The fact is we all learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. When we succeed at something it all seems so easy. But when we fail at something we wake up to the reality of our own imperfection.
Social media often gets a bad rap as being too problematic; too much of a risk for companies interested in protecting their reputations, their clients or their CEO. This partially explains why many law firms have turned their noses up at social media: The risks far outweigh the rewards.
There certainly is some truth in the belief that social media is a risky endeavor. One poorly worded Tweet; one overly enthusiastic employee with too much to say and too little time to think; one over-thought ad campaign aimed at the wrong crowd at the wrong time and your company could walk away with a shiny black eye in the public relations department.
However, by looking at our failures, and the failures of those who have gone before us we stand a decent chance of avoiding the mistakes of the past and can focus on making brand new ones for next year!
Besides, in my opinion, the rewards of effective social media marketing (like reaching an audience in excess of ONE BILLION people) far, far outweigh the fall-out from a public relations faux-pas. (Unless you're Anthony Weiner.)
When a photo of his nether regions was tweeted from his account to a Seattle woman in May, Anthony Weiner insisted that he had been hacked. But the scrutiny continued, and the powerful New York congressman -- who had been considered the front-runner in the 2013 New York City mayoral election -- was forced to admit that he had sent the photo himself. He resigned from the House of Representatives after 12 years in office.
Dissing Detroit Drivers
A New Media Strategies employee dropped the F-bomb in a March tweet from @ChryslerAutos ("I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fucking drive"). Chrysler had just launched an "Imported from Detroit" campaign along with a Super Bowl ad. The staffer was fired, but Chrysler announced it wouldn't renew the agency's contract.
Kenneth Cole Puts Shoe in Mouth
The retailer stirred up trouble when he tried to ride the coattails of the Arab Spring social-media phenomenon with this February tweet: "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online." Tone-deafness, or a calculated move by a company known for sometimes-controversial advertising?
Click here for "Marketing's Biggest Social-Media Blunders of 2011."