If you’ve ever worked in social media or digital marketing for a brand, chances are you’ve had your fair share of moments where panic sets in when you realize something that shouldn’t be live on your channels has been released.
As someone who has worked in the space for 14 years, I can tell you that these times are some of the worst, especially when messaging is something that negatively affects your consumers and can lead to shattering their trust in your brand.
That’s exactly what happened recently when KFC sent out a promotional alert on its app telling customers in Germany to splurge to commemorate Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi-led pogrom widely seen as the start of the ‘Holocaust.
KFC sent a message soon after, apologizing and saying the unapproved message was mistakenly sent via a semi-automated push notification on its app linked to calendars that include national celebrations. By then, however, he had already received backlash on social networks.
Ultimately, someone should have reviewed the timelines to ensure that the content being distributed was appropriate and relevant to the intended audiences. If someone had done their due diligence, they would have flagged it as inappropriate.
But this incident raises a few other points that all brands with a digital footprint should consider when developing their strategy, such as the downsides of planning social and digital posts, and what happens when there is has a lack of human quality control over editorial calendars.
Unfortunately, we continue to see many companies that still don’t consider social media as important as other marketing jobs or require more than a one-person team. Many brands increasingly rely on automated tools to perform much of the critical editorial development, thus lacking strategic planning around their timelines.
While there are benefits and needs for businesses to schedule certain posts, there are also pitfalls, especially with automated pushes, so it’s crucial for brands to assess the systems and processes that they put in place.
Breaking trust in the brand
Sometimes when you schedule multiple days or weeks of activity at once for different pages, things can get mixed up. A post can end up on the wrong channel, with the wrong message, or be scheduled on the wrong day or at the wrong time, and you won’t know until the post goes live and, you guessed it, your customers will report it to you online first.
But if that message is offensive, it won’t just make your brand seem inane and insensitive, it will make it impersonal and customers to remark right away, especially when pre-programmed messages are not relevant to the intended audience or to current events or breaking news.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen brands post messages about product launches or premieres amid tragic news, all because messages were scheduled and teams forgot to pause them.
That’s why it’s especially important for brands to have a team that knows what content is distributed and where, and makes sure it’s appropriate. You can’t rely on machines or tools to do it for you.
Go out like out of touch
When something like the Kristallnacht message goes out because of an automated process and you don’t have a team that checks editorial calendars for multiple pages and markets, brands risk going offline, negatively affecting their image. brand.
Another issue that contributes to appearing disconnected is posting scheduled posts or key messages at a time when no one on the team will be available to notice their audience’s activity and will not be able to respond in real time.
There are benefits for businesses that choose to schedule promotional posts, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that automating the feature comes with many risks that could outweigh these benefits.
Reach the audience
When the necessary checks and processes are in place to review editorial content and strategies before publication, scheduling publications can be beneficial for companies looking to reach customers in different markets and time zones at peak times to maximize media consumption and awareness. It always requires a level of human nuance – what’s relevant to one audience may not necessarily be relevant to another.
Creating and delivering promotional posts can be time-consuming, especially those with small social and digital teams. Scheduling posts in advance can give teams critical time to work on other aspects of their work that contribute to business impact and growth. That said, having human quality control and making sure someone is actually reviewing the content and posts is crucial.
There is a lot of work and time involved in managing social and digital spaces for businesses. Those who believe that automated planning and tools will help better manage efficiencies should also consider potential pitfalls when evaluating their best approach to building their digital strategy.
Whichever direction brands decide to take, they need to have a process in place to ensure their editorial content strategy is always relevant and resonates with their target audience.