Brands Need Social Media Professionals – Not Gurus, Ninjas, Wizards & Mavens

Whether it’s brands like Celeb Boutique using inappropriate hashtags, or HMV leaving disgruntled soon-to-be ex-employees access to their social media platforms, it seems that some brands still have a lot to learn about social.

One of the latest examples was Luton Airport. Although quickly removed, a post was misguidedly published showing a photograph of a crashed plane on a runway, with the caption:

 Luton Airport Post


The crash that was pictured had unfortunately killed a six-year-old boy and was immediately the focus of negative comments from Fans of the Page.

Luton Airport apologised for the ‘wholly unacceptable and insensitive’ post and also added:

Luton Airport apology

We’re sure that the staff member didn’t mean to cause any offence but this incident highlights the importance of hiring experienced staff to manage your communities and/or having a permissions structure in place.

Timing can also be a factor that brands need to take into consideration. One example of misjudged timing would be from Qantas. They chose to launch a #QantasLuxury hashtag competition asking followers what their ‘dream luxury inflight experience’ would be. At any other time, this campaign would probably have worked very well. There were a pair of first class tickets were in the offing and competitions with great prizes are always a good way to increase your reach.

At that particular time though, Qantas was in the middle of an industrial relations dispute with their workers and many planes were grounded. The hashtag was of course flooded with angry and sarcastic tweets such as the following:

Qantas Luxury Competition


Anyone who’d taken a proper look at the sentiment around the business at that time should have realised that this was not the right time to launch a competition.

When hiring your next Community Manager ask yourself this question:

Community Management Experience



If the answer is no, but they seem like they have potential, then an authorisation process must be put in place before they publish any content to your Pages.


If they do have experience, then check how they are doing with their current communities:

Good Community Management





What might seem like a good idea at the time to an enthusiastic new hire, can often have unforeseen consequences. A workflow or social media tool that manages permissions will ensure someone is double-checking their posts before they go public.

Before publishing, someone needs to be making sure the content is appropriate and checking whether it could be misconstrued but they also need to question timing.

Social Media Publishing Checklist




These examples are just some of many which go to prove that if your brand is serious about social, you need to make sure the people you hire understand the opportunities and the pitfalls.

Hire staff that have the skills to keep it light and fun while recognising bad timing and bad ideas when they see them, and they will help keep your company off the ‘social media fails’ list.




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