Social Media: Win and Fails


Social media is hip, trending and booming. And that’s something companies also know. Many companies nowadays have a Facebook and/or Twitter account, where they can put their latest news and announcements. But they also often use social media to help their (potential) customers. If they manage to help a customer, it will create a positive image of the company, which can be seen by people who are online connected to the company or customer. It’s also an easy and cheap way to promote your brand.

But there also lies a potential danger. The social media account of the company can be seen by a lot of people. If you do it correctly, you’ll get positive feedback and image. But if you do it wrong, it can hurt the image of the company and there is a chance you’ll lose some customers.

In this blog I’ll show some examples where company have put social media to good use, but also managed to get a big FAIL for their actions.

How you should do it
A boy that saved up money for two years for a LEGO set, was disappointed when he found out that this set was discontinued when he finally had enough money. The boy wrote a letter to LEGO and posted a video on YouTube. The first reaction of LEGO was that this set was discontinued. But two days before his birthday, a box arrived from LEGO. Inside the box, there was the discontinued set the boy was looking for, fulfilling the dream of the boy. This is an example of how a company should treat their customers. It’s also not the last time LEGO has helped a customer using social media.

Another big company that knows how to use social media is Samsung. See for yourself:

How not to use social media
On July 20, 2012, there was a massacre in Aurora, Colorado. That day, there was a movie premiere of the latest Batman movie. Unfortunately, there was a person who opened fire in the audience, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. It was big news everyday, but it seems that not everyone got that message…

And they didn’t get it either:

And in this blog of Scott Hanselmann, he shows an example of what you shouldn’t do on Twitter. In short, he states that as a brand, you shouldn’t argue on the internet and certainly not on Twitter, since you can’t win an argument with just 140 characters. Also, you need to realize that Twitter messages are archived and accessible forever. Think twice before you post something on Twitter!

So social media can really help you, but also make it worse. Have you seen other examples of social media ‘wins’ or ‘fails’? Do you know a company that should be banned from social media, because they react inappropriately? Or a company that is so creative with social media, that definitely deserves your attention? Feel free to leave a comment.


Sources are embedded in weblinks in the text. Clicking on a link redirects you directly to the source. Clicking on an image also redirects you directly to the source.

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2 thoughts on “Social Media: Win and Fails

  1. Companies in crisis tend to disguise their decline in managementspeak. Vage terms that mask the problems or worse: because the public or employees don’t understand them, overreact to the given information. Social networking can be a good tool for PR-advisors to contain the damage.

    A recent study from the University of Missouri School of Journalism shows that social networksite Facebook (FB) can be an important tool in crisis management for organizations. The study also shows that the tone of voice in which the FB-entries are written is very important. The researcher’s advice to PR-advisors trying to control the image of companies in distress: just tell it like it is.

    Seoyeon Hong, a doctoral candidate in the MU School of Journalism, one of the chief researchers says:.“This study shows that Facebook can be a valuable tool for public relations professionals when working to solve or lessen the severity of crisis. Because Facebook is very personal for its users, well-thought-out crisis management messages can be effective at reaching users on a personal level, which is a powerful way to persuade people to a cause.”

    Find out more:
    http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2013/0903-facebook-use-by-organizations-during-crises-helps-public-image-mu-study-finds/

  2. Upon reading your post I immediately remembered the G. Dijksman case.

    For those unfamiliar with this case I will shortly explain what happened.
    The chief superintendent (dutch translation: districtschef) Dijksman of the police district Southwest Drenthe was discharged of her function after a number of questionable tweets. In one of her controversial tweets she called the political party the “PVV” a fascist organization. She also tweeted about the cause of death of two people by saying the two were probably victims of domestic violence. The couple was actually diseased by the poisonous gas carbon monoxide. The families were hurt by this tweet.

    An disciplinary law investigation stated she was guilty of “serious delinquency”.
    Dijksman stopped using twitter.

    In addition to this post this case (and I’m quite sure there are many more similar cases) makes clear that not only company actions on social media can ‘fail’ or ‘win’, but they should be aware of actions of their employees on personal social media accounts. Especially high functioning employees in a company or organization need to be aware of their potential impact on the society. Companies and organizations with social importance can help create awareness by educating their employees on this matter.

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