Rookie Social Media Mistakes

Cartoon of Facebook and Twitter Mascots getting arrested
Twitter bird and Facebook…book. Image courtesy of

Everyone and their mother knows that Social Media is the new “it-girl” when it comes to online marketing. Social Media marketing has become ever so popular because it allows companies to express their branding message through an atypical medium that can offer high reward for little expense. Unfortunately, many brands are making marketing mistakes on Facebook. Here are a few examples of what to do, and what not to do when venturing down the potentially lucrative path of Social Media marketing.

One-Way Engagement
Obviously, you want your message to reach as many people as possible on Social Media. The best way to do that is to try making your Social Media posts, well, social. Many brands treat their Social Media marketing like another form of commercial advertising. However, they are not using Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media platforms as intended. No one goes to Facebook to look at an advertisement. Getting fans involved is a great way to increase traffic on your page, while also soaking in free exposure.

We have talked about Flo, the Progressive Girl before. And chances are that we will bring her up again. Why? Because of Progressive’s amazing Social Media marketing, which has pushed the brand to the #1 financially related Facebook page worldwide. Let’s face it, finance isn’t all fun and games. So, why does the page receive so much attention?

Look at this post from July 22nd. The Flo character mentions that she has never seen a baby squirrel. Although the post is random, and has nothing to do with auto insurance, it still received a lot of traffic. In fact multiple people sent in pictures of themselves holding cute baby squirrels. Fans of Flo swarmed in with likes, comments, and shares. The post was worded in a way in which people knew that the post was meant receive user posts.

Progressive’s Flo Page has become so popular that the posts don’t even need to engage the customer by asking a question. Flow posted a picture of the Flo bobble head, with no other text than #SMH, which stands for “Shake my head.” In no time, multiple people sent in pictures of their own Flo bobble head. Talk about successful branding. Flo is so well liked on Facebook that she could post just about anything and still receive thousands of likes, comments, and shares.

Poor Customer Service
Yes, a company can deliver poor customer service through Social Media. Many companies, like banks, are likely to have a large group of angry customers. This is caused by overdraft fees, service fees, etc. Either way, every major bank receives these complaints through post replies on a daily basis. Fortunately, those major banks quickly respond to help ease the customer’s frustration. However, not all companies have responded to these complaints. When complaints are ignored, other Facebook users will take notice, which can cause a backlash against the brand.

Kmart got caught duplicating their responses to customer complaints about employees having to work on Thanksgiving. Multiple customers complained about the ethical issues surrounding Black Friday, and Kmart responded with “Kmart is staffing w/ teams & seasonal associates when possible, giving them the opportunity to make extra money during the holiday” on multiple complaints. Which did not properly address the complaints received. This made Kmart look lazy, and uninterested in concerns from customers and Facebook fans.

Twitter user complaints with the same response from Kmart
These concerns were followed up with the same response. Image courtesy of
Billy Mays holding OxiClean
Billy Mays: King of the Pitch with OxiClean. Image courtesy of

Begging for Likes
“Like this if you [add text here].” These posts are aggravating. What these posts really mean is that companies can now brighten up your Facebook news feed with countless annoying advertisements. You may remember OxiClean and the infomercial salesperson who brought it to popularity, Billy Mays. Unfortunately, the brand has gone from amazing promotion by “King of the Pitch” Billy Mays to “Like” begging. Their April 15 post wasn’t even relevant. They asked fans to like their post if they had already done their taxes. Let’s mix two things people hate, cleaning and taxes. That will get people excited…. This is also a poor form of newsjacking, which we have discussed in our Sharknado blog, Marketing Trends blog, and World Cup blog . Newsjacking is the act of using current news to gain exposure to your brand. But this attempt was just sad. 

Facebook post asking people to "Like" the picture.
Posted on April 15. Image courtesy of

“Like” begging can work in the right situations, but Facebook users are generally seasoned enough to know that a “Like” is essentially an invite to receive constant spamming of comments from the post, that have no relevance to you.

When these mistakes are made, the brand suffers. The last thing any of us want to see is a brand begging for attention, like OxiClean. However, they are far from alone. On the other hand, Flo has been a successful mascot and Facebook page for the insurance company in part because of the Facebook presence that she brings. She constantly responds to posts in a tasteful and timely manner. Progressive also does not beg Facebook users to make her more relevant by asking for “Likes.” Instead, they find ways to make their page relevant and entertaining.

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