There have been many recent examples of good and bad marketing, as a business uses its social media activity to leap onto a breaking trend. However, from using an inappropriate hashtag, or the use of twerking basically anywhere, to appealing to the wrong audience, things can go badly wrong.
So, what should you do?
In most cases a simple joining in of the conversation on whatever social media platform, be it on Twitter, Facebook or through the likes of Pinterest or Vine, can benefit a brand or product, no matter how small or niche. That is, as long as it is done in the right spirit, maintains the voice of the brand and isn’t too far from its local area or market.
Whatever the intended message in the heat of the moment, the key decision should involve a two-minute pause before pressing that “Send” button. Ask around the marketing or PR office to see if the idea is appropriate, beneficial, actually funny/poignant/insightful or if it is likely to misfire. If no one can see fault with the post, then it is probably good to go.
For example, if a megastar is in town, a restaurant or bar can offer its services via social media as a quality place to visit, or for a meet-up point for fans before a concert or event. The business only has to keep a neutral tone and use the power of suggestion, and the mobility of large groups of people, to see a quick benefit to a post.
Keep it professional.
Similarly, with sports stars and celebrities all over social media, if a local star slips in the bath or shower, and sends a photo of a limb in bandages, no one should object to a bathroom accessories firm offering a free nonslip mat via Twitter. As long as the injury is nothing worse than a sprain, the post gets the firm in to a conversation with a wide audience. No one will take the request too seriously, but anyone reading might have that light bulb moment and add a bathmat to their next shopping list, with the brand or store in mind.
Whatever the message or the brand, an ad-hoc, well-timed post can see a boost in engagement, business and awareness. However, these bursts of activity are short-term and should not be repeated too often, otherwise the marketers could find negative responses clouding any benefit. Consider them a light adjunct to the company’s main online branding and activity. Just check that they won’t have a negative impact before sending.