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By Emily Lapm

Social media marketing and interaction with customers via social media outlets has become critical to the success of any business. From reviewing analytics in order to drive sales to addressing customer complaints, social media represents one of the most important aspects of any company’s marketing – and yet a good many entrepreneurs and companies make excruciatingly embarrassing faux pas via social media. While digital marketing mistakes are easy to make,

Check out these five social media marketing mistakes that entrepreneurs always make, and how some of these mistakes have panned out for the companies making them.

Making Jokes About Things That Aren’t Funny

Of course, having a sense of humor is no bad thing, and it’s a good thing to make your audience laugh – it’s engaging and warms them to your product or service. But whatever you’re joking about, make sure it’s actually funny – and not offensive.

For example, the US Department of State tweeted with the hashtag #springbreakingbadly what basically amounted to insulting the intelligence – and looks – of those who chose to travel abroad during Spring Break.


They also managed to insult the residents of popular Spring Break destinations by implying that Americans traveling abroad were likely to be scammed or robbed. The tweets were deleted, and the DoS apologized, but the damage was done. Don’t make the mistake of making jokes that aren’t funny at best – and at worst, alienate your audience.

Don’t Be Any Kind of -ist

If your posts or tweets contain sexism, racism, superiorist nationalism, and so forth, it’s not likely to be well-received. Targeting any demographic with prejudicial humor is likely to get you in a lot of trouble.

Last year, the International House of Pancakes opted to serve up tweets promoting their famous pancakes utilizing genuinely problematic phrases like “butter face.”


These tweets were met with a backlash from much of their audience, including many women, who called them out on their inherently sexist tweets. Reportedly, these tweets hit IHOP’s sales for a few weeks. While a company as big as IHOP might be able to take a financial hit like that, smaller companies absolutely can’t – so choose your words wisely, and don’t fall victim to one of the most surprisingly common internet marketing mistakes.

Don’t Try to Capitalize on Tragedy

Using someone else’s pain or tragedy in order to promote sales is truthfully one of the most reprehensible marketing techniques any company or entrepreneur could possibly employ, and yet Miracle Mattress, based in San Antonio, Texas, opted to post this commercial ad supposedly honoring 9/11 with a “Twin Towers Sale,” offering all size mattresses for twin size mattress prices. The ad, which aired via YouTube, sparked immediate outrage. The video was later removed and an apology letter was posted.


In short, don’t use tragic events to sell your products or services. Your customers will remember it for a very, very long time.

Make Sure Your Content is Accurate

Posting content that appeals to the emotions of the reader – which is standard marketing practice for many companies – is a far cry from posting content that’s actually inaccurate, which is one of the worst online marketing mistakes anyone can make. Gina Raimondo, the current governor of Rhode Island, spent millions on a marketing campaign for the smallest state in the union that, unfortunately, featured footage of Iceland and not Little Rhodey. Raimondo was lambasted for this, especially considering that the money spent on the tourism campaign came out of taxpayer money. The video feature was later corrected, but the mistake is still very much a lively discussion among Rhode Islanders and other New England residents.



Don’t Solely Rely on Social Media Marketing

While social media marketing is undeniably important, employing other tools in marketing your business is essential to the success of your business. Hard copy materials, such as pamphlets, postcards, flyers, and business cards are just as critical, as are on-site tools such as outdoor metal signs, banners, or flags. Marketing a business successfully means establishing a presence in all areas where your current or potential customers may see your product or service, and entrepreneurs should aim to cover as many outlets as possible in this arena.

While all of these are easy mistakes for an entrepreneur to make, they are easily avoided with carefully composed and well-researched content, and the employment of a wide variety of marketing techniques.

Emily Lapm is a freelance writer, She loves online marketing and writing. She now writes for SiteSmart, a company which specializes in banner, vinyl banner, signage in Australia.