A presence on social media is increasingly important for businesses these days, and many companies use social media with great success. However, sometimes businesses get it wrong when it comes to this outlet, and sometimes they get it dead wrong. Check out some of these good and bad social media examples that your business can learn from.

Businesses That React to Negative Customer Feedback

The Good: Dell took note that customers were posting to social media about problems before they issued a call to the call center. Dell was able to use this information to tackle issues early on before they got out of control. Dell also encourages customers to post issues on social media so that they can address each complaint personally and use the information to make a better product.

The Bad: When an Applebee’s server posted a photo of a receipt where a customer failed to leave a tip, Applebee’s fired the server for violating customer privacy.

As the Web caught wind of this incident (primarily via Reddit), Applebee’s put a post on Facebook explaining their actions. This post backfired, and people began posting negative comments on Applebee’s Facebook page. Applebee’s responded by arguing with Facebook users and even deleting or blocking some of the negative comments.

The Takeaway: Don’t argue with your customers or engage in confrontational behavior on social media like Applebee’s did. Instead, choose to model your business after Dell, who effectively engages negative customer feedback to improve their products and services.

Businesses that Create True Social Media

The Good: Smirnoff launched their Nightlife Exchange Project as a way to promote their vodka. The company asked users to share ideas for the best nightlife event. The campaign worked extremely well, garnering more than 5,000 likes and 8,000 customer-uploaded photos. Facebook users from around the world participated, and the resulting parties took place in 50 different countries. This campaign embodies true social media, the sharing of information among virtual networks.

The Bad: McDonald’s attempted to create a social campaign where customers could share nostalgic stories about their favorite McDonald’s experiences using the hashtag #McDstories. The campaign backfired when users instead posted horror stories and tales of disgust across Twitter. McDonald’s attempted to pull the campaign as quickly as possible, but not before it gained a lot of attention.

The Takeaway: Smirnoff did an excellent job of creating a campaign that spanned the world and generated a lot of interest that users wanted to share. However, sometimes even the best social media campaigns can fail. In the example of McDonald’s, we see that we always should have a contingency plan for handling social media campaigns gone wrong.

Businesses That Understand How Their Customers Use Social Media

The Good: Pepsi is responsible for many different beverages that are geared toward specific customers. Pepsi found that their target audience for Diet Pepsi was thirty- to fifty-year-old women. That same age bracket of females predominately uses Pinterest for sharing ideas, so Pepsi markets Diet Pepsi through Pinterest. When Pepsi wanted to increase their social media exposure for their Brisk Iced Tea, they chose Instagram because they felt Instagram users were “edgier” and more likely to choose Brisk Iced Tea. Pepsi uses different social media platforms based on their target demographic.

The Bad: When Woody Harrelson paired with Reddit, the idea was that he would answer users’ questions about his life and career. Instead, Mr. Harrelson used Reddit to promote his new movie, and Reddit users reacted negatively, accusing him of shameless self-promotion. The negative press surrounding the actor and his new movie spread quickly.

The Takeaway: Pepsi is a great example of using the right social media platform to target your customer. In the case of Woody Harrelson using Reddit, he didn’t understand how Reddit works and what the users expect. Learn which social media platform your customers use, and align your content with that platform.

Your business should use social media to increase connections with your customers and market your products and services. Learn from businesses that have succeeded and failed at social marketing to create your business’s best social media campaign. What are some other ways you can improve your business’s use of social media?

About the Author:

DJ Miller is a graduate student at the University of Tampa. He is an avid gadget geek who spends most his time writing on anything tech related. He is a contributor to Verizoninternet.com
and you can follow him on Twitter @MillerHeWrote

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