Social media fails and how to avoid them

At the beginning of 2017 there were 2.7 billion active social media users worldwide, and this number is increasing constantly. It is for this reason that social media is such a desirable platform for companies to promote their business. However, the majority of us will have seen examples when a company’s social media activity has failed, the larger the company the more likely it is that their failure will go viral and attract a significant amount of negative attention.

Most recently Walkers has seen a social media campaign take an entirely different turn than they expected. The brand began a #WalkersWave campaign that offered a prize of tickets to the Champion’s League final by encouraging users to share selfies. These selfies were then automatically incorporated into a view with Gary Lineker. The campaign took a turn for the worse when people began uploading images of serial killers, murders, sex offenders and other notorious criminals, including Jimmy Saville, Harold Shipman, Rolf Harris and Joseph Stalin. Experts have stated that they do not predict long-lasting damage to the brand, and it is safe to say that Walkers meant no offence with their campaign.

Whilst it is very unlikely to damage Walkers’ reputation, smaller businesses may find social media fails could negatively impact their company in the short term, which ultimately could have long-term repercussions. As a result of this, businesses should be well versed in how to carry out their social media activity adequately to avoid fails.

Tips to avoid a social media fail


Plan ahead

Plan your social media activity in advance; we find that planning activity on a spreadsheet gives you a chance to review and update your scheduled tweets/ posts, and then these can be added to scheduling software, such as Hootsuite. Planning ahead is great but it is important to review posts and make sure they are still relevant and appropriate when they go live.

Who is your target audience?

Think closely about your target audience when posting; will this content bring value to an audience? Will it encourage them to engage?

Monitor accounts

Whilst scheduling posts outside of accounts are ideal to save yourself time and ensure that you are consistently posting, it is also important that you set aside time to monitor your social accounts for responses, comments and mentions. Respond to questions and acknowledge comments, mentions or likes as quickly as possible to encourage further engagement.

Don’t argue back

Unfortunately, the nature of social means that businesses may on occasion receive negative comments, however, it is vital that these comments aren’t responded to with anger. There are many examples of companies having full blown arguments on their social media accounts for all to see, and it will more often than not reflect badly on the business itself for failing to respond in a professional manner. Respond to negative comments calmly and constructively.