A, but instead received a storm of abusive messages. Over 8,000 responses were sent within a six-hour period, and about 80% of the comments sent were negative. JP Morgan had to cancel their Q&A and go back to the drawing board.

How you can avoid this: If you’re not sure where your company stands, rather invite users to send private messages. If you’re not a popular organisation, it’s risky to schedule these kinds of events – rather try another social media tactic.


British Airways

In the world of social media, it’s so much easier for customers to complain. Brands need to respond quickly before things spiral out of control. Take British Airways for example, they didn’t respond to an unsatisfied customer, so he bought advertising space on Twitter to promote his tweet about the horrendous customer service he received. The tweet was seen by over 50,000 Twitter users. British Airways eventually responded 8 hours later, stating that their customer help line is only open from 9am-5pm.

How you can avoid this: Make sure you respond to customer queries and complaints as soon as you can. According to this survey by Lithium Technologies, 53% of Twitter users expect to hear back from brands within an hour of tweeting.


London Luton Airport

London Luton Airport learned the hard way that you really need to think before you post. They posted a photo of a crashed plane followed by a comment that read “Because we are such a super airport...this is what we prevent you from when it snows…Weeeee :)”. Their followers found the post in poor taste, as the photo featured a crash that killed a six-year old boy in 2005. The airport later issued a public apology.

How you can avoid this: Make sure you have a thorough and professional social media team that does their research. It’s important to know about the historical, cultural and political implications with regards to the words, pictures, and hashtags you’re using.

At the end of the day, you need to have a strong social media marketing strategy backed up by a professional team. Social selling is crucial for any business – and it all falls under inbound marketing. If you’d like to know more about the subject, download our guide.

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