The worst social media fails of 2014

The worst social media fails and mistakes of 2014…

2014 has been a great year for social media: we’ve seen new ad platforms for small business, amazing hashtags trends, and further development of popular platforms. All of this adds up to show how this disruptive technology can benefit consumers and small business.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to social media, especially when marketing campaigns backfire. If there’s one way to learn how to use social media, it’s from these major mistakes. Consider this list of 2014s biggest social media fails your how-NOT-to guide for social media!

Unusual promotions

Consumers bit back at a Melbourne Pizza Hut store earlier this year when the franchisee decided to offer a free pet with every purchase of ten or more pizzas. The company’s Facebook page was soon inundated with messages from animal welfare groups, with many posters deeming the promotion irresponsible.

The Lesson: No one is completely sure whether this campaign was in jest, or whether the store was actually going to give away free pets (they had apparently connected with a local pet store for the promotion). One of the lessons to take away from this social media fail is that you should always look at a jovial post from all angles. If in doubt, engage someone from your office to proof read the campaign. To give Pizza Hut their due, they did reply to the posts very quickly, shutting down the campaign in just two hours.

Platform errors

Earlier this year, McDonald’s took to Instagram to drive some hype for their latest burger, the Bacon Clubhouse Burger. Newly introduced Instagram ads were used, showing pictures of the burger. Users quickly bit back with comments, many of them disappointed that the promoted posts would appear in their feed despite the fact that they didn’t like that particular page. Despite the backlash, Maccas have continued to use the platform for its advertising.

The Lesson: Think carefully when choosing your social network. This campaign was targeted at millennials, who generally use their Instagram accounts for selfies, superstars and celebrity sightings. Promotional posts on Instagram have not had a great track record with this target market (or any for that matter), so users were less then impressed with the targeting. A better network for this type of promotion might have been Facebook, where millennials are used to see promoted content.

Questionable errors

In the first half of 2014, supermarket giant Woolworths decided to finish their week by posting an open ended question to their Facebook page, posing to their followers the following statement: “Finish this sentence: this weekend, I can’t wait to…”. The chain saw an immediate backlash, with users taking to their topic to vent their many frustrations. One user replied “destroy the local green grocer or butcher” while another simply put “shop at Coles”. The post attracted hundreds of comments. With the Woolies social media team unable to keep up their response, they soon tried to simply delete negative comments; even this proved fruitless as they couldn’t keep up with the huge amount of posts their questionable statement garnered.

The Lesson: If you’re a big brand, the odds are you’ve got some interest groups who aren’t your biggest fans. The use of open ended questions has historically not ended well for big business, with both QANTAS and McDonald’s having similar problems in previous years.


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