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The best business use of social media — and some of the worst too!


Today, business has a very important relationship with social media. We’re at a point in this social media boom where you can’t ignore it anymore, and your company needs to get with the times! There are countless ways in which a business can hop on social media and use it very effectively. It’s known for being a very powerful marketing tool, and you can influence consumer decisions when you do things properly.

As such, there are many examples of businesses that know how to use social media and get a lot of benefit from it. Likewise, there are companies on the other end of the spectrum that have social media disasters. When things go wrong on social media, it usually ends up creating a negative story that damages your business.

So, to help you figure out what your business should and shouldn’t do on social media, here are some examples of the best and worst business experiences on different platforms:

Netflix: Targeted marketing at Its best

Netflix is easily one of the best businesses on social media right now. The streaming giant is always active on Twitter, through its many regional accounts. Regardless of which Netflix account you follow, there’s one thing you always get; quality and relatable content.

Many of their tweets go viral and end up with thousands and thousands of retweets and likes. This is because they carefully post things that they know their target audience will love and relate to. Often, this is a gif of sorts from one of their most popular shows, normally captioned with something that a fan of that show might say. Not only that, but they’re massive ‘memers’ – which basically means they keep updated on all the latest memes circulating on the internet. The embedded tweet above is a great example of this, and you can see how much activity it generated!

There’s a simplicity to Netflix’s use of Twitter, and it all stems from knowing their audience. Not only that, but you’ll notice they’re not too pushy or promotional – so take note of that! It’s a social media marketing strategy that’s clearly successful.

British airways: promoting a rival

British Airways are one of the largest airlines in the world and is generally considered to be a successful company. Naturally, their area of business is highly competitive, particularly when it comes to global flights. Airlines are always competing with one another to try and get people to fly with them over a competitor. In essence, they try and do whatever they can to stay ahead of their rivals.

This made their social media fail in 2016 all the more embarrassing when they accidentally shared a post from arch-rival Virgin Atlantic. The post basically advertised Virgin Atlantic as being the best airline to fly to and from London with. Needless to say, many people following British Airways pointed out the immense stupidity involved with sharing this promotional post for one of their rivals. Virgin lapped it up and made a few cheeky responses, British Airways tried to repair the damage, but it ultimately failed.

It was such a stupid error to make, and there’s no real explanation for why they chose to share this post. After all, it takes a bit of effort to actually share something, you have to confirm it before it happens! Needless to say, an improvement in social media marketing and management may have been in order after this faux pas. All they needed was for one person in the team to point out they were promoting a rival, and it could’ve been avoided. I guess the lesson to take away here is that you should always double check what you share, and never promote rival companies to your masses of followers!

Dove: Pushing the brand values

Dove is a great example of a business that uses social media to establish and push its brand values. They’re a company that’s very big on empowering and inspiring women all over the world. This is evident in their Twitter bio, and even more so in what they post/share. They’re often sharing content that will help women in one way or another, and include hashtags to help spark conversations amongst their followers on Twitter.

If you visit their Twitter page, you will see that almost everything on their timeline is devoted to women and celebrating the beauty of all women. All of this leads to people relating Dove to the values of female empowerment, and so on. As a consequence, this will only strengthen their brand. No doubt numerous women see Dove as a company they trust and would like to use their products because they support what the brand believes in. It’s a fantastic way of showcasing how powerful social media is at growing your brand.

Granted, they had a bit of a social struggle back in 2017 thanks to an advert they showed on Facebook. But, the general perception of Dove is that they use social media incredibly well. You can learn a lot from them and try to make social media a platform for you to push forward your core brand values. Also, they’re a great example of how to share content that’s relevant to your target audience.

KFC: going a bit too far

KFC Australia had a memorable social media mishap back in April 2016. They sent out a tweet that many considered to be NSFW – so that’s already an alarm bell when it comes to business content on Twitter. It was shared a lot, which wasn’t a good thing in this scenario. The result was a load of negative feedback, and the tweet got deleted. Obviously, nothing ever truly gets deleted online, and people captured it and continued to share the stupidity.

Now, you know something has failed pretty massively when it gets news coverage all over the world. Countless articles were talking about this fail, and it just generally cast a negative cloud over KFC. Why did they do it? Perhaps the marketing team thought it would be edgy and funny to tweet the image and the caption (both of which are shown above, by the way) sparking general interest. There’s no doubt in my mind they were attempting to use humor as a way of promoting their new product.

For me, this is a classic case of going too far. KFC is a brand that’s known for being a little bit edgy and funny on social media. They include plenty of pun-based humor in their posts, but this one missed the mark. The moral of the story; know the boundaries of social media. Don’t post borderline explicit things, because you can always offend lots of people.

GoPro: User generated content

GoPro is a brand that takes great advantage of user-generated content on Instagram. Every day they post a ‘photo of the day’ from one of their followers. Naturally, the photo serves two purposes; shows the power of the GoPro, while also being very cool and likable.

Consequently, they get a lot of likes on these photos, and it’s a great way of generating content without actually doing anything. User-generated content is so important for businesses on social media, and more companies should take advantage of it. These photos basically promote their product for free! What better way to advertise the quality of a camera/video recording device than by showing it in action from real users?

Anyone that runs a business should learn from this example of great social media usage. Don’t just rely on your own content, get user-generated content too. It involves your followers while promoting your business for free.

Uber: Taking advantage of a bad situation

In 2017, Uber provided one of the biggest and most damaging social media errors of all time. This was a time when US President, Donald Trump, tried to impose his infamous travel ban on people from various Muslim nations entering the country. As you can probably remember, there was a lot of outrage surrounding this. So much so that many of the taxi companies in New York City arranged a protest at JFK airport, where they refused to pick anyone up.

What did Uber do wrong? While everyone was protesting, and the taxi companies essentially gave up a lot of money to stand for what they believed in, Uber sent out a tweet promoting their service. Outrage ensued, with many saying they were taking advantage of a bad situation to try and increase revenue. It didn’t work, and their arch rivals Lyft ended up gaining way more downloads than Uber for the first weekend in history.

The bottom line is; don’t try and use difficult political situations for your own personal gain!

As these examples show, there are many ways you can do social media right, and many ways you can cause an uproar. I hope that seeing these examples can help you understand the right way to use social media for your business. Take note of the things the successful companies do; playing to their target market, staying up to date with trends, reinforcing brand values, and user-generated content.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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