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4 Social Media Mistakes Southeast Asian Start-ups Should Never Make

Houston, I made a boo-boo.

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BY Pauline Mendoza - 07 Apr 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Here are some pretty compelling numbers posted by Social Media Today: Today, 22 percent of the world’s population use Facebook, with 76 percent logging on to the platform daily in 2016. On Twitter, 81 percent of millennials check their accounts once a day. On Snapchat, over 400 million snaps are shared per day and almost 9,000 photos are shared every second. Thirty-two percent of teenagers regard Instagram their most important social network. And 450 million people are on LinkedIn.

With the amount of people your brand can reach on social media each day, start-ups can’t afford to make a slip—and yet some brands still do.

Here are four social media mistakes by global brands and what Southeast Asians can learn from them:


1. Not doing enough research

Clothing brand American Apparel mistakenly posted a photo on its Tumblr page it tagged as “Smoke Clouds,” but was in fact the image of the Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986. It was soon taken down after commenters pointed out the mishap. In a statement posted on Twitter, “A young social media employee who was born after the Challenger tragedy unfortunately re-blogged a photograph of the explosion on our Tumblr account, unaware of the context.”

The lesson here? Before posting anything, proofread and fact-check. Check every word and every element of the photo you’re about to make public.


2. Not having all bases covered

When iPhone 6 Plus was released, people who usually put their phones in their back pockets noticed the phones started bending. Not wanting to miss out an opportunity, LG France attempted to poke fun at this tech design mishap and tweeted “Our smartphones don’t bend, they are naturally curved ;) #bendgate.”

However, it was later revealed that the tweet was sent from an iPhone. Needless to say, the mockery backfired.


3. Not understanding the context behind the conversation

To avoid future mishaps and making apologies for your brand, be sure to understand the conversation happening on social media before joining in.  

After a domestic violence incident, Janay Palmer Rice's decision to stay with NFL player Ray Rice started the Twitter hashtag #WhyIStayed, which immediately trended on the social media platform. Of course, tweets with the hashtag #WhyIStayed talked about domestic violence, but frozen pizza company DiGiorno tried to join the conversation by tweeting “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.”

A few minutes after the backlash, DiGiorno immediately deleted the tweet and followed with “A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.” The company also sent personalized replies to each person who mentioned them on Twitter because of their offensive, out-of-context post.


4. Not exercising good ‘ol common sense

A PR firm that represented MasterCard tried to utilize Twitter as a publicity platform for the Brit Awards. Their strategy? They required journalists to mention the credit card company on social media to get press credentials for the event where MasterCard is the major sponsor.

The journalists were instructed to tweet using the hashtag #PricelessSurprises and were even sent draft tweets with corresponding time slots.

The good news is that journalists did tweet about MasterCard using the hashtag. The bad news? Owing to the company’s lack of knowledge on journalism ethics, here’s an example of a tweet by a willing journo: “Good press coverage is hard to bribe. For everything else, there's Mastercard. #PricelessSurprises

It goes without saying that anyone can poke fun at your social media campaign and criticize your brand. When they do, be prepared to handle these things professionally, with grace, and you just might turn things around.

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