Blurred Lines: When Social Media Goes Awry - and What to Do about It.
By Pete Winter

Blurred Lines: When Social Media Goes Awry – and What to Do about It.

Learn how to communicate effectively across social media channels, even in the face of customer adversity.

Blurred lines When social media goes awry

The face of social media has become increasingly important to successful inbound marketing. The immediacy of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allows for real time, spontaneous interactions between companies and their customers and potential leads.

Not only can your social media manager engage with customers’ problems, questions and praise – they can also use social media to push your brand further. Sounds fantastic, right?

In theory, yes! There can be times, however, when social media goes awry.


The line between customer interaction and customer backlash.

A few months ago, VH1 endorsed their social media profile on Twitter by offering a question and answer session with music celebrity Robin Thicke. Fans simply had to ask their question through the hashtag #AskThicke.

Although VH1 attracted a fantastic amount of traffic on their social media page, it was not because they had generated the conversations they had predicted. #AskThicke quickly became an opportunity for the general public to demonstrate their distaste towards Robin Thicke. The hashtag became overloaded with sarcastic jokes, accusations of misogyny and sexual harassment and finally, hashtags about the hashtag!


How VH1 and Robin Thicke dealt with the backlash:

Despite the vast amount of tweets made, VH1 carefully selected fifteen uncontroversial tweets that were only slightly challenging. Their selection made evident that VH1 had someone managing the content they were delivering – protecting both VH1 and Robin Thicke. Robin Thicke responded quite neutrally, given the questions at hand.


How do I keep my social media on the straight and narrow?

You won’t be able to control everything that your customers say about you, just as VH1 and Robin Thicke had no control over #AskThicke! Most consumers turn to social media platforms to make complaints – but it is the way you respond to these that will prevent damage to your brand. While you should be interacting via social media platforms, it is also important to have someone monitoring who is saying what, and where. VH1 clearly had someone in the calm of the social media storm.

By adopting the same tactics, this will allow you to respond quickly, positively and directly to any issues, complaints and questions directed towards your social media accounts. If you resell IT software to Professional Services businesses and someone complained about the software via Facebook, you could publicly apologise and offer them a free new installation. This keeps your customer happy and allows visitors to see how great your company is, which will contribute to turning them into leads!

The trick to avoiding blurred lines on social media is being honest, open and direct with your customers. It will certainly help you to avoid the controversy Robin Thicke found himself in!

Now that you know how important it is to keep connected with your customers, find out how you can convert your visitors into leads with great content and social tools. Download your free eGuide: Listening in: How to Use Social Tools to Create Content Which Converts.

Read the latest positioning trends and insights.

Tap into our brand and product positioning, storytelling, and creative expertise to inspire your next strategic move.

Subscribe to insights.