Skip to main content

How Businesses Get Social Media Wrong (So You Know How Not To)

Social media can be a bit intimidating. Full of bright young Millennials on their Snapchats and Hypes. But it is, at its core, very simple. It’s humans connecting with humans. To do it right you need to understand your audience and be authentic and helpful. Deviate from these guiding principles and it can go horribly wrong.

So, here’s what NOT to do when posting organically or running social media advertising as some of these businesses found out the hard way…


1. Hop on a popular (but irrelevant to your brand) hashtag

McDonalds (who aren’t Australian) ran a campaign around Australia Day. It asked its customers to turn their hamburgers upside down, take a picture of themselves eating one and then share these images with the very long hashtag #DownUnderBigMac

On the big day, the hashtag was used just six times (four times on Twitter and twice on Instagram).



3. Get your facts wrong

In a New Year’s message on the most popular Russian social media network, VK, Coca-Cola published a map of Russia that did not include Crimea.



4. Check what your post looks like after posting them

This can lead to unfortunate mistakes. Preview is your friend.



6. Use the death of a celebrity to sell your product

These are a few examples from the day that news broke of David Bowie’s tragic death.

Anyone for a doughnut?



7. Use a still-evolving news event to raise brand awareness

The Tweeter, in this case, didn’t know the extent of the tragedy at Alton Towers and that people had been seriously hurt, but therein lies the lesson. Don’t piggyback on a news event until you know how it ends. And, perhaps show a bit more compassion.



9. Tweet a personal tweet from your business account

This error was made by the social media executive running the Justice Department’s Twitter feed.


Share this content

If your business needs help with getting social media right,  Digital Mums is opening up a limited number of places for businesses to work with its trainee social media managers in March 2017 – for less than £100 a month.

All mums on our  Social Media Marketing Associate Programme have backgrounds in marketing, comms or PR and, as they’re in training, we charge very low fees for this support – £500 for six months where they will spend 10-15 hours per week on social media marketing for your business. We’ve worked with over 300 businesses and charities over the last two years and 97% said they’d recommend us.

To get in touch, email

Leave a Reply

Register with Informi today:

  • Join over 30,000 like-minded business professionals.
  • Create your own personalised account with curated reading lists and checklists.
  • Access exclusive resources including business plans, templates, and tax calculators.
  • Receive the latest business advice and insights from Informi.
  • Join in the discussion through the comments section.