Every social media manager has a story or two to tell about their worst mistake, their worst fan or their worst campaign. In my latest article Nightmare on Social Media Street I am going to share with you my top 3 social media horror stories. So … turn on the light… lock all the doors and don’t have nightmares!
#3 Chinese Flag
In at number three was my infamous Chinese flag mistake! Those who have worked with me know that I am very sensitive to cultures and usually, despite the fast paced world of social media, I don’t make huge mistakes. On this particular day I was announcing the winner of a social media contest… he was from China. In my haste to post the update, I googled “Chinese Flag” and took the first image. Yes, yes I know you shouldn’t take images from Google but this wasn’t the worst part. In my haste I had accidentally taken a Vietnamese flag instead of a Chinese one. So my post congratulated a winner from China and posted the flag of Vietnam. Relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam are tenuous at best so this was a serious faux pas. My post was met with a variety of comments ranging from “how stupid are you” right through to “unfollowing this page… they don’t even know where China is”.
#2 The Bomb Threat
Back in 2012 I ran a social media contest at an investment firm where I was managing their digital media. The contest involved participants taking selfies in order to win a prize. Unfortunately, I hadn’t learnt the lesson of applying strict and legally correct rules to competitions because I figured… well nobody will complain if they don’t win right? Well, I learnt the lesson the hard way on the day I picked a winner myself and received an email from another contestant. He was complaining that the competition was unfair and wanted to see a copy of the rules. After 159 emails, 28 phone calls, a ton of outraged social media complaints and a bad review he finally exceeded my expectations by making a bomb threat. No, it wasn’t my fault that he behaved in this way but it was my fault for not enforcing proper rules and sticking to them. I had plenty of time to mull this over as myself and my entire company were evacuated outside by security.
#1 The Cover Photo
This one is so cringey that it ranks above the bomb threat in terms of sheer awfulness! Back in 2012 (yes it was a bad year for social media nightmares) I committed another faux pas. On a night out with some friends I snapped a fairly awesome photo of myself and a gay friend both dressed in high heels, dresses and wigs. I decided it would make a pretty cool cover photo for my Facebook profile. My Facebook profile, not my brand’s Facebook profile. Unfortunately, somewhere between 4 mojitos and accidentally activating page manager on my Smartphone I managed to set the photo as a cover photo for one of the brands I was managing. I realized my mistake immediately but at that time the wifi went down in the club so I was left fumbling about on 3G trying to change it! Luckily I changed it before it attracted any attention and mercifully it was in the early hours of the morning but still… the horror!
Most of these Nightmare on Social Media Street horrors can be attributed to rushing things and not thinking them through so let that be a lesson to you. If you don’t want to feel your blood run cold in your veins, take your time and concentrate… it will be worth it in the end!
What was your biggest social media nightmare? Tweet me and let me know @charli_says