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When an ad or marketing campaign is released, it means that it has been looked over by a handful of the folks at the ad agency and by the brand’s or company’s internal marketing team. Any social media campaign cannot escape the scrutiny of a big team. Under such a situation, there are still instances of epic cringe-worthy gaffes. Social media is dynamic in nature and if something goes wrong, it escalates pretty quickly.

In this post, we will be discussing the lessons that every marketer must know; otherwise in the quest to make a campaign viral, you might go horribly wrong and create some of the epic social media marketing fails.

Lesson 1: Avoid making social media campaign entirely around a tagline or a phrase!

KFC, one of the most popular fast food restaurant chains, recently ran a campaign on Twitter #IAteTheBones. The initial plan was to introduce KFC as the new leader in the domain of “boneless chicken”. However, it did not go as planned. The way hashtag #IAteTheBones got viral was not the way as planned by the brand. The hashtag was used with dead bodies, sexual innuendos, and even cannibalism.


One can never know how the Twitter users (or be it any other social media channel) would perceive a presented idea. One must be extra cautious of the words or phrases that may have multiple meanings. A campaign ought to be specific and linear.

Lesson 2: Keep things under your own control!

You cannot anticipate the reach of viral marketing; neither can you know what will happen. When you are under doubt and do not know how things would turn up, it is better to keep things in your control while running a social media campaign. And even if you wish to give consumer-generated content a try and let your consumers speak for you or your team, you ought to make sure that you are definitely adored by the masses.

McDonalds, another big name in the fast food world, ran a social media campaigns #McDStories, inviting people to share their McDonalds experiences and stories. Well, not as expected, but the campaign went completely wrong, when people started sharing their bad experiences about customer service, quality of food, and even disturbing tales of animal abuse.

McDonalds learned a lesson that by running such campaign and giving control to the masses, it actually spent money for letting people damage its reputation.

Lesson 3: Social Media is 24 X 7, so must your activeness!

If your brand has a social media presence, it cannot have working hours attached to it. It has no point otherwise.

Over a period of time, social media has even evolved as a better way to serve customers and accept feedbacks or complaints. Customers prefer to escape the 48 hours rule of getting reply for their complaints; instead they head to social media to communicate and get instant reverts.

British Airways couldn’t abide by this rule. Have a look at what happened.

Well there was a difference of 8 hours between the first tweet and the second tweet, and during these 8 hours some 76000 people had already seen it.

It is a must to be fully active on the social media profiles – round the clock. Also, it is pretty common to get complaints posted on your social profiles. In such a situation, brands must ensure that they reply to those complaints as swiftly as possible, and satisfactorily resolve them.

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