10 Social Media Campaigns that Failed! Avoid their mistakes!

What truly defines a failed social media campaign? What are the factors and elements that drive a social media campaign to its doom? What are the worst social media campaigns online? What can be learned from the mistakes they have made?

Success is 99% Failure - This is why we like to also learn from the failed campaigns!

Success is 99% Failure - This is why we like to learn from the failed campaigns!

In my previous post entitled “10 Social Media Campaigns that Rock…“, I listed and discussed, in details, the 10 best social media campaigns that I was able to find online and that had a great the ability to grab my attention and gain my interest. Furthermore, and in the same post, I added a list of elements and advices that should be considered to ensure the success if any social media campaign.

For this post, as promised, I will be mentioning 10 social media campaigns that failed with a few following tips of how to avoid falling into the same trap!

10 Social media Campaigns that Failed:

  1. Wal Mart‘s Facebook Campaign – Wal Mart here tried using Facebook pages feature to market itself in a different image, “practicality” vs. “style”, and failed miserably as opposed to Target, the company!
  2. Skittles Twitter Campaign – Although it should have worked out in their favor, skittles underestimated the power of tweeting when it utilized Twitter, which in turn turned what could have been a great campaign against them through the attacks they received about their product through the Twitter community!
  3. Kiva.org‘s Twitter Campaign – By applying a the “#followfriday” concept, Kiva.org tried to tremendously increase the number of followers and sadly, they failed (we think it’s due to choosing the wrong audience).
  4. Starbucks Social Media Campaign – Though their idea to leverage the customer community to drive co-innovation is a great one in theory, Starbucks less than planned or integrated campaign failed to gain the feedback sought.
  5. Advani‘s Political Social Media Campaign – Though his people were on the right track utilizing a blog, a Facebook page, a Youtube channel and others, there was too much emphasis on advertising rather than communication which lead to a less than desired outcome.
  6. Molson Canadian Facebook Photo Contest Campaign – The photo required to enter the draw for a trip to Cancun promoted irresponsible drinking and lead to the plummet of the campaign!
  7. Target Rounder‘s Facebook Campaign – One which utilized a lie created just to gain more fans and a larger community!
  8. Brinpopcorn.com‘s Social Media Spammer – They tried to bribe top diggers to place them on the first page!
  9. General Motor‘s SUV “create your own advert” Viral Marketing Campaign – The problem was that the environmentalists created negative ads!
  10. Resident Evil‘s Viral Marketing Campaign – Sony’s Resident Evil mobile marketing campaign backfired when people thought they are receiving actual mobile viruses!

Things to do & things to avoid!

  • Revise your marketing message once, twice, three times and even more to make sure you will get the least amount of attacks or negative feedback from your audience.
  • When using Facebook for your social media campaign, try  not to restrict comments and feedback to your Facebook page as “Wall Posts” instead, create a discussion board for more effective and dynamic two-way communication.
  • Never stray from the core or try to be something that you’re not. Being authentic, transparent and sticking to your overall image is very important.
  • Do not try to sell yourself too bluntly. If you feel you have a need to do so, do it through communication and involvement with communities and individuals on different suitable social media channels.
  • Be ethical; lying or purposely deceiving will not pay off as some might suspect!
  • Use Facebook techniques that are sure to pay off because not every Facebook feature or tool will fit into your image, vision or goals.
  • Learn when to stick to the “old school style”. The “more the merrier” concept does not always work. Remember: sometimes less is more!
  • If you mess up by mistake, always have a “damage control” plan. Luck is overrated and you need to be prepared in case anything goes wrong.

If almost 50% of social media campaign will fail, is it wise to keep spending resources to try to create campaigns that rock? I do believe so!

Finally, I’ll leave you to think about the following questions: How dangerous do you think social media and viral marketing campaigns can be? And do you have any more advice or experiences that you’d like to share?

Comments and Reactions

  • Benyoung

    Not really the end of the world if you use exclamation marks, great post

  • Sound advice, a good eye opener.

  • Broomjenny

    Totally agree. Good review!

  • Very good post.

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