6 Sure Signs Your Social Media Campaign Is Headed for Disaster

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No one goes into a social media campaign hoping to do a bad job. All of us plan meticulously and keep up with the latest research, but even when you have the best intentions, things can go wrong. The real key is recognizing the problem and acting quickly to fix it.

Here are six signs that your social media campaign is going off the rails, along with ideas on how to fix it


1. Your Hashtag Gets Hijacked

Many companies make a special hashtag for a campaign to help them keep track of who is engaging with their content and how it’s being used. However, sometimes this tactic backfires when troublemakers decide to use your hashtag for their own fun. For instance, McDonald’s did a Twitter campaign called #McDStories in which people were supposed to share their fun visits. Instead, people shared their worst experiences at the chain, and McDonald’s couldn’t erase any of the responses.
How to deal: Abandon the hijacked hashtag in your promotions. You really, really don’t want people reading bad stories about your company.

2. You Stick Your Foot in Your Mouth

There are so many examples of companies trying to jump on current events to promote their products where the idea totally backfires. For instance, Kenneth Cole not once but twice tried to piggyback on current events to sell its wares. Both times the company’s Twitter feed made a blithe reference to violent situations, and both times the backlash on Twitter was fierce.
How to deal: Apologize and back off. You’ll only make it worse if you try to explain away your mistake.

3. No One Is Engaging With Your Content

It takes some time to get people engaged with your content, so be patient at first. But if, after a few days, you notice no one is taking your bait, it’s time to rethink the campaign. It could be you’re targeting the wrong social network. Say you want to promote a pavement maintenance product, like the one Daniel B. Krieg sells, and you’ve been targeting people on LinkedIn. That is not a place people look at to discuss home maintenance; you’d be better off going to Pinterest, where home maintenance is a hot topic.
How to deal: Don’t be afraid to retool your focus or jump to another social network.

4. People Are Complaining

Trolls are a part of doing business on the Internet, but sometimes people have real complaints and they’re not actually trolling. They’re just trying to get answers, and they’ve decided that jumping into your social media campaign is the best way to do it. This isn’t something you want to become a major issue, so you need to cut off the problem before it balloons.
How to deal: Address the complaints as quickly and straightforwardly as possible and try not to let them derail the campaign. Be honest with yourself: they may have a point about you and your business’s shortfalls.

5. The Campaign Is Too Confusing

Admittedly, it can be hard to run a contest on a social media site. Every network has their own set of rules that you must follow or risk getting your content taken down. But if you make the contest too complicated for your audience, you won’t get many entries.
How to deal: Ask someone outside the company — a friend or family member, perhaps — to take a look at your contest plan and offer feedback. If they are baffled, your customers will be too.

6. You’re Being Less Than Honest

Let’s face it: Some companies will do anything to get more followers, more interaction and more engagement. That can lead them to be less than straightforward with a social media campaign. Don’t fall into that boat. If you promise not to use email addresses for advertising, for instance, stick to that pledge. Don’t give people any reason to mistrust you.
How to deal: If you see any area where you’re not being forthcoming, correct it immediately.

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See also: How to overcome a major Social Media Blooper