The 7 deadly brand social media sins, illustrated

Brands are so prone to jumping on the social media bandwagon at the wrong moment (or in the wrong way) that it’s almost become expected of them. Pittsburgh ad agency Brunner wants to coax them away from the abyss — with a series of short, animated videos starring an anthropomorphized brand who acts out seven “Social Media Faux Pas” routinely made by marketers.

“Brands are trying to take this publishing mentality, where they are nimble and out there with content several times a day– so there’s a lot of margin for mistakes,” said Robert Schapiro, the executive creative director at Brunner. George Potts, Brunner’s director of social media added that they chose cartoons because they wanted to drive home what these behaviors would look like in real life without offending anyone.

Here, then, are the seven major social media faux pas that brands are prone to making:

Speaking with multiple voices
Brands often forget to have a uniform, single voice across all social networks. Having multiple, inconsistent personalities on different networks confuses customers. Here,”Brand” comes off a schizophrenic, careening from average Joe, to punk and to creative-type — driving the message home pretty well.

Paying for likes
If the brand’s products are good, they will speak for themselves. Buying likes or shares is not the way to win on social media and cheapens brands. The way is to reach out to those segments of the audience that have a  natural affinity for your products. Here, then, we see “Brand” interacting with a streetwalker.

Liking your own content
This isn’t only silly, but also gives the impression that the brand either desperate or has an inflated ego. The focus should be on the customers and fans, not shameless self-promotion.

Taking too long to respond
In today’s lightening-fast world, people don’t have much patience, especially on social media.  With this clip, Brunner instructs brands to be proactive and respond quickly.

Denying negative posts
The Internet is an open space, and things aren’t always going to be rosy. Instead of hiding negative comments and not acknowledging them, brands should use them as an opportunity to further engage, placate and perhaps win over new fans.

Taking undue credit
Brands are becoming creators in their own right, and when done well, it resonates with fans. But the idea is to make your own, not steal credit for others’ ideas.

Every pop cultural trend or discussion is not an invitation for brands to start selling their products. Brands shouldn’t restrict their subject matter to only themselves. Instead, they should engage in human conversations with their fans and followers — but only when it makes sense, and in a way that doesn’t oversell. After all, it’s about the fans and not the brand.