Despite stories of huge social media fails dominating the news recently (like this story on US Airways’ pornographic tweet), social media is an excellent marketing opportunity. It’s proven to be one of the most effective (Oreo’s Superbowl tweet anyone?) and economical forms of modern marketing. But social media disaster can strike even the biggest of brands. It’s understandable that mistakes happen in social, but brands can take a serious blow if they’re not careful.

Here are of some of the biggest blunders in the history of social media, and how they could’ve been prevented.

Not Double Checking Your Message

One of the most recent social media disasters involves US Airways’ response to a customer’s complaint. The now famous picture featured a naked woman and a tiny model airplane, with the caption “We welcome feedback, Elle. If your travel is completed, you can detail here for review and follow up.” The tweet was sent out to the account’s 420,000 followers and shared over 500 times, in the hour before it was deleted.

Lesson: Before publishing anything on social media, it should be editing thoroughly, and looked over by more than one set of eyes. Media Launch has developed a process that prevents anything like this “situation” happening to our clients including a thorough editing process for everything from copy to design.

Being in the Wrong Place, at the Wrong Time

Epicurios, a website for food lovers was under fire when a scheduled tweet about Boston, went out right after the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon. The company later replied saying the tweets were “insensitive,” but the damage had already been done.

Lesson: Although pre-scheduling your company’s social media posts can be helpful, companies should always be aware of what’s going out when. If a company does not have the internal resources to stay on top of their pages, and current affairs it may be time to outsource. With the average life of a tweet being 18 minutes, it only takes one “insensitive” tweet to ruin a brand.

Making the Password “Password”

“Don’t use easy passwords, and always be aware of who knows them,” is a lesson HMV had to learn the hard way. In January the company faced an embarrassing situation, when an employee being fired decided to live-tweet the entire meeting. The whole insurrection lasted only 20 minutes before the company successfully removed the tweets, which were already treading.

Lesson: Whether it’s a hacker or a disgruntled employee, having your company’s social media passwords in the wrong hands could be disastrous. Being aware of the people who have your passwords, and changing them every couple of months is a good way to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Although mistakes can happen, companies would be left behind if they ignored social media. Likewise, companies without objectives, a strategy, and a tool to measure the ROI for their social media campaigns wouldn’t derive its full benefits. Hopefully companies follow these tips to get the most out their campaigns!

Contact Media Launch today to help your company get the most out of social media!