At one time or the other, individuals and groups of people have goofed on social media. From inappropriate tweets, to embarrassing better-left-in-the-archives pictures, to controversial comments that cause an uproar in the virtual community.
Nevertheless, the proposition is different when a well-known brand with all to lose is found guilty of the same “sin”, as the effects could be far reaching, leading to reputation damage that could result in massive loss of goodwill.
Every year, a couple of brands find themselves in that unenviable position where they are caught in the quagmire of bad social media communication, and the year 2017 was no different.
In no particular order, here are the biggest fails the Nigerian social media community witnessed in 2017;
Arik Air: The floodgate of social media fails in 2017 opened with Arik Air. Matters came to a head for the indigenous airline which was already in the bad books of many Nigerians when images of passengers beating up a staff of the airline began making the rounds in the virtual ecosystem. Perpetually delayed flights, a culture of indiscipline and terrible communication have become synonymous with Arik, and these led to further deduction in any points it had previously.
The Vanguard: The daily newspaper started this year with an apology, no thanks to false news it published about the Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo, and might be the ending the year in the same vain. Its 28th of November, 2017 publication about the Bayelsa State Government owing 10 to 16 month salaries of civil servants has since been established to be untrue. For a “veteran” news medium with almost three and a half decades invested in the news publishing business, Vanguard, which is regarded as one of the few newspapers devoid of political control or interference has seen a dent in its reputation on social media due to the trail of false news it is becoming increasingly known for.
Globacom: The more the indigenous mobile telecommunications company offered cheap data plans, engaged the services of celebrities as brand ambassadors, and invested heavily in unique traditional and digital advertising, the more apparent it became that it was on a mission of sorts to distract user’s attention from its abysmal service. Millions of Glo users on social media did not hesitate to criticize the brand, as they were not impressed by its “ridiculously” cheap offerings because its bad network and poor customer care support were a constant reminder that quality trumps quantity always.
SARS: It’s not an overstatement to say that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigerian Police Force are no favourites of Nigerians, particularly the social media community. Twitter started the war being waged against the police outfit a couple of weeks ago, calling for its total scraping as users recounted tale after tale of woes experienced in the hands of those who should be protecting them. The attempt by the police to downplay the embarrassing occurrences and defend SARS even with the complements of video evidence only succeeded in fueling already high tempers.
PENGASSAN: A script that has acted out more than few times played out again as the yuletide season approached. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria chose the worst time to embark on a nationwide strike yet again. Their excuse about fighting for the rights of unlawfully sacked workers of an oil firm did not hold water as Nigerians on social media could not help but wonder why their yearly industrial strike action had to always happen around the Christmas season.
The Nigerian Government: If the federal government lost some of its goodwill in the year 2016, there’s no doubt that the amount has at least doubled in 2017. The lingering fuel crises and the lasses-faire attitude of government to the sufferings of Nigerians has earned them knocks. These days, every comment by any government official on Twitter or Facebook is met with mockery or widespread backlash.
As a fresh year approaches, brands have to pay closer attention to what really matters – Good service, quality, customer friendliness and great communication, if they are to find favour with the social media community.