Sahail Ashraf posted on 18 February 2020
While 2019 may have been a terribly tumultuous year for politics, social media marketing hasn’t fared too well either.
The year saw many things happen on social, and not all of it was pleasant or positive. We thought we would take a look at some of the biggest highs and lows on social media in the year we have just said goodbye to.
We’re going back to 2018 briefly for a reason. We’re pretty certain that this is one of the worst examples of Snapchat being idiotic (there’s no other word for this behaviour) in recent times.
Bots on social media continues to be a source of powerful levels of support for customers, but Snapchat managed to make a huge error in July 2018. That’s when it used a bot to tweet out a support message around ‘Streaks’ on the platform.
The problem with Streaks wasn’t world-changing. Perhaps Snapchat saw it that way, because rather than deal with some issues on a more human level, it simply used a bot that was activated by keywords. The rest of the world soon caught on.
Unfortunately, with keywords like ‘streak’ and ‘streaks’ triggering the bots automatic response to real problems with the feature it soon became easy for humans to demonstrate that the bot was ‘helping’ them, and not a real person. Why was this a problem? Because authenticity is everything, especially when a popular feature breaks and needs repairing.
Users soon triggered the bot with humorous tweets that used the keywords but had nothing to do with Streaks. It just looked bad.
For example, one user tweeted: ‘England have lost their World Cup streak. Any way they could get it back?’, to which the bot replied: ‘We’re aware many Snapchatters are experiencing crashing on the app. We’re looking into it and working on a fix!’
Not good. Not good at all.
But really nothing like the other fails of 2019…
As a brand, Uber hasn’t had a great year. Right at the tail end, it lost its license to operate in London (a small hamlet with a few potential users situated in it), and prior to that it operated as one of the worst brands to work for if you’re a woman. Not good stuff, and the work the brand did on social media itself was no better.
In April, it received a complaint from a tweeter and used a bot to respond. However, the tweeter had changed their display name to the N-word. The automated bot response referred to the tweeter by that name. Obviously, Uber apologised, but it was a ridiculously stupid thing to have to happen, not to mention ridiculously offensive. Trolls love having a go at social media accounts to spread hate speech. And until brands manage bots effectively, this kind of stuff just keeps happening.
Okay, not the world’s biggest brand, but still the perpetrator of an incredibly badly judged piece of social media marketing in 2019.
The September 11th attacks will always be a tragedy that America remembers. And for obvious reasons people mark the day every year. Ledo Pizza wanted to mark it too, so they managed to do just that with a piece of social media marketing that was just in very bad taste.
Simply put, the tweet showed a photo of a pizza that had been fashioned after the USA flag. It looked bad and it looked thoughtless. The tweet was removed pretty soon after it was posted, but the fallout from the event must have been painful for the brand.
The lesson was simple. If you’re going to focus on and remember a horrible part of history, don’t do it in a horrible way.
What a year for airlines. Basically, no flight company escaped unscathed. With delays everywhere and some of the toughest financial conditions known in the history of the industry, it was not a picnic.
However, Ryanair, the low-cost airline that works tirelessly to annoy someone nearly every day, did it again.
A British Airways flight landed in Edinburgh rather than it’s German destination. It was obviously big news. Then Ryanair decided to pitch in with a tweet that mocked the rival’s inability to land in the right place. It tweeted a photo of a book called ‘Geography for Dummies’.
What Ryanair didn’t fully understand was the sheer amount of anger and negativity it’s image brings. People responded online with other tweets, such as the one saying that they would rather land in the wrong place than on a Ryanair plane.
This shows that a brand has to be fully aware of its public image and the temperature online. If it doesn’t have the loyalty and the ability to be sarcastic (which some brands do have), it’s best to not get involved.
The lesson? Know your audience. If your post will chime in with them and not make you look cruel and sarcastic, go for it.
We can’t end the year without talking about Gillette. The razor company took the opportunity right at the very start of 2019 to remind men that they can be good people. In an era where it’s important to think about respect for others (gender issues and otherwise), Gillette decided to celebrate real men. No more words are required, just watch the video and be thankful for a brand that is intelligent and sensitive.
If you run social media for yourself or a client, get Locowise. It makes it a whole lot easier. We will even give you a week for free.