Your SlideShare is downloading. ×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

FAILPROOF your Social


Published on

Join uberVU's Kate Dunham and Elisabeth Michaud for a webinar about making your social media #failproof. We'll share the major types of social media fails, which brands have made these errors, and …

Join uberVU's Kate Dunham and Elisabeth Michaud for a webinar about making your social media #failproof. We'll share the major types of social media fails, which brands have made these errors, and what you can do to avoid them. Also, learn how to recover if you do accidentally have a social media #fail.

This webinar was originally presented on July 11, 2013.

Published in: Business, Technology
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide
  • Here ’s a little bit of information about today’s hosts. I’m Elisabeth, our company’s social media marketing & community manager, and with me today is Kate Dunham, uberVU ’ s content marketing specialist and the author of our recent e-book Make your Social Failproof.
  • Now, for a little bit of housekeeping before we really jump in. If you ’re tweeting during the webinar, we’d love it if you interacted with us and your fellow attendees using the hashtag FAILPROOF. For updates from uberVU after the webinar, follow us on Twitter at uberVU or check out our blog at If you have any questions during the webinar, submit them through the question box in GoToWebinar. We ’ll try to save the last few minutes of today’s webinar to answer them if we can!
  • For those of you who aren ’t familiar with uberVU, our team has created a social media marketing platform designed for social media managers, community managers, and other marketers who use social media on a day-to-day basis. uberVU helps these people complete daily tasks more easily, hone in on important data points and ultimately increase results by giving them unique, real-time insights by personalizing social search results into action plans.
  • Today’s webinar will cover the 9 types of fails, and outline what the fail looks like when a brand falls into it, how you can avoid committing similar fails in the future, and an outline of how to recover if you do end up failing. Some fails have very similar action plans for recovery, so we’ll let you know where and when the steps to fix your mistakes overlap. For a more in-depth look at avoiding these fails, you can download uberVU’s latest e-book at And without further ado, we’ll jump right in and tell you how not to fail!
  • If your brand comes under attack, it is understandable that your first instinct might be to defend it. But before you do anything, you have to remember this golden rule: leave your emotions out of it. The best way to handle controversy is to respond quickly and with the facts.
  • The culprit: Amy ’s Baking Company, a restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. After the restaurant and its owners were featured on the reality show Kitchen Nightmares, it found its Facebook page under attack by trolls. Instead of trying to defuse the situation the restaurant chose to blindly fight back. As you can see from some of these quotes, it got pretty out of hand. Trolls post inflammatory content with the intent of provoking an emotional response from you and your community. Their intention is solely to get a rise out of you—and in the case of Amy ’s Baking Company, it worked.
  • -Make sure all of your posts are words that the brand can stand behind. Remember that you are representing your company. Whatever actions you take or comments you make reflect directly on the brand. -Be empathetic, but keep you emotions in check. Try to understand the person ’s problem but don’t let yourself get drawn into a fight. -Don ’t feed the trolls. Sometimes the best response is no response at all.
  • Whatever you do, don’t lie. Savvy social media users will see right through the hacking excuse and flame your brand even more for it. What you should do instead is own up to it: apologize, delete the posts after a period of time has passed, and try to move forward, and being extra mindful of what you’re posting, follow up on the comments people leave, and handle things with caution and tact –give people a reason to like your brand again! If the comments were REALLY offensive, it may be time to find a new community manager, or at least put in place some systems that will require additional people to review the content going out through your social channels before they go live.
  • I really like this quote from a post on Social Media Today about the lessons learned from Amy’s Baking Co. CAPS LOCK should definitely be used with caution!
  • Social media has given consumers a platform to express opinions about anything and everything – including your brand. This means that your image isn ’t entirely in your own hands anymore… which can be pretty scary. Or course you want to project the best image possible, but you can’t resort to underhanded tactics to do so.
  • Chick-fil-A found itself in the middle of a publicity firestorm after its president voiced his opposition to gay marriage. People took to the social web to criticize the restaurant – leaving thousands of comments on its Facebook page. Chick-fil-A allegedly used fake Facebook profiles to join the conversations and support the brand. You can see in the screenshot that a user named Abby was called out by other posters. Her account was only created a few hours before the conversation and her picture was a stock photo. This one is a pretty obvious fail right? Rather than speaking its piece and getting out of the way, Chick-fil-A attempted to defuse the controversy in an extremely manipulative way.
  • Don ’t delete comments that are not malicious. Negative feedback is going to happen whether you like it or not. Attempting to cover up negativity by deleting comments only makes your brand look sneaky. Plus, it will only further enrage the the person who posted the comment in the first place. Have a clear moderation policy. You are allowed to delete comments you deem to be inappropriate, which is why you need a policy that clearly spells out what is allowed in your community and what is not. Respond to both positive and negative comments. Of course it ’s easier to respond to compliments than criticism, but by responding to both positive and negative comments you show that you are a brand that is not only listening, but who cares. Don ’t attempt to manipulate your audience with fake fans or comments. People will respect your brand a lot more if you give them the facts and let them make up their own minds rather than attempt to force their hand.
  • Instead of being shady, here’s how you can keep it classy and recover from a fail like Chick-Fil-A’s: Be clear about your page’s moderation policy, and put one in place if you haven’t already. Own up to what you did: this is going to be a theme throughout today’s webinar! Apologize if you did do something shady—it may be a chance to convert haters into new fans! If you can, use your next post or two to highlight elements of your company’s values that show the shady behavior was a temporary lapse in judgment and not indicative of a bigger, company-wide problem.
  • We get it. Social media moves fast. Sometimes you ’re in a rush to get that tweet out or to be the first to post a story. And I’m sure since you work in social media you’re no doubt handling your own personal accounts in addition to your brand’s. With all that going on, it can be easy to get caught up and rush what you’re doing.
  • But this is what happens when you rush. During the 2012 presidential debate, KitchenAid, surprised its followers by appearing to go political with this insensitive tweet about the president ’s late grandmother. Turns out this was meant to be a personal tweet and the person handling KitchenAid’s account sent the tweet out from the brand’s account by accident. Pretty embarrassing
  • Slow down! No matter how important your post or tweet is, it CAN wait the 10 seconds it takes to double check what you ’re doing. Double check EVERY post- are you sending it from the right account? Are you sending a public tweet or a private message. Are you sure? Double check. Consider using different management tools for personal and private accounts. This way you can avoid a KitchenAid fiasco
  • KitchenAid really showcased how to recover gracefully from a fail like this. Given how offensive the community manager’s comment was, the Senior Director of Branding at KitchenAid stepped in, removed the insensitive tweet ASAP, apologized, and showed how the company was already taking action to prevent future fails. She also reached out to the media (in this case, Mashable) to get the company’s statement out there shortly after the incident, rather than letting it linger too long and not being able to shape the conversation as it happened.
  • So now you now that you need to slow down, but that won ’t help you avoid all possible errors. You have to be fully invested in what you’re doing and more importantly, what you’re putting out there. Everything you post reflects directly on your brand. Don’t take it lightly.
  • I ’m sure you’re all aware of what “piggybacking” is. This example is what we like to call “piggy-backfire.” Celeb Boutique attempted to jump on an existing trend to hawk a dress. The problem was the Aurora hashtag was about a mass shooting – hardly something to take lightly. The brand was too lazy to check the meaning behind the hashtag before using it. And the fact that the trending topic was about a tragedy made this one epic fail.
  • -Double check your spelling and grammar. Use spell check. Read it out loud. Do whatever you have to do to avoid making simple—but really annoying—errors. Test all links before posting. No one likes a 404 page. Customize content for each social network. Do NOT autopublish your tweets onto LinkedIn or your Pins onto Facebook, or any other kind of automation. It ’s lazy marketing at its finest. Each social networks is different - your content on each should differ as well. Do your research! Check all hashtags before using. This goes for both trending and ones you think you made up. Make sure the conversation behind them is one you want to be a part of
  • Fix things if you played the lazy game or didn’t check yourself: First and foremost, you need to be humble and admit your mistake. It’s ok to delete a tweet with a typo in it, but explain yourself when you do so to avoid looking shady (another of our Fails!). Apologize where you need to! Take action quickly (but not without doing a review/read-through of your content before pushing “submit”. Depending on your brand’s voice you may be able to poke fun at yourself or turn the fail into a lighthearted joke.
  • Social media is about forming relationships and having conversations with real people. As a community manager, you are representing a brand, but you still have to act human. You have to use common sense. Many brands have found success in social media by using humor, but humor can be a tricky thing. It can backfire if it crosses the line into offensive.
  • Belvedere Vodka crossed over the funny line into distasteful when it posted this image that appeared to be making light of sexual assault on its Facebook and Twitter accounts. Thousands of fans were outraged and many were calling for a boycott of the brand. I really hope this fail is obvious to you guys. Poor taste isn ’t funny.
  • Use common sense. Approach social interactions online the same way you would offline -If you ’re not sure if your content is offensive, don’t post it. If you’re afraid you might be crossing the line, you probably are - Don ’t EVER use a tragic event as an opportunity to plug your brand without providing value. Any attempt at newsjacking should be relevant, genuine and add to the conversation. If you have to question any of these three, then it’s best to abandon the idea.
  • As we’ve said before, you need to apologize, and apologize for your ACTUAL content rather than apologizing just for offending people. It’s the difference between “I’m sorry”, which is the ideal apology, and “I’m sorry you’re mad”, which isn’t really an apology at all. If you can (and it feels genuine), make your recovery bigger than the original fail: get others on your team on board to donate to a related cause, do a big show of good faith in some other way, but recover from your fail by acting better than you did before you failed. Use the moment as an opportunity to raise awareness for a good cause! You can support initiatives like this with money, but if you don’t have the cash, try some manpower or use your influence as a brand for a good cause. Again, do something that feels natural—don’t force it or try to BUY your way our of hot water—that’s shady!
  • Think of your social networks as extensions of your brand. Your voice and your strategy should match your brand. Some people think they have to be funny, witty or plain outrageous to earn traction, but that approach won ’t work for every brand. Nothing sticks out more than a social strategy that’s off brand or forced.
  • Did you know there was a “National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day”? General Electric did – and it posted this image. Not exactly an appropriate theme for an appliance company. Stick to quality, on brand content. You don’t have to resort to cheap thrill content like puppy pictures or irrelevant themes to get attention.
  • -Make sure your voice and strategy match your brand. Make sure all content is relevant to your brand. Focus on creating valuable content for your target audience. The whole point of creating a social media following is to talk directly to consumers who are interested in your brand and who might invest in it. Create content that appeals specifically to the audience that your brand is trying to reach.
  • Likes, Shares, Retweets, Pins – they are all important. They increase the reach of your message. But you have to make sure that message is enhancing your brand. The amount of “Likes” won’t matter if the message has no value. Emotionally manipulating your fans into sharing a post will not gain you meaningful exposure or engagement.
  • Brands like Papa John ’s have taken “Like” abuse to the next level by involving promises of charitable contributions. This post promises that the more you like, comment or share, the more money the brand will donate to the Salvation Army. On the surface this post appears to be a nice gesture, but when you really consider the motivation behind it, it just feels sleazy. Rather than just donating the money, Papa John’s appears to be scheming its audience into engaging with its content.
  • -Don ’t rely on empty likes to push your content. If you’re posting interesting content that’s right for your brand, the right fans will share it, which means it is more likely to reach your target audience. - Don ’t force engagement with charitable causes
  • Recover from a fail that played with people’s emotions or begged too much for their attention by changing up your strategy! The moment you realize you’re doing something like this, STOP. It’s ok (and even encouraged) to create content that evokes emotions, but draw a line in the sand between the right and wrong ways of doing this for your brand Make your future content even better! If you need additional resources to do it, ask for them. Find ways to get inspired and refresh your creativity if you’re stuck in a rut. Better content= better results for your brand.
  • If the social media fails we ’ve covered so far have taught you anything, it should be just how valuable—or in some cases detrimental—your social media presence can be to your brand’s reputation. That’s why it is so important to have the right people in charge of social. Anyone who has access should be someone who has proven themselves trustworthy. And if you notice – I said people . That means more than one person should have access to your accounts and management should always know who those people are. Plus, you should have systems in place to quickly remove someone’s permissions if needed.
  • HMV found out the hard way that it trusted the wrong person with its social. The brand went down in Twitter infamy when an employee live-tweeted the mass firing of over 60 employees. The last tweet is my favorite – “just overheard our Marketing Director (he’s staying folks!) ask How do I shut down Twitter?” Pretty funny. By the time management got control over the account, some serious damage had been done. The tweets had gone viral, blogs went up and by the next morning the debacle filled the headlines. And now it ’s on our fail list.
  • -Choose your community manager based on trust. The job title or age of the person doesn ’t matter. All that matters is that it is someone you trust -Make sure more than one person has access to social accounts. -All team members should monitor social activity. Everyone should know the focus and strategy of social. This way all who manage the actual accounts have the same directions and will be sure to stay on brand -Have a backup of your community manager. This way if the person in charge of a certain campaign gets sick or “goes rogue,” like HMV, there is a backup plan and someone else can step in and take over.
  • So how to you right things when checks and balances didn’t succeed? Remove the rogue content that may reflect poorly on your brand (again, explaining to your audience what happened and apologizing if necessary) Change all of your account passwords ASAP and make sure you re-evaluate the list of who has access. Update your social media policy to make guidelines clearer if the fail stems from confusion—make adjustments to ensure it doesn’t happen again! Tighten things up! Consider taking the “keys” away from people who don’t really need them or who aren’t trusted members of your content/social media team if you need to. For those who have the keys, remind them of the rules and guidelines—not just once, but every so often so it’s top of mind.
  • Every brand- no matter the size - should have a social media crisis management plan. You should be convinced of that at this point considering we ’ve just covered fired employees taking over a Twitter account. Twit happens, guys. Your brand needs a plan on how to handle the unexpected.
  • The UK supermarket chain found itself under fire when horse meat was discovered in its beef burgers. This tweet was sent out the night of the controversy, which is why the wording is pretty awful. Needless to say most people didn ’t find the horse reference very funny. The supermarket quickly apologized, saying that the tweet had been previously scheduled. When your company is caught up in any kind of controversy, one of the first steps you need to take is to stop your normal social media activities. Make sure to cancel any auto-scheduled tweets or posts. Chances are they won ’t contain anything as horribly funny as this Tesco tweet but still….cancel them.
  • Keep a constant watch on mentions of your brand. With constant monitoring, a crisis is less likely to slip through the cracks. Establish a clear chain of command for handling a response. Outline who needs to be made aware of a potential crisis and who will be handling the response Delay all social media efforts while you work on your response plan. Cancel any auto-scheduled tweets or posts. This applies during times of crisis like the Tesco example and also during times of tragedy. You don ’t want to be caught off guard and seem insensitive by continuing normal marketing efforts. - Acknowledge the problem immediately. You can ’t wait for your CEO’s official statement or something from legal. If you wait you’ll only look as though you’re ignoring the problem. This doesn’t mean you need to offer up an explanation right away, but you need to address the issue and let people know you’re looking into it
  • If you got caught with your pants down, so to speak, here’s what to do: Plan and execute that response plan Kate talked about quickly—acknowledge the problem and show how you’re taking steps to fix it. Look over the content of upcoming posts you may have scheduled to make sure you don’t have anything in there that could make things even worse. Consider playing it a little safer than usual for a period of time until people have had a chance to forget your slip-up. Get as many hands on deck as you need to respond to posts in a timely manner during the barrage of comments you might get if you’re a big brand. Make sure they all know what the plan is. You may need extra people or dedicate extra time in your day to recovering from this type of fail, so set expectations accordingly with your boss.
  • We ’ll do our best to get to as many questions as we can.
  • Thanks so much for attending! As we mentioned at the beginning of the webinar, we focused a lot on how to recover from the fails today as well as avoiding them in the first place. If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into avoiding the fails, check out the e-book Kate pulled together, available at For ongoing updates from uberVU and more social media tips, visit us on!
  • Transcript

    • 1. #FAILPROOF Your Social The 9 types of Social Media Fails and How to Avoid Them #failproof July 11, 2013
    • 2. Your Presenters: Kate Dunham Content Marketing Specialist uberVU Elisabeth Michaud Social Media Marketing/ Community Manager uberVU #failproof @gatork ates @emich aud
    • 3. Interact! Use the hashtag #failproof Update Follow us on Twitter for ongoing updates: @ubervu Questions? Submit questions anytime through GoToWebinar – time permitting, answers will be at the end 1 2 3 #failproof
    • 4. About uberVU #failproof
    • 5. The #FAIL: what is it? A brand that made the mistake If you failed, how to recover gracefully How to avoid it 1 2 3 4 #failproof
    • 6. FAIL: fighting fire with fire #failproof
    • 7. The culprit: Amy’s Baking Co.
    • 8. Make sure all of your posts are words that the brand can stand behind Avoid the fail: Be empathetic, but keep your emotions in check Don’t feed the trolls #failproof
    • 9. Recover from this #FAIL by: Put out that fire! Apologize, wait a bit, remove the errant posts, then move forward. DON’T lie and say your accounts were hacked. Consider: a new community manager, or at least new content-approval systems, if the comments you made were hurtful or offensive. Photo Credit: Lars P. via Compfight cc
    • 10. "Don't even think of using social media when you're angry. Don't be defensive, address the issues and try your hardest to help. Say sorry and be humble. Don't use CAPS LOCK." - Mike McGrail, Social Media Today
    • 11. FAIL: being shady #failproof
    • 12. The culprit: Chick-fil-A
    • 13. Don’t delete comments that are not malicious Avoid the fail: Respond to both positive and negative comments Don’t attempt to manipulate your audience with fake fans or comments Have a clear moderation policy #failproof
    • 14. Recover from this #FAIL by: Keep it classy! Own up to it and apologize for any wrongdoing. Be clear: reiterate your page’s moderation policy, or create one if you haven’t already. Stand behind your brand: draw attention to company values that show the behavior was just a lapse in judgment--NOT a company-wide problem. Photo Credit: flequi via Compfight cc
    • 15. FAIL: not checking yourself (before you wreck yourself) #failproof
    • 16. The culprit: KitchenAid
    • 17. Slow down! Avoid the fail: Double check EVERY post—are you sending it from the right account? Are you sending a public tweet or a private message? Consider using different management tools for personal and private accounts #failproof
    • 18. #failproof Response from the senior director of branding, KitchenAid
    • 19. FAIL: playing “the lazy game” #failproof
    • 20. The culprit: Celeb Boutique
    • 21. Double check your spelling and grammar Avoid the fail: Customize content for each social network Do your research! Check all hashtags before using Test all links before posting #failproof
    • 22. Recover from this #FAIL by: Keep it in check and don’t be lazy! Take action quickly to minimize the impact: If you messed up, It’s ok to poke fun at yourself & then re-post it the correct way. Be humble: admit your mistake. It’s ok to delete the erroneous post, but since social happens fast, explain yourself, too. Apologize where necessary. Photo Credit: Anil Jadhav via Compfight cc
    • 23. FAIL: lacking the sensitivity gene #failproof
    • 24. The culprit: Belvedere
    • 25. Use common sense Avoid the fail: If you’re not sure if your content is offensive, don’t post it Don’t EVER use a tragic event as an opportunity to plug your brand without providing value #failproof
    • 26. Recover from this #FAIL by: Show your sensitive side! Beg for forgiveness! Apologize for the content (and not just for offending people). Make the recovery bigger than the #FAIL: get support from others in your organization to support a relevant cause, etc. Break out the big guns! Photo Credit: GraceOda via Compfight cc
    • 27. FAIL: begging for attention #failproof
    • 28. The culprit: General Electric
    • 29. Make sure your voice and strategy match your brand Avoid the fail: Make sure all content is relevant to your brand Focus on creating valuable content for your target audience #failproof
    • 30. FAIL: playing with emotions #failproof
    • 31. The culprit: Papa John’s
    • 32. Don’t rely on empty likes to push your content Avoid the fail: Don’t force engagement with charitable causes #failproof
    • 33. Recover from this #FAIL by: Earn their attention and engagement! Take action the moment you realize you’ve fallen into a content rut. Distinguish between playing on emotions the RIGHT way and the WRONG way. Change up your content strategy! Arm yourself with copywriting and graphics resources to create better, more relevant content in your brand’s voice. Photo Credit: Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel via Compfight cc
    • 34. FAIL: no checks and balances #failproof
    • 35. The culprit: HMV
    • 36. Choose your community manager based on trust Avoid the fail: All team members should monitor social activity Have a backup for your community manager Make sure more than one person has access to social accounts #failproof
    • 37. Recover from this #FAIL by: Balance it out! Remove employee content that may reflect poorly on your brand. Change your social account passwords ASAP! Update internal social media policies as necessary to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future. Tighten it up! Remind everyone who has the “keys” of brand guidelines/rules and help them keep it top-of-mind. Photo Credit: alltagskunst via Compfight cc
    • 38. FAIL: getting caught with your pants down #failproof
    • 39. The culprit: Tesco
    • 40. Keep a constant watch on the mentions of your brand Avoid the fail: Delay all social media efforts while you work on your response plan Cancel any auto-scheduled tweets or posts (in times of crisis or tragedy) Establish a clear chain of command for handling a response Acknowledge the problem immediately #failproof
    • 41. Recover from this #FAIL by: Pull those pants up! Check the content of future scheduled posts— make edits or delete posts that don’t fit with your response plan. Plan & execute your crisis response, acknowledging the problem quickly. Continue to monitor & respond to posts until things die down—this may mean extra hours or hands on deck to help you handle things. Photo Credit: Micah Taylor via Compfigh t cc
    • 42. Q&A #failproof
    • 43. Thank you! Elisabeth Michaud @emichaud/ @ubervu Later this week, you’ll receive a link to the recorded webinar and slides. #failproof Kate Dunham @gatorkates Avoid a #FAIL with our in-depth e-book: