Do social media marketers make mistakes on purpose?

Posted on March 5, 2018

 

There’s no doubt that nothing undermines your company’s authority online like errors. Whether it’s misspellings, typos or inaccuracies, one way you can be pretty sure to get interaction on your Facebook and Twitter posts is to get them wrong.

However, if you adopt the mantra that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, does that mean making a mistake can actually be beneficial?

On Facebook in particular, you’ve probably seen the odd meme that looks like it could have done with at least being run through a spellcheck. Many of the comments below it will probably be making that point to the account that posted it, but is that the whole idea? If it were grammatically perfect, would it be getting as many comments?

On Facebook, I follow the official page for Scrabble. It regularly posts pictures of boards and presents followers with their rack, challenging them to come up with the best possible play for the scenario. The page seems to be making itself quite unpopular among Scrabble fans though, as whoever is behind it doesn’t seem to have much knowledge or respect for the board game.

An example of this came on Saturday, when the page posted the following poser:

At first glance, it may seem a reasonable post and ways to use a rack-full of vowels (sometimes known as ‘vowel disorder’) are often discussed among Scrabble players, but take a close look at the board and you may notice something unusual. The words ‘GONE’, ‘GRAD’ and ‘DA’ are not connected to the rest of the tiles. A Scrabble game should form a completed crossword where all words are connected, so this game has included at least one illegal move.

Commenters have also noted that ‘STEERIN’ is not a valid Scrabble word. This may have been confused with ‘STEARIN’, which is a type of chemical and is in the Scrabble dictionary.

If you think this is bad, take a look at this one that appeared on Friday:

Some followers have noted that the top corner of the board is missing, thus restricting the number of openings for the player, and that ‘BREXIT’ is not yet a valid Scrabble word. Others have made the valid point that there’s little point asking someone what their “winning move” is when they don’t know the scores, as your move might vary depending on whether you are winning or losing. Most of all though, why is the game being played sideways on the board?

These seem like sloppy oversights on the page of those behind the Scrabble page, but are they actually part of a clever campaign? Is it possible that they’re posting content simple enough to draw interaction from casual, novice players, yet at the same time alerting more serious Scrabblers, creating something that nobody can scroll past without commenting?

If so, it might sound like genius, but it’s a dangerous game. Companies need to ask themselves whether more Facebook interaction is worth undermining their own product for. Does Scrabble want to show such little respect for its own brand that it shows people playing the wrong way round on the board and using words not recognised by its own dictionary?

Looking at the comments on the two posts, several followers have suggested they have had enough of the page and are unfollowing it. This is the danger of social media behaviour that harms your authenticity and trust as a brand, suggesting deliberate mistakes are not advisable.

John Murray

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.

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